Berlin, 11th November 1904
Notes for this Lecture]
been asked to say something about Freemasonry. This cannot be
understood, however, until we have examined the original spiritual
currents related to Freemasonry, which can be seen as its sources. An
even more important spiritual current than Rosicrucianism was
Manicheism. So first we need to speak about this much more important
movement and then, at a later time, we can shed a light on
I have to say on this subject is connected
with various things which influence the spiritual life of today and
will influence it in time to come. And to illustrate how one who is
actively engaged in this field constantly comes across something — if
only obliquely — I would point out, by way of introduction, that on
many occasions I have described the problem of Faust
as of particular importance for modern spiritual life. And that is why the
modern spiritual movement is brought into connection with the problem
of Faust in the first number of Luzifer.
The allusion I made to the problem of Faust in my essay in Luzifer
is not without a certain reason.
to bring the things with which we are concerned into connection with
one another, we must start from a spiritual tendency which first
manifested in about the third century
It is that spiritual
movement whose great opponent was St. Augustine,
although before he went over to the side of the Catholic Church he was
himself an adherent of this faith. We have to speak about Manicheism,
which was founded by a person who called himself Mani
and lived about
the time of the third century
This movement spread from a part of the
world which was then ruled by the kings of the Near East; that is to
say, from a region of Western Asia Minor. This Mani was the founder
of a spiritual movement which although at first only a small sect,
became a mighty spiritual current. The Albigenses, Waldenses and
of the Middle Ages are the continuation of this current,
to which also belong the Knights Templar, of whom we shall speak
and also — by a remarkable chain of circumstances —
the Freemasons. Freemasonry really belongs to this stream, though it
is connected with others, for instance with Rosicrucianism.
outer history has to say about Mani is very simple.
It is said
that there once lived a merchant in the Near East who was very learned.
He compiled four important works:
and lastly Thesaurus.
It is further related that at his death he left these writings to his
widow who was a Persian. This widow, on her part, left them to a slave
whose freedom she had bought and whom she had liberated. That was the
said Mani, who then drew his wisdom out of these writings, though he
was also initiated into the Mithraic mysteries.
Mani is called the
‘Son of the Widow’, and his followers are called the
‘Sons of the Widow.’ However, Mani described himself as
the Holy Spirit promised to mankind
by Christ. We should understand by this that he saw himself as one
incarnation of the Holy Spirit; he did not mean that he was the only
one. He explained that the Holy Spirit reincarnated, and that he was
one such reincarnation.
teaching which he proclaimed was opposed in the most vigorous fashion
by Augustine after he had gone over to the Catholic Church. Augustine
opposed his Catholic views to the Manichean teaching which he saw
represented in a personality whom he called Faustus.
Faustus is, in Augustine's conception, the opponent of Christianity. Here
lies the origin of Goethe's Faust, and of his conception of evil. The name
‘Faust’ goes back to this old Augustinian
usually hears it said about Manichean teaching that it is
distinguished from western Christianity by its different
interpretation of evil. Whereas Catholic Christianity regards evil as
an aberration from its divine origin, the defection of originally
good spirits from God, Manicheism teaches that evil is just as
eternal as good; that there is no resurrection of the body, and that
evil, as such, will continue for ever. Evil, therefore, has no
beginning, but springs from the same source as good and has no
come to know Manicheism in this form it will seem radically
unchristian and quite incomprehensible.
should like to study the matter thoroughly according to the
traditions which are supposed to have originated from Mani himself,
and so see what it is all about. An external clue is given us in the
Manichean legend; just such a legend as the Temple Legend, which I
recounted to you recently. All such spiritual currents connected with
initiation are expressed exoterically in legends, but the legend of
Manicheism is a great cosmic legend,
a super-sensible legend.
us that at one time the spirits of darkness wanted to take the
kingdom of light by storm. They actually reached the borders of the
kingdom of light and hoped to conquer it. But they failed to achieve
anything. Now they were to be punished — and that is a very
significant feature which I beg you to take account of — they were to
be punished by the kingdom of light. But in this realm there was
nothing which was in any way evil, there was only good. Thus the
demons of darkness could only have been punished with something good.
