◊ “[W]e are watching the battle waged by
the good gods against the evil gods.”

◊ "The evil astral world 
is the province of Lucifer,
the evil Lower Devachan 
[is] the province of Ahriman,
and the evil Higher Devachan 
[is] the province of the Asuras."

◊ "[T]here is also a Sun-Demon, 

the so-called Demon of the Sun, 

that works with the evil forces of man...

and it works in such a way 

that a certain part of the human race 

[will] be thrown out of our evolution ...

[T]hey will then be finally cast 

into the abyss.”

— Rudolf Steiner


Good Souls, Bad Souls

This page was originally written for a different website.

As we saw in "Oriphiel", humanity is currently living through the fifth cultural epoch (the Anglo-Germanic Age) of the fifth great epoch (the Post-Atlantean Epoch). The next cultural epoch will be the Russian Age. Once again, Archangels — operating on a rotating basis — will oversee our progress. Thus, Michael will again be our guide, for a time:


[Seddon] “Leading up to the middle of this age, some time [sic] about 4300 to 4700 [AD], it is the turn of Michael (now an Archon but no longer Spirit of the Age) to act again as the ruling Time Archangel; so a further enhancement of the Christ impulse may then be expected. By now [i.e., by the middle of the sixth great epoch] many people have made the eightfold path of Buddha their own in its modern form, which leads through conscious exercises to the unfolding of the 16-petal lotus flower in the larynx.” [1]

I've said not to worry if some or much Anthroposophical jargon seems incomprehensible. Still, I probably should help set things straight, at least a little. So, concerning Archai and Sun Rulers and Time Archangels and all the rest: Steiner's universe is crowded with gods, high and low, here and there, busily engaged in their own affairs and in ours. Anthroposophy is a polytheistic creed. [See "Polytheism".] The many gods of Anthroposophical belief have varying roles, which change as the gods evolve — they supervise various planets, stars, period of time, and so forth. Some gods take particular interest in us, some have broader perspectives. There are three hierarchies or groupings of gods, with each hierarchy containing three ranks. Thus, overall, there are nine ranks of gods, who have been known by a variety of names. The ranks are, in sense, steps on the divine ladder leading to ultimate divinity. Spiritual beings evolve up this ladder. We are currently on a low rung, not yet having become gods, but we will rise. The gods above us made the same ascent; they too once stood at our lowly level; they too were once "human." 

Here are the ranks of the gods, starting at the top, (Above the highest rank looms the mysterious Godhead, the supreme divinity that stands above all else. [See "God".]) 

1. Spirits of Love, or Seraphim

2. Spirits of Harmonies, aka Cherubim

3. Spirits of Will, also called Thrones

4. Spirits of Wisdom, aka Kyriotetes, Dominions

5. Spirits of Movement, or Dynamis, Mights

6. Spirits of Form, or Powers, Exusiai 

7. Spirits of Personality, aka Archai, Principalities,

    Primeval Beings (they were human on Old Saturn)

8. Spirits of Fire, or Archangels (human on Old Sun)

9. Sons of Life, or Angels  (human on Old Moon)

Below the gods:

Humans (human on Earth) [2]

As for Buddha and lotus flowers: Steiner drew on all manner of religious, mystical, and mythic traditions. The "lotuses" he spoke of, drawing on Eastern lore, are invisible spiritual organs. Another term for them is chakras. They are analogous to the organs of the physical body, and they reside near our physical organs, but they are incorporeal and invisible. Steiner said developing such organs is necessary on the path of initiation leading to clairvoyance. [See "Inside Scoop".] 

The Christ impulse is the spiritual impetus the Sun God imparted, enabling us to advance toward divinity. Steiner identified various approaches to initiation, some having distinctly Eastern or Buddhist or Hindu flavors [see, e.g., "Yoga"], but he said the correct approach for modern humans is Rosicrucianism [see "Rosy Cross"]. By this, he essentially meant a gnostic/heretical semi-Christian approach centered on the Sun God. [See "Gnosis" and "Sun God".]


OK. That may give us enough background information to proceed. So, back to the future. 

As we push forward in our evolution, we must constantly repeat or recapitulate our previous developmental stages, although in new and different forms. We move onward and upward, but we do so in a sort of pirouetting dance, a spiral. The Russian Age (3573-5733 AD) will recapitulate the ancient Persian Age (5067-2970 BC), which occurred under the astrological powers of Gemini: 

[Seddon] “This age [the Russian] in fact recapitulates the Persian (Gemini) age, especially its experience of the polarities between light and dark, good and evil, which is now an actual division between good and evil races.” [3]

The strife of the coming ages entails the division of humanity into good and evil strains — "good and evil races" —  so that the good can evolve higher unimpeded. The evil may be saved or converted, in some cases. But, often, the evil must be removed and suppressed. Evil humans actually evolve downward, becoming lower and lower.

[Steiner] “Those who use the life of the body for anything more than an opportunity to gain ego-consciousness [i.e., people who misuse their earthly incarnations] will descend in the abyss and form the evil race. They have turned away from the impulse of Christ Jesus [the Sun God], and out of the ugliness of their souls they will again develop the animal form man possessed in former ages. The evil race, with its savage impulses, will dwell in animal form in the abyss." [4] 

This sort of thing happens at various times during the spiraling, evolving progress of humanity, according to Anthroposophical belief. 

