The Michael Mystery
VII. Michael-Christ in Man
For anyone who has imbued his whole mind, in all sincerity of feeling, with the inner conception of Michael's being, and Michael's acts, there will come also a right understanding of how Man must treat a world, which is neither one of divine Being, nor Revelation, nor Workings, but is the wrought Work of the Gods. To look at this world with knowledge, is to have before one forms, formations, which everywhere tell with a plain voice of the divine, but in which the divine being in its own self-existence is not to be found, if one be led away by no illusions. Nor must one look only at the knowledgeable aspect of the world. True, this reveals most plainly the configuration of the world which surrounds Man to-day. But of more essential importance for everyday life is the feeling, willing and working in a world which may be felt in its formation to be divine, but in which no divine life can actually be experienced. To bring real ethical life into such a world as this, requires those ethical impulses, of which I gave an indication in my ‘Philosophy of Freedom.’
Amidst this world of past works, for the man of genuine feeling, Michael's being and Michael's present world of action may shed a shining light. Michael does not enter the physical world in a visible appearance. He remains with all his doings in a supersensible region, but one which is just on the borders of the physical world in the present evolutionary phase of the worlds. Thus no possibility can ever occur, that any impressions made on men by Michael's actual being, should lead their views of Nature into fantastic realms, or tempt them to build their practical social and ethical life — within a God-wrought, but not God-actuated world — on the pretense that any other impulses could be at work there, save those of which Man himself must be the ethical and spiritual agent. Whether thinking or willing, men will always have to go into spiritual regions, in order to find Michael.
This will mean living, spiritually, as follows: the ways of knowledge and of life must be taken, as they are and must be taken since the fifteenth century. But men will hold fast to Michael's revelation; they will let this revelation shine as a light into the thoughts which they receive from Nature; they will carry it as warmth in their hearts, when obliged to lead their lives in accordance with the divinely wrought world of finished Works. They will not then have only in view the observation and living realization of this present world, but another state of the world too, which Michael gives them — one which is past, but which Michael, by his being and his deeds, transfers into the present.
Were it otherwise — were Michael to work so that he transferred his actions into that physical world which Man, at the present day, must know and experience as such — then Man would learn from the world at the present day, not what actually is in the world, but what was. Wherever this happens, the human soul is led by this illusory reading of the world out of its own reality, that is fitted to it, into a reality of another sort — namely a Luciferic one.
The way which Michael takes to bring the past as an active force into present human life, is a way that follows the right spiritual lines of cosmic progress, and has in it nothing Luciferic. It is important for the human soul to understand this, and to keep before it a clear conception of the way in which, in Michael's mission, everything Luciferic is avoided.
This attitude towards the light now dawning on the history of mankind — towards the light of Michael — means also finding the right road to the Christ.
Michael will give the right orientation when it is a question of the world which lies all about Man and calls on him to know and act in it. The way to Christ must be found within.
It is quite comprehensible, at a time when the knowledge of Nature has assumed the form given it by the last five hundred years, that the knowledge of the supersensible world should also have become such as mankind to-day make it in their lives. It is necessary that Nature should be so learnt and so lived, that everything is emptied of its Gods. And hence, in the form he has thus given to his relations with Nature, Man fails any longer to find himself.
That relation of himself to Nature, which is the fitting one for the age, gives Man, inasmuch as he is a supersensible being, nothing whatever as to his own nature and being. Nor does this attitude — if it is all that he looks to — enable him to live, ethically, in a way befitting his manhood.
Hence the tendency arises, not to let this form of knowledge and of life enter into anything which has to do with Man's supersensible being, or indeed with the supersensible world at all. The latter is made into a field of knowledge, set apart from that which is attainable by human powers of cognition. As against the field of what is knowable, another — extra-scientific, or super-scientific — field is marked off for revelation by Faith.
But in active contrast to all this, is the pure spiritual efficacy of the Christ. Ever since the Mystery of Golgotha, Christ can be reached by the human soul. And the soul's relation to Him has no need to remain a dim and vague mysticism of feeling; it can be a perfectly concrete relation, one to be realized with all the depth and clearness of the entire man.
When this is so, then there flows into the human soul, from her life together with the Christ, the knowledge which the soul needs about his own supersensible being. The revelation of faith must then be so embraced, that through it there runs unceasingly the stream of actual, living Christ-experience. The whole of life will thereby receive its christening, when in the Christ is recognized He who gives to the human soul the understanding vision of her own supersensible being.
Thus may stand side by side, as realization of the inner life, Michael-Realization and Christ Realization. Through Michael, Man will find his right way to the Supersensible in respect to external Nature. The naturalistic conception will then, without suffering any falsification, be able to take its place alongside a spiritually-minded conception of the World and of Man — in so far as Man is a creature of the World.
Through a right position towards the Christ, that which otherwise could only be received by Man as a traditional revelation by faith, will be learnt by actual experience in the soul's living intercourse with Christ. The inner world of the soul, the life of inner feeling and experience will then be realized as one illumined by the light of the Spirit; the outer world of Nature as a world sustained and carried by the Spirit.
Were Man to seek to obtain the clue to his own supersensible being, except in the life of communion with Christ, it would lead him away from his own realm of reality and into Ahriman's. Christ bears within Himself the impulses of the human future in the manner that is cosmically justifiable. To unite herself with Him, is for the human soul to receive into her the seeds of her own future as cosmically justified. Other beings, that already present forms which cosmically will only be justifiable for Man in the future are beings that belong to the Ahrimanic sphere. The right form of union with Christ, is at the same time the right form of safeguard against Ahriman.
Those people who strictly insist on the revelations of Faith being safeguarded against the intrusion of any influences from human powers of Knowledge, are actuated by the unconscious fear that if Man once enters upon this path he will fall under Ahrimanic influences. This must be understood. But it should also be understood, that it is, in reality, to the honour of Christ and to His true recognition, when to Christ and to realization of life with Him is ascribed the gracious inflow of the Spirit into the soul of Man.
Thus Michael-Realization and Christ-Realization may stand in the future side by side. So will Man find his right way — the way of freedom — between Lucifer, who leads him astray into illusions of thought and life, and Ahriman, who entices him into forms of the future which gratify his pride, but can nevertheless not be his, as yet, in the present.
To fall a victim to Lucifer's illusions, means, not to be willing to advance to the stage of freedom, but to stop short, as God-Man, at a too early stage in evolution. To fall a victim to Ahriman's enticements, means, not to be willing to wait until the right cosmic moment has come at a definite stage of humanity, but to want to take this stage before its time.
Michael-Christ will stand in the future as the sign at the head of the way along which Man must travel in order to keep the right cosmic direction between the two Powers, of Lucifer and Ahriman, and so arrive at his World-destination.
Man journeys on his way through the Cosmos in such a manner that his gazing-backward into the bygone world may be falsified by the impulses of Lucifer, and his thinking-forward into the future may be cheated by the enticements of Ahriman.
The right position towards Lucifer and his falsities will be found when Man imbues his whole mind, in respect both to knowledge and to life, with a sense of the Being and the Mission of Michael.
Thereby Man safeguards himself also against Ahriman and his lures. For that spiritual path, by which Michael directs Man's mind into external Nature, leads him to a right position towards Ahriman, because he finds the right realization of life in communion with Christ.