The Bigger Picture

  I'm about to give you a heavy dose of Steinerthought.

If you quickly decide it is bunk, so be it.

That's all you really need to know.

This page — which follows "Past and Future" — 
was originally written for a different website.

If you feel a need for background information to make sense of this page,
please see "Everything" and/or "Prehistory 101".
The "historical narrative" in The Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encycliopedia 
should also be illuminating.

The sixth and seventh great epochs are the final periods within a larger phase of evolution, the “Physical Stage of Form.” I realize that some of what I will say now is confusing. This goes with the territory in Steiner’s worldview. Please just plow ahead — things may become clearer eventually. (I'm going to resist the temptation to explain too much too soon. I want you to have the experience of plunging into Anthroposophical discourse as it exists unmediated. Eventually, the big picture should emerge from the fog. The diagram, below, may help. You can also skip down to the third section of this page.)

The seven great epochs are subdivisions of the fourth stage of form, the "Physical Stage of Form.” When we complete all seven great epochs, we will complete this stage of form and move on to the next stage of form.

There are seven stages of form (of course), which take their name from the "shapes" or “forms” that are thought up by higher beings in the spiritual hierarchies. These beings, or gods, have impulses that they send to Higher Spiritland, which may be considered the archetype of the stage of form (the "Higher Spiritland Stage of Form") where these divine impulses develop as the germs of thoughts. These germs are then shuttled to Lower Spiritland Stage of Form, where they become focused thoughts, which then travel to the Astral Stage of Form where they become soul images. The soul images become physical realities when they are passed to the Physical Stage of Form. (No. Seriously.) 

That's where we are now, in the Physical Stage of Form. When we complete the sixth and seventh great epochs in this stage of form, we will be ready for a rest period ("pralaya"), after which we will move along to the Perfected Astral Stage of Form, where everything gets reversed and the physical begins its process of spiritualization that will come to flower in the Archetypal Stage/Higher Spiritland Stage of Form. (No. Seriously.) 

Still with me? The stages of form, in brief, are large swaths of evolutionary progress. The great epochs are subsets of a stage of form. Likewise, each stage of form is a subset of a condition of life, which is a still larger evolutionary phase. And each condition of life is a subset of an enormous evolutionary period called a planetary condition or a condition of consciousness. One way to summarize our present situation is that we are now in the fifth cultural epoch (“Present”) of the fifth great epoch (“Post-Atlantean”) of the fourth stage of form (“Physical”) of the fourth condition of life (“Mineral Kingdom”) of the fourth condition of consciousness (“Earth”).

excerpt, pp 132-133; highlighting added.]

I have not yet defined some of these terms, but we'll get to them. Seddon warns us, however, that we won't understand. 

[Seddon] “The descriptions that follow become increasingly difficult for ordinary consciousness to grasp ... Only a living, imaginative thinking [call it clairvoyance] likely to find them fruitful material for meditation.” [1] 

For once, I totally agree.



So: Stages of Form. It’s important not to take any of the following in a narrow, linear, logical way. Judged rationally, it’s all madcap. But it will give you a glimpse of what lies in wait (or at least what kind of thinking stands behind Waldorf education). Seddon explains: 

[Seddon] “[E]verything that takes form first arises in Higher Spiritland, is developed in Lower Spiritland, and takes shape in the astral world before becoming physical. It subsequently returns perfected through the astral world to the transformed intellectual stage of Lower Spiritland and thence to the archetypal stage of Higher Spiritland.” [3] 

But I already told you this. 

Let's see if R. Steiner can help.

◊ [Steiner] “We are in this higher spiritland when experiencing the splitting of the ego ... It is here that one is first able to form a true estimate of man on earth. As one looks back one begins to know what man is in his inmost being. There, too, it is first possible to come to an experienced judgment concerning the course of history. Human evolution that has been experienced becomes for us the progress of the soul as an ego being [sic]. Standing out from the general progress are leaders in the advancement of humanity. [Gee, I wonder where Steiner placed himself?] Here one actually experiences...the impulses that are continually flowing through the initiates who, wherever they may be, have to leave the life of the senses and go to spiritual worlds so that they can give out these impulses.” [4] 

◊ [Steiner] “From the lower spiritland one sees the whole being of Christ Jesus! So that, looking back in a purely human way, and holding fast to what is present in remembrance, you have a memory of Christ Jesus and of all the events that have taken place in connection with him, that is, if the other conditions of which I spoke...have already been fulfilled. The truth about the other initiates [e.g., Steiner], however, you experience for the first time in the higher spiritland.” [5] 

◊ [Steiner] “Each of these conditions [of consciousness] is divided into seven conditions of life — usually called 'rounds'; rounds are the same as conditions of life. And those now called conditions of form were formerly called 'globes'. The latter expression is extremely misleading, for it leads to the idea that these seven globes are side by side [sic; the Steinerian diagram presented at this point shows a V-shaped formation, like geese or UFOs; Steiner is saying that Theosophists misrepresent the nature of globes]. 

