“How Doctor Faustus began to practise in his divelish Arte, and how he coniured the Devil, making him to appeare and meete him on the morrow at his owne house.” English translation of the biography of “John Faustus” published in 1592. Contemporary letters also attest to Faustus’ real existence.
The great Christ Initiate called Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925) well understood the physical world and the spiritual world. Here follows a brief description of what he knew of the Nature of Evil.
Although the following ideas and concepts may appear strange and fanciful to modern sensibilities drenched in materialism it does not mean that they are untrue. Truth, gentle reader, is always stranger than fiction and many a man who claims to be above medieval superstitions will do well to remember the words of the great German mystic Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) found inFaust:
“The little folk ne’er scent the Devil
E’en though he have them by the collar.”
The Ahrimanic Deception is the most important question now facing mankind, and yet it is a question that necessitates discussion of things not otherwise discussed. That is, it requires one to understand that there are other realities apart from this mundane existence on this Earth. The human mind finds it very easy to comprehend external knowledge derived from empirical sources that are considered scientific and practical. The modern consciousness recoils at anything that hints at a spiritual source and the general mien of public opinion is one of disapproval and embarrassment if such topics are raised. Thus, any discussion concerning Evil, its nature, purpose and its root cause is met with universal ridicule. However, this wholesale disapproval is merely an exoteric manifestation of a deeper problem afflicting the human race. For, Evil does exist, and it is a spiritual force of immense power that seeks to ensnare mankind and cut him off from the wellspring of Creation … God.
To this end, Evil has worked, since man’s inception by God, to corral man on Earth, thereby cutting him off from knowledge of the higher realms, and thus controlling every aspect of his impoverished life on this earthly plane. This Master Plan of Evil is subtle and sublime in its intentions and operates on all levels of human existence and throughout all epochs of mankind’s existence. The hostility met by those who attempt to expose this master plan, this Evil Agenda, as well as those who oppose its application, is great. Why is this so? It is because, as Steiner wrote:
“a great part of mankind today is already under the control, from one side or another, of Ahrimanic forces of a cosmic nature which are growing stronger and stronger.”
This statement may disturb modern rational sensibilities but the evidence for Evil is so compelling that to cite evidence in support of its presence in human affairs would be futile because of its scale. However, to understand the scope of the deception a brief conspectus of human history will be given. The history of humanity can be categorised in numerous ways depending upon which perspective the chronicler takes. We will take the view of the spirit, and distinguish human history by the evolving nature of its Soul. From this viewpoint we can perceive distinct epochs that are distinguished by the character of the human soul, and therefore, the nature of mankind’s consciousness, and thereby, his relations with the Cosmos.
The oldest phase of human evolution that concerns us here is the Egyptian-Chaldean epoch that ran from the beginning to 4,000-3,000 BC. The peoples of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia typify this phase of human evolution, which are the ancient civilisations in the Fertile Crescent. In the occult tradition, this is from the period of Atlantis (Atlantean Man) to the Sumer and Egyptian civilisations. Mankind in this period is not fully conscious of himself as a separate being in creation. Rather, he perceives himself as entwined with Nature and belonging entirely to the processes of the created world. Moreover, because there was no individuality there was no history, for history is the province of the humanity and does not apply to natural beings and natural events.
The next distinct period was the Graeco-Latin Epoch that existed between 750 BC to AD 1450; that is, from the ancient Greek culture until the Renaissance. Although the period begins in the eighth century BC it was not until the fifth century BC in Greece that true individualised human thinking arose. The fruits of this are the wondrous art and architecture, the literature, rhetoric and political organisation, but especially the realisation of pure logic based upon the inner working of the human mind, that erupted in Greece at this time.
The Modern Epoch can be seen to encompass the centuries from 1450 to 1945; that is, from the Renaissance until the end of World War Two, and the advent of the atomic age. It appears fully established in sixteenth century Europe when empirically derived knowledge and thinking subsumes the old Aristotelian rationalism into itself and brings about the age of science and materialism.
