The Esoteric History of Humanity – Teachings of Rudolf Steiner
The following text is meant to be a short overview of the history of mankind from a different point of view than the scientific. This article covers the works and writings of Rudolf Steiner.
Why does the title say “esoteric” history ? Well, it is the history of mankind according to clairvoyants, psychics and other gifted people in contrast to modern scientists who examine bones, put up a theory and sweep everything that does not fit their theory under the rug. How accurate is esoteric history? We do not know, but there are a lot of similarities between the different sources. We can at least get an idea where man came from and the evolution he went through.
It is a question everybody will ask himself sooner or later: where did we come from? The very origin of man is Light, residing in an all encompassing Light Realm. Then, entering the Universe, the human being could be perceived as a tone, a vibration, a sphere of light with prismatic light beams.
About fifteen to twenty billion years ago our Universe came into being. Around 14 billion years ago the Milky Way formed. Around 5 billion years ago the our solar system arose. Our solar system is a second generation. That means that it was formed when other solar systems had gone through their evolution and blew apart into cosmic dust out of which our solar system was formed. Who knows what life developed in those first generation solar systems? Planet Earth was formed around 4.5 billion years ago. Can you imagine all those years passing by since our planet was formed? A human life is just an eye blink.
Rudolf Steiner gives a rather unique view on how our planet formed and the life that was already present before the planet solidified. He talks about four periods:
The Saturn period
The Sun period
The Moon period
The Earth period
The Saturn period was when the future solar system only consisted of one big massive, spinning ball of glowing, gaseous substance. In this primal “sun” life was already present. It consisted of life forms that would later become humans. Those pre-human life forms did not have physical forms yet, that would happen in the last stage, the Earth period. In the Saturn period they had a very subtle, spiritual form. They had a “mineral consciousness”, that is a consciousness that is dull, vague and can be compared with deep trance. During this period the physical body was being formed, not in physical matter as it is now, but on subtle levels, more like a matrix for the future human body when our planet Earth would be completely physical.
The primal “sun” expelled two masses that became Uranus and Saturn. The remaining primal mass, in which gasses and fluids moved around, has now entered the second phase: the Sun period. The life forms of the Saturn period now had to make a leap into the next phase of their evolution, as their environment had changed by the expulsion of two planets. We had now gotten two kinds of life forms: the most evolved which were still pre-humans, and those who were behind in their evolution which would later become the animals. The pre-humans during this Sun period had a “vegetable consciousness”. This was a consciousness that can be compared with a dreamless sleep. It is a consciousness only aware of what happens inside oneself, but not of what happens around oneself. During this period the etheric body was being developed.
Another mass of substance was expelled which later will become our Sun. Other planets were forming as well: Jupiter, Mars, Mercury and Venus. This was the Moon period. We had a radiating Sun and planets, and a mass of substance composed of gases and very dense fluids that would later become the Earth and the Moon. Under the light from the sun the gases separated from the fluids. This mass was inhabited with three forms of life. The most evolved were still pre-humans. Included also were those who were behind in their evolution, and would later become the animals. Finally there were those even more behind in their evolution, they would become the plants. The pre-humans now had an “animal consciousness”. With this consciousness they could evoke images in themselves in relation to what happened around them. During this period the astral body was being formed.
The original primal mass of substance now expelled the Moon and became itself the Earth. The Earth was becoming physical with gases, fluids and physical matter. The physical body of man was formed. The life forms less developed than man became animals, the lesser life forms became the plants and the least developed became rocks, crystals and physical matter. Humans now had “human consciousness” what we are all familiar with. The sense of ego was being developed, but it is behind the three bodies in development (physical, etheric and astral). Hence the many errors and illusions of man in his quest for wisdom and knowledge.
This is the basic esoteric teaching as to how our solar system came into being and the development of life forms during this period. It is a little mind stretching, but interesting. Rudolf Steiner goes much more in detail, but you have to read up on it if you want to know more (look in his book, Cosmic Memory). The next stages of evolution are easier to follow. One more interesting thing Steiner mentions; for its survival every life form preys on lower life forms, because there is nothing else around to live on. So humans eat animals and plants, animals eat plants, and plants grow on minerals.
The Periods of Human Evolution
Human evolution happens in stages and for the moment we are about half way. The stages we went through are.
