The Michael Mystery
XIX. What is the Earth, in reality, in the Macrocosm?
The successive stages in the growth of the Cosmos and Mankind have been regarded in these studies from the most various aspects. It has been seen that the forces of his being come to Man from the extra-terrestrial Cosmos, all except those which give him his consciousness of Self; these he has from the Earth.
This gives at once the significance of the Earth-world for Man. To this now comes the question: what significance has the Earth-world for the Macrocosm?
To arrive at any answer to this question, we must look back at the previous observations.
The Macrocosm is seen by the clairvoyant consciousness of the seer in every greater fullness of life, the farther back his vision penetrates into the past. Its life in a remote past is such that at a certain point all calculability of its life-manifestations ceases. From this fullness of life Man is gradually separated out. The Macrocosm passes over more and more into the sphere of the Calculable.
Therewith however, it slowly dies out. In the same measure as Man, the Microcosm, emerges as an independent being out of the Macrocosm, the Macrocosm died.
The cosmic Present shows an extinct Macrocosm. But in the process not only Man has arisen; out of the Macrocosm has arisen also the Earth.
Man, who draws from the Earth the forces for his own Self-consciousness, is inwardly much too close to the Earth to have a clear perception of its essential character and being. In all their active development of Self-consciousness during the age of the Spiritual Soul, men have accustomed themselves to turn their attention to the size of the Universe in space, and to look upon the Earth as a grain of dust, of no significance in comparison with the physical spatial Universe.
It may therefore at first seem strange, when spiritual observation of the facts discloses the true cosmic significance of this supposed ‘grain of dust.’
The substructure of the Earth is the mineral world, in which the other kingdoms of Nature, the vegetable and animal worlds, are as it were embedded.
Through the whole, run those living forces which manifest themselves during the course of the year in its successive phenomena. If we look at the Vegetable world: in autumn and winter it manifests forces of physical decay and death. The consciousness of the seer recognizes in this form of manifestation the inner being of those forces which have brought about the decay of the macrocosm. In spring and summer, the life of the plant-world is a manifestation of growing, sprouting forces. Clairvoyant consciousness recognizes in this growing, sprouting life, not only the green bounty of the revolving year, but a surplus. The surplus is one of young seed-force. The plants bear within them more young seed-force than they can use for the growth of leaves and flowers and fruit. This excess of young seed-force can be perceived with spiritual sight, streaming forth beyond the earth-world into the macrocosm outside it.
So too an excess of force streams from the Mineral kingdom into the Cosmos beyond the Earth. It is the task of this excess of mineral force to carry the forces from the plants to their allotted places in the macrocosm. Under the influence of the mineral forces, the plant-forces shape themselves into the new image of an ordered macrocosm.
Again, there are forces which go forth from the Animal world. These forces do not however act like the mineral and vegetable ones, radiating outward form the Earth, but in such a way that all that is carried out from the plant-world by the mineral forces into the Universe, to take shape there is held together in a sphere (a globe) so as to present the aspect of a macrocosm rounded in on all sides and self-contained.
Such is the true character and being of Earth, as seen to spiritually perceptive consciousness. It stands as a source of new life in the midst of the dead and dying Macrocosm.
As out of the little plant-seed — in space so small and insignificant — the large and perfect plant grows up again when the old one is dead and fallen, so out of that ‘grain of dust,’ the Earth, a new Macrocosm will grow up, while the old one dies and falls to pieces.
A true view of the Earth, in its real character and being, sees everywhere in it's the springing life-seed of a forth-coming World. Thereby alone can one arrive at an understanding of the natural world and its kingdoms, by learning to recognize in them all this seedling life.
Man's earthly existence is carried on in the midst of this new-upspringing life. He has his part in the up-springing of the new, as well as in the life that is extinct and dead. From the dead, he has his Thinking forces. So long as, in the past, these Thinking forces came from the still living macrocosm, they gave no basis for Self-conscious Man. They lived as forces of Growth, in Man who had as yet no consciousness of Self. The forces of Thought must have no inherent life of their own, if they are to afford a basis for Man's free Self-Consciousness. They, with the dead and dying macrocosm, must remain dead shadows of what was living in an earlier cosmic age.
On the other hand Man has his part in the Earth's new, upspringing life. From this he has his Will-forces. These are very life; but just because of this, Man cannot partake in their real being with his Self-consciousness. They send forth their beams in the interior of the human being, radiating into the Thought-shadows. With them mingles the stream of shadows; and in this mingled stream, where free human Thought unfolds amid the new, upspringing life of Earth, during the Age of the Spiritual Soul there grows to full free life in Man the consciousness of his human Self.
The Past casting Shadows, the Future holding Seeds of new reality, meet in the being of Man. And their meeting is the human life of the Present.
That this is the case, becomes clear at once to the consciousness of the seer when turning to that region of the spirit-world which directly adjoins the physical, and which is also the scene of Michael's labours.
The life of the whole earthly world grows plain when, underlying it all, one recognizes the life-seed of a new universe. Every plant in its variety, every stone, appears in a new light to the human soul which learns to perceive how every one of these forms of being — through its special life, though its special shape — contributes to make the entire Earth the embryo-seed of a new, reviving Macrocosm.
Let anyone but once try to make the thought of these facts alive within himself, and he will feel what such a thought can signify for the human heart and mind.
In the beginning of the age of the Spiritual Soul, men have accustomed themselves to direct their observation to the physical proportions of the Universe in Space, and to regard primarily its bigness in this respect. Accordingly, they speak of the Earth as a grain of dust in the midst of this, to physical appearance, so gigantic Universe.
To the consciousness of the seer, this ‘grain of dust’ reveals itself as the first life-seed of a newly arising Macrocosm; whilst the old Macrocosm can be seen to have died out. It was necessary for it to die and become extinct, in order that Man might separate himself out from it in full Self-consciousness.
In the present cosmic age, Man takes part in the dead and dying Macrocosm with his Thinking forces, which give him freedom; whilst with his Will-forces, whose real being is hid from him, he takes part in the young Macrocosm that is springing up as Earth-born seed into new life.