“When the Lords of Wisdom begin to stream forth their etheric body, the Sun, previously dark, begins to shine. At the same time the first appearances of inner activity are seen in the human germ; life has begun. What had to be described as a semblance of life on Saturn now becomes actual life. The influx lasts for a certain time, at the end of which an import and change for the human germ sets in—that is to say, it organizes itself into two parts. Whereas up to this point the physical and etheric bodies formed an intimately connected whole, the physical body now begins to detach itself as a separate part. Yet even that separated physical body is still pervaded by the etheric body. Therefore we have now to do with a human being composed of two principles. One portion is a physical body permeated by an etheric body; the other is an etheric body and nothing else. This separation comes to pass, however, during a period of rest in the Sun life. During this pause the shining, which had begun to appear, dies away. The separation takes place during a ‘cosmic night,’ as it were.” ~Rudolf Steiner
Sun Begins to Shine
Wait a minute. Doesn’t the sun always shine? Yes and no. Steiner is not talking about the physical light of the physical sun. He is talking about the spiritual light of the spiritual sun. so what Steiner is saying in an allegorical way is that the sun doesn’t truly shine until it shines with the eternal light of spirit.
The spiritual sun has been shining for quite a long time, so exactly when it started to shine doesn’t really matter to us. What does matter is why it shines.
To Whom it May Concern
If we were purely material beings, it would not matter at all if the spiritual sun shines. But we are not purely material beings. We are just as much spiritual beings, if not more. And the plants and animals have spirits as well. And spirits are not nourished by the physical sun. They need the spiritual light of the spiritual sun.
The spiritual sun is not always the same. We are fortunate enough to be living in the time of a special version of the spiritual sun called the Sun of Righteousness. This is the sun the Old Testament prophet Malachi wrote about. It is brighter than the previous spiritual sun and continues to get brighter all the time. This sun can awaken the dormant spirits and souls or humans more easily than the previous sun. Still, we have to try if that is to happen to us. The sun is not going too pull us out of bed, shake us, and shout “Wake Up!” At us. It sends more subtle signals to us that are gradually waking up some of us. And as more and more of us are awakened, it becomes easier for others to follow.
At the beginning of the fall into matter, Steiner says man split into two parts. One part being pure spirit, or what he calls “etheric”. The other part being almost pure matter, with only a bit of spirit left in it. This makes sense when we consider what we know about our energy centers. Each of our spiritual energy centers forms two centers on the psychic and physical levels of being.
Yet there are some who disagree with Steiner. They say that man, as a total, descended from spirit into matter. That prior to the fall, man had no matter in him at all. In fact, matter didn’t exist until the fall, when it was created by the error of the Demiurge. That seems to be more accurate to me. Perhaps Steiner meant his version to be more allegorical than literal.
Cosmic Night and a New Dawn
Steiner says this separation of man takes place during a period of darkness he labels the Cosmic Night. Of course, darkness here is a relative term and refers primarily to a lack of spiritual light. The physical sun still shines, but the spiritual sun is dim.
But as already noted, that time is over. The Sun of Righteousness has arrived and we are at the dawn of a new Golden Age. What happens next depends as much on us as on God and the angels. We can work hard to transform ourselves into more and more spiritual beings until we become pure spirits once again. God will help, of course, but He won’t do it for us. Because He gave us a certain degree of free will, we must make the decision to change and work at it. If we do this, Earth and everything on it will transform to spirit as well. If we don’t, we will fall even further into matter and be lost forever.