By Willi Sucher

Traditional astrology, as it has been handed down from the past, and being based primarily on the birth chart alone, allows us to consider only that part of human existence proceeding from birth to death. Hence the situation has evolved that on the one hand we stand constantly confronted by experience with the fact that a con­nection somehow exists between human destiny and the movement of the stars, but on the other hand that no satisfactory explanation can be given for this connection that does justice at the same time to human freedom. Through Rudolf Steiner, the possibility has been given for our age to consider the human as a being who descends from pre-natal existence in divine spiritual realms into earthly life, and who, after stepping through the Portal of Death, returns to the spiritual world in order to prepare for new Earth incarnations. In the sense of anthroposophical spiritual cognition, it is incumbent on us to speak of a human being whom we encounter in earthly vesture between birth and death as one who, in the condition of existence between death and a new birth, is in reality, a star being. We must surely bear in mind therewith — and in Rudolf Steiner's sense one can — that the star world is not, in this aspect, to be regarded as a cold timepiece, as it would appear from our earthly outlook, but as the garment of beings of the spiritual world. And so it followed for the author to seek to understand our relationship with that of the starry world, according to Rudolf Steiner's directions, and to have to penetrate the existence of humans prior to birth and subsequent to death, in order to discover an astrology worthy of our human dignity as spirit.

We wish to preclude the misunderstanding that any attempt to penetrate the pre-earthly realm of existence should be made in some nebulous mystical way. On the contrary, the point of departure for our studies shall be the natal horoscope of the human being. Whereas the natal horoscope is otherwise projected in general onto the life span between birth and death, here the opposite shall be done, namely, the position of the starry heaven at birth shall be used as a key, or seen as a threshold, to the stages of pre-earthly existenceabout which some thoughts have been expressed in the preceding explanation.

The birth constellation provides a key to the pre-earthly stages, prior to the descent of the human soul, in a very real fashion; more specifically the Moon's position at birth. The position of the Moon is like a portal that shows the way through stages of cosmic existence. One comes indeed, to distinguish three stages, “three star Words,” if one wishes to speak in keeping with the “writing of the stars,” which are directed to human beings. First is the pre-natal configuration that is calculated using the Trutine of Hermes, as will be clarified later; then, the constellation of cosmic thought, to be explained more thoroughly here; and third, there is a configuration which reaches over into the past Earth life. This third constellation will remain a topic for later consideration.

First, we must explain something about the pre-natal configuration. It is common knowledge that significant events take place about nine months prior to the birth of a human being, which from the earthly standpoint we call “conception.” From descriptions of Rudolf Steiner's in many places, we know however that what takes place behind the physical events of conception are spiritual events of great significance. During long epochs of existence, between death and new birth, the human soul has worked in cooperation with beings of the spiritual world in order to create a “spirit-seed” for a new Earth body. When the soul descends, as it were, into the last stage before entering the Earth-sphere, it enters the Moon-sphere and loses contact with the “spirit seed.” This seed connects with what is offered up from the substance of physical inheritance. In the feeling of loss, the human soul, having vested itself in advance with an astral body, draws together out of the cosmic ether an etheric body. In the third week after conception the human I, enwrapped in astral and ether bodies, connects with what has developed as a synchronization of physical and spiritual seeds, and unites the more intimately with it during the embryonic period following.

These events, described briefly here, become reflected in a most penetrating fashion in the starry events about the time of conception. This has been presented and illuminated from a special vantage point in the “Constellation of Christ's Birth” (Elisabeth Vreede, “Die Konstellation zu Christi Geburt,”Astronomische RundschreibenNr.I, Dec 1934, published by the Mathematical-Astronomical Section, The Goetheanum, Dornach, Switzerland); that is, under the aspect of what the “hermetic rule”(trutina hermetis)can reveal about pre-natal existence. The hermetic rule shows itself from various standpoints to be a vestige of real mystery wisdom, about which something regarding its astronomical structure will be explained in future studies. It should only be mentioned here that with this rule the variation of the mean embryonic time of ten sidereal months or 273 days is meant, which is connected to the spiritual events described above. The Moon's position at birth is the key: whether the Moon is waxing or waning, visible above or invisible below the horizon advises with regard to the time, which can lie up to 14 days earlier or later than 273 days before birth. At that time the star constellation of the pre-natal epoch is present, projecting a mighty tableau of the coming Earth life, right into the physiological make-up. Much more must be said in the future about this constellation; may this brief mention of it suffice for the present.

