Over a century ago, the great mystic Rudolph Steiner explored and explained the major post-Atlantean ages (epochs) of this planet. His awareness of and insights into this progression seem quite spot on. We can see that we are now on the brink of the 6th epoch. The language (below) is a tad dated but the intention is clear.
The intellect (theme of this closing epoch) can also be considered the ego, and behind intellect’s waking awareness lies the shadow: the wounds and wound-inflicting out-lashings that “live” in the closet of the ego, or intellect – personally and en masse. Ego/intellect spends eternities embroiled in defending its sense of rightness or specialness. The political arena is a blistering example of this epoch – often at the expense of the slightest decency.
There’s been a lot of thought, talk, writings & teachings about pursuing “ego death” via spiritual practice. I don’t advocate this path, for reasons that are best left for another time. Suffice it to say that being in possession of one’s identity (one’s expanded identity) serves an important function in this life! For now, at least, a cooperative integration between ego and soul is optimal.
The following material comes from a lecture given by Rudolf Steiner in Milan, 21st September, 1911. Translated by D. S. Osmond.
The 5th Epoch (now ending) – Reign of the Intellect
We are living in the fifth post-Atlantean epoch of culture (1413-3573), the ancient Indian being the first (7227-5067 BC), the ancient Persian the second (5067-2907BC), the Babylonian-Chaldean the third (2907-747 BC), the Græco-Roman the fourth (747 BC-1413); the sixth and seventh epochs will follow our own. And then another great catastrophe will befall the Earth and humanity, as was the case at the end of the Atlantean epoch.
Occult research is able to indicate the characteristic trend of human evolution in each of these post-Atlantean epochs of civilisation — including the fifth, sixth, and seventh. The essential characteristic of our present fifth epoch is the development of intellect, of reason.
The main characteristic of the sixth epoch will be that very definite feelings regarding what is moral and what is immoral will arise in the souls of men. Continue reading