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Isis Sophia I

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EIGHTEENTH LETTER - September 1945
The Nature of the Planetary World - Venus

The Sphere of the Planet Venus

A study of the astronomical nature of the planets Venus and Mercury involves tremendous problems that have not yet been solved. Below we shall try to give a diagrammatic picture of the movements of Venus in connection with the Sun-Earth lemniscate. It must be emphasized that this is not the ultimate solution, but it should be regarded as a possible way of imagining them according to the indications given by Rudolf Steiner. However, even though this indication is open to doubt, and we hope that one day it will be possible to demonstrate the totality of the new conception of a planetary system in a true and comprehensive manner.

We can imagine that the lemniscate, or rather the lemniscate-body of the Sun-Earth path, has come into existence through two polarities in the universe: a radiating activity of the Sun that has the tendency to leave a “hole” toward the center and a contracting activity of the Earth that tends to “bulge”, as it were, into the hole. One day we may even be able to see in the opposition of these two forces the cause of the lemniscatory form in the universe. In the human body these two forces manifest themselves in the polarity of the activities that form the head and the body: the head, a contracting, mineralizing entity and the body, a radiating and dispersing power. Yet each penetrates the other. The contracting power is also active in the body and similarly the dispersing activity works in the head — though they are considerably hampered in these regions. The result is the lemniscate form, which in manifold ways is written into the human organization.

We now have to imagine the planets Venus and Mercury as moving upon smaller lemniscates, perhaps fixed by their crossing points upon the Sun-Earth-lemniscate but with the possibility of movement from the right side of the Sun to the left and also the reverse. Thus we find a reason for the fact that the planet Venus is sometimes in front of the Sun (seen from the Earth) and moving against the direction of the Sun's movement (that is, being retrograde or performing a loop), and at another time (about 10 months later) it is behind the Sun or in superior conjunction (see position b in the diagram).

Diagram 1

The planets Venus and Mercury are strongly related to the Sun; they are close intimates, therefore they also take part in the radiating tendency of the Sun. If we look now at positions a and b in the diagram, we can at once see that there must be a great difference between the condition of the sphere of Venus during an inferior conjunction or loop a and a superior conjunction b. In position a, the radiating sphere of Venus, which we must imagine around the planet and penetrating space as far as the Earth, is pressed into the space that is more or less filled with the contracting activity of the Earth. We can imagine that the forces of the sphere of Venus have to struggle hard to hold their ground against the Earth forces. The radiating Venus activity is then forced into that realm in the universe which manifests itself in the human being as the organizing powers of the head; therefore, the Venus forces may be weakened in this position. In the opposite event, the superior conjunction indicated by position b in the diagram, the Venus forces seem to be more in their own element, in the radiating surroundings of the Sun sphere, and so the forces of the Venus sphere are relatively strengthened in the time of a superior conjunction.

However, the universe has provided a balance for this. In the article, The Events in the Sky in the 13th letter, we have already pointed out that each loop or inferior conjunction of Venus is followed by a superior conjunction in the same position of the Zodiac four years later. Thus the weakening influence that is connected with the inferior conjunction is always restored again by the strengthening event of the superior conjunction in the same position. These rhythms of Venus, especially the four-years rhythm, may in future become of great importance for scientific research work; for instance, in connection with the metamorphoses of insects and beetles and also in other realms.

We must now try to create a knowledge of the spiritual quality of the forces that emanate from the sphere of Venus.

In previous letters, we have developed the theme that the sphere of the Moon is the sphere of the Angels. The sphere that has its “center” in the planet Venus is the realm of the Archangels; therefore, the spiritual “biography” of the Archangels is manifest still today in the influence of this sphere, whose ever-changing conditions are indicated by the movements and gestures of the planet.

Within Ancient Saturn evolution, the Archangels were in a state of consciousness that could be compared with that of the animal kingdom of today. In this state they received the cooperation of the exalted Spirits of Love, who sacrificed to them their majestic visions of the events on Ancient Saturn. Thus together they created the first ethereal germs of the sense organs in our human ancestor.

The Archangels evolved to the state of consciousness during Ancient Sun evolution that the human being has acquired only with the Earth evolution. The Ancient Sun forerunner of humanity had a body that was split into two parts. It consisted of an advanced part composed of substance that had been condensed as far as the “air” condition, and another part of this bodily substance had not evolved further than the state reached on the Ancient Saturn planet. It consisted of warmth or heat that surrounded the air-part like a sheath and also penetrated it like a skeleton. The Archangels worked then within this heat element and brought the germs of the human sense organs one step further toward perfection.

When Ancient Moon evolution had reached a certain stage of its development, the Archangels had attained the capacity of Imaginative cognition. Thus they were able to become active in the ether body of the ancestor of humanity. They were active in the inner life functions that found their physical expression in the circulation of the fluids within the body of humanity and also in the phenomena of growth. A kind of activity was brought about, which was something between nutrition and respiration. On the other hand, the Archangels were still connected with the development of the human sense organs, which they used as organs for their own perception.