The Apocalyptic Epoch is the period we are living in now, and it began in 1945, that is, the atomic age until the Apocalypse. Initiates into the secrets of creation have also called the period between the Renaissance and the present the Fifth Post-Atlantean epoch.
The unique happening of the Christ Ministry in Palestine therefore occurred at the close of the first third of the Graeco-Latin Epoch. That is, the Mystery of Golgotha took place at c.33 AD. This was one of the most momentous events in the history of the universe, for it transfigured the both the nature of mankind and the whole evolution of the Earth itself. It is an event therefore that the course of human history must be put into context with.
Long before the Coming of Christ, about the beginning of the third millennium BC, humanity was constituted differently. Their human nature was very different and their souls perceived Creation with ease long ago lost to our ancestors. These ancients could easily tap into sources of wisdom that transcended the piteous limitations of the human intellect. This wisdom included an ancient, original wisdom underlying the whole evolution of humanity, which was guarded with evermore diligence by the select few as this spiritual faculty waned in the souls of men. As the contraction of the human consciousness proceeded into the modern period, this ancient wisdom was ever more cherished by the initiates who preserved it in close, secret circles, into the present times. However, the transmission of this wisdom has resulted in much corruption of the original material.
The widespread wisdom-teaching of ancient times was what the Hebrew Prophets later called theAncient Pagan Wisdom. It was this ancient wisdom that the Old Testament prophets railed against because it bore a completely different character than the understanding of life and the world that was possessed by the old Hebrew people.
Thus, in the middle of the second millennium BC, the original wisdom was opposed by the new consciousness of the Hebrew religion of their God, Yahweh. It was from this Yahweh Impulse –Yahwehism– that the later Christian element arose out of Yahwehism. Thus, an opposition arose between the ancient heathen element and its wisdom with the Yahweh impulse, the Judahiteelement, out of which Christianity partially evolved. This confrontation between the old Heathen Impulse and the new Yahweh Impulse was a prerequisite for the fruitful completion of the evolution humanity. This was because the wonderful:
“primeval heathen or pagan wisdom in its totality was not destined to have the sole influence on the further evolution of mankind.”
Thus, the spiritual impulse that had governed mankind’s relationship with the Divine had suddenly become atrophied. The wonderful ancient pagan wisdom, which had served our very ancient ancestors so well, had suddenly been found wanting. It was deemed imperative that the Ancient Pagan Wisdom needed a transformation through the influence of Yahweh (Yahwehism) andChristianity (Christ). The reason for this re-evaluation of Evolution was due to long-ago events in Asia, at the beginning of the third millennium BC.
Just as the Christ had incarnated in the man Jesus of Nazareth in AD 30, another spiritual Being incarnated into a human being, in China sometime at the beginning of the third millennium BC. This event “gave humanity something of immense brilliance, having an incisive effect. What it gave to humanity, in fact, was the primeval wisdom” that was later called gnosis. The Being incarnating into human flesh brought with him a power that was denied man by his Creator, a wisdom that was compassionless, cold, and based purely on ideas. It was a spiritual impulse that penetrated deep into physical reality. The incarnation in Asia at this time was the human incarnation of theLuciferic Power. Lucifer had incarnated inhuman form and had gifted to humanity the ancient wisdom based on the Third Post-Atlantean civilisation, the spread throughout these ancient peoples. This Asiatic, Luciferic human being had unleashed a spiritual impulse that affected all of the cultures in the region down to the Ancient Greek civilisation. This Luciferic Wisdom permeated the consciousness of mankind and “was of utmost benefit to man in that epoch of evolution; brilliant in a certain way, graduated according to the different peoples and races among which it was spread.”Its influence was apparent in the ancient cultures throughout Asia, the ancient Egyptian and Mesopotamia civilisations; it was even apparent in the culture of ancient Greece. All intellectual endeavours, all outpourings of poetry and deeds were largely, the fruit of the entry of thisLuciferic Impulse into the human condition and thus its fruits easily seen in the ancient civilisations it greatly affected.
