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 to an august rank among the celestial hierarchies. Presently, there are nine ranks of gods above us. In the future, we will rise to be the tenth divine echelon — we will be gods, the tenth "hierarchy." (The term "hierarchy" is sometimes used interchangeably with "rank" among Anthroposophists, although technically this is a misuse of the term. [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]

By such accounts, we will become unique among the gods, possessing greater freedom than any other gods. We will evolve to quite unimaginable heights. "[M]ankind becomes [i.e., will become] a hollow, a choir of beings like Seraphim, Cherubim and Thrones, and advances to new creative tasks. It reaches the maturity capable of sacrifice, self-dissolution ... Something streams out [i.e., will stream out] from mankind in the realm of duration, eternity. It becomes a new zodiac, a creative god ... Mankind ascends to yet higher stages — the inner eye of the initiate [5] sees five beyond Vulcan, making twelve in all [6], toward which the Hierarchies already lead the way, but they cannot be described in human language." — Richard Seddon, THE FUTURE OF HUMANITY AND THE EARTH AS FORESEEN BY RUDOLF STEINER (Temple Lodge Publishing, 2002), p. 128.

We will evolve higher and higher, rising through the ranks of divinity until ultimately we 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. 

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 self-inflating (and self-deceiving?) 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. [7]

“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. [8]

"The earth's goal consists in the creation of a new humanity as the tenth hierarchy, which will become active in the cosmos out of freedom and love."  — Sergei O. Prokofieff, RELATING TO RUDOLF STEINER (Temple Lodge Publishing, 2008), p. 61.

“[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 [9], 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.

Becoming the "tenth hierarchy" represents only a small promotion from our current status, if it simply means that we will join the Angels and Archangels — the lowliest of gods. Here are the ranks of gods as Steiner often referred to them, numbered from highest rank to lowest rank:

1. Spirits of Love

2. Spirits of the Harmonies

3. Spirits of Will

4. Spirits of Wisdom

5. Spirits of Movement

6. Spirits of Form

7. Spirits of Personality

8. Spirits of Fire (Archangels)

9. Sons of Twilight (Angels)

The tenth rank or "hierarchy," now in formation, will initially exist at the bottom of this file. We will be gods one rank lower than Angels.

But many further promotions await us. As Richard Seddon has said (see his statement near the top of this page), Steiner foresaw our climb to spiritual heights so marvelous, so lofty, as to be beyond comprehension or discussion. Indeed, Seddon merely paraphrased his mentor. Here is Steiner himself hinting at the all-but-inconceivable future to which we will be elevated:

"After the Vulcan stage, man will develop yet further, and will ascend to still higher levels of consciousness. As the external eye looks into misty gray distances, so the inner eye of the seer looks upon five more forms of consciousness, as far off as distant spirits, of which a description, however, is quite impossible. In all, one can speak of twelve stages of consciousness." — Rudolf Steiner, COSMIC MEMORY (SteinerBooks, 1987), p. 166.

As we evolve to the exalted stages beyond "the Vulcan stage," our significance as the tenth hierarchy will broaden and deepen vastly. We will attain extraordinary powers; we will exercise great authority and might. We will become, in a sense, the Creator. "After the Vulcan-existence...the actual creators of the new solar system will enter, and they will be the human beings. [sic] ... In that time mankind will have turned itself into the tenth hierarchy [sic] which Rudolf Steiner characterized as the Hierarchy of Freedom and Love. This hierarchy will then create a solar system, the foundation of which for the first time in all of world evolution will be the power of the Christ, of Love, and the power of the Holy Spirit, the Light of Wisdom...." — Sergei O. Prokofieff, THE FOUNDATION STONE MEDITATION (Temple Lodge Publishing), pp. 16-17.

The spiritual consciousness we will ultimately attain — the spiritual height we will ultimately scale — is all but off the charts. We will climb as high as, or higher than, any of the gods who now hover above us. This is what Steiner meant when he spoke of us becoming "what is called in Christianity ‘the Father.’” Note that according to the forecast we have just read, we will truly become the tenth hierarchy only after evolving beyond Future Vulcan. Then we will be the creators of the new solar system — which is to say, we will devise the new incarnation of the solar system, the new stage of cosmic evolution. [10] We will then effectively take the role of the Father, joining with the powers of Christ and the Holy Spirit. We will be in the vanguard of spiritual evolution and divinity, and the Trinity will be in this sense complete.

Steiner taught that there is no One and Only God today; we live in a polytheistic universe. “Monotheism...can only represent an ultimate ideal [today].” — Rudolf Steiner, THE MISSION OF THE FOLK SOULS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2005), p. 115. But in the far future, evolution may attain that ideal. And we will be deeply involved in its attainment. We will be God. Or so Anthroposophy promises.

For more on the centrality of humanity

see "The Center".

Central to our ultimate apotheosis

— what will distinguish us from other (eventually lower) gods —

will be the unprecedented degree of freedom we will attain.

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".

Here is one leading Anthroposophist's understanding of what we will be and do

when we have evolved to extraordinary heights as the tenth hierarchy.