The pre-natal configuration (or epoch) is above all connected in its essence with the Moon sphere. The embryonic development processes are themselves of a lunar nature. The embryo itself swims in water, or the amniotic fluid, as a reflection of the Moon sphere. The corresponding constellation, too, is thoroughly “fluidic” and must be understood in its flowing lightness and liveliness; it has nothing of the congealing nature of the natal configuration in it, which relates to a quite definite moment.

This swimming of the human being in astral occurrences, which is so exceptionally lively in the embryonic period, has a parallel occurrence at the other end of life, in the death constellation. Rudolf Steiner has pointed to the possibility that a horoscope for the moment of passage of the human soul through the portal of death, which can give extraordinary insight into the soul nature of a soul and into its preset karma. Indeed, Rudolf Steiner points out that just as during gestation, the embryo swims in amniotic fluid, so, in the period immediately after death, the human soul swims in the configuration of the planets that stood in the heavens at the moment of death. This has proved true in full detail and will be reported thoroughly when we come to consider the death-configuration.

Here, it is essential to note that a “swimming” at death does take place, being related to the watery condition which is the very essence of the Moon sphere.

We have now worked out how the birth constellation appears as the midpoint, standing over the moment of entry into the physical world; then, preceding it, we find, as if ascending a step higher into the cosmic world, a configuration lying before birth, the prenatal epoch, directing our gaze to the lunar etheric events. At the other end of life a kind of parallel appears in the death configuration reflecting events in the lunar etheric sphere; for in this configuration there is to be glimpsed a mirror image of the ether body, dissolving from that soul, of the tableau of destiny which lights up in those first days.

There remains to be mentioned that the pre-natal epoch must by rights be considered from the viewpoint of the Moon. One is otherwise accustomed to seeing the star constellations from the point of view of the Earth: that is, when we cast or study a natal horoscope, for example, we do so by assuming our earthly standpoint and looking up to the dome of the heavens as to a tableau of appearing stars. This is also how natal horoscopes are cast. But experience shows that if one wants to gain a proper relationship to the pre-natal epoch, to the time defined by the hermetic rule, then one ought not consider the celestial events with the Earth as vantage point, but, ideally, transfer one's vantage point to the Moon and look at the starry spaces from there.

As has already been mentioned, the present study shall be devoted primarily to a description of the constellation of cosmic thought, or one could also say, the configuration of philosophic attitude. If the pre-natal epoch has to do with ascending a stage above the physical to the lunar-etheric element, then the spiritual nativity, or constellation of cosmic thought reaches out, even beyond this; it actually stems from the sphere of the Sun. Despite this, the Sun cannot be looked upon as an absolute pre-natal event, although this configuration may be present long before birth. For it may occur even after birth, turning all time relationships “upside down.” This fact serves as an example showing us that our usual logical concepts of time from the earthly point of view no longer apply. Therefore we have the moment of birth as the proper horoscope or natal configuration; a next higher configuration is the pre-natal epoch, which has been referred to briefly as a Moon configuration; thirdly, a further configuration, the spiritual nativity, which is a Sun configuration. That which has been described here in a simple, sketchy way shall be explained and elucidated little by little.

Just as we speak of a door or portal in everyday terms, connecting one room to another and having to be opened if one wants to go from the one room to the other, so doorways must exist in planetary realms when the human soul wants to descend, let us say, from the Sun sphere to the Moon sphere and then, eventually, to the Earth. Not without deeper reason did Rudolf Steiner continually use the expressions “the portal of death” and “the door of birth.” Such portals must exist; they can be read in the script of the starry heavens, and are indicated by the position of the Moon at birth. The hermetic rule states that the lunar position at birth indicates the “place of the ascendent or descendent at the pre-natal epoch”; that in itself indicates the door leading from the Sun sphere to the Moon sphere. Now we must put these relationships into a picture in order that they may become quite clear.