“These conditions [of form], from the most remote form, which was almost formless [sic], down through the physical and up again to the formless, are not seven globes existing side by side [sic], but seven successive conditions. The same globe that is now physical was first of all spiritual, then it became denser and denser. It is the same globe simply condensed. Then a portion of it became astral, then a portion physical; it is always the same globe. It dissolves again like salt in warm water, it again becomes astral. Thus we have ascended to this astral stage where, in the Apocalypse [see the Book of Revelation], the vials of wrath are described: there the earth becomes astral again.” [6] 

Steiner is exhausting. Let's go back to Seddon (who, I admit, is nearly as trying):

[Seddon] “In lower spiritland everything takes the form of thoughts, as dense as those that originally formed the brain [sic: Steiner taught that matter evolved from spirit and thought, not vice versa] ... Thoughts of the mineral creation [i.e., thoughts coming from the physical brain] are reabsorbed into the spirit [as we evolve higher] ... Intuition [i.e., paranormal perception] no longer sees the movement of the planets but hears clairaudiently the music of the spheres [as we evolve even higher] ... There are still materialists [among us] who are slaves to their animal instincts  ... It is they [materialists] who worship the beast that arises from the sub-astral [sic] sea....” [7]

In other words, thoughts condense into physical existence, then they become spiritual and nonphysical again, in higher form. But materialists continue to exist and ride along as evolution climbs back toward (higher) spirituality. They will get their due, eventually.



Perhaps we should start again at the beginning. Here is an overview of human evolution as described by Steiner. It is essentially a reworking of Theosophical doctrine. The overview should clarify (slightly) some of what we have already seen and (more slightly) what we will be getting to. [We have been over much of this in "Everything". Still, your forbearance may be partially rewarded — a few matters not mentioned previously will now be revealed.]

Humanity will evolve through seven major phases, the conditions of consciousness, which are named for "planets": Saturn, the Sun, and so on. To date, we have passed through three of these conditions: 1. Saturn, 2. Sun, and 3. Moon. (To distinguish these conditions — periods of evolution — from the celestial orbs for which they are named — physical objects in the present solar system — we really should refer to the conditions as Old Saturn, Old Sun, and Old Moon. But Seddon largely dispenses with this distinction.)

Conditions of consciousness (also called planetary conditions) encompass the entire solar system as it exists at a particular stage of cosmic evolution.

[Seddon] “This was clearly recognized in the ancient mysteries [i.e., ancient occult wisdom] as a process involving the whole solar system, and the [germinal] four steps were named Saturn, Sun, Moon and Earth respectively.” [9]

We currently live in the fourth condition of consciousness, Earth (or, more properly, Present Earth). When we have finished our evolution here, we will proceed to Jupiter (more properly, Future Jupiter), then Venus (Future Venus), and finally Vulcan (Future Vulcan).

The overall pattern of evolution may be summarized thus: Seven within seven within seven within seven…

[Seddon] “Evolution is found to proceed in various ‘layers’ of time, somewhat comparable to the layers found in the chaos phenomena [sic] of space. Each layer is sevenfold….” [10]

The Present Earth condition of consciousness, like all other conditions of consciousness, consists of seven subdivisions. During Present Earth, these subdivisions are occultly designated conditions of life. To date, we have evolved through three conditions of life, and we are currently in the fourth. We began "earthly" life in the 1st Elementary Kingdom, when the basis of our physical body was laid. Later, during the 2nd Elementary Kingdom, the basis of our etheric body was laid. Later yet, during the 3rd Elementary Kingdom, the basis for our astral body was laid. We now exist within the Mineral Kingdom — that is, we exist as incarnated beings having distinct physical bodies built out of mineral constituents. (For clarity, the "Kingdoms" — as evolutionary stages — should more properly be called "Conditions," but Seddon largely dispenses with this distinction.)

