8 August 1924, Dornach
For a long time we have been speaking of the karmic facts and
conditions connected with the Anthroposophical Movement, with the
Anthroposophical Society and with the individuals who feel impelled out
of an inner sincerity, to choose their path of life within this
Movement. Much will remain to be said on these karmic questions after my
return from England, but today, in our last lecture before my departure
which will take me away for the rest of August, 1The twenty-seven lectures
given by Dr. Steiner in England (11th–30th August) were as
In Torquay: True and False Paths in Spiritual Investigation. A course of eleven lectures published in English translation under this title: published in German under the title, Das Initiaten-Bewusstsein.
Course of seven lectures on Education.
Three lectures to Members of the Anthroposophical Society, published in English translation, together with those given in London, in the volume entitle, Cosmic Christianity: Karma in the life of Individuals, and in the Evolution of the World.
In London: Three lectures to Members (see above).
Two lectures for doctors and medical students: The Art of Healing from the standpoint of Spiritual Science.
Public lecture on Education (arranged by the Educational Union for the Realisation of Spiritual Values). today I would like to bring to a kind of conclusion what I have said. Thus in today's lecture we will to some extent round off the thoughts I have been able to communicate to you in these our studies upon karma.
You will all have observed, my dear friends, how manifold are the forms through which the karma of the individual anthroposophist has passed in former lives on earth and between death and a new birth. Especially in the last two lectures we have been able to hint at the great significance which these things may have for the individual anthroposophist in his karma. We have seen how the karma of anthroposophists is connected with the evolution of the Michael principle through long, long epochs of time. To begin with, we saw in a more abstract form how the rulership of the Cosmic Intelligence — for so we called it — fell from the dominion of Michael. For as I said, in ancient times it was so indeed, that men could not ascribe to themselves the essence of Intelligence. They ascribed to the inspiration of higher Powers all that they could express in forms of Intelligence. And those who had knowledge of these matters knew that the higher Powers here concerned were the ones who afterwards, in Christian terminology, were designated as the Powers of Michael. I also spoke to you of the 8th or 9th century A.D. as the point of time in the evolution of civilised mankind when the Cosmic Intelligence gradually moved down to the earth, took shape as it were in many single drops which then lived on as personal Intelligence in single human souls. And I told you, my dear friends, how the perception and understanding of the Cosmic Intelligence — that is to say, of the old rulership by Michael, — lived on traditionally, with a certain reality of insight. We turn our gaze for instance to those, in many respects excellent, scholars who were connected with Arabism and with the Aristotelianism that had lived on in Asia since the campaigns of Alexander. This Aristotelianism had also permeated the mysticism of the East, filling it, as it were, with Intelligence. All this was carried across through Africa to Spain and went on working there, in the wisdom of the Moors, in such outstanding individualities as Averroes; and in the teachings of these Moorish, Spanish scholars we find a very real reflection of those old perceptions which had still looked upward to the Cosmic Intelligence.