Within the Earth evolution, the Archangels reached the stage of consciousness that spiritual science calls “inspiration”. They were especially connected with that period of the Earth evolution during which substance was again condensed into air or light. This was a kind of recollection of the events within Ancient Sun evolution. They manifested themselves also in the air-part of the human body and humanity experienced them as a psychic tune. Humanity realized them in the intellectual soul, which was prepared to become in future the “soul of inspiration”.

We can now realize that the Archangels are connected with humanity in a twofold way. They formerly manifested themselves in the creation and development of the human sense organs. In those previous stages of evolution, the sense organs were something quite different from what they are today. They were much more subtle and ethereal. Gradually their activity retired more and more, as it were, into the soul life of humanity, especially into the intellectual soul, of which Rudolf Steiner says in Chapter I of Theosophy: “Man forms thoughts about his sensations. He thus enlightens himself regarding the outside world. The child that has burnt itself thinks it over and reaches the thought ‘fire burns’. Also man does not blindly follow his impulses, instincts, passions; his thinking about them brings about the opportunity through which he can gratify them. What one calls material civilization moves entirely in this direction... One could also call it the emotional-thought-soul.”

On the other hand, the Archangels are connected with certain processes in the rhythmic system of humanity. For instance, one day we may be able to prove that the sphere, which is indicated by the planet Venus, shows the condition of the breathing organs of the human organism through the movements and gestures of embryonic development, but we must strictly differentiate the Venus sphere from the physical form of the planet and not confuse its influence upon prenatal development with its effect upon humanity's life after birth. These facts cannot be developed here at length. They are a subject for medical research and this is beyond the intended compass of these letters.
Thus we have two movements or activities in humanity as the expression of the activities of the VenusArchangel-sphere. The one tends more toward the attainment of intellectual capacities in connection with the function of the senses, and the other is located, as it were, in the bodily functions of the rhythmic and the respiratory system that is beyond the threshold of the human day-consciousness. If we now imagine an evolution of human consciousness so that it could behold the deeper faculties within the intellectual soul, then the intellectual soul would be transformed into the inspiration soul, which would be able to “inhale” or even to “eat”, so to speak, the hidden language of objects and spiritual beings. It would be a kind of evolved “sense perception” of which the physical sense perception is only a shadow. For instance, just as we speak of hearing within the physical world, we can also speak of a state of “hearing” in the spiritual world where the spiritual beings reveal themselves in their own “language”, and this is the state that occult science calls inspiration.

In order to understand the character of the sphere of the planet Venus as it is penetrated by the differentiations of the twelve fold Zodiac, we will have to concentrate a little more on the events within the second great stage of cosmic evolution, the so-called Ancient Sun. It was within this great cycle of evolution that the Archangels acquired a condition equal to present-day human ego-consciousness. Therefore, it is most illuminating to study this period in connection with the Beings of the Archangels.

As we have already indicated, the body of humanity's ancestor within Ancient Sun evolution consisted of two different substances. There was the “backward” heat-substance as the “residue” of Ancient Saturn evolution that formed a kind of “cloak” around the other substance — the air — into which a part of the warmth had been densified. Besides the bodies of humanity's ancestor, there was also backward heat in the surroundings of these bodies as a kind of second, lower kingdom of nature. The Archangels worked in the primeval sense-organs of humanity that were built into the heat-part of the bodies, and thereby they created the possibility of a connection between the second, lower kingdom and that of humanity. This mediating activity of the Archangels is one of their most prominent characteristics.

We must now imagine that the events of Ancient Saturn evolution were imprinted into the heat-part. It bore, so to speak, the countenance of the seven great ages of that planetary evolution that we have outlined in letters three, four, and five. The air-part showed the imprint of the seven great rounds of Ancient Sun evolution itself, of which we have so far not spoken in detail but that is described in the book An Outline of Esoteric Science by Rudolf Steiner. The primeval sense organs that were created by the Archangels acted as mediators between the two worlds: that of heat and that of air. Thus the outlines, the ethereal images, of twelve senses were made manifest and then appeared more and more clearly in later cycles of cosmic evolution.

When we described the seven great rounds of Ancient Saturn evolution, we were able to connect them with the twelve constellations of the Zodiac that we perceive today in the sky. We could do the same with regard to Ancient Sun evolution. If we say that the countenance of those features of Ancient Saturn planet was imprinted upon the backward heat-substance and that this heat-substance was the foundation of the sense organs, then we can assume that the senses using the organs must also bear a relationship to the constellations of the Zodiac.

