THE CONDITION OF THE HUMAN SOUL
BEFORE THE DAWN OF THE MICHAEL AGE
Today I will take the opportunity of giving some further thoughts in
line with my article At the Dawn of the Michael Age.
The Michael Age has taken its rise in the evolution of mankind at a
time that follows on the one hand the predominance of the intellectual
forming of thoughts, and on the other hand the turning of
human perception and vision to the outer world of the senses, to the
Thought-forming is in its nature not essentially an evolution in the
direction of materialism. That which in bygone times came to the human
being as something inspired into him, namely, the world of ideas,
became, in the time that preceded the Michael epoch, the property of
the human soul. The soul no longer receives the ideas from
above out of the spiritual content of the Cosmos: it draws them
itself actively forth out of the human being's own spiritual nature.
Man has thereby become ripe for reflection upon his own spiritual
being. Hitherto he did not penetrate to these depths of his own
nature. He saw in himself as it were a drop out of the sea of cosmic
spirituality, a drop that has separated itself off for the time of
this earthly life, only to unite itself again when the earthly life is
The thought-forming that goes on in the human being marks an advance
in human self-knowledge. Viewed from the supersensible, it appears
thus. The spiritual Powers that we may designate with the Michael-name
held rule over the ideas in the spiritual Cosmos. The human being
experienced these ideas by partaking with his soul in the life of the
Michael-world. This experience has now become his own, and a temporary
separation of the human being from the Michael-world has therewith
come about. With the inspired thoughts of earlier times man received
at the same time the content of the spiritual world. Since this
inspiration has ceased and man now forms his thoughts from his own
activity, he is referred to the perception of the senses to find a
content for these thoughts. Thus was man obliged to fill with material
content the spirituality that he had won. He fell into the
materialistic outlook in the very epoch of time that brought his own
spiritual being a stage higher in development.
This is easily liable to misunderstanding. We may observe only the
fall into materialism and lament over it. Whilst, however,
the perception and vision of this age had to be limited to the
external physical world, there was unfolding within the soul, as
actual experience, a purified and self-subsisting spiritually
of the human being. And now in the Michael Age this spirituality must
no longer remain as unconscious experience, it must become
conscious of its own proper nature. This signifies the entry of the
Michael Being into the human soul. For a certain length of time man
has filled his own spirit with the material side of Nature; he is to
fill it again with cosmic content consisting of a spirituality that is
his very own.
Thought-forming was lost for a time in the Matter of the Cosmos; it
must be found again in the cosmic Spirit. Into the cold, abstract
world of thought can enter warmth, can enter a spirit-reality that is
filled with being. That represents the dawn of the Michael Age.
The consciousness of freedom could develop only in the depths of the
human soul through this separation from the thought-being of the
world. What came from the heights had to be found again in the depths.
For this reason the development of the consciousness of freedom was
connected first of all with a knowledge of Nature that was directed
only to the external. While man was unconsciously developing his mind
in the formation of clear ideas, his senses were directed outward
solely to what is material, but this did not in any way disturb the
tender seed that was beginning to germinate in the soul.
But the experience of the Spiritual, and together with it the
vision of the Spiritual, can re-enter the vision of the outward
material world in a new way. The knowledge of Nature acquired during
the age of materialism can be comprehended in the soul's inner life in
a spiritual way. Michael, who has spoken from above, can
be heard from within, where he will begin to dwell.
Speaking more imaginatively this may be expressed as follows: The
Sun-nature which for long periods man received only from the Cosmos,
will begin to shine within his soul. He will learn to speak of an
inner Sun. This will not prevent him from knowing himself
to be an earthly being during his life between birth and death; but he
will recognise that this his earthly being is led by the Sun.
He will learn to feel as a truth, that a being places him, in his
inner nature, into a light which shines indeed upon earthly existence
but which is not enkindled within it. In the dawn of the Michael Age
it may still seem as if all this were very far remote from humanity;
but in the spirit it is near; it only needs to be
seen. A very great deal depends upon this fact, that the
ideas of man do not merely remain thinking, but in thought
Further Leading Thoughts issued from the Goetheanum for the Anthroposophical Society
85. It is in the waking day-consciousness that man experiences himself
to begin with, during the present cosmic age. This experience conceals
from him the fact that in this waking state the Third Hierarchy is
present in his experience.
86. In the dream-consciousness man experiences, in a chaotic way, his
own being unharmoniously united with the Spirit-being of the world.
When the Imaginative Consciousness is realised as the other pole of
the dream-consciousness, man becomes aware that the Second Hierarchy
is present in his experience.
87. In dreamless sleep-consciousness man experiences, all
unconsciously, his own being united with the Spirit-being of the
World. When the Inspired Consciousness is realised as the other pole
of the sleep-consciousness, man becomes aware that the First Hierarchy
is present in his experience.