1211The 7 planets As 7 Divisions of the Etheric World
- Aug 27, 2002To explain a bit more about the planets and how they are the 7 sections of the etheric world, it might be helpful to go back to the overall picture of Man and World in anthroposophy. In his "Philosophie der Freiheit" (Philosophy of Spiritual Activity), Dr. Steiner works out the levels of consciousness of the human being as shown on the left below (hope it doesn't get jumbled up in transmission):
IDEAS INTUITED TRUTH, STARS
I MORAL BEAUTY I
I TRUTHS & GOODNESS I
I I I I
I I I I
REPRESENT- Maxims, Changing PLANETS
ATIONS OR Proverbs, Philosophies I
MENTAL Moral and mores I
PICTURES Illustrations I I
I I I MOON
I I PHYSICAL I
PERCEPTS SITUATIONS REALITY EARTH
We think in pure ideas with the eternal human spirit, while with the body we perceive the changing transitory appearances of things, in percepts. We constantly relate our ideas to what we perceive, and in doing so make mental pictures or "representations" of them. So, for instance, the idea "lion" is the pure idea of the creature, which all minds think the same; then, each individual man has his percepts of lions, and, from this pure idea related to his perceptions, he makes his mental picture of a lion. Similarly, with moral ideas, there is only one Truth and likewise what is Good and Beautiful is objectively real; but we look at situations in the everyday "real world" and try to match our intuitions of the Right to these, and this is the source of our mores and progressively evolving philosophies.
What the senses reveal through the body is our "Earth" level, while in pure thinking we are in the eternal. This is why the same ideas of mathematical or astronomical realities are in my thinking today as were in Plato's 2,000 years ago. In pure thinking we experience the level of the stars, the eternal. This level has a mysterious relation to the number 12, as in the 12 signs of the zodiac.
In between the two is the world of the Planets. They are not eternal, as the world of the stars is, for they move and therefore change; but they have more of the eternal than the changeable things of the earth, where the earth's 4 elements make things come into existence and then die. Thus they are a sort of bridge between the eternal and the transitory, a sevenfold bridge, as they were pictured in Norse myths. Or they can be thought of as a ladder between the two, as in the Hebrew Bible (Jacob's Ladder).
The 12-fold world of the stars at one time "gave birth" to the 7 Gods or Planets; they are descended from a higher world, connected with the Eternal. This is the way that a truth is expressed in myth that we now say as that the astral world with its 12 impulses from the stars, evolved these into the 7 great parts of the etheric world. Then these 7 astral-etheric impulses become something different again when they pass below the level of the Moon, the lowest planet and closest to earth. In the "sublunary sphere", as Aristotle called it, is found the actual etheric world, the Watery world of life forces such as the plants have. Hence the Moon's ruling of the tides and importance to planting.
So in short, there are 12 great spirit-impulses, and out of these come 7 powerful astral impulses we call the planets. These are reflected here, below the Moon in our world, as 7 sections of the world of life-forces.
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