Let us try to gain a vivid idea of how the Cosmic Intelligence had been conceived. I will give you a rough sketch of what these Moorish, Spanish scholars taught to their pupils in Spain in the 10th, 11th and 12th centuries, in the time when in other parts of Europe such things were prevailing as the School of Chartres, of which I have told you so much. In Spain it was taught by the Moorish scholars and above all by such an individuality as Averroes, that the Intelligence holds sway everywhere. The whole world, the whole cosmos is filled with the all-pervading Intelligence. Human beings down here on earth have many different properties, but they do not possess a personal intelligence of their own. On the contrary, every time a human being is active on the earth, a drop of Intelligence, a ray of Intelligence proceeds from the universal Intelligence, and descends as it were into the head, into the body of the single human being. So that the human being as he walks about on earth, shares in the universal Cosmic Intelligence which is common to all. And when he dies, when he passes through the gate of death, the Intelligence that was his returns to the universal Intelligence, flows back again. Thus all the thoughts, conceptions and ideas which man possesses in the life between birth and death flow back into the common reservoir of the universal Intelligence. One cannot therefore say that the thing of outstanding value in man's soul, namely his Intelligence, is subject to personal immortality. Indeed it was actually taught by the Spanish, Moorish scholars that man does not possess personal immortality. True, he lives on, but, said these scholars, the most important thing about him during his life is the fact that he can unfold intelligent knowledge, and this does not remain with his own being. We cannot therefore say that the intelligent being possesses personal immortality. You see, this was the very point in the fury of the battle which was waged by the Schoolmen of the Dominican Order. It was to maintain and uphold the personal immortality of man. And in that time, such a striving could appear in no other way than it did when the Dominicans declared: Man is personally immortal, and the teaching of Averroes on this subject is heresy, absolute heresy. Today we have to put it differently, but for that time one can understand that a man like Averroes in Spain, who did not assume the personal immortality of man, was declared a heretic. Today we have to study the matter in its reality. We have to say: In the sense in which man has become immortal, as to his Spiritual Soul, he has indeed attained immortality — the continued consciousness of personality after passing through the gate of death — but he has attained this only since the time when a Spiritual Soul took up its abode in earthly man. If therefore we had asked Aristotle or Alexander what were their thoughts about immortality, what would have been their answer? The words of course are not the point. But if, being asked, they had answered in our Christian terminology, they would have said: Our soul is received by Michael and we live on in the communion of Michael. Or they would have expressed it cosmologically. Above all in a community such as that of Alexander or Aristotle, they would have spoken thus in cosmic terms, and indeed they did speak thus: The soul of man is intelligent on earth, but this Intelligence is a drop out of the fulness of what Michael pours forth like a rain of Intelligence, flowing out over mankind. This rain proceeds from the Sun, and the Sun receives the human soul back again into its own being. The human soul as it exists between birth and death is rayed down to Earth from the Sun. Thus on the Sun they would have looked for the dominion of Michael, and such would have been their answer, cosmologically speaking.
These conceptions found their way into Asia, returned from Asia and flourished among the Moors in Spain at the very time when the Scholastic Philosophy rose up in defence of personal immortality. We must not say with the Schoolmen that this conception was an error, but we must say: The evolution of mankind brought with it the individual and personal immortality of man. And it was by the Dominican Schoolmen that this personal immortality was first emphasised, while on the other hand an ancient truth — one that was no longer true for that age in the evolution of the human race — was put forward in the Academies conducted by the Moors in Spain. For we today must not only be tolerant of our contemporaries. We must be tolerant of those who went on propagating ancient teachings. Such tolerance was not possible in that time. Hence it is important for us to repeat this to ourselves again and again: The personal immortality maintained by Dominican Schoolmen has only been true since the time when the Spiritual Soul slowly and gradually entered into mankind.
We can also describe these things in a fully Imaginative form. When a man dies in our time — a man who was really able, during his earthly life, to permeate his soul with true Intelligence — having gone through the gate of death, he looks back upon his past earthly life and sees it as an independent life on earth. In former centuries, man having passed through the gate of death, and looking back upon his earthly life, saw how the etheric body became dissolved in the cosmos. Then he passed through the realm of souls, living through the events again in backward order. Then he could say to himself: ‘Thus Michael, through the Sun, administers what was mine before.’ This is the great difference. But we can only understand such developments in evolution when we look behind the scenes of existence, perceiving the Spiritual behind the Material. We must see the outer events in mankind even as they are shaped and formed out of the spiritual world.
