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Anthroposophical Leading Thoughts
GA 26

8. Michaels Mission in the Cosmic Age of Human Freedom

When the work of Michael at the present time is approached through spiritual experience, it becomes possible, from the spiritual-scientific point of view, to obtain light on the cosmic nature of Freedom.

This does not refer to my Philosophy of Freedom (or ‘Philosophy of Spiritual Activity,’) which is based on the purely human faculties of cognition, where these are operative in the field of the spirit. In order to follow the thought of this book, it is not yet necessary to join company with the beings of other worlds. But it may be said that the Philosophy of Freedom prepares the way for the understanding of the freedom which, in spiritual connection with Michael, can then be experienced. And this is as follows.

If freedom is to be a living reality in human action, then that which is accomplished in the light of it must be completely independent of man's physical and etheric organisation. There can be no freedom except through the ‘I,’ and the astral body must be able to vibrate in harmony with the free activity of the ‘I,’ so that it may be able to transmit it to the physical and etheric bodies. But this is only one side of the matter. The other side becomes clear in connection with the mission of Michael. For it is also true that what man experiences in freedom must not in any way affect his physical or etheric body. Were this to happen, he would have to lose entirely what he had gained during his evolution under the influence of Divine-Spiritual Being, and Divine-Spiritual Manifestation.

What man experiences through this his environment which is but the accomplished Work of the Divine and Spiritual, must take effect on his spiritual nature (i.e. his Ego) only. His physical and etheric Organisation must only be affected by that which flows on, in the stream of evolution, not in his outer environment, but within his own being, and which had its origin in the Being and Manifestation of the Divine-Spiritual. But this must not work together with that in the human being which lives in the element of freedom.

All this is only made possible because Michael carries over from the far past of evolution something that brings man into connection with that Divine-Spiritual reality which in the present day no longer penetrates the physical and etheric Organisation. Through this the foundation is being laid, within the mission of Michael, for a human intercourse with the spiritual world which does not interfere at all with the working of Nature.

It is inspiring to see how the human being is raised by Michael into the spiritual sphere, whereas the unconscious and subconscious elements which develop beneath the sphere of freedom are uniting ever more strongly with the world of matter.

Man's position with respect to the world will in the future become more and more incomprehensible to him if he is not prepared to recognise, in addition to his relations to the beings and processes of Nature, such relations as this to the Michael Mission. Our relations to Nature are recognised by looking at them from without; our relations to the spiritual world proceed from something like an inner conversation with Beings to whom we have opened up the way by adopting a spiritual view of the world.

In order, therefore, for man to realise the impulse of freedom, he must be able to hold at a distance certain influences of Nature which affect his being from the Cosmos. This ‘holding at a distance’ is taking place in the sub-consciousness, when in the consciousness there are the forces which represent the life of the Ego in freedom. For the inward perception of man himself there is the consciousness of his activity in freedom, but for the spiritual Beings connected with man from other spheres of the Universe it is different. The Being from the hierarchy of the Angeloi, who leads human existence from one earthly life to another, sees at once how the matter stands regarding human action in freedom; he sees how man thrusts away from himself cosmic forces which want to form and mould him further—which want to give to his Ego-organisation the necessary physical supports, as they did before the age of Michael.

Michael, who is a member of the hierarchy of the Archangeloi, receives his impressions with the aid of the Beings of the Angeloi-hierarchy. He devotes himself, in the manner here described, to the task of bringing to man from the spiritual part of the Cosmos forces which can replace those from the realm of Nature which have been suppressed.

He accomplishes this by bringing his activity into the most perfect accord with the Mystery of Golgotha.

The forces which man requires for the compensation of suppressed impulses of Nature when he acts through freedom, are contained in the activity of Christ within earthly evolution. But man must then really bring his soul into that inner life in union with Christ, of which we have already spoken in these articles on the Michael Mission.

When a man faces the physical Sun and receives from it warmth and light he knows that he is living in a reality. In the same way he must live in the presence of Christ, the spiritual Sun, who has joined His life to that of the Earth, and receive actively from Him into his soul that which in the spiritual world corresponds to warmth and light.

He will feel himself permeated by ‘spiritual warmth’ when he experiences the ‘Christ in me.’ Feeling himself thus permeated he will say to himself: ‘This warmth liberates my human being from bonds of the Cosmos in which it may not remain. For me to gain my freedom the Divine-Spiritual Being of primeval times had to lead me into regions where it could not remain with me, where, however, it gave me Christ, that His forces might bestow upon me as a free human being what the Divine-Spiritual primeval Being once gave me by way of Nature, which was then also the Spirit-way. This warmth leads me back again to the divine sources, whence I came.’

And in this feeling there will grow together in man, in inner warmth of soul, the experience in and with Christ and the experience of real and true humanity. ‘Christ gives me my humanity’—that will be the fundamental feeling which will well up in the soul and pervade it. When this feeling is once there, another comes: man feels raised by Christ beyond mere earthly existence, he feels one with the starry firmament around the Earth and with all that can be recognised in this firmament as Spiritual and Divine.

It is the same with the spiritual Light. Man can feel himself fully in his true human nature by becoming aware of himself as a free individual. A certain darkening is however connected with this. The Divine-Spiritual of primeval times no longer shines. The primeval Light appears again in the Light brought by Christ to the human ego. In the life in union with Christ this blissful thought may shine like a sun through the whole soul: ‘The glorious primal Divine Light is here again; it shines, although its light comes not from Nature.’ And man unites himself, while in the present, with the spiritual, cosmic forces of Light belonging to that past when he was not yet a free individual. And in this Light he can find the paths which lead him aright as a human being, when in his soul he unites himself, with understanding, with the Michael Mission.

Then in the Spirit-warmth man will feel the impulse which so carries him over into his cosmic future, that in this future he will be able to remain true to the original gifts of Divine Spiritual Beings, albeit he has evolved in their worlds to free individuality. And in the Spirit-light he will feel the power which leads him with open eyes and ever higher and wider consciousness to the world in which as a free human being he will find himself again with the Gods of his origin.

If man wishes to continue in the original existence and keep the primal naive Divine Goodness which held sway in him, and shrinks from the full use of freedom—it leads him, in this present world in which everything tends to develop his freedom, to Lucifer, who wishes the present world to be denied.

If man devotes himself to present existence and wishes the natural world alone to hold sway (the natural world which is accessible to the present intellect and which is neutral with respect to Goodness), if he wishes to experience the use of freedom in the intellect alone, then in this present world where evolution needs to be continued in deeper regions of the soul, while freedom rules in the upper regions—he will after all be led to Ahriman, who wishes to see the present world transformed into a Cosmos of pure intellectuality.

Certainty of soul and spirit flourishes in those regions where man feels that in the direction of the outer world his gaze rests spiritually on Michael, and in the direction towards the inner being of the soul on Christ. It is that certainty through which he will be able to traverse the cosmic path upon which he will, without losing his origin, in the future find his true perfection.

Further Leading Thoughts issued from the Goetheanum for the Anthroposophical Society

118. That action alone can be free in which no process of Nature, either within man or without him, plays an active part.

119. But there is also the other pole, the opposite aspect of this truth. Whenever the individuality of man works freely, a Nature-process is suppressed in him. In an unfree action this process of Nature would indeed be present, giving to the human being his cosmically predestined character.

120. To the man who with his own life and being really partakes in the present and future stages of World-evolution, this character is not vouchsafed by way of Nature. But it comes to him by way of the Spirit when he unites himself with Michael, whereby he also finds the way to Christ.