Pause over the notion that people who turn away from the Christ impulse are evil. Most humans alive now are not Christians, and far far fewer follow Steiner's gnostic semi-Christianity, Anthroposophy. Thus, most humans today must be deemed evil (according to Steiner). Consider, for instance, how Jews will likely fare in Steiner's accounting. The abyss apparently yawns before them. But lest the rest of us become complacent about the Jews' fate, realize that — according to Steiner — almost everyone else faces the same or a similar fate. Buddhists, Hindus, Jains, Muslims, mainstream Christians, agnostics, atheists — anyone who is not on the Steiner-desribed true path is necessarily on the false path, likely to join the evil race. Anthroposophy seems to affirm many religions, since it borrows from many. But in fact it is a narrow and exclusionary cult. In fact, Anthroposophists think that, ultimately, only Anthroposophists will be saved. Everyone else will, sooner or later, experience a terrible doom. Everyone else will go down the wrong path. If this is your choice, then you deserve to suffer the consequences. 

[Steiner] "The purified world will develop above and beyond thee, and thou shalt be excluded from it. Thus thou wouldst tread the black path, while the others from whom thou didst sever thyself tread the white path." [5]

According to Anthroposophical belief, humans have been dividing themselves into good and evil races for millennia. This has occurred through the process of reincarnation, as our souls and bodies evolved. Good souls evolved to become good races; evil souls fell into ever lower physical embodiments in successive incarnations. 

[Steiner] “The soul is in a different line of evolution than the body of the human being. The difference between soul and racial development can be seen if we look into the past. Souls were incarnated many times in the Atlantean race [the race living in Atlantis]; all of you were Atlanteans at that time. The souls worked themselves out of that situation and the remaining human bodies belonged to the races that had become decadent and were falling into decline [i.e., the good human souls moved on, leaving behind the bad humans dwelling in corrupt bodies]. The [good] souls left the bodies of the [lower] races and rose up to [become] higher races. Human bodies afflicted with fundamental evil will not have souls within them that are striving to rise above their present state to a higher one [i.e., fundamentally evil human souls are not housed in good human bodies].” [6]

If Anthroposophy spreads far and wide in the future, then most humans could be saved. This is the messianic hope cherished by Steiner's followers, including those who teach in Waldorf schools. They are out to save humanity by bringing as many as possible into the fold. You will not be excluded if you choose the white path. How optimistic should we be that great numbers of humans will choose the white path? One hopeful sign is that evil races have tended to die out in the past, so such races may wither away in the future as well. Thus, there have been influxes of good souls into the center of white, highly evolved Europe. 

[Steiner] “Souls previously incarnated in quite subordinate races, raised themselves to a higher level and could incarnate in the bodily descendants of the leaders in Europe ... This was the reason that the lower races had fewer and fewer descendants, while the higher races had more and more.” [7]


If things go well for mankind during the Russian Age and again during the following American Age, humanity as a whole will make important spiritual progress. The receptive Russian soul allows the possibility of spiritual advancement, although a certain simplicity of spirit leaves open the possibility of credulous error. 

[Seddon] "The role of the Russian soul thus depends on whether or not the essential reality of the [Holy] Grail [i.e., the inner meaning of occult wisdom]...becomes a cultural ferment for the whole world." [8] 

Portents are good, but then the American Age may ruin everything. Technology, science, and materialism will spread and deepen when America become paramount. The Earth will be corrupted by the dire influences of what we might call "Americanism" [see "America"] or, to spread the blame, Anglo-Americanism. 

[Seddon] "The [American] age as a whole is dominated by Anglo-American culture, led by an abnormal [i.e., backward] Spirit of Personality who does not work for the progress of evolution. America's endeavor is to mechanize everything ... [W]orld egoism also proceeds from the English-American people; through their inventions they cover the earth with a network of egoism fraught with evil ... Powerful, mighty forces are also discovered that transform the entire earth into a sort of self-functioning electrical apparatus ... There springs forth a terrible brood of beings, automata lying between the mineral and plant kingdoms, possessed of an overwhelming power of intellect ... The whole Post-Atlantean epoch then ends with the War of All Against All". [9] 

So the American Age will be a dreadful time, leading to something like Armageddon. [See "All v. All".]
The War of All Against All will mark the transition from the fifth great epoch to the sixth. Many evil humans will be cast off. The good will try to save the evil, but there won't be much time. 

[Steiner] “Consider that through evil separating from good, the good will be immeasurably strengthened, and that after the great War of All against All [sic] the good will have to make every possible effort to salvage and rescue the evil, during the period in which this will still be possible.” [10] 

The rescue operations performed by the good race will have wondrous effect, no doubt. But some evil souls will resist all efforts at redemption. 

[Steiner] "The Sixth Race will see quite another race, noble and beautiful [i.e., humans in the sixth epoch will see a beautiful race developing], in contrast to the thrown off [humans]...a race of men, horribly ugly, animal-like, sensual, vicious, far more horror-provoking than our present humanity, because these will go on developing downwards.” [11]

The forces of evil that will burst forth in the American Age will stem from influences Anthroposophists see around them everywhere today, even in Europe. The seeds of future devastation are being planted now. Demonic influences are creating monstrosities — subhumans who disguise themselves as actual human beings. 

[Steiner] "Quite a number of people have been born [who are] human forms filled with a sort of natural demon. There are quite a large number of older people going around who are actually not human beings." [12] 

Evil lurks below, in the regions of subhumanity, but it also looms above us. Evil is present throughout the solar system. 