At this point, my dear friends, you must enter once more into all that I have now told you. Remember that with the 9th century A.D. the great crisis was accomplished: the Cosmic Intelligence came down among earthly men. This was the objective fact, this was actually taking place. And now transplant yourselves into the Sun-sphere, where Michael and his hosts were holding sway as I have described. For they had perceived the departure of Christ from the Sun and His passage to the earth in the Mystery of Golgotha, and after that, they had experienced how the Cosmic Intelligence descended more and more, to become individual human knowledge. Now there was one important event which made a deep impression, above all, on those who belong to Michael — whom in our last lecture I called the ‘Michaelites.’ It was an altogether outstanding event, which I have often described in other connections, showing the part it played in the unfolding of civilisation on the earth. Now, however, we must describe it as it appeared from the aspect of the Michaelites themselves, namely from the Sun. We must describe it as it is seen from that perspective — when one looks down from the realm of Michael on to the earth. This most significant event took place in the year 869 A.D. At the 8th Ecumenical Council held in that year at Constantinople, it was declared dogmatically that the old conception of Trichotomy, saying that man consists of body, soul and Spirit, is heretical. It was declared: Man has only body and soul, save that his soul possesses certain spiritual qualities. While in the sphere of objective realities the passage of the Intelligence into the single human beings was being accomplished, it was decreed on earth: Trichotomy is a false heresy. It was decreed in such a final and decisive form that no one within European civilisation could venture henceforth to contradict it. Henceforth one was forbidden to say that man has body, soul and Spirit. One might only speak of body and soul, ascribing spiritual qualities and forces to the soul. Something had thus taken place on earth, of which in the realms of Michael they could only say: Now there will enter into the souls of men the conviction that the Spiritual is but a quality of the soul, and not the Divine which holds sway in the great process of mankind's evolution. ‘Look down upon the earth’ — such was the language of Michael — ‘Look down upon the earth, behold the consciousness of the Spirit vanishing away.’ But you must see, my dear friends, this vanishing of the consciousness of the Spirit was bound up with the main subject of which we wish to speak today.
As I said just now, hitherto I have only described in abstract terms how the evolution of the Michael realm has taken place behind the scenes of earth-existence. I have said: the Cosmic Intelligence came down to the single men. But this, my dear friends, is only an abstraction. For what is Intelligence? Needless to say we must not conceive that when we ascend into the higher regions we shall be able to take hold of the Intelligence there as we take hold of trees and shrubs here in the physical world. What is Intelligence? These abstract generalisations do not of course exist in reality. ‘Intelligence’ means the mutual relationships of conduct among the higher Hierarchies. What they do, how they relate themselves to one another, what they are to one another, — this is the Cosmic Intelligence. And since as human beings we must first consider the kingdom that is nearest to us, concretely speaking the Cosmic Intelligence will be for us the sum-total of the Beings of the Hierarchy of Angeloi. If we are speaking concretely we cannot say ‘so much Intelligence,’ but rather ‘so many Angeloi.’ This is the reality.
When the Church Fathers were discussing in the year 869 A.D. whether man should speak henceforth of the Spirit, it was a consequence of the fact that a number of Angel Beings were separating from the realm of Michael where they had been before, and were assuming that they would henceforth have to do with earthly Powers only; — that the guidance of human beings would be achieved henceforth through earthly powers alone. You must see clearly what kind of an event this was. Angels are the Beings who guide men from earthly life to earthly life. They are the Beings next above us in the spiritual world, who lead us along our path in the life between death and a new birth and show us the way to our returning earthly life. They make of our several earthly lives a connected chain, a totality of human life. Now a number of Angel Beings — Beings who have this task and who had been united formerly with the Michael kingdom — went out and left the kingdom of Michael. Such being the conduct of these Angel Beings, the destiny of human beings could not possibly remain untouched. Who is it partakes in the very first place in the unfolding of human karma — in the way the earthly thoughts, the earthly deeds and earthly feelings are transformed and elaborated between death and a new birth? It is the Beings of the Angeloi. If now these Angel Beings come to an entirely different position in the cosmos — if, so to speak, they leave the kingdom of the Sun and become no longer celestial Angels but terrestrial — what then must happen? Here we come upon a secret, permeating the whole evolution and history of Europe, hidden behind the external facts. Certain Angeloi remained in the kingdom of Michael. In that great School in the beginning of the 15th century we find also the Angel Beings belonging to the human beings who were then in the kingdom of Michael. To all the souls of human beings who lived in the kingdom of Michael and of whom I have spoken to you, belong Angel Beings who have remained in Michael's kingdom. But there were others who left it and identified themselves with that which was in essence earthly.
