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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.