So what happened? The following: The spirits of light took a part of
their own kingdom and mixed it with the materialised kingdom of
darkness. Because there was now a part of the kingdom of light
mingled with the kingdom of darkness, a leaven had been introduced
into the kingdom of darkness, a ferment which produced a chaotic
whirling dance, whereby it received a new element into itself; i.e.
death. Therefore, it continually consumes itself and thus carries
within itself the germ of its own destruction. It is further related
that just because of this, the race of mankind was brought into
existence. Primeval man represents just what was sent down from the
kingdom of light to mix with the kingdom of darkness and to conquer,
through death, what should not have been there; to conquer it within
his own being.
The profound thought which lies in this
is that the kingdom of darkness has to be
overcome by the kingdom of light, not by means of punishment, but
through mildness; not by resisting evil, but by uniting with it in
order to redeem evil as such. Because a part of the light enters into
evil, the evil itself is overcome.
Underlying that is the interpretation of evil
which I have often explained as that of theosophy. What is evil?
Nothing but an ill-timed good. To cite an example which has often
been quoted by me, let us assume that we have to do with a virtuoso
pianist and an excellent piano technician, both
perfect in their sphere. First of all the technician has to build the
piano and then hand it over to the pianist. If the latter is a good
player he will use it appropriately and both are equally good. But
should the technician go into the concert hall instead of the pianist
and start hammering away he would then be in the wrong place.
Something good would have become something bad. So we see that evil
is nothing else than a misplaced good.
When what is especially good at one time or
another strives to be preserved, to become rigid and thus curb the
progress of further development, then, without doubt, it becomes
evil, because it opposes the good. Let us suppose that the leading
powers of the lunar epoch, though perfect in their way and in their
activity, were to continue to intermingle with evolution though they
ought to have ceased their activity, then they would represent
something evil in earth evolution. Thus evil is nothing else than the
divine, for, at that other time, what is evil
when it comes at the wrong season, was then an
expression of what is perfect, what is divine.
interpret the Manichean views in this profound sense, that good and
evil are fundamentally the same in their origin and in their ending.
If you interpret it in this way you will understand what Mani really
intended to bring about. But, on the other hand, we still have to explain
why it was that Mani called himself the ‘Son of the Widow’
and why his followers were called the ‘Sons of the Widow’.
we turn back to the most ancient times, before our present Root Race,
the mode in which mankind acquired knowledge was different. You will
perceive from my description of Atlantis — and also, when the
next issue of Luzifer appears, you will see from
my description of Lemuria
— that at that time, and to a certain extent up to the present day,
all knowledge was influenced by what is above mankind. I have often
mentioned that that Manu
who will appear during the next Root Race will for the first time be a real
brother to his fellow men, whereas all earlier Manus were superhuman,
divine beings of a kind. Only now is man becoming ripe enough to have
one of his brother men as his Manu, who has passed through all stages
with him since the middle of Lemuria. What is really taking place
then, during the evolution of the fifth Root Race? This, that the
revelation from above, the guidance of the soul from above, is
gradually being withdrawn, so that man is left to go his own way and
become his own leader.
was always known as the ‘mother’ in all esoteric
(mystical) teachings; the instructor was the ‘father’.
Father and mother, Osiris and Isis, those are the two forces present
in the soul: the instructor, representing the divine which flows
directly into man, Osiris, he that is the father; the soul itself,
Isis, the one who conceives, receives the divine, the spiritual into
itself, she is the mother. During the fifth Root Race, the father
withdraws. The soul is widowed. Humanity is thrown back onto itself.
It must find the light of truth within its own soul in order to act
as its own guide. Everything of a soul nature has always been
expressed in terms of the feminine. Therefore the feminine element —
which exists only in a germinal state today and will later be fully
developed — this self-directing feminine principle which is no longer
confronted by the divine fructifier, is called by Mani the
‘Widow’. And therefore he calls himself ‘Son of the
Mani is the one who prepares that stage in
man's soul development when he will seek for his own
soul-spirit light. Everything which comes from Mani is an appeal to
man's own spirit light of soul, and at the same time is a definite
rebellion against anything which does not come out of man's own
soul,out of man's own observation of his soul. Beautiful words have
been handed down from Mani
and have been the leading theme of his followers at all later times. We
hear the words: You must lay aside everything which you have acquired as
outer revelation by means of the senses. You must lay aside all things
which come to you via outer authority; then you must become ripe to
gaze into your own soul.
St. Augustine, on the other hand — in a
conversation which made him into an opponent of the Manichean Faust —
voiced the opinion: ‘I would not accept the teachings of Christ
if they were not founded on the authority of the Church’.
