Before the Door of the Spiritual Soul
Second Contemplation: How the Michael-forces intervene in the
early stage of the spiritual Soul.
the time during which the Spiritual Soul was making its way
into Man's evolution earth, the beings of the spirit-world
nearest to earth-life had difficulty in approaching mankind.
Events on earth take place in a form which shows that quite
peculiar conditions are needed in order to make the way
possible from the spirit into the physical life of Man. The
very form they take shows on the other hand still, and
often in a most illuminating manner, with what
energy — where Powers of the Past are active and Powers of
the Future beginning to act — one spiritual force
strives against another spiritual force, to find entry into
mankind's earthly life.
There begins a war between France and England, which lasts from
1339 to 1453, and for over a hundred years throws everything
into confusion. This general confusion, proceeding from a
particular spiritual current unfavourable to Man's development,
puts hindrances in the way of certain events which would have
brought the Spiritual Soul much more rapidly into mankind, had
these hindrances not been there. Chaucer (who died 1400 D.C.)
founded English literature. If one thinks of all that the
founding of this literature has led to, in spiritual
consequences for Europe, one cannot but find it significant
that such an event could not develop in freedom along its own
lines, but must happen amid all the troubles of a war. In
addition comes the fact that already before this, namely in
1215 A.D., that tendency of political thought had begun in
England, which is to receive its right stamp from the Spiritual
Soul. The further developments of this event too lie amid the
embarrassment of war.
have here to do with a time when those spiritual Powers, who
aim at developing Man along the lines on which he was first
designed by their superiors in the divine spiritual hierarchy,
come face to face with their adversaries of the other side.
These adversaries are bent upon diverting Man into other lines
than those appointed him from the first. We would then be
unable to employ the forces of his origin for his later
evolution; his cosmic childhood would bear him no fruits; it
would be a part of his being that ever more and more withered
away. The result would be that Man might fall a prey to the
Luciferic or the Ahrimanic Powers, and his own special and
peculiar evolution would be taken from him. Had the adversaries
of mankind been able not only to put hindrances in the way, but
to carry their efforts to complete success, the entrance of the
Spiritual Soul might have been precluded.
event which displays with remarkable brightness the
intervention of spiritual agencies in earthly affairs, is the
part played by Jeanne d'Arc, the Maid of Orleans, and her fate
(1412 to 1431). What she does, has its impulses — for
herself — deep down in the subconscious underlying grounds
of her soul. She follows the blind promptings of the spiritual
world. On earth reigns harassing confusion, with the aim of
preventing the Age of Consciousness from coming in. Michael
must prepare the way from the spiritual world for his later
mission. He can do so where he finds human souls to receive his
impulses. The Maid is one such soul. He works too — though
it be only possible in a lesser degree and less obviously for
external historic life — through many other souls besides.
In events such as the war between England and France he is
matched against his opponent on the Ahrimanic side.
The opposition that he meets with from the Luciferic adversary
during this period, was spoken of in the last contemplation.
But this opponent may be seen quite peculiarly at work in the
whole course of the events which followed the Maid's appearance
on the scene. All that here went on plainly shows that people
were at a loss, and no longer knew how to deal with such an
intervention of the spiritual world in human affairs — an
intervention which could well have been grasped by men's minds
and taken up too into their wills during the earlier times when
imaginative understanding still existed among them. The earlier
attitude towards such interventions had become impossible,
since the Intellectual or Mind-Soul had ceased to be active.
The attitude befitting the Spiritual Soul had not at that time
yet been reached; even to-day it is not yet achieved.
came to pass, therefore, that the shaping of Europe at that
time was carried out by the spiritual world, without men having
any understanding of what was taking place, and without
anything which they endeavoured to do having any influence
worth mentioning in the process.
One only need draw a mental picture of what would have happened
in the fifteenth century had there been no Maid of Orleans, to
recognize at once the importance of this event, in which the
spiritual world was the ruling agent. There are people indeed,
who try to explain such a phenomenon materialistically. With
such people, what makes it impossible to come to any reasonable
understanding is that they willfully twist round what is
obviously spiritual and give it a materialistic aspect.
