What are the Twelve Senses?

Updated: Feb 5, 2021

Looking at the colours of the rainbow, hearing someone laugh, the smell of freshly baked bread, tasting a delicious meal, being cuddled or kissed. Everyone knows the five senses described by Aristotle: sight, sound, smell, taste and touch.

According to Rudolf Steiner, in addition to the 5 known senses, we have seven more crucial senses which we use to perceive the world around us.

What other senses do we have and what do we use them for?

We can distinguish three groups with four senses each that can develop consecutively in the three seven-year periods.

From 0-7 years old, the senses related to the body are central.

The body senses are: sense of touch, sense of life, sense of movement and sense of balance.

From 7-14 years old, the senses related to the external world are being developed

The external senses are: sense of smell, sense of taste, sense of sight and sense of temperature.

From 14-21 years old, the senses related to the inner world, the mind, are being formed

The immaterial senses are: sense of hearing, sense of speech, sense of thought and sense of ego.

For a healthy childhood and later adulthood it is important to develop all senses. It is the foundation for building a strong relationship with ourselves, the environment and the people around us.