Recently I was asked to give my opinion on Rudolf Steiner’s reference to “Supermen [Superhuman beings] from Venus, Mercury, and Vulcan” who are here in our time inspiring humanity. This question is quite profound and needs to be understood if we wish to come into contact with the beings who have helped create and inspire spiritual science.
I have addressed this question previously in an article found on OurSpirit.com which is featured below:
This question is quite frequently written about and yet little is understood about what Dr. Steiner said about this topic. It is often debated whether these beings are forms of the Angels, Archangels, and Archai who are intimately connected to human development through thinking, feeling, and willing; or are these beings aspects of our own threefold spirit that manifest through the forces of Imagination, Inspiration, and Intuition. Some have even argued that these beings are, in fact, the higher nature of humanity from the future coming to us to bring the three spiritual principles of the Spirit Self, Life Spirit, and Spirit Man [Spirit Human] into the souls of humans.
Much could be said about these different opinions and the debate continues. Personally, I take up the side of the debate that these are higher hierarchical beings, since in one place Steiner refers to “other beings – not of the human order” and in another place calls them “heavenly beings.” Unfortunately, these indications are not definitive and leave plenty of wiggle-room for further discussion. These quotes are also confounded by the fact that Steiner has also referred to our “older brothers and sisters from the Pleiades” who are working together with human beings for the advancement of spiritual science and human spiritual development.
References to ‘supermen from Vulcan’ and ‘older brothers and sisters from the Pleiades’ stir the imagination quite thoroughly and bring many unanswered questions to mind. But the bottom line seems clear in that the “ever present help of the spiritual world” is always there to support humans in taking the next step in wedding their soul to their spirit. The Being Anthroposophia is called the ‘mid-wife of the soul helping birth the spirit’ who ‘passes through’ the human being whenever another step is taken towards the spirit. So whether it is Anthroposophia, the Archangel Michael, our Guardian Angel, one or another of the nine hierarchical ranks of spiritual beings, the Holy Trinity, supermen from Venus/Mercury/Vulcan, our higher self, or siblings from the Pleiades doesn’t seem to matter so much as long as we know that our efforts toward the spirit will be aided by spiritual beings anxious for our higher evolution.
Below are a few selections of Rudolf Steiner’s indications concerning the future ‘Incarnations of the Earth’ called Jupiter, Venus, and Vulcan and the beings associated with those future stages of human spiritual development. These stages align with humans evolving into Angels, Archangels, and Archai in the distant future. But since time and space will transform radically as these stages of development unfold, we could rightly ask the question: “Are these spiritual beings who are here to help us actually our three higher spiritual selves coming to wed our soul to the spirit?” This question, and many others concerning these indications are yet to be fully answered and understood. Only time will tell if our spirit is working with hierarchical beings to aid in our personal spiritual development, or that our own three higher selves are helping our personal evolution from the future, or if our world is populated by other spiritual beings who wish to help us evolve. We hope that the selections below will help you formulate your own opinions concerning these transcendent questions and aid in developing spiritual science within your soul and spirit.
Materialism and the Task of Anthroposophy, Rudolf Steiner, Lecture 14, GA 204:
“Thus, since the eighties of the nineteenth century, heavenly beings are seeking to enter this earth existence. Just as the Vulcan men were the last to come down to earth, so Vulcan beings are now actually entering this earth existence. Heavenly beings are already here in our earth existence. And it is thanks to the fact that beings from beyond the earth are bringing messages down into this earthly existence that it is possible at all to have a comprehensive spiritual science today.
Taken as a whole, however, how does the human race behave? If I may say so, the human race behaves in a cosmically rude way toward the beings who are appearing from the cosmos on earth, albeit, to begin with, only slowly. Humanity takes no notice of them, ignores them. It is this that will lead the earth into increasingly tragic conditions. For in the course of the next few centuries, more and more spirit beings will move among us whose language we ought to understand. We shall understand it only if we seek to comprehend what comes from them, namely, the contents of spiritual science. This is what they wish to bestow on us. They want us to act according to spiritual science; they want this spiritual science to be translated into social action and the conduct of earthly life.
