Most of the information in this essay is not new; it has been open to the public at least since the aftermath of the First World War. Yet it has not reached the wide public that needs to hear it. I hope that the advent of the World Wide Web and the search engines will make this important information available to many around the world who have not yet encountered it and who might put it to good use. I claim no special knowledge concerning these matters; I have merely drawn on published sources.
I expect no one to take my word for anything. I do ask the readers to read and think through this information, to follow the leads that I give, and do their own investigations. Conscientious investigations might well cause some intellectual upheavals, and change the course of some lives; and this is exactly what is needed, many times over, around the world.
The reader must assume that this
essay is almost wholly derivative; it contains scarcely any original
ideas of my own. In the interest of readability (and to give my
strained resources a break), I do not provide full citations in the
text. If I did, almost every sentence would be footnoted. I do
provide below some bibliographic remarks, which I hope will be
useful to the conscientious reader. It is probable that hundreds, or
thousands, of people in this world are better qualified than I to
write this notice. I wrote it because:
This being is called "Ahriman" (from the ancient Persian name Angra Mainyu, given by the prehistoric Zarathustra). We might consider Ahriman to be the same being usually called "Satan", except that the concept of "Satan" is much confused and misunderstood. Therefore, in this essay I will use the name "Ahriman", and will attempt to give a clearer understanding of his nature and aims than generally obtains.
Plaque Depicting the Birth of Ahura-Mazda and Ahriman,
from Luristan, Western Iran, 799-600 BC
I realize that many are not inclined to take seriously the possibility of such an event, or to believe that such matters are known, or can be known. Nevertheless, again I ask the reader to read this essay with an open mind, at least open enough to take in the thoughts and concepts. I will give a few epistemological considerations which support the notion that such matters can be known.
And I will give some references which will help the readers
to conduct their own epistemological researches, and thus to be able
to make an informed estimation of this report. This is a matter of
some importance; it is essential for the future of mankind and the
earth that as many people as possible become wakeful and not be
caught sleeping by the impending events.
The sensation of an outer
sense-perception (such as the green of grass), as well as feelings
(such as pleasure or pain), are in the soul. Also, the inner being
acts through the soul by the will, though the will is not usually
conscious. We might say that the physical world acts on the soul
through sensation; the soul lives in its own feelings, and acts upon
the world through the will. We (generally) experience sensations in
wakefulness, feelings as if in a dream, and will as if in deep,
Many people can grasp the same thought and through that thought contact the same objective reality, though they do not (usually) experience each other's sensations and feelings. As the physical world interacts with the soul, so also does the spirit; we can call forth thoughts by our acts of will, and the thoughts give us feelings.
Much of the confusion about the supposed subjectivity of thinking arises from the subjectivity of feelings and sensations connected with thinking, as well as from the fact that much of what usually passes for thinking is hardly thinking at all, but a kind of semi-conscious, automatic pseudo-thinking.
(In modern times, people experience thinking as if it comes, usually automatically, out of themselves, yet, paradoxically, thinking in essence is objective and universal [as we can best see in mathematics]. I will say more about this below.)
Thus, through our experience of thinking, we can attach an experiential, "empirical" meaning to the concept of spirit. (All this should, of course, be taken as only a bare introduction to a vast, deep subject. For now, I am trying only to counter the widespread opinion that soul and spirit are nebulous, meaningless terms.)
And while it is usually true that we hardly experience our thinking, thinking may be intensified so that it becomes conscious, and this development of consciousness may lead to the perception of the world and beings of soul and spirit -- and thus become the basis of "spiritual science".
Modern spiritual research (by Steiner), as well as ancient tradition (from Dionysius the Areopagate, pupil of St. Paul) speaks of at least nine orders of angels and supra-angelic beings -- which, taken together, are called the "hierarchies", sometimes the "choirs of angels", or sometimes the "Gods". (Other, still higher Beings are not discussed here.)
Some of the names given to the nine hierarchies, in ascending order, are:
Although the doctrines of Dionysius were long considered to be heretical, the existence of these Hierarchical beings is mentioned in the Bible. Angels, of course, are mentioned in many places.
Some other examples:
These spirits are not all "angelic", in the sense of "good and holy". Some, sometimes, oppose the regular, good world-order. Ahriman ("the Unjust Prince of this World") is a "retarded" Spirit of Form, working as an Arche, opposing (in a sense) the good world order. (Yet, this opposition is not purely "evil", as I will discuss below.)