The Mineral Kingdom Condition of Life, like all other conditions of life, consists of seven subdivisions. Within the Mineral Kingdom, these subdivisions are occultly designated stages of form. To date, we have evolved through three stages of form, and we are currently in the fourth. (Working our way through the stages of form has been a process of progressive material incarnation and shaping, leading to our present form as incarnated beings.) Having descended from the higher reaches of the spirit realm (Higher Spiritland), we passed through the lower reaches of the spirit realm (Lower Spiritland), and then passed through a hazy region intermediate between the spirit realm and the physical realm (the Astral Stage). This brought us at last to our current situation, existing as developing human beings in the Physical Stage of Form.

The Physical Stage of Form, like all other stages of form, consists of seven subdivisions. During the Physical Stage of Form, these subdivisions are occultly designated great epochs. To date, we have evolved through four of these great epochs, and we are currently in the fifth. The first stage of our life “on” the Earth came during the Polarian Epoch. (Polaria was a misty semi-physical condition of manifestation, sometimes described as filling the space defined by the Earth’s orbit today. It was a recapitulation of Old Saturn.) Next came the Hyperborean Epoch. (Hyperborea was a more distinctly manifest preliminary embodiment of the Earth. Sometimes described as a ball of cosmic gas and light, it recapitulated Old Sun.) After the Earth became more or less a physical globe, we lived in the third great epoch, the Lemurian Epoch. (Lemuria was a continent upon the Earth. It initiated the recapitulation of Old Moon.) Next came the Atlantean Epoch (when we lived on the continent of Atlantis, and became more definitely sublunar). We now live in the fifth great epoch, the Post-Atlantean Epoch (the period immediately following the sinking of Atlantis). As we have seen [see “Sixth Epoch” and “Lucky Seventh”], we will proceed from here to the sixth and seventh great epochs, the Epoch of Seals and the Epoch of Trumpets.

The Post-Atlantean Epoch, like all other great epochs, consists of seven subdivisions. During the Post-Atlantean Epoch, these subdivisions are occultly designated cultural epochs or cultural ages. To date, we have evolved through four cultural ages, which — looking back — almost seem familiar to us today: 1. the Indian Age, 2. the Persian Age, 3. the Egypto-Chaldean Age, and 4. the Greco-Roman Age. We now live in 5. the Anglo-Germanic Age (more generally called, simply, The Present [11]), and we will evolve to 6. the Russian Age and, then, 7. the American Age.

Cultural ages are divided into fairly brief (350-year) periods. There are also very brief (33-year) cycles within the 350-year cycles.

As we proceed through evolution, we must recapitulate — at each stage — all the prior stages. We must do this over and over and over. Thus, for example, if a given stage entails a recapitulation of Old Moon, we must remember that Old Moon itself was a recapitulation of Old Sun, including all of Old Sun's subdivisions and sub-subdivisions and sub-sub-subdivisions... And Old Sun itself was a recapitulation of Old Saturn, including all of Old Saturn's subdivisions and sub-subdivisions and sub-sub-subdivisions... So recapitulation is an extraordinarily wearisome business. Only after repeating scores or hundreds or even thousands of previous stages (at new, higher levels) are we able to press forward to our next stage of development. (Seven conditions of consciousness, each entailing seven conditions of life, each entailing seven stages of form, each entailing seven great epochs, each entailing seven cultural epochs* amounts to 7 x 7 x 7 x 7 x 7 = 16,807 distinct conditions, not counting the 350-year and 33-year cycles.)

So. To recap (within this recap), and to simplify drastically: We currently live in the physical realm, on the planet Earth, in a period when clairvoyance is difficult and people tend to rely on their brains instead (poor souls). Things were very different in the past, and they will be extremely different in the future. 

The difficulty in all this is that the physical things Steiner calls temporary and even illusory are things we can perceive with our senses and study with instruments such as microscopes and telescopes. In other words, we can confirm the existence of these things. They are what we know as reality. Most of the other stuff Steiner speaks of, by contrast, cannot be confirmed in any sensible way — we would need to employ clairvoyance, a form of “cognition” for which there is precious little evidence. (It is bogus.) The “realities” of which Steiner speaks are speculative, at best — and at worst, they are the product of a delusional con game.

