Twelve Zodiac Imaginations

by Imme von Eckardtstein, following advise by Rudolf Steiner.

The signs follow the Sidereal astrology using the visible sky for its zodiac system. 

with texts about the background to these imaginations by Suso Vetter,

following the book of “Occult science” of Rudolf Steiner.

We start with the first four imaginations, going backward through the Zodiak. They describe the three cosmic evolutionary stages of the earth, beginning with in Pisces and ending with Sagittarius as picturing the first “mineral” stage in the evolution of the planet


“The earth germs emerge from the bosom of the world in dark warmth. Saturn-Repetition”.

Indication of Rudolf Steiner to this picture

From his spiritual research, Rudolf Steiner describes three great cosmic precursors prior to the present earthly existence, which he describes as Saturn, Sun and Moon development. In the transition from one stage to the next, there is a dissolution of everything that has been formed so far. At the beginning of the new cycle of development, the previous ones are repeated in a condensed form, according to the incipient new conditions. Thus, in the above sentence for the “Pisces” picture, reference is made to the Saturn repetition at the beginning of the earth’s evolution. However, in order to form an idea of this, it is necessary to look back to the original Saturn development.

This ancient Saturn development was the cosmic primordial state of human and earth evolution, which lay in a purely spiritual-soul existence.

In still previous stages of existence, spiritual beings developed to such a height that they were able to sacrifice out of their own being the substance which formed the starting point and the basis for the world goals of the highest divinity, the Trinity. It is the Thrones or spirits of the will from the circle of the first Hierarchy who sacrifice their soul-warmth substance for the events of the world and let it flow towards the Cherubim who rule above them and carry the plans of the gods within them. In this way a cosmic primordial realm is created, which is filled with spiritual warmth currents, but lives in complete darkness.

The beings of the Second Hierarchy, the Spirits of Wisdom, Movement and Form, work into this flowing warmth. In this way a division occurs in the heat being, and egg-like formations are formed. These “warmth-eggs, individualized from the total warmth, are the first germinal predisposition to the later physical body of man. They cover the whole surface of Saturn’s body, and are so moved that in the course of development they come under the formative forces of the whole circumference, especially the region of the Cherubim, which form the forerunner of the later zodiac. Above and in the ancient Saturn there is a kind of “brood warmth,” as comparatively in a bird’s nest to-day, whereby the formations take place within the bird’s egg.

About the middle of Saturn’s development, the Spirits of the Personality, or Archai, let something of their essence radiate into the human germs from the circumference and experience a kind of ego-consciousness in the reflection; they pass through their human stage, whereby the individual formations acquire a “personality character”. In this process, a “external” warmth is divided out of the originally purely soul-spiritual heat substance, and between the two areas, the inner soul fire and the outwardly perceptible fire, a neutral heat arises in the egg forms.

“It’s as if the warmth of the soul were radiating in from the outside, but holding back from what is in there as a neutral fire. From the inside, the actually perceptible heat is repelled. So that you have actually enclosed that which is such a warmth-egg between two currents.” This causes the eggs to rotate around the whole of Saturn.

Towards the end of Saturn’s development, a kind of inner life begins in the human beings, which manifests itself by a trembling flicker, like the twitching of lightning, in individual places by a shining and radiance. They are associated with hierarchical beings called fire spirits or Archangels.


“Solar repetition in the airy-gaseous.”

Indication of Rudolf Steiner to this picture

To get a picture of what happened in a condensed form on the Sun’s repeat stage of the earth, let us look at the old state of the Sun, which followed the Saturn development after an intermediate phase of complete spiritualization of everything that had come into being so far.

After a brief repetition of Saturn’s events in the realm of warmth, the Spirits of Wisdom, the highest level of the Second Hierarchy, allow the etheric substance to flow from their nature into the new cosmic body. As a result, the dark sun being begins to glow, and life begins as a phenomenon of the world. It also begins for the physical human germs emanating from Saturn, to which the etheric or life body is added in a first disposition. It permeates one part of the form of warmth, while the other remains freely connected with it.

At the same time as these processes, a part of the heat transferred from Saturn is compressed into a state which may be described by a modern term as “gaseous” or “airy”. When the “gas is condensed out of the warmth, the element of light arises as a “dilution,” as a refinement, so that the solar being lives as as a being of warmth, permeated by a gaseous, luminous celestial body.

At this stage, the human being shows itself as an image of the state of the sun: the physical body is a kind of embryonic form of warmth, into which air forms are incorporated, and “which shines in the most wonderful way and in the most diverse colours.” As part of the solar structure, man radiates “the luminosity of light into cosmic space”. The Fire spirits are connected with this work of light, and they experience a kind of human level. The enclosed air formations are brought into an ascending and descending stream by the spirits of movement, the Dynameis, like the juices in plants today, the whole is permeated by the vital forces of the etheric body.

In the course of development, the figures take on more permanent forms through the work of the Spirits of Form, the Exusiai.

In this ancient solar existence, laws prevail which are also at work in today’s plant area: a root-like, denser aspect strives downwards and a luminous illumination of flower forms upwards. Man was in a plant-like existence.