[Steiner] “Now on each planet there are also Spirits who have remained behind in evolution, they have remained stationary and not wished to progress. You will recognize a law from this: If the most outstanding fall and commit the 'great sin' of not advancing with evolution, then they become the very worst. [paragraph break] The noble sense of liberty has been reversed into wickedness, into its opposite. Those are the Spirits of Temptation, and they must be taken gravely into account; they lead to the evil side of egoism, even to-day they are still in our environment, these evil Spirits of Saturn. All that is bad draws its power from these Spirits.” [13] 

Evil extends well up into the spiritual realm. 

[Steiner] “[W]e are watching the battle waged by the good gods against the evil gods....” [14]

The battles waged above by the gods are reflected in the warfare that has occurred, and must occur again, here on Earth. Humanity will repeat yet again the process of division into good and evil camps. 

[Steiner] “A humanity that thinks materialistically will produce frightful beings in the future ... We have two streams today, a great [i.e., huge] materialistic one which fills the earth, and the small spiritual stream which is restricted to but few human beings [think of Steiner and his adherents] ... All materialistically thinking souls work on the production of evil race-formations ... Just as older conditions which have degenerated to the ape species seem grotesque to us today, so do materialistic races remain at the standpoint of evil, and will people the earth as evil races. It will lie entirely with humanity as to whether a soul will remain in the bad race or will ascend by spiritual culture to a good race.” [15]

That's why 

• [Steiner] “The best of all humanity must be chosen and prepared for survival beyond the time of the great War of All against All, when people will oppose them who bear in their countenances the sign of evil....” [16]

• [Steiner] "[O]ur epoch and its civilisation will be destroyed by the War of All against All, by evil. Human beings will destroy each other in mutual strife ... A tiny handful of men will make good and thus insure their survival in the sixth epoch of civilisation." [17]

In our next installment, we will see what awaits the survivors after the War of All Against All.

– Roger Rawlings


We will continue the story at "Sixth Epoch"



 "The evil astral world is the province of Lucifer,
the evil Lower Devachan the province of Ahriman,
and the evil Higher Devachan the province of the Asuras."
— Rudolf Steiner, 
(Rudolf Steiner Press, 1971), a lecture, GA 130.
To learn a bit more about these matters, 
see "Evil Ones".

For more on the War of All Against All,

◊ "A soul may be incarnated in a race that is declining; but if that soul does not make itself evil, it will not be reincarnated in a race that is falling back, but in one that is on the up-grade [i.e., a good soul can rise out of a bad race]. Enough souls are pouring in from other quarters for incarnation in races that are on the down-grade (i.e., bad souls)." — Rudolf Steiner, INVESTIGATIONS INTO OCCULTISM SHOWING ITS PRACTICAL VALUE IN DAILY LIFE (Kessinger, facsimile of 1920 edition), p. 138. The phrase “(i.e., bad souls)” was added by the Anthroposophical editor.

◊ "Consider the following: Souls exist who, as a result of their former lives, are inclined to incarnate in Chinese bodies ... [I]t was possible to condemn the Chinese to take in, to a certain extent, some very immature, sub-standard souls.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE KARMA OF UNTRUTHFULNESS, Vol. 1 (Rudolf Steiner Publishing Co., 1988), lecture 13, GA 173. The phrase "sub-standard souls" is Steiner's.

◊ "[I]n our time certain supernumerary people are appearing who [are] not human beings in the full sense of the word.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE BOOK OF REVELATION AND THE WORK OF THE PRIEST (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1998), p. 180. The phrase "supernumerary people" is Steiner's. 

Defeating a dragon, saving a maiden.
Anthroposophy is often described as wholly affirmative,
a worldview in which obsolete distinctions between 
good and evil have been expunged.
But actually evil is a major theme in Steiner's teachings.
The Anthroposophical universe includes 
many good gods and forces.
But it also includes evil gods and forces — 
and errant humans who fall prey to them.
Without evil, how could we have heroes — 
such as Michael, the dragon slayer?

[Drawing by a Waldorf student, courtesy of PLANS.]

In Anthropological lore, Michael is the 
Archangel of the Sun; the dragon is Ahriman.

Detail, Rudolf Steiner portrait.


“During the recapitulation of the Saturn embodiment, Uranus, Vulcan and Saturn separated from the earth. During the recapitulation of the Sun embodiment, Jupiter and Mars separated. After the sun has left the earth, Mercury and Venus separate from it. After the separation of the sun, the earth cast out the moon. The dispersal of Old Moon was brought about by the forces of the progressed beings who drew out the solar body, while the normal and retarded beings produced the moon circling around it. In all the Mysteries these happenings were called the strife in heaven. The detached planetoids are the ruins of that battlefield. It is here that the primal secret of the origin of evil must be sought.” — Rudolf Steiner, ROSICRUCIAN ESOTERICISM  (Anthroposophic Press, 1978), lecture 7, GA 109.

Evil is within us. We need it — it creates the condition for freedom, the choice between the right path and the wrong path. But it is, nonetheless, evil.

"Let us imagine the focus of destruction within the human being. It spreads over the whole of the human organism ... Here is the focus of destruction, and here is the human being's outer envelope. If that which lives within the human being were to spread out across the whole world, what would be living in the world because of the human being? Evil. Evil is nothing other than the outward projection of the chaos that is a necessary part of the inner human being." — Rudolf Steiner, BLACKBOARD DRAWINGS 1919-1924 (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2003), p. 53. 

[R.R. sketch, 2011, 
based on the one in the book.]

[R. R., 2010.]

The War of All Against All will occur in all spheres,

physical, mental, spiritual. 

Like many of Steiner's concepts,

it derives in part from the stupendous combats 

described in ancient myths.

All that is good hangs in the balance.

See "The Gods" and "All vs. All".