Since the last third of the nineteenth century, we are actually dealing with the influx of spirit beings from the universe. Initially, these were beings dwelling in the sphere between moon and Mercury, but they are closing in upon earth, so to say, seeking to gain a foothold in earthly life through human beings imbuing themselves with thoughts of spiritual beings in the cosmos. This is another way of describing what I outlined earlier when I said that we must call our shadowy intellect to life with the pictures of spiritual science. That is the abstract way of describing it. The description is concrete when we say: Spirit beings are seeking to come down into earth existence and must be received. Upheaval upon upheaval will ensue, and earth existence will at length arrive at social chaos if these beings descended and human existence were to consist only of opposition against them. For these beings wish to be nothing less than the advance guard of what will happen to earth existence when the moon reunites once again with earth.
Nowadays it may appear comparatively harmless to people when they think only those automatic, lifeless thoughts that arise through comprehension of the mineral world itself and the mineral element’s effects in plant, animal, and man. Yes, indeed, people revel in these thoughts; as materialists, they feel good about them, for only such thoughts are conceived today. But imagine that people were to continue thinking in this way, unfolding nothing but such thoughts until the eighth millennium when moon existence will once more unite with the life of the earth. What would come about then? The beings I have spoken about will descend gradually to the earth. Vulcan beings, Vulcan supermen, Venus supermen, Mercury supermen, sun supermen, and so on will unite themselves with earth existence. Yet, if human beings persist in their opposition to them, this earth existence will pass over into chaos in the course of the next few thousand years.”
A Picture of Earth-Evolution in the Future, Lecture by Rudolf Steiner, Dornach, May 13th, 1921, GA 204
“This quickening to life of the shadow-pictures of the intellect is not only a human but a cosmic event. You will remember the passage in the book Occult Science dealing with the time when the human souls ascended to the planets and afterwards descended once more to earth-existence. I spoke of how the Mars-men, the Jupiter-men and the others descended again to earth. Now an event of great significance came to pass at the end of the seventies of last century. It is an event that can be described only in the light of facts which are revealed to us in the spiritual world. Whereas in the days of old Atlantis human beings came down to the earth from Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, and so on — that is to say, beings of soul were drawn into the realm of earth-existence — since the end of the seventies of last century, other Beings — not of the human order — have been descending to the earth for the purposes of their further development. From cosmic realms beyond the earth they come down to the earth and enter into a definite relationship with human beings. Since the eighties of the nineteenth century, super-earthly Beings have been seeking to enter the sphere of earth-existence. Just as the Vulcan-men were the last to come down to the earth so now Vulcan Beings are actually coming into the realm of earthly existence. Super-earthly Beings are already here, and the fact that we are able to have a connected body of Spiritual Science at all today is due to the circumstance that Beings from beyond the earth are bringing the messages from the spiritual world down into earth-existence.
But, speaking generally, what is the attitude adopted by the human race? The human race is behaving, if I may put it so very shabbily to these Beings who are appearing from the cosmos and coming down — slowly and by degrees, it is true — to the earth. The human race does not concern itself with them; it ignores their existence. And it is this which will plunge the earth into tragic conditions, for in the course of the next centuries more and more Spiritual Beings will be among us — Beings whose language we ought to understand. And this is possible only if we try to grasp what comes from them: namely, the substance and content of Spiritual Science. They want to give it to us and they want us to act in the sense of Spiritual Science. Their desire is that Spiritual Science shall be translated into social behavior and action on the earth.
I repeat, then, that since the last third of the nineteenth century Spiritual Beings from the cosmos have been coming into our own sphere of existence. Their home is the sphere lying between the moon and Mercury, but they are already pressing forward into the realm of earth-existence and seeking to gain a foothold there. And they will be able to find it if human beings are imbued with the thought of their existence. This can also be expressed as I expressed it just now, by saying that our shadowy intellect must be quickened to life by the pictures of Spiritual Science. We are speaking of concrete fact when we say: Spiritual Beings are seeking to come down into earth-existence and ought to be willingly received. Catastrophe after catastrophe must ensue, and earthly life will fall at length into social chaos, if opposition is maintained in human existence to the advent of these Beings. They desire nothing else than to be the advance-guards of what will happen to earth-existence when the moon is once again united with the earth.
