“In the effect of light, man does not yet distinguish … between the outer and the inner. When light pictures appear around him, they do not always produce the same feeling in the soul of the earth man. There were times when he felt them as external images. This was during the period when he had just descended from the disembodied state into incarnation. It was the period of his growth on earth. As the time approached for the embryo to be developed those images faded, and man only retained something like inner memory-pictures of them. The actions of the Sons of Fire (Archangels) were contained in the light pictures, which appeared to man to be the survivors of the Fire-spirits who sent down a spark into his own inner being. When their outer manifestations died away, man felt them inwardly in the form of images (memories). He felt himself united with their forces. And so indeed he was. For by means of what he had received from them, he was able to work upon his surrounding atmosphere. This, under his influence, began to emit light.
“At that time, nature forces and human forces were not as yet separated from each other as they subsequently became. What happened on earth still emanated to a great extent from human forces.” ~Rudolf Steiner
Inner and Outer Light
It is not clear exactly what Steiner means by inner and outer light, but we can make a reasonable guess. I think that what he is calling outer light is physical light. The light of the physical sun, the stars, or even the artificial light of light bulbs would all fall into that group. The inner light must then mean spiritual light. Spiritual light cannot be seen by the physical eyes, but only by the spirit and soul. For that reason, such light could be considered inner light. But we should not confuse that explanation with meaning that spiritual light originates inside of us. It does not. It originates in the spirits of the stars and the sun. Or more correctly, it originates with God, who sends it down to the lower levels of being through the stars, including our own sun.
When practicing spiritual techniques that involve looking at the Spiritual Sun, many see images and geometric shapes. This is often manifest to us as the sun itself appears to change shape. Sometimes it becomes a square, other times a triangle, ore even multiple round suns. On rare occasions, some may see images more complex than simple geometric shapes. But don’t dismiss those simple forms as something meaningless. Geometry is the language of the soul and when those shapes appear, it indicates that the Spiritual Sun is communicating with our soul.
Another kind of light picture is those of the imagination. It can be said that everything that exists as a physical object or being started as a light picture or thought.
I don’t know for sure what Steiner meant when he says that Man was in a disembodied state because it makes it sound like Man in those days was missing something. In truth, when we were pure spirits, we were not missing anything, we were exactly as God made us and wanted us to be. When we descended into matter and grew physical bodies, this was not an improvement, but a true descent.
Human and Nature Forces
I don’t think Steiner means things like tornadoes and hurricanes when he talks about nature forces. I think he is talking more about the creative forces. This is something that is not well understood, and is an advanced subject in spiritual schools.
I guess we could say that both Man and nature have creative forces. It is also reasonable to say that they are different now, although they may have once been the same. That would have been when man operated within the Laws of God and Nature, which few do now.
What I think Steiner is saying is that much of what exists in the physical realm—both good and bad—is the result of those human forces, the creativity of man. We turn the light pictures into physical reality with our thoughts, desires, and emotions. This is often called “manifesting” now. But without getting into that subject too deeply, let me just say that Steiner refers to these forces as those of Man, not individual men and women. When individuals decide on their own to turn some of those light pictures into physical reality, basically one of two things happen. Either they fail in the effort, or they succeed and create something that shouldn’t exist and its creation is a problem. That is why it should be up to Man as a whole, and especially spiritually developed Man (which includes women) to turn those light images into physical reality. As most spiritual people know, the ultimate goal of God’s Plan is to turn the world of matter back into spirit. For that reason, it is unwise to arbitrarily create physical objects from those light pictures.