Keeping the Light Alive!
Monthly articles demonstrating Rudolf Steiner’s relevance to today’s world
Adrian Anderson Ph. D., author of books and articles on anthroposophy
August 2016: Understanding ourselves: the ‘intellectual-soul’
Last month we explored the nature of our sentient-soul, our emotional capacities. This month we shall consider our capacity for logical, rational thought, or what Rudolf Steiner calls our ‘intellectual-soul’. This part of our soul started to develop much later in humanity’s evolution than the sentient-soul, in fact, some millions of years later. A definite, if faint, emergence of a capacity of logical thought, only happened in the second epoch of the Atlantean Age, which occurred approximately 20-22,000 BC. However, the pre-conditions for our intellectual-soul, that is, the alterations to our soul, our life-forces and our body, came about in a much more ancient time: in the Mid-Lemurian Age. This happened when the influence upon the Earth of the sun passing through Scorpio was very strong. This influence, repeated over long ages, caused the human race to split gradually into the two sexes. Until then humanity had been ‘hermaphrodite’ or self-reproducing.
This new human situation meant that only half of the life-forces were available to each person for reproduction, and consequently the divine beings, the gods who oversee our evolution, could enable the etheric body to start developing the brain. Back in Lemurian times our current, quite prominent forehead did not exist; there was just an ugly, low, sloping head. But our appearance began to slowly improve as the frontal lobe of the brain started to develop. In late Atlantis the forehead had substantially developed. The intellectual-soul could start to become a definable power in our soul life, because an organ for its manifestation in the body, particularly the brain, had been formed.
The soul quality which we experience as our intelligence, is a capacity of our soul, and as such it is strongly present in our aura, where it manifests in a green colour. But it is also true that our intelligence, our mind, is permeated by cosmic forces from the zodiac. Rudolf Steiner taught that, as the brain was being formed, twelve significant nerves formed within it; these are a reflection of the zodiac. Consequently the way we each use our logical mind is coloured by the particular zodiac sign in which we were born, (and also by the zodiac sign in which the planet Mercury is located in our horoscope).
The capacity of our intelligence, although part of our soul, is affected by our etheric body (or life-energies). Our etheric body is the mediator to our soul of ideas and insightful, flashes of thoughts. The etheric body has either an enhanced, or a decreased, capacity to carry out its functions, depending on how vital and responsive it is, or how withered and unresponsive it may be. (It is harmed by a poor diet, by excessive exposure to electro-smog, and by lack of exposure to beauty, that is, to sights and sounds full of beauty and harmony.) The nature of the intellectual-soul is explored further in my Rudolf Steiner Handbook.
Many insights into such fascinating revelations from anthroposophy are available in the scenes carved into the windows of the Goetheanum; these portray the hidden side of one’s emotional and intellectual qualities and the challenges these bring play in the path to spiritual development. In September, I shall tell you about my latest book, The Meaning of the Goetheanum Windows, which will be available then. It offers beautiful reproductions of the scenes depicted in each window.
All the best until then,
For more about these themes, see my book: the Rudolf Steiner Handbook (available from Steiner book stores, Amazon/Book Depository, etc
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