Now you will say: How is it possible that it suddenly occurs to a number of Michael Angels to leave the kingdom of Michael? It does not occur to the others to leave. — This, my dear friends, I must admit, is one of the most difficult questions that can possibly be raised in connection with the modern evolution of mankind. It is a question such that as we enter into it all the inner forces of the human being are called into play. It is a question deeply and intimately connected with the whole life of man. For you see, at the foundation of it there lies a cosmic fact. You know, from lectures I have given here, that what is commonly referred to as a mere physical planet is in reality a gathering of Spiritual Beings. When we look up to a star, that which appears to us physically is but the external aspect. In reality we have to do with a gathering of Spiritual Beings. Now there is a certain contrast. Since the very beginning of earthly evolution, this contrast has existed. It is the contrast between the Intelligences of all the planets and the Intelligence of the Sun. There is indeed on the one hand the Sun Intelligence, while on the other there are the Intelligences of the several planets. And it was always so, that the Sun Intelligence stood paramountly under the dominion of Michael, while the other Planetary Intelligences were subject to the other Archangels. Thus we may say:
SUN INTELLIGENCE. PLANETARY INTELLIGENCES.
Sun ... ... MICHAEL
Mercury ... ... RAPHAEL
Venus ... ... ANAEL
Mars ... ... SAMAEL
Jupiter ... ... ZACHARIEL
Moon ... ... GABRIEL
Saturn ... ... ORIPHIEL
On the other hand it was always so that one might not say, Michael administers the Sun Intelligence alone, but rather, Michael administers the whole Cosmic Intelligence, differentiated as it is into the Sun Intelligence and the Planetary Intelligences, Mercury, Venus, Mars, etc. The several Beings of the Hierarchy of Archangeloi partake in its administration. But over all of them together Michael holds sway ever and again. Thus the whole Cosmic Intelligence is administered by Michael. Now of course, every human being was a human being even before, when Michael administered the Cosmic Intelligence from which only a ray descended into the human individual. And it was due to the Sun that man on earth could yet feel himself as man; could feel himself as single man and not as a mere vehicle for the common Cosmic Intelligence. All human Intelligence comes from Michael in the Sun.
But when these centuries approached — the 8th, the 9th, the 10th century A.D. — it happened that the Planetary Intelligences began to reckon with the fact that the earth had changed, and that the Sun too had changed.
My dear friends, that which goes on externally, which the astronomers describe, is after all only the outer side. You know that approximately every 11 years we have a period of Sun-spots, when in the shining of the Sun upon the earth certain places are darkened, covered with spots or blotches. This was not always so. In very ancient times the Sun shone down as a uniform disc of light. There were no Sun-spots. Moreover, after some thousands of years the Sun will have very many more spots than it has today. The Sun is growing ever more spotted. This again is the outer manifestation of the fact that the Michael Power, the Cosmic Power of Intelligence is still decreasing. In the increase of the Sun-spots in the course of Cosmic Evolution is revealed the Sun's decay; the Sun within the cosmos grows increasingly dim and old. And at the appearance of a sufficiently large number of Sun-spots, the other Planetary Intelligences recognised that they would now no longer be ruled by the Sun. They resolved no longer to allow the earth to be dependent on the Sun, but to make it dependent henceforth on the entire cosmos directly. This took place through the planetary Counsels of the Archangels. Notably under the leadership of Oriphiel, this emancipation of the Planetary Intelligences from the Sun-Intelligence took place. It was a complete separation of Cosmic Powers that had hitherto belonged together. The Sun-Intelligence of Michael and the Planetary Intelligences gradually came into cosmic opposition one with another.
Yes, my dear friends, though we do ascribe an entirely different kind of inner nature — of soul-faculty and soul-condition — to the Beings of the Hierarchy of the Angeloi, nevertheless we must ascribe decisions, weighty reflections on that which is taking place, even to them. For we human beings also make our decisions in no other way. We observe the things that are taking place externally before us, we let the facts speak for themselves and then, under the influence of the facts, we act accordingly. Only the determining factors for us between birth and death are earthly facts, whereas for the Beings of the Hierarchy of Angeloi they are cosmic facts, as when a split takes place in the planetary life.
Thus the one host of Beings turned to the Earth-Intelligence and therewith at the same time to the Planetary Intelligence. The other host remained true to the sphere of Michael in order to carry into all the future what Michael administers as the Eternal. And this is the decisive question today. Now that all the power is among men, will Michael be able to carry into all the future that which is Eternal in his working, — now that that which appears in the physical Sun grows darker and vanishes slowly away?
