At the beginning of the Atlantean era, man would still have been invisible to anyone looking with present physical senses. After some time the physical body condensed and became visible. At this time, humans had a liquid physical body, assimilated in teh waters of the misty sea (which was then more subtle than present-day water, just as the air was denser and heaver than the present atmosphere). Gradually physical organs formed, and daytime consciousness became distinct from the vague spiritual-astral clairvoyance of night.
Until quite far into the Atlantean age, everything was embedded in masses of water-mist [Biblical secrets of Creation, p.110, cited in Paul E. Chu, Life Before Birth, Life on Earth, Life After Death, p.104]. This thick mist hid the sun from visibility on Earth.
Eventually the misty atmosphere filled up the oceans, while the Earth continued to shrivel up and become more condensed. By the middle of the Atlantean period the human physical body was dense enough to become flesh and bone. At first it was asexual; sexual characteristics and sexual reproduction only appearing gradually.
During this time, the earth also became more solid and the human being then descended upon the surface of the Earth. As his bones hardened, he developed limbs and was able to walk for the first time. The magical influence that Lemurian man had on the fire-mist-sea and events on Earth gradually disappeared, although for a while Atlantean man still had a magical influence on the growth of plants, being able to control the etheric forces and thus accelerate or modify their growth through his will. Houses for example were made of trees interconnected through woven branches. Man was still very closely connected to the world of nature, and was also more under the guidance of a group soul than an individual ego.
At this time, the will of the Atlanteans was directed by the spiritual hierarchies immediately above the human level, the Angels and Archangels. Steiner equates these beings with the gods of Greek and Germanic mythology. The Atlanteans developed a powerful memory, and for the first time language; words having a mantric, magical power.
Atlanteans were headed by initiates who were in contact with the spiritual hierarchies of the Sun, Saturn, Jupiter, and the other planets. Hence there was a Sun Oracle, Saturn Oracle, Jupiter Oracle, and so on. In the Oracles, the Initiates trained leaders from amongst the most developed human beings.
With the increase in thinking and control of inanimate matter, these magical etheric and mantric powers were lost. Man learned to make tools, implements, and fire.
It was only at the end of the Atlantean era that the human body assumed its present form, and the etheric body was withdrawn completely within the physical. Because of this, people learned to say "I" and became self-conscious for the first time.
The downfall of Atlantis, according to Steiner, came about through a large number of Atlanteans, including initiates, misusing the human and animal growth and reproductive forces. Because these forces were interrelated with the elements of air and water, their misuse caused natural catastrophes, such as the great storms, the Biblical Flood and the Ice Age, which changed the face of the Earth. The continents had now assumed their present form. Vast numbers of Atlanteans survived the catastrophic destruction of their land, and, led by various initiates, migrated to the different countries. Thus began the known history of humankind. [Paul E. Chu, Life Before Birth, Life on Earth, Life After Death, pp.104-106; Kees Zoeteman, Gaia-Sophia, pp.94-97]
It would be a mistake to try to claim scientific validity for Steiner's cosmology, or even offer it as a superior explanation of the physical world (a la Biblical "Creationism") as do his proponents, because as can be seen it simply does not stand up to the evidence of science. Steiner's cosmology is referring to a totally different world, or plane of existence. His Atlantis has nothing to do with the Atlantis of Blavatsky, Cayce, Plato, or anyone else. All the other Atlantises are set on an Earth where the current laws of physics apply. Steiner's Atlantis seems to pertain to a world with totally different physical laws; indeed, it seems to be an account of such a world superimposed on or into the familiar Western Atlantis myth.
The Atlantean stage seems quite reminiscent of transpersonal psychologist Ken Wilber's "Verbal-Membership" stage of psychogenesis, indicating that both are tapping into the same psycho-mythic reality
|The Atlantean age as the Cenozoic Era, according to Dr Hermann Poppelbaum (link to be added)
|The Atlantean age according to Blavatsky
|Ken Wilber's "Verbal-Membership" stage of Psychogenesis