The Mineral Ego
“Now, let us ask: where is the astral body of minerals? This looks like peculiarly formed rays. Picture to yourselves forms of light, or rays, broadening out more and more, and piercing into the etheric body of the mineral. Astral rays stream thus from every mineral. They have no end, but stream out indefinitely into space. When a rock crystal is observed you see first the space which is filled out physically; clairvoyantly you see this physical form surrounded by the light of the etheric body, and this again as if pierced by all kinds of ray-formations which extend endlessly in all directions into space. Vision is led from each point of space that is filled by some substance into the infinite. There is no point of space that is not connected with the Universe, it is as if every single thing in the world hung on thousands and thousands of threads of spiritual light which stretch into infinite space, and you can imagine, if these extended more and more, how they would all ultimately mingle.
In fact, when a mineral is examined clairvoyantly something like the following is presented to view: the physical part is seen rayed round by the light-forms of the etheric body, these rays of light appear to broaden and radiate continually into space till they ultimately disappear as if into a hollow globe. You can think of every mineral as being the centre of such a hollow globe, and that these are present everywhere in the world. These hollow globes interpenetrate each other, and if we can picture clairvoyant power enhanced more and more to where these rays unite we arrive at where the egos of the minerals stream towards us from every direction of space. These egos reveal themselves to clairvoyant capacity when it enters the higher regions of the devachanic plane. Whereas the rays which compose the astral body are in the lower regions, the ego is in the higher devachanic world.
You have here been given a panoramic view of the different kingdoms. The ego of man is on the physical plane, that of animals on the astral plane, that of plants in the lower regions of the devachanic world, and the ego of minerals is in the higher regions of the same world.
Therefore the minerals are in the opposite position to man. Man has his ego within him, it is enclosed within his skin; each human being is a centre in himself, a “man-centre.” Plants form a wider centre; taken together they form an “earth-centre”; and the egos of minerals form the circumference of the earth-sphere. Wherever a man is found the human ego is always the centre; the mineral ego is always in the circumference — exactly the opposite of man. You will now find it comprehensible when I tell you that the mineral soul is in an entirely different position to the human or to the animal soul.
When a mineral is broken up it does not feel pain, on the contrary it feels pleasure, it has a sensation of well-being. Great currents of pleasurable feeling stream forth from a quarry where stones are broken to pieces; on the other hand were you to put all the broken pieces together again it would cause very great pain. The same fact may be observed in another process. Imagine that you have a glass of warm water into which you throw a piece of salt. When the salt dissolves not only does the substance dissolve, but feelings of well-being fill the warm water, feelings of pleasure on the part of the mineral at being dissolved. Again, if you cool the water so that the salt crystallizes, the process is connected with a feeling of pain. Initiates have always known these things and have told them to man; he has but to learn to understand what they say.”
R. Steiner, Universe, Earth and Man, Lecture 2, 6 August 1908, CW105