[A]  [B]  [C-Ch]  [Ci-Cu]  [D]  [E-El]  [Em-Ey]  [F]  [G]  [H]  [I]  [J-L]  [M-Me]  [Mi-My]  [N-O]  [P-Q]  [R]  [S-Sn]  [So-Sy]  [T-V]  [W-Z]

 - I -

I, ego (spiritual ego) - also see cosmic I; ego; ego consciousness; higher I; highest I; nonphysical bodies; universal I

According to Steiner, drawing from Theosophy, the "I" or "ego" is a formation of spirit forces conveying a spark of divinity, our divine human essence. It is, in a sense, one of our invisible bodies — the fourth component of our current human constitution along with the physical body, etheric body, and astral body. In another sense, the "I" is — or it contains — one's spirit. Possessing an "I" makes one human; when you have an "I", you have an individual spiritual identity.

The "I" conveys the power of human self-transformation. It incarnates (i.e., is born) at about age 21. After it develops adequately, it actuates the knowledge-acquiring faculty of intuition (the third stage toward clairvoyance). One's "I" can be truly perceived only by oneself. You can know that another person has an "I", but you cannot know that person’s "I" as you know your own I. [See "Ego".]

The "I" can be considered one's purest self, the spiritual essence that we may not initially realize we possess. It comes to us from the cosmic "I", the universal "I" of the cosmos. [1] During previous evolutionary phases, divine selfhood transfused the entire created universe. Now, during our current phase of evolution, we work on realizing our individual "I"s, receiving them, as it were, from the cosmic forces of divinity. [2] In an important sense, the "I" is given to each of us by Christ, as the god who has most directly brought divine truth and essence to us. [3] However, the god Thor has also been active in the bestowal of the human "I". [4]

Other beings than ourselves have evolved through a human stage, attaining their own "I"s. [5] They then evolved higher to become superhuman — they became gods. As bearers of "I"s, we too will evolve to superhuman status: We too will become gods. Animals and creatures lower than animals lack "I"s.

The "I" includes lower and higher components. The higher "I” can be understood as the transcendent spiritual identity of an individual or group; it is, in a sense, an inner god or developing divinity. The higher "I" of an individual is, in a sense, an extension of the higher "I" of the group to which the individual belongs. Different groups have different higher "I"s. “Just as the leader of the Sun’s evolution [6] became the higher I that worked in the life body [7] of the descendants of human beings who had remained on Earth, [the] Jupiter leader became the higher I that spread like a common consciousness through the human beings who had their origins in the interbreeding of Earth offspring with humans who first appeared on Earth during the period of the air element and then moved to Jupiter. [8]” — R. Steiner, AN OUTLINE OF ESOTERIC SCIENCE (Anthroposophic Press, 1997), p. 238.

Although one's higher "I" is inherent within oneself, in a truer sense the higher "I" is located in the spirit realm, where it remains during one's Earthly incarnations. In contrast, the lower "I" or "ego" is the identity we feel ourselves to possess when we live on the physical plane. "The higher 'I' remains in the spiritual world during an incarnation on earth ... What we feel as our 'I' during our life on earth is the mirror image, or 'ego', of this higher 'I' ... The more someone identifies with his ego or lower 'I', the more difficult it becomes to gain awareness of the purely spiritual entity of this higher 'I'. [9]" — H. van Oort, ANTHROPOSOPHY A-Z (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2011), p. 58. Becoming too involved with one's lower I can lead to egoism, the self-destructive condition that will produce the War of All Against All. [See "All vs. All".]

We enlarge our individual "I"s by moving outward from them. This is part of the process of spiritual elevation and evolution. We came from the universal spiritual powers, the gods [10], and we will return to reunite with them, but we will do this in altered, more evolved form. We make our own "I"s, and we will remake the universe as we fulfill our "I"s by moving beyond them. The lower or ordinary I is reduced as the higher I is perfected. “Our ethical principles become the guides for [our] soul forces. Through moral judgment, the I becomes the soul’s guide ... If an individual then extracts a higher I from the ordinary one, the original I becomes independent in a certain respect [11], and it loses as much vital strength as is given to the higher I.” — R. Steiner, AN OUTLINE OF ESOTERIC SCIENCE, p. 308.

Anthroposophists also sometimes speak of the highest "I". This is the godly being we can become when the higher "I" is united with the universal "I", which may be considered the Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost. [12] "The being to come was disclosed to Moses from two sources as the highest form of the 'I'." — R. Steiner in THE NEW ESSENTIAL STEINER, p. 107. We move toward attainment of the highest I by following our Prototype, Christ [13] — thereby receiving the Spirit within the enveloping activities of the innumerable gods. We realize our highest potential as we enable the world, indeed the universe — indeed the gods — to find their own ultimate fulfillment in us. "Soul of Man! ... [T]he surging/ Deeds of the World’s Becoming/ Do thine own I/ Unite/ Unto the I of the World ... Soul of Man! ... Practice spirit-vision/ In quietness of Thought,/ Where the eternal aims of Gods/ World-Being’s Light/ On thy own I/ Bestow/ For thy free Willing.” — R. Steiner, quoted by S. Prokofieff in THE FOUNDATION STONE MEDITATION (Temple Lodge Publishing, 2006), pp. 210-211.

[1] See the entries for "cosmic I" and "universal I" in this encyclopedia.
[2] See, e.g., the discussion of this in R. McDermott's THE NEW ESSENTIAL STEINER (Lindisfarne Press, 2009), pp. 163-164.
[3] In Anthroposophy, Christ is the Sun God. [See "Sun God".]
[4] Thor is a Norse god. [See "The Gods".]
[5] See the entry for "human stage of evolution" in this encyclopedia. The gods we call Angels were human during Old Moon (the third incarnation of the solar system), and the gods we call Archangels were human during Old Sun (the second incarnation of the solar system), etc.
[6] I.e., the presiding spirit of the second incarnation of the solar system, called Old Sun. [See "Old Sun".]
[7] I.e., the etheric body. [See "Incarnation".]
[8] Steiner taught that some humans have moved to other planets when conditions on Earth became too difficult for them. Generally, they later returned. [See the entry for "planetary migrations" in this encyclopedia.] Here Steiner says that  the spirit of the leading Jupiter deity became the higher I for human beings who descended from the mating of humans who stayed on Earth and humans who migrated to Jupiter and then returned.
[9] The distinction drawn here between the I and the ego (equating the ego with the lower I) is not always maintained in Anthroposophical texts.
[10] Anthroposophy recognizes a vast panoply of gods. [See "Polytheism".]
[11] I.e., it separates from the human being and becomes an independent spiritual being, as it were. It declines as the human perfects her/his higher I.
[12] See "God" and the entry for "Holy Ghost" in this encyclopedia.
[13] See "Prototype".

I am - see I; I Am the I Am

I Am the I Am - also see I; ego

This statement, made much of in Anthroposophy, is a disputable translation of a self-definition offered by Jehovah in the Bible (see Exodus 3:14). Other translations are "I Am That I Am," "I Am Who I Am," "I Will Be Who I Will Be," etc. [1] Jehovah says that He can be understood only in terms of Himself; He is, incomparably and eternally, what He is: God. [2] In the King James version of the Bible, this passage is rendered as "And God said unto Moses, I Am That I Am: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I Am hath sent me unto you." [3]

In Anthroposophy, each awakened human being is said to share the divine comprehension of unique existence: "I am" is the central intuition of the human soul. While arguably puerile (the recognition of one's existence separate from others usually dawns on children quite early), this recognition may offer solace to individuals afflicted with low self-esteem. In his primary text, Steiner expresses the affirmation of one's unique, valuable existence thus: "I am an I only to myself; to every other being I am a you.” — R. Steiner, OCCULT SCIENCE - AN OUTLINE (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1979), p. 49.

Steiner placed this "insight" near the core of Waldorf education: "The fourth member of a person’s being [4], the power that enables one to say 'I,' makes the human being the crown of creation. This name can only be applied to oneself; it expresses the fact that the soul’s primordial divine spark is what speaks. We share the designations of everything else with others...but not the name [i.e., 'I'] that refers to what is god-like in every individual human soul. That is why in Hebrew esoteric schools it was called the 'inexpressible name of God, Jahve [5],' and 'I Am the I Am.' Even the priest could utter it only with a shudder. The soul ascribes 'I am the I am' to itself." — R. Steiner, THE EDUCATION OF THE CHILD (Anthroposophic Press, 1996), p. 53.