We have shown in figure 2 below a configuration that could be present at a particular birth. The inner circle indicates the situation at birth. The horizontal line shows the plane of the horizon, while the Moon appears high and visible on the dome of the sky. One should note carefully two essential things. The trutina hermetis (hermetic rule) states that on the one hand the ascendent at birth, i.e., the mathematical elongation of the eastern horizon, meets a point on the zodiac at which the Moon, seen from the Earth, stood at the moment of the pre­natal epoch. This Moon position at the pre-natal epoch is drawn in the second circle. If one (as described above) considers the cosmic situation in this moment from the Moon's position, then one would see the Earth in the position opposite. On the other hand, the trutina hermetis speaks of the lunar position at birth as being the “ascendent of the pre-natal epoch,” as is shown in figure 2.

Therefore two ascendents enter our consideration: the birth ascendent and the pre-natal ascendent. What is expressed by this? One can make clear to oneself via the birth ascendant what the term “ascendent” means at all. Rudolf Steiner speaks of it not only as the point of intersection between the extended line of the eastern horizon and the zodiac, but as the spatial hemisphere in the eastern direction. This he brings into connection with the human central, rhythmic being, the breast, describing a semi-sphere in the structure of the ribs. Therefore the ascendent is an image for what is a connecting bridge between the human upper head being, which is more cosmically oriented, and the lower metabolic being, which is more bound to the Earth forces. The ascendent is therefore a door from the “above” to the “below,” or vice versa. In this manner we can grasp the nature of the ascendent. For the aspect of birth it is the gateway from the lunar cosmic, as it lives in the organism of the head, to the earthly nature, appearing in the human metabolic system. The ascendent of the pre-natal epoch (see figure 2 above) shows the doorway from the Sun sphere downward to the Moon sphere. (The meaning of this doorway extends still further, but more about that later.) One must realize, however, that these portals are not always open for human beings. The portal of birth is open when the eastern direction (ascendent) points to the place in the zodiac where the Moon stood at the moment of the pre-natal epoch. (A definite time of day must be awaited for birth.) The portal from the Sun sphere to the Moon sphere is open, however, when the Moon node is at the point of the pre-natal ascendent or descendent — called the natal lunar position.

In order to make clear what is meant here, let us dwell on the nature of the Moon node. This theme has been covered in detail in an earlier publication of the Mathematical Astronomical Section (Astronomische Rundschreiben 1927-1930; volume 1, nos. 9 and 12). Therefore we may restrict ourselves in the following to only the most basic details necessary to our understanding.

When we consider the relationship of the Moon's orbit to the Sun's orbit (or ecliptic) from our vantage point on Earth (geocentrically), then both orbits do lie within the band of constellations called the zodiac. However, they incline toward each other such that intersections arise at two opposing points. These are called the lunar nodes, ascending or descending, according to the direction from which the Moon crosses the ecliptic. At these points of intersection, therefore, the Moon sphere (enclosed by the lunar orbit) is borne up by the Sun sphere (path of Sun or ecliptic); here both, as it were, clasp hands. N the lunar nodes have the characteristic of moving contrary to the direction in which the Moon and planets move in the zodiac, so that they complete a single, retrograde orbit through the entire zodiac, in 18 years and 7 months. Let us suppose that figure 3 below were to portray the planetary relationships at birth. The Moon's position shows the pre-natal ascendent or portal from the Sun sphere to the Moon sphere; or one could say that the Moon shows the cosmic direction in which the human being has approached the Moon sphere. But the portal first opened when one of the two Moon nodes reached the cosmic position where the Moon stands later at birth. They can attain that position before or after actual birth. Generally it must occur within an 18 year cycle, therefore within a span of about nine years before or after birth. During this span a star configuration occurs that is of utmost importance for the person in question. For, as has been stated, behind it the configuration of philosophic attitude or “cosmic thought” (spiritual nativity) lights up. This corresponds through and through with what Rudolf Steiner has referred to in the lecture cycle, Human and Cosmic Thought.