Since Ahriman is a spirit of opposition, we might begin to understand his nature by understanding what he opposes: the Gods' plan of earthly and human development. But the situation is not as simple as a two-sided contest; basic to competent understanding of the world-process is the recognition of at least three kinds of spiritual influence upon the evolution of mankind and the cosmos.
(We must be clear that this "evolution" is something very different
from the random, meaningless, material process conceived by the
neo-Darwinists and suchlike theorists. I mean by "evolution" a
thoroughly purposeful, thought-filled process of development
initiated and guided by spiritual beings.)
As the name implies, essential to the fulfillment of mankind's task is the realization of "freedom", meaning not so much political freedom as spiritual freedom -- that Men should become independent, unique individuals acting consciously as the originators of their own deeds. Occult wisdom, independently rediscovered and made public by Steiner (and greatly simplified here, to put it mildly), explains this evolution as being created and guided through seven great cosmic ages. We are now in the fourth great age, called the "Earth" Age. (All ages' names here are given in order of succession.)
The previous three ages are called "Saturn", "Sun", and "Moon". Again, these are past ages of cosmic development, not to be confused with the present-day heavenly bodies of the same names. The same holds for the three future ages: "Jupiter", "Venus", and "Vulcan". The great Earth Age comprises seven lesser ages, of which we are in the fifth. These five are called "Polarian", "Hyperborean", "Lemurian", "Atlantean", and "Post-Atlantean". And the Post-Atlantean Age comprises seven cultural epochs, of which, again, we are in the fifth.
The previous four are called "Indian", "Persian", "Egypto-Chaldean", and "Greco-Roman". Recorded history begins only with the Egypto-Chaldean Epoch; what is generally known of ancient Indian and Persian culture derives from records made in the third epoch. -- These names of epochs do not imply that nothing important was happening in other regions of the earth, but that the archetypal evolutionary impulses of the times were centered in the regions designated.
last approximately 2160 years; and the present, fifth post-Atlantean
epoch began about 1413 AD. Neither are these epochs considered to be
sharply differentiated; transitions happen gradually, future
developments being prepared in advance, and past influences
Conditions on Old Saturn were so vastly different from earthly conditions that we can imagine them only faintly. Indeed, perhaps better than trying merely to picture Old Saturn as a physical existence, would be to conceive of this "heat" as only an outer appearance of the "soul-warmth" of the Creator-Gods. The basic reality is spirit-beings and their deeds. The "beginning" might be pictured thus: the Thrones offered sacrifice of part of their own being to the Cherubim; the warmth of this devotional sacrifice rose as smoke, and from this fiery smoke was born the Archai -- the Time-Spirits.
Thus: a sacramental, creative act of holy Beings, viewed "externally" as "heat" and the "beginning of time". -- We can properly approach these sacred Mysteries (made public only in our time) with reverent inner activity, calling forth inner pictures imbued with devotional feeling of respect for even our physical existence as a gift of the Gods' own being-substance.
this is only to give the dimmest conception of these tremendous
facts, and of their remoteness from our usual, materialistic
imagining. Conditions only very gradually, over inconceivable aeons,
approached those of the present. For example, a kind of "space" came
into existence only on the Old Sun, and so on. Always, the reality
"behind" the "outer appearances" is: beings and their deeds.
This Event was the turning-point of Earth-evolution
from descent from spirit into matter, toward ascent back to the
spirit, with the fruits gained from the sojourn into matter.
(Steiner himself did not begin with a Christian world-view. He
independently, and unexpectedly, rediscovered the "mystical fact" of
Christianity during the course of his consciously clairvoyant
In the human intellect they inspire generalization, unification, hypothesizing, and the building of imaginative pictures beyond reality. Human speech and thought are Luciferic in origin; so are human self-consciousness and the capacity for independence and rebellion against the normal Gods' world-order. Also, the susceptibility to disease originated from Luciferic influence. A high spiritual being, in a sense the leader of the Luciferic host, "Lucifer" himself, incarnated in a human body, in the region of China, in the Third Millennium BC. This event brought about a revolution in human consciousness. Before then, Men could not use the organs of intellect and lived by a kind of instinct.
Lucifer was the first to grasp by the intellect the wisdom of the Mysteries theretofore revealed by the Gods to mankind in other forms of consciousness. The effects of this incarnation inspired the wisdom of Pagan culture, up through the Gnosis of the early centuries AD, and lingered even into the early Nineteenth Century.