* Most of these terms ("conditions of life," "stages of form," etc.) apply only within the stages we have specified. The subdivisions (and sub-subdvisions, etc.) within other stages have their own characteristics and properly should be identified differently.

To gaze deeper into humanity's past, present, and future

(as described by Steiner) see


"Old Saturn"

"Old Sun"

"Old Moon"

"Present Earth"



For one Anthroposophist's simplified summary
of cosmic and human evolution 
— intended to indoctrinate Waldorf students —

Saturn              Sun               Moon             Earth
Man                Man                Man                  Man
........................Animal            Animal              Animal
...............................................Plant                 Plant
...................................................................... ..Mineral

“Spiritual science shows that originally there was not a primeval mist, a lifeless mist, but that living warmth was there at the beginning, a simple living warmth ... In my OCCULT SCIENCE I have called this original warmth condition the Saturn condition [red] ... It has, in fact, something to do with the planet Saturn, but we will not go into that now ... [T]here were as yet no solid bodies and no air, only warmth; but the warmth was living ... The human being lives absolutely in warmth ... A living cosmic being was present ... Now the first thing to happen to this warmth-being was a cooling down ... [T]he second condition to come about was gaseous, definitely airy [green] ... In what has been formed, in a certain sense, as a second cosmic body, everything is air. There is as yet no water, nothing solid within it; it consists entirely of air ... I have called this second condition 'Sun' ... [I]t was not the present sun, but a sunlike condition ... [B]oth human being and animal were there ... Now how did things continue? The warmth decreased, and as it gradually decreased, not only was air formed but also water ... I have called it 'Moon' [yellow] ... [I]t was a watery, thoroughly watery body ... [M]an and animals were joined by plants pushing up out of the water ... [A]s long as the Old Moon period lasted, the whole earth was a womb. There was nothing yet of stone or mineral. It was all a gigantic womb, and we can say that our present earth [blue] came forth from this gigantic womb." — Rudolf Steiner, FROM SUNSPOTS TO STRAWBERRIES (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2002), pp. 5-10. 

[R.R. sketch, 2009, 

based on image on p. 6.] 

Steiner delivered these words to working men, so he simplified. Whether that improved his account is debatable. 

[See "Oh Man".]

Various gods or superhuman individualities have pitched in to assist us on our journey toward divinity. "Primeval teachers," for instance, have lent a hand.

◊ ”Let me remind you how during his first passage through the Moon sphere man's thoughts were directed, for good and also for ill, to the primeval Teachers of the human race, to the starting-point of earthly existence, when superhuman Teachers imparted superhuman wisdom to the men of Earth.” — Rudolf Steiner, SUPERSENSIBLE MAN (Anthroposophical Publishing Company, 1961), lecture 4, GA 231.

◊ “Treasures of wisdom, expressed not in intellectual but in a more poetic, pictorial form, existed at the beginning of man’s evolution on Earth, scatted among the men on Earth. These primeval Teachers were not incarnated in physical bodies, but only in etheric bodies and relations with them were different from relations between physical human beings.” — Rudolf Steiner, KARMIC RELATIONSHIPS, Vol. 7 (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1973), p. 15.

◊ “[T]he primeval Teachers themselves had then to make their way to the Moon, where they are to this day, and to found a colony there ... From the Moon, Jahveh [i.e., Jehovah] reigned over the heart and soul of the Jewish people, and those of the primeval Teachers who were still associated with the cult and the teaching of Jahveh united with him in the Moon, in order to look out into the cosmos through his eyes ... [O]nly when man views the universe in this way can he have any true conception of the function of the Moon.” — Rudolf Steiner, KARMIC RELATIONSHIPS, Vol. 2 (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1974), p. 203. 


— Compilation and commentary by Roger Rawlings


[R. R., 2010.]


Like most forms of occultism, Steiner's is extremely elaborate. Like others', his depends heavily on astrology, pseudoscience, mystical misuse of math, and — generally — esoteric wishfulness. Above is a Rosicrucian image, not to be confused with Anthroposophical designs (although Steiner advocated Rosicrucianism — after he had reinterpreted it to suit himself). I include such images here at Waldorf Watch to place Anthroposophy in its occult context.

