THE WORLD-THOUGHTS IN THE WORKING OF
MICHAEL AND IN THE WORKING OF AHRIMAN
When one considers the relation of Michael to Ahriman, one may well
feel impelled to ask: How are these spiritual Powers related to one
another in the cosmic sense, seeing that both of them are active in
the unfolding of the forces of Intellectuality?
In the past Michael unfolded the Intellectuality throughout the
Cosmos. He did this as the servant of the Divine Spiritual Powers, to
whom both he himself and man owed their origin. And he wishes not to
depart from this relationship to Intellectuality. When Intellectuality
was loosened from the Divine-Spiritual Powers in order to find its way
into the inner being of man, Michael resolved thenceforth to assume
his true relationship to mankind in order that in mankind he might
find his relationship to the Intellectuality. But he wanted to do all
this only in the sense of the Divine Spiritual Powers and as their
servant still. For with these Powers he has been united ever since his
own origin and that of men. Therefore it is his intention that
Intellectuality shall flow in future through the hearts of men, but
that it shall flow there as the self-same force which it was in the
beginning when it poured forth from the Divine-Spiritual Powers.
It is altogether different with Ahriman. He is a Being who long, long
ago severed himself from the stream of evolution to which those
Divine-Spiritual Powers belong of whom we are speaking. In an age of
primal antiquity he set himself up beside them as an independent power
in the Cosmos. This Being, though in the present day he is there in
the world of space to which man belongs, evolves no relationship of
inner forces with the Beings rightly belonging to this world. It is
only through the Intellectuality, loosened from the Divine Spiritual
Beings, which comes into this world, that Ahriman finding
himself akin to it is able in his own way to unite himself with
mankind. For in an ancient and primeval past he already united with
himself this Intellectuality which man receives in the present as a
gift from the Cosmos. Ahriman, if he succeeded in his intentions,
would make the intellect, given to mankind, similar to his own.
Now Ahriman appropriated Intellectuality to himself in an age when he
could not make it an inner reality within him. It has remained in his
being as a force, utterly detached from anything of heart or soul.
Intellectuality pours forth from Ahriman as a cold and freezing,
soulless cosmic impulse. Those human beings who are taken hold of by
this impulse bring forth that logic which seems to speak for itself
alone, void of compassion and of love, which bears no evidence of a
right, heartfelt, inner relationship of soul between the human being
and what he thinks and speaks and does. In real truth it is Ahriman
who speaks in this kind of logic.
But Michael has never appropriated Intellectuality to himself. He
rules it as a Divine-Spiritual force while feeling himself united with
the Divine-Spiritual Powers. And when he pervades the intellect it
becomes manifest that the intellect can equally well be an expression
of the heart and soul as an expression of the head and mind. For
Michael has within him all the original forces of his Gods as well as
those of man. Consequently he does not convey to the intellect
anything that is soulless, cold, frosty, but he stands by it in a
manner that is full of soul and inwardly warm.
Herein, too, lies the reason why Michael moves through the Cosmos with
earnest mien and gesture. To be inwardly united in this way with
intelligence means at the same time to be obliged to fulfil the
requirement that into it shall be brought no subjective caprice, wish
or desire. Otherwise logic becomes the arbitrary activity of
one being, instead of the expression of the Cosmos. Michael
considers that his special virtue consists in strictly
maintaining his being as the expression of the World-Being, keeping
within himself all that would make itself felt as his own being. His
aims are directed towards the great purposes of the Cosmos; this is
expressed in his mien. His will, as it approaches man, must reflect
what he sees in the Cosmos; and this is shown in his attitude, his
gesture. Michael is earnest in all things, for earnestness, as
the manifestation of a being, is a reflection of the Cosmos from this
being; smiling is the expression of that which proceeds and radiates
from a being into the world.
One of the Imaginations of Michael is the following: he rules through
the passage of time; bearing the light from the Cosmos really as his
own being; giving form to the warmth from the Cosmos as the revealer
of his own being; as a being he keeps steadily on his course like a
world, affirming himself only by affirming the world, as if leading
forces down to the Earth from all parts of the Universe.
