The Rudolf Steiner Archive

a project of Steiner Online Library, a public charity

The Michael Mystery
GA 26

VIII. Michael's Mission in the Cosmic Age of Human Freedom

When one inwardly pursues the course of spiritual life down to Michael's workings at the present day, it becomes possible to obtain a light from spiritual science upon Freedom in its cosmic character.

This does not apply to my ‘Philosophy of Freedom,’ which is something that proceeds from the purely human powers of cognition themselves, if once they can enter upon the field of the spirit. To arrive at the knowledge there arrived at, requires, so far, no intercourse with beings of other worlds. But the ‘Philosophy of Freedom’ makes — one may say — a good preparation for that other knowledge about freedom which may afterwards be learnt in spiritual intercourse with Michael. And this is as follows.

If freedom is really to have life in human actions, that which is performed in freedom's light must be in no way dependent upon the human physical and etheric organization. A ‘free’ performance can proceed from the I alone, and the astral body must also be able to vibrate along with the free action of the I, so as to transmit it to the physical and ether-bodies. This however is only one side of the matter. The other side is the one that becomes clear in connection with Michael's mission. Namely, whatever a man realizes in freedom in his inward life, must again have no sort of action upon his etheric nor physical body. Were it to do so, the man would inevitably be brought completely out of line with all that he has come to be during the different stages of his evolution under the influence of divine-spiritual Being and divine-spiritual Revelation.

What Man brings to realization in his inward life from all that is the wrought work only of divine spirit round about him, must exert no influence of any but his spiritual part — his I. The only thing that may influence his physical and etheric organism, is what comes through the evolutionary stream, not in his surroundings, but in his own being itself, as the continuation of what had its first beginnings in the being and revelation of divine spirit. But this element in the human being must on no account become involved in its workings with what lives in the element of freedom.

What alone makes this possible, is that Michael carries over from a very remote past in evolution, something which gives Man a link with that divine-spiritual reality which no longer intervenes, in the present day, in the physical and etheric structures. So that by this means, there grows up in the Michael Mission the basis for an intercourse between Man and the spiritual world, which does not interfere in the workings of Nature.

It is elevating to watch how, through Michael, Man's being becomes lifted ever higher into the spiritual sphere; whilst what is going on below, unconscious and subconscious, beneath the sphere of freedom, becomes ever more deeply wedded to the world of matter.

Man will find his relation to world-being growing ever more incomprehensible as time goes on, unless he will consent to recognize his relation, not merely with natural beings and natural processes, but also with things of another kind, such as the Michael Mission. One's relations to the natural world are something that one learns to know as viewed from outside. Relations with the spiritual world proceed from something like an inner conversation with a reality of being, to which one has opened access by one's readiness to view the world in a spiritual aspect.

For Man, therefore, to carry the impulses of freedom into actual life, he must be in a position to hold aloof from his own being certain affectations of nature that act upon his being from out of the Cosmos, and to keep them from affecting it. This ‘holding aloof’ goes on then in the subconscious, whilst in the consciousness those other forces are at work, which represent the life of the I in freedom.

For the man's inward perception, there is this consciousness of creative freedom. For the spiritual beings connected with Man from other world-spheres it is different. The being from the hierarchy of the Angeloi, whose work it is to conduct the man's identity from one earth-life to another, becomes at once visibly aware that man is repelling cosmic forces which are seeking to continue his development — forces which are seeking to give the necessary physical support to his I-system, as they did previous to the age of Michael.

Michael, as a being from the hierarchy of the Archangeloi, receives his impressions by aid of the beings from the Angeloi-Hierarchy. He devotes himself to the task of conveying to Man from the spiritual part of the Cosmos, in the manner described, forces which can replace the suppressed forces of his natural existence.

This he accomplishes by bringing all he does into most perfect unison with the Mystery of Golgotha.

The workings of the Christ in earthly evolution contain the forces which Man needs when he works in freedom, in order to make good the suppressed impulses of Nature. Only, Man must then actually bring his soul into that inner intercourse of life with the Christ, already spoken of in these descriptions of the Michael Mission.