Today people may consider it comparatively harmless to elaborate only those automatic, lifeless thoughts which arise in connection with the mineral world and the mineral nature of plant, animal and man. Materialists revel in such thoughts which are — well — thoughts and nothing more. But try to imagine what will happen if men go on unfolding no other kinds of thoughts until the time is reached in the eighth millennium for the moon-existence to unite again with the earth. These Beings of whom I have spoken will gradually come down to the earth. Vulcan Beings, ‘Supermen’ of Vulcan, ‘Supermen’ of Venus, of Mercury, of the Sun, will unite with this earth-existence. But if human beings persist in nothing but opposition to them, earth-existence will pass over into chaos in the course of the next few thousand years.
It will be quite possible for the men of earth, if they so wish, to develop a more and more automatic form of intellect — but that can also happen amid conditions of barbarism. Full and complete manhood, however, cannot come to expression in such a form of intellect, and men will have no relationship to the Beings who would fain come towards them in earth-existence. And all those Beings of whom men have such an erroneous conception because the shadowy intellect can only grasp the mineral nature, the crudely material nature in the minerals, plants and animals, nay even in the human kingdom itself — all these thoughts which have no reality will in a trice become substantial realities when the moon unites again with the earth. And from the earth there will spring forth a terrible brood of beings, a brood of automata of an order of existence lying between the mineral and the plant kingdoms, and possessed of an overwhelming power of intellect.
This swarm will seize upon the earth, will spread over the earth like a network of ghastly, spider-like creatures, of an order lower than that of plant-existence, but possessed of overpowering wisdom. These spidery creatures will be all interlocked with one another, and in their outward movements they will imitate the thoughts that men have spun out of the shadowy intellect that has not allowed itself to be quickened by the new form of Imaginative Knowledge by Spiritual Science. All the thoughts that lack substance and reality will then be endowed with being.
The earth will be surrounded — as it is now with air and as it sometimes is with swarms of locusts — with a brood of terrible spider-like creatures, half-mineral, half-plant, interweaving with masterly intelligence, it is true, but with intensely evil intent. And in so far as man has not allowed his shadowy intellectual concepts to be quickened to life, his existence will be united not with the Beings who have been trying to descend since the last third of the nineteenth century, but with this ghastly brood of half-mineral, half-plantlike creatures. He will have to live together with these spider-like creatures and to continue his cosmic existence within the order of evolution into which this brood will then enter.
I have been speaking today of a matter upon which we cannot form a lukewarm judgment, for it is part and parcel of the very texture of cosmic existence. The issue at stake is whether human beings will resolve in the present epoch to make themselves worthy to receive what the good Spirits who want to unite with men are bringing down from the cosmos, or whether men intend to seek their future cosmic existence within the tangled, spider-brood of their own shadowy thoughts.
Cosmic Memory, The Earth and Its Future, Chapter 13, GA 11:
“Life proceeds with the greatest speed on Saturn, the rapidity then decreases on the Sun, becomes still less on the Moon and reaches its slowest phase on the earth. On the latter it becomes slower and slower, to the point at which self-consciousness develops. Then the speed increases again. Therefore, today man has already passed the time of the greatest slowness of his development. Life has begun to accelerate again. On Jupiter the speed of the Moon, on Venus that of the Sun will again be attained. The last planet which can still be counted among the series of earthly transformations, and hence follows Venus, is called Vulcan by mystery science. On this planet the provisional goal of the development of mankind is attained. The condition of consciousness into which man enters there is called piety or spiritual consciousness. Man will attain it in the seventh cycle of Vulcan after a repetition of the six preceding stages. Not much can be publicly communicated about the life on this planet. In mystery science one speaks of it in such a way that it is said, ‘No soul which, with its thinking is still tied to a physical body, should reflect about Vulcan and its life.’ That is, only the mystery students of the higher order, who may leave their physical body and can acquire supersensible knowledge outside of it, can learn something about Vulcan.”