[1] See, e.g.,  THE JEWISH STUDY BIBLE (Oxford University Press, 2004), p. 111.
[2] Steiner generally denied that there is a single, monotheistic God. [See "Polytheism".] He also generally denied that Jehovah is an exalted god. [See "Old Testament".] In the present context, however, Steiner effectively accepted that in the Bible Jehovah is represented as God Almighty.
[4] I.e., the "I", which is possessed in addition to the physical, etheric, and astral bodies. [See "Incarnation".]
[5] I.e., Jehovah.

I-being - see I; I organization

idealism - also see philosophy; world outlooks

According to Steiner: one of the twelve justified or defended world conceptions, which are philosophical standpoints that he located under the influence of the signs of the zodiac. "[T]here may be...persons who speak as follows ... [The] world of material phenomena is in itself devoid of meaning. It has no real meaning unless there is within it a progressive tendency ... [T]here must be a realm of ideas and ideals within the world-process ... [T]heir view is that life has meaning only if ideas work through it and give it purpose ... The adherents of such a world-outlook as this, which takes everything as a vehicle for the ideas that permeate the world-process, may be called Idealists and their outlook: Idealism." — R. Steiner, HUMAN AND COSMIC THOUGHT (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1991), pp. 31-32. Steiner associated idealism with Aries. 
[See "Philosophy".]

ideal magic - also see Anthroposophy; magic; white magic; cf. black magic

According to Steiner: entering the spiritual world through the use of Anthroposophy. "What I mean by ideal magic is the following: when someone looks back over life with ordinary consciousness, one will see how, from year to year and from decade to decade, one has changed in a certain sense. Such a person would see that habits have changed, however slowly. One gains certain capacities while others disappear. If one looks honestly at the capacities that exist during earthly life, one would have to say that, over time, one becomes someone else. Life causes that to happen. We are completely devoted to life and life educates us, trains us and forms the soul. [paragraph break] 
If, however, people want to enter the spiritual world — in other words, want to attain ideal magic — they must not only intensify inner thinking [1] so that they recognize a second level of existence, as I previously described, but they must also free their will from its connection to the physical body. [2] Ordinarily, we can activate the will only by using the physical body — the legs, arms, or the organs of speech. The physical body is the basis for our will. [3] However, we can do the following: as spiritual researchers [4] we must carry out exercises of the will in a very systematic way to achieve ideal magic along with exact clairvoyance. [5] Such a person must, for example, develop the will so strongly that, at a particular point in life, one recognizes that a specific habit must be broken and replaced with another in the soul." — R. Steiner, WALDORF EDUCATION AND ANTHROPOSOPHY, Vol. 2 (Anthroposophic Press, 1995), pp. 18-19. [See, e.g., "The Waldorf Teacher’s Consciousness

When you exercise ideal magic, you assist the forces of light, especially the Archangel Michael, Steiner said. Ideal magic is white magic. "[T]his is true 'ideal magic'. It is the true 'white magic' as it was called in olden times, and into it mankind is now about to enter." — R. Steiner, MAN'S LIFE ON EARTH AND IN THE SPIRITUAL WORLDS (Health Research, 1960), lecture 6, GA 218.

[1] I.e., they must cultivate clairvoyant powers.
[3] See "Will".
[4] I.e., Anthroposophists.
[5] See "Exactly".
[6] See "Magic".

illness - see disease; cf. health

illusion - see maya

imagination - also see clairvoyance; imaginations; initiation; inspiration; intuition; Jupiter consciousness; Third Hierarchy; cf. thinking

According to Steiner, this is the first level of non-rational spiritual insight; higher stages are inspiration and intuition. In Waldorf education, imagination is a precursor to, or proxy for, clairvoyance. The faculty of imagination, Anthroposophists believe, enables one to form true mental pictures containing, at least in incipient form, spiritual truth. (Inspiration enables one to highlight and accentuate the spiritual content of such images, while stripping out irrelevant mundane elements. Intuition enables one to fully grasp the spiritual content, guided by the mediating gods.) In stressing imagination, Waldorf teachers may not — usually — think they are evoking clairvoyant powers in their students, but they typically believe they are leading the students in a direction that may lead to the development of clairvoyance. In its heightened, disciplined form, imagination as practiced by Anthroposophists is deemed the first stage of exact clairvoyance. [1] Heightened inspiration and intuition are the second and third stages. 

A basic Anthroposophical belief is that in past lives, all human beings had atavistic, instinctive forms of clairvoyance allowing them to directly perceive the spiritual beings that throng the universe. Today we live in a period when almost no one has the old forms of clairvoyance, but by following Steiner's directions we can develop new forms, and in the future we will rise to higher and higher forms of clairvoyance. “Essentially, people today have no inkling of how people looked out into the universe in ancient times when human beings still possessed an instinctive clairvoyance.... If we want to be fully human, however, we must struggle to regain a view of the cosmos that moves toward Imagination again.” — R. Steiner, ART AS SPIRITUAL ACTIVITY (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 256. Note that the words “clairvoyance” and “imagination” are essentially synonymous in such usage. When Waldorf schools proclaim their interest in imagination, this is what they mean (although they usually do not say so openly). [See "Thinking Cap", "Steiner's 'Science'", and "Secrets".] In Waldorf belief, humanity as a whole will attain heightened powers of imagination when we evolve to the Jupiter stage of evolution: Future Jupiter. [2] Members of Waldorf faculties often believe that they are clairvoyant now, and Steiner said that they should attain clairvoyance whenever possible. [See "The Waldorf Teacher’s Consciousness".] 

According to Waldorf belief, imagination — the making of pictures infused with feeling — is deemed the path to truth. "[I]n anthroposophy imagination is a capacity for true perception. Clairvoyant imaginative perception may occur without direct understanding. [But] after undergoing spiritual training, imaginations [3] can reveal their significance." — H. van Oort, ANTHROPOSOPHY A-Z (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2011), p. 59. This is the purpose of the instruction Steiner gives in his book HOW TO KNOW HIGHER WORLDS — the development of trained, "exact" clairvoyance. It is the essence of "spiritual science" or Anthroposophy. [See "Exactly" and "Knowing the Worlds".]

In Waldorf belief, children in the second seven-year-long period of life dwell mainly in their feelings, and they approach the world largely through imagination — the making of heartfelt pictures. "The child [between ages seven and 14] lives in feelings, and these now become the child’s primary way of knowing the world — through the feeling, pictorial, rich image-making capacities that the rhythmic, feeling life makes possible [4] ... Steiner explicitly identified these years when the imagination emerges as central between the child’s change of teeth and puberty [5] ... [The change of teeth] is, Steiner said, a signal that the child’s forces, previously involved in physical growth, now become available in a new way for imaginative thinking, and, therefore, need to be nourished and cultivated imaginatively." — D. Sloan, foreword to THE CHILD'S CHANGING CONSCIOUSNESS (Anthroposophic Press, 1996), pp. xiv-xv.

The development of clairvoyance is, according to Anthroposophical belief, basic to the process of occult initiation. The cultivation of imagination can be considered the first stage of occult initiation, and it connects the initiate to the gods of the third or lowest grouping of gods, the Third Hierarchy. "Imagination [is] the first stage of initiation ... The observer of an imagination [i.e., one who has a true imaginative vision] is in touch with the sphere of action of the third hierarchy." — H. van Oort, ANTHROPOSOPHY A-Z, p. 59. Cultivation of inspiration is the second stage of occult initiation, and cultivation of intuition is the third stage.


[SteinerBooks, 2009.]

In Anthroposophical doctrine, "higher knowledge" is clairvoyance. Imagination, inspiration, and intuition are precursors to, or actual stages of, clairvoyance; imagination comes first, then inspiration, and finally intuition. According to Steiner, we will perfect imagination during Future Jupiter, inspiration during Future Venus, and intuition during Future Vulcan. Clairvoyant imagination may be considered the psychic formation of true mental images, clairvoyant inspiration as the comprehension of such images, and clairvoyant intuition as the immediate, unmediated possession of transcendent truth.