The Polar period
The Hyperboreic period
The Lemurian period
The Atlantic period
The Post-Atlantic period
The Polar and Hyperboreic Period
The Earth had become physical and animals and plants were forming. Man, however, stayed on the spiritual levels because he wanted to create the conditions, on the physical, to obtain highly developed animal forms in order to incarnate and develop them into human bodies. It is estimated that the ancestor of apes and humans lived more than 200 million years ago, even before the first reptilians roamed the Earth (they appeared some 140 million years ago). In text books it always has been stated that man came long, long time ago after the dinosaurs died out (65 million years ago), but new studies point out that not only had man and ape a common ancestor but that man probably lived together with the great dinosaurs.
The two initial periods are a called Polar and Hyperboreic (=a region around the poles) because man, on the spiritual plane of the earth, was situated in these regions. During these two periods the perception of sound was developed, the sense of taste, of cold, and man was perceiving by means of colorful images inside himself.
The Lemurian Period
The Lemurian Period started around 225 million years ago and ended around 54 million years ago. Man incarnated in highly developed animal bodies that were being shaped to human forms. Matter was not as solid as it is today, and form could be changed to a certain degree by the will of man. Now man had become male and female. In the two previous periods, on the spiritual plane, man was androgynous, but on the physical level bodies were male and female. As Lemurian man evolved he developed feelings that interact with feelings of other people. He primarily perceived by means of inner dream images. His eyesight is rudimentary. As he progressed further his inner perception weakens as his eyes develop and perceive the outer world. Material substances were able to influence his feelings, and primitive feelings like lust developed.
Lemurian man was in close contact with nature. “The Lemurian derived strength of his ideas directly from the objects which surrounded him. It flowed to him from the energy of growth of plants, from the life force of animals. In this manner he understood plants and animals in their inner action and life. He even understood the physical and chemical forces of lifeless objects in the same way. When he built something he did not first have to calculate the load-limit of a tree trunk, the weight of a stone; he could see how much the tree trunk could bear, where the stone, in view of its weight, would fit, and where it would not. Thus the Lemurian built without engineering knowledge on the basis of his faculty of imagination which acted with the sureness of a kind of instinct. Moreover, to a great extent, he had power over his own body. When it was necessary, he could increase the strength of his arm by a simple effort of the will. For example, he could lift enormous loads merely by using his will.”
As the human form could be shaped by the will of man, we find human forms of different stature like dwarfs and giants. Man lived in huts, in communities, and lived from hunting and agriculture. In later times there were big cities. They knew and communicated with the brothers of the stars, highly evolved beings who would come to Earth to educate mankind. As man was still very much connected with his inner life he was able to travel in his astral body.
During the Lemurian time, there was a lot of volcanism, and the climate was humid and warm. The atmosphere was often dense with mist and smoke. They was plenty of vegetation and animals. Man lived by his instincts, his desires, his lust. Originally he did not have a memory, that would develop slowly. He did not have a language as we do, but communicated by means of nature sounds. He was very connected with the life forms around him. He understood the plants, the animals, his environment. Later on he developed a musical expression which brought him into an ecstasy and contact with the cosmos. The Lemurian period ended by volcanic eruptions.
In the evolution of mankind one needs to take into consideration that there are certain groups of highly evolved beings that have always worked on his evolution. One of those groups is the Luciferian beings. They developed the human brain and made man aware of the material, or the physical, too early in his evolution. The Luciferian beings did this because it would bring certain advantages to themselves. Because man’s consciousness became directed towards the outer, physical world too early in his evolution, he gradually lost his connection with the other more advanced spiritual beings who were guiding him from in the beginning. As this guidance decreased man gained freedom, freedom in his actions but this implied the possibility of error. Man began to make mistakes and cause disharmony.
The Atlantic Period
The Atlantic civilization began around 65 million years ago. In the early Atlantic period there was still a lot of humidity and mist. During the Atlantic period the emotional body developed itself. The development of animal instincts was over, and now man was primarily ruled by emotions. The intellect was still rudimentary. Atlantic man had an instinctive knowledge of the powers of nature.
In the Atlantic period we had initiates who learned to control their emotions by the spirit. As their spirit was able to control the lower forces of nature, some of them used their powers for black magic. Among the ruling class two groups developed: the Sons of the Law of One and the Sons of Belial. Edgar Cayce explains that: ” The Sons of Belial were of one group, or those that sought more the gratifying, the satisfying (of self), the use of material things for self, without thought or consideration as to the sources of such nor the hardships in the experiences of others. Or, in other words, as we would term it today, they were those without a standard of morality. The other group -those that followed the Law of One- had a standard…Their standard was that the soul was given by the Creator or entered from outside sources into the projection of the mental and spiritual self at the given periods. That was the standard of the Law of One, but was rejected by the Sons of Belial.”