This wisdom should not be considered to be false in itself; it is good or evil depending on who holds it, and for what purposes it is used. The great Pagan initiates took it upon themselves to enter into the Luciferic influence and turn it to the good of mankind. Only through the Luciferic influence has mankind risen above the status of childishness. (Apart from the Pagan culture of Nature-wisdom was the Hebraic culture, which [in a sense] separated the Man from Nature, and which prepared an hereditary current to provide a body for the incarnation of Christ.
In Pagan culture the Man felt membered into
the starry cosmos, without what we now know as moral impulses. Moral
impulses in the human soul were prepared by Hebrewism and furthered
by Christianity. Christianity is also a culmination and fulfillment
of Pagan wisdom. Here "Christianity" means not so much "organized
religion" as the deeds and continuing influence of the Christ-Being
and His hosts, not necessarily confined to formal-religious
The essential Ahrimanic tendency is to materialize; to crystallize; to darken; to silence; to bring living, mobile forces into fixed form -- in other words, to kill that which is living. This tendency in itself, within proper bounds, is not evil; the dead, material world is necessary for the regular Gods' plan of human and cosmic development.
The Ahrimanic tendency is evil only when it exceeds proper bounds, when it reaches into what should be alive -- and Ahriman does try to exceed proper bounds. Again, the basic reality of the world is spiritual beings together with their deeds, but Ahriman promotes the illusion, the lie, that matter is the basic reality, or the only reality.
In fact, Ahrimanic spirits, not "atoms" or "ultimate particles", are the
reality behind the apparently material world. Ahriman lives upon
lies; he is a spirit of untruth, the "Father of Lies".
regular Gods' intent for the present epoch (also called the
"Consciousness Soul Epoch") is that mankind should develop increased
consciousness, together with the individuality and spiritual freedom
that go with that consciousness. Ahriman opposes this; he wants the
Man to live from unconscious instincts as an unindividualized,
impulsive animal -- clever, but an animal nonetheless. (Ahriman is
the teacher of the lie that the Man is an animal: neo-Darwinism and
(Steiner, especially in his book Die Philosophie der Freiheit , has been our teacher of real thinking, but the general intellectual culture has not learned the lesson.)
The fact is that the "scientific" thinking normal in this epoch, no matter how clever, is hardly conscious at all (possibly with some relatively rare exceptions at moments of "insight" or mathematical discovery). In the kind of consciousness usual in our "scientific" culture, we become conscious only of the fixed results of the thinking, after it has been accomplished; we are not (usually) conscious of the thinking-process itself.
And since it is unconscious, it is not our free action; it is automatic. When we think in the manner usual in our epoch, we are sentient automata, acting from instinct. (Formerly occult fact: this instinctive thinking in the wide culture had been inspired by Jehovah up to about 1840 AD. Since then it has been inspired by Ahriman, resulting in the Nineteenth-Century torrent of materialism, which, aided by the withdrawal of the German folk-spirit, drowned the life-positive Romanticism in culture.)
And this is what Ahriman
wants: he wants to stamp out all traces and all possibility of free,
individualized human consciousness; he wants the Man not to be an
individual, but only a member of a general species of pseudo-mankind
-- to be a clever, earth-bound animal, an "homunculus".
On the emotional level, he works in the human subconscious instincts, inspiring fear, hatred, lust for power, and destructive sex impulses. On the mental level, he inspires rigid, automatic thinking: (in Steiner's phrase) thinking almost entirely without thoughts, but thinking tremendously strongly in the language, in the literal words, which easily become empty words, which in turn easily become lies.
This "abstract" thinking is
devoid of any conscious, inner activity and devoid of any real
connection to living experience, and creates a darkened
consciousness without light, color, or images.
And: "It is only a short step from the empty phrase to the lie." Again, this is especially true in politics and economics, for the prevalence of empty words makes possible the falsification of realities -- a potent weapon in the hands of those with occult, conscious intentions to manipulate people for devious ends. In our time, people en masse act as if they are possessed by evil forces, because, in a way, they are.
The demons of materialism speak through
empty words. A language in which the demons of materialism have
taken the place of human spiritual impulses can lead only to
On the individual-personal level, the antidote is the infusion of active, creative thought into language, thus creating a language in which the words point to the thoughts, evoking living thinking in the listeners. If we do not put effort into creating our original thoughts, then ready-made pseudo-thoughts, trite words and phrases, come automatically to mind and carry us along with them, resulting in "thinking almost entirely without thoughts".
We can at least make the effort to resist these ready-made phrases and generalizations that effortlessly come to mind, and to form mental pictures of particular people, things, and events -- and further, to make original word-formations describing these things and pictures from varying points of view. The essential point is that we not let our speaking and writing be determined by unconscious influences, but that we call forth through our own efforts new, original thought-creations and convey them with original, fluid, artistic word-formations.