Thus we see, as an outcome of cosmic events, a split among the Angeloi who were formerly united with Michael. But these Beings themselves partake in the karmic evolution. Consider the whole of this as it takes place in the life between death and a new birth. Here it is not so that every human soul can run his course alone, nor can every Angel who guides the human being run his course alone, but the Hierarchy of Angeloi work together; and in their working together karma lives and is worked out. If in an earthly life I become connected with another human being and we work this out karmically in our next life, then, needless to say, the Angel of the one human being must come together with the Angel of the other. A co-operation must take place. But in many cases this was what happened (and this is the overwhelming, shattering experience). In the Ecumenical Council that took place on earth in 869 A.D. the signal was given for an overwhelming event in the spiritual world above. It would almost shatter one to pieces, when one holds oneself entirely upright with the true use of the Cosmic Intelligence, face to face with such overpowering relationships. It is a thing of untold significance that has already happened and is happening more and more: the Angel of the one human being, of the one human soul who was karmically connected with another human soul, did not go on with the Angel of that other soul. Of two human souls karmically united with one another, the one Angel remained with Michael while the other went down to earth. What was bound to happen as a result? In the time between the founding of Christianity and the age of the Spiritual Soul, which is signalised above all by the 9th century and the year 869 A.D., the karma of human beings came into disorder. This is to pronounce one of the deepest and most important words that can possibly be uttered with regard to the modern history of mankind. Disorder came into the karma of present-day humanity. In the following lives on earth the experiences of men were no longer all of them rightly co-ordinated with their karma. This is the chaotic element in the history of recent times. This has brought into the history of recent times more and more social chaos, chaos of civilisation; and the disorder that has come into human karma can find no end. For a split has taken place in the Hierarchy of Angeloi belonging to Michael.
And now we may express something that is deeply connected with the karma of the Anthroposophical Society. It is a thing of immense significance, and, if I may say so, it is only here that we come to the right shade of feeling. For with all that we can describe by choosing comparisons from the conditions that surround us, we cannot exhaustively characterise what is taking place behind the scenes in spiritual worlds. Whatever thoughts we may select from the earthly conditions that surround us, they are but dim and feeble. Having made all these preparations, we must have recourse to the pure description of things spiritual.
Thus we must say: All that has led the souls together into the Anthroposophical Society, all that has brought them into this community through a sincere and inward impulse of their souls, holds good, needless to say. Yet how does it come about? How are the forces really there, which lead these human beings in our time to find their way together under purely spiritual principles, when in the ordinary world of today they are complete strangers to one another? Where do the forces lie, that lead them together? My dear friends, they lie in this: Through the entry of Michael's dominion in the Michael age in which we live — with the penetration of Michael to earthly rulership, replacing the rulership of Gabriel — Michael himself is bringing the power which is to bring order again into the karma of those who have gone with him. Thus we may say: What is it in the last resort that unites the Members of the Anthroposophical Society? It is that they are to bring order again into their karma. This unites them. And if any one of them notices in the course of his life that he is entering here or there into relationships that do not conform to his inmost impulse, — relationships, perhaps, diverging in one way or another from what we may call the true harmony in man as between good and evil, — if he has this on the one hand, while on the other hand he has constant impulse to press forward in the Anthroposophical life, — the fact is that such a man is striving back again to his real karma. He is striving once more to live and express the real karma. This is the cosmic ray that pours through the Anthroposophical Movement, clearly perceptible to him who knows. It is the restoration of the truth in karma.
In this connection we can understand very much, both of the destiny of individuals in the Anthroposophical Society and of the destiny of the whole Society. For these, of course, merge into one another.
