Karmic Relationships III
7. The New Age of Michael
28 July 1924, Dornach
We have traced the events in the physical and super-physical worlds which underlie what is now striving to make itself known to the world in Anthroposophy. We know, my dear friends, that in the last few decades two very important incisions have occurred, — -important for the whole evolution of mankind. There is the one to which I have so often drawn attention, I mean the end of the so-called Dark Age at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. An age of light has now begun as against the preceding age of darkness. We know that the age of darkness led eventually to that condition of the human soul which closed the spiritual eyes of man completely to the super-sensible world. We know that in ancient times of human evolution it was a common condition of mankind to see into the spiritual world, albeit in a dream-like and more or less instinctive way. To doubt the reality of the spiritual world was utterly impossible in olden times of human evolution. But if that old condition had continued — if mankind had lived on in that instinctive vision of the spiritual world — there would never have arisen in human evolution what we may call the Intelligence of the individual human being, the manipulation of the intellect or reasoning faculty by the individual, personal man. And this, as we know, is connected with that which leads the human being to freedom of will. The one is unthinkable without the other. Thus in that dim, instinctive condition which once belonged to mankind, wherein they experienced the ever-present spiritual world, man could not attain to freedom, nor could he attain to that independent Thinking which we may call: the use of Intelligence by the single human individual.
The time had to come for these two things: The free and personal use of Intelligence, and the freedom of the human Will. Hence for human consciousness the original, instinctive vision that penetrated to the spiritual world had to disappear. All this has now been accomplished. Though it is not quite clear to every single man, yet it has been accomplished for mankind in general. With the close of the 19th century, the dark age — the age that darkened the spiritual world, yet at the same time opened up the use of Intelligence and of Free Will to man — had run its course. We are now entering upon an age when man must once again be touched — in the ways that are possible — touched by the spiritual world in its reality.
True, we cannot say that this age has begun in a very light-filled way. It is as though the first decades of the 20th century had brought over humanity all the evil that mankind has ever experienced in the course of history. And yet in spite of this, the possibility has come into the general course of human evolution, to reach the light of spiritual life. It is only by a kind of inertia that men have persisted in the habits of the age of darkness. They have carried these habits on into the 20th century; and just because the light can now arise, illumining the truth, these habits of the age of darkness have come forth in a far more evil form than was possible in the Kali-Yuga when they were justified.
Now we also know that this direction of all humanity towards a new age of light was prepared for through the fact that at the end of the 1870's the Age of Michael began. Let us place again before our souls what it means to say that the Age of Michael began with the last third of the 19th century.
We know that as we are surrounded here by the three kingdoms of outer Nature, the mineral, plant and animal kingdoms in the physical world of sense, so we are surrounded in the spiritual world by the higher kingdoms of which we have spoken in so many connections as the kingdoms of the Hierarchies. Even as we descend into the kingdoms of Nature, beginning with man and coming down to the animal kingdom, so, as we ascend to the super-sensible, we come to the kingdom of the Angeloi. The Angels have the task of guiding and protecting the individual human being as he passes from earthly life to earthly life. Thus the tasks that fall to the spiritual world in relation to the individual human being, are allotted to the Beings of the kingdom of Angeloi.
We then go on up to the kingdom of Archangeloi, who have the most varied tasks. Now it is one of their tasks to guide and direct the fundamental tendencies of successive ages in relation to man.
Thus for about three centuries before the end of the eighteen-seventies, there was what we may call the dominion of Gabriel. For one who studies the evolution of humanity, not on the surface as is customary today, but in the depths, this dominion of Gabriel is expressed in the fact that the deepest and most important impulses in the process of humanity during that time were implanted in those forces which we may call the forces of heredity. Never were the forces of physical inheritance that work through the generations so important as in the three centuries preceding the last third of the 19th century.
Let us see, my dear friends, how this expresses itself. We know that in the 19th century the problem of heredity became the most pressing and important in the consciousness of men. Man felt how his qualities of soul and spirit are dependent on heredity. It was as though at the last moment he came to feel what had been holding sway in human evolution as a real Law of Nature in the 16th, 17th, and 18th, and in a great part of the 19th century.
During that time it was so indeed: man carried even into his spiritual development the qualities he had inherited from his parents and ancestors. During that time those qualities became especially important which are connected with physical reproduction. Again we find an outward sign of this fact in the great interest which was felt at the end of the 19th century in the question of reproduction and indeed in all sexual questions. In the centuries to which I have just referred, the most important spiritual impulses had approached humanity in this way, they had sought for realisation through physical inheritance.
Now the age in which Michael leads and guides humanity will stand in complete contrast to all this. I mean, therefore, the age that began at the end of the seventies of the last century, — the age in which we are, and the impulses of which are interwoven with what we are also learning to know as the new Age of Light beginning in the 20th century. For the streams of these two impulses work together.
Today we will dwell upon this question: What is the characteristic feature of an Age of Michael? I say, of an Age of Michael. For the spiritual guidance and leadership to which I have just referred is as follows. It is always so: one of the Beings of the kingdom of Archangeloi has the spiritual leadership in human evolution for about three centuries, in that region where civilisation is predominantly taking place.
Gabriel, as I said, had the leadership in the 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. His place is now taken by Michael. There are seven of these Archangels who lead humanity, and thus the several guidances of the Archangeloi recur in cyclic order. We today, who live in an Age of Michael, have every reason to call to mind the last Age of Michael which happened in the spiritual guidance of mankind.
The last Age of Michael preceded the founding of Christianity, preceded the Mystery of Golgotha. It came to an end in ancient times approximately with the deeds of Alexander and with the founding of the philosophy of Aristotle.
If we follow out all that took place in ancient Greece and the surrounding countries for about three hundred years before the time of Alexander the Great and Aristotle, we find ourselves once more in an Age of Michael. An Age of Michael is characterised by many different conditions, but especially by this, that in such an age the most spiritual interests of humanity (according to the particular disposition of the time) become predominant. In such an age especially, a cosmopolitan, international character will permeate the world. National distinctions cease.
Now it was above all in the Age of Gabriel that the national impulses within European civilisation, with its American appendage, became so firmly rooted. In our Age of Michael, in the course of the next three centuries, these national impulses will be completely overcome. This is the case in every Age of Michael: a common feature runs through all humanity — something of an all-human character, as against the special interests of single groups or nations.
In the last age of Michael's dominion on the earth, before the Mystery of Golgotha, it found the following expression. Out of the conditions that had taken shape in ancient Greece there arose that mighty historic tendency which led eventually to the campaigns of Alexander. In the campaigns of Alexander, Grecian culture and civilisation was carried, with extraordinary genius, right into Asia and Africa, and spread through many nations and peoples who until then had adhered to quite different things. This stupendous deed found its culmination in what was then founded in Alexandria. It was a great cosmopolitan movement, seeking to give to the whole of the then civilised world the spiritual forces that had gathered on the soil of ancient Greece. Such are the things that happen under the impulse of Michael, and that happened then too under his impulse.
Now those who took part in these earthly deeds, done in the service of Michael, were no longer upon the earth during the time of the Mystery of Golgotha. All the beings who belonged to the realm of Michael — no matter whether they were disembodied human souls, transplanted by death into the spiritual world when the Michael Age had run its course, or whether they were souls who never incarnated upon the earth — they all were united in a common life within the super-sensible world, in the time when upon the earth the Mystery of Golgotha was taking place.
We must make fully present to our heart and mind the facts that lie before us here. If we choose the aspect of the earth, my dear friends, if this earth is our standpoint, then we say: Humanity on the earth reaches a certain point in earthly evolution. Christ, the lofty Spirit of the Sun, is arriving on the earth, incarnating in the human being Jesus of Nazareth. Those who dwell on the earth experience the fact that Christ, the great Spirit of the Sun, arrives among them. But they have little knowledge that could really cause them to understand the greatness of the stupendous and unique event.
All the more knowledge have those disembodied souls who are gathered around Michael and who are living in the realm of the Sun-existence in worlds above the earth. All the more do they know how to value what is taking place, as they witness it from their different aspect. These souls witnessed what was then taking place for the World, from the Sun. Christ who had hitherto worked within the realm of the Sun, who had only been attainable in the Mysteries when they ascended to the Sun-existence — Christ now departed from the Sun to unite Himself with earthly humanity upon the earth. This was what they witnessed.
It was a mighty and awe-inspiring event, above all for those who belonged to the communion of Michael. For, those who belong to the communion of Michael have a peculiar connection with all that represents the cosmic destinies proceeding from the Sun. They had to take their leave of Christ, who until then had had His dwelling-place in the Sun and was thenceforth to take His place on the earth. This is the other aspect.
But there was another thing connected with it, which we can only rightly understand if we take the following into account. To think — to live in thoughts that spring forth from within — as we do today, was impossible for the men of ancient times. They might be wise, indeed infinitely wiser than modern humanity, but they were not ‘clever’ in the sense of cleverness today. Today we call a man clever who is able to produce thoughts out of himself, who is able to think logically — to bring one thought into connection with another, and so forth. In olden times there was no such thing — no such thing as Thoughts independently produced. The Thoughts were sent down to the earth at one and the same time with the Revelations that came to man from the spiritual world. Man did not think and ponder, but he received the spiritual content by Revelation, and he received it in such a way that the Thoughts came with it. Today we think and ponder about things. In those ancient times the impressions which the souls received brought the Thoughts with them. The Thoughts were inspired, not self-made Thoughts. Now he who ordered the Cosmic Intelligence which thus came to man along with the spiritual Revelations — he who ordered this Cosmic Intelligence, who had, so to speak, dominion over it, — is the same spiritual Being whom we, when we make use of our Christian terminology, call the Archangel Michael. He had to administer the Cosmic Intelligence in the cosmos.
We must make clear to ourselves what this really means. It is a fact that such human beings as Alexander the Great, though in a somewhat different context of ideas, had a distinct consciousness of the fact that their thoughts came to them by way of Michael. True, the spiritual Being whom we mean, was called by a different name. We are making use of the Christian terminology, but it is not the terminology that matters. Such a man as Alexander the Great regarded himself as none other than a Missionary of Michael, an instrument of Michael. He could think in no other way than this: Michael is acting on the earth, and I am the instrument through which he acts. Such was the conception, and this gave him the strength of will in deed and action. Nor did a thinker in that time think differently than thus, that Michael was working in him and giving him the thoughts.
Now this too was connected with the descent of Christ to the earth: Michael and his hosts witnessed not only the departure of Christ from the Sun, but above all they saw how Michael himself was gradually losing his dominion over the Cosmic Intelligence. Quite distinctly they saw from the Sun that revelations would no longer come to men from the spiritual world with the content of Intelligence. They saw that the time must come when man himself must reach his own intelligence on the earth. It was a significant and incisive event to see the Intelligence pouring down, as it were, to the earth. By and by, I if may use this expression, the Intelligence was no longer to be found in the heavens; it was let down to earth.
This was fulfilled especially in the first Christian centuries. In the earliest Christian centuries we still see those human beings who were capable of it, having at least a few glimpses of what was flowing to them with the content of Intelligence as revelations from beyond the earth. This went on even into the 8th or 9th century A.D. Then came the great moment of decision. It came in such a way that Michael and those who belonged to him, no matter whether incarnate or discarnate, must say to themselves: “Men upon earth are beginning to become intelligent themselves — beginning to bring forth their own power of understanding from within them. The Cosmic Intelligence can no longer be administered by Michael.” Michael felt that the dominion over the Cosmic Intelligence was passing from him — falling from his grasp. While down below — looking down on to the earth — they saw this new age of Intelligence, beginning from the 8th or 9th century onwards. Men were beginning to form their own thoughts for themselves.
I have already described, my dear friends, how in certain special Schools — for instance in the great School of Chartres, — they handed down the traditions of what had once been revealed to men, steeped in the Cosmic Intelligence. I described to you how much was achieved in the School of Chartres, especially in the 12th century; and I tried to indicate how the administration of Intelligence on the earth literally passed over to individual members especially of the Dominican Order. We need only look into the works that arose out of Christian Scholasticism — that wonderful spiritual stream which is so entirely misunderstood today, by its supporters no less than by its opponents, because they do not observe its really important feature. We need only look into these Scholastic works and see how they wrestled to understand what is the real and deep significance of Concepts — of the content of Intelligence — for mankind and for the things of the world. The great conflict between Nominalism and Realism was developed especially in the Dominican Order. The ‘Nominalist’ sees no more than names in general concepts. The ‘Realist’ sees in them real spiritual content, made manifest in the things of the world. The whole of Scholasticism is a wrestling of mankind for a clear understanding of the Intelligence that is pouring in. No wonder that the main interest of those around Michael was directed above all to what was unfolding upon the earth in this Christian Scholasticism. In all that St. Thomas Aquinas and his pupils, and many other Schoolmen, were bringing forth, we see the earthly stamp and impress of the Michael stream of that time — the Michael stream, the administration of Intelligence, of the light-filled Spiritual Intelligence.
And now the Intelligence was here on earth. Now man had to strive for clarity as to its meaning. Looking down from the spiritual world, on to the earth, one could see how that which had belonged to the realm of Michael was now unfolding down below, outside of his dominion, for it was unfolding in the beginning of the dominion of Gabriel.
The Wisdom of Initiation — the Rosicrucian wisdom which was going forth at that time — consisted in this, that one had a certain clarity of understanding for these facts.
Especially in that time of history it is important to see how the earthly and the super-sensible are connected. Outwardly the earthly life looks as though it had been loosened, cut off from the super-sensible, — and yet it is connected. You can see how it is connected from what I described in our last lectures.
The super-sensible facts that here follow, can only be described in pictures, in Imaginations. They cannot be put into abstract concepts. They must be livingly described. Therefore I must now describe what happened in the beginning of the age when the Spiritual Soul, and with it the Intelligence, enters in and becomes a part of humanity.
Several centuries had passed since Michael, in the 9th century A.D., had seen arriving on the earth what had hitherto been the Cosmic Intelligence. He now witnessed its further course on earth. He saw it flowing onward now on earth, especially in Scholasticism. This was below. He on the other hand gathered around him those who belonged to his realm in the domain of the Sun. He gathered them all — human souls who happened to be in the life between death and a new birth, and those, also belonging to his realm, who in their own evolution never enter into human bodies yet have a certain connection with mankind. You may imagine, those human souls especially were there, whom I have mentioned as the great teachers of Chartres. Among the greatest who at that time, at the beginning of the 15th century, were in the hosts of Michael and had their deeds to do in the spiritual world, — among the greatest of them was Alanus ab Insulis. But all the others too were there, those whom I have named as belonging to the School of Chartres. United with them were the others who by now had returned to the life between death and a new birth, who had come back again from the Order of the Dominicans. Souls, therefore, belonging to the Platonic stream were intimately united with souls who belonged to the Aristotelian times. All these had experienced and undergone the several impulses of Michael. Many of them lived in such a way as to have witnessed the Mystery of Golgotha, not from the earthly aspect, but from the aspect of the Sun. And at that time, at the beginning of the 15th century, their situations in the spiritual world were fraught with peculiar significance.
Then there arose under the leadership of Michael something which we may call, as we must use earthly expressions, a super-sensible School. What had once been the Michael Mystery — what had been told to the Initiates in the ancient Mysteries of Michael, and must now become different, since the Intelligence had found its way from the cosmos to the earth — all this Michael himself now gathered up, expressing it again with untold significance to those whom he had gathered around him in this School of Michael. For it was a super-sensible School of Michael at the beginning of the 15th century. All that once lived as the Michael Mystery in the Sun Mysteries now became alive again in super-sensible worlds. It was a wonderful summing-up of the Platonism that had been continued in the Aristotelian manner, and of all that Alexander the Great had carried into Asia and down into Egypt. It was expounded how the ancient spirituality still lived in this. In this super-sensible School all the souls took part who had ever been connected with the stream of which I have now been speaking to you in many lectures. I mean the souls who are now predestined to belong to the Anthroposophical Movement, — whose karma, as it takes shape, leads them to the Anthroposophical Movement. For all that was taught in that School was taught from this point of view, that in the evolution of humanity below, the Michael principle must thenceforth be developed in a different way, namely through the Intelligence of the human soul itself.
It was pointed out how at the end of the 19th century (in the last third of this century) Michael himself would once again assume dominion upon the earth. Throughout the intervening time since the age of Alexander, the six other Archangels would have fulfilled their several dominions. Now a new Michael Age would begin. But this new Michael Age must be different from the others. For the other Ages of Michael were such that the Cosmic Intelligence had always expressed itself in the common sphere of humanity. But now, — thus said Michael in super-sensible worlds to his pupils, — now in the new Michael Age something quite different would be required. For what Michael had administered for men through many aeons, pouring it into earthly existence in living inspirations, this had now fallen away from him. But he was to find it again when at the end of the seventies of the 19th century he would begin his new earthly rule. He would find it again at a time when, to begin with, an Intelligence bereft of spirituality had taken root among men. And he would find it in a peculiar condition, — most intensely exposed to the Ahrimanic forces. For in the very time when the Intelligence was descending from the cosmos to the earth, the aspirations of the Ahrimanic powers grew ever greater, striving to wrest the Cosmic Intelligence from Michael as soon as it became earthly Intelligence, striving to make it dominant on earth alone, free of Michael.
Such was the crisis from the beginning of the 15th century until our day — the crisis in the midst of which we are, which expresses itself as the battle of Ahriman and Michael. For Ahriman is using all his power to challenge Michael's dominion over the Intelligence that has now become earthly. And Michael, with all the impulses that are his, though his dominion over the Intelligence has fallen from him, is striving to take hold of it again on earth at the beginning of his new earthly rule, from the year 1879 onwards. Human evolution stood at this decisive point in the last third of the 19th century. The Intelligence, formerly cosmic, had become earthly, and there was Ahriman, wanting to make it altogether earthly. He wants to make it continue in the way that began during the age of Gabriel, making it earthly, making it an affair only of the human communities of blood — an affair of the generations, the forces of reproduction and inheritance. All this Ahriman desires.
Michael came down towards the earth. He could alone desire to find again, on earth, what had had to take its own course in the intervening time in order that man might attain Intelligence and Freedom. He could alone desire to find it again in such a way that he might take hold of it on earth and become, within the earth once more, Lord of the Intelligence that is now working within mankind. Ahriman versus Michael: Michael finding himself obliged to defend against Ahriman what he had ruled through the aeons of time for the benefit of humankind. Mankind stands in the midst of this battle; and among other things, to be an anthroposophist is to understand this battle to a certain extent at least. It shows itself everywhere; in its true form it is there behind the scenes of the historical events, but it shows itself even in the facts that lie manifest before us.
My dear friends, those who were in that super-sensible School of Michael partook in the teachings which I have outlined so very briefly. The teachings they heard were a repetition of what had been taught in the Sun Mysteries since ancient time. They were already a prophecy of what was to be achieved when the new Age of Michael began. They were an inspired call, a solemn challenge to those who are gathered around Michael, to hurl themselves into his stream and take hold of his true impulse, to the end that Intelligence may once again be united to the being of Michael.
While these wonderful teachings were going forth to the souls in that super-sensible School directed by Michael himself, the same souls were taking part in an awe-inspiring event that could only appear within the evolution of our cosmos after long, long epochs of time. We on the earth, when we speak of the Divine, look up to the super-sensible world. When we are in the life between death and a new birth, as I have indicated once before, we really look down on to the earth, albeit not the physical earth. As we look down on to the earth, great and mighty, divine-spiritual workings reveal themselves to us. Now at the time (at the beginning of the 15th century) when that School began, of which I said that many souls within the realm of Michael took part in it, at that very time one could witness something that is repeated in cosmic evolution after only long, long centuries. As one looked down to the earth, one witnessed, as it were how Seraphim, Cherubim and Thrones — the members of the highest Hierarchies — were accomplishing a mighty deed. It was in the first third of the 15th century, in the time when behind the scenes of modern history the Rosicrucian School was founded. Ordinarily when one looks down to the earthly realm from the life between death and a new birth, one sees the deeds of the Seraphim, Cherubim and Thrones taking place in a uniform and steady way. One sees the Seraphim, Cherubim and Thrones carrying the Spiritual from the realm of the Exusiai, Dynamis and Kyriotetes down into the Physical, and by their power implanting the Spiritual into the Physical. But, ever and again after long epochs of time, one witnesses an awe-inspiring departure from what is thus seen in the ordinary course of being. It was in the Atlantean time that such a thing had last shown itself, as seen from the aspect of the Supersensible. What is taking place at such a moment in humanity shows itself thus: — As one looks down from the spiritual world, one sees the earth in all its realms flashed through by lightning flashes; one hears a mighty, rolling thunder. It was one of the cosmic thunderstorms that take their course while human beings upon earth are as though wrapt in sleep. But it revealed itself mightily to the spirits around Michael.
Behind all that took place historically in the soul of man at the beginning of the 15th century, there stands a tremendous process which revealed itself to the pupils of Michael at the very time when they were receiving their teachings in the super-sensible. In Atlantean time, when the Cosmic Intelligence, while remaining cosmic, had taken possession of the hearts of men, such an event had taken place; and now for the present earthly realm it once again broke forth in spiritual lightning and thunder. Yes, it was so indeed. In the age when men were conscious of the earthly historic convulsions only, — when the Rosicrucians were going forth, when all manner of remarkable events were happening of which you can read in external history, — in that age the earth appeared, to the spirits in the super-sensible worlds, surrounded by mighty lightnings and thunderclaps. The Seraphim, Cherubim and Thrones were carrying over the Cosmic Intelligence into that member of man's organisation which we call the system of nerves and senses, the head-organization. Once again a great event had taken place, It does not show itself distinctly as yet, it will only do so in the course of hundreds or thousands of years; but it means, my dear friends, that man is being utterly transformed. Formerly he was a heart-man; then he became a head-man. The Intelligence becomes his own. Seen from the super-sensible, all this is of immense significance. All the power and strength that lies in the domain of the first Hierarchy, in the domain of the Seraphim and Cherubim who reveal their strength and power through the fact that they not only administer the Spiritual within the Spiritual, like the Dynamis, Exusiai and Kyriotetes, but carry the Spiritual into the Physical, making it a creator of the Physical, — all this their power the Seraphim, Cherubim and Thrones now had to apply in accomplishing a deed such as takes place, as I said, only after many aeons. And one might say: What Michael taught to his own during that time was heralded in the earthly worlds beneath with thunder and lightning. This should be understood, my dear friends, for these thunders and lightnings must become enthusiasm in the hearts and minds of anthroposophists. And whoever really has the impulse towards Anthroposophy — (though it be unconsciously as yet, for men do not know it yet, but they will learn it in good time) — whoever has this impulse within him, still bears in his soul the echoes, the after-echoes of the fact that in the circle of Michael he received yonder heavenly Anthroposophy. For the heavenly Anthroposophy went before the earthly. The teachings given at that time were to prepare for what is now to become Anthroposophy on the earth.