Man is conscious of being in the midst of a reality, when he stands in the face of the physical Sun, and it gives him warmth and light.

Even so he must live before the face of the Spiritual Sun, the Christ, who has united His life with the life of Earth; and from this Spiritual Sun he must receive, alive within his soul, what in the spiritual world corresponds to warmth and light.

He will feel himself filled through and through with ‘spiritual warmth,’ when he realizes the life of the ‘Christ within him.’ And feeling how this warmth flows through him, he will say: This warmth dissolves my human being from bonds with the Cosmos which must not hold it. The divine-spiritual Being of yore led me to regions where it needs must leave me, in order that I might achieve my freedom. But in these regions it has given to me the Christ, that from His forces I may receive as a free man, what the divine-spiritual Being of yore once gave to me by way of Nature — which, in those days, was also the way of the Spirit. To the divine source whence I came, this warmth leads me back once more.

And as this feeling rises in him, Man's sense of his life in and with the Christ will become one in inner soul-warmth with his sense of real, true manhood. ‘Christ gives me my human being,’ — this will be a dominant feeling, breathing, 0pulsing through all the soul. And if this feeling be once there, there will come too that other feeling, where Man feels himself by Christ lifted up above the life of earth, and feels himself one with the stars that environ the earth and with all that may be read in this starry environment of the spiritual and divine.

So too will it be with the spiritual light. Man can have the full feeling of himself in his own being as a man, when he wakens to the consciousness of himself as a man, when he wakens to the consciousness of himself as a free individual. Nevertheless this is accompanied with a certain darkness. The Divine and spiritual of ancient days no longer shines. In the light which Christ brings to the I of Man, the ancient, primal light is there once more. In such a life in community with Christ, the thought may arise, shedding bliss and brightness like the sun through the whole soul: The divine light of old is there, in all its pristine glory; it shines, though not with the light of Nature. And Man unites himself in the present with the spiritual cosmic Light-Powers of the past, that shone in the times before he was a free individual. In this light he can find the paths which will lead him aright as human being, if he understandingly unites himself in soul with the Michael Mission.

In the spirit's warmth Man will feel the impulse that can carry him on in such a way into his cosmic future, that he can there remain true to the gifts given him by the divine spirit-beings at his origin — notwithstanding that he has since developed in their worlds to a free individuality. And in the spirit's light he will find the power which will lead him, with open eyes and ever higher and broader consciousness, to that world where he shall find himself again as free Man in the company of the Gods of his first origin.

To want to remain in the first, original state of existence — to want to keep the original naïve simplicity of divine goodness, of the time when the gods ruled in Man, and to shrink from making use of his freedom, — this leads Man in the present-day world, where everything is disposed for the evolution of his freedom, only in the end to Lucifer, whose aim it is to see the present world repudiated.

To give himself over to the present state of existence; to admit through all the worlds nothing save the rule of that natural law, accessible to the present-day intellect, to which goodness is a neutral matter; to want to enjoy the use of freedom in the intellect alone; this, in the present-day world — where, while freedom reigns in the upper regions, evolution must be carried further in the deeper regions of the soul — only leads Man in the end to Ahriman, whose aim it is to see the present world transformed entirely into a Cosmos of Intellectual Being.

In regions such as this, where Man is able to feel that when he turns his eyes upon the outer world they fall spiritually upon Michael, and when he turns them to the inner world of the soul they fall spiritually upon Christ, here he will gather such security of soul and spirit, as shall enable him to travel along that cosmic road, on which without the loss of his first origin he shall find the true and right consummation of his future.

Leading Thoughts

A free action can only be one in which no process of Nature, in or outside of Man, plays a part.

The polaric counter-proposition in this: In all free action of human individuality, a process of Nature in man is suppressed, which in an unfree action would be there and would give the man's being the formation cosmically predestined for it.

This formation of his being, which a man fails to receive by the natural road if in his life and being he follows the course of cosmic evolution through its present and future stages, comes to him by a spiritual road through the union with Michael, whereby he also finds the way to Christ.