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The Lemurian Era

According to Steiner, originally there was no solid matter at all; and then the Earth and solar system slowly condensed  through the stages of first fire, then air, then  liquid, then finally solid matter.  Even as late as the early Lemurian period, the world was still not as solid as it is now, and the Earth and moon were a single large mass.  According to Steiner, "Ancient Lemuria was a continent between the present continents of Asia, Africa, and Australia, and was inhabited by a very different humanity."  Of course, the idea of Lemuria and the Lemurian Root Race comes originally from Blavatsky, who in turn was influenced by the 19th century Darwinist Ernst Haekel, who had suggested a hypothetical continent to explain the distribution of lemurs!  Thus obsolete science forms the foundation for Theosophical, Anthroposophical, and New Age "fact".

Now, according to Steiner, early Lemurian man was a sort of only semi-physical amorphous or jellyfish-like aquatic form, not yet possessed of individual consciousness.  Interestingly, the whole environment and  picture of the organisms (nominally called "man")  reminds one of imaginative scenes of life on Jupiter postulated by some scientists a decade or so ago.   It was supposed by those scientists that jellyfish-like forms could exist and drift in the thick and ocean-like atmosphere of Jupiter.  Now the search for life has shifted to speculation regarding oceans on Europa beneath vast layers of ice.  The tremendous magnetioc field generated by Jupiter would however make any organic life on that moon unlikely.

It was only during the Lemurian Era, Steiner claims, that the moon seperated from the Earth.  As Steiner explains it, as the earth-moon body became denser, "the human substance now to be found there became too hard and ligneous to enable them to incarnate." (Luke 82) Fewer and fewer human souls were powerful enough to utilize the hardening earthly bodies. Finally only "one main pair retained sufficient strength to master the stubborn substance and to incarnate on the Earth through the period when the Moon was separating from the Earth." (Luke 83).

"Spiritual Science independently confirms the Adam and Eve account of the bible." Paul E. Chu exclains (Life Before Birth, Life on Earth, Life After Death, p. 98).  Which makes you wonder at the rational capacities of certain Anthroposophists.  (First, they take Steiner's word as goiospel truth.  Then, they take the Gospels as gospel truth!  ;-)

"It became necessary to remove the densifying forces in the earth-moon which was still in a warmth-vapor-fluidic state...Towards the middle of Lemuria, the seventh leading Spirit of Form, at a tremendous sacrifice of not continuing his normal development on the sun with those of His Hierarchy, "chose another task for the benefit of humanity. This being took out the densest of the earth-moon forces, together with the matter connected with those forces and separated our moon out, leaving our present earth."

"This event caused a great revolution. The objects which surround man lost a great part of their heat. These objects thereby entered into a coarser and denser substantiality. Man must live in this cooler environment." (Cosmic Memory p.136).

Following the ejection of the moon the Earth was able to attain a more solid form.  In this respect at least, Steiner's position is the opposite of Blavatsky's.  According to Blavatsky the moon is actually the "corpse" of the Earth from the preceeding cosmic cycle, and hence much older than the Earrh.  According to Steiner the moon is much younger than the Earth, and was thrown off from it.  This is actually a now-disproved theory of lunar formation that was popular in Steiner's day, hence we see how his supposed "clairvoyance" simply reflects very often his own understanding of the world, rather than being an objective analysis of it.

Paul E. Chu explains (Life Before Birth, Life on Earth, Life After Death, pp.99-100) that

"The separated moon forces would have hardened the human entities and would have prevented his development in the right way. This Spirit of Form thus works on man from outside since then, just as the sun beings do. This Being is the Elohim known as Jehovah in the Old Testament. Jehovah is the Regent of the Moon who guides mankind's development from that sphere."

Interestingly, Ann Ree Colton refers to Jehovah as the "race lord" who is associated with the Swadhisthana chakra and the Moon, and who stirs up wars and stuff every so often.  Her association of Jehovah with the Moon seems to indicate influence from either Steiner or Theosophy (in any case Theosophical concepts are marked in her work, and her description of the aura  is astonishingly like that of Leadbeater).

"After the separation of the moon, substantiality increases....During the Lemurian epoch, man assumed a form which made it possible for him to develop his fourth principle, the Ego."

The Ego was the gift to humanity of the six leading Spirits of Form who had made the sun their sphere of activity. They sacrificed their substance, the Cosmic Ego, and gave man a "drop" of this ego. The totality of these six Sun Beings is called in our age, CHRIST."

"Before the separation of the moon with its densifying forces, no ego could live in the human bodies on earth."

Here we have a Gnostic and Manichaean concept, the "Divine Spark" as an emanation from teh Gods or fromn a Divine being who incarnated in Earth.  In Kabbalah likewise, especially the Zohar, the Neshamah or Divine Soul is a spark of Binah, the Divine Understanding.

