I-33 Course of the Ego between death and rebirth; Regions of soul and spirit worlds

Occult Science; Theosophy ; Life Between Death and Rebirth; Rosicrucian Esotericism, Lects 4 and 5; Therapeutic Insights/Earthly and Cosmic Laws, Lect. 5; Materialism and the Task of Anthroposophy, Lect. 13; Macrocosm and Microcosm, Lect. Two; Divine Comedy; History of the Planets, Sec. 5; Between Death and Rebirth, Lect. Ten; Planetary Spheres and their Influence on Man's Life on Earth and in Spiritual Worlds , Lect. 6; The Evolution of Consciousness, Lect. 10; The Heavenly Sophia and the Being Anthroposophia, App. 5;Concerning the Technique of Karma; Occult Research into Life Between Death and New Birth Science, Lect. 1

To understand the hidden reflection (as we shall see elsewhere herein) in numerous biblical passages of the course taken by a human being between death and rebirth, a tabulation is given here of the progressive stages of that journey. First a brief recap of fundamentals is set out.

Component of Human Being
Essential Nature of Component
Ego Lasting or eternal Individuality
Astral body Seat of consciousness, passions and desires
Etheric (Life) Body Seat of life
Physical Body Seat of, or pattern for, mineral accumulation


State of Consciousness Components joined
Waking Ego and all 3 bodies, i.e., astral, etheric (life) & physical
Sleeping Etheric (life) and physical (the astral & Ego separating therefrom)
Death Physical, the minerals of which, absent life body, proceed to disintegrate (the Ego and astral & etheric bodies having separated)

Course of the Ego between Death and Rebirth

1. Etheric world, for approximately 3 days, during which the etheric body remains attached with the astral body and Ego permitting a panaramic review, in reverse, of the life just past.

2. Astral world, for approximately 1/3 the length of the person’s life (equal to the time spent sleeping), during which the Ego remains attached with the astral body. This is the period of purification, or burning fire, known in the Roman Church as Purgatory, also sometimes in anthroposophy as “the soul world,” and in Eastern religions as “kamaloca.” The attachment of the Ego and astral body permits a review, also in reverse, of the life just past, actually of what is experienced during sleeping periods (nightly reviews beyond waking consciousness) by the Ego and astral bodies during that life; characteristic of this review is placement in the position of those with whom one dealt, in the sense of Mt 7,12 (the Golden Rule).

3. Spiritland, or “Devachan” as it is known in Eastern terminology, which can be entered only after all desires and passions have been eliminated in the astral world. The only component that can enter here is the Ego itself, along with the part of its 3 “bodies” (astral, etheric and physical) that the Ego has been able to convert to the respective higher 3 spiritual components of the future, i.e., manas (Spirit Self), buddhi (Life Spirit) and atma (Spirit Man). The Ego’s consciousness during its sojourn in Spiritland is dependent upon the extent to which it has perfected its “Three Bodies,” but only manas (the purified astral body) can meaningfully be developed during Earth evolution; consider here the parable in Mt 13,33, “The kingdom of heaven (is) like leaven which a woman hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.”

4. “Cosmic midnight” when the Ego has ended its spiritual ascent and begins its descent to another incarnation for the purpose of, and resolved toward, further perfection (Mt 5,48).

5. The Descent, which retraces the stages of the ascent, during which the elements of one’s “Three Bodies” are formed, including finally the choice of time, place and parentage, from what is then available on Earth.

Pathway of the Ego's Course Through the Heavens
  Stage of Ego's Journey Space Into which Ego Expands
1. Etheric World Proximity of Earth and Physical Body


Astral World

Orbit of Moon (though both Mercury and Venus orbits have both astral and spiritual character)

3. Lower Devachan

Successive spheres reaching out to the “planets” in the order of their distance from the Earth (remembering that in times past occultism reversed the order of Venus and Mercury), thus, the Mercury sphere, Venus sphere, Sun sphere, Mars sphere, Jupiter sphere and Saturn sphere

4. Higher Devachan Zodiacal sphere, among the stars of the 12 formative


Nature of the 7 Regions of the Astral (Soul) World
  Soul World Region Earthly Counterpart
1. Burning Desire Solid physical bodies
2. Mobile Sensitivity Liquids
3. Wishes Gases
4. Liking and Disliking Warmth
5. Soul Light Light (Ether)
6. Active Soul Force Sound (or Chemical, Ether)
7. Soul Life Life (Ether)


Nature of the 7 Regions of Devachan (Spiritland)
  Spiritland Region Form it Assumes on Earth
1. “Solid Land” Physical
2. “Oceans & Rivers & Blood Circulation” Life
3. “Atmosphere” Sensation—Raging
4. “Warmth” Thought
5. “Light” Wisdom
6. & 7. See Note immediately below

Note—In OS, Chap. 3, where the above is related, Steiner says of Regions 6 and 7, “descriptions will be found in a later part of this work.” It is not totally clear to what he was referring, but presumably it was to what is implied in Chap. 6 dealing with the future Jupiter and Venus Conditions of Consciousness. Inasmuch as they will not mature during Earth evolution, it would have been inappropriate for him to designate a form for their earthly manifestation. Inasmuch, however, as Region 5 (“Light”) dealt with the first ether, it would seem that Regions 6 and 7 would deal with Sound and Life Ether, respectively. We shall see, indeed, that the biblical passages first referred to appear only to go through these first 5 stages applicable to Earth evolution.

Schematic I-32
Schematic I-34