tenth hierarchy

The importance Anthroposophists attach to human beings — that is, us (that is, themselves) — is quite remarkable.

“Of all created beings, man is the most complex. He cannot be defined. He can only be considered from various points of view and these are endless.” — Roy Wilkinson, RUDOLF STEINER: An Introduction to His Spiritual World-View (Temple Lodge Publishing 2005), p. 24.

We will evolve ultimately to become God the Father. "[W]e shall have gradually achieved the transformation of our own being into what is called in Christianity ‘the Father.’” — Rudolf Steiner, THE LORD’S PRAYER (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2007), p. 17. 

Or, we will evolve to an august rank among the celestial hierarchies. Presently, there are nine hierarchies above us, or ten if we count the Godhead. In the future, we will rise to be the tenth hierarchy. [1] “[B]y their very nature the higher Hierarchies merely reflect the divinity [i.e., the Godhead]. They have no freedom and the question of freedom does not arise. [2] The destiny of man is different. He is to gain new and enhanced faculties by struggling with adversity caused by the left-behind [i.e., abnormal] members of the Hierarchies [i.e., evil spirits]. At the same time this gives him the possibility of falling into error. It is part of the divine plan that he shall work out his salvation, that he shall evolve through his own efforts. [3] In the course of aeons man will become the Tenth Hierarchy in his own right, because he will have earned it.” — Roy Wilkinson, RUDOLF STEINER, p. 24. [4]

There is some variation among Anthroposophical statements on these matters. Still, a consensus emerges —

as usual, essentially affirming Steiner.

The praise Anthroposophists direct at humanity would be more impressive if they were speaking and writing

of another species. But of course what they are actually doing is patting themselves on the back;

they continue humanity's long tradition of asserting claims to importance that may, in reality,

be little more than hubris.

Dr. Steiner speaks of future humanity as of the tenth Hierarchy, Beings of spiritual Freedom, Spirits of Love.” — George Adams Kaufmann, SOULS OF THE NATIONS (Anthroposophical Publishing Co., 1938), lecture 5. [5]

“The human being was known to be a spiritual being, potentially a member of the tenth hierarchy, an angelic being born of an angelic world, and so able to communicate with the other angelic beings.” — Christopher Bamford, introduction to Rudolf Steiner’s THE SPIRITUAL HIERARCHIES AND THE PHYSICAL WORLD (Anthroposophic Press, 1996), p. 8.

“[W]e must place among the hierarchical ranks those we may call the ‘Spirits of Freedom’ or the ‘Spirits of Love.’ Counting from above downward, this is the Tenth Hierarchy. This Tenth Hierarchy, although still in the process of development, nevertheless belongs to the spiritual hierarchies.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE SPIRITUAL HIERARCHIES AND THE PHYSICAL WORLD (Anthroposophic Press, 1996), p. 164.

“[W]hen we meditate, we begin to fulfil our human vocation as the ‘tenth hierarchy,’ collaborators with the Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones, Dominions, Virtues, Powers, Principalities, Archangels, and Angels, as well as the whole exalted company of beings in the spiritual world that includes all saints and masters, gods and goddesses.”  — Christopher Bamford, introduction to Rudolf Steiner’s START NOW! (SteinerBooks, 2004), pp. 17-18.

“The normal Gods (the regular hierarchies) create and nurture the evolvement of the world and humanity, so as to bring about the possibility of human beings attaining the status of divinity as ‘Spirits of Freedom and Love’ — the tenth hierarchy.” — Robert S. Mason, "The Advent of Ahriman" (http://images.rsarchive.org/RelArtic/MasonRS/Ahriman/).

One of Rudolf Steiner's most important contributions to our understanding of the world was in the field of angelology — in the description and understanding of the work of spiritual beings, nature spirits, and elementals in the cosmos. In this classic, unparalleled work of angelology (one of only two lecture cycles he gave on the subject), Steiner leads the reader from sense experiences to the experience of the spiritual beings active in nature, in the elements and forces of the earth, and to the dynamic, cosmic working of the angelic hierarchies. He unfolds in an inspiring and magnificent vision the cosmic collaboration of the hierarchical beings in cosmic and human evolution, and shows how human beings, as angelic beings, participate in this process as the Tenth Hierarchy.” — Description in Catalogue of Holdings, Rudolf Steiner Archive: Rudolf Steiner's SPIRITUAL BEINGS IN THE HEAVENLY BODIES AND THE KINGDOMS OF NATURE (SteinerBooks, 1992).

The Archangel Michael “stands for an intelligence that is at the same time a creative force in the world. Ultimately this creative intelligence will be ours as human beings, or rather as the ‘Tenth Hierarchy’ of cosmic powers ourselves. We will be able to share it because the angelic power, the guardian of cosmic-creative thought, who has the name Michael, was also willing to share our human struggle, within a spiritually dynamic universe, to be free.” — Andrew Welburn, in Rudolf Steiner’s A VISION FOR THE MILLENNIUM (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2000), pp. 121-122.

For more on the centrality of humanity

see "The Center".

