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Cosmic Memory - Rudolf SteinerCosmic Memory

Prehistory of Earth and Man
18 essays by Rudolf Steiner

Cosmic Memory comprises what are probably the earliest written descriptions given by Rudolf Steiner on the prehistoric evolution of the earth and humanity. These essays were originally published in monthly instalments in 1904 in the Theosophical periodical “Lucifer Gnosis”, and were compiled and published in book form about 35 years later.

The name “Cosmic Memory” refers to what is understood in occult/spiritual circles as the Akashic Record or “Akasha”. In the lecture course Rosicrucian Wisdom which Steiner gave in 1907, he described the Akashic Record as follows:

“What is the Akashic Record? We can form the truest conception of it by realizing that whatever comes to pass on our earth makes a lasting impression upon certain delicate essences, an impression which can be discovered by a seer who has attained initiation. It is not an ordinary but a living record. Suppose a human being lived in the first century after Christ; what he thought, felt and willed in those days, what passed into deeds – this is not obliterated but preserved in this delicate essence. The seer can behold it – not as though recorded in a history book, but as it actually happened. How an individual moved, what he did, a journey he took – it can all be seen in those spiritual pictures; the impulses of will, the feelings, the thoughts, can also be seen. But we must not imagine that those pictures are impressions made by physical personalities. That is not the case, as we can see from a simple example. When we move a hand our will pervades the moving hand, and it is this force of will, which is hidden here, that can be seen in the Akashic Record . . . .”

Cosmic Memory opens its examination of the past with an exploration of the ancient continent of Atlantis which he describes as having existed between Europe, Africa and North America, describing the various Atlantean groupings (subraces), their attributes and activities. He then works backwards in time to view the nature and activities of an earlier humanity, which existed under very different earthly conditions in the region of what are now the oceanic regions off the southeast coasts of Asia. The entire coastal configuration of the world in both the Atlantean and Lemurian periods were very different from what we are familiar with today. Much that is above water today was then submerged and vice versa.

The further back in time that Steiner views, the less can we represent it with thoughts and concepts that are born out of our contemporary experience of ourselves and the world, and this should be borne in mind in contemplating his descriptions. He describes the division of an earlier androgynous Lemurian humanity into the sexes and in relation to this the separation of the moon from the earth, which had been combined in a single cosmic body prior to this.

Steiner then takes us further to earlier primordial states of earth evolution where we cannot speak of a substantiality that we can recognise today. These were pre-physical periods when humanity and the earth itself were still held within the higher astral and spiritual dimensions and had not yet begun to ‘precipitate’ into outer form and dimensional space.

The latter chapters in Cosmic Memory deal with the four embodiments of the earth, which are examined in chronological sequence – Saturn, Sun, Moon and Earth. (The first three of these should not be confused with the current cosmic bodies of these names.) This is finally followed by the evolution of fourfold nature of man (physical, etheric, astral and ego) in relation to these embodiments.

Cosmic Memory is an excellent introduction to the anthroposophical perspective of human and world evolution, especially if read and considered along with the 1907 lecture course mentioned above: Rosicrucian Wisdom: An Introduction.

Steiner Books
Trans. Karl E. Zimmer
255pp; paperback
ISBN: 0-89345-227-0
 

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