"In Figure 6 the letter a marks the center of eternity. The motion of the rays toward b, d, and c was the first divine manifestation and is symbolized by the equilateral triangle, b,d, c. The eternal world within the inner circle became manifest in the water (salt), the light (mercury), and the fire (sulphur) of the archetypal world, represented by the three circles (f, e, g) within the triangle of complete equality (h, i, k), which is in turn surrounded by the circle of the high throne. The circle f is named understanding; e, wisdom; g, reason. In circle i is the word Father; in circle h,Son; in circle k, Spirit. The seven outer circles are the seven spirits before the throne ... The outer circles are the angelic world ending in the cognizable world of the Sons of God. Then comes the circle of the visible constellations and fixed stars; within this is the solar system with the sun as the center (l). Ungrund means the Abyss." — Manly P. Hall, THE SECRET TEACHINGS OF ALL AGES,

The proposition underlying all these occult systems is this: If a system is elaborate enough — if it is worked out in sufficient detail — the gullible will be won over. "Wow!" the gullible think, "look how everything fits together! This system must be true." But the symmetry of these designs is generally deceptive, consisting of arbitrary patterns imposed on elements of pure fantasy that cannot be reconciled with truth or reality. Moreover, many concepts in a typical occult system are inconsistent with each other, indeed they often contradict each other, unless some of them are severely wrenched out of shape. In Anthroposophy, the importance of Christ is stressed alongside the importance of karma and reincarnation. According to the Bible, we have one life on Earth, after which we go to our eternal reward or punishment. Christians believe our reward or punishment hinges on our acceptance or rejection of Christ. But the doctrines of karma and reincarnation posit many, many lives on Earth, as we move toward spiritual improvement or degradation, depending on our own karmic actions. These concepts — the importance of Christ, the importance of karma and reincarnation — do not in fact fit together, unless we reinterpret them so severely that they cease to mean what their originally meant. And this is precisely what Steiner did. His Solomonic Nathanic Christ Jesus, the Sun God, is quite different from the Son of God worshipped in Christian churches. [See "Sun God" and "Was He Christian?"]

We will continue the story at "Almost the End"

(which will be a relief) 




Talismanic paintings innocently created by Waldorf students

[courtesy of People for Legal and Nonsectarian Schools].

Hinduism is crucial to Anthroposophy. 

Steiner's teachings on karma and reincarnation 

derive from Hindu beliefs. 

This painting, by a Waldorf student, 

employs the "sacred syllable" 

of Hinduism and other Eastern religions. 

What the student was taught, 

and why s/he did this painting,

are open questions.

[Courtesy of

 People for Legal and Nonsectarian Schools].


Once More,


(Once More,

From Steiner Himself):

We evolve through seven planetary stages: 

Saturn, Sun, Moon, Earth, Jupiter, Venus, and Vulcan.

This schematic shows the process: 

Moving from left to right, we descend and then reascend:

We become progressively more material (hardened, physical)

 as we move from Saturn to Earth;

but then we become progressively more spiritual 

as we move from Earth to Vulcan.


I've added color to my rendering of the book's b & w image.]

"[T]he Earth before it was Earth was Moon, before it was Moon it was Sun planet, and before it was Sun it was Saturn. After the Earth-condition it will pass over into the Jupiter-condition, and then into the Venus-condition, and lastly into the Vulcan-condition, so that we have seven consecutive planetary embodiments of our earth; Saturn, Sun, Moon, Earth, Jupiter, Venus and Vulcan....

"During the Jupiter period man will rise to a still higher degree of consciousness of which most people to-day have no inkling, when all that we have described has taken place and all that is yet to be added from the Apocalypse of John which is still to be described. Then, when man is saved, so to speak, when he has risen from the abyss or escaped from decadence, when he has risen into the astralized and spiritual earth, this will be the foundation for his attainment upon Jupiter of the consciousness which we may call the 'conscious picture-consciousness' [i.e., imagination]. If this is to be described it can only be done from the experiences of the Initiates....

"Then upon Venus comes a sixth state of consciousness which may be described as the inspired-consciousness, the consciousness of inspiration. It is called the consciousness of inspiration because at this stage of consciousness the Initiate perceives not only the feelings, desires, impulses, etc., of the soul, but also its whole inner character as a uniform sound. He begins to perceive that which pervades the world of — shall we say — colour and form-structures as the music of the spheres, so that each single being stems like a musical form within that which had previously been perceived as an astral picture.

