The first four metamorphoses of the Earth – Rudolf Steiner (1924)
Seven is the principle of metamorphosis over time. In fact, the evolution of our solar system proceeds according to a rhythm of successive septenarians: 7 Planetary Metamorphoses, 7 Conditions of Life, 7 Conditions of Form, 7 Root-Races, 7 Cultural Epochs.
The seven metamorphoses of the Earth are therefore the first and widest septenary, they are the cosmic days of the manifestation or manvatara. They end in quiet periods called cosmic nights or pralayas. The formative archetypes evolved during these temporal eons are the source of all subsequent septenaria. In the Hebrew Kabbalah, they are the last seven sephiroths of the tree of life, from their spiritual seed emanates the impulse of the so-called Seven Rays of Theosophy.
From bottom to top: 7 Metamorphoses of the Earth or Cosmic Days (manvatara); 7×7 = 49 Conditions of Life; 7x7x7 = 343 Conditions of Form; 7x7x7 = 2401 Epochs; 7x7x7x7 = 16807 Epochs of Culture.
1. Ancient Saturn: in which the solar system was composed of heat (igneous state) and the human being was in the state of trance consciousness. The Thrones or Spirits of Will, sacrifice part of their substance of heat (fire) to create the prototype of the physical body of the human being. The seed of the Man-Spirit is also placed. The human being has therefore passed his mineral stage here.
2. Ancient Sun: composed of light (gaseous state) and the state of consciousness of dreamless sleep. The Dominations, or Spirits of Wisdom, sacrifice part of their luminous substance (air) to create the prototype of the etheric body of the human being. The seed of the Vital Spirit is thus placed. The human being will pass here his vegetable stage.
3. Ancient Moon: composed of water (liquid state) and the dream state of consciousness. The Virtues or Spirits of the Movement sacrifice part of their sound substance (water) to create the prototype of the astral body of the human being. Thus, the seed of the Spiritual Self is also placed. The human being has passed his animal stage here.
4. Present Earth, composed of the earth (solid state) and the waking state, which in turn is divided into two halves:
A) Mars-Earth: before the coming of Christ. The human being begins to develop the sentient soul hin his astral body. The human being through the ego develops the sentient soul from the astral body and the rational soul from the etheric body. The end of the Earth-Mars comes shortly after the middle of the Greek-Roman cultural epoch, when the incarnation of Christ in the body of Jesus of Nazareth and the subsequent Mystery of Golgotha takes place.
B) Mercury-Earth: after the coming of the Eternal Christ, the Risen One is visible in his second coming in the Astral World. The development of the soul is completed by adding the conscious soul extracted from the physical body.
5. Future Jupiter: composed of etheric water, it corresponds to the state of consciousness of the Imagination, that is, of the conscious dream. The human being will develop the spiritual self here and will evolve until he reaches the choir of the Angels or Sons of Twilight.
6. Future Venus: composed of astral light, it corresponds to the state of consciousness of the Inspiration, or conscious sleep. The Earth will be here the New Sun. The human being will develop here the vital spirit and will evolve until he reaches the choir of the Archangels or Spirits of the People. At the sixth metamorphosis, sixth condition of life and sixth condition of form of the Earth (666) the great barrier will be accomplished: the definitive separation of the planetary chain of the Earth from the alternative one governed by the powers of the obstacle (luciferic, arimanic, asuric and the antichrist Sorath), the Eighth Sphere, will be complete. Evolved humanity will have redeemed evil and will be free to proceed in evolution until it reaches the divine stage. The rest of humanity is no longer human, it is trapped in the Eighth Sphere and will be led towards an evolution among the choirs of the powers of the obstacle.
7. Future Vulcan: composed of spiritual warmth, it corresponds to the state of consciousness of Intuition, that is, of conscious trance. Here the human being will develop the man-spirit and will evolve to the chorus of the Powers (Archai) or Spirits of Time. At the end of the evolution of the Future Volcano, man will therefore have risen to the rank of a creative divinity. Just as man will become a new creator, so the planet will become a new zodiac. In fact, Christ as the Spirit of the Sun, the thirteenth among the twelve zodiacal signs, sacrificed himself by moving from the center of the Zodiac to enter the Earth with the Mystery of Golgotha, thus giving our planet the possibility to become the new future Zodiac itself. This will happen during the last metamorphosis of the Future Volcano: where you have today the “full” of the Earth, i.e. in its heart, there will be a void and its periphery will become the new Zodiac. The polarity between the Sphere of Saturn, beyond which are the zodiacal forces, and the Sphere of the Earth will be reversed, so that the present periphery will become the center and the center periphery.
These seven metamorphoses constitute the leitmotif of the whole successive evolution, divided into five septenaires, one set within the other. The 7 Planetary Metamorphoses are followed by the 7 Conditions of Life. Being the second reiteration of the evolution plan, they are in number 49 (7×7):
Past recapitulation of Ancient Saturn or Mineral Life;
Past recapitulation of the Ancient Sun or Plant Life;
Past recapitulation of the Ancient Moon or Animal Life;
Present Life Condition or Human Life;
Fifth condition of Future Life; Anticipation of Future Jupiter or Angelic Life;
Sixth condition of Future Life, anticipation of the Future Venus or Archangelical Life;
Seventh condition of Future Life, anticipation of the Future Volcano or Archai Life.
