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The Michael Mystery
GA 26

V. Michael's Experiences in the Fulfillment of his Cosmic Mission

The progress of mankind may be traced, from the stage of consciousness where Man still felt himself part of the divine-spiritual order, down to the present one, where he learns to feel himself an individuality, detached from divine-spiritual Being, and able to make use of his own Thoughts. One may trace this from the point of view of mankind, as was done in the previous letter.

One may also, however, through supersensible vision, sketch a picture of the experiences of Michael and his Company during the same tide of evolution — describe, that is, the same series of facts from the point of view of Michael. This shall now be attempted.

There is, to begin with, a very early age, in which one can only really speak of what goes on amongst divine-spiritual Beings. It is one series of the actions of gods, with which one has here to do. Gods perform what the impulses of their own individual natures suggest to them. They find their appropriate satisfaction in this activity. And how they are affected by it all, is the sole matter in view. Only in one corner of the field of the Gods' goings, may be seen something that looks like Mankind. Mankind is a part of the Gods' activity.

There is one spiritual Being, however, who from the very first has turned his eyes upon mankind: this is Michael. He arranges, so to speak, the doings of the Gods, so that Man can exist in a cosmic corner. And his mode of activity in doing this, is analogous to that which displays itself later in Man as Intellect — only that, with him, it is an active stream of force, that flows throughout the Cosmos, introducing order of ideas, and bringing cause to effect in fact. In this force Michael is at work. It is his office to administer the Intellectuality of the Cosmos. He desires further progress, namely, that the force which works as Intelligence throughout the whole Cosmos, should hereafter be concentrated in the individuality of Man. The consequence is that there comes a time in the world's evolution, when the Cosmos no longer lives by its present, but by its past Intelligence, whilst the present Intelligence is in the human stream of evolution.

Michael wants to keep this Intelligence, that is growing up in mankind, in continuous connection with the divine spiritual Beings.

To this, however, there is an obstacle. The whole line of evolution traveled through by the Gods, from the point where the intellectual force is set free from their cosmic working, to where it becomes incorporated in Man's nature, lies open as a patent fact in the world. Supposing there to be any beings, possessed of the faculty to see these facts, they could turn them to their own account. And such beings do actually exist — namely the Ahrimanic beings. Their whole form of being predisposes them to absorb into themselves any kind of intelligence that becomes detached from the Gods. They are suited to assimilate into their own being the entire sum of intellectuality of every kind. Thereby they grow to be the greatest, the most comprehensive and most penetrating Intelligences in the whole Cosmos.

Michael can foresee how Man, as he attains ever more and more to the private use of intelligence, must needs come into contact with these Ahrimanic beings, and may then be tempted into an alliance with them, and so fall their prey. Michael therefore puts the Ahtrimanic Powers beneath his feet, drives them constantly down into deeper regions, below the one where Man is pursuing his development. Michael, with his foot upon the Dragon, thrusting him into the abyss — such is the stupendous picture, as it lives within human consciousness, of these deeds in the supersensible world.

Evolution moves onward. The Intellectual force, which at first lay wholly within the domain of divine spirituality, now becomes so far detached, as to give soul to the Cosmos. What formerly had shot forth only as beams from the Gods, now shines as revealed glory of the godhead from the world of stars. Before, the world was guided by the Divine Being itself; now, it is guided by the Divine Revelation, which has come to be objective, and behind which the Divine Being is passing through the next stage of its own evolutionary course.

Here again Michael is regent of the Cosmic Intelligence, inasmuch as this Intelligence flows as an ordering stream of Ideas through all the revelations of the Cosmos.

The third phase of evolution is a still further detachment of the Cosmic Intelligence from its original source. It is no longer the present order of ideas which now rules the star-worlds as divine revelation; but the stars guide and group themselves in their courses in accordance with the order of ideas which was implanted in them in the past. Michael sees that which was under his sway in the Cosmos — the Intellectuality of the Cosmos — ever more and more taking its way to mankind on earth.

And Michael sees too that the danger of mankind's falling into the snares of the Ahrimanic Powers is becoming ever greater. For himself, he knows that he will always have Ahriman beneath his feet; but can he do the same for Man?

He sees the greatest of all events on Earth take place. Out of that realm of which Michael was himself the servant, the Christ-Being descends into the sphere of Earth, that He may be at hand when the power of Intelligence shall have passed completely over to the human individual. For then will come the time when the urge will be strongest in Man, wholly to give himself to that Power, which in every particular and in consummate perfection has made itself the bearer of the intellectual force. But Christ will be at hand. Through His great sacrifice He will live in the same sphere where Ahriman dwells. Man will have the choice between Christ and Ahriman. The world will be able in mankind's evolution to find the way of Christ.

Such are Michael's experiences with the cosmic regency. In order to remain with that, of which he was regent in the cosmos, he takes the road from the cosmos to mankind. He has been upon the road since the eighth century of Christianity, but only really entered upon his earthly office — into which his cosmic office is transformed — in the last third of the nineteenth century.

Michael has no power to compel men to anything. For the very fact that Intelligence has passed completely into the domain of human individuality, means, of itself, the end of all compulsion. But in the supersensible world that borders on the physical, Michael can perform before men, in a majestic act of imaginative ritual for their imitation, what he desires to do. There he may display himself in an aura of light, in a spirit-gesture, in which is revealed all the glory and majesty of the past Intelligence of Gods. There he may visibly demonstrate, how this Intelligence of the past is even now, in its effects in the present, truer and lovelier and more virtuous than all that in false, delusive splendour proceeds in the immediate present-day Intelligence from Ahriman. There he may let men see how, for him, Ahriman must always be the baser spirit underneath his feet.

Those who can look into the supersensible world which lies next to the physical one, see Michael there, even as he is here described, and see what he and his company are trying to do for men. Such people see how in freedom Man is to be guided, by the picture of Michael in the sphere of Ahriman, away from Ahriman to Christ. If, through their own seeing, these people can succeed in opening the hearts and minds of other men as well, so that there may be a group of people who know how Michael is now dwelling amongst men, then mankind will make a beginning towards celebrating the Festival of Michael in its true reality, for in such festivals human souls will waken to life within themselves the power of Michael. Then will Michael be working as an actual power amongst men. Man will be free, and yet in innermost communion with Christ, as he journeys on his spiritual life-way through the Cosmos.

Leading Thoughts

To awake to a true consciousness of the Michael-Influence in the spiritual complex of the world, is to solve the problem of Human Freedom from its cosmic complexities, so far as its solution is necessary for Man upon Earth.

For ‘Freedom’ is a fact of direct experience for every man who understands himself in the present period of human evolution. No-one, without denying a patent fact, can venture to say: ‘There is no Freedom.’ Yet one may find a contradiction between the fact thus actually given, and the processes of the Cosmos. The ground of contradiction ceases in contemplation of Michael's mission in the Cosmos.

In my ‘Philosophy of Freedom’ {Published in English under the title the The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity<.} the Freedom of Man's being in the present world-age will be found demonstrated as an actual subject of inner consciousness. In the picture here given of the Michael-Mission, may be found the cosmic arguments for this Freedom's evolution.