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The 9 Seven-year Cycles of Man’s Biography

Updated: Jan 20, 2022

Settenni biografia

The diagram of the Biography in the 9 Seven Years of Man according to George O’Neil, Gisela O’Neil and further elaborated by Florin Lowndes and published in “The Human Life” (Mercury Press).

The foundation of the practice of Biographical Counseling is the unique and unrepeatable biography of every human being. In the biography there is a progressive development of the bodies according to cycles of seven years, the Seven-year Cycles or Septenniums, which are therefore related to the planets, starting from the Moon to Saturn. These phases are also recapitulations of the past Epochs of Culture of humanity and, once they have passed the 6th and 7th Seven Years, they become anticipations that prefigure the next Epochs of Culture (6th and 7th) with their evolutionary mission brought back to the level of the individual.

According to the Biographical Counseling approach, we are spirits who make a human experience. Only the spirit finds the meaning of things, of people, the meaning of its own life on Earth. We can summarize this process in the aphorism:

If you want to know yourself, seek in the world; if you want to know the world, seek in yourself.

Only when body, soul and spirit are in perfect harmony with Nature and the Cosmos, does man find his I. All this can be discovered when we understand the development of the archetypes that act in our life: this development takes place in seven years.

It was Hippocrates (460 – 377 B.C.), the father of medicine, the one to whom doctors still swear today, to speak publicly about the connection between the planets and human life, a knowledge of the Ancient Mysteries:

In human existence there are seven times that we call “age”: infant, child, adolescent, young, adult, mature man, old man. The changing period of the Moon, during early childhood, is replaced by that of Mercury, in which the first knowledge is acquired, then that of Venus, which reveals its strength in the passionate emotions of adolescence; then comes the zenith of life, the three seven years of full life force and desires for expansion. The kingdom of the evil Mars generates a sudden change and leads to the struggles, bitterness and disillusions of adulthood. Then, under the scepter of Jupiter, once again appears a peak of life, maturity proper, which, wise and serene, contemplates the joys and sufferings of existence, always contributing joyfully. Finally, under the star of Saturn, slow and far from the earth, comes the great age in which the vital forces cool and slowly stop.

This mysterious teaching was taken up and extended by Rudolf Steiner. In Anthroposophy, the seven years are not only the deployment of human forces through the sequence of planets in the Cosmos, but they are also the recapitulation of the remote ages of evolution until the mature age in which the creative principle of the I is expressed, according to the Law of Recapitulation. If you want to go deeper into these aspects you can read “The Human Life” (Mercury Press) by George O’Neil, Gisela O’Neil and Florin Lowndes.

Let us now take an ideal succession of human development. Service for the World If the child as a young child playing the game has succeeded to donate his entire living being to the world around him He will then be able in the serious tasks of adult life, give oneself by the power of trust serving of the world. – Rudolf Steiner

Three Seven Years of the Past

Childhood (0-7), youth (7-14) and adolescence (14-21) are the first three seven years in which man goes to form the three inferior bodies, physical, etheric and astral, by means of the forces of Nature, the “Gods”, which weave in his constitution. These three seven years are, as a whole, under the influence of Lucifer’s obstacle. Of these three ages of man is in fact precisely the heat, movement and inflammation that build the physical body by means of the etheric forces. As long as the physical body is to be formed, the etheric forces are engaged in growth, but when they are released, they become available as forces of thought. In these three seven years the past acts to create the vehicles in which the I, representing the present, and the three spirits, the Spiritual Self, the Vital Spirit and the Spirit-Man, can then operate. The past is therefore understood both as the cosmic past, of the Ancient Saturn, the Ancient Sun and the Ancient Moon, and of the previous incarnations of the I, which goes to build its new bodily envelopes from the Lemurian Age when karma came into being due to the influence of light.

Childhood – 1st Seven-year Cycle Moon: 0-7 years old

In the 1st seven-year cycle occurs the development of the physical body that recapitulates the inner Era Atlantis. The physical body is born on Earth, through the womb of the mother. In this seven-year cycle the imitation of the behaviour of the parents or the family environment prevails. The child as a whole is a sense organ that reflects the environment around it. Family values are received, which are generally derived from religion. These values inspire reverence. Childhood is the age at which the family must give love to the child in order to instill trust in the world, Goodness is the ideal of this seven-year-old, for only if the child is loved will he or she love the world. Before birth, the human I assumes upon itself its own destiny (karma) necessary for its future evolution. At physical birth onwards, the physical body develops. At the age of three, the child perceives himself as an “I” distinct from others. In this seven-year-old child is in the Age of Imitation, in which the child’s being tends to become a reflection of the environment around him, just as the Moon reflects all the cosmic impulses of the planets. The moral impulses that are received in Reverence are imparted. Goodness is experienced within the family so that the child says to himself, “I feel loved and people are good. At the beginning of his existence man is the Son of Mother Nature.

