In this section of the text Zarathustra is climbing a mountain and enounters the Spirit of Gravity which Zarathustra describes as his devil and archenemy. As he climbs higher up the mountain however a dwarf (which I think is the Spirit of Gravity) jumps off his shoulders and sits on a rock in front of him. Beyond the Dwarf lies a gateway inscribed with the word Moment and Zarathustra tells the Dwarf that beyond and behind the gateway lies eternity. In this I believe that Nietzche is referring to the doctrine of eternal recurrence . I seems that he is telling us that time and life does not move in a linear fashion as we believe but rather it is a casual nexus which is circular in the sense that it repeats itself over and over again. This view is opposed to the Christian view that envisions our lives as moving in a linear progression towards a finish line, after which we will be rewarded or punished on whether our souls are in a state of grace or sin. The real significance of any moment is a matter of how it is evaluated from a perspective that lies outside of time. Every part of life is bound together; the present moment is a configuration of all the tendencies that the past has contributed to it. The present individual is who he/she is a consequence of the convergence of his/her entire past, including his/her ancestry. According to this doctrine of eternal recurrence, every aspect of the present is casually conditioned by the past.
After this occurs Zarathustra suddenly snaps out of his vision and finds himself high on a mountain with a dog howling for help in the distance. Near the top of the mountain Zarathustra encounters a young shepherd lying on the ground choking. He is choking because he has a snake in his mouth. Zarathustra yelled at the shepherd to bite off the snake s head. After doing so he began to laugh and transformed into a being that was surrounded with light.
I think the shepherd that Zarathustra encounters is actually a vision of himself understanding the Overman . This Overman, is what Neitzche believes to be the meaning of the earth. That is, it is a kind of goal for humanity. It is a human aspiration towards greatness and has no individual characteristics because it varies from individual to individual. According to Neitzche, it is a goal that stands as far away from humanity as humanity stands from the ape. Because of this a person who strives toward the Overman, is a person who is willing to perish in his efforts. A greater understanding of the Overman is possible through an understanding of his doctrine of eternal recurrence, which I have previously described.