114. Michael constantly strives to embody human-cosmic evolution by being a freely active example of the divine essence and the revelatory relation to the cosmos retained by humanity from ancient times in order that what the mere image, the form of what the divine says about nature may flow into a higher, spiritual consideration of nature.
Although this will certainly be present in man, it will nevertheless be a reminiscence of the divine relation to the cosmos during the first two stages of cosmic evolution. In this way anthroposophy affirms the view of nature corresponding to the Consciousness-Soul
age; it also completes it however, with what the eye of the spirit reveals.
By absorbing Michael’s nature and deeds with deep feeling and inner vision, one will have a correct understanding of how to grasp a world which is neither of a divine nature nor of revelation nor of effectiveness, but is the handiwork of the gods. To see into this world knowledgably means to have forms, formations before us which everywhere speak aloud of the divine; in which, however, if one does not succumb to illusion, no living divine being will be found. And it is not sufficient to merely consider knowledge of the world. This reveals most clearly the world’s configuration which today surrounds man. But more important for daily life is feeling, willing, working in a world which, although seemingly divine in its formation, cannot be experienced as divinely enlivened. In order to bring true moral life into this world, the ethical impulses which I described in “The Philosophy of Freedom” are necessary.
In this handiwork-world, Michael’s Being and contemporary deeds can be illuminating for truly feeling people. Michael does not come into the physical world phenomenally. He and all his activity remain within a supersensible region which, however, borders on the physical world of the present phase of evolution. Therefore the possibility can never arise that the impressions that people receive through Michael’s essence cause their vision of nature to become fantastic, or that they will want to practice ethics in a god-formed but not god-enlivened world as though impulses could exist which must not be ethically-spiritually sustained by people themselves. Man will always have to approach Michael, whether by thought or volition, when moving to the spirit.
We will therefore live spiritually in the following way. One will accept cognition and life as they must be accepted since the fifteenth century. But one will hold to the Michael-revelation, allowing it to burn brightly in thoughts that one receives from nature, carrying them as warmth in the heart when living in a world made possible by divine handiwork. One will then not only observe and experience the contemporary world, but also what Michael imparts – a past stage of the world, a stage which Michael carries into the present by his being and his deeds.
If it were otherwise and Michael brought his deeds into a world which man must recognize and experience as physical, then we would see in the world not what is in it, but what was. If this were to happen, then this illusory understanding of the world would deflect the reality which is appropriate for the soul to another, namely to a luciferic one.
The way in which Michael brings the past to effectiveness in the present life of humanity is coherent with the correct spiritual progress of the world which contains no luciferic elements. It is important to realize that in Michael’s mission all luciferic elements will be avoided.
To realize this about the dawning Michael-Light in human history also means being able to find the correct path to Christ.
Michael will give the correct orientation in respect to the world which surrounds man in order for him to know and act in it. He will have to find the way to Christ within himself.
It is completely understandable that in a time in which natural science has taken on the form which the past five hundred years have given it, that knowledge of the supersensible world has become what is currently experienced by humanity.
Nature must be known and experienced as devoid of gods. Thereby man no longer experiences himself in his relation to a self-shaped world of this kind. Inasmuch as man is a supersensible being his relationship to nature, which is appropriate to the times, tells him nothing about his own being, nor can he live ethically in accordance with his humanity.
As a result, this knowledge and way of life is induced to regard the supersensible human being or even the supersensible world itself as meaningless. This domain becomes separated from what is accessible to human knowledge. The separate domain of revelation by faith is ordained in contrast to what is knowable.
The purely spiritual activity of Christ, however, is in contrast to this. Since the Mystery of Golgotha Christ is accessible to the human soul. And its relation to him need not remain an undefined, dimly felt mystical one; it can be completely concrete, humanly profound and clearly experienced.
Through living together with Christ, what the human soul should know about its own supersensible being flows into it. The revelations of faith must then be felt so that they continuously flow into the Christ experience. Thereby life will be penetrated with Christ, so that in Christ the being is found through whom man’s soul is made aware of its own supersensible nature.
Thus the Michael experience and the Christ experience will be simultaneous. Through Michael man will be able to correctly find the way to the supersensible in respect to exterior nature. Without falsifying it, he will view nature together with a spiritual view of the world and man, inasmuch as he is a cosmic being.