For more on evil, including sin

and the Ten Commandments,

see "Sin"

 and "Commandments"

To learn about damnation, Steiner-style,

see "Hell"

All vs. All.

[R.R., 2010.]

Here is an item from the Waldorf Watch News:

October 29, 2018



Anthroposophists today — including those who run Waldorf schools — continue to embrace Rudolf Steiner’s preachings, such as those dealing with the demonic spirits Lucifer and Ahriman. The following is from the autumn, 2018, issue of the Anthroposophical magazine, New View: 

"[A]s Steiner describes, there is no binary struggle between good and evil, but humanity must find its path by holding the balance between the powerful influences of Lucifer, on the one hand, and Ahriman (or Mammon) on the other. Christ is the being who is able to hold the balance between these, thereby also making it possible for humanity to do so. Lucifer attempts to pull us in a purely one-sidedly spiritual direction, drawing us away from the earth and our commitment both to the earth and to humanity, and attracting us through (and into) illusion and an over-great focus on the self. Ahriman attempts to bind us solely to the earth and to a one-sidedly materialistic (or technological) relationship to it, rejecting spiritual realities, and attracting us through (and into) lies, deception and power and an over-great focus on the outer world." — Richard Ramsbotham, "Michaelmas and Easter, Autumn and Spring Poets, and the Adonis Mystery", NEW VIEW (issue 89, October to December, 2018), p. 28.

The triumvirate of Lucifer, Ahriman, and Christ does indeed loom large in Anthroposophy. The Anthroposophical headquarters building, the cathedral called the Goetheanum \1\, contains a monumental statue showing these three spirits in their proper relationship to one another.

This is the statue housed at the Goetheanum. 
The standing figure is Christ, the Sun God. 
Below his feet crouches Ahriman, 
and above his right shoulder impends Lucifer. 
There are other figures in the statue
(including a second Ahriman and a second Lucifer), 
but these three represent the key paradigm 
posited by Steiner. 
[R.R. sketch.]

Accounting for the existence of evil is a persistent problem for theologians. How can a loving God — or, in polytheistic faiths such as Anthroposophy \2\, how can beneficent gods — allow evil to exist? We see horrors and atrocities, acts of wanton violence and evil, perpetrated daily in our country and in countries all around the globe. Why do the good spirits of the cosmos allow evil to run riot like this? Are they powerless to prevent it?

Steiner’s solution, as a rule, was to assert that there is really no such thing as “evil.” Rather, he said, there is imbalance. We fall into error when we become unbalanced in either of two directions. If we yield too much to the temptations of Lucifer \3\, we become ensnared in a false form of spirituality. If we yield too much to the temptations of Ahriman \4\, we become ensnared in excessive materialism. The solution is to follow the example of the Sun God, Christ \5\, who stands between the two tempters. Through the intervention of the Sun God, we can receive the benefits of the dangerous gifts offered to us by Lucifer and Ahriman, but we will not succumb to the damage these gifts can inflict if we lose our sense of perspective and proportionality. \6\

Steiner was not entirely consistent about all of this. He often indicated that Lucifer, Ahriman, and other demons or oppositional gods are in fact evil. He sometimes spoke of evil as a real and destructive phenomenon, not merely as a loss of balance. \7\ So, Steiner sometimes made statements such as the following. Evil people must be separated from good people \8\, and in the future a cataclysmic war will be fought between the good and the evil.

“Consider that through evil separating from good, the good will be immeasurably strengthened, and that after the great War of All against All \9\ the good will have to make every possible effort to salvage and rescue the evil, during the period in which this will still be possible.” — Rudolf Steiner, EVIL (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1998), p. 194.

A statement like this has real meaning only if good and evil are real, and opposite, phenomena. Logically speaking, this means that evil does actually exist — it is not merely a type of imbalance.

At a minimum, Anthroposophists believe, we should realize that Lucifer, Ahriman, and other dark spirits have intentions that certainly seem evil. Ahriman, in particular, is a dreadful figure in Anthroposophy. 

A bust of Ahriman by Steiner. 
There can be little doubt that 
this represents an "evil" figure.
[R.R. sketch.]

Ahriman wishes us ill. Steiner taught that when humans seek to reach moral, spiritual levels of existence, we must overcome Ahriman. This was true for ancient spiritual aspirants, and it remains true for us now. 

"[We face] the spiritual opposition of Ahriman – who sought (and seeks) to keep people bound to the outer material phenomena and to prevent them passing through these to the deeper spiritual realities of which they are the physical expression.” — Richard Ramsbotham, NEW VIEW (issue 89), p. 29.

Ahriman “sought” to hinder us, and he still “seeks” to do so now. Much of the evil in the world today, Anthroposophists believe, has been produced by Ahriman, who seduces humanity into a deeply materialistic existence, bound up with earthly matters and divorced from the spirit realm.

It is up to each individual to decide whether Anthroposophical teachings about the nature and sources of evil make sense. The Anthroposophical view of evil hinges on belief in the Sun God, Lucifer, and Ahriman. Only if you believe in these beings will you find much wisdom or comfort in Anhroposophical dogma. 

Many people would say the Anthroposophical view is both unrealistic and useless. It does not describe conditions or forces that actually exist in the real world, and thus it is useless to us as we confront the problems that must be resolved in the real world. Nevertheless, Anthroposophists believe Steiner, and such belief underlies much of what happens within Waldorf schools as the teachers try to steer their students through the tribulations of earthly existence. \10\


\1\ See the section about the Goetheanum in "Is Anthroposophy a Religion?"

\2\ See "Polytheism".

\3\ See "Lucifer".