We will now develop this in further detail. The seven great steps of Ancient Saturn evolution were as follows:

1. The mighty “Wisdom-Word of God” was spoken into the Ancient Saturn planet. The planet itself, which was still lifeless in this state, could not hold this. Only a reflection rested upon it and this was the primeval image of Ram.

2. Cosmic soul forces, the highest expression of which is the Thought of God, sought to penetrate the planet but were also only reflected — this was the origin of Bull.

3. The reflection of the forces of the cosmic bearers of the “I AM” created the division of the united planetary substance into many single bodies. This was the primeval power behind Twins.

4. The single heat bodies became mirrors of the impulse toward Personality. This was the prophecy of Archer.

5. The ethereal germs of the sense organs were created within the heat bodies. This formed the spiritual background of Goat.

6. A kind of warmth-metabolism was established within them that was the expression of Waterman.

7. Now appeared the Automaton-Man as an absolute image of the intentions of the Gods and which acted precisely according to the impulses coming from the spiritual surrounding. This took place in the realm of Fishes.

These different stages of development were imprinted again upon the backward heat-substance on the Ancient Sun planet, and as the sense organs, which one day were to behold the world, were brought one step further toward perfection; they were prepared to behold these imprints. Thus the sense activities that are the formative forces within the sense organs originated in those events in Ancient Saturn evolution in Twins, or the forces standing behind the Twins, giving the power to evolve a capacity of sense perception that in the Earth stage of evolution would behold the “I” — the sense for the perception of the “ I”. From Bull came the capacity to perceive the thought. The spiritual forces behind Ram endowed humanity with the sense for the perception of the Word. In Fishes was created the possibility of perception through the sense of sound — absolute receptivity is the fundamental condition for the functioning of this sense. Waterman and its spiritual background gave the possibility of the perception of warmth. In Goat was created the sense of sight, although the creation of the sense organs in general is connected with this area. In the sense of sight there lives the heritage of the sacrifice of their visions rendered by the Spirits of Love within the Ancient Saturn planet. From Archer comes the sense of taste. This is very difficult to understand from the point of view of the fourth cycle of Ancient Saturn evolution, but we shall find a wider basis of understanding for this fact later on.

Of course, we cannot say that these senses were already there within Ancient Sun evolution, but their cosmic images existed then.

Within the air-substance of humanity's ancestors, the cycles of Ancient Sun evolution were imprinted, which were previously reflected upon the heat-substance. These cycles appear also in connection with the constellations of the Zodiac, but we cannot now develop this in detail. We can only describe the effects that they had upon the formation of the senses. The order that is given here does not correspond, however, to the sequence of events within that planetary evolution.

Events in Twins were reflected that evolved a kind of primeval propagation. The single being derived its existence from a “mother-being” through a simple act of separation from it. From this there later evolved the sense for perception of the “brother-being”; a further evolution of the sense for the perception of the “ I”.

Crab is connected with events that endowed the being with a temporarily fixed form within a kind of skin. It laid the foundation for the later development of the sense of touch.

Lion is an image of a step in evolution when the being experienced within its own organism the reflection of soul movements and activities in the cosmic circumference. These experiences became the origin of the sense for the perception of life.

Virgin is the constellation into which are imprinted events within Ancient Sun evolution that effected a fundamental change in the human nature. Within the Ancient Saturn planet the heat bodies were still lifeless, but now during the initial stages of the new planetary evolution they were endowed with life forces. This was the foundation for a later realization and perception within the being itself of its own movement.

Scales reflects a state of evolution where the being came into a condition of complete inner balance with regard to its surroundings so that it could even express its experiences in a kind of “primitive language”. This was the primeval origin of the sense of balance.

Scorpion preserves the imagination of an event that we can call a process of “dematerialization”. Through the dissolution of the physical form, the life force became free, and a germ-like organ for the cognition of life connections and cosmic wisdom was thus embodied in physical forms. The sense of smell is only a faint and distorted image of the original capacity connected with the Scorpion.

Finally, Archer remembers events within this stage of evolution where gigantic cosmic processes of metabolism and transubstantiation were implanted into the human organization. Here we come a little nearer to the fact that the sense of taste is connected with Archer, although we must not forget that the original capacity went through many metamorphoses before it manifested itself as that which today we call the sense of taste.

Between Ancient Sun and the Earth evolution, there was Ancient Moon evolution, which brought further development. In fact, this is true of all the senses.

We see in the primeval creation of the sense organs the activity of the Archangels. The sense organs are the expression of the existence of the inner senses, and the senses must also be involved in the activity of the Archangels. Furthermore, this connection must also be written into the cosmic sphere of this hierarchy, the sphere that has its visible indicator in the movements of the planet Venus, and indeed we can find it there. This has been verified in a great number of cases of so-called mentally deficient children; however, it is not possible to speak about such cases here. We will develop these facts in the following letter in connection with a historical example.

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