By means of the correct attitude towards Christ and active contact with Him, man will experience what he otherwise could only receive through the traditional revelation by faith. The inner world of the soul’s experiences will be illumined by the spirit, as the outer world of nature is supported by the spirit.
Were man to wish to obtain information about his own supersensible nature without living together with Christ, it would lead him out of his own reality and into that of Ahriman. Christ carries within him the impulse of the future of humanity in a valid manner. To unite with Him signifies validly receiving the seeds of the future into the human soul. Other beings, who are already showing forms which will only be cosmically valid for humanity in the future, belong to the Ahrimanic spheres. To bond with Christ in the correct way also means to protect oneself from the Ahrimanic in the correct way.
Those who strictly demand the protection of revelation by faith against the influence of human knowledge unconsciously fear that man could thus be subjected to Ahrimanic influences. This must be understood. But it should also be understood that it is to the honor and true recognition of Christ when the grace-filled flow of the spirit into the human soul is attributed to the experiencing of Christ.
Thus in the future the Michael-experience and the Christ-experience can stand side by side. And man will find be able to find his way to freedom between the Luciferic aberrance of illusions in thinking and life and the Ahrimanic temptation of future modes, which satisfy his pride, but do not yet correspond to his contemporary reality.
To succumb to Luciferic illusions means not being fully human, not wanting to advance to the stage of freedom, but to remain at a previous stage of development – as God-man. To succumb to Ahrimanic temptation means not wanting to wait until at a certain stage of human development the right cosmic moment comes, but to want to anticipate this moment.
In the future Michael-Christ will stand as the signpost-word at the beginning of the path upon which man can arrive equitably at his cosmic goal between the Luciferic and the Ahrimanic powers.
Goetheanum, November 2, 1924
115. Man goes his way through the cosmos in such a manner that his backward glance at the past can be falsified by luciferic impulses and his contemplations into the future deceived by ahrimanic temptations.
116. Man finds the correct antidote to luciferic falsifications by permeating his sense of knowledge and life with Michael’s being and mission.
117. By doing so, man also protects himself from ahrimanic temptations, for the spiritual path to exterior nature, which is stimulated by Michael, leads to the correct attitude towards the Ahrimanic, because thereby the correct experience of Christ will be found.
Michael’s Mission in the Cosmic Age of Human Freedom
When experiencing Michael’s activities in the present, one is able to shed light on the cosmic nature of freedom through spiritual science.
This does not apply to my “Philosophy of Freedom”, which refers to the purely human force of knowledge when it is related to the spiritual field. One needs, then, to recognize that this means to not yet accompany beings of other worlds. One could also say, however, that the “Philosophy of Freedom” paves the way to recognition of what can be experienced by spiritually accompanying Michael in freedom.
And that is the following.
If freedom is really to live in men’s actions, what is accomplished in its light should on no account depend upon the human physical and etheric organization. What is “free” can only originate in the “I”; and the astral body must be able to vibrate with the free activity of the “I” in order to be able to transmit it to the physical and etheric bodies. But that is only one side of the matter. The other side will become clear in connection with Michael’s mission.
What man experiences in freedom may not affect his etheric or physical bodies. If that happened, he would forfeit what he has become during the stage of his evolution under the influence of divine-spiritual being and divine-spiritual revelation.
What man experiences through the divine-spiritual works in his environment may only have an effect on his spirit (his I). The influence on his physical and etheric organization can only be what enters the stream of evolution not in his environment but within his being itself, and which originated in the essence and revelation of divine spirituality. It may not, however, be enmeshed with what lives in the element of freedom.
This is only possible when Michael brings from the primeval past of evolution something which gives man a relation to divine spirituality and which at present no longer intervenes in physical and etheric creation. In this way, as part of Michael’s mission, the foundation for man’s intercourse with the spiritual world is developed, one which does not affect the natural elements.
It is inspiring to observe how through Michael the human being is elevated to the spiritual spheres, whereas the unconscious, the subconscious, which develop below the sphere of freedom, grow closer and closer to matter.
Man’s position with respect to the universe will be more distant and incomprehensible if in addition to his relationship to nature and its processes he does not also recognize ones such as Michael’s mission. He gets to know his relationship to nature as something observed from without; that to the spiritual world is like having an inner conversation with beings to whom one has gained access by means of a spiritual observation of the world.