Memory developed greatly, and knowledge, science and technology was based on memory and not on intellectual reasoning. Those who had a great memory became leaders. “They had a highly developed memory. This memory was one of their most prominent mental faculties…Nobody impressed upon his intellect that three times four is twelve. In the event that he had to perform such a calculation he could manage because he remembered identical or similar situations. He remembered how it had been on previous occasions…Under totally new conditions the Atlantean had to rely on experiment. One did what one had always “seen” before. One did not invent; one remembered.” (Rudolf Steiner). Later on the faculty of thought developed and with it a fondness for innovations and changes.
Language too developed, and the power of words could control nature and people. In the Lemurian period only the community was important, in the Atlantic period, the sense of personal self increased. As the sense of ego increased, egotism set in.
What we call Atlantis was a civilization that slowly developed itself in many ways, growing into a true world civilization. There were many seaports and ships, they had great agricultural, landscaping and industrial skills. The technology was different from our present-day technology. It was based on solar and electrical energy and crystals. Edgar Cayce gives a good description of one of their devices. It can be found in “Edgar Cayce on Atlantis” by his son Edgar Evans Cayce. Science and technology, and most of the knowledge, was in the hands of a small elite group of priest-scientists. Their science was mostly developed in underground facilities. The priest-scientists traveled all over the globe and helped to establish communities and cities, but their science and technology was not placed in the hands of common man. They had airships, and other vehicles to travel through water and through the earth. They had contact with extraterrestrial beings and thus also traveled in space ships. The first rulers of Atlantis were extraterrestrials and brought humanity many gifts like agriculture, certain herbs, bees, wheat and scientific knowledge. Occasionally groups of humans from other planets were also brought here. At the end of the Atlantic period, man began to experiment with genetic manipulation. Spiritual values began to decline quickly and warfare with powerful energy weapons caused much destruction. The Atlanteans could cause earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and had death rays.
Atlantis was destroyed three times. A first destruction happened around 50,000 years ago. A second destruction happened around 28,000 years ago. The last and final destruction was around 12,000 years ago.
There are still plenty remains from the Atlantean civilization, although unrecognized by scientists as they do not believe that once a mighty civilization existed. Edgar Cayce said that the pyramid of Cheops in Egypt was built during the later times of Atlantis. Machu Pichu and other cyclopean cities (built with huge, many tons a stone, slabs) date from Atalantis. The 1,200 ton famous Stone of the South in Baalbek, Lebanon, was cut during Atlantis. The Bimini walls and ruins were once part an Atlantean city. The recently discovered cyclopean buildings of the coast of Yonaguna, Japan was also part of Atlantis, when the sea level was much lower (for those buildings to have been built on dry land they must be at least 10,000 years old). Recently another underwater city has been found of the coast of Cuba. The famous life-size crystal skulls were made by Atlanteans. The Nazca lines, the topped mountains nearby, the petroglyph stones found in underground caves near Nazca, depicting man and dinosaurs, and strange scientific scenes, date from Lemuria and Atalantis. And so on.
The Post-Atlantic Period
This is the present period, that began some 12,000 years ago. First was the civilization of India during which insight was gained into the spiritual worlds. Next, the Persian civilization saw the universe as being filled with spiritual beings who were connected to humans. The Egyptian-Chaldean civilization concentrated itself too much on the physical. The Greco-Roman civilization emphasized the beauty of the physical body. Contact with the spiritual world was rudimentary and the gods were just reflections of human characteristics. Man became more self-centered. The Christian period is a turning point. Man had closed himself off completely from the spiritual worlds. Therefore Christ incarnated and put Christ-power into the astral body of the Earth, making it available for whomever wants to contact it. Now man has to search by inspiration and purity of spirit, independent from external influences, in order to discover the divine in himself.
In the present Christian era, the development of the spirit is central, by concentration, study, meditation, critical thinking, and control of emotions. In this period there is a development of creativity, and a striving for universal love. The next Aquarius period will start in 3500 A.D. The races will mix to produce a new race. The physical world and also science will be regarded as a revelation of the spiritual.