is plain to see from certain spiritual struggles also, in which
men's minds are engaged, that mankind can no longer find their
way without much difficulty to the realm of divine spirit,
however intently they may seek it. These are difficulties which
did not exist in the times when insight could still be procured
through Imaginations. Rightly to appreciate what is here meant,
one has only to look in a clear light at the persons who stand
out as philosophic thinkers. A philosopher cannot be regarded
solely with a view to the effect which he has upon his age, and
the number of people who have adopted his ideas. He is much
rather the expression, the manifestation in person, of
his age. What the greater part of mankind carry within them
unconsciously as a disposition of soul, as unconscious feelings
and life-promptings, the philosopher puts into his ideas. As
the thermometer registers the temperature of its surroundings,
so he registers the mental condition of his age. The
philosophers are as little the cause of the psychology of their
age, as the thermometer is of the temperature of its
With this as a premise, let us look at the philosopher
René Descartes, whose work lay in the time when the Age of
Consciousness was already well begun. (He lived from 1596 to
1650.) The one slender support on which he rests his connection
with the spiritual world, is the inner realization: I think:
therefore, I am. In the consciousness of Self, the central
I, he tries to find Reality — and only so much of it as the
Consciousness-Soul (the Spiritual Soul) can tell him. And on
all the other problems of the spirit, he seeks to gain light by
the intellectual method, by examining what guarantee the
certainty of his own Self-consciousness affords of the
certainty of other things. He enquires in every case, in
respect of the truths historically transmitted to him: Are they
as evident as this ‘I think: therefore, I am.’ If he can
affirm this, then he accepts them.
With such a form of thinking in the human mind, is not the
spirit expelled from every kind of view that bears any actual
relation to the things of the world? The revelation of the
spirit has retired to the one pin-point of support in the
consciousness of Self. No other thing, in the immediate
form of its appearance, reveals the spirit. Upon what lies
outside the consciousness of Self, no light of
spirit-revelation can be thrown, save mediately, by the
intellect working in the Spiritual Soul.
The man of this age pours forth, as it were, the still almost
empty contents of his Spiritual Soul in intense longing towards
the spiritual world: one thin ray of light travels thither.
The beings of the spirit-world on the immediate borders of the
earthly one, and the souls of men upon earth, find it hard to
come together. Michael's supersensible preparations for his
coming mission are only communicated under the greatest
difficulties to the soul of Man.
shall better comprehend the peculiar character of the tone of
soul that finds its expression in Descartes, if we compare this
philosopher with Augustine, who, so far as external
formulation, employs the same point of support for his
realization of the spiritual world as Descartes does. Only,
with Augustine, it is done out of the full imaginative force of
the Intellectual or Mind-Soul. (He lived from 354 to 430 A.D.)
People find, and rightly, an affinity between Augustine and
Descartes. Only the intellect of Augustine is the last remains
of the cosmic one, whilst that of Descartes is the intellect
that has already begun to make its entry into the individual
human soul. Precisely by the road which the human mind has
traveled in its searchings from Augustine to Descartes, it may
be seen how the cosmic character of the Thought-forces
disappears, and how the same thing reappears anew in the soul
of Man. Yet at the same time it can be seen, under what
difficulties Michael and the soul of Man are able so to meet
together that Michael can direct in Man what he once directed
in the Cosmos.
The Luciferic and the Ahrimanic forces are both busily at work
to prevent their meeting. The Luciferic forces would only allow
those things to come to expansion in Man, which were his in his
cosmic childhood. The Ahrimanic forces — as their
opponents, but yet in cooperation with them — want to
develop those powers only, which are acquired in the later ages
of the world, and to let the cosmic childhood wither away.
Under such circumstances of aggravated difficulty, the souls of
men in Europe continued to digest those spiritual impulses
which had made their way through the Crusades in the form of
old ideas and world-conceptions, from the East into the West.
In these ideas the forces of Michael lived with peculiar
strength. These world-conceptions were dominated by the cosmic
Intelligence, of which Michael was by old spiritual heritage
How could these ideas and world-conceptions be taken up by
human souls, since between these souls and the forces of the
spiritual world there lay a gulf? They fell amidst the first
faint beginnings of the Spiritual Soul. On the one hand, they
met with the hindrance presented by the still feeble
development of the Spiritual Soul; they drowned the voice of
the Spiritual Soul — lamed its force. And on the other
hand, they no longer met with a consciousness that drew
strength from Imagination. The human soul could no longer unite
with them in full insight. People took them either quite
superficially, or else superstitiously.
This state of men's minds must be clearly perceived, in order
to understand those movements in thought which are associated
on the one hand with the names of Wycliffe, Huss etc. and with
the designation ‘Rosicrucian’ on the other.
At the beginning of the Age of
Consciousness, the human soul develops her intellectual
forces only as yet to a very small extent. There arises a
lack of connection between what the soul yearns for in her
unconscious, underlying depths, and what can be given her
by the forces from the region where Michael is.
This lack of connection affords the
Luciferic Powers an enhanced possibility of detaining Man
within the forces of his cosmic childhood, so as to cause
his further evolution to take place, not along the paths of
those divine, spiritual Powers with whom he was united from
the first, but along the paths of Lucifer.
It further affords an enhanced
possibility for the Ahrimanic Powers to cut Man off from
the forces of his cosmic childhood, and draw him over into
their own realm, for further evolution there.
Both of these things failed to take
place, because the Michael-Forces were nevertheless at
work; but the spiritual evolution of mankind had to go on
amidst the obstacles arising from these two possibilities,
and it thereby became what it has hitherto