It is a disturbing prospect viewed from the normal Christian perspective to accept that much of the beauty of the ancient world, its architecture, sculpture, its poetry, its arts and science were products, by and large, of the incarnation of Lucifer. Nevertheless, no matter how unpalatable it may be, Truth is Truth from whatever source. It was not only in the mundane arts and in sciences that the Luciferic Impulse enlightened mankind, it also taught it how to correspond with cosmic realities. This was Gnosis, the wisdom of the Gnostic religions that permeated the ancient world: a dazzling wisdom that illuminated for mankind the inviolable cosmic realities.
It is therefore obvious that the whole Gnostic knowledge, Gnosis, was inspired by the impulse coming from Luciferic forces. That is, Gnosis or Gnostic Wisdom is Luciferian. This is not to say that Gnosticism is false or without merit, only that it is permeated by Luciferic forces, and it is therefore Luciferic in its nature. Thus, the whole of Gnostic thought existing at the time of theMystery of Golgotha was Luciferic in nature. This was the reason why the Old Testamentprophets railed against their people and others who revered this Gnosis: it was in preparation for the Incarnation of Christ. The Israelites, and especially the Judahites, were shepherded and protectedform Luciferic Influences by Yahweh to prepare the perfect human vessel in readiness for the Incarnation. Hence, more than two thousand years after the human incarnation of the Luciferic Power, came the Mystery of Golgotha, when Christ incarnated in the most perfect human vessel, the man Jesus of Nazareth. The fateful time when the Christ Impulse was brought down to Earth.
The world into which the impulse of this Mystery incarnated was still fully immersed in the thinking and feeling arising from the impulse of Lucifer. The men who were to be brought into the fold of theChrist Impulse were still fully influenced by the Luciferic wisdom. However, the hearts and minds of these few men took up the Christ Impulse, which was wholly contrary to the Luciferic Impulse. Thus, an entirely different impulse, the impulse proceeding from the Christ, entered the consciousness of humanity. Therefore, what can be said of the Apostolic Movement at this time is that the Christ Impulse shone into all the best that came to man from Lucifer.
What must be understood at this point in human history is this: humanity in the first Christian centuries understood Christ through what they had received from Lucifer. This may shock the Christian fundamentalist, but again, we must emphasis a verity: Truth is Truth whatever its source. Moreover, this reality must be “faced without prejudice; otherwise it is not really possible to understand the particular way in which the Christ Impulse was received in the first centuries of our era.”
However, the ascent of the Christ Impulse was accompanied by the decline of the Luciferic Impulse, which resulted in men becoming increasingly unable to absorb the Christ Impulse in the right way. The consequent of this deficiency was the rise of Materialism and the decline of the ability to apprehend the spiritual realms. Another result of this was to affect the development of Christianity, changing it from a wholly spiritual impulse into a utilitarian creed that delves in all things temporal. A great part of modern Christian theology is a product of this decline. When the Divine Christ in the man Jesus of Nazareth becomes a matter of debate, then the great message had become corrupted. It is then a small step to take to view the Mystery of Golgotha as merely the crucifixion of the “simple but just man of Nazareth.”
The attack on the Divinity of Christ has increased over the centuries. Theologians and others have asserted that the man Jesus of Nazareth is merely an ordinary human being, albeit one belonging to the ranks of other noted human personalities. Much of modern theology and all of humanist doctrine refuse to acknowledge the spirituality involved in the Mystery of Golgotha. This denigration of Christ satisfied various appetites, one of which was the materialistic trend of modern theology.