On the subject of freedom,

here is an item from the Waldorf Watch

"Daily Quotes" page:

“Our highest endeavor must be to develop free human beings who are able, of themselves, to impart purpose and direction to their lives.” — attributed to Rudolf Steiner.

There are at least two problems with this quotation.

1) The “freedom” possible within the Waldorf/Steiner universe is extremely limited. Consider the following, contrasting quotation: “Those who come to me wanting to hear the truths available through esotericism and nevertheless refuse to walk the path are like schoolchildren who want to electrify a glass rod and refuse to rub it.” — Rudolf Steiner, FIRST STEPS IN INNER DEVELOPMENT (Anthroposophic Press, 1999), p. 25.

If you want to know Steiner’s spiritual truths, you must walk “the path.” The one path. You can freely choose not to walk the path, but you will suffer severe spiritual penalties. “Those who use the life of the body for anything more than an opportunity to gain ego-consciousness [i.e., people who do use earthly incarnation for anything except making spiritual progress] will descend in the abyss and form the evil race. They have turned away from the impulse of Christ Jesus, 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." — Rudolf Steiner, UNDERSTANDING THE HUMAN BEING (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1993), p. 103. When it suited him, Steiner could sound like a fire-and-brimstone preacher. [See “Evil”, “Sphere 8”, “Hell”, and “Sin”.]

There is a little wiggle room in Anthroposophy, but not much. Steiner described three different “ways” toward spiritual enlightenment. But these ways, as reformulated by Steiner, are quite similar to one another. “Rudolf Steiner spoke of three ways: what he called the way of ‘yoga’; the ‘Christian’ or ‘Christian-Gnostic’ way; and the ‘Rosicrucian’ way. The three ways are not mutually exclusive but overlap in many ways. They may be said to be distinguishable, but not necessarily divisible.” — Christopher Bamford, START NOW! (SteinerBooks, 2004), a collection of Rudolf Steiner's writings, p. 188.

The yoga path is not suitable for humanity at its present stage of development, Steiner said, and the Christian-Gnostic path is for the most part also obsolete. That leaves “the path that is right for modern humanity: the Rosicrucian path.” — Rudolf Steiner, MACROCOSM AND MICROCOSM (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1985), p. 94. [See “Rosy Cross”.] By “Rosicrucian,” Steiner essentially meant Anthroposophical. He reinterpreteded Rosicrucianism to make it consistent with his own teachings, and then he affirmed it as the way. So, really, there is only one way or path available to us today — i.e., the Rosicrucian way, i.e., Steiner’s way. This tends to limit our “free” choices rather severely.

2) The other problem with the quotation is that Rudolf Steiner neither wrote nor spoke it. Many Waldorf educators attribute the statement to Rudolf Steiner, and some Waldorf schools use it prominently in their promotional materials, but in fact the statement was made by someone else: Steiner's second wife, Marie Steiner. You will find it on p. 27 of THE NEW ART OF EDUCATION (Philosophical-Anthroposophical Publishing, 1928) — introduction by Marie Steiner. I mention this only because it shines a light on a curious problem confronting anyone who tries to investigate Waldorf education. Much of the "information" provided by Waldorf schools is incomplete, misleading, or false. In this instance, the falsehood is arguably minor (Mrs. Steiner didn't stray far from the teachings of Mr. Steiner); but in other instances, the misinformation presented by Waldorf promoters can be highly deceptive. So, here’s a tip. When you enter the Waldorf universe, even for just a brief look around, stay alert. All may not be as it seems.

For more on the extremely limited

"freedom" possible in Anthroposophy,

see "Freedom"

and "Freedom - Static".


[1] For the lineup of hierarchies, see “Rankings”.

[2] This is not entirely consistent with some of Steiner’s teachings, but it is roughly, generally consistent. Steiner said that various gods have freely assisted us in our evolution.

[3] Again, this is not entirely correct, according to Steiner, but it is close. Steiner said that many gods have helped us. Jehovah once gave us special assistance, Christ (our prototype) gives it to us now, and the Father will give it to us in the future. Meanwhile, all along, many other gods have also pitched in.

[4] By some Anthroposophical accounts, we will be special, occupying a unique rank. By others, we will join a hierarchy already occupied by others.

[5] The term "spirits of love" also applies to gods four levels above man: spirits of form. I know this gets confusing.


— Compilation and commentary by Roger Rawlings

[R. R., 2010 — 

based on a work by

Barbara Richey.]

To visit other pages in the sections of Waldorf Watch
that include "Tenth Hierarchy," use the underlined links, below.

also see "History, the Past"
and "History, the Future"

abnormal : what's normal and what isn't

epochs : great and not so great

going up : creation and science

Old Saturn : starting out

Old Sun : dim light

origins : ours, not others'

Present Earth : here now

tenth hierarchy


future stages : where we go from here

millennium : the will be that wasn't

tenth hierarchy

universal : human

also see "Life Processes"

blood : and race

ego : the spiritual ego, the "I"

four group souls : us, sort of

gender : boys and girls

our parts : human constitution

tenth hierarchy

universal : human