Since 7 is the dynamic expression of the spirit in time (just as 12 is in space), man's spiritual evolution is divided into 7 intervals of time, within which as many seven-year intervals follow one another. This is the anthroposophical nomenclature, but it can be easily traced back to other esoteric traditions. We will describe here the 7 Eras (or Radical races) and the following 7 Epochs of Culture.
Each cultural epoch lasts 2,160 years: such is one of the 12 time intervals of the Platonic Year which lasts 2160 x 12 = 25,920 years. Each cultural epoch is therefore marked by a different sign of the zodiac. At the succession of one cultural epoch in the next, the date of the vernal point moves into the previous zodiac sign, following a counterclockwise direction. This is due to the precession of the equinoxes which causes the vernal point to shift back on the zodiac. It is marked by the meeting between the celestial equator and the ecliptic (the band of the zodiac), and is the point where the Sun passes in the spring equinox rising on the ecliptic.
I will therefore deal with the 172nd Condition of Form, while I will deal with the cosmic evolution preceding this condition of form in another post (The Seven Metamorphoses of the Earth). The 172nd Form Condition consists in the first precipitation of forms in the etheric-physical world since the previous end of the astral form condition (171st).
Here, then, is the subdivision of the 172nd Condition of Fitness according to consecutive seven-year periods:
From bottom to top: 7 Metamorphosis of the Earth or Cosmic Days (manvatara); 7×7 = 49 Conditions of Life; 7x7x7 = 343 Conditions of Form; 7x7x7 = 2401 Ere or Radical Breeds; 7x7x7x7 = 16807 Epochs of Culture.
1. Polar Era: where the Sun, Moon and Earth form one celestial body.
2. Hyperboreal Era: in which the Sun separates from the Earth-Moon.
3. Lemuric Era: in which the Moon separates from the Earth and at the end of the era, the destruction of Lemuria occurs through fire.
4. Atlantis Era, which is divided into a succession of other seven cultural eras:
1. Romohals: Age of Aquarius (22,347-20,187).
2. Tlavatli: Age of Capricorn (20,187-18,027).
3. Toltec: Age of Sagittarius (18,027-15,867)
4. Turans: Age of Scorpio (15,867-13,707)
5. Proto-Semites: Age of Libra (13,707-11,547)
6. Accadi: Age of the Virgin (11,547-9,387)
7. Proto-Mongoli: Age of the Lion (9,307-7,227), at the end of which the Universal Flood, or the destruction of Atlantis through water, takes place.
5. Fifth Post-Atlantic Era (present), which is divided into seven cultural eras:
1. Paleo-Indian Era: Age of Cancer (7,227-5,067).
2. Paleo-Persian Era: Age of Gemini (5,067-2,907)
3. Egypt-Chaldaic Era: Age of Taurus (2,907-747)
4. Greek-Roman epoch: Age of Aries (747 B.C-1413 A.D.), at his half there is the incarnation of Christ and three years later, the Mystery of Golgotha.
5. Anglo-Germanic Era: Age of Pisces (present, 1413-3573)
6. Russian-Slavic Era: Age of Aquarius (3573-5733)
7. American Era: Age of Capricorn (5733-7893), will end with the "War of All against All".
6. Sixth Post-Atlantic Era: Apocalyptic era of the 7 Seals, in which we witness the end of karma, and therefore the conclusion of the physical incarnation and the Moon will return within the Earth.
7. Seventh Post-Atlantic Era: Apocalyptic epoch of the 7 Trumpets.
By virtue of the Law of Cosmic Recapitulation, each stage in the process of evolution recapitulates the successive stages before adding a new one. Thus, each first subdivision of the septenary will be a recapitulation of the first planetary metamorphosis, but on different levels. In the first half (the first three metamorphoses) there is a recapitulation of the spirit toward descending stages in matter. In the middle of the central metamorphosis (the fourth) there is a reversal of this descending evolution into matter which becomes ascending evolution in the spirit (the last three metamorphoses), but in a conscious form.