Therefore, in order to realize the impulse for freedom, man must be able to repress certain natural effects on his being that come from the cosmos. This repression takes place in the subconscious when the forces of the I’s freedom come into play. Acting in freedom exists in humanity’s inner perception; for the spiritual beings from other cosmic spheres who are bonded with man it is otherwise. The beings of the hierarchy of angels, who are concerned with the continuance of the human being from earth-life to earth-life, immediately see human activity in freedom thus: man repels the cosmic forces which desire to educate him further and to give his I-organization the necessary physical support, which they gave him before the age of Michael.
As a being from the hierarchy of archangels, Michael receives his impressions with help from the hierarchy of angels. He dedicates himself to the task of providing man, in the manner here described, with forces from the spiritual part of the cosmos, which can substitute for the repressed forces of nature.
He accomplishes this by acting in perfect unison with the Mystery of Golgotha.
In Christ’s activity within the earth’s evolution lie the forces that man needs when working through freedom to compensate for the repressed impulses of nature. But then man must really bring his soul into inner community with Christ – about which we have already referred here in these Guidelines about Michael’s mission.
Man knows himself to be in a reality when he faces the physical sun and receives warmth and light from it.
In the same way he must face the spiritual sun, Christ, who has united his being with the earth’s being, and from that spiritual sun receive into his soul the warmth and light which corresponds to the spiritual world.
He will feel himself permeated by this “spiritual warmth” when he experiences “Christ in me”. He will say to himself when feeling this permeation: “This warmth frees your humanity from cosmic bonds in which it may not remain. In order for you to achieve freedom, the divine-spiritual Being of primeval times had to lead you to regions in which it could no longer stand by you, in which it however gave you the Christ, so he could lend you his force as a free man – something the divine-spiritual Being of primeval times once gave you through the path of nature, which was then also the path of the spirit. This warmth leads you back to the divinity from which you originated.”
And in feeling this with inner warmth of soul, man will experience the growing togetherness with Christ and that of real and true humanity. “Christ gives me my humanity” will be the fundamental feeling that penetrates and permeates the soul. And it is once this feeling exists that another also comes through which man feels himself carried up beyond mere earthly existence and feels himself as one with the stellar surroundings of the earth and with all that in this stellar environment is recognized as divine spirituality.
This also applies to the spiritual light. Man can feel himself to be completely human when he is aware of himself as a free individual. However, a darkening is associated with this. The divine spirituality of primeval times no longer shines. In the light which Christ brings to the human I the primeval light is again present. In such togetherness with Christ, this blessed thought can shine on the soul like a sun: The glorious primal divine light is here again; it shines, although its shining is not from nature. And man in the contemporary world unites himself with the spiritual cosmic shining force of the past, in which he was not yet a free individual. And in this light he can find the paths which rightly lead his humanity, if he understandingly unites in his soul with Michael’s mission.
Then in spiritual warmth man will feel the impulse which carries him to his cosmic future in such a way that he can remain true to the primal gifts of the divine-spiritual beings, although he has developed into a free individual in their worlds. And in the spiritual light perceiving, he will feel the strength that endows him with an ever increasingly expanding consciousness and leads him to a world in which as a free human being he reencounters the gods of his genesis.
To persist in the original naïve divine goodness at work in man and fearfully shun full freedom in this contemporary world where everything is disposed towards freedom, only leads man to Lucifer, who wants to see the contemporary world denied.
To gives oneself over to a contemporary world which only recognizes the natural world revealed by intellectuality and is neutral in respect to goodness, and only wants to experience and use freedom intellectually, but, however, in which evolution in deeper regions of the soul must continue and in higher ones freedom reign, leads to Ahriman, who wants to see the contemporary world completely transformed into a cosmos of intellectuality.
In such regions, in which man’s gaze at the outer world is spiritually directed towards Michael, and his gaze directed towards the interior of the soul falls spiritually on Christ, thrives that mental and spiritual certainty through which he can make his way, without the loss of his origins, on the cosmic path to finding the true realization of his future.
Goetheanum, November 2, 1924
118. A free act can only be one in which no natural process plays a role, whether within man or outside him.
119. On the other hand, a natural process is suppressed in an individual’s free act, which would be present in the case of an unfree act and would give the human being his cosmically preordained state.
120. This state, in which man lives in the present and future evolutionary stages of the world, does not come to him through nature, but on the spiritual path by his bonding with Michael, whereby he also finds the path to Christ.
Translation: Frank Thomas Smith
Continued in the next issue of SCR. Previous Guidelines in Archives.