There is an inconsistency in Steiner's teachings in that he elsewhere refers to the Cosmic Christ giving man an individual ego only with the incarnation and crucifiction of Jesus.  Such discrepancies are very common in his teachings.

"After the moon separated there is a transformation of the human form. Those organs which previously had served for nutrition and reproduction are transformed into organs of speech and thought. Man has become upright." (Cosmic Memory pp.136-7)

Hermann Poppelbaum and other Anthroposophistst make the interesting suggestion that the first appearance of bipedalism in animals on Earth (among Palaeos com Triassic Palaeos com thecodont reptiles) was actually an Earthly reflection of the ethereal man standing upright!

After the separation of the Moon, earth as we know it today began. Because of this, the Anthroposophist E. Haegmann identifies the second half of the Lemurian epoch with the Precambrain and early Paleozoic eras, rather than (as Poppelbaum does) the Mesozoic era.  This results in a time-scale of almost Young Earth Creationist minisculeness.

Steiner taught there was a reversal in the appearance of the kingdoms on earth "After the moon's withdrawal, the entire plan of evolution appears in reverse." (John 61).  Anthroposophical cosmology asserts that man (or mineral man) appeared first on Old Saturn, then animals came into existence in a rudimentary stage on Old Sun, the plant kingdom was added on Old Moon, and the mineral kingdom precipitated in the Earth condition.  But now the mineral kingdom revivified first, then the plant kingdom, then the animal kingdom, and finally the human kingdom.


The animal souls united with the earthly bodies too soon, as the bodies were too hardened and had not been sufficiently revivified by the sun forces, and the animals became fixed in their forms. The astral qualities or instincts worked in a moulding way on the astral currents, then on rarified air, then on the cloud-like-fluidic substances. Finally when the earthy materials precipitated out, the forms became fixed because the instincts united with the physical bodies. The astral qualities and instincts determined the physical form of each animal species.  Each animal species reveals an inner quality is expressed in its form. Into these forms had been built all the wisdom in the Old Moon period by the Spirits of Wisdom.  The astral qualities were already present on Ancient Moon before there was solid matter. But only on earth is there the solid state of matter and this permeated the astral forms to produce the visible animal species. These astral qualities, according to Steiner, are in reality exudations of the human astral qualities developed on the Old Moon stage. They take on separate physical form, thus freeing human beings for higher development.

The animal kingdom, therefore, are those beings which take out from humanity numerous retarding astral qualities and concentrate them within the animal species. Mankind therefore, owes to the animal kingdom the possibility of developing          to higher stages unhindered by all the hampering, retarding astral qualities precipitated out by the animal kingdom.

Steiner's explanation of the incarnation of the animal kingdom is interesting, because it forms the basis of a sort of Goethian zoology, or zoosophy, brilliiantly elaborated by Hermann Poppelbaum.

Steiner describes at some length the society developed by the late Lemurian human beings.  These returning souls, who had previously sought refuge in the various the planetary spheres, grouped themselves in oracles known by the names of their planets, as Saturn Mysteries, Jupiter, Mars, Mercury, and Venus.  Steiner explains that all these were found in the ancient world and were the beginning of the modern races.  This of course makes very difficult the arguments of those who have tried to integrate the Anthroposophical and Scientific timescales.  Generally the Lemurian is identified with the Palaeos com Mesozoic (and sometimes also the Palaeos com Paleozoic) eras.  We know of course that no human fossils of any sort have been found from these relatively early stages in the history life.  Theosophical and Anthroposophists writers, like Poppelbaum and others, argue this is because man (unlike animals and plants) had not yet materialised at this stage, but still continued in the etheric plane.  This however is not what Steiner says.  Whilst Poppelbaum's account of the Lemurian era is interesting and imaginative (if quite dated as regards his conception of dinosaurs), Steiner's description of the same era reveals a completely different reality.  Steiner refers to fantastical and ridiculous elements, such as the degenerating forces spawned by the developing human consciousness that created great fire storms and destroyed the continent of Lemuria.  (this seems a rehash of the theosophical myth of teh Atlanteans destroying their continent through mis-use of psychic powers).  Seen from this perspective, as a sort of imaginative, mythopoetic, and dream--like consciousness, Steiner's Lemurian Era is rather more reminiscent of transpersonal psychologist Ken Wilber's "Typhon" or "Body-Ego" stage of psychogenesis, indicating that both are tapping into the same psycho-mythic reality

The Lemurian  age as the Late Paleozoic and Mesozoic Era, according to Dr Hermann Poppelbaum The Lemurian Era according to Blavatsky  The Pranic and Axial and the Image self substages of Ken Wilber's "Body-Ego" stage of Psychogenesis

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page by M.Alan Kazlev
page uploaded 29 December 1999