Sergei Prokofieff tells of the stage of evolution following Future Vulcan:

"What might the next stage of this [evolutionary] process be like? Naturally it could not be answered if Rudolf Steiner had not given us a few indications from his spiritual research concerning the subsequent evolution after the Vulcan condition. In THE SPIRITUAL HIERARCHIES AND THEIR REFLECTION IN THE PHYSICAL WORLD, he stated: 'In the Vulcan development [11], all the beings that emerged as it were from the modest beginnings of the Saturn existence [these words refer primarily to human beings] [12] are spiritualized to the highest degree; all of them together have become not only sun but super-sun.' [13] ... And further on: 'When a sun has advanced so far that it has once again united with its planets, it turns into circumference; it turns into a zodiac', in order to move on to new creating in the universe ... If we take what Rudolf Steiner stated here...we can say: After the Vulcan-existence the Archangeloi will begin the new world evolution and create a new 'space' (zodiac) ... And into this stream of world evolution the actual creator of the new solar system will enter, and they will be the human beings ... For in that time mankind will have turned itself into the tenth hierarchy ... This hierarchy will then create a solar system, the foundation of which...will be the power of the Christ...and the power of the Holy Spirit [14] ... Out of the combination and joint activity of the two forces, the Love of Christ and the Wisdom of the Holy Spirit, will emerge the creative Deeds of Good from the soul, deeds of Good out of which the tenth hierarchy will create the new solar system [15] ... For in the 'Christ-Sun'...we already have a germ of that Super-Sun which eventually is intended to emerge out of the creative deeds of humans at the end of the Vulcan aeon. [16]" — Sergei O. Prokofieff, THE FOUNDATION STONE MEDITATION (Temple Lodge Publishing, 2006), pp. 16-17.


[1] For the ranks of gods, see "Polytheism”. There are nine ranks of gods, Steiner taught; these are divided into three groupings or hierarchies. The top three ranks of gods constitute the First Hierarchy, the middle three ranks constitute the Second Hierarchy, and the lowest three ranks constitute the Third Hierarchy.

[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] I.e., the occult initiate sees this through the power of clairvoyance.

[6] Steiner often indicated that we will evolve through a total of seven conditions of consciousness, rising to higher and higher forms of spiritual awareness. [See the entry for "conditions of consciousness" in The Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia.] The seventh condition of consciousness will be Future Vulcan. [See "Future Stages".] However, Steiner also sometimes indicated that five more conditions of conscious lie beyond Future Vulcan. We will ascend to heights that cannot be described.

[7] In Anthroposophy, the term "Spirits of Love" applies to gods of the highest rank, Seraphim. However, it is also applied sometimes also applies to gods four levels above man: Spirits of Form. Here Adams is saying that, according to Steiner, mankind will arise to the highest spiritual rank — and indeed we may evolve even further.

[8] Here, the tenth hierarchy is the lowest, most recently formed (indeed, still forming) rank of gods, and in this instance Steiner applies the term "Spirits of Love" to this rank.

[9] These are the existing nine ranks of gods, in descending order, identified by their "Biblical" names.

[10] Creating a new solar system essentially means creating a new condition of consciousness. We will take over the role of the gods who created all the prior conditions of consciousness. Thus, we will assume control over the course of cosmic evolution. (Each condition of consciousness, according to Steiner, is an incarnation of the solar system; it is tantamount to a new version of the universe. The evolution of mankind, the solar system, and the gods themselves is encompassed in the sequence of these conditions, during which higher degrees of spirituality are attained.)

[11] I.e., during Future Vulcan.

[12] I.e., beings whose evolution began during Old Saturn, the first incarnation of the solar system. [See the entry for "Old Saturn" in the Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia.]

[13] In Anthroposophy, Christ is the Sun God. [See "Sun God".] He is the genius or spirit of the Sun, and in this sense he is the Sun itself. All who follow him correctly (i.e., in accordance with Anthroposophy) become like him, and thus themselves become suns. In the distant future, Steiner taught, they will effectively surpass him and become super-suns.

[14] In Anthroposophy, the Holy Trinity comprises three separate gods, not three aspects of a single God. The Son is the Sun God, Christ; the Holy Ghost is the god of Old Moon; the Father is the god of Saturn. "The highest Ruler of Saturn...appears to us as the Father God, and the highest Ruler of Sun, the Sun-God, as the Christ. Similarly the Ruler of the Moon stage of Earth appears to us as the Holy Spirit.” — R. Steiner, ROSICRUCIAN WISDOM (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2000), p. 100.

[15] I.e., humans will have evolved to such a high state that they will in effect be God the Father. Steiner tells of the contributions of Christ and the Holy Spirits, two members of the Trinity. The third member, in his account, is highly evolved humanity. "[W]e shall have gradually achieved the transformation of our own being into what is called in Christianity 'the Father'." — R. Steiner, THE LORD'S PRAYER (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2007), p. 17.

[16] I.e., currently, in the world today, we have in the Sun God the seed or germ of our future highly evolved state, when we will have become a super-sun, or, specifically, God the Father. We will be a super-sun and we will create a super-sun. We will, in other words, create ourselves as the highest of gods, the Father.


— 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