Within these 49 Conditions of Life, we have 343 Conditions of Form: the life that comes to flow within the planetary metamorphoses takes its form in the next septenaries (7x7x7):
The seven Conditions of Form
Arupa: form coincides with life, and therefore it is pure intentions that constitute existence. The will dominates this condition of life.
Rupa: within the intentions appear the plans, that is, one experiences how it is possible to realize the will. Thought dominates this condition of life.
Astral: within the projects one feels what is good to realize. The feeling dominates this condition of life.
Physical: the intentions within the projects full of soul content are brought to a physical form. The realization of the original intentions, of the divine will, takes place in the condition of physical life.
Higher Astral: feelings become conscious.
Higher Rupa: thought becomes conscious.
Higher Arupa: the will becomes conscious.
The first four metamorphoses on Earth. In the Ancient Saturn, humanity is in a state of trance and only the physical body is in a state of heat. In the Ancient Sun, humanity is in the sleep state and has physical body and etheric body in the gaseous state. In the Ancient Moon, humanity is in the dream state and has physical body, etheric and astral body in the liquid state. On Earth, humanity is in the waking state and has physical, etheric, astral body and I in the solid state.
Now let’s see how the metamorphosis process takes place. Just as the germ of a plant does inside the seed, or as in the chrysalis the butterfly will form from the destruction of the caterpillar form, at the end of every cosmic day (manvatara) a cosmic night (pralaya) happens.
In the pralaya everything that has evolved during the planetary metamorphosis is reabsorbed into a creative chaos and at the same time returns to its most spiritual essence: the form is converted into substance, what is exterior becomes interior. From this pure essence, after a period of nocturnal incubation, the evolution of the following metamorphosis begins again, which initially recapitulates the previous stages of development and then adds the new stages of development.
Just as the first three stages of development repeat the first metamorphoses, so the last three stages of development anticipate what must happen within a subsequent seven-year period of evolution. Indeed, by virtue of the Law of Cosmic Recapitulation, each stage in the process of evolution recapitulates the successive stages before adding a new one. Thus, each first subdivision of the settenary will be a recapitulation of the first planetary metamorphosis, but on different levels. In the first half (the first three metamorphoses) there is a recapitulation of the spirit toward descending stages in matter. In the middle of the central metamorphosis (the fourth) there is a reversal of this descending evolution in matter which becomes ascending evolution in spirit (the last three metamorphoses), but in conscious form. Matter, ascending into the spirit, anticipates the characteristics that will be its own in the future.
This is because in the middle of the fourth metamorphosis the Ego of the Earth, the Christ, enters into earthly evolution. Half of the fourth metamorphosis thus acts as a mirror of cosmic evolution so that: the first metamorphosis (Ancient Saturn) is reflected in a conscious form in the seventh (Future Volcano) that is 1=7; the second metamorphosis (Ancient Sun) is reflected in a conscious form in the sixth (Future Venus) that is 2=6 and finally the third metamorphosis (Ancient Moon) is reflected in a conscious form in the fifth (Future Jupiter) that is 3=5.
The first and seventh metamorphosis will also take place in the highest spiritual world, the Upper Devachan or Arupa Devachan and will have as its inferior substance the formed spirit (Rupa). The second and sixth metamorphoses will take place in the Lower Devachan or Rupa Devachan and will have as inferior substance the astral (Astral World). The third and the fifth metamorphosis in the Astral or Animal World and will have as inferior substance the etheric (Etheric World). The fourth metamorphosis takes place in the Physical World and has as its superior substance the etheric of the Etheric World.
Evolution by septenarians – Rudolf Steiner (1905)
A cosmic biography
Just as there is an individual biography, there is a cosmic one, which is divided into seven-year cycles. What happens in the 7 Metamorphoses of the Earth, the cosmic week of creation from the Ancient Saturn to the Future Volcano, gives the impetus to all subsequent evolution in time by instilling the fundamental note.
In evolution, everything is repeated and nothing remains the same, in fact each repetition of a previous cycle is infused with the characteristics of the next cycle, so that you never have twice the same conditions but the same archetype is declined several times in order to express its total potential.
The present Age of Pisces begins in 1413 and ends in 3573 the Age of Aquarius. The Age of Pisces is the age of the conscious soul in which humanity develops its spiritual soul through the ego that processes the experiences of the physical body. Here the soul becomes aware of matter and, at the same time, of the spiritual foundation of existence.
In the following Age of Aquarius, humanity will develop the seed of Manas, the Spiritual Self, which will allow man to feel as much an individual ego as a universal ego: for this reason the first communities dedicated entirely to brotherhood in spirit will have to arise, which will have as their ideal the Grail and what its search means.
Every spiritual community is in power a community of the Grail, which, if it correctly develops its group soul, compared to the general evolution, will then receive its group spirit, just as the soul of the individual who becomes a chalice receives the Spiritual Self.