\4\ See "Ahriman".

\5\ See "Sun God" and "Was He Christian?" One contemporary Antroposophist has written this: "Christ, the Sun God, who was known by earlier peoples under such names as Ahura Mazda, Hu or Balder, has now united himself with the earth and its future evolution.” — Margaret Jonas, Introduction to RUDOLF STEINER SPEAKS TO THE BRITISH (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1998), p. 5. Discussing the incarnation of the Sun God on Earth, Steiner said this: “Had Christ not appeared on the earth, had He remained the Sun-God only, humanity on the earth would have fallen into decay.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE FESTIVALS AND THEIR MEANING (Anthroposophical Publishing Company, 1958), “World-Pentecost; The Message of Anthroposophy”, GA 226.

\6\ Steiner said that Christ is our prototype, our representative. We should endeavor to be like him. [See "Prototype" and "Representative/Group".]

\7\ See, e.g., "Evil Ones", "Sin", and "Hell." On one occasion, speaking about current events, Steiner said “[W]e are watching the battle waged by the good gods against the evil gods.” — Rudolf Steiner, KARMIC RELATIONSHIPS, Vol. II (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1974), p. 251. [See, e.g., "Evil".]

\8\ Steiner taught that spiritual evolution entails casting off backward, abnormal, and/or recalcitrant types. The most evolved individuals evolve to still higher levels, while the cast-off individuals remain behind. [See, eg., "Evolution Anyone?" and "Embedded Racism".]

\9\ See "All vs. All". After the War of All Against All, Steiner says, the good will endeavor to redeem the evil.

\10\ See, e.g., "Soul School", "Serving the Gods", and "Spiritual Agenda".

— R.R.

Here is a collection of additional statements 

made by Steiner about the forces of evil 

at work in our universe.

Anthroposophists like to claim that theirs 

is a wholly affirmative faith,

a worldview in which everything 

ultimately contributes 

to the fulfillment of the 

beneficent gods' divine plan. 

But in fact, in Steiner's vision, 

the universe is riven with evil.

Anthroposophy is ultimately optimistic, 

attributing great beneficence to 

many spiritual powers.

But Anthroposophical doctrines 

also describe conflicting, destructive powers.

“Q. Which beings inhabit the Moon?

“A. The Moon is inhabited by those physical beings who have remained behind at an earlier stage of evolution: Luciferic beings. On the Old Moon there were beings who had fallen so far into evil that they could not take part in further evolution. They established themselves on the Moon. These malevolent beings are evident especially in the waning Moon; when the Moon is waxing they are less harmful. Some dreadful beings inhabit the Moon, but there are also favourable beings, actively concerned with growth and birth.” — Rudolf Steiner, AT THE GATES OF SPIRITUAL SCIENCE (Rudolf Steiner Publishing Co., 1986), Notes from Answers to Questions, GA 95.

“The ego is not a bearer of evil forces because of its own nature, but because it has become infected with luciferic forces through the temptation by Lucifer; it is in fact the bearer of truly evil forces, forces which, because of the luciferic infection, tend to distort the thought life of the ego towards evil. Since the moment when the ego was given to him, man has been able to think. If there had been no luciferic temptation, man would think only good thoughts about everything. But as the luciferic temptation did, in fact, take place, the ego does not think good thoughts, but thoughts infected by Lucifer. This is a fact of earthly evolution: the ego is malicious and dastardly. It thinks only of showing itself in a good light and consigning everything else to the shadow. It is infected with all kinds of egoisms. This is how it is, because it is infected by Lucifer.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE KARMA OF UNTRUTHFULNESS, Vol. 2 (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1992), lecture 19, GA 174.

"[T]he astral beings which are embedded in, and connected with, the human astral body are those whom I have described as having their real habitat on the moon or Mars, according as they are benevolent or malevolent. They anchor themselves there. And lymph, the whitish juice that courses through man, belongs to the body of beings who live in our astral world. To be sure, these beings of the astral plane, with their real home on the moon or Mars, are not so obvious as are the animal group-egos." — Rudolf Steiner, THE INFLUENCE OF SPIRITUAL BEINGS ON MAN (Anthroposophic Press, 1961), lecture 1, GA 102.

“Certain spiritual powers, hostile to man, inspired the Graeco-Persian thinkers of the Academy of Jundi-Shapur with a diabolical idea. They planned to give man certain knowledge two millennia before it was due. This would so bind his soul to his body that the soul also would partake of physical death, and would have no future spiritual evolution. This was to have taken place about A.D. 666.” — Official synopsis of Rudolf Steiner's HOW DO I FIND THE CHRIST? (The Anthroposophical Quarterly, 1970), GA 182.

"[T]here is also an opposing principle to the Lamb [Christ], there is also a Sun-Demon [the Antichrist], the so-called Demon of the Sun, that works with the evil forces of man, thrusting back the force of the Lamb, and it works in such a way that a certain part of the human race is trust out of the evolution that leads to the sun [i.e., the realm of Christ, the Sun God] ... [They will] be thrown out of our evolution when the 666 conditions of development have passed away; they will then be finally cast into the abyss.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE APOCALYPSE OF ST. JOHN (Anthroposophic Press, 1993), p. 198.