Contrast this with an Imagination of Ahriman: As he goes along he
would like to capture space from time; he has darkness around him into
which he shoots the rays of his own light; the more he achieves his
aims the severer is the frost around him; he moves as a world which
contracts entirely into one being, viz., his own, in which he affirms
himself only by denying the world; he moves as if he carried with him
the sinister forces of dark caves in the Earth.
When man seeks freedom without inclining towards egoism when freedom becomes for him pure love for the action which is to be performed then it is possible for him to approach Michael. But if he desires to act freely and at the same time develops egoism if freedom becomes for him the proud feeling of manifesting himself in the action then he is in danger of falling into Ahriman's sphere.
The Imaginations we have just described shine forth from a man's pure
love for the action (Michael), or from his own self-love in acting
When man feels himself as a free being in proximity to Michael he is
on the way to carry the intellectual power into his whole
man; he thinks indeed with his head, but his heart feels the
brightness of the thought or its shade; the will radiates forth the
essential being of man by allowing thoughts, to stream into it as
intentions and aims. Man becomes more and more man by becoming the
expression of the world; he finds himself, not by seeking
himself, but by uniting himself voluntarily with the world.
If, when man unfolds his freedom, he succumbs to Ahriman's
temptations, he is drawn into intellectuality as if into a spiritual
automatic process in which he is a part; he is no longer himself. All
his thinking becomes an experience of the head; but this separates it
from the experience of his own heart and the life of his own will, and
blots out his own being.
Man loses more and more of the true inner
human expression by becoming the expression of his own separate
existence; he loses himself by seeking himself, he withdraws
himself from the world which he refuses to love. It is only when he
loves the world that a man truly experiences himself.
From the above description it may be evident that Michael is the Guide
to Christ. Michael goes with love on his way through the world, with
all the earnestness of his nature, attitude and action. The man who
attaches himself to him cultivates love in relation to the outer
world. And love must be unfolded first of all in relation to the
outer world, otherwise it becomes self-love.
If this love in the spirit of Michael is there, then one's love of
another being will shine back into one's own self. The self will be
able to love without loving itself. And on the paths of this love
Christ can be found by the human soul.
One who holds fast to Michael cultivates love in relation to the outer
world, and he thereby finds that relation to the inner world of his
soul which brings him in touch with Christ.
The age now dawning requires that humanity should turn its attention
to a world immediately bordering upon the world perceived as physical
one in which can be found what we have here described as the
Being and the Mission of Michael. For the world which man pictures as
Nature when he sees this physical world, is also not the one in which
he is immediately living, but one which lies as far below the
truly human world as the world of Michael lies above it. It is
only that man fails to notice that unconsciously, when he makes for
himself a picture of his world, the image of another world really
arises. When he paints this picture he at the same time excludes
himself and succumbs to the spiritual automatic process. Man can only
preserve his humanity by placing over against this picture, in
which he loses himself in the picture of Nature, the other, in which
Michael rules in which Michael leads the way to Christ.
Further Leading Thoughts issued from the Goetheanum for the Anthroposophical Society (in connection with the foregoing account of the World-Thoughts in the Working of Michael and in the Working of Ahriman)
121. We have not fully understood the significance or the Universe of
something that is working there for instance, of the Cosmic
Thoughts so long as we stop short at the thing itself. We must
also look to recognise the Beings from whom it proceeds. Thus for the
Cosmic Thoughts we must see whether it is Michael or Ahriman who bears
them out into the world and through the world.
122. Proceeding from the one Being by virtue of his relation to
the world the same thing will work creatively and wholesomely;
proceeding from another, it will prove fatal and destructive. The
Cosmic Thoughts carry man into the future when he receives them from
Michael; they lead him away from the future of his salvation when
Ahriman has power to give them to him.
123. Such reflections lead us ever more to overcome the idea of an
undefined Spirituality, pantheistically conceived as holding sway at
the root of all things. We are led to a conception that is definite
and real, capable of clear ideas about the spiritual Beings of the
Hierarchies. For the reality is everywhere a reality of Being.
Whatsoever in it is not Being, is the activity that proceeds in the
relation of one Being to another. This too can only be understood if
we can turn our gaze to the active Beings.