We must also realise the following: For the human beings who are connected with those Beings of the Hierarchy of Angeloi who remained in the kingdom of Michael, it is difficult to find the forms of Intelligence adequate to that which they are now to understand. They are striving to maintain even the personal Intelligence in keeping with the true reverence for Michael. These souls, who as I told you partook in those spiritual preparations in the 15th and 19th centuries, come down to earth, devoted still, with their deepest inner striving, to Michael and to his sphere. And yet, in accordance with the principles of human evolution, they must receive the personal and individual Intelligence. The result is a split, a division which must however be solved by spiritual development. They, in their individual affinity, must come together with what the spiritual worlds are bringing down to them in the present age of Intelligence. Those on the other hand whose Angels fell away (which is of course connected with their karma, for the Angel falls if he is connected with a human karma that is according to this) — they receive their personal Intelligence as a complete matter of course. This means that it works in them automatically, through their bodily nature. It works in such a way that they think, think cleverly, but are not fully and deeply and humanly concerned in what they think. This indeed was the great conflict which lasted so long, between the Dominicans and the Franciscans. The Dominicans could not evolve the principle of personal Intelligence otherwise than in the greatest possible faithfulness to the sphere of Michael. But the Franciscans, the followers of Duns Scotus (not Scotus Erigena) became complete Nominalists. They said: Intelligence in any case is only so many words. All that happened in these discussions and arguments between men was in reality an image of mighty conflicts that took place between the one host of Angeloi and the other.
You see, it is so, that the Beings of the Hierarchy of Angeloi who have now united themselves with the earth-principle, have been living on the earth, in a manner of speaking, since about the 9th or 10th century. This again is the shattering tragedy, my dear friends. Here upon earth, materialism is increasing. The human beings — and above all the most advanced, the cleverest among them — are of such a kind as to deny the Spiritual. They begin to laugh in scorn at the idea that Spiritual Beings should be in their environment no less than physical human beings. During this time in which materialism has been expanding on the earth, more and more Angels are descending and living on the earth. They themselves join in; for it was they who at certain times, when a human consciousness became impaired and dull, incorporated themselves and worked on earth. A large number of Angeloi-Beings refrain and hold themselves aloof; but those who by their karma as Angeloi stand nearest to the Ahrimanic powers, do not hold back; at certain times they incorporate themselves in men; they dive down into human beings.
Then there arises what I described in our last lecture, when I said: Here now is such a man on earth. He has great human talent, human Intelligence, which he expresses, maybe, with genius. But for a certain time when his consciousness is dimmed, an Ahrimanic Angeloi-Intelligence takes up his abode in him. At such a time, this may occur: There is the human being; he seems as though he were an ordinary human being, writing this or that out of his own humanity. (Now Ahriman can approach the human being most easily through the very things which the men of today receive in the forms of Intelligence. One must assert one's personality fully, if one is not to be engulfed today in all those things that I have indicated in the course of the last lectures). Hence it is that Ahriman can appear as an author. He makes use, of course, of an Angelos-Being. He can write like an author. And as we are now united in the sign of our Christmas Foundation Meeting, we will not be silent on these things. Therefore I will now add the following.
A very different attitude was possible to one of the most brilliant authors of recent times, one of the greatest authors — a very different attitude was possible before his last works appeared. When I wrote my book Nietzsche, a Wrestler with his Time, all that had come before the public was Nietzsche the brilliant writer, a man who had carried human faculties to the highest point of eminence. It was only afterwards that one became acquainted with what Nietzsche wrote in the period of his decay. There are above all the two works Anti-Christ and Ecce Homo. These two works were written by Ahriman and not by Nietzsche. It was an Ahrimanic spirit incorporated in Nietzsche. Here it was, for the first time, that Ahriman appeared as an author upon earth. He will continue to do so. Nietzsche broke down over it. He went to pieces. We must understand the true nature of the impulses we are confronting when we stand face to face with the ideas that lived in Nietzsche in the time when he wrote the brilliant but devilish works Anti-Christ and Ecce Homo, — intelligent works indeed. I have spoken of the great and all-embracing Intelligence of Ahriman. For greatness, majesty and brilliance, we do not decry a work in calling it Ahrimanic. Only simpletons could think so, who do not know the greatness there can be in Ahriman. We do not blame when we speak of Ahriman. Very much on earth depends on him. I can truly say that in my soul I bled, when for the first time I read Nietzsche's writing on the ‘Will to Power,’ which was then published in such a way that