“Take the gnomes and undines: they are, so to say, in the world which borders on human consciousness; they are already beyond the threshold. Ordinary consciousness is protected from seeing these beings, for the fact is that these beings are not all benevolent. The benevolent beings are, for instance, those which I described yesterday as working in the most varied ways upon plant-growth. But these beings are not all well-disposed. And in the moment when man breaks through into the world wherein they live and are active, he finds there not only the well-disposed beings but the malevolent ones as well. And so one must first form a conception as to which of them are well-disposed and which of them malevolent. This is not so easy, as you will see from the way I must describe the malevolent ones. The main difference between the ill-disposed beings and the well-disposed is that the latter are always drawn more to the plant and mineral kingdoms, whereas the ill-disposed are drawn to the animal and human kingdoms. Some, which are even more malevolent, also desire to approach the kingdoms of the plants and the minerals. But one can gain quite a fair idea of the malevolence which the beings of this realm can have, when one turns to those which are drawn to human beings and animals, wishing in particular to consummate in man what is allotted by the higher hierarchies to the well-disposed beings for the plant and mineral world.

“You see, there exist ill-disposed beings from the realm of the gnomes and undines, which make for human beings and animals and bring it about that what they should really impart only to the lower animals appears physically in human beings. Certainly, these things are already present in man, but their aim is that this element should be manifested physically in human beings as well as in animals. Through the presence of these malevolent gnomes and undine-beings, animal and plant life of a low order — parasites — exist in human beings as well as in animals. These malevolent beings are the begetters of parasites. The moment man crosses the threshold of the spiritual world, he at once meets the subtleties of this world. Snares are everywhere, and he must first learn something from the goblins — namely, to be attentive. The spiritualists can never manage this! Everywhere there are snares. Now someone might say: Why then are these malevolent gnome and undine-beings there, if they engender parasites? Well, if they were not there, man would never be able to develop within himself the force to evolve the structure of his brain. And here we meet something of extraordinary significance.” — Rudolf Steiner, MAN AS SYMPHONY OF THE CREATIVE WORD (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1970), lecture 8, GA 230. 

“[I]n the future the earth with all its beings will pass into a kind of spiritual condition, with the exception of those who refuse to receive the Christ-principle; this refusal we have to understand as a malevolent and unintelligent spiritual opposition energetically exercised ... [T]he lower nature they will have acquired through not having accepted the Christ-principle will be expressed in the astral [realm] by their having essentially the animal form we have characterized, with the seven heads and ten horns ... We must imagine that when man reappears in the spiritualized earth and has failed to take in the Christ-principle during our epoch, he will then again appear in the old form, because he has contributed nothing towards the highest development....” — Rudolf Steiner, THE APOCALYPSE OF ST. JOHN (Anthroposophical Publishing Co., 1958), lecture 11, GA 104.

“The greatest contrast to electricity is LIGHT. If we look upon light as electricity we confuse good and evil. We lose sight of the true conception of evil in the order of Nature, if we do not realize that through the electrification of the atoms we transform them into carriers of evil; we do not only transform them into carriers of death, as explained in my last lecture, but into carriers of evil. When we think of them as atoms, in general, when we imagine matter in the form of atoms, we transform these atoms into carriers of death; but when we electrify matter, Nature is conceived as something evil. For electric atoms are little demons of Evil. This, however, does not tell us much. For it does not express the fact that the modern explanation of Nature set out along a path that really unites it with Evil. Those strange people at the end of the Middle Ages, who were so much afraid of Agrippa von Nettesheim, Trithem of Sponheim, and others, so that they saw them walking about with Faust's malevolent poodle, expressed this very clumsily, but although their thoughts may have been wrong, their feelings were not altogether wrong. For, when we listen to a modern physicist blandly explaining that Nature consists of electrons, we merely listen to him explaining that Nature really consists of little demons of Evil! And if we acknowledge Nature in this form, we raise Evil to the rank of the ruling world-divinity.” — Rudolf Steiner, “Concerning Electricity” (General Anthroposophical Society, 1940), GA 220.

“[T]he preservation of our consciousness depends upon certain specific things that happened before death. For instance, the consciousness of a person with an immoral soul disposition is more easily dimmed. It is therefore of the utmost importance that we cross the threshold of death with moral strength, for moral consciousness will keep our soul open to the light of the Hierarchies. Recently I have been able to examine the state after death of people with moral sentiments and also the state of those with an immoral disposition of soul, and in every case it could be established that a person with a moral disposition of soul was able to preserve clear, radiant consciousness after death, whereas those with an immoral soul constitution sink into a kind of dim twilight consciousness.

"One might well ask what it matters if after death a person should fall into such a sleeping consciousness because then he would not suffer. He would even escape the consequences of his immorality. This argument will not hold because, with such a dimming of consciousness that is the result of immorality, the most terrible conditions of fear are connected. There is no greater fear after death than this darkening of consciousness.” — Rudolf Steiner, LIFE BETWEEN DEATH AND REBIRTH (Anthroposophic Press, 1968), lecture 1, GA 140.


“Everything that man does is like a summons to unknown beings. It is not only the insane or mediums that these moon beings — among whom are thoroughly malevolent little rascals — can venture to approach; when, for instance, young children are overfed in such a senseless way that they become greedy, then these beings can sidle up to them and spoil their development ... 

“In the human astral body other beings are embedded like maggots in cheese — forgive the unappetizing comparison — but it is so. And in fact the astral beings which are embedded in, and connected with, the human astral body are those whom I have described as having their real habitat on the moon or Mars, according as they are benevolent or malevolent. They anchor themselves there. And lymph, the whitish juice that courses through man, belongs to the body of beings who live in our astral world.