We will not always fully succeed; we are not all poets all the time; but if we consciously make this effort, then we will go far toward recovering the lost human-spirituality of language, and consequently, toward the humanization of culture. (I will say more on this subject in another context.)
And, not incidentally, we will thus progress toward living consciously in the thinking-free-of-literal-words that is the "language" of the spirit-soul world in which we will live after death.
Chief among the Ahrimanic trends are:
The subjugation of cultural life (e.g. medicine, education,
research, criminal jurisprudence) to political and economic power
(Ahriman wants knowledge to be devoid of warm human interest and connection, to be stored in libraries and not to live in human souls.)
Obviously, these impulses are running amok in this world, more so all the time. They are, in fact, approaching a climax; they are preparations for the incarnation of Ahriman himself in a human body.
Lucifer is too warm, too flighty, too unstable; he inspires human fanaticism, false mysticism, hot-bloodedness, and the tendency to flee earthly reality for hallucinatory pleasures. Ahriman is too cold, too hard, too rigid; he tries to make people dry, prosaic, philistine, materialistic in thought and in deed -- and hardens what would be healthily mobile, supple thoughts, feelings, and even bodies.
Christ, as the Exemplar of the regular Gods, represents the middle way between the too-much and the too-little, holding the opposites in balance -- and leading mankind to find the healthy middle way. Seen this way, Lucifer and Ahriman are not purely evil; they both bring to human and earthly evolution forces that are needed for good, healthy development and the fulfillment of the Gods' plans. Evil results only when events get out of balance and run to extremes.
However, neither do Lucifer and Ahriman simply oppose each other; in a sense, they work together in opposition to the Gods' intent for evolution; they both work to prevent mankind and the earth from progressing together to the New Jupiter. Lucifer draws human spirits away from earthly embodiment toward his own psychic-spiritual "planet" of light; Ahriman pushes the individual human spirit out of the human organism and away from the earth, so that only a hardened, mechanized, ghostly human organism, devoid of free individuality and living an instinctive-but-clever animalistic species-life remains on the hardened "cosmic slag" of the earth (surrounded with Old Moon forces).
Mankind's rightful task for the
present is to lead lives of healthy, progressive alternation between
the earthly and the cosmic (life, death, and rebirth), so as to lead
the earth over to New Jupiter. -- The profound mystery of evil is
that in a higher sense, in the long run, it serves the good. Not to
imply that we would be justified in doing evil with the
rationalization that good would result. "...it must needs be that
offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!"
The picture I have drawn so far is this:
The true picture of the workings of evil might be even more complex than outlined above. Steiner did make some statements which might be interpreted as indicating a third stream of spirits of opposition: the "Asuras" (a borrowed Eastern term), which are retarded Archai who work to destroy the human "I", the Ego itself.
The Asuras might be agents of the actual Antichrist, the Sun-Demon, known to occultism as "Sorat" (or "Sorath"). In some passages Steiner does identify the Apocalyptic Beast 666 as Sorat, not clearly differentiating the Ahrimanic and Soratic principals. While it seems true that the numerological interpretation of the Hebrew spelling of "Sorat" gives the number 666, still the position of Sorat in relation to Lucifer and Ahriman is not altogether clear (to this writer).
A possible solution to this question might follow from the imagery of the Apocalypse: Michael casts the Dragon out of heaven; immediately afterwards arise the two "beasts" -- the first from the sea (Lucifer) and the second from the land (Ahriman). Thus Lucifer and Ahriman appear on earth as two beings or principles, but they are the progeny of the one spirit of opposition -- the Dragon -- in Heaven.
If we identify the Dragon, the Antichrist, as Sorat, we can picture Lucifer and Ahriman as the left and right hands of Sorat. Christ strives to hold Lucifer and Ahriman in balance so that they serve the good, while Sorat strives to keep them out of balance, so that they work for destruction. While Lucifer seeks to draw the human "I", the Ego to his own planet, and Ahriman seeks to harden the earth and the human organism so that no Ego can live in a human on earth, Sorat -- through the Asuras -- seeks to destroy the Ego itself, along with the earth.
Sorat uses Lucifer and Ahriman as spirits of seduction to mask his own true intention of pure destruction. And Sorat manifests in social evolution as pure destruction, especially in the wars and mass murders of our century. (Some suggest that he manifests in the human organism as the destroyer of the immune system -- the so-called "AIDS".)
Thus, the true picture might look something like this: