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The Rudolf Steiner Archive

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The Fall of the Spirits of Darkness
GA 177

Above all else, the spirits of darkness wanted to prevent spiritual experiences, living experience of the spirit, from coming down into human souls, which was bound to come about gradually after their fall in 1879. ... Spirituality will come to human beings because Michael won his victory in 1879. ... On the other hand, the spirits of darkness are now here among us.” — from Lecture 13

Since 1879 and into the following centuries, human minds will be influenced by backward angels — the spirits of darkness — who were forced out of "the heavens" and made their abode on earth following their defeat after a 40-year battle with the hosts of the Archangel Michael. Human beings must realize the truth of these things, not only to counter such influences within themselves, but to realize that spiritual causes lie behind major earthly happenings. From this realization, true human development can proceed, leading to the creation of social orders, schools, etc, based on real insight.

At the end of 1917, after four years of war in Europe, Rudolf Steiner spoke out in these 14 lectures on the spiritual impulses behind the Great War, behind humanity's attempts to build theoretically perfect social orders, and behind the many divisions and disruptions that would continue to occur on earth. Humanity in general was asleep to the fact that fallen spirits, cast out of the spiritual worlds, were now intensely active on earth, particularly in people's thinking and in the way they perceived the world around them. But the defeat had also ensured that a science of the spirit would always be available to humanity.

I. The Driving Forces Behind Europe's War September 29, 1917
True insight into the underlying causes of the Great War show that they are spiritual in origin — this must be understood and acted upon or the chaos would continue.
II. Humanity's Struggle for Morality September 30, 1917
Humanity labours under illusions based in the past — true insight requires a morality which is difficult to achieve but which must become part of human life.
III. The Search for a Perfect World October 1, 1917
Efforts to create a perfect society based on non-spiritual impulses cannot succeed — yet a true spiritual-scientific viewpoint will not find easy acceptance.
IV. The Elemental Spirits of Birth and Death October 6, 1917
Humanity must accept that destructive spiritual beings — who previously held a rightful place — have entered into everyday life, bringing disruption and division.
V. Changes in Humanity's Spiritual Make-up October 7, 1917
The evolution of humanity means a gradual inner separation of the spiritual and physical, something that must be comprehended clearly and incisively.
VI. The New Spirituality October 8, 1917
Fruitful political ideas will arise if the previously separated realms of human thought and true spiritual impulses are bridged.
VII. Working from Spiritual Reality October 12, 1917
Thinking, and subsequent action, must be based on actual even-day reality and not on abstract intellectual theory.
VIII. Abstraction and Reality October 13, 1917
Concepts based on reality hold within them the active inner life which is also present in everyday outer life.
IX. The Battle between Michael and ‘The Dragon’ October 14, 1917
Ahrimanic beings — defeated by the Michaelic hosts — now influence human beings, especially through materialistic thinking.
X. The Influence of the Backward Angels October 20, 1917
The backward angels make themselves at home in human heads but can find no place in heads filled with true spiritual wisdom.
XI. Recognizing the Inner Human Being October 21, 1917
People's inner soul life and their connection with the Cosmos must be taken into consideration by future scientists, educators and others.
XII. The Spirits of Light and the Spirits of Darkness October 26, 1917
Until 1879 the Spirits of Light promoted hereditary blood bonds and the Spirits of Darkness the urge for independence — then this was reversed.
XIII. The Fallen Spirits' Influence in the World October 27, 1917
The fallen spirits now work on earth, but their defeat in ‘the heavens’ meant a science of the spirit became available to humanity.
XIV. Into the Future October 28, 1917
If humanity becomes fully conscious of spiritual realities — especially the influence of the Spirits of Darkness — then right attitudes and activities will manifest.