The Epoch of the Seals

This page was originally written for a different website.

When the strife and cataclysms of the fifth great epoch are finally behind us, the small band of surviving good humans will lay a new basis for further human evolution. They will work in conjunction with wise spirits who sidestepped the whole tableau of misery — spiritual individuals who rose above the general egotism, materialism, and nastiness sweeping the rest of mankind in the American Age. These two groups of survivors — the successful warriors and the conscientious objectors, as it were — will establish the new human community in the new epoch: 

[Seddon] “Those few individuals who survived on earth the War of All Against All, together with the many spiritually minded individuals who had lifted themselves above it, provide the foundation for a new start.” [1]

Note that the successful warriors survived the war "on earth." The conscientious objectors survived elsewhere. Who are these people? Steiner's followers, mainly. Enlightened and noble, they did not sink into the horrific battles raging on the Earth. They were above it all. Some of them may have sat out the war by residing in the spirit realm; others may have sat it out by sojourning on other planets. (Wise humans have done this before, migrating around the solar system in periods of stress. [See "Planetary Humans".]) In any case, they did not sink into the general depravity that caused the war, and they were not damaged in the conflagrations.

The sixth great epoch will be finer and more spiritual than any epoch preceding it. Mankind will have moved to a new, higher plane. (The War of All Against All is analogous to Ragnarök, the apocalyptic battle of Norse mythology. [See "The Gods".] The destruction of the world leads to the emergence of a new, brighter world.) However, the contrast and conflict between good and evil will continue even in this finer, better world. Although evil will have been largely defeated and evil souls will have been generally ejected from humanity’s evolutionary course, strains of evil will remain in the human heart, backsliding will still be possible, and the work of elevating humanity will still be far from complete. Thus, humanity will continue dividing itself into good and evil camps. In the sixth epoch, 

[Seddon] “Progressive people [will] have radiant, good features and noble benevolent expressions; those who were lukewarm or turned away [from spiritual wisdom], preserving backward forces and retarding evolution, [will] reveal their evil passions and impulses hostile to the spirit in ugly, unintelligent, evil-looking countenances ... Mankind is [i.e., will be] thus divided into two great streams, the good and the evil [emphasis by Seddon].” [2]

Steiner's teachings include a general requirement for good humans to help evil humans. But this does not necessarily mean allowing the evil to mingle with the good. Often, the evil must be shunted into reformatories or penal colonies of various sorts. Thus, for instance, 

[Steiner] “In the course of its development, the good portion of humankind will learn to use the Moon forces to transform the evil part [of mankind] so that it can participate in further evolution as a distinct earthly kingdom.” [3] 

By "distinct," Steiner meant separate. The good will save the bad, but the bad will be separated from the good, placed in their own kingdom. Thus, there is a kingdom of the good and the kingdom of the not-yet-good. 

Actually, a more subtle description of human divergences is possible. So, in the sixth great epoch,

[Seddon] "A third of those who began evolution have at this stage attained the goal [i.e., they are on the white path], a third will only later do so, and a third are falling away. Most people thus [still] have some tendency to evil, but the possibility of turning to good is far stronger [than in prior epochs]." [4] 

The sixth epoch will be the time of the seals. These are the holy seals, mentioned in the Book of Revelation, that will be opened to reveal marvelous new truths. There are seven such seals, which Steiner discusses in his lecture "Man, the Most Significant Symbol" — see Rudolf Steiner, OCCULT SIGNS AND SYMBOLS (Anthroposophic Press, 1972), p. 47ff. The opening of the seals represents the acquisition of greater, deeper, and more widespread spiritual knowledge, the occult or gnostic knowledge upon which evolutionary progress depends.

Our evolutionary progress will require considerable effort in the sixth epoch. 