“Imagine a ball of gas and in it weaves light, living light that sprouts up, which in the sprouting makes the gaseous shoot up like the forms of light blossoms, and in turn has the endeavour to hold down what wants to flash up, which in turn holds the old sun together at the centre…” It is an “inner weaving of light, heat and air… “

Towards the end of the development of the sun, man is like a plant acting as a personality, but in the consciousness of sleep, like the plants of today.

Just as at the end of Saturn’s evolution the following state of the Sun is announced in the flashing of the heat-egg-formations, so at the end of the old Sun there are indications of the watery element as a precursor of the following Moon’s evolution.


“Repetition of the moon, the watery is formed.”

Indication of Rudolf Steiner to this picture

Again, for what happened at the Moon repetition on the earth level, let us look back at the old Moon development. It followed the Saturn and Sun states and, after the preceding spiritualized intermediate period, at first repeated these preliminary stages in a condensed form.

Then, in addition to what has been done before, the Spirits of Movement will insert the soul-astral into the development out of the soul-astral from their powers. In the human ancestors stirs what forms into their astral body. In this way the first psychic qualities appear: pleasure and pain, desire, but in a very dull, dreamlike state of consciousness.

On the one hand, the influx of the astral relates to a further condensation of the substance from the gaseous-airy into the “aqueous” and, on the other hand, upwards into a sound-ordering etheric field.

The physical body of man is now a body of water, permeated by air and warmth, which is slowly condensed into viscousness. Its surroundings, the basic substance of the Moon’s body, are in a semi-living state, an intermediate state between mineral and vegetable, which is in a state of sometimes sluggish, sometimes lively motion. The separation of the physical body from its surroundings is not nearly as pronounced as it is today; it moves in a kind of floating state in its environment and constantly transforms.

Man on the old moon, by addition of the astral body, has become a threefold being with the etheric body of the Sun and the physical body of Saturn, in which, however, the three members are still loosely connected. He is a kind of animal being, but superior to the animals of today, with an animal-like, faun-like head shape, from which the etheric body and the astral body protrude. This main figure is mobile and pictorial as an expression of the dull life of consciousness, which alternates between devotion to the Sun life in the cosmos and to the Moon life, a more-being-with-oneself. It is a first echo of what will be waking and sleeping on earth.

The torso shows a more and more determined, denser shape compared to the head. The lower nature of man, in which the imperfections of Saturn and the Sun were embedded, had to be excreted and reformed from time to time. Later, when the processes of hardening became stronger and stronger, it is like shedding or abondening  and renewing the physical and etheric bodies. It echoes the later abandonment and reformation of man’s corporeality during the course through the incarnations on earth.

This man of the Moon period was as if as enveloped in an “ego cloud”, floating above,  in which an angelic being acted as a leader and experienced a kind of human stage in this activity.

For the constellations Pisces, Aquarius, and Capricorn, in retrospect of the three planetary precursors of the earth and with regard to the soul formation of man, feeling can be seen as one side of the metamorphosed Saturn warmth forces, thinking as a transformation of a part of the sun-light forces and volition as a metamorphosis of moon movement impulses.


«Earth, the solid subdivides. (Development before the separation of the Moon) “

Indication of Rudolf Steiner to this picture

After the repetitions of the planetary precursors of the earth, the actual development of the earth begins, which brings the condensation into the “solid”, the earth element, into the realm of the lifeless, the dead. As a refined antithesis appears the fourth and highest etheric formative force area, the life ether.

At the beginning of this time, the physical body of man still consisted of the warmth, air, and water elements. In their upper regions, the human forms have fine, substantial, plant- and flower-like, mobile forms; they are like “fluttering flowers”.

Then the condensation of a part of the existing substance into the “earthy” begins, but at first only as delicate as, say, the scent of a flower. This is brought about by higher sun beings, who let their forces flow in from the sun, which had previously detached itself from the earth.

As it progresses, the physical body of man becomes more and more shadowy through the incorporation of the condensing earth. The predisposition to the later form of the head is most clearly developed, while the other organs appear like indistinct appendages. And these body forms change according to the state of the soul of the human being and the regions of the earth in which the human ancestor lives. A kind of “fish-bird-animal form” is formed, which swims and floats in the mud-like primeval sea.

From the preliminary stages of the earth, the actual human being, the physical body, the etheric body, and the astral body, had been joined together as sheaths for the ego. The incipient condensation into the earthy was now connected with a further rapprochement of the ego from above to the corporeality, which takes place in connection with the work of the spirits of form, the Exusiai. For this imminent absorption of an ego-consciousness through the human sheaths, as was appropriate for the stage of development at that time, the astral body formed a form like a shell open at the top.

The approach of the ego allows a force from above to flow into the body of the human being, which causes it to be slowly lifted from the floating, swimming horizontal to the upright. As a physical support for the upright posture of the human being, the spine is now predisposed. This upright attitude is the bodily prerequisite for the development of the ego-consciousness of our time, which can lead to freedom of thought. One could speak of an incipient spiritualization of man from the backbone.

From below, however, the lower passions strongly worked and burrowed into the corporeality, so that the human “shell shows itself at the very edge of ugliness”.

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