By Rudolf Steiner
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Extra resources for Ancient Myths: Their Meaning and Connection with Evolution
And it was the same in the case of the other Greek Gods. Why did the Greek form this conception — that there was once a ruler who was possessed, so to say, by Zeus, but that now there is no longer a ruler who can be possessed by Zeus, but that Zeus only rules as a supersensible being — why did the Greek form this concept? Because the Greek knew that human evolution had progressed, that it had changed. In other words, the Greek knew that there were ancient times when human beings could have Imaginations in a particularly outstanding degree.
People said to themselves: ‘this perceiving and reflecting, this is connected in a certain way with the day, with the rising and setting sun. ’ Thus people connected perceiving and thinking with the day; and what was spread out over the whole life between birth and death they brought into connection with more widely extended cosmic events in the heavens. Just as it depends on the sun, on the ordinary rising and setting of the sun, that I can perceive and think, so does it depend on greater, more extended star constellations which appear after centuries, after millennia, what man develops in perceiving and thinking of the kind that I have described.
As in the air the coarse sediment has remained behind of that power of the air that revealed itself to man in Imaginations in earlier ages, so in man himself are the coarse dregs left behind. This had to come about since otherwise men could not have attained freedom and a full consciousness of the ego. But it is the dregs that have remained. In this way, however, all that the ancients meant by the divine, which as you can now readily realize, they connected in a roundabout way with the sexual essences, all this has been coarsened, not only in idea but also in reality.