Youthfulness – 2nd Seven-year Cycle of Mercury: 7-14 years old

In the 2nd seven-year period the development of the etheric body takes place, which recapitulates the 1st Paleo-Indian Era. At the age of 7 the etheric birth takes place, i.e. the child is born from the etheric body of the mother, progressively untied from its vital processes in this seven-year-old. In this seven-year-old, identification prevails where the child recognizes the natural authority of the parents as well as the teachers. Education, both family and school, helps to energize the forces in the etheric body, that is, to create life forces that will serve for the rest of life. The prevailing feeling is faith; the child instinctively recapitulates the ritualistic and religious practices of the past. Beauty is the ideal of this seven-year-old, which inspires us to live life joyfully. It is the age of wonder at life. The etheric body develops and with it the fundamental physiological processes, the change of teeth is the main event that determines the detachment from the etheric aura of the mother. It is the Age of Identification, in which the boy’s being tends to seek authority in adults who give an example. Faith develops as a Life Force that moves the young person to believe in himself, in others and in the world. Beauty is fully enjoyed as the foundation of life. From the unconscious, the forces of nature make way for the child to share in the world so that “Everything is wonderful!

Adolescence – 3rd Seven-year Cycle of Venus: 14-21 years old

In the 3rd seven-year cycle the astral body is developed, which recapitulates the 2nd Paleo-Persian Era. The young man is now born from the astral body of the mother, emancipating himself also from the point of view of feelings. The age of independence begins as an autonomous inner life is formed. The rebellion that often manifests itself at this age is a consequence of what happens in the astral body. The adolescent begins to seek knowledge and therefore begins to make judgments. The ideal of this seven-year-old is the Truth, which is taken from ideas and concepts. The adolescent wants to judge by himself, he feels free for the first time, and yet he is afraid of it. With sexual development, in fact, an understanding of death and the end of things is also born, a realization that can be terrible. The astral body develops and with it the fundamental soul processes. The sentient soul is born and so puberty comes, which determines the detachment from the astral aura of the mother. The Age of Independence begins, as an autonomous inner life is forming in the adolescent. The Rebellion serves to seek its own identity with new values compared to those received by the family: the Personal Judgement develops, and the desire to acquire knowledge of the world is born. Thus the Truth is received in the form of concepts and ideas, thus saying “I judge for myself!

Three Seven Years of the Present

The “I” (Sun) is developed over the next three seven years (21-28; 28-35; 35-42). The “I” begins to approach man at the age of 21, then becomes completely incarnated around the age of 33 and begins its ascent to the Spirit from the age of 36. There are three Seven Years associated with the Sun, as three Seven Years are necessary for the development of the “I” with respect to the astral body, the etheric body and the physical body. It is also the consequence of the fact that the “I” of man belongs to the Sphere of the Sun, having been created through the sacrifice of the Elohim, the Spirits of the Form of the Sun.

Young Adult – 4th Seven-year Cycle of the Sun I: 21-28 years old

In the 4th Seven-year Cycle the Sentient Soul – Intuitive Soul that recapitulates the 3rd Egyptian Era is developed. The sentient soul is born in the soul of the young adult. This is the first birth outside the subtle bodies of the mother. This is the age of adventure in which one meets the world to experience it. One tries to make one’s own experiences because, unconsciously, the “I” finds itself in what exists outside. If, before the age of 27, no spiritual seeds have been introduced into the soul life of the young adult, after this age it will be very difficult to be reborn in spirit after the 5th seven-year cycle. It is also called “death of 27 years” and indicates a block in the development of the sentient soul state, which can be carried on until the end of life. The person will then be a teenager who has grown up in the body of an old man. The “I” is incarnated in the human soul and through feeling the sentient soul is formed. Once the “I” is born in the soul, the young person enters the Age of Adventure in search of personal experience. It is at this age that the Discovery of the World takes place, saying to himself, “I experience.