From an entirely different side, Rudolf Steiner describes in this cycle the various philosophic orientations as being in origin cosmic or divine thoughts, showing in a magnificent way their congenial relationships to the circling constellations and planets. The relationships disclosed in these lectures have been dealt with by Dr. Vreede in the first part of this study. Now, empiric experience shows quite clearly that the stellar configuration appearing when the lunar nodes arrive at the “Cosmic ascendent or descendent,” that is, when the portal from the Sun sphere opens to the Moon sphere (when the Moon node arrives at the ecliptic position of the natal Moon), depicts the special “world-view constellation” as described by Rudolf Steiner with regard to certain personalities. These personalities will be discussed in what follows. According to the examples cited by Rudolf Steiner, it will be shown that the “constellation of cosmic thought” (spiritual nativity) can in fact be re­discovered in stellar events from a spiritual-scientific astrological vantage-point, and as such, is a Sun astral-configuration as against the Moon etheric nature of the pre-natal epoch.

Just as the prenatal epoch can be recognized as compatible with the death configuration, it is possible to find yet another configuration compatible to the spiritual nativity (termed here with reservation as the Sun-sphere configuration). If we recall how the spiritual nativity, or Sun sphere configuration, depicts the philosophic tendencies or inherent spiritual traits of the soul for the ensuing incarnation, traits and tendencies which latently underlie or potentially work through the souls deeds during earthly life, we can thus suppose that the sum total of the soul's deeds during life, depicted in the death horoscope, continue to develop after death. They do, but we must digress to explain.

Immediately after death (or even in near-death conditions during life) the sum total of all the soul's earthly deeds and experiences expand at first into a mighty panorama called the tableau of life. Then, from about two and one-half to three and one-half days following death, this tableau transforms into beings. The soul's deeds and experiences become beings expressing moral qualities. The qualities of these beings can be distinguished as falling roughly into two categories: those that furthered the spiritual development of the Earth and of the human soul itself and those which did not. All deeds and experiences of the soul must be judged before they can continue to expand to the cosmos (or ascend to the higher spiritual world). Beings whom we may indeed call gods or angels judge the soul's deeds and experiences in the light of their wisdom of ultimate Earth goals. Their judgment requires time, and their verdict requires purification of the soul from its useless deeds. The soul experiences their judgment poignantly but accepts their verdict eagerly, for it cognizes both as just and true in the light of ultimate spiritual objectives of Earth evolution. The ensuing period of purification is known as Kamaloka, or purgatory. When it ends, the soul ascends to higher spiritual levels. The judgment of the gods during Kamaloka bears a similar relationship to the divine cosmic thought at the spiritual nativity. And just as it is the lunar node, crossing the natal position of the Moon either prior or subsequent to birth, which thereby invokes the spiritual nativity, we may expect that the lunar node will indicate the end of Kamaloka. It does; but how it does so, must be explained later. Let us bear in mind for the present that there is a configuration indicating the end of Kamaloka, which corresponds to the spiritual nativity on the other side.

To summarize the foregoing briefly: we took the natal configuration as a last, lowermost expression of soul's relationship to the stellar world. On the basis of the birth horoscope, we came to the pre-natal “lunar-etheric-configuration”; then, to the astral-light “Sun-sphere configuration.” Associated with the latter is another event that can lie many years prior to actual birth, but which, in a very real relation between the “cosmic pre-natal ascendent” and the cycle of Saturn, refers back to the time of the previous incarnation. It must be stated emphatically that such a point in time cannot be simply calculated. That would be an impossibility, for here an element prevails that eludes the grasp of the strictly calculable. Then we mentioned the correspondences of these configurations to configurations occurring at the other end of life, when the soul passes through the portal of death, calling one the death configuration and the other the configuration at the end of Kamaloka. Beyond the latter, we eventually find a final “Saturn configuration,” which refers to a future incarnation. In order to unravel the complex connections, the seven branched candelabrum may serve as an image (figure 4). All this can only be mentioned briefly, unfortunately, but perhaps the area in which future considerations can move may at least be clear.