In Greek mythology, Oedipus was the king of Thebes who unwittingly killed his father, Laius, and married his mother, Jocasta, in fulfilment of a prophecy. When he learned what he had done, he put out his eyes. The Greek tragedian Sophocles (496-406 BC) dramatised his story as Oedipus Rex. An oracle had warned King Laius that his son would kill him; therefore, he exposed the infant Oedipus to die on a mountainside, after piercing his feet with a spike (Oedipus in Greek means “swollen feet”). Polybus king of Corinth saved Oedipus and adopted him. Oedipus subsequently grew up believing his parents were the rulers of Corinth. When a young man, an oracle told him he would kill his father and marry his mother, he left Corinth to thwart the prophecy.
On his journeys, he encountered in a narrow road Laius (without recognising him) driving in a chariot, on his way to Delphi, accompanied only by one attendant. Oedipus refused to leave the way at their command, so the attendant killed one of his horses, Oedipus, filled with rage; slew both Laius and his attendant. Shortly after this event, a monster, the Sphinx, which infested the highroad, harried the citizens of Thebes.
“Sphinx” is the Greek name for a compound creature with lion’s body and human head and the Greek sphinx had wings and female bust, and the male sphinx of Egypt, which was wingless, is distinguished as “androsphinx” by Herodotus. The creature who Oedipus confronted therefore was winged lion with the upper part of a woman. The Sphinx squatted on the top of a rock, and stopped all travellers who came that way. It asked them a riddle, with the caveat that those who could solve it could pass safely, but those who failed would be killed. Not one had succeeded in solving it, and all had been slain, but Oedipus, undaunted by these frightening accounts, heroically advanced to the trial. The Sphinx asked Oedipus: “What animal is that which in the morning goes on four feet, at noon on two, and in the evening upon three?” the hero replied, “Man, who in childhood creeps on hands and knees, in manhood walks erect, and in old age with the aid of a staff.” Shocked and horrified at the correct response, the Sphinx threw herself of her perch dashing herself to death on rocks.
Later, he unknowingly marries his mother and after four children had been born, the terrible truth was discovered. Thebes was afflicted with famine and pestilence, and when the oracle was consulted, the double crime of Oedipus became known. In uttermost shame, Jocasta hanged herself and Oedipus seized with madness, tore out his eyes, and left Thebes. Dreaded and abandoned by all except his daughters, who faithfully stood by him, until after a period of miserable wandering he found peace by death from his wretched life.
The Greek Sphinx of Thebes was adopted, because of her ceaseless questioning and knowledge, as an emblem of Wisdom.
The Sphinx is a very potent symbol in antiquity whose nature has been misunderstood by many scholars. Keeping metaphysics to a minimum, the archetype called the Sphinx in the context of this discourse represents the following.
Certain processes involved with the act of breathing, when perturbed, provide the Luciferic forces with the opportunity to work upon the human being. These demonic forces work themselves into the very being of men and cause the manifold effects described above. Another effect of this indwelling is that the individual who attempts to consciously transcend the physical world is met with a Luciferian spirit created from the extended “ether-body” of the human being. This phenomenon, when the ether-body strives to grow out of and beyond the human form, is not suited to the nature of man but it is to the Luciferic nature. When the ether-body of a human being expands a Luciferic being appears in the soul that brings doubts, and who torments the soul with incertitude.
The ancients coped with this phenomenon, when an extended ether-body makes itself felt and takes shape before the eye of soul, by depicting this Luciferic spirit as the Sphinx. In such an ether-body, it is not the human that manifests, but the Luciferic form, the form of the Sphinx.
The Sphinx is the being who interrogates the soul with perpetual questioning. The Sphinx is really the being who has us by the throat, which spiritually strangles us, so to speak. The breathing process is connected in a very special way with the blood, therefore the Luciferic forces also operate in the blood, percolating and surging through it. By way of the breathing, the Luciferic forces can everywhere make their way into the blood of the human being and when excessive energy is promoted in the blood, the Luciferic nature, the Sphinx, becomes very strong. Because man is open to the Cosmos in his breathing, the Sphinx confronts him.