Young Adult – 5th Seven-year Cycle of the Sun II: 28-35 years old

In the 5th seven-year cycle is developed the Rational Soul – Inspirational Soul that recapitulates the 4th Greek-Roman Age. The rational soul is born in the soul of the young adult. This is often the most dramatic moment in the inner life of a human being. Experiences in the external world are no longer sufficient and one has to work on those experiences in order to develop a fruit of them. Thought predominates, and therefore an attempt is made to bring order to what has been lived so far. It is around the age of 33 that the person can experience that period of depression that leads him/her to profoundly change character and behaviour. This event can also be slightly anticipated (28) or delayed (35) depending on the individual’s biography. In a sense, the soul dies and is reborn in the “I”. When this rebirth is complete all experiences and knowledge are reorganized around individuality, so that the personality does not take over and assumes its role as an instrument. The “I” forms through thinking the rational soul. This is the Age of Work on Experience, in which the young adult finds himself having to understand the experiences accumulated up to that moment by exclusively taking into account the forces of nature that worked in him to produce his physical, etheric and astral body. The “I” that is born within the rational soul generates a watershed so that he can recognize his life mission for the first time. The energies are now dedicated to Organizing Knowledge, so much so that the phrase is “I think”. Around the age of 33 the young adult can fall into a deep crisis of depression in which all ancient values die, the so-called Mystical Death whose phrase is “I Die and I Become”. This is the total change in the course of one’s life, first oriented by the ancient forces of Nature and now oriented by the new forces of the human spirit. From this moment the descending phase of life towards the incarnation ends and the ascending phase of life towards the spirit begins.

Maturity – 6th Seven-year Cycle of the Sun III: 35-42 years old

In the 6th seven-year cycle the Conscious Soul – Imaginative Soul is developed, which is equivalent to the current 5th Post-Atlantic Era. The conscious soul is born in the adult soul. Everything that has been dissolved and recreated in the melting pot of the “I” must now pour into the world as action. Initially it will be the most difficult seven-year period, because life must completely reorganize itself on new equilibriums, but in the course of this seven-year period it will be the action that will lead to the discovery of the self. It will finally be understood that our actions bring responsibilities to them. What was sown spiritually before the age of 27 is now beginning to germinate, in the form of projects that, when mature, bring ideals to them. The”I” forms through the will of the conscious soul. In this Dark Age of Solitude, the adult is rebuilding his world on the foundation of new individual values. Something totally new is finally being brought into the world through this impulse of Resurrection. The adult needs to enter into Action and take responsibility, and it is repeated “I will do it! Both work and responsibility allow the adult to meet himself through his neighbor who stands before him with a question that corresponds to the answer in his conscious soul.

Three Seven Years of the Future

Full maturity (42-49), advanced maturity (49-56), and senility (56-63) are the last three seven years in which man goes to form the three higher spirits, the Spiritual Self, Vital Spirit, and Man-Spirit, by means of the forces which flow from the “I” in union with the action of Christ, the Solar Spirit through whom everything is made new. These three seven years are, as a whole, under the influence of Ahriman’s obstacle. Of these three ages of man is in fact precisely the cold, slowness and sclerosis of the physical, which is destroyed for the benefit of the spiritual that is born in the soul of man. In these three seven years the future acts to anticipate what will be the future spiritual evolution in the 6th and 7th Era of the Apocalypse that will follow our 5th Post-Atlantic Era. The future is therefore understood both as a cosmic future where these spiritual principles will mature: in the Future Jupiter the Spiritual Self, in the Future Venus the Vital Spirit and in the Future Volcano the Man-Spirit.

Full Maturity – 7th Seven-year Cycle of Mars: 42-49 years old

In the 7th seven-year cycle the spiritual Self is developed, prefiguring the 6th Post-Atlantic Russian-Slavic Era. It anticipates the evolution of the Spiritual Self through which the “I” meets its neighbor. Full public activity can begin now. The ideal of the Truth of the 3rd seven-year cycle returns, but this time the Truth is returned by the “I” to the world, that is, one shares the fruit of one’s own knowledge. Knowledge is drawn from actions that lead to a judgment. One begins to develop knowledge through images, that is, Imagination, in which one transcends the limits imposed by space and time. In this seven-year period the “I” begins to work through the astral body to form what in the distant future will be the first of the three aspects of the spirit, the Spiritual Self. It is the conscious recapitulation of the seven-year cycle of Venus (14-21 years), in which the Truth is lived in things and events, the Judgement is concretized as practical knowledge in action. The Truth is manifested through human individuality, which therefore can go out into the world and become publicly known for its original work. To do this, it is necessary to develop the Imaginative Consciousness, that is, thinking through symbolic images that presupposes the recognition of archetypes in images, dreams, symbols and so on.

Advanced Maturity – 8th Seven-year Cycle of Jupiter: 49-56 years old

In the 8th seven-year cycle, the vital spirit that prefigures the Seventh American Post-Atlantic Era is developed. The evolution of the Vital Spirit is anticipated, through which inspiration is received from above, qualitative thought and inspiration is developed. One is finally aware of one’s own spiritual impulse and the ideal of Beauty of the 2nd seven-year cycle returns, which is applied to life. The art of living inspires one’s neighbor. It is the period in which man experiences the creativity from which he draws vital forces. The “I” begins to work through the etheric body to form what in the distant future will be the second of the three aspects of the spirit, the Vital Spirit. This is the conscious recapitulation of the seven-year cycle of Mercury (7-14 years), in which Beauty is lived through creative action, the Vital Forces come to materialize in this Creative Age. The adult can inspire others in the Art of Living, through what he has realized as a conscious spiritual impulse. To do this, it is necessary to develop Inspirational Consciousness, that is, thinking in words that have their own living quality, which presupposes the recognition of archetypes in the expressions of sound, music and speech.