[Seddon] "The first task...must be to master the initial interaction between the moon and the earth [the Moon will have united with the Earth by this time], and especially to control the spiderlike network of intellectual automata [set lose in the fifth epoch] ... [I]t is necessary for the great majority of people to learn to live from desires ... This is the Rosicrucian stage of 'study' ... This age is prepared and carried by impulses from the realm of Sagittarius, the Archer, shooting down from the cosmos." [5]

The sixth epoch will consist of seven ages, just as former epochs had. Dealing with the spiders will be a task for the first age. Thereafter,

[Seddon] "The second age is prepared and guided from the region of the Scorpion [i.e., the constellation Scorpio] ... [T]he virtue of Scorpio — patience that becomes insight — is essential if one is actually to 'turn the other cheek' ... But Scorpio's gesture of cleverness still contains the danger of pride ... By the third age the earth is once more awake, active, living and plantlike ... [T]he whole primeval Alpine range has dissolved, and people and animals are again malleable, as they were in the fifth Atlantean age [i.e., the fifth age of the Atlantean epoch] ... This age is prepared and guided by Libra, the Scales...." [6]

The continuing importance of astrology in the sixth epoch may surprise some readers, but in fact astrology is central to Anthroposophy and can be found at almost every turn. [See "Astrology", "Star Power", and "Waldorf Astrology".]

In every epoch, the fourth age is pivotal, and this pattern will hold true in the sixth epoch. 

[Seddon] "Karma is finally balanced ... Karma comes to an end [sic] ... [T]he physical body is seen in its true aspect...devoid of substances ... This is the laying aside of the last physical body [sic] ... [T]he last petal of memory in the 16-petal lotus flower is completed, and this organ 'revolves like a whirlwind' ... The forces of Virgo, the Virgin, which prepare and guide this age, stand at the threshold of light and dark, life and death ... The spiritual leadership of humanity now passes for the first time from a higher being [i.e., a god] to a human Manu [i.e., a high initiate] ... [H]umanity is now on its own ... There are however still some who wish to remain in the...cultures of Lucifer ... They fall back on the physical moon-earth, which is at the peak of a new ice age...." [7]

The final three ages of the sixth epoch will, as ever, recapitulate prior ages and lay the basis for a newer, higher epoch to come. 

[Seddon] "Amid our fifth Anglo-Germanic age which now reappears are some individuals — especially in the Rosicrucian-anthroposophical stream — whose astral bodies are already illuminated ... The evil race with its savage impulses, dominated by the philosophy of Leo that sensations alone are real, now dwells in unchanged animal forms ... By the sixth age those who are prepared for the work from the periphery in the realm of the invisible ... [T]he sun indeed appears as black and the moon a dull red ... It is the Russian age that now appears again ... Russia electromagnetic back to cause earthquakes ... [I]n this sixth age of the sixth epoch comes the first intimate decision for souls. The multitude robed in white...receive the seal of God on their foreheads ... But those who still follow the Cancer philosophy of materialism...must suffer the great day of vengeance and the ordeal...and are drawn down by the Angels of the Abyss ... [In the seventh age] souls are freed from any last remains of inclination towards bodily life ... Freed from everything connected with personality...[the human ego] no longer needs the support of angelic forces ... The seventh age is prepared and guided by the forces of Gemini ... The American age that now reappears created nothing new of spiritual value ... [But now] the inner nature of the Word can be further perceived through Intuition. Here the soul becomes intimately acquainted with Lucifer [in his purified form] ... The evildoers are in the Abyss." [8]

And thus good souls stand at the brink of the final Earthly epoch.

— Roger Rawlings


We will take up the story at "Lucky Seventh" 



Detail, Rudolf Steiner portrait


The seven seals of the Apocalypse.

[Eliphas Levi, 1861.]

The seals shown in Steiner's 


are generally similar

(except that none there is dominated 

by Hebrew script).

Many portions of Steiner's narratives 

of human history can be traced back

to Norse myths. Here are Lif and Lifrasir, 

the first post-apocalyptic human couple,

who emerge after the cataclysmic strife of 

Ragnarök or Götterdämerung.


For more on Norse myths, see "The Gods".