In the Graeco-Latin epoch of civilisation men perceived themselves confronting the Sphinx in the Cosmos during altered states of consciousness. The Oedipus legend describes how the human being confronting the Sphinx is tormented with questions that manifests in the ancient philosophy ofPyrrho (c.365-270 BC) the sceptic philosopher and founder of the school known as Pyrrhonism and modern scepticism and Relativism.
The picture of the human being confronting the Sphinx (which is a manifestation of the Luciferic powers) in the Cosmos, gives expression to a deeply-rooted experience of men as they were during antiquity. The myth of the Sphinx indicates that when, in however small a degree, a man breaks through the boundaries of his normal life on the physical plane, he encounters the Sphinx-nature. At this moment Lucifer approaches him and he must cope with Lucifer, in the form of the Sphinx. The mightiest conqueror of the Sphinx in antiquity was Oedipus. He personified what every ancient Greek, who struggled for manhood, was fated to experience: to prove himself master of the forces contained in the processes of the breathing and the blood.
Modern consciousness is different. The propensity of human evolution is that the ether-body has contracted and is far less prone to diffusion or expansion, as was the case in antiquity. The ether-body, instead of being too large, is too small, and this will become more pronounced as evolution continues. Whereas the ether-body was too large in the man of ancient Greece; in the modern man the ether-body is compressed and contracted, and has become too small. This is a consequence of the contraction of the human consciousness. Thus, the more Evil forces lead human beings into materialism and to disdain the Spiritual, the more will the ether-body contract and wither.
“You have heard before, that all Faustus minde was set to study the artes of Necromancie and Coniuration, in which exercise hee followed day and night; and taking the wings of an Eagle, thought to flier over the whole world, and to know the secrets of heaven and earth … [which] he put in practise to bring the Divell before him … then began Doctor Faustus to call Mephostophiles the Spirite, and to charge him in the name of Beelzebub to appeare there personally without long stay.” English translation of the biography of “John Faustus” published in 1592. Contemporary letters also attest to Faustus’ real existence.
Evil has a dual nature personified by the Dark Gods Ahriman andLucifer. The Dark God, Ahriman can instil himself into the dried-up human ether-body, just as the Dark God, Lucifer can infuse himself into an extended, diffuse human ether-body. Ahriman will assume the form that is indicative of his nature: that is, insufficient etheric force for properly developed feet therefore he will appear to have horn-like feet, or goat’s feet.
Faust is the alchemist of German legend who sold his soul to the Evil One in exchange for Ancient Wisdom. The Dark God, Ahriman is the Evil spirit to whom Faust sold his soul who the mystic-poet Goethe calledMephistopheles. Although the figure of Mephistopheles appears in the drama in the guise of a contemporary cavalier, and is the debauchee and tempter of Faust, it would be more appropriate to portray him with the feet of a goat. Mephistopheles should therefore more accurately be pictured as faun-like or satyr-like form, with goat’s or horse’s feet.
Mephistopheles-Ahriman by his very nature lacks the etheric forces necessary to permeate and give shape to the normal physical form of a human being. However, the etheric forces that tend towards the Luciferic nature can only find easy access to the blood by way of the breath. The etheric forces that tend towards the Mephistopheles-Ahrimanic nature can only approach the nervous system, and not the blood. The significance of human blood in the unfolding evolutionary process is of paramount importance: for, human power lives in the blood and those deficient of it, lust after it. Mephistopheles-Ahriman is deprived of the possibility of penetrating into human blood because he cannot come near the warmth of the blood, and access to human blood is so very difficult for him. In fact, an abyss lies between Mephistopheles-Ahriman and human blood, and if wants to establish a connection with a human being, he will crave for a drop of human blood. WhenMephistopheles-Ahriman draws near to man as a living being, when he wants to make a connection with man, he realises that the essentially human power lives in the blood. He must therefore endeavour to get hold of the blood. This is the reason why Faust’s pact with Mephistopheles is signed with blood: it is a proof of the wisdom contained in the legend. Faust must perforce bind himself to Mephistopheles by way of the blood, because Mephistopheles has no direct access to human blood and craves for it. This is why Mephistopheles-Ahriman is portrayed as the scoffer, the cold, scornful companion of man. It is because he operates in the nerve-process, and is cold and scornful because he is bloodless; and because he lacks the warmth that belongs to the blood. This is the raison d’être of the long history of the Black Mass and Satanic blood-sacrificesand the reality behind “pacts with the Devil” being signed in blood. It is also why Goethe wrote inFaust that “Blood is a Very Special Fluid.”