Senility – 9th Seven-year Cycle of Saturn: 56-63 years old

In the 9th seven-year cycle the Man-Spirit is developed which prefigures the Sixth Age or the 7 Seals. The evolution of the Man-Spirit is anticipated, an attempt is made to form a community of the spirit, that is, a spiritualization of the family of the 1st seven-year cycle. Goodness is the ideal that returns, which is realized together with the others. Religious life is finally practiced in itself, therefore, beyond the denomination. Intuition is developed, that is, love as a cognitive force. At the age of 63 the individual karma of this incarnation comes to an end, beyond which the residual karma must be compensated in a future incarnation. The “I” begins to work through the physical body to form what in the distant future will be the third of the three aspects of the spirit, the Spirit-Man. It is the conscious recapitulation of the Moon seven-year cycle (0-7 years), in which Goodness is lived through the relationship with one’s neighbor. Reverence for cosmic and divine forces acquires a practical dimension, thus realizing the Brotherhood of the Spirit which translates into Community of Spirit. To do this it is necessary to develop Intuitive Consciousness, that is, thinking for living beings, which presupposes the recognition of ideas as living beings with whom a human relationship is established. Love thus becomes a cognitive force.

Seven years of the Son of the Gods

Having crossed the limit of karma in this incarnation, at the age of 63, man is free and becomes a “Son of the Gods”, that is to say, the gods of the planets who have accompanied him to that point leave him free. The “I” is the new God in the making who renews all the gods of the past and for this incarnation he finally has his mission which, as the Superior “I”, he set himself in accordance with the Spiritual Hierarchies before descending to Earth. In general we can say that in these further seven years we are either being more and more spiritualized or we are becoming more and more bound to the earthly sphere. The bond to the earthly sphere occurs because of the inability to fill with moral forces what is taken away from us by physical aging. Rudolf Steiner had not spoken about the seven years after the 63rd year, the limit of Saturn’s 9th seven-year cycle, and he himself lived on the physical plane only until his 64th year, just one year after he became Son of the Gods.

Beyond the 9th Seven-year Cycle:

10th Seven-year Cycle of Uranus

11th Seven-year Cycle of Neptune

12th Seven-year Cycle of Pluto

At the age of 63 the destiny (karma) that the soul has taken charge of is completely exhausted. The vital forces of Nature as well as those of human desire have been completely transmuted and dominated by the cosmic forces of which man has become the spokesman. Thus, after the age of 63 years Cosmos decrees that “Man is free” from his karma. Thus he prepares himself for the passage through the Death Threshold, where he will return to live in the spiritual world. The next seven years from the age of 63 on, the 8th seven-year cycle (63-70, Uranus), 9th seven-year cycle (70-77, Neptune) and 10th seven-year cycle (77-84, Pluto), take place in a completely different way from the previous ones. In the absence of Steiner’s indications, the association between the successive 7-year-old and the planets is to be considered in analogy to the solar system, and yet we must pay attention to the fact that the planets that concern human evolution stop at the 7th Heaven of Saturn, the Zodiac band being the next 8th Heaven. Uranus, Neptune and Pluto detached immediately at the beginning of the evolution of the Ancient Saturn, being in fact celestial bodies that host spiritual beings “guests” of our solar system and that are part of waves of life preceding that of the Thrones that began the evolution saturnia through the sacrifice of the body of heat in the Ancient Saturn. Even in Astrology, the influences of Uranus, Neptune and Pluto do not so much affect the individual as entire human generations. Therefore, we can say that the next three seven years are prefigurations of even more distant stages of evolution, beyond the Future Volcano, which we will not deal with.

Biographical Counseling:

  1. We are spirits who make a human experience, unique and unrepeatable, which we call Biography.

  2. However, when we are not aware of the immense archetypal forces that act in life, we lose the meaning of events.

  3. Biographical Counseling helps us to recognize our potential, to make conscious choices for our spiritual evolution.

The Biographical Counseling interview takes place like this…

  1. Let’s talk about your biography, from birth to interview, and how we would like to evolve spiritually. Let’s divide your biography into seven years and discover the rhythms and forces at work.

  2. Let’s draw a picture of the archetypes at stake, recognizing and interpreting them.

  3. We outline how to write in full consciousness the continuation of the biography. Let’s walk back together towards freedom.


In order to avoid misunderstandings remember that Counseling has nothing to do with Psychiatry or Psychotherapy, only the psychiatrist or psychotherapist can diagnose and treat psychological disorders. Counseling is concerned with the maintenance of a person’s well-being, as well as disharmonies present in the absence of organic or psychic pathologies.

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