For the present the configuration of cosmic thought alone shall receive careful attention, as it has proved in practice. In the cycle Human and Cosmic Thought, the configuration of philosophic attitude of Hegel is discussed. Rudolf Steiner says there: Hegel is a logical idealist, or in the language of the cosmos, Hegel has Jupiter standing in Aries (see figure 5 below). Now we want to place against this remark the configuration mentioned above.

Hegel was born on 27 August 1770. The configuration of planets for this date is shown in the inner circle of figure 5. (The exact time of birth was not known but this does not interfere essentially with our study.) The inner circle is divided into 12 sectors of 30° each for the signs of the zodiac with which traditional astrology works. The outer circle shows the unequal divisions of the zodiacal constellations employed in astronomy, so that for example 30 ° shows the actual constellation of Aries as it may be observed in the sky. The Sun and Mercury in Hegel's horoscope are in the sign of Virgo; Venus in the sign of Libra; the Moon in the sign of Scorpio; Jupiter in the sign of Sagittarius; Mars alone in the sign of Gemini. Unfortunately we cannot deal with the significance of the imagery that these constellations offer as we would otherwise like to do. That, too, remains to be done later. Now, it has been stated that on the basis of the natal horoscope the pre-natal epoch can be found by using the hermetic rule. Since the exact time of birth is not known, and consequently the ascendent at birth cannot be calculated, the position of the Moon at the pre-natal epoch cannot be established. For this reason we have drawn a second, intermediate circle corresponding to the pre-natal epoch inscribing the path of the Sun corresponding to an average gestation period of 273 days. Around conception, the Sun stood in the sign of Sagittarius, whereby we keep in mind that it progresses about three-quarters of the way through the ecliptic in 273 days’ time (figure 5 above). Further, we find ourselves in the lunar sphere of the pre-natal epoch but realize that the human being must have come out of the Sun sphere prior to his entry into the Moon sphere. He had to enter it through the cosmic portal mentioned above. The position of this portal is signified by the Moon's position at birth, which in Hegel's birth con­figuration was in the sign of Scorpio, behind which the constellation of Libra was observable. It has already been mentioned that this portal could first be opened when the Moon's node stood here. In Hegel's case the lunar node was at this position already in 1762; the descending node was then in the sign Scorpio, or constellation Libra.

Let us look at the constellation of planets at the moment when the Sun sphere and Moon sphere relate harmoniously to each other as expressed by the cosmic script: when the descending Moon node (the intersection where the Moon's path crosses the ecliptic in a descending direction) stands in the zodiac at the place where the Moon comes to rest eight years later, at Hegel's birth. At about the same time, eight years prior to birth, Jupiter is in the constellation of Aries. This corresponds to what Rudolf Steiner expresses as Hegel's worldview: logism in idealism, or Jupiter in Aries. This is noted in the outer circle (figure 5 above). The other planets could also be marked in this circle for the year 1762, but they are not the subject of our immediate study here. Only the configuration pertaining to Hegel's world view was inscribed into Hegel's being.

Rudolf Steiner directed our attention with deep earnestness to the configuration of cosmic thought (spiritual nativity). We should bear in our consciousness that, through our study, we are lifting the veil a little that conceals the thoughts of the gods. Just as we human beings make impressions or engravings in our brain during our day-waking thinking, so the gods impress their thoughts into the world, and these light up in human minds as philosophic world views. In this manner the hierarchies are able to perceive their own thoughts. In a given moment “logism in idealism” can light up in a divine thinking; and a particular person, who has been so prepared during a former Earth life, is capable of taking up this cosmic thought, carrying it to Earth where it becomes alive in the idealistic logism of a Hegel. Experience shows, however, that this cosmic-spiritual occurrence shines on like a fare-well in the constellation that is present when the Sun sphere impresses itself through the corridor of the Moon node into the Moon sphere. One can also consider this configuration as a compressing of the solar-astral into the lunar-etheric of the human being, whether in pre-existential experience or more as a remembered experience later.