“They are here the parasites of men. If there were no human race here on earth they would very soon take their departure; they could find no dwelling place, it would not suit them here. But there are beings, men and higher animals, who have lymph and there these beings have their physical manifestation. Thus not merely a material substance pulses through our body but in such a circulation move whole hosts of these beings. And the preponderance of moon beings or Mars beings of this nature circling through a man gives his lymph its special character. If more moon beings circulate through his body he is a man who inclines more easily to wrong-doing, irritation and anger, if more Mars beings, then he is a man who is more inclined to gentleness, kindliness, mildness.” — Rudolf Steiner, quoted in FOUNDATIONS AT THE PERIPHERY - Rudolf Steiner's Observations on Star Knowledge (Rudolf Steiner Archive, 2000), compiled by R.S.W. Bobbette.

“[M]alicious occult circles cultivate an alliance with Ahriman. They also cultivate an alliance with Lucifer in order to find pleasant methods for bringing about visionary experiences — in other words, methods that kindle visions from within.

“Of course, Lucifer and Ahriman also work in the human unconscious. There they accomplish the same things that the malevolent occult circles deliberately set about doing, the same things in which these circles are engaged, in alliance with Lucifer and Ahriman. And much of the criticism that must be levelled against the way our own fifth post-Atlantean epoch is unfolding in that great world out there, can be traced back to luciferic and ahrimanic impulses. At present, luciferic and ahrimanic streams have a strong grip on the world and their effect is chaotic. This is shown not only by the great amount of lying and falsification that goes on, but also by everything that is said, simply because it corresponds to emotions and passions without any regard for justifying it by showing how it accords with objective reality.’’ — Rudolf Steiner, THE RIDDLE OF HUMANITY (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1990), lecture 13, GA 170. 

“Feelings fall into two categories: those of pleasure and sympathy and those of displeasure and antipathy. The former are aroused by good deeds, benevolent deeds; antipathy is aroused by evil, malevolent deeds. Here there is something more than and different from, the mere forming of concepts. We form concepts of things irrespectively of any other factor. But our soul experiences sympathy or antipathy only in respect of what is beautiful and good, or what is ugly and evil ... Man will transform the earth by feeling with ever-increasing strength that morality is an essential part of it. In the future, to be immoral will be possible only for individuals who are goaded in this direction, who are possessed by evil demons, by Ahrimanic, Asuric Powers and more-over aspire to be so.

“In time to come there will be on Earth a sufficient number of individuals who teach morality and at the same time sustain its principles; but there will also be those who by their own free decision surrender themselves to the evil Powers and thus enable an excess of evil to be pitted against a good humanity.” — Rudolf Steiner, “The Etherisation of the Blood” (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1971), a lecture, GA 130.

“When a process of infection arises in the human organism, the entire organism is seized by fever, by illness. If we translate this into terms applicable to the earth organism we can say that what occultism maintains is true: When something immoral is done anywhere on earth it amounts to the same thing for the whole earth organism as a little festering boil on the human body, which makes the whole organism sick. So that if a theft is committed on the earth the result is that the entire earth develops a kind of fever. This is not meant merely in a metaphorical sense. It is well-founded. The whole organism of the earth suffers from everything immoral and as individuals we can do nothing immoral without affecting the whole earth.” — Rudolf Steiner, “The Significance of Spiritual Research For Moral Action” (Anthroposophic Press, 1981), GA 127.

“Suppose a woman — or also a man, to be strictly fair! — becomes furious with anger, thoroughly malicious, and sends evil thoughts towards another human being. This does not come so very strongly to expression in an actual change of the countenance — true, it does so a little, but not drastically — for people today can be very malicious without this being directly expressed in their physiognomy. In the times of ancient Atlantis it was different. When there was malice in a man, his countenance was entirely transformed into an expression of his inner being — so that it would not have been incorrect to say: that man or woman looks like a cat. Such a person actually looked like a cat — or if he were utterly deceitful, like a hyena. His external appearance was wholly an expression of his inner being. He was capable of metamorphosis, transformation, in the highest degree.” — Rudolf Steiner, SIGNIFICANT FACTS PERTAINING TO THE SPIRITUAL LIFE OF THE MIDDLE OF THE XIXTH CENTURY (transcript, translated by D.S. Osmond, 1939), lecture 3, GA 254.

“Whatever is to be traced to ahrimanic influence is indirectly attributable to Lucifer; when, however, the luciferic influence has been so strong as immediately to call forth the ahrimanic influence, then this influence is the more malicious. It anchors itself not only in the transgressions of the astral body, but in those of the etheric body. It manifests itself in a consciousness lying deeper than our pain consciousness, causing damage not necessarily accompanied by pain, damage that renders useless the organ which it attacks." — Rudolf Steiner, MANIFESTATIONS OF KARMA (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1969), lecture 7, “Forces of Nature, Volcanic Eruptions, Earthquakes and Epidemics in Relation to Karma”, GA 120.

“There is a saying well known in Spiritual Science, which rums: Man will only produce living organisms in the experimental laboratory, as he now produces mineral products, when the laboratory-table has become the altar and the mixing of the chemical substances a sacramental act. This is a saying which has always been found in occult circles. Truly, as long as a person enters the laboratory in the belief that he can work with unholy feelings the same as with holy ones, so long will he never be able, with the will of those who guide evolution in the right way, to produce anything living in the laboratory. This will only be possible when it is realized that a mineral product may indeed be produced, even if a scoundrel is standing at the laboratory table, but that a living thing can never be produced under these circumstances. For into the living being flows — when it is put together — something which is M. the man himself. If the man were a villain, what was villainous would flow over, and the being produced would be an expression of villainy.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE APOCALYPSE OF ST. JOHN (Anthroposophical Publishing Co., 1958), lecture 10, GA 104.

