Sunday, March 28, 2021

Ahriman's Imminent Incarnation

What follows is an extract from a 1919 lecture cycle titled Lucifer & Ahriman by Rudolf Steiner. The larger context is the approaching incarnation of Ahriman some time in our current millennium, in the West, probably America. Steiner describes how, 3 millennia BC, Lucifer incarnated in the East, probably in China. Christ of course incarnated in the person of Jesus. And now, entering the beginning of the third millennium AD Ahriman will incarnate, and the signs of his coming arrival are now fully manifest all around to see. The point is not to resist or fight Ahriman's incarnation, for it is inevitable; the point is to orientate ourselves in the right way so that the Ahrimanic currents leading to his arrival can be used for good. For this a new wisdom has to be bourn, springing from the effort and struggle of individual human beings to wake themselves from their indolence and rejection of the spiritual. 

Ahriman, though, will like nothing more than to keep us ignorant of his arrival, and....

"If, in the future, man were to do nothing himself towards acquiring a new wisdom, then, unconsciously to him, the whole of culture would become Ahrimanic, and it would be easy for the influences issuing from Ahriman's incarnation to permeate all civilisation on the earth. 

 What would be the result if men were to follow the strong inclination they have to-day to let things drift on as they are, without understanding and guiding into right channels those streams which lead to an Ahrimanic culture? — As soon as Ahriman incarnates at the destined time in the West, the whole of culture would be impregnated with his forces. Through certain stupendous arts (technologies) he would bring to man all the clairvoyant knowledge which until then can be acquired only by dint of intense labour and effort. 

Lovers of ease who refuse to have anything to do with spiritual science, would fall prey to his magic, for by means of these stupendous magic arts Ahriman would be able to make great numbers of human beings into seers — but in such a way that the clairvoyance of each individual would be strictly differentiated. What one person would see, a second and a third would not see (emphasis added). Confusion would prevail and in spite of being made receptive to clairvoyant wisdom, men would inevitably fall into strife on account of the sheer diversity of their visions. Ultimately, however, they would all be satisfied with their own particular vision, for each of them would be able to see into the spiritual world. In this way all culture on the earth would fall prey to Ahriman. Men would succumb to Ahriman simply through not having acquired by their own efforts what Ahriman is ready and able to give them. No more evil advice could be given than to say: “Stay just as you are! Ahriman will make all of you clairvoyant if you so desire. And you will desire it because Ahriman's power will be very great.” — But the result would be the establishment of Ahriman's kingdom on earth and the overthrow of everything achieved hitherto by human culture; all the disastrous tendencies unconsciously cherished by mankind to-day would take effect.

Our concern is that the wisdom of the future — a clairvoyant wisdom — shall be rescued from the clutches of Ahriman. Again let it be repeated that there is only one book of wisdom, not two kinds of wisdom. The issue is whether this wisdom is in the hands of Ahriman or of Christ. It cannot come into the hands of Christ unless men fight for it. And they can only fight for it by telling themselves that by their own efforts they must assimilate the content of spiritual science before the time of Ahriman's appearance on earth.

That, you see, is the cosmic task of spiritual science. It consists in preventing knowledge from becoming — or remaining — Ahrimanic. A good way of playing into Ahriman's hands is to exclude everything of the nature of knowledge from denominational religion and to insist that simple faith is enough. If a man clings to this simple faith, he condemns his soul to stagnation and then the wisdom that must be rescued from Ahriman cannot find entry. The point is not whether men do or do not simply receive the wisdom of the future but whether they work upon it; and those who do must take upon themselves the solemn duty of saving earthly culture for Christ."

To awaken this new wisdom I personally recommend studying Steiner's Philosophy of Freedom. This book not only awakens a brand new thinking in us, it also lays the methods and foundations for all his later works regarding "spiritual science". 


  1. Somehow I published this before giving it the final edit. Considerable changes might have taken place since its original publication.

  2. Do you agree with Steiner's sometimes-expressed view that the only evil of Ahriman is that what he offers is not qualitatively evil, but merely too *early* in the human evolution?

    And the same - but opposite - applies to Lucifer; who is only evil by trying to return to an earlier era of consciousness.

    In other words, Steiner argued (sometimes) that there was no distinct evil, but only disagreements over timing. It follows that Christ is a principle of moderation and good-timing (between too-early and too-later timing), who appears at various points in history, in various forms.

    This fits with Steiner's conviction of multiple incarnations for Men's spirits on multiple incarnations of earth - and a foreseen and advance planned scheme of incarnations (which Steiner described for thousands of years ahead) eventually leading to a return to a world of pure spirit, only spirits spirits (and elimination of all forms of incarnation).

    I regard this as wrong; and that there IS such a thing as real evil motivation, distinct from good; and evil is defined in terms of being directed against divine creation. And I also believe that Christ came once and in a physical incarnation; and before and after that time, he was/is present on earth (and in Men) as a spirit.

  3. Sticking to this lecture cycle alone, what Steiner seems to be saying is that the initiated wise of the past had to resist the temptation of the Luciferic beings in order to use what Lucifer brought for the good of humanity. My understanding with Ahriman is something similar, that he is coming for the benefit of our development, (although that is not his intention, of course) but if we do not see him and realise what he is, then we will fall under his spell and degenerate into evil. I believe Ahriman and Lucifer are indeed evil, as you define it; they are against divine creation, their plans are to steer mankind away from his divine destiny and into their own plan. And yet by doing this they actually provide the means for man to realise his true destiny. With Lucifer it was not necessary to be aware of his incarnation, for the select initiated provided the means to use him for good through the mysteries. For us moderns, though, we must all be aware of Ahriman, for that is the nature of our consciousness, it cannot gain wisdom through any mystery traditions, it has to be worked for by our own individual effort.
    That's about as far as my understanding goes at the moment.


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