This is because in the middle of the fourth metamorphosis the I of the Earth, the Christ, enters into earthly evolution. Half of the fourth metamorphosis thus acts as a mirror of cosmic evolution so that: the first metamorphosis (Ancient Saturn) is reflected in conscious form in the seventh (Future Volcano) i.e. 1=7; the second metamorphosis (Ancient Sun) is reflected in conscious form in the sixth (Future Venus) i.e. 2=6 and finally the third metamorphosis (Ancient Moon) is reflected in conscious form in the fifth (Future Jupiter) i.e. 3=5
Each day of Creation recounted in Genesis therefore contains much more than a literal interpretation of the Bible would like. Those very profound words contain a wisdom that is lost in past eras of Earth and man, a long and fascinating history that Rudolf Steiner's science of the spirit, anthroposophy, is able to explain to humanity today. Thanks to his very high clairvoyance skills, Steiner was able to read the events of the history of Creation contained in Genesis through the Chronicle of the Akasha, also known as the Memory of Nature: the Earth, as a living organism, possesses its own memory, inscribed in the world immediately superior to the Physical World, the Etheric World. Just as human memory is situated in the etheric body of man, so the memory of the Earth is situated in its Etheric World. And it is precisely within this chronicle of the world that all the facts of history are recorded from the spiritual point of view. Thus, the clairvoyant gaze, which transcends space-time, can perceive them as continually occurring in the eternal present.
The whole of the Seven Elohim, or eyes of God, forms the seal of the Mystical Lamb.
A note, before beginning with a scientific-spiritual explanation of the Bible: the word "God" is considered inadequate to explain the complex process of Creation described in Genesis. Therefore, the original Hebrew word "Elohim" is preferred: this word is the plural of "Eloah" but is used in a singular sense. When the church lost the connection with the source of the spiritual worlds, it changed the name of Elohim to God, denying the reality of these creative entities. Steiner explains that the Elohim (or Exusiai or Powers), are the Spirits of Form, as well as the Seven Planetary Spirits (Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Venus, Mercury, Moon) who are in charge of human evolution during the fourth terrestrial metamorphosis. From the sacrifice of their lower spiritual limb will arise the I of man. Although they are seven, they act in Genesis in unison, creating the Earth and man up to their present condition.
The creation of the Elohim takes place in a sequence of six days. Each of the six days of Creation is clearly not a 24-hour day, but a spiritual entity. In Latin the word "dies" for the day, the part of the day in which light reigns, comes from the same root of "deus" for the deity: the deity is therefore first of all light. In Genesis the entities that correspond to the days are the Eons of which Gnosticism speaks, the emanations of God in the course of time, and in particular those related to the creation of the Earth and man are the Spirits of Time, also known as Archai or Principalities. In the light of the divinity, darkness is contrasted, with which each biblical day concludes with the formula:
And it was evening and it was morning.
Each day of creation (small manvatara) is followed by a small night of creation (small pralaya), where what has been done before is partially dissolved in chaos by the obstructive entities of light. Thus a biblical day is a cosmic period in which two opposing spiritual entities operate, one of light and one of darkness. During the day the regular Archai operate, while during the night the Archai remain behind, balancing the forces of the creative work of the Elohim.
Before the first day of Creation: Polar Era
One can consider the Polar Era as a recapitulation of Ancient Saturn at a higher evolutionary level. It can be considered the mineral stage of human existence on Earth. The Sun, the Moon and the Earth form a single sphere of vital ether that extends to the orbit of the present planet Saturn. There was still no light. From a single initial sphere, mankind differentiated into small spheres of vital ether, which together made up this enormous sphere of the Earth. The state of consciousness is that of trance. Most of life is concentrated at what will be the North Pole of the Earth. In human embryogenesis this stage is recapitulated when the egg cell is fertilized, thus forming the unicellular embryo, the zygote. The biblical reference to this first stage can be read in Genesis 1:1-2 where it is said:
In the beginning Elohim created Heaven and Earth, and the Earth was a desert and vacuous thing, and darkness was over the face of the Abyss, and the Spirit of Elohim moved over the face of the waters.
At the end of the Polar Epoch from the ether of life is differentiated superiorly (as sublimation) the chemical ether or ether of sound on one side and inferiorly (as condensation) the etheric air. At the end of the polar age some higher entities separate, which are not able to proceed with the evolution of the mass constituted by Sun-Moon-Earth, thus forming the masses of the planets Saturn, Uranus and Neptune (Vulcan), which thus solidify. The etheric germs of the future Mineral Kingdom were formed here. In the nomenclature of natural science this period is called Pre-Cambrian.