[2] See "Future Stages".
[3] I.e., pictures created through clairvoyant imagination.
[4] See the entries for "rhythm" and "feelings" in this encyclopedia. Waldorf education is meant to be rhythmical and deeply felt, in large part because this approach is thought to lead to the development of clairvoyance imaginative powers generally.
[5] See the entry for "teeth" in this encyclopedia.

imaginations - also see clairvoyance; imagination; pictorial activity

According to Steiner: true mental pictures created by imagination; pictorial thinking. These products of imaginative thinking are far more reliable, Steiner said, than the products of rational thought or intellect. [See, e.g., "The Waldorf Teacher's Consciousness".] On occasion, Steiner indicated that "imaginations" arising from the elemental world are experienced by the etheric body: "[I]maginations are perpetually ebbing and flowing in us. Though we are unaware of it, we constantly receive impressions from the elemental world. [1] Just as when we open our eyes or lend our ears to the outer world [2] we have sensations of colour and light, perceptions of sound, so do we receive continual impressions from the elemental world, giving rise to imaginations — in this case, in our etheric body. [3] Imaginations differ from ordinary thought in this respect. In ordinary, every-day human thoughts, only the head is concerned as an instrument of conscious assimilation and experience. [4] In our imaginations, on the other hand, we partake with almost the whole of our organism — albeit, it is our etheric organism. [4] In our etheric organism they are constantly taking place — we may refer to them as unconscious imaginations, since it is only for an occultly trained cognition [6] that they rise into consciousness. Moreover, though they do not enter our consciousness directly in every-day life, they are by no means without significance for us. No, for our life as a whole they are far more important than our sense-perceptions, for we are united far more intensely and intimately with our imaginations than with our sense-perceptions." — R. Steiner, "On the Connection of the Living and the Dead" (General Anthroposophical Society; lecture delivered in 1916), GA 168.

[1] Steiner's use of the terms "elemental world" and "elementary world" shifted from statement to statement. [See the entries for these terms in this encyclopedia.] Here, in referring to the "elemental world," he is evidently referring to the basic spiritual level of reality underlying the physical world. He says that our ordinary senses provide information about the physical world, while "imaginations" come to us from an elemental level of reality not reached by our ordinary senses.

[2] I.e., the reality accessible to our ordinary senses.

[3] The etheric body is the lowest of three invisible bodies possessed by fully incarnated humans. [See "Incarnation".]

[4] Steiner generally denied that the head and brain produce thoughts; rather, they receive them. [See "Thinking".] Note that here he says the head is an instrument of "assimilation."

[5] I.e., the entire etheric body is involved, not just the etheric head.

[6] I.e., disciplined clairvoyance. [See "Exactly".]

imitation - also see authority; childhood

According to Waldorf doctrine: the behavior considered natural and proper for children during their first seven years (before the etheric body incarnates). Young children want to imitate their elders; Waldorf teachers therefore endeavor to be unimpeachable models for their students to imitate. (Because these teachers are often Anthroposophists, children are thus trained to pattern themselves on Anthroposophy made manifest.) "Imitation — essential activity during the first seven-year period of human life ... Educators are real examples in every way." — H. van Oort, ANTHROPOSOPHY A-Z (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2011), p. 59.

Some critics of Waldorf education point to the emphasis on imitation as a significant flaw in such education: Students of all ages copy from their teachers and others without developing true originality or independence of thought (although these are given lip service by Waldorf proponents). Some Waldorf insiders agree with this critique. “Copying is the curse of the Waldorf Schools. There is altogether too much of it, and it is not confined to the elementary school. In high school, where there is much less excuse for it, it still goes on." — K. Francis, THE EDUCATION OF A WALDORF TEACHER (iUniverse, 2004), p. 132.

Students often emerge from Waldorf schools thinking very differently from graduates of other types of schools. This generally does not indicate that the Waldorf graduates have learned to think for themselves, however — it more often indicates that they have been indoctrinated in the Anthroposophical perspective. [See "Indoctrination."]

immorality - see evil; sin; cf. morality

incarnating exercises - also see astral body; ego body; etheric body; eurythmy; I; incarnation; rhythm; soul; spirit; spirit-soul

In Anthroposophical belief, childhood is a time when four bodies — the physical, etheric, astral, and ego bodies — incarnate. "Incarnating exercises" are meant to aid this process; they may particularly aim to bring a child's soul and spirit into fully incarnation in the physical body. A widely used Waldorf teachers' manual indicates that each day at a Waldorf school should begin with such exercises, which may be quite simple physical or mental activities. The immediate goal is to center the children, bringing them down to earth so that they are physically and mentally present — as fully incarnated as they can be. Hence, they are made ready to begin their schoolwork. "The incarnating exercise would be very short, a clapping sequence, rhythm — later on a short concentration exercise to help overcome the fatigue of a car journey to school and to help the children to be fully present." — K. Avison, A HANDBOOK FOR WALDORF CLASS TEACHERS (Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship, 2011), p. 38. Eurythmic exercises [1] may be given special emphasis. "Working with rhythm in eurythmy...helps the child fully and properly incarnate into his physical body. The ability to move gracefully and with a good sense of rhythm indicates that there is a resonance between the soul-spiritual being of the child and the physical body." — "Eurythmy: Expressive Art in Motion", Bayou Village School, Jan. 13, 2015.

[1] See the entry in this encyclopedia for "eurythmy". 

incarnation - also see astral body; birth; etheric body; "I"; incarnations of the solar system; reincarnation; seven-year stages

In Waldorf belief: the gradual process of being born in the physical world. It takes many years, since our various invisible bodies and other components develop at different periods. We incarnate and excarnate (die) many times, through the process of reincarnation. Other beings and even planets undergo a similar process. 

According to Steiner, humans began incarnating/reincarnating only after the Sun and Moon separated from the Earth; this is when humans first became physical beings as we understand this term. "The different incarnations of the human individuality are a kind of swinging of the pendulum to and fro until the rhythm is brought to rest and the higher part of man has found in the physical a fitting expression, a suitable instrument. Approximately ever since human beings have reincarnated, the position of sun, moon and earth has existed as it is now ... Earlier than this, before there was reincarnation, sun, moon and earth were not yet separated as now [1] ... When out of the primal fire-vapour sun, moon and earth came into existence as separate bodies, man also began to incarnate. [2] When human incarnations will have come to an end, the sun also will be re-united with the earth. [3] On the large scale as in the single details, one must bear in mind these relationships of man to the universe.” — R. Steiner, FOUNDATIONS OF ESOTERICISM (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1982), lecture 8, GA 93a.

The Waldorf curriculum is keyed to the incarnation of the students' invisible bodies. The etheric body is thought to incarnate around age seven, the astral body at about age 14, and the "I" at about age 21. [4] These three incarnations, added to the birth of the physical body, mean that — in Waldorf belief — a child is born four times. [See "Incarnation". For more on the significance accorded the incarnating, invisible bodies in Waldorf education, see, e.g., "Methods".] 

[1] I.e., they were still united as a single cosmic body.

[2] I.e., when Sun, Moon, and Earth became separate physical orbs, humans began the process of being born on the physical plane.

[3] I.e., Sun and Earth will merge again as a single cosmic body.

[4] See "Incarnation"; also see the entries in this encyclopedia for "etheric body", "astral body", and "I".

incarnations of the solar system - also see conditions of consciousness; divine cosmic plan; evolution of consciousness; incarnation; planetary conditions

• Conditions of Consciousness

or Planetary Stages:

Incarnations of the Solar System •

 ◊ 1. Old Saturn ◊                    ◊ 7. Future Vulcan ◊ 

 ◊ 2. Old Sun ◊                  ◊ 6. Future Venus ◊ 

 ◊ 3. Old Moon ◊     ◊ 5. Future Jupiter ◊ 

 ◊ 4. Present Earth ◊ .....

These are the seven major evolutionary stages through which we will pass, Steiner said.
During each of these stages, the entire solar system incarnates in a unique form, different from the others.
Because of their somewhat misleading names, the stages are sometimes called "planetary stages."
Also, because we rise to a new, higher level of consciousness during each stage,
the stages are sometimes called "conditions of consciousness."