We take now another example (from the same lecture cycle), con­cerning Fichte's world view. Rudolf Steiner calls it logistic psychism or Jupiter in Pisces. Let us compare this with the observable configuration. Fichte was born on 19 May 1762. The planets at this time are marked in the inner circle (figure 6). The exact time is not known. It is characteristic for Fichte's personality — fully aglow with will, never having bowed his head — that almost all planets are in the signs of Aries, Taurus and Gemini, while Mars stands in opposition in the sign of Libra. Since we cannot define exactly the natal epoch we will forego it and deal directly with the spiritual nati­vity configuration or Sun-sphere. The corridor from the Sun sphere to the Moon sphere is here in the sign Libra, constellation Virgo, and opposite the point of the Moon at birth according to the hermetic rule. The lunar node reached this position in 1773, that is, eleven years after birth. Nonetheless this time is important for our considerations, for then Jupiter entered the constellation of Pisces (marked on the outer circle of figure 6.

In the observable configuration, the spiritual nativity appears: logism in psychism, which agrees with Fichte's nature. It may be remarked here that this date, which lies after birth, shows us that there are various possibilities for the time at which the door to the cosmic world can be opened. Thus we find that in Hegel's case, both eight years before and two years after birth the lunar node stands in Libra. But in the latter case the configuration of world view (spiritual nativity) is not to be found. Herein lies what is typical of this configuration, namely, that it evades the purely calculable, for there are always two or three possibilities in an external sense, but the configuration itself leads us into a spiritually vital and mobile sphere.

As a further personality, Rudolf Steiner mentions Wilhelm Wundt in emphasizing the world views logism in sensualism (Jupiter in Leo) and empiricism in mathematism, (or Sun in Gemini). Here again let us consider the external configuration (figure 7 below). The birth configuration is marked once more in the inner circle. Here again we must disregard the pre-natal epoch. The cosmic portal stands in the X sign of Libra, constellation Virgo. It opened in 1837, five years after birth; for at that time the Moon's node was at the same position. Simultaneously, five years after birth, Jupiter was observable in the constellation of Leo; logism appears in sensualism (note outer circle in figure 7). The Sun's position at that time cannot be stated with surety because of lacking the exact birth time, but the corresponding configuration of empiricism in mathematism, that is, Sun in Gemini, lies very well within the given limits as a possibility.

Highly interesting is the configuration of Friedrich Nietzsche. Rudolf Steiner describes as a first phase of his world view: mysticism in the direction of idealism. This corresponds with the epoch in Nietzsche's life when he was still friends with Richard Wagner, when he wrote such books as The Birth of Tragedy, etc. Then an epoch follows when Nietzsche became skeptical; he wrote The Gay Science; Human, All Too Human, etc., and entered into empirical rationalism. It is remarkable to note that the “nuance of world view” (pertaining to planetary position) move one step onwards: from Aries to Taurus, from Venus to Sun respectively. After a while there should have been a progression to voluntaristic mathematism (Mars in Gemini); the basis, however, was missing for this in Nietzsche's own life. Through the resistance with which Nietzsche unconsciously opposed the divine guidance of the world, this configuration, instead of progressing from Taurus to Gemini, switched into the opposite constellation of Scorpio. Thus voluntaristic dynamism arose — the period of Thus Spake Zarathustra. According to Rudolf Steiner, such a configuration, with its will-force unleashing activity, can only be sustained if a person is capable of penetrating through to a spiritual understanding of the world. Nietzsche was incapable of accomplishing this feat in his present incarnation so he was crushed by the challenge. At this point we refer to the external configuration to gain pictorial clarity of some details.