First day of Creation: Hyperborean Era (first half)
The Hyperborean Era can be considered a recapitulation of the Ancient Sun at a higher level of evolution. It is the plant stage of human evolution on Earth. The Earth, now in a gaseous state, extends to the orbit of the present planet Jupiter. Life is concentrated in a circular belt below what will become the North Pole. In the nomenclature of natural science this period is called Paleozoic. Humanity consisted of a set of etheric eggs connected by umbilical cords, which absorbed the ether diffused on Earth as nourishment. The men reproduced by cleavage forming trees that shared the same soul, in response to the chemical ether they developed hearing and in response to the etheric air, touch. The ego and the astral body of man were still diffused in the ether that filled the cosmos, for this there is still a state of sleep consciousness. Humanity is a unique cosmic man called Adam Kadmon or Adam of Light. On the first day of creation, Genesis 1:3, he is described as
And Elohim said, Let there be light, and light was.
At this point the more evolved spiritual entities of Jupiter and Mars separate.
Second day of Creation: Hyperborean Era (second half)
Towards the middle of the Hyperboreal Epoch the Sun detached itself from the gaseous mass of the Earth, so that the light that previously radiated from within the Earth was now outside it. The Sun in its flight expelled the densest part in the form of the planets Mercury and Venus: the incandescent mass of the Sun became the cosmic abode of six of the seven planetary spirits, the Elohim. Only Jehovah, Eloah of the Moon, makes the sacrifice by remaining united with the Earth-Moon: he thus becomes the guide of humanity until the end of the times described in the Old Testament. The other six Elohim transfer their dwelling place to the Sun, and are governed by the Eloah of the Sun, the Christ in his aspect of Spirit of Form. He will then become the guide of humanity from the Mystery of Golgotha onwards. In the meantime, Mars, having detached itself in the first half of the Hyperborean Era, passed through the Earth and left the iron that went to concentrate within it. In Genesis 1:4-5 it is said:
Elohim saw that light was a good thing and separated light from darkness and called light day and darkness night. And it was evening and it was morning: first day.
So that the Earth began to turn around the Sun and on its axis so as to expose all human organisms to the ether of Light that now radiated from outside. Man takes the form of a chalice, and divides into a vegetative and a germinative part. On the second day of creation, in Genesis 1:6, it is said:
And Elohim said, There is an expanse between the waters, which separates the waters from the waters.
At this point the chemical (or sound) ether sublimates into etheric light, and condenses into etheric liquid in which the etheric germs of the future Plant Kingdom live.
Third Day of Creation: Lemuric Era (first half)
The migration of the spiritual pole on Earth: from the Lemuric Era to the Atlantic and the European Cultural Era to the American one (image of Gennady Bondarev).
The Lemur Era is the recapitulation of the Ancient Moon at a higher evolutionary level. It is the animal stage of human existence on Earth. The Lemur continent is the first solid mass to appear in the otherwise fluid and fiery mass formed by the Earth together with the Moon. In the nomenclature of natural science this period is called Mesozoic. In Genesis 1:9:
Elohim said, "Let the waters beneath the sky gather in one place and the dryness appear." And so it came to pass.
Lemuria occupies what is now the area covered by the Indian and Pacific Oceans. The atmosphere is a thick, gelatinous blanket of fog. Man is a cyclops, endowed with only one eye that can perceive light and darkness, associating positive feelings to light and negative feelings to darkness. In the future he will retreat into the skull like a pineal gland. The body of man becomes on the one hand made up of etheric vapour and on the other of etheric liquid, so that the higher part of the vapour welcomed the fire, the ruach. This man of fire is at this point surrounded more closely by the astral body and the I, which previously hovered in the cosmos: it is a burning cloud that moves in all directions with mobile extensions in the upper part, and a fish-like shape in the lower one (the zodiacal sign of Pisces). It breathes from the watery air through gills connected to a swim bladder. Man's consciousness is that of dreams. Man does not yet possess an individual soul, but it is the Elohim who direct him from outside, through the I that is still linked to them.
Elohim said, "Let the earth produce shoots, grasses that produce seed and fruit trees, that make fruit on the earth with the seed, each according to his own species. And so it came to pass.
In the sea of fire the water element appears, and with it the group souls of the plants are created (Genesis 1:11).
Fourth Day of Creation: The expulsion of the Moon (second half)
The separation of the Sun and the Moon from the Earth.
