Rudolf Steiner in his lecture series The Apocalypse of St. John (pages 84-85) takes a more radical view of the horse archetype. Steiner maintained that human thinking is part of an objective world reality and he consequently rejected a purely mechanistic view of earth evolution. Although he views human intelligence as a pinnacle of evolution, he believes that humans once encompassed the present day animals and over time “cast out” the archetypes of these forms. This makes sense if we remember that all of our perceptions and ideas about animals are mediated by our own thinking. We now apply the concept “subject-object” when we confront the animal, but “subject-object” is simply a result of our own thinking. It is possible that in a primordial past we did not apply this particular concept to animals resulting in no subject-object dichotomy and hence a union between human animals or more exactly a primordial human that contained all the animal archetypes within.
Despite the complex epistemological foundations of Steiner’s philosophy it is interesting to consider the statements that result from his clairvoyance. One need not accept his statements as truth-they may be read as curious literature that has an inner effect on the reader; but I believe that reason doesn’t preclude the possibility of Steiner’s knowledge or the existence of an “Akashic” record.
Here’s Steiner’s horse comments:
“... If we take a muddy liquid and allow the gross matter in it to settle to the bottom, the finer part remains at the top. In the same way the grosser parts which man would have been unable to use for his present condition of development have been deposited like a sediment in the animal forms. Through man having cast out of his line of development these animal forms-his elder brothers, as it were ,he has reached his present height. Thus man rises by throwing out the lower forms in order to purify himself and he will rise still higher by separating out another kingdom of nature, the kingdom of the evil race. Thus mankind rises upward. Man owes every quality he now possesses to the circumstance that he has rejected a particular animal form. One who with spiritual vision looks upon the various animals knows exactly what we owe to each one of them. We look upon the lion form and say : If the lion did not exist in the outer world, man would not have had this or that quality; for through his having rejected the lion he has acquired this or that quality. This is the case too with all the other forms in the animal kingdom.”
“Now the whole of our five ages of human development, the various cultural ages from the ancient Indian to our own, really exist in order to develop intelligence and reason and all that belongs to those two capacities and forces. Nothing of this existed in the Atlantean epoch. Memory was present and also other qualities, but to develop the intelligence and what pertains to it, while turning our attention to the outer world, is the task of the fifth epoch. Directing our clairvoyant vision to the surrounding world we inquire: To what do we owe the fact that we have become intelligent? What animal form have we put forth from ourselves in order to become intelligent ?-Curious and grotesque as it may appear, it is nevertheless true to say that if there were not around us the animals which belong to the horse nature, man would never have been able to acquire intelligence.”
“In former times men were still aware of this. All the intimate relations existing between certain races of men and the horse originate from a feeling which may be compared to the mysterious feeling of love between the two sexes, from a feeling of what man owes to this animal. Hence when the new culture arose in the ancient Indian age, it was a horse that played a mysterious role in religious ceremonial, in the worship of the gods. And all customs connected with the horse may be traced back to this fact. If you observe the customs of ancient peoples who were still close to the old clairvoyance such as, for instance, the old Germanic peoples, and notice how they fixed horse-skulls to the front of their houses, this leads you back to the awareness: man has grown beyond the unintelligent condition by separating out this form. There is a profound consciousness that the acquisition of cleverness is connected with it. You need only remember Odysseus and the wooden horse of Troy. Such legends contain deep wisdom, much deeper than our science contains. The horse species is not employed in legend without reason. Man has grown out of a form which once contained within it what is now embodied in the horse; and in the form of the centaur art still represented man as connected with this animal in order to remind him of the stage of development out of which he had grown, from which he had struggled free in order to become the present human being.”
“What thus took place in bygone times in order to lead to present mankind will be repeated at a higher stage in the future. It is not the case, however, that this would in the future have to run its course in the same way in the physical world. Those who become clairvoyant at the boundary between the astral and the devachanic planes can see how man continually purifies and develops what he owes to the separation from the horse nature. He will accomplish the spiritualizing of intelligence. After the great War of All against All he will elevate to wisdom, to spirituality, what is today merely reason, merely cleverness. This will be experienced by those who then will have reached the goal. The fruits of what was able to develop in humanity in consequence of the separation of the horse nature will be manifested.”
Rudolf Steiner, The Apocalypse of St. John.(Lectures given June 1908).Anthroposophic Press 1993. (pages 84-85).