The Manichean Faust said,
however: ‘You should not accept any teaching on authority; we only
wish to accept a doctrine in freedom.’ That illustrates the
rebellious self-sufficiency of the spirit light which comes to
expression so beautifully in the Faust saga.
this confrontation also in later sagas in the Middle Ages: on the one
hand the Faust saga, on the other, the Luther saga.
Luther carries on the principle of authority.
Faust, on the other hand,
rebels, he puts his faith in the inner spirit light. We have the saga
of Luther; he throws the inkwell at the devil's head. What appears to
him to be evil he thrusts aside. And on the other hand we have
Faust's pact with the devil. A spark from the kingdom of light is
sent into the kingdom of darkness, so that when the darkness is
penetrated, it redeems itself, evil is overcome by gentleness. If you
think of it in this fashion you will see that this Manicheism fits in
very well with the interpretation which we have given of
How do we
imagine the interworking of good and evil? We have to explain it as
the harmonisation of life with form.
How does life change over
into form? Through coming up against resistance, through not
manifesting all at once in one particular shape. Take note, for
instance, how life in a plant — let us say a lily — speeds on from
form to form. The life in the lily has fashioned, has elaborated, the
form of the lily.
form has been created, life overcomes it and passes over into the
seed to be reborn as the same life in a fresh form. And so life
strides onward from form to form. Life itself is formless and could
never perceptibly manifest its vital forces. The life of the lily,
for instance, exists in the first lily and progresses to the second,
third, fourth and so on. Everywhere there is the same life which
appears in a limited form, spreading and interweaving. The fact that
it appears in a limited form is a restriction imposed upon this
universal flowing life. There would be no form if life were not
restricted, if it were not arrested in its flowing force which
radiates in all directions. It is just what remains behind, which,
from a higher stage, appears like a fetter; it is just out of this
that form evolves in the great cosmos.
comprises life is always set in the framework of a form which was
life in an earlier time. Example: the Catholic Church. The life which
existed in the Catholic Church from St. Augustine until the fifteenth
century was the Christian life. The life therein is Christianity.
Ever and again this pulsating life emerges anew (the mystics). Where
does the form come from? It is no less than the life of the old Roman
Empire. What was still alive in the old Roman Empire has frozen into
form. What was at first a Republic, then an Empire, what lived in
outward appearance as the Roman State, surrendered its life, frozen
into form, to the later Christianity; even its capital city, Rome,
was previously the capital city of the Roman Empire, and the Roman
provincial officers have their continuation in the presbyters and
bishops. What was previously life later becomes form for a higher
stage of life.
Is it not
the same with human beings? What is human life? The fructification
from above (Manas fructification), implanted into man in mid-Lemurian
times, has today become his inner life. The form is what is carried
over, as seed, from the lunar epoch. At that time, in the lunar
period, the life of man consisted of the development of the astral
body; now this has become the sheath, the form. Always the life of
a former epoch becomes the form of a later epoch. In the
harmonisation of form and life that other problem is expressed too:
the problem of good and evil, through the fact that the good of a
former epoch is joined to the good of a later epoch, which is
fundamentally nothing but a harmonisation of progress with the things
which hinder progress. That is what, at the same time, makes material
existence possible, makes it possible for things to appear in outward
form. It is our human existence on the solid mineral plane: soul life
and what remains of the life of an earlier epoch hardened into a
restrictive form. That, too, is the teaching of Manicheism regarding
If we now
pose the question from this point of view: What are Mani's
intentions, what is the meaning of his statement that he is the
Paraclete, the Spirit, the Son of the Widow? It means no less than
that he intends to prepare for the time in which the men of the sixth
Root Race will be guided out of their own being, by their own soul's
light, to overcome outward forms and convert them to
intention is to create a spiritual current which goes beyond the
which leads further than Rosicrucianism.
This current of Mani's will flow over to the sixth Root Race and has
been in preparation since the founding of Christianity. It is just at
the time of the sixth Root Race that Christianity will be expressed
in its most complete form. Its time will truly have come. The inner
Christian life, as such, overcomes every form, it is propagated by
external Christianity and lives in all forms of the various
confessions. Whoever seeks Christian life will always find it. It
creates forms and destroys forms in various religious systems. It
does not depend upon a search for conformity in the outward forms in
which it is expressed, but it depends upon experiencing the inner
life stream which is always current under the surface. What is still
waiting to be made is a form for the life of the sixth Root Race.