Thus we have a double super-sensible preparation for what is to become Anthroposophy on the earth. We have the preparation in the great super-sensible School from the 15th century onward, and then we have what I have described as an Imaginative cult or ritual (Cultus) that took shape in the super-sensible at the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th century, when all that the Michael pupils had learned in the super-sensible School before, was cast into mighty pictures and Imaginations. Thus were the souls prepared, who afterwards descended into the physical world, being destined through all these preparations to feel the inner impulse to seek for what would work as Anthroposophy on earth.
Think of them all! The great teachers of Chartres took part. They, as you know from my last descriptions, have not yet come down again, but they sent out before them those who worked above all in the Dominican Order, having held a kind of conference with them at the turn of the 12th and 13th centuries. All these souls afterwards came together again — those who with fiery lips had declared ancient and sacred teachings in the School of Chartres, and those again who had wrestled in the cold and clear, but heart-devoted works of Scholasticism, to master the true meaning of Intelligence. All these were among the hosts of Michael, learning the lessons of the School which I have indicated.
We have this School of Michael, and we have the great Imaginative ritual at the beginning of the 19th century, of the effects of which I have also spoken. Then we have the significant fact that at the end of the eighteen-seventies the dominion of Michael began again. Michael prepares once more to receive, down here on earth, the Intelligence that fell away from him in the intervening time. Intelligence must become Michael-like again. We must understand the sense of the new Age of Michael. Those who come today with the inner urge to a spirituality that already shows such Intelligence within it, as in the Anthroposophical Movement, are souls who are already here at this day according to their karma, to pay heed to what is taking place on earth in the beginning of the Age of Michael. But they are connected with all those who have not yet come down again. They are connected above all with those of the Platonic stream who still remain above, in super-sensible existence, under the leadership of Bernardus Silvestris, Alanus ab Insulis and the others.
Those who are able to receive Anthroposophy today with true and deep devotion in their hearts — those who are able to unite themselves with Anthroposophy — have within them the impulse, as a result of all they experienced in the super-sensible at the beginning of the 15th century and at the beginning of the 19th century, to appear again on earth at the end of the 20th century together with the others who have not yet returned. By that time anthroposophical spirituality will have prepared for what must then be realised, through the community of them all, namely, for the fuller revelation of all that has been supersensibly prepared through the different streams that I have named.
My dear friends, the anthroposophist should receive these things into his consciousness. He should understand that he is called to prepare already now that spirituality which must expand ever more and more, till the culmination is reached at the end of the 20th century, when true anthroposophists will be able to be here again, united with the others. Conscious the true anthroposophist must be that the need today is to look with active participation and to co-operate in the battle between Ahriman and Michael. Only when a spirituality, such as is seeking to flow through the Anthroposophical Movement on earth, unites with other spiritual streams, will Michael find the impulses which will unite him once more with the Intelligence that has grown earthly but that in truth belongs to him.
It will yet be my task to show you by what refined and clever means Ahriman is seeking to hinder this, so that you will see how sharp is the conflict that rages in our 20th century. Through all these things we can become aware of the earnestness of the time and of the courage that is needed if we are to take our right place in these spiritual streams. Yet at the same time the man who truly receives these things may say to himself: “Thou human soul, if only thou understand, mayest be called to help in making sure the dominion of Michael.” Then there can arise in the human soul an inner joy of devotion, a song of gladness that it is given to him to be so filled with strength. But this feeling of strong courage and courageous strength must first be found. For it stands written above us in spiritual letters: “Be conscious that you will have to return before the end and at the end of the 20th century, which you yourselves have prepared. Be conscious how it will then be able to take shape, even as you prepared it.”
To know oneself in the very midst of this battle, this decisive conflict between Michael and Ahriman, is one thing, my dear friends, that lies inherent in true anthroposophical enthusiasm and inspiration.