According to Anthroposophical teachings, our evolution toward supreme spirituality will pass through seven major stages. (Steiner sometimes said there will be additional stages beyond these, but he said they cannot be described.) They are often referred to as conditions of consciousness or planetary conditions. [1] They bear designations related to various celestial orbs in the solar system. The first major stage, for instance, is usually referred to as Old Saturn or simply as Saturn, for short. [2]

Such terminology can give rise to various misconceptions. Old Saturn (or "Saturn"), for instance, was not the planet Saturn that we see in the sky today; nor was it the planet Saturn in some earlier stage of its own evolution. Rather, Old Saturn was the first incarnation of the entire solar system. Prior to Old Saturn, the solar system did not exist at all. The entire solar system, including all its components, then incarnated for the first time. The powers of Saturn — of the god(s) of Saturn — were then paramount throughout the entire solar system, hence the name. But none of the planets as we know them today existed then; indeed, generally they did not exist as separate entities; everything in that first incarnation of the solar system existed in a unique form that differed markedly from the forms found in later incarnations of the solar system.

The potential for confusion is compounded by some of the descriptions Steiner gave (drawing chiefly from Theosophy). Thus, for instance, he spoke of our lives "on" Saturn, "on" the Sun, and so forth. This may reinforce the false interpretation that Old Saturn, Old Sun, etc., were orbs that evolved within a more or less unchanging solar environment, and that we evolved by living first "on" Saturn, then living "on" the Sun, and so on. But in fact, Steiner taught that the entire solar system evolved, changing its form(s) thoroughly, and our own evolution has occurred during (not on) the phases called Old Saturn, etc.

The most instructive descriptor for the major stages of evolution is, generally, "conditions of consciousness," since the purpose of the solar system's existence and evolution has been to bring us into existence and foster our evolving spiritual consciousness. The entire solar system as evolved with us, incarnating and reincarnating in various forms that have supported us as we evolved toward the fulfillment of the divine plan for our apotheosis. [3]

[1] See the entries for "conditions of consciousness", "planetary conditions", and "historical narrative" in this encyclopedia.
[2] See "Old Saturn".
[3] For more on all this, see, e.g., "Stages", "Matters of Form," "Old Sun", "Old Moon, Etc.", "Present Earth", and "Future Stages".

incorporation - also see demonic possession; double; incarnation; possession

In Anthroposophy, generally, this is incarnation. But also, in Anthroposophy, it can be possession by a spirit that takes over one's body. "[A] spiritual being can invade a human being to such an extent that the 'I' of that human being [1] is pushed aside. This spiritual being uses the human body for its own ends."  — H. van Oort, ANTHROPOSOPHY A-Z (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2011), p. 60. Spirits — either evil or beneficent — can incorporate only in bodies that are suitable to their purposes, Steiner taught. A human being whose body has been possessed by a demon ceases to be human. Steiner instructed Waldorf teachers not to reveal that, in their belief system, some people are not considered to be real human beings. They are "possessed" by an invasive spirit. “Quite a number of people...are human forms filled with a sort of natural demon ... [T]hey are human beings only in regard to their form [2] ... I do not like to talk about such things since we have often been attacked even without them. Imagine what people would say if they heard that we say there are people who are not human beings ... [W]e do not want to shout that to the world.” — R. Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER  (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), pp. 649-650.

[1] The "I" is our divine individual identity, our humanity. [See "Ego".]
[2] See the entry for "possession" in this encyclopedia.

Indian Age - also see ages; cultural epochs; Post-Atlantean Epoch

In Anthroposophic belief: the first cultural epoch during our current great epoch, the Post-Atlantean Epoch. [1] The Indian Age ran from about 7230 to about 5070 BCE. [2] "Consciousness was then dominated by the loss of the full Atlantean clairvoyance [3] ... [People then were] enveloped in an etheric aura [4] which they beheld inwardly, and like young children beheld in ensouled pictures [5] the thoughts inspired within them by the gods [6] ... All this was prepared under the constellation of Cancer, the Crab [7] ... [W]hat the Polarean epoch lived through became for them knowledge. [8] Only the Holy Rishis [9]...were still able to speak of the Atlantean wisdom. [10]" — R. Seddon, THE FUTURE OF HUMANITY AND THE EARTH AS FORETOLD BY RUDOLF STEINER (Temple Lodge Publishing, 2002), p. 13.



 ◊ 1. Indian Age ◊                                   ....  ◊ 7. American Age ◊ 

 ◊ 2. Persian Age ◊                                  ◊ 6. Russian Age ◊ 

 ◊ 3. Egypto-Chalean Age ◊   ◊ 5. Anglo-Germanic Age ◊ 

 ◊ 4. Greco-Roman Age ◊ 
According to Anthroposophical belief, we are evolving through a long, complex series of stages. Within our current great epoch (the Post-Atlantean Epoch, the period following the destruction of Atlantis), we are evolving through s series of seven ages or cultural epochs. The first was the Indian Age. We currently live in the Anglo-Germanic Age.

[1] See the entries for these various terms in this encyclopedia. 
[2] The Indians were the ancient inhabitants of India, not aboriginal Americans.
[3] I.e., people on Atlantis had a natural, instinctive clairvoyance. This was lost after Atlantis was destroyed.
[4] See "Auras".
[5] I.e., "imaginations." [See the entry for "imaginations," above.] Steiner is describing the childlike but perceptive consciousness of people during the Indian Age.
[6] These are "living thoughts." [See "Thinking".]
[7] Belief in astrology is basic to Anthroposophy. [See "Astrology"]
[8] I.e., they recapitulated the Polarian period and received its wisdom. The Polarian Epoch was the first great epoch of Present Earth. [See "Early Earth".]
[9] Occult initiates on the Indian Age: Hindu saints. 
[10] I.e., only they still preserved the wisdom of Atlantis.

indoctrination - also see brainwashing; spiritualistic agenda; Waldorf education: goals

Rudolf Steiner often said (largely for public consumption) that Waldorf schools do not teach Anthroposophy to the students, and Waldorf representatives today often say the same. On many other occasions, however, Steiner made clear that Waldorf schools exist to spread Anthroposophy, and he indicated that Anthroposophical beliefs and/or attitudes are conveyed to Waldorf students. Thus, for instance, addressing Waldorf teachers, he said, "Anthroposophy will be in the school." — R. Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 495. On another occasion, correcting a Waldorf teacher, he said, "The problem you have is that you have not always followed the directive to bring what you know anthroposophically into a form you can present to little children. You have lectured the children about anthroposophy when you told them about your subject. You did not transform anthroposophy into a child's level." — R. Steiner, ibid., pp. 402-403. Note that Steiner did not say that the teacher had erred in presenting Anthroposophy in class; he said that the teacher had not presented Anthroposophy in a form the students could grasp. [See "Here's the Answer".]

Often the Waldorf process of Anthroposophical indoctrination occurs covertly and by indirection, in which it may be likened to brainwashing. The process is generally most intense in schools where the faculty is broadly and deeply devoted to Anthroposophy, but it is likely to occur in any school that can correctly be called a Waldorf school, even if many of the faculty members there have only a slight acquaintance with Anthroposophical doctrine. The presence of only one or two committed Anthroposophists in the school is often sufficient to determine the school's ultimate direction. [See, e.g., "Indoctrination" and "Sneaking It In".]

initiate, initiation

 - also see gnosis; mystery knowledge; occult; secrecy

An initiate is one who has attained entry into an inner circle, especially a circle possessing secret knowledge. Initiation is an important process in Anthroposophy; it might more properly be termed "occult initiation," since it promises access to occult wisdom, especially occult wisdom pertaining to spiritual matters. Steiner taught that all great spiritual teachers (i.e., the ones whose views he endorsed to some degree) have been initiates. [See, e.g., "Inside Scoop" and "Gnosis".] “The great mythological figures lead us back to the experiences of those who were Initiates in the ancient Mysteries. [1] It is not easy for our present consciousness to form a true conception of these ancient Mysteries and their Initiates ... Although modern scholarship knows little of the Mysteries [2], they are nevertheless still in existence to-day and are the means whereby man can be led consciously to the spiritual worlds. — And the whole content of Spiritual Science [3], everything that is communicated in Spiritual Science, is, in its essence, Mystery-wisdom. [4] The man who so trains his soul that he can perceive in higher worlds [5], is an Initiate.” — R. Steiner, “The European Mysteries and Their Initiates”, ANTHROPOSOPHY: A Quarterly Review of Spiritual Science, Vol. 4, No. 3 (Anthroposophical Publishing Co., 1929), GA 57.