That must be created beforehand, it has to be there so that Christian
life can be poured into it. This form has to be prepared by human
beings who create an Organisation, a form, so that the true Christian
life of the sixth Root Race can find its place therein. And this
external form of society must derive from the intention which Mani
has fostered, from the small group whom Mani has prepared. That must
be the outer form of Organisation, the congregation in which the
spark of Christianity will first be truly kindled.
you will be able to conclude that Manicheism will endeavour, first
and foremost, to preserve purity in outer life; for its aim is to
produce human beings who will provide an adequate vessel in the
future. That is why such great stress was laid on absolute purity of
mind and of life. The Cathars were a sect which rose like a meteor in
the twelfth century. They called themselves Cathars because
‘cathar’ means ‘pure one’. They strove for
purity in their way of life and in their moral attitude. They had to
seek catharsis (purification) both inwardly and outwardly in order to
form a community which would provide a pure vessel. That is what
Manicheism was striving for. It was less a question in Manicheism of
the cultivation of the inner life — for life will flow onwards
through other channels — but rather the cultivation of the external
form of life.
us look at what is to come about during the sixth Root Race. Good and
evil will then contrast very differently from the way that they do
today. What will be evident to all mankind in the fifth Round
— that the outer physiognomy which each one acquires will directly
mirror what Karma has made out of him — that will express itself
spiritually in the sixth Root Race like a prelude to this event.
Among those on whom Karma has bestowed an excess of evil, it will
become particularly evident on a spiritual level. On the one hand
there will be human beings possessing mighty inner forces of good,
who will be gifted with great love and goodness; but, on the other
hand, the opposite will also be seen. Evil will be present as a
disposition without any disguise in a great many people, no longer
cloaked or hidden from view. The evil ones will extol evil as
something of particular worth. A glimmering of this delight in evil
and the demonic pertaining to the sixth Root Race is already in
evidence in certain men of genius. Nietzsche's ‘blonde beast’,
for example, is a portent of this.
unalloyed evil must be cast out of the stream of world evolution like
dross. It will be relegated to the eighth sphere.
Today we stand
immediately at the threshold of a time when good must consciously
come to terms with evil.
Root Race will have the task of drawing evil back into the continuing
stream of evolution through kindness. Then a spiritual current will
have been born which does not oppose evil, even though it manifests
in the world in its demonic form. The consciousness will have been
established in the successors to the ‘Sons of the Widow’
that evil must be included again in evolution and be overcome, not by
strife, but only through charitableness. It is the task of the
Manichean spiritual stream forcefully to prepare for this. This
spiritual stream will not die out, it will make its appearance in
many forms. It appears in forms which many can call to mind but which
need not be mentioned today. If it were to function merely in the
cultivation of an inner mood of soul, this current would not achieve
what it should do. It must express itself in the founding of
communities which, above all, will look upon peace, love and passive
resistance to evil as their standard of behaviour and will seek to
spread this view. For they must create a receptacle, a form, for the
life which will continue to exist even without their
Now you can
understand how it is that Augustine, the leading spirit of the Catholic
Church, who developed the form of the Church very precisely in his
City of God, who worked out the form for contemporary life, was
of necessity the most violent opponent of that kind of
form which is preparing for the future. Two polar opposites confront
one another, Faust and Augustine: Augustine, who based his work on
the Church, on the form belonging to his day, and Faust, who strives
to prepare in man a sense for the form of the future.
the contrast which developed in the third and fourth centuries
It is still present and finds expression in the struggle of the Catholic
Church against the Knights Templars, the Rosicrucians, Albigenses,
Cathars and so on. All of them are eliminated from the physical
plane, but their inner spirit continues to be active. This contrast
manifests again later in modified but still violent form in two
currents born out of Western culture, that of Jesuitism (pertaining
to Augustine) and that of Freemasonry
(Manicheism). Those who
lead the battle on the one side are all conscious of what they are
doing — they are the Catholics and Jesuits of the higher degrees. Of
those, however, who are on the other side, who lead the battle in the
spirit of Mani, only very few are conscious; only those at the head
of the movement are conscious of it.
(belonging to Augustine) and Freemasonry (Manicheism) confront one another
in later centuries. They are the offspring of ancient spiritual currents.
That is why you have in both these currents a continuation of the same
ceremonies connected with initiation that you find in the old currents. The
initiation into Jesuitism has the four degrees: Coadjutores temporales,
Scholares, Coadjutores spirituales, Professi. The degrees of
initiation in the true occult Freemasonry are similar. The two run parallel
to one another but they point in quite different directions.