men could gain no right conception of it. But if at the same time one is able to look into those kingdoms which since the dominion of Michael, since the eighties of last century, were severed by the thinnest of thin walls from the earth-kingdom; if one knows how immediately this kingdom adjoins the physical, so that we may say: ‘It is a kingdom similar to that which man passes through after his death’; if one can gaze into these things and see how great the strivings are in this direction, then too one knows with what impulsive power they are coming to expression in such a thing as the Ecce Homo and the Anti-Christ. We need only consider how Ahrimanic are the remarks that occur in the Anti-Christ. I do not know whether the passage is still in the same form in the more recent editions. There is a passage where he is writing on Jesus. (I am not quoting verbatim). He says: Renan describes Jesus as a genius. Nietzsche does not see him as a genius, for he goes on to say: Speaking with the strict accuracy of a psychologist we should use a very different word. ... In my edition of Nietzsche's works there are three dots at this point. I do not know whether it is so in the newer editions too, but in the manuscript there stands at this point the word ‘idiot,’ written in full. That Jesus is described as an ‘idiot,’ this is the hand of Ahriman. And many other things of this kind stand written there. We must remember that at the very time when he was writing these things, there were tendencies in Nietzsche's soul towards Catholicism. We must not forget that these things went parallel with one another. Who, knowing this, could fail to think that a deep riddle lies hidden there? And what are the concluding words of the Anti-Christ? They are somewhat as follows, though again I am not quoting verbatim: ‘I would like to write it on every wall and I have the materials to write it in radiant letters shining far and wide; I would fain write what Christianity is. It is the greatest curse of mankind.’ — Thus ends the book. Surely here lies a problem. We must see indeed, how that kingdom which was separated by a thin wall only from our own, and where all the spiritual battles took place towards the end and a little beyond the end of Kali Yuga — we must see how that kingdom is striving to penetrate into the physical domain of earth.
To these things we must look if we would understand what can be the position of mankind today, towards the things that must emerge in civilisation through the dawn of the age of Michael. At the transition of the Kali Yuga — the transition from the dark to the light age — one did indeed have to see things clearly, graphically, in the spiritual and in the physical together, if one would describe (as I did in the Introduction to my Mysticism at the Dawn of the Modern Spiritual Life) the necessary feeling at that time towards the Spiritual and the Material. From all directions one would like to gather the means of expression to describe the mighty transition that takes place at the dawn of the Michael age. And with all that the Anthroposophical Movement is, we must feel ourselves within these things. For all these mighty, overwhelming facts express themselves to begin with in the human karma which has now come into disorder. We must think of the great and universal truth that lies inherent in the karmic relationships. Yet the world today is such that even into these general karmic laws and relationships, exceptions could enter through the course of many centuries. And now the requirement is to bring these cosmic exceptions back into their true course. If we think of these things — for this is the task, the mission of the Anthroposophical Movement, — we shall feel something of the great and far-reaching significance of this Movement.
This, my dear friends, shall now rest in your souls. You must say to yourselves: Those who out of these great decisions feel in themselves the impulse to come to the anthroposophical life today, will be called again at the end of the 20th century, when at the culminating point the greatest possible expansion of the Anthroposophical Movement will be attained. But it will only happen if these things can really live in us, — if there can live in us the perception of what penetrates cosmically, spiritually, into the earthly physical domain. It will only be so if there penetrates even into the earthly Intelligence, into the perceptions of men, the knowledge of the significance of Michael.
This impulse must be the very soul of our anthroposophical striving. The soul itself must have the will to stand fully in the midst of the Anthroposophical Movement. Thus we shall find it possible, my dear friends, for a certain time to come, to carry in our souls thoughts of a great and far-reaching nature. But we shall not only preserve them, we shall make them living in our souls. And through these thoughts our souls will grow and develop anthroposophically, so that the soul will become what it was intended to become through its own unconscious impulse to come to Anthroposophy. I say again: So that the soul may be taken hold of by the mission of Anthroposophy. I have spoken these earnest words to you in this last hour, so that you may let them work in you quietly and in silence for a time: that the soul shall really be taken hold of by the mission of Anthroposophy. We shall continue these lessons when we come together again, — that will be in the first days of September. For the intervening time I would like to have laid on all your hearts what I have had to say this evening in connection with the karma of individual anthroposophists and of the Anthroposophical Society.