Attaining initiation usually entails passing through three stages, Steiner said. They are "preparation...enlightenment [and] initiation. It is not altogether necessary that the first of these three stages [6] should be completed before the second [7] can be begun, nor that the second, in turn, be completed before the third be started. In certain respects it is possible to partake of enlightenment, and even of initiation, and in other respects still be in the preparatory stage ... [Through certain exercises] the organs of clairvoyance are formed [8] ... The organs thus formed are spiritual eyes. The student gradually learns, by their means, to see something like soul and spirit colors. [9]” — R. Steiner, KNOWLEDGE OF THE HIGHER WORLDS AND ITS ATTAINMENT (Anthroposophic Press, 1947), chapter 2, GA 10.

The process of "doing" Anthroposophy — that is, performing the spiritual exercises specified by Steiner, and/or using clairvoyance in a disciplined manner — is aimed at initiation. [10] The book laying out many of Steiner's prescriptions HOW TO KNOW HIGHER WORLDS, has the subtitle "A Modern Path of Initiation". [See "Knowing the Worlds".] During meetings of the "college of teachers," Waldorf faculty members often discuss and study Steiner's directives for attaining initiation. 

[1] I.e., initiates who possessed knowledge that unlocks spiritual mysteries.
[2] "Mysteries," as discussed by Steiner, are not simply secret subjects; they are actual living spirits who possess significant powers. When they become known to humans, they energize and steer human evolution.
[3] "Spiritual science," as discussed by Steiner, is essentially the body of his own teachings: Anthroposophy.
[4] I.e., possession of the truth contained in spiritual mysteries.
[5] I.e., the man who can peer knowingly into the higher worlds. [See "Knowing the Worlds".]
[6] The preparatory stage is often called "probation." [See the entry in this encyclopedia for "probation".]
[7] See the entry in this encyclopedia for "enlightenment".
[8] According to Steiner, the initiate develops incorporeal organs that enable her/him to become clairvoyant. The physical eye sees in the normal way. The "spiritual eye" — an organ of clairvoyance — sees spiritually, via clairvoyance. [See "Inside Scoop" and "Knowing the Worlds".]
[9] I.e., having become clairvoyant, the initiate can see auras and other supersensible realities (lying beyond the reach or our ordinary senses). Steiner described the spirit realm as consisting of (spiritual) colors, tones, and essences, as opposed to distinct forms and lines.
[10] For more on "doing" Anthroposophy (i.e., practicing it, using it), see, e.g., "Serving the Gods" and "JvH".

inner logic of Anthroposophy - see design

inner men - also see composite beings; human constitution

Steiner gave varying accounts of the human constitution and its parts. Perhaps his most startling assertion in this regard was his claim that the outer human being consists of many tiny, inner human beings. We are, then, compound beings. ◊ "In our ears we actually carry with us a tiny human being, for the human being has feeling, will and understanding. We are made up of lots of tiny human beings." — R. Steiner, BLACKBOARD DRAWINGS 1919-1924 (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2003), p. 75. Steiner sometimes said that we have three inner men: ◊ "[M]an consists of three members — the nerve-senses man, that is, all that sustains man in the activity of his mind and spirit; the rhythmic man, which contains the whole rhythm of breathing, the circulation of the blood and so on; and the metabolic-limb man, in which is to be found everything that is metamorphosed by means of the different substances." — R. Steiner, THE KINGDOM OF CHILDHOOD (Anthroposophic Press/Rudolf Steiner Press, 1982), lecture 7, GA 311. On other occasions, however, he referred to other inner men. [See "What We're Made Of".] In tackling such teachings, it is important to remember that Steiner sometimes spoke imagistically (creating verbal pictures of things that cannot really be pictured), but he almost never spoke metaphorically — he meant most of his statements to be taken literally. 

inner organs - see planetary organs

inoculation - also see vaccination; medicine

Steiner warned his followers to be cautious about accepting or administering inoculations. He said that inoculations can interfere with karma — a person's karma may require her/him to suffer a particular disease. An inoculation that prevented one from contracting the needed disease would thus hinder one's karma. Steiner also said that black magicians and materialistic scientists will create vaccines that will attack human spirituality. "[T]hese inoculations will influence the human body in a way that will make it refuse to give a home to the spiritual inclinations of the soul.” — R. Steiner, SECRET BROTHERHOODS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2004), p. 91. [See “Steiner’s Quackery”.] Steiner's followers do not absolutely reject all forms on inoculation or vaccination, but they are generally averse to them. This aversion often prevails in Waldorf schools, where large percentages of the students and faculty may be unprotected against diseases that inoculation could help prevent.

inspiration - also see clairvoyance; Future Venus; imagination; imaginations; initiation; intuition; Second Hierarchy; Venus consciousness

According to Steiner, this is the second level of non-rational spiritual insight; a precursor or subcategory of clairvoyance. Anthroposophists believe that inspiration falls between imagination (the first level of non-rational spiritual insight) and intuition (the third level). The faculty of imagination, Anthroposophists believe, enables one to form true mental pictures containing, at least in incipient form, spiritual truth. Inspiration enables one to highlight and accentuate the spiritual content of such images, while stripping out irrelevant mundane elements. Intuition enables one to fully grasp spiritual content or meaning, guided by the mediating gods. In its ordinary form, Steiner taught, inspiration moves the heart and directs the soul, leading us in the direction of clairvoyance. In its heightened form, as practiced by Anthroposophists, inspiration is considered to be a functional form of clairvoyance, falling between heightened imagination (the first level of clairvoyance) and heightened intuition (the third level of clairvoyance).

According to Steiner, all humans will possess heightened inspiration — "Venus consciousness" — when we reach the Future Venus [1] stage of evolution. ◊ "When, after a period of rest (Pralaya), earth has changed into Jupiter [2]...then the four preceding conditions — Saturn, Sun, Moon, and earth condition — must again be repeated [3] ... [O]nly during the fifth cycle of Jupiter does man attain...the real Jupiter consciousness. [4] In a corresponding manner does the 'Venus consciousness' appear during the sixth cycle of Venus. [5]" — R. Steiner, COSMIC MEMORY (Rudolf Steiner Publications, 1959), chapter 13, GA 11. ◊ Venus consciousness “will unite the present day-consciousness [6], the psychic-consciousness known only to the initiate [7], and in addition all that man sleeps away today. [8]” — R. Steiner, THEOSOPHY OF THE ROSICRUCIAN (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1966), lecture 8, GA 99.

The development of clairvoyance is, according to Anthroposophical belief, basic to the process of occult initiation. The cultivation of inspiration can be considered the second stage of occult initiation, and it connects the initiate to the gods of the second or middle grouping of gods, the Second Hierarchy. "Inspiration [is the] second stage of initiation ... The initiate at this stage can perceive the living flux from which imaginations [i.e., true imaginative/clairvoyant visions] come into being  ... At this level, the initiate is in touch with the sphere of the second hierarchy." — H. van Oort, ANTHROPOSOPHY A-Z  (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2011), p. 61. Cultivation of imagination is the first stage of occult initiation, and cultivation of intuition is the third stage.


  Intuition : : Vulcan Consciousness  
  Inspiration : : Venus Consciousness  
  Imagination  : :  Jupiter Consciousness   

Steiner taught that, generally, there are three levels of "higher knowledge": imagination (the first level), inspiration (the second), and intuition (the third). Rising from one level to the next brings us closer to the goal of precise, "exact" clairvoyance. [9] In preliminary form (not yet deemed real clairvoyance), such types of thought are stressed in Waldorf schools. At a higher form, as practiced by initiated Anthroposophists, the three stages are deemed genuine levels of clairvoyance. In perfected form, the three stages will be attained by all human beings who evolve to the coming "conditions of consciousness" [10]: Future Jupiter, then Future Venus, and later still Future Vulcan.