In the second half of the Lemurian Era the most advanced part of humanity is located in the North of Lemuria, where the solar forces remained more concentrated since the Hyperborean Era. This is the "Garden of Eden" from which depart four main etheric currents, the archetypes of the four main rivers of the following epochs: the Ganges, the Tigris, the Euphrates and the Nile. In the meantime the astral body with its passions is added to the physical and etheric body of man. Subsequently, by further sinking into the etheric liquid, the shape of the fish man becomes similar to that of a serpentiform amphibian (Aquarius zodiac sign): at this point the lemuric man becomes prey to the astral body and lets himself go to the most unbridled passions. The mass of the Moon is the counterbalance of Eden, in which the solar etheric forces succumb to the astral ones. Some men live in the more solid part, others in the more liquid part (the zodiacal sign of Capricorn). Man is at this point like a centaur (zodiac sign of Sagittarius), human in the upper part and animal in the lower part, bisexual. So that to prevent an early stiffening of the Earth, Jehovah extracts the Moon from what is now the Pacific Ocean, along with the more negative astral influences. From that moment Jehovah remains on the Moon as his spirit, keeping Lucifer in check: the visible part of the Moon is under Luciferic influence, the invisible part is penetrated by the solar Elohim who send their influences to Jehovah. He makes the Moon a mirror, so that it reflects the planetary influences of the Spirits of Form on Earth. In the sky the Moon and the Sun are seen for the first time. The original Adam Kadmon, the group soul of humanity, is thus separated into two sexes, under the double influence of the Sun and the Moon (the zodiacal sign of Scorpio). Here in Genesis 1:14-15 we have:
Elohim said, "Let there be sources of light in the firmament of heaven to separate the day from the night; let there be signs for feasts, for days and for years, and let there be sources of light in the firmament of heaven to lighten the earth. And so it happened.
Mars passes through the Earth a second time, leaving iron in human blood, so that it becomes red from colourless: man is now a warm-blooded creature. Fewer and fewer human souls are incarnated, and in the end there is only one couple left with greater animic strength: Adam and Eve (the zodiac sign of Libra). The other souls are incarnated in other planets (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn) which offer more favorable conditions.
Fifth Day of Creation: The Temptation of Lucifer
The expelled Moon thus begins to exert its action of stiffening towards the Earth, and for the first time minerals are formed and the continental masses become solid and the first plants appear. The world becomes physically perceptible even if very different from today's, more plastic and fluid. The heat of the fiery masses dissipates more and more. The man of burning steam becomes a man of water in which the lower part is intended for reproduction and digestion (the zodiacal sign of the Virgin), in the upper part appear arms and hands. The swim bladder is transformed into lungs and air respiration begins. The consciousness of man (microcosm) becomes a reflection of the external world (macrocosm). In Genesis 1:20-21 it is said:
Then Elohim said: Let them produce copiously reptilian waters, let them be living animals, and let the birds fly over the earth, and let them spread out in the sky. And Elohim created the great sea monsters, and all living creatures, that flutter and swarm in the waters, according to their kind, and all winged birds, according to their kind. God saw that it was a good thing.
Thus the group souls of aquatic and aerial animals are created, while the first lower animals in physical form appear. At this point Adam and Eve are expelled from the Garden of Eden because of the temptation of the Serpent Lucifer. Thus free will is given: the Spiritual Hierarchies no longer determine every human behavior, but it is man himself who has the possibility to choose and eventually do evil. Karma and therefore the cycle of reincarnations begins, which will stop only at the end of the future Sixth Post-Atlantic Era (Era of the Seven Seals, described in Apocalypse).
The sequence of incessant incarnations is not infinite. There is a beginning and an end. Once, in the distant past [in the Lemur Age], man had not yet descended into incarnation. So he did not yet know birth and death. He then led a sort of uninterrupted angelic existence, devoid of the profound changes that are so profound that today's conditions are observed through birth and death. But equally surely there will come a time when an I will have accumulated enough experience in the lower worlds to reach a state of consciousness sufficiently mature and clear that it will be able to work in the higher worlds without being forced to incarnate itself again in the lower worlds.
- Rudolf Steiner - GA 108 - Die Beantwortung von Welt - und Lebensfragen durch Anthroposophie - Breslau, December 2, 1908 (page 61).
- Rudolf Steiner - GA 108 - The Answer to World and Life Questions through Anthroposophy - Breslau, December 2, 1908 (page 61).