“We know that every disease has a physical cause and also a spiritual one that must be looked for in immorality, passions or other mistakes in this existence but mostly in the previous one. The overcoming of every disease releases force, but this doesn't mean that one should drag out an illness as long as possible to make rapid progress. Everyone should do his best to get well fast. But if he's been sick for three weeks or six months, he should at look this as karma and bear it patiently and calmly.” — Rudolf Steiner, FROM THE CONTENTS OF ESOTERIC CLASSES (transcript, Rudolf Steiner Archive), GA 266.

“[I]f the physical body only were on the Earth, then the physical world would be much more perfect. There are no inferior functions in the physical body itself; they are something which the astral body brings about. Nothing that the physical body accomplishes is sinful; the astral body alone is sinful. The astral body works as the enemy of the physical body and sinfulness, wrong-doing, are thereby evoked in the physical body. It was necessary for the astral body to descend and adapt itself to the physical body during the course of the last 2000 years. The Christ, too, had to descend and to be betrayed. He had to use the means whereby He could best render service to the physical body. The passions had to pour over physical life. Judas with the money-bag had to fulfil his function in order that harmony with the physical world might eventually be established.” — Rudolf Steiner, “On the Gospel of St. John” (transcript, Rudolf Steiner Archive, 1984), a lecture, GA unknown.

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An examination of Steiner’s central text

Steiner’s extraordinary, sci-fi-like narrative of human evolution.
The tale of our ancient past and our distant future, as told by Steiner. It continues in:



Steiner promoted love, sort of

Surprising violence in Steiner's kindly vision


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America, Germany, and Waldorf

How to, he said


Steiner’s occult conspiracy theories


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"The beings, who are the first to be invisible and who stand immediately above man, are called Angels in Christian esotericism, Angeloi, messengers of the divine spirit-world. Those who stand yet one degree higher, therefore two stages higher than man, are called Archangels, Archangeloi, also spirits of fire. Those who stand still higher than the Archangels, when they pass through their normal development, are called the Spirits of Personality, Archai, or Primeval Beginnings. Thus we have three degrees of beings who stand above man. These three degrees of spiritual beings have all passed through the human stage; once they were all men. The beings who are Angels to-day, if one considers it from the point of view of universal time, were human not so very long ago, for they were men upon the old Moon; and just as you, because of earthly conditions, inhabit the earth as men, so did the Angels inhabit the Moon during their human stage. The Archangels passed through their human stage on the Sun, and the Archai, or spirits of personality did the same on ancient Saturn. These beings have risen by degrees from their human stage, they are higher beings to-day, in higher grades of hierarchies than man. If we reckon the sequence of degrees in the kingdoms of the world in a spiritual sense we arrive at the following: On the Earth we have the visible mineral kingdom, the vegetable and animal kingdom, the human kingdom, and then we pass into the invisible, into the kingdom of Angels, the Archangels or Spirits of Fire, the Archai or Spirits of Personality. Whilst these beings in accordance with their own inner nature were progressing and developing, rising from man to divinity, or to messengers of the divine (the correct description of those beings), whilst they were thus rising in their evolution, the conditions of the planet, on which and for the sake of which they lived, gradually changed. If we look back at ancient Saturn on which the Archai or Spirits of Personality passed through their human stage, we find it very different from our earth." — Rudolf Steiner, THE SPIRITUAL HIERARCHIES (Anthroposophical Publishing Co., 1928), Lecture 3. For more, see, e.g., Rudolf Steiner, THE MISSION OF THE FOLK SOULS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2005), pp. 15, 65, 83, 84.

The title "Spirits of Love" usually applies to the Seraphim. However, Steiner also applied it, sometimes, to the Spirits of Form: "We must therefore describe the Spirits of Form in their totality (because their particular mission is to harmonize the three former conditions) as the Spirits of Love." — Rudolf Steiner, THE MISSION OF THE INDIVIDUAL FOLK-SOULS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1970), lecture 5, GA 121.

[3] TFOHATEAFBRS, p. 53. 

[4] Rudolf Steiner, UNDERSTANDING THE HUMAN BEING: Selected Writings of Rudolf Steiner, selected and edited by Richard Seddon (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1993), p. 103.

[5] Rudolf Steiner, KNOWLEDGE OF THE HIGHER WORLDS AND ITS ATTAINMENT (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1994), p. 152.

For more on the spiritual significance of white and black (such as the white path and the black path), see "white/black". 

[6] Rudolf Steiner, READING THE PICTURES OF THE APOCALYPSE: Notes from Sixteen Lectures (SteinerBooks, 1993), pp. 49-50.

[7] Rudolf Steiner, THE SPIRITUAL FOUNDATION OF MORALITY (SteinerBooks, 1995), p. 30. 

[8] TFOHATEAFBRS, p. 42.

[9] Ibid., pp. 58-60.

[10] Rudolf Steiner, EVIL (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1998), p. 194.

[11] Rudolf Steiner, DAS CHRSTLICHE MYSTERIUM (Dornach, 1981), GA 97.

[12] Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 649. 

[13] Rudolf Steiner, THEOSOPHY OF THE ROSICRUCIAN (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1966), p. 97.

[14] Rudolf Steiner, KARMIC RELATIONSHIPS, Vol. II (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1974), p. 251.

[15] Rudolf Steiner, ROSICRUCIAN WISDOM (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2000), p. 150.

[16] Rudolf Steiner, EVIL, (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1997), p. 194.

[17] Rudolf Steiner, "The Work of Secret Societies in the World", lecture given Dec. 23, 1904, GA 93.

[R.R., 2017.]