"The seventh stage of consciousness which will exist on Vulcan we may call the Intuitive-consciousness. Intuition is not the triviality ordinarily understood by the word to-day when one imagines one is able to divine something through a vague feeling — that is a misuse of the word. In the schools of the Initiates, Intuition is applied to the highest stage of consciousness we can imagine, when the soul identifies itself with the spiritual beings and lives within them. Although the soul remains quite individual, it rests within all the objects and beings of its field of vision.

"The seven stages of the earth's whole evolution thus present to its seven consecutive states of consciousness. Now each of these must in its turn also be attained in seven stages, and we call these seven stages, which must be passed through every time, Stages of Life. So that we distinguish seven stages of consciousness, and in each of these, seven stages of life. It is difficult in our language to find words to express these seven stages of life. If we merely take our earth into account, we may describe the stages of life by speaking of the seven kingdoms, for the stages of life on earth coincide with the kingdoms. Here we may describe the first stage of life as the first elementary kingdom, the second as the second, the third as the third elementary kingdom, the fourth as the mineral kingdom, the fifth as the vegetable kingdom, the sixth as the animal kingdom and the seventh as the human kingdom....

"Each kingdom (each stage of life) passes through seven conditions of form. You must distinguish between physical and mineral, for they are not the same. As to-day the physical coincides with the mineral in appearance, the two may easily be confused. The mineral kingdom or stage of life passes through all the stages of form; it can be laid down as mineral kingdom above in the higher region of devachan. It then descends into the lower spiritual region (lower devachan) and is still the mineral kingdom, then into the astral — here it is astrally prepared — and then it condenses to the physical. Thus in each kingdom we have seven conditions of form.

"Each condition of consciousness can only run its course in seven conditions of life; each condition of life in seven conditions of form. That is 7 x 7 x 7 conditions. In fact, an entire evolution such as that of the earth passes through 7 x 7 x 7 conditions of form. Our earth was once Saturn; this went through seven conditions of life and each condition of life through seven conditions of form, Therefore you have forty-nine conditions of form upon Saturn, forty-nine upon the Sun, forty-nine upon the Moon, etc.; 7 x 49 == 343 conditions of form. Man passes through 343 conditions of form in the course of his evolution. When Saturn was at the very outset of its evolution it began in the highest spiritual to which we can attain, as a structure in the highest part of devachan. That was the first condition of form, and it was entirely mineral. As such it descended to the physical kingdom, and reascended to higher devachan. And here begins the great difficulty, for you must now say, if you wish to use the expressions named: Man passes into the next kingdom. But these expressions do not apply to Saturn. Upon Saturn man passes in this way through forty-nine conditions. The curious thing is that you may now ask: 'Man had to pass through conditions of life on Saturn, but he only acquired an etheric body on the Sun. Flow, then, can one say that he goes through conditions of life?' They were not yet as they were later when he had a life body, they were vicarious. This is brought about through the activity of higher beings. Man has no independent life upon Saturn, but higher beings permeate him with their etheric body, with their astral body, 'I,' etc. In any case you must understand that upon Saturn man has passed through forty-nine conditions, upon the Sun forty-nine, and forty-nine upon the Moon. Upon the earth of these forty-nine conditions he has only passed through the first three conditions of life and is now in the fourth — in the mineral kingdom. In the first condition of life he was in the first elementary kingdom and there passed through seven conditions of form; in the second condition of life he was

"in the second elementary kingdom and passed through seven conditions of form; he was in the third elementary kingdom and passed through the seven conditions of form. He is now in the fourth elementary kingdom, which is the same as the mineral kingdom, and he is approximately in the middle of this, somewhat beyond the middle.

"From all that we have outlined you will have seen that the whole earth passes through 343 conditions. I beg you to picture it in this way: Saturn originates and passes through forty-nine conditions; it is primarily a fiery mass, a body of heat, and goes through various conditions, but it is always the same globe that passes through these forty-nine conditions. In the same way, the Sun is always one and the same globe which passes through the forty-nine conditions. But there are intermediate conditions. It is as if between the several embodiments of the earth there were a kind of spiritual interval. It is the same with the planets as with man, the planets also pass through spiritual intervals, which lie between the periods of manifestation.

"If you clearly understand that in the course of our evolution we have seven conditions of consciousness, you will also perceive how this is connected with what is described in our various books. They are cosmic systems. You will there read that our Earth developed out of an ancient planetary system which is described as Moon. We then went further back from the Moon to the Sun, and from the Sun to Saturn. Each of these conditions is divided into the seven conditions of life — formerly called Rounds; Rounds are the same as conditions of life. And those now called conditions of form were formerly called globes. The latter expression was extremely misleading, for it led to the idea that these seven globes were side by side.