Further changes take place: they become aware of death. At first the man is dual: in the head he resembles a bird, in the chest a lion and in the belly a bull, the lower part of the body is immersed in water and resembles a serpentiform dragon. As the upper part of the man becomes emancipated from the lower reptilian, so that the man becomes erect for the first time. In fact, the I is now approaching to enter the astral body. The two eyes (Sun and Moon), the heart (due to the effect of the I) and the lungs (due to the refining of the aerial element) are formed. This is the moment in which marine reptiles, dinosaurs and pterosaurs appear on Earth, expelled together with the lower reptilian part of the astral body that had taken on the appearance of the luciferic spirits of temptation. The great reptiles of the Mesozoic derive from the shape of the man of the time as warm-blooded reptiles and from their upright posture. The lower part of man will then act as a vehicle for the Double or Shadow, which in fact has a reptilian form.
Elohim blessed them: "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters of the seas; let the birds multiply on earth.
But the gigantic forms and the terrible appearance of these reptiles of the Mesozoic, and even the ability of the pterosaurs to fly, are under the extreme influence of Lucifer (Genesis 1:22).
Sixth Day of Creation: The Four Living
In Genesis 1:24 it is said:
Elohim said, Let the earth produce living things according to their kind: cattle, reptiles, and wild animals according to their kind. And so it happened. So Elohim made the wild beasts according to their kind, and the cattle according to their kind, and all the creeping things of the earth according to their kind. God saw that it was good.
Some men are under the major influence of the physical body and assume bodies similar to cattle (abdominal animals under the sign of Taurus = Apocalyptic image of the Ox); under the influence of the etheric they become similar to lions (thoracic animals under the sign of Leo = Apocalyptic image of Leo), under the astral influence they become similar to eagles (cephalic animals under the sign of the Eagle-Scorpion = Apocalyptic image of the Eagle). Finally, some men under the balancing influence of the I assume the harmonious form of the Sphinx or Tetramorph (Apocalyptic Image of the Man-Angel), which possesses human head, eagle wings, lion's paws and the trunk of the ox. These are the images of the Chayot, the Four Living, spiritual hierarchies of the chorus of the Cherubim. They preside at four points of the circle of the zodiac, forming a cross at the center of which is the Earth and man. They then reveal themselves in Ezekiel's vision and in the Apocalypse. In this way the group souls of the superior warm-blooded animals (mammals and birds) are created.
Arild Rosenkranz: The Man (1950)
Seventh Day of Creation: The Destruction of Lemuria in Fire
The Earth's crust is now solid, as the mineral component is raining down from the increasingly rarefied atmosphere. The Earth's core is solid, the body of man is now composed of gelatin. On the seventh day of Creation the Elohim evolve to a higher step and are able to create the I, which in the future would be incorporated into the human being. In Genesis 1:27 it is said:
And Elohim therefore created man in his own image, he created him in the image of Elohim, male and female he created them.
The human souls migrated to the other five planets of the solar system, return to Earth as descendants of Adam and Eve. Their descendants will then form the five main human races, according to different planetary influences: the yellow race in the East (Mars), the red race in the West (Saturn), the white race in the North (Jupiter), the black race in the South (Mercury) and the brown race (Venus). Thus was born the lemuric civilization. Already from the luciferic temptation, females are more evolved than males, so much so that civilization is matriarchal: endowed with great clairvoyance, females are able to communicate with animals, plants and minerals whose internal laws they understand. They received communications from the Spiritual Hierarchies that manifested themselves in oracles. A great wisdom of nature is widespread. Indeed, it is said in Genesis 1:29-30:
Elohim said, "Behold, I give you every herb that produces seed and is upon all the earth, and every fruitful tree that produces seed: they shall be your food. To all the wild beasts, and to all the fowl of the air, and to all the creatures that creep upon the earth, and in whom is the breath of life, I give every green herb for nourishment. And so it was.
The man communicated with symbols drawn in the dense air that immediately disappeared. Cain is the lemur that best represents the males of this era: he possesses supernatural strength and magical powers, the element of will prevails. And it is the same will that led Lemuria to destruction: the will was linked to the natural elements, so much so that a mild behavior of the lemurs led to the quiet and the formation of land emerged; while the unbridled passions that dwelt in the astral body led to elementary chaos, causing the magma to emerge from the bowels of the Earth. The killing of Abel testifies to the prevalence of unbridled passions over meekness, therefore Lemuria is submerged in fire.
Only a small part of Lemurian humanity survives, in the northernmost part of the continental masses. This nucleus of civilization will lead to the next spiritual era, that of Atlantis.