Mystery Centers, Lecture 9, GA 232:
“And now when the pupil felt everything flowing together into his heart which he had experienced earlier, just as I described it to you yesterday, all that he had experienced in his soul, manifested itself at the same time as the experience of the planet. Man has a thought. The thought does not remain within the skin of the man. The thought begins to resound. The thought becomes Word. That which the man lives forms itself into Word. In the Vulcan-planet the Word spreads itself out. Everything in the Vulcan-planet is speaking living Being. Word sounds to Word. Word explains itself by Word. Word speaks to Word. Word learns to understand Word. Man feels himself as the World-understanding Word, as the Word-world understanding Word. While this was present before the candidate for Initiation in Hibernia, he knew himself to be in the Vulcan existence, in the last metamorphosed condition of the earth-planet.”
Spiritual Hierarchies, Lecture 5, GA 110:
“The course of evolution is this: a Sun, which from the beginning is included in such a system, has at first to throw off its planets, being too weak to develop further without excluding them. It grows strong, absorbs its planets again, and grows into a Vulcan. Then the whole is dissolved, and from the Vulcan globe is formed a hollow globe which is something like the circles of Thrones, Cherubim, Seraphim, etc. The Sun will thus dissolve in space, sacrifice itself, send forth its Being into the Universe, and through this will itself become a circle of Beings like the Thrones, Cherubim, Seraphim, which will then advance towards new creation.”
Foundations of Esotericism, Lecture 25, Berlin, October 27, 1905, GA 93:
“In the Seventh Round man will create himself. He will then be able to duplicate, to reproduce himself. In the Seventh Round [Vulcan] everyone will have reached the stage at which our Masters stand today. Then our ego will be the bearer of all earthly experiences. To begin with this will be concentrated in the Lodge of the Masters. The higher ego then will draw itself together, become atomic and form the atoms of (future) Jupiter.
The White Lodge will be looked upon as a unity, an ego comprising everything. All human egos and all separateness will be given up and will flow together into the all-comprehensive universal consciousness; great circles, expanded from within, each having a special color, all assembled together in one single circle. When one thinks of them as laid one upon the other the result is an all-inclusive color. All the egos are within it, making a whole. This immense globe, contracted, constitutes the atom. This multiplies itself, creating itself out of itself. These then are the atoms which will form Jupiter. The Moon Adepts formed the atoms of the present-day Earth. One can study the atom when one studies the plan of the Adepts Lodge on the Moon.
On the future Venus a complete consciousness in the etheric body will develop. Then, while man sleeps, he will gain a consciousness concerning the other side of the world. On Vulcan the spirit is completely detached; he has then taken the etheric body also with him. This condition endows man with an exact knowledge of the entire world.”
Theosophy of the Rosicrucians, Rudolf Steiner, Lecture 8, GA 99:
“That the human being can pass through seven such planetary conditions is the meaning of evolution. Each planetary stage is bound up with the development of one of the seven states of human consciousness, and through what takes place on each planet the physical organs for such a state of consciousness are perfected. You will have a more highly developed organ, a psychic organ, on Jupiter; on Venus there will be an organ through which man will be able to develop physically the consciousness possessed by the initiate today on the Devachanic plane. And on Vulcan the Spiritual consciousness will prevail, which the initiate possesses today when he is in Higher Devachan, the World of Reason.
So much, so inconceivably much, has gone into our becoming what we are. And there is so inconceivably much contained in the Earth evolution that is still to come, and in our passage through the spheres of Jupiter, Venus and Vulcan! Only little by little does one disentangle oneself from the implications of current thought and approach that which, because it is more spiritual, is more difficult to conceive and is rarely touched on by the habitual thinking of people of today. Observing man as he presently is on Earth, we see that the seeds, so to speak, of what will develop during Jupiter, Venus and Vulcan already are hidden within him. But the human being is also the result of the Saturn, Sun and Moon spheres. Yesterday I said that wisdom and everything concerned with truth was established on Old Sun and will be completed on Jupiter. The seed that was planted on Old Sun will more or less complete its development on Jupiter. Thus we can say: The period within which truth develops stretches from Sun to Jupiter. On Jupiter truth will have become thoroughly inward, and so will have become wisdom: Truth becomes wisdom!”