[1] See "Future Stages" and the entry for "Future Venus" in this encyclopedia. Also see the entry for "Venus consciousness".
[2] I.e., when Present Earth, the fourth incarnation of the solar system, gives way to Future Jupiter, the fifth. [See "Future Stages".] Between the fourth and fifth incarnations, the solar system will drop out of existence and a pause or rest period ("pralaya") will occur. (Such pauses occur often during the overall evolution of the solar system.)
[3] I.e., during Future Jupiter, the four preceding incarnations of the solar system (Old Saturn, Old Sun, Old Moon, and Present Earth) will be recapitulated.
[4] Each incarnation of the solar system consists of numerous phases or cycles. Here Steiner says that after the first four phases of Future Jupiter (that is, after the recapitulations of the former four incarnations of the solar system), we will attain "Jupiter consciousness" (imagination) during the fifth phase of Future Jupiter. [See the entry in this encyclopedia for "Jupiter Consciousness".]
[5] I.e., during the sixth phase of the sixth incarnation of the solar system, Future Venus, we will attain "Venus consciousness" (inspiration).
[6] I.e., the consciousness we now have when awake.
[7] Essentially "Jupiter consciousness," exact clairvoyance. [See "Exactly".]
[8] Essentially dream consciousness. [See "Dreams".]
[9] See "Exactly" and "The Waldorf Teacher's Consciousness". Also see the entry for "exact clairvoyance" in this encyclopedia.
[10] See the entry in this encyclopedia for "conditions of consciousness". Essentially, these are the types of consciousness we attain during the successive major stages of evolution, the successive incarnations of the solar system, also called "plenary conditions": Old Saturn, Old Sun, Old Moon, Present Earth, Future Jupiter, Future Venus, Future Vulcan.

instinct - also see animals; physical body; will

According to Waldorf belief, instinct is an aspect of will originating in the physical body. It arises from that portion of us closest to animals; animals are, in a sense, manifestations of different instincts. "We can only study instinct when we see it in relation to the form of the physical body. If we study the entire animal world and how it spreads itself before us, everywhere we will find a guide for the study of the various kinds of instinct in the physical forms of animals. If we wish to study the will [1], we must seek it first in the realm of instinct, and we must be conscious that we will find instinct in the various animal forms. [2] If we were to look at and sketch the major forms of individual animals, we would be able to sketch the different areas of instinct. The physical bodies of different animals form a picture of what exists as instinct in the will." — R. Steiner, THE FOUNDATIONS OF HUMAN EXPERIENCE (Anthroposophic Press, 1996), p. 83.

[1] See "Will".
[2] Steiner taught that most animals branched off from the human evolutionary line. Each animal is, typically, a form of being that was unable to evolve beyond a particular stage. Each animal thus typically embodies the characteristics of that stage of evolution, including the form of will and instinct extant then. Humans, able to keep evolving, rose to these various stages, ejected the beings that could not go higher, and then evolved to higher levels. [See "Neutered Nature" and "Evolution, Anyone?"]

intellect - also see brain; critical thought; freedom; intellectual soul; Intellectual Stage of Form; materialism; rationalism; science; spider beings; thinking; cf. clairvoyance; imagination; inspiration; intuition; living thoughts

Rudolf Steiner was an intellectual, and his work is intellectually charged. Yet he viewed intellect askance. He said that as we evolved, humans needed to develop the capacity to reason, to make choices — this creates the possibility of freedom. [1] Having evolved from lower forms of consciousness (more primitive but also closer to spiritual truth [2]), we now live in a materialistic age in which we have become intellectual, and we will carry our intellectual powers with us as we evolve to still higher forms of consciousness. Because we passed through an intellectual stage, we will be more fully conscious as we move higher. But intellect, in and of itself, does not yield truth, Steiner taught. He said that intellect was originally a gift to humanity from Lucifer (the light bringer [3]), but the light of intellect carries terrible dangers. Under the sway of Ahriman [4], intellect is destructive — it produces only dead thoughts (the antithesis of living thoughts [5]). Intellect is the form of thought involved in materialism and natural science — it is the form of thought that characterizes our benighted, materialistic age. In the future, we will heed intellect less and less as we become more and more spiritual and clairvoyant.

The degree to which Steiner repudiated intellect varied from occasion to occasion. In some instances, he dismissed it almost totally. 

“The intellect destroys or hinders.”  — R. Steiner, WALDORF EDUCATION AND ANTHROPOSOPHY, Vol. 1 (Anthroposophic Press, 1996), p. 233. This is a categorical condemnation of intellect.

Waldorf schools seek to suppress the development of intellect in the early grades, and they aim to develop intellect in upper grades only as a mental capability that should remain subordinate to “higher” forms of thought (imagination, inspiration, intuition — clairvoyance). [6] According to Waldorf doctrine, children are incapable of intellectual thought until the third seven-year period of growth (i.e., after puberty). But even with the dawning of intellectual capacity, imagination remains a truer path to truth. [See the entry for "imagination," above.] Just as mankind as a whole should be wary of intellect and aim to transcend it, so should Waldorf students. Feelings or emotions are truer guides, according to Waldorf belief. [7]

[For more on these matters, see "Thinking", "Thinking Cap", "Steiner's Specific", and the entry for "Kali Yuga" in this encyclopedia.]

[1] See "Freedom".
[2] See the entry in this encyclopedia for "atavistic clairvoyance".
[3] See "Lucifer".
[4] See "Ahriman".
[5] See the entry in this encyclopedia for "living thoughts".
[6] See the entries for these terms in this encyclopedia; also see "Steiner's Specific".
[7] See the entry in this encyclopedia for "feelings"; also see "Thinking".

intellectual soul - also see reco-Roman Age; intellect; Intellectual Stage of Form; mind soul; soul nature; thinking

According to Steiner, this is the middle division of soul nature (b): it is the mind soul. [1] The soul consists of three sub-souls, Steiner taught; the "intellectual soul" or "mind soul" is the second of these. “Let us try to form an idea of these three soul-members ... Our concepts are formed in the Sentient Soul [2] ... Instead of merely keeping his perceptions alive as images in the Sentient Soul, [man] reflects on them and devotes himself to them ... This continued cultivation of impressions received from the outer world is the work of what we call the Intellectual Soul or Mind-soul [3] ... [Above that is] the Consciousness Soul [4] ... Through the Consciousness Soul we explore the secrets of the outer world as human beings endowed with knowledge and cognition.”  — R. Steiner, METAMORPHOSES OF THE SOUL, Vol. 1 (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1983), lecture 2, GA 58. [See "Our Parts".]


 ◊ Consciousness Soul ◊ 
 ◊ Intellectual Soul  ◊ 
 ◊  Sentient Soul   ◊ 
These are the three souls or levels of our soul nature, according to Anthroposophical teachings. The intellectual soul is also called the mind soul or rational soul. The consciousness soul is also called the spiritual soul.

In Anthroposophical belief, the intellectual soul became the dominant soul type for humanity during the Greco-Roman cultural epoch, starting around the year 747 BCE. Humans then first developed the ability to think, as we commonly understand this term. People of that period "knew" less about the physical world than we do today, but because their thinking was still imbued with spiritual essence (feeling, imagination, intuition), they knew more than we do about spiritual matters. Thus, with the acquisition of the intellectual soul, people learned to think but they also retained some of the wisdom they possessed thanks to prior forms of consciousness. "It is a specially [sic] difficult task to try to describe the intellectual soul because it possesses several facets ... The word [sic] intellectual or mind soul emphasizes the fact that [having acquired it] for the first time man became capable of thinking for himself. One consequence of this possibility was the creation of philosophy ... ["Intellect" in the Anthroposophic sense may be seen as] (1) the mind warmed by a loving heart and stimulated by the soul's imaginative power, and (2) the soul in a state of unconscious intuition arising from the working together of heart and mind ... [Men of the intellectual soul epoch] though knowing incomparably less than we, yet may have understood more...." — S. C. Easton, MAN AND THE WORLD IN THE LIGHT OF ANTHROPOSOPHY (Anthroposophic Press, 1989), pp. 57-58.


[Detail from table on p. 37 of MAN AND THE WORLD IN THE LIGHT OF ANTHROPOSOPHY, by S. C. Easton.]

For humans today, Steiner said, the intellectual or mind soul incarnates at about age 35. The gods called Authorities (or Spirits of Motion: gods five steps above man [5]) have special responsibility for the intellectual soul. This soul has particular connections to Mars. [See "What We're Made Of".]