“[T]he earth...will be covered as if by a network or web of ghastly spiders possessing tremendous wisdom ... [T]hey will imitate everything human beings have thought up with their shadowy intellect, which did not allow itself to be stimulated by what is to come through new Imagination and through spiritual science in general ... To the extent that human beings have not enlivened their shadowy, intellectual concepts, they will have to unite their being...with these ghastly mineral-plant-like spidery creatures. They will have to dwell together with these spiders ... However great the resistance in hostile quarters, these things must be said; for, as I have stated again and again, the acceptance or rejection of spiritual scientific knowledge is a serious matter facing mankind ... [W]e are dealing with something that definitely affects the whole configuration of the cosmos." — Rudolf Steiner, MATERIALISM AND THE TASK OF ANTHROPOSOPHY (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1987), lecture 14, GA 204.

For some reason, I haven't been able to find 

any authoritative depictions of 

the spider beings or intellectual automata 

Steiner mentioned.

But perhaps this image of an ordinary 

spider will convey the idea.

[Patrick Edwin Moran.]

All swell.

[R.R., ~ 1995.]

And yet...

For some reason,

no one has found any

real evidence to support

Steiner's descriptions of 

the Moon, or the Earth, or...

[The moon, photographed

by Apollo 11 astronauts. NASA.]

Do the forces of evil actually serve the forces of good? How can it be otherwise, if an omnipotent, benevolent God rules over all? Evil could exist only at God's sufferance. Otherwise, He could simply command its abolition.

Anthroposophy does not recognize a single, omnipotent God. Rather, it describes a plethora of gods, most — but not all — of whom work for the good. Within this pantheon are other gods or demons who work for evil, and — as we have seen — evil is a very real concern in Anthroposophy.

Still, Steiner and his followers often indicate a disinclination to believe in the ultimate reality of evil. Surely, somehow, good will not only triumph but good actually rules all even now. Many Anthroposophical teachings and texts argue against this view, but others incline toward it. The contradiction is never fully resolved in Anthroposophical discussions of the divine.

The figure of Lucifer provides the best example. Lucifer is one of the two great demons most often discussed by Steiner. Lucifer tempts mankind to one sort of doom, while Ahriman tempts mankind to another doom. Lucifer is evil. And yet, he is not wholly evil. Lucifer is the spirit of Venus, the morning star. Lucifer is the light bringer, Lucifer offers us real, valuable gifts of clarity and illumination.

The contradiction is never fully resolved in Anthroposophical discussions. Perhaps it cannot be. The spirit realm, Steiner said, is a place without clear distinctions and demarcations. Contradiction, he said, is woven into the nature of reality. This is either a deep truth or a dodge. The matter is worth mulling.

Lucifer, as depicted in a monumental statue
attributed to Steiner.
Ahriman lurks below. 
[Detail, public domain photo.]

[For more on Lucifer, see "Lucifer".]

To visit other pages in this section of Waldorf Watch, 
use the underlined links, below.



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

And badder, and baddest

America, Germany, and Waldorf

How to, he said


Steiner’s occult conspiracy theories


Back-room maneuvers

Some illustrations on each page here at Waldorf Watch 
are closely connected to the essay on that page; 
others are not — they provide general context. 



You may noticed that there is some uncertainty about the dates of the War of All vs. All. We don't need to fuss over this. If you believe that Steiner was clairvoyant and his visions of the future are true, then you will accept what is given without much quibbling, not allowing discrepancies to trouble you. If you do not accept Steiner as a true clairvoyant seer, then none of this stuff means much to you anyway.

An aside: The term “War of All Against War” was coined by the rationalist and materialist, Thomas Hobbes, who famously wrote “The universe is corporeal; all that is real is material, and what is not material is not real.” Hobbes's war of everybody against everybody else has nothing to do with spiritual evolution. It is his description of the primitive condition of humanity before the institution of civil government. You could look it up. Steiner, as he did so often, lifted someone else’s work, jumbled it a bit, and then palmed it off as his own clairvoyant “vision.” 

[2] TFOHATEAFBRS, p. 70.

[3] Rudolf Steiner, AN OUTLINE OF ESOTERIC SCIENCE (Anthroposophic Press, 1997), p. 393.

[4] TFOHATEAFBRS, p. 68.

[5] Ibid., pp. 70-71.

[6] Ibid., pp. 72-74.

[7] Ibid., pp. 76-78.

[8] Ibid., pp. 78-82.

[R.R., 2017.]