Let us look at the inner circle of the configuration (figure 8). The exact birth time was known; therefore, the ascendent at birth appears here. Pictorially plastic, Nietzsche's being approaches us from a definite side in the conjunction of Mars and Mercury at exactly 180° of the ecliptic in Libra, and simultaneously in the meridian position to which Jupiter stands (typically enough) in opposition. In order to illuminate this aspect, we would have to devote an entire essay to it. A consideration of the pre-natal epoch, which could be delineated more exactly here, would also lead too far aside. Let us look at the spiritual nativity or the Sun sphere configuration. The cosmic portal is in the sign of Sagittarius, constellation Scorpio. In May, 1835, nine years prior to birth, the Moon's descending node reached this place. Now the portal is open and the cosmic aspects arise: Venus in Aries (mysticism in idealism), Sun in Taurus (empiricism in rationalism). These aspects fully corroborate Rudolf Steiner's indications. But further we also find Mars in the constellation of Gemini; however, during the first part of April 1835, it would correspond to voluntarism in mathematism. For this Nietzsche has, as mentioned, no predilection. This is substantiated by a sextile aspect of Mars to Venus, which Rudolf Steiner called “unfavorable” when it appears in the world conception configuration, in contradistinction to the otherwise favorable aspect of sextiles in the natal horoscope.

Because Mars is incapable of gaining influence in Gemini, it falls into opposition to the Sun in Taurus. That happened in fact as Mars entered the constellation of Scorpio in 1835, and came into conjunction with the lunar node, very near the cosmic portal (position of the natal Moon (figure 8 above). Hence Mars arises in Scorpio, or voluntarism in dynamism (figure 9). This configuration shows especially clearly how little such aspects can be worked out exactly. One might almost say, it “changes with the weather” and shows a kinship to the air element, similarly as the pre-natal epoch shows a relationship to the watery element.

We shall bypass the two examples cited by Dr. Steiner of Schopenhauer and Hamerling, for both of whom exact corroborations can be found, and shall turn to the configuration of cosmic thought in regard to Goethe from the same point of view. In the inner circle of the corresponding figure 10, we discover the well-known natal configuration of Goethe, about which he himself speaks so beautifully in “Truth and Poetry.” A discussion of the pre-natal epoch will offer us a valuable supplement later. The full Moon, just past its prime, stands in the sign of Pisces. According to the hermetic rule, the cosmic portal is in the sign of Virgo, constellation Leo. This portal is opened by the Moon node first in 1775, Goethe's sixth year of life. In those cases where the cosmic event occurs after birth, one might conclude that it acts as a memory of a pre-existential experience; it is also possible (much speaks for it) that in such a moment the mutual activity of Sun and Moon really resounds in the human being. This consideration speaks strongly in Goethe's case, for his sixth year was very significant in another way. We know that at this age the young Goethe built an altar to the God of Nature, laid upon it some of nature's offerings, placed on top a stick of incense, and set it ablaze with the rays of the rising Sun, caught in a magnifying-glass. When we bring this artless but genial act of devotion to the world of appearances fully alive, and place beside it the fact that in Goethe's world-view configuration of Jupiter appearing in Virgo, or Phenomenalism is permeated by Logism, this corresponds to the cosmic situation in 1775 (figure 10 above); then, one cannot allay the impression that this Sun-sphere configuration has profound effects upon the human constitution.

As a last example let us discuss the configuration of Richard Wagner. Here the configuration pertaining to his philosophic world conception occurs at a time shortly prior to birth. The waning Moon at birth stands in the sign of Aquarius, constellation of Capricorn, quite near Mars. Therefore, in this case, the cosmic portal is found in the sign opposite, which is Leo, or the constellation of Cancer (figure 11). A few months before birth the ascending lunar node crosses this point; Sun and Moon connect, and Venus in Aries is a notable aspect that — translated into terms used by Rudolf Steiner — refers to mysticism in idealism. If we consider in Richard Wagner's creations how Norse mythology became his very destiny, how he wrestled and finally victoriously raised myth into a realm of primordial human ideals, one can well conclude that the philosophic conception of mysticism in idealism fittingly describes his spiritual inclination. This was indeed also the philosophic world view in which he stretched out his hand to Nietzsche — as long as Nietzsche himself lived under the influence of mysticism in idealism (Venus in Aries), which we mentioned before.

Rudolf Steiner has disclosed a way for attaining spiritual knowledge. We should permeate all sectors of human earthly experience with this knowledge. The intention of our discussion has been to make an initial contribution toward permeating the knowledge of the cosmos, connected with our being as it is, with this spiritual knowledge by attempting to show how behind astronomical occurrences the thoughts of the gods gleam forth.