[1] See "Our Parts" and "What We Are Made Of"; also see the entry for "mind soul" in this encyclopedia. (Usually, for Steiner, “intellect” is a suspect term, associated with demonic powers. In speaking of the intellectual or mind soul, Steiner refers to "intellect" in a softened form, mediated by will and emotion). 
[2] This is the first of the three souls.
[3] I.e., after concepts are formed in the sentient soul, man "reflects on and devotes himself" to "cultivation" of impressions and concepts: This is the work of the intellectual soul, our second soul member.
[4] This is the third of our souls, also called the spiritual soul.
[5] See "Polytheism".

Intellectual Stage of Form - also see Archetypal Stage of Form; intellect; intellectual soul; stages of form

During each condition of life [1], Steiner taught, we pass through seven subsidiary stages — in effect, stages of incarnation. Beginning in a highly spiritualized state, we descend in steps to a densely physical condition, then we gradually rise again — improved, strengthened — to an augmented spiritual form. At least in our present condition of life, which manifests the spiritual essences of the mineral kingdom [2], these subsidiary stages may be referred to as stages of form. The Intellectual Stage will be the sixth or penultimate stage of form in our condition of life — it lies ahead for us. Cognition will be sharpened; intellectual capacity will be heightened — although the evil implicit in intellect [3] will still need to be cleansed through the purging of those people who were corrupted by their descent to the physical level. The good, progressive people will proceed upward, transforming the low into the high. The “intellect” that they carry with them will not be recognizable as what we call intellect here on the physical plane. (The following description is set in the present tense, but it outlines a period in our future.) "The Intellectual Stage[:] Thoughts of the mineral creation [4] are reabsorbed into the spirit...purified and transformed ... Intuition no longer sees the movements of the planets but hears clairaudiently the music of the spheres [5], and grasps the deeds of the different ranks of the Hierarchies. [6] [paragraph break] There are still the materialists who are slaves to their animal instincts [7] ... It is they who worship the beast that arises from the (subastral) sea [sic] with the form, power and authority of the dragon [8] ... Such people are actually possessed by Ahriman ... Satan, 'the unlawful prince of this world'...not only aims to throw human evolution off course, but even to throw the whole earth out of orbit. [9] He is, however, overcome by the Archangel Michael.... [10]" — R. Seddon, THE FUTURE OF HUMANITY AND THE EARTH AS FORESEEN BY RUDOLF STEINER (Temple Lodge Publishing, 2002), pp. 97-98. The defeat of Ahriman will remove his minions, and evolution will be able to proceed to the seventh or Archetypal Stage of Form. However, not all evil humans will yet have been purged. The Antichrist [11] and his servants, such as black magicians, will remain. To examine that issue, see the entry for "Archetypal Stage of Form" in this encyclopedia. 



 ◊ 1. Higher Spiritland ◊                     ◊ 7. Archetypal Stage ◊ 

 ◊ 2. Lower Spiritland ◊          ◊ 6. Intellectual Stage ◊ 

      ◊ 3. Astral Stage ◊   ◊ 5. Perfected Astral Stage ◊ 

 ◊ 4. Physical Stage ◊ .......

According to Anthroposophical belief: During each condition of life (a major subdivision of our evolutionary progress), we pass through seven stages of form. Evolving to develop our true forms, we descend from Higher Spiritland to the Physical Stage (where we exist now), before ascending again,in stages, in more perfected form. The Intellectual Stage is the perfected recapitulation of Lower Spiritland; the Archetypal Stage is the perfected recapitulation of Higher Spiritland. [12]

[1] The largest stages of our evolution, according to Steiner, are conditions of consciousness, Each of these consists of seven divisions called stages of life. Each condition of life, in turn, consists of seven divisions called stages of form. [See the entries for these terms in this encyclopedia.] 

[2] Anthroposophists hold to the ancient belief that there are four kingdoms of nature: mineral, plant, animal, and human. The mineral kingdom is the lowest. [See the entry in this encyclopedia for "mineral kingdom".]

[3] See the entry for "intellect", above.

[4] I.e., thinking of the sort possible on the physical or mineral level of life: lowly cognition.

[5] I.e., our cognitive powers will sharpen sufficiently so that instead of observing physical objects and actions in the cosmos, we will become aware of their underlying spiritual essences. [See the entry for "music of the spheres" in this encyclopedia.]

[6] I.e., the deeds of gods of various ranks. [See "Polytheism".]

[7] I.e., corrupted, animalistic individuals — who are deeply immersed in the material level of existed — still exist.

[8] I.e., Ahriman, Satan. [See "Ahriman".]

[9] Ahriman would not only derail human evolution, but he would shatter the structure of the solar system. (Whether the planets actually orbit the Sun is a moot point in Anthroposophy. [See "Deception".])

[10] See "Michael".

[11] I.e., Sorat. [See "Bad, Badder, Baddest".]

[12] Higher Spiritland is the higher region of the spirit world; Lower Spiritland is the lower region of the spirit world. The Astral Stage is the astral world or the soul world. [See the entries for these terms in this encyclopedia.]

intuition - also see clairvoyance; First Hierarchy; imagination; initiation; inspiration; reincarnation; Vulcan consciousness

According to Steiner, this is the third level of non-rational spiritual insight, rising above imagination and inspiration. The faculty of imagination, Anthroposophists believe, enables one to form true mental pictures containing, at least in incipient form, spiritual truth. Inspiration enables one to highlight and accentuate the spiritual content of such images, while stripping out irrelevant mundane elements. Intuition enables one to fully grasp spiritual content or meaning, guided by the mediating gods. In its ordinary form, Anthroposophists believe, intuition is a prompting of the heart or spirit containing deep, felt truth. In its heightened form, as sought by Anthroposophists, intuition is the highest type of exact or reliable clairvoyance. As such, it is "Vulcan consciousness," the consciousness humankind will perfect during the Future Vulcan stage of evolution. [1] 

Steiner taught that humanity evolves from one form of consciousness to another during periods called conditions of consciousness or planetary conditions. [2] We develop new “organs” of consciousness during the various evolutionary stages. [3] "That the human being can pass through seven such planetary conditions is the meaning of evolution. Each planetary stage is bound up with the development of one of the seven states of human consciousness, and through what takes place on each planet [4] the physical organs for such a state of consciousness are perfected. [5] You will have a more highly developed organ, a psychic organ, on Jupiter [6]; on Venus [7] there will be an organ through which man will be able to develop physically the consciousness possessed by the initiate today on the Devachanic plane [8]. And on Vulcan [9] the Spiritual consciousness will prevail, which the initiate possesses today when he is in Higher Devachan. [10]” — R. Steiner, THEOSOPHY OF THE ROSICRUCIAN (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1966), lecture 8, GA 99. [For more on intuition, see, e.g., "Vulcan" and "Steiner's 'Science'".]

The development of clairvoyance is, according to Anthroposophical belief, basic to the process of occult initiation. The cultivation of intuition can be considered the third stage of occult initiation, and it connects the initiate to the gods of the first or highest grouping of gods, the First Hierarchy. "Intuition [is the] third stage of initiation ... At this stage the initiate is able to perceive not only the activity of spiritual beings but those beings themselves who initiate all creative processes [i.e, beneficent gods]. At this level the initiate also experiences his own previous incarnations. He is in touch with the sphere of the first hierarchy." — H. van Oort, ANTHROPOSOPHY A-Z  (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2011), p. 61. Cultivation of imagination is the first stage of occult initiation, and cultivation of inspiration is the second stage.


Although the major stages of evolution as described by Steiner are often depicted as circles or spheres, and despite the shorthand designations often applied to them ("Jupiter," "Venus," etc.), they are not planets — they are period of time, phases of evolution. The three shown here lie in our future; they are our fifth, sixth, and seventh conditions of consciousness, properly called Future Jupiter, Future Venus, and Future Vulcan. They trace an ascending arc as we become increasingly spiritualized, rising to higher and higher levels of spiritual consciousness. All humans who evolve to Future Jupiter will attain perfected imagination; all who evolve to Future Venus will attain perfected inspiration; and all who evolve to Future Vulcan will attain perfected intuition. [Detail from a diagram in R. Steiner's THE OCCULT MOVEMENT IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1973), p. 81. Color added, published smudge removed.]

