Michael's Task in the Sphere of Ahriman
When Man looks back over his own evolution and reviews in
spirit the peculiar character which his spiritual life has
assumed during the last five centuries, he cannot but
recognize — even in his ordinary consciousness, however
dimly — that in these five centuries he has come to a
critical turning-point in the whole earthly evolution of
the last letter I pointed out this critical turn in evolution
from one of its aspects. One may look back namely into earlier
ages of this evolution; then we observe how a transformation
took place in that soul-force in Man which to-day is employed
as the force of Intelligence.
Thoughts now appear within the field of human
consciousness — dead, abstract Thoughts. These Thoughts are
tied to the physical human body. Man must recognize them as his
When, in days of yore, Man turned his soul's gaze in the
direction where now his own Thoughts appear to him, he then
beheld divine Spirit-beings. He saw his whole existence bound
up with these Beings, in all that he was, down to his physical
body. He must confess himself the product of these Beings, — not
only their product in all that he was, but also in all
that he did. Man had no Will of his own; all that he did
was a manifestation of Divine Will.
Step by step — as described in the last letter — the
stage has been reached of a personal Will of Man's own for
which the time began about five hundred years ago.
The last stage, however, differs more markedly from all the
preceding ones than these do from one another.
the Thoughts pass over into the physical body, they lose their
aliveness; they become dead — spiritual dead constructions.
Previously, whilst pertaining to Man, they were yet at the same
time organs of the Divine Spirit-beings, to whom Man himself
pertained. They willed in Man as living forms of Being.
And hence Man felt himself through them livingly bound to the
With his dead Thoughts, he feels himself released from the
spiritual world, — he feels himself planted down completely into
the physical world.
But hereby he is at the same time brought into the sphere of
the Ahrimanic Mind. The Ahrimanic form of mind has no great
power in those regions, where the Beings of the Higher
Hierarchies keep Man within their own immediate sphere, — either
by working within him themselves, as in primeval times, or, as
later, by the brightness of their ensouled or living
reflection. So long as the workings of super-sensible Beings
continue in this way to enter into all the workings of
Man, — until, that is, about the fifteenth century
A.D. — the powers of Ahriman find within the field of human
evolution only a faint echo, one might say, of their
The picture drawn by the Persian world-view of the workings of
Ahriman, is in no contradiction to the above statement. For
what is meant in the Persian view of Ahriman's workings, is not
something going on in the evolution of the human soul, but
within the neighbouring world, that borders on Man's
soul-world. From this neighbouring world of spirit the web of
Ahriman's weaving undoubtedly sent it s threads across into the
world of the human soul, but did not directly encroach upon
Any such direct encroachment only became possible in the period
that began some five hundred years ago.
Thus Man stands at the end of a stream of evolution in which
his own human being has been built up by a form of Divine
spirit-being which passes finally into the abstract
Intelligence-Personality of Man, and there, so far as itself
is concerned, died out.
Man has not remained in those spheres where he had his own
first source in the Divine Spirit-being.
What was thus accomplished five hundred years ago for Man's
consciousness, had already taken place on a broader scale
throughout his general being at the time when the Mystery of
Golgotha entered upon its earthly manifestation. This was the
time when human evolution began — imperceptibly as yet for
the consciousness of most people of that period — to slide
gradually down, out of a world where Ahriman has but little
power, into one where he has very much. It was in the fifteenth
century that this downslide, from one world-stratum into
another, reached its final completion.
Here, in this world-stratum, it becomes possible for Ahriman to
exert his influence upon Man, and with disastrous effects,
because in this stratum the divine influences congenial to Man
have died out. But there was no other possible way for Man to
arrive at the development of his free will, save by withdrawing
to a sphere in which those Divine Spirit-beings had no life,
who were involved with him from his origin.
the very essence of this human evolution, cosmically viewed,
lies the Mystery of the Sun. With the Sun, and all that
Man — down to the important turning-point in his
evolution — could see in the Sun, were involved the
divine-spiritual Beings of his origin. These Beings have
detached themselves from the Sun, and left on it only their
extinct remains. So that what Man now receives through the sun,
taken up into his bodily system, is the power of dead Thoughts
But these Divine Beings have sent Christ from the Sun to Earth.
He, for the salvation of mankind, has united His own living
Being with the deadness of divine existence in the kingdom of
Ahriman. Mankind have thus the twofold possibility, which is
the pledge of their freedom: Either to turn to Christ in that
mind and spirit which was theirs subconsciously when they came
down from the vision of supersensible life in the Spirit until
they could use Intelligence, — but to do this now in
consciousness. Or else, in their detachment from Spirit-life,
to seek to enjoy the sense of themselves — and thereby fall
a prey to the Powers of Ahriman and be carried in the Ahrimanic
direction of evolution.
Such is the situation of mankind since the beginning of the
fifteenth century. It has been preparing — for everything
proceeds gradually in evolution — ever since the time of
the Mystery of Golgotha, that greatest of all earthly events,
which is designed to save Man from the destruction to which he
is unavoidably exposed in order to become a free being.
Now it is true to say: what has been done by mankind in this
situation hitherto has been achieved half unconsciously. In
this half-conscious way it has led to what is good in a view of
Nature living in abstract ideas, and also to many equally
beneficent principles in the conduct of practical life. But the
age has gone by, when Man could afford to pursue his existence
unconsciously in the dangerous Ahrimanic sphere.
The scientific observer of the spiritual world is to-day
obliged to rouse mankind's attention to the spiritual fact that
Michael has now succeeded to the guidance of human affairs.
Whatever Michael performs, is performed in such a way as to
exert no influence from his part upon man; but they are free to
follow him, and so, in freedom, with the Christ-Power to find
their way out again from Ahriman's sphere, which they entered
Whoever honestly, from the innermost core of his soul, can feel
himself one with Anthroposophy, is a true interpreter of this
Michael-Phenomenon. Anthroposophy is intended to be the message
of this Michael-Mission.
Michael travels upwards again over
the paths which Mankind traveled downwards through the
successive steps of the spirit's evolution to the exercise
of Intelligence. Only, by Michael, the Will will be led up
the track, which was descended by Wisdom until she came to
Intelligence, her final stage.
From this point in the world's
evolution, Michael merely shows his road, so that
Mankind may walk on it in Freedom. And this is what
distinguishes this particular regency of Michael's from the
previous regencies of all other archangels — indeed
from all those of Michael himself until now. These other
regencies worked as active forces within Man, and
did not merely show him their own workings; so that
Man in those times could not be free in his.
To recognize this, is the
task of Man at this present day, so that with his entire
soul he may find his own right spiritual road during the
age of Michael.