"These conditions, from the most remote form, which was almost formless, down through the physical and up again to the formless, are not seven globes existing side by side, but seven successive conditions. The same globe that is now physical was first of all spiritual, then it became denser and denser. It is the same globe simply condensed. Then a portion of it became astral, then a portion physical; it is always the same globe. It dissolves again like salt in warm water, it again becomes astral. We have ascended to this astral where, in the Apocalypse, the vials of wrath are described; there the earth becomes astral again.

"Thus you see how the number seven governs the whole of evolution...." — Rudolf Steiner, THE APOCALYPSE OF ST. JOHN (Anthroposophical Publishing Co., 1958), lecture 10, GA 104.

To visit other pages in this section of Waldorf Watch, 
use the underlined links, below.



An examination of Steiner’s central text

Steiner’s extraordinary, sci-fi-like narrative of human evolution.
The tale of our ancient past and our distant future, as told by Steiner. It continues in:



Steiner promoted love, sort of

Surprising violence in Steiner's kindly vision


And badder, and baddest

America, Germany, and Waldorf

How to, he said


Steiner’s occult conspiracy theories


Back-room maneuvers

The formatting at Waldorf Watch aims for visual variety, 
seeking to ease the process of reading lengthy texts on a computer screen. 

Some illustrations on the various pages here at Waldorf Watch 
are closely connected to the contents of those pages; 
others are not — they provide general context. 




[2] Ibid., p. 132.

[3] Ibid., p. 93. 

[4] Rudolf Steiner, INITIATION, ETERNITY AND THE PASSING MOMENT (SteinerBooks, 1980), p. 107.


[5] Ibid., p. 108. 

[6] Rudolf Steiner, THE APOCALYPSE OF ST. JOHN: Lectures on the Book of Revelation (SteinerBooks, 1977), p. 179.



"And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems on its horns and blasphemous names on its heads. And the beast that I saw was like a leopard; its feet were like a bear's, and its mouth was like a lion's mouth. And to it the dragon gave his power and his throne and great authority. One of its heads seemed to have a mortal wound, but its mortal wound was healed, and the whole earth marveled as they followed the beast. And they worshiped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, 'Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?' And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months." [Revelation 13: 1-18]

There is a long tradition that a beast will rise from the sea at the end of the world. Tennyson drew on a Norse fable:

"Below the thunders of the upper deep;

Far, far beneath in the abysmal sea, 

His ancient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep

The Kraken sleepeth: faintest sunlights flee

About his shadowy sides: above him swell

Huge sponges of millennial growth and height; 

And far away into the sickly light, 

From many a wondrous grot and secret cell

Unnumbered and enormous polypi

Winnow with giant arms the slumbering green.

There hath he lain for ages and will lie

Battening upon huge sea-worms in his sleep,

Until the latter fire shall heat the deep;

Then once by man and angels to be seen,

In roaring he shall rise and on the surface die."

— Alfred Lord Tennyson, “The Kraken,” 1830.

Steiner’s version, that the beast will live and be worshipped, is — for once — nearer the biblical prophecy. The Beast, in this reading, is the Antichrist.



“After the Vulcan stage, man will develop yet further, and will ascend to still higher levels of consciousness. As the external eye looks into misty gray distances, so the inner eye of the seer looks upon five more forms of consciousness, as far off as distant spirits, of which a description, however, is quite impossible. In all, one can speak of twelve  stages of consciousness." — Rudolf Steiner, COSMIC MEMORY (SteinerBooks, 1987), p. 166. 


[10] Ibid., p. 8.


"[It is a time marked by the] struggle for power between the Anglo-Saxon and the Germanic cultures for dominance of the fifth post-Atlantean epoch, especially with regard to Russia ... Steiner says 'I told you some time ago that in the secret brotherhoods, especially those which grew so powerful from the times of James I onward, it was taught as an obvious truth that the Anglo-Saxon race — as they put it — will have to be given dominance over the world in the fifth post-Atlantean period.'” — Christopher Bamford, quoting Steiner, SPIRITUALISM, MADAME BLAVATSKY, & THEOSOPHY (Anthroposophic Press, 2001), note 2, p. 295.

[R.R., 2017.]