[1] See "Future Stages" and the entry for "Future Vulcan" in this encyclopedia.
[2] See the entries for "conditions of consciousness" and "planetary conditions" in this encyclopedia.
[3] Steiner taught that we develop the powers of clairvoyance as we develop incorporeal "organs of clairvoyance". [See "Knowing the Worlds".]
[4] I.e., during each condition of consciousness or planetary condition. (Adapting to the language used by others before him, Steiner often spoke and wrote in terms that can mystify and beguile more than inform. When he described life "on" various "planets," he sometimes meant existence on actual planets, but often he meant existence in/on phases of the solar system's evolution. His meaning must often be deduced from context. [See the entries for "planets" and "planetary conditions" in this encyclopedia.])
[5] These organs will be "physical" only in an occult sense. We will have evolved passed physical existence as we understand it now. [See "Future Stages".]
[6] I.e., during Future Jupiter. The consciousness of Future Jupiter is perfected imagination.
[7] I.e., during Future Venus. The consciousness of Future Venus is perfected inspiration
[8] I.e., the spirit world.
[9] I.e., during Future Vulcan. The consciousness of Future Vulcan, "Spiritual consciousness," is perfected intuition.
[10] I.e., the higher region of the spirit world.

I organization - also see ego; higher I; highest I; I

In Anthroposophical belief: human identity comprehensively understood, consisting of the I, the higher I, and the highest I. “Rudolf Steiner gave a very clear and differentiated description of the entity he would in later lectures refer to as the human ‘I’ organization in his book THE THRESHOLD OF THE SPIRITUAL WORLD. There, each chapter is in three parts, with a summary given after each. This means that there are three distinct stages, with one aspect of the human I organization considered at each: ‘The human being as an independent entity [the higher I]’, ‘the “other self” which finds its own expression in repeated lives on earth  [the I]’, and the ‘true I,’ the actual core of the human spirit [the highest I].” — S. Prokoffief, “The Destiny of the I in the Age of the Etheric Christ: Theme for the year 2010/11" (Dornach, Switzerland).

irreclaimable moon, unredeemable moon - also see Future Venus; perdition; cf. Eighth Sphere

According to Steiner: a separate realm for evil souls, consigned there during Future Venus. [1] “From Venus [2]...a separate celestial body becomes [i.e., will become] detached. This — as it were, an ‘irreclaimable Moon’ — includes all the beings who have persisted in withstanding the true course of evolution. [3] It enters now [i.e., will enter] upon a line of development such as no words can portray, so utterly unlike is it to anything within the range of man’s experience on Earth.” — R. Steiner, OCCULT SCIENCE - AN OUTLINE (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1969), pp. 309-310. [See "Everything".]

[1] Steiner taught that the sixth incarnation of the solar system will be Future Venus. [See "Future Stages" and the entry for "Future Venus" in this encyclopedia.]

[2] I.e., during Future Venus.

[3] According to Steiner, resisting or opposing the divine plan for evolution is the "great sin." [See "Sin".] The beings who ""have persisted in withstanding the true course of evolution" are thus, in effect, sinners, and they are consigned to a form of perdition. [See "Hell".]

I, sense of - also see ego sense; I; senses; cf. ego consciousness

One of the twelve human senses enumerated by Steiner: the sense that enables you to perceive the "I" in another. "I ask you to remember what has been said about this sense of the I. The sense of I does not refer to our capacity to be aware of our own I. This sense is not for perceiving our own I, that I which we first received on Earth; it is for perceiving the I of other men. What this sense perceives is everything that is contained in our encounters with another I in the physical world." — R. Steiner, THE RIDDLE OF HUMANITY (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1990), lecture 14, GA 170. The sense of "I" falls under the influence of Aries. [1]

The sense of "I" should be distinguished from one's "ego feeling," which is the awareness of your own separate identity, your own I. However, Steiner sometimes seemed to blur the distinction. "Between death and a new birth you lose the Ego-feeling — the sense of 'I' which was yours when in the body on earth." — R. Steiner, KARMIC RELATIONSHIPS, Vol. 1 (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1972), lecture 12, GA 235.

Note that you can see that another person has an I, but you cannot actually probe or comprehend that I. Each individual has exclusive knowledge of her/his own I.

[1] See, e.g., A. Soesman, OUR TWELVE SENSES (Hawthorn Press, 1990), p.142.

Isis - also see Demeter; female; goddesses

a) The ancient Egyptian goddess of fertility.

b) According to Steiner, the divine feminine principle, the mother of the Savior. Steiner related one myth involving Isis this way: “Osiris [the god of fertility and the afterlife]...in primordial times ruled as if in a golden age among men, and married his sister, Isis, who brought happiness and blessing to mankind. He stood before the eyes of ancient Egypt as a human King of divine power and divine virtue; and he ruled until he was killed by Set, his evil brother. He was killed in a strange way. At a banquet the evil brother Set, in later times called Typhon, caused a chest to be made, and craftily induced Osiris to lie down in it, when the lid was quickly closed. The chest was then thrown into the water and swept away to the unknown. His sorrowing spouse Isis seeks everywhere for her husband, after long searching finally discovering him in Asia. She brings him back to Egypt where he is dismembered by his evil brother Set, his fragments being interred in many graves. Hence the great number of tombs of Osiris in Egypt. Osiris now becomes King of the Dead, as previously he was King of living men on earth. From that other world a ray pierces the head of Isis and she gives birth to Horus who becomes the ruler of this world.” — R. Steiner, "Isis and Madonna", GA 57. [See "Goddess".]

Islam - also see Ahriman; Koran; Lucifer; monotheism; polytheism

"Islam, major world religion promulgated by the Prophet Muhammad in Arabia in the 7th century CE. The Arabic term islām, literally 'surrender,' illuminates the fundamental religious idea of Islam — that the believer (called a Muslim, from the active particle of islām) accepts surrender to the will of Allah (in Arabic, Allāh: God). Allah is viewed as the sole God — creator, sustainer, and restorer of the world. The will of Allah, to which human beings must submit, is made known through the sacred scriptures, the Qurʾān (often spelled Koran in English), which Allah revealed to his messenger, Muhammad. In Islam Muhammad is considered the last of a series of prophets (including Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Solomon, and Jesus), and his message simultaneously consummates and completes the 'revelations' attributed to earlier prophets." — Encyclopaedia Britannica Online, February 20, 2020.

Rudolf Steiner occasionally found something to praise in Islam, but his basic view of the Muslim religion was profoundly negative. He associated Islam with the arch-demons Ahriman and Lucifer. “Mohammedism is the first manifestation of Ahriman, the first Ahrimanic revelation following the Mystery of Golgotha [Calvary, where Jesus was crucified]. Mohammed's god, Allah, Eloha, is an Ahrimanic imitation or pale reflection of the Elohim [i.e., gods], but comprehended monotheistically. Mohammed always refers to them as a unity. The Mohammedan culture is Ahrimanic, but the Islamic attitude is Luciferic.” — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), pp. 75-76. [See "Islam".]

islands, floating - also see continents; geology; stars

According to Steiner, islands and continents float in the sea. [See "Steiner's Blunders".]


“[A]n island like Great Britain swims in the sea and is held fast by the forces of the stars.” [R. Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 607; R. R. sketch, 2010. Lines of astrological force stream down from the stars overhead, holding a floating island in place.] 

Izeds - also see Amshaspands; Zervan AkaranaZoroastrianism

As explained by Steiner, these are spiritual beings recognized in Zoroastrianism [1]; they serve under the Amshaspands. [2] "Amshaspands...rule over the Izeds, who rank below them and are 28–31 in number. The Izeds are spirits of a lower kind, servants of the high Time Beings [3]; they regulate the days of the month." — R. Steiner, CHRIST AND THE SPIRITUAL WORLD/THE SEARCH FOR THE HOLY GRAIL (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1964), lecture 4, GA 149.

[1] This is the religion founded by Zoroaster. [See the entries in this encyclopedia for "Zoroaster" and "Zoroastrianism". Also see the page "Zoroastrianism".] 
[2] In Zoroastrianism, these are godly "Time Rulers" or "Time Spirits". [See the entry in this encyclopedia for "Amshaspands".]
[3] See the entry in this encyclopedia for "Time Spirits".