Whereas it was the task of Oedipus, and his contemporaries, to get the better of theSphinx, it is now the task of man in our epoch to get the better of Mephistopheles-Ahriman. This Evil stands before modern man like a second Being, confronting him. The ancient Greek was confronted by the Sphinx as the personification of the forces (Luciferic) that had entered into him. However, the consequences of intellect and cold reason, rooted as they are in the nerve-processes, confront modern man. Whereas a flood of questions tormented the child in Greece, the suffering awaiting the modern child is that of being in the grip of preconceived ideas and prejudices. The child of today is accompanied through its life by a second parasitic “body” carrying all these innate judgements and opinions. Goethe, the mystic-poet, glimpsed this situation using poetic imagination: future humanity overshadowed by the Mephistophelean powers. Moreover, this experience will become increasingly general, and the phenomenon that will appear in childhood, will be this experience of the Mephistophelean powers.
The man of modern times, in his own opinion knows everything so well. He has absolute confidence in his intellectual powers to solve all problems in the universe. This is the phenomenon are called the Arrogance of Intellect. Thus, he observes the material world, uses his intellect to establish the interconnections between its phenomena, and believes that all its riddles are solved in this way. What he never comprehends is that his investigations are simply gropings in a phantasmagoria. All the prejudices and limitations of Materialism foster a false perception of reality and cause the capacity to perceive the spiritual to become coarsened and withered. This increasingly deeper penetration into matter will result in man chaining a spiritual Being to his heels: Ahriman. For, this increased immersion in Materialism strengthens the Ahrimanic Principality. The human being that has been spiritually parched by Materialism will provide a fertile environment for the Ahrimanic spirits to indwell. The ultimate result of this is that the Ahrimanic Powers, like a second nature, have secured a foothold in man’s being that will be increased in times to come. Thus, in the future everyone will be born with a second Being by his side, a Being who whispers to him of the folly of those who confirm the reality of the spiritual world.
In this altered consciousness, the parasitic second Being, will urge him to think materialistic thoughts, but to think, not through his own being, but through the second Being who is his spiritual consort. This manifests today, for instance, as neo-Darwinian theorists that ridicule Creationism, the Humanists that sneer at religion, and the individual who professes Marxism and spits in the face of ancient morality. Rationalist and humanist intellects will scorn and mock the riddle of the Sphinxand the enigma of Mephistopheles and declare them both sophism. This is the product of thecontraction of the human consciousness and the Arrogance of Intellect that arises from this spiritually purblind condition. This is the tragedy of contemporary humanity: that at this momentous time in history, when understanding and knowledge of God and Christ and the dark spirits that oppose them is of the utmost import the vast majority is wholly ignorant of them. In fact, the Occult Hierarchy, the Black Adepts of the Cult of Evil, the ancient Luciferian Priesthood who can claim an ancient lineage of service to Evil going far back in history, back before recorded history began, who are the arbiters of contemporary society, encourages people to ridicule the very idea of God and Christ. And thereby cause mankind to oppose Divine Powers.
Every culture expresses its essential characteristics in their myths, legends, and sagas; the Oedipus legends in ancient Greece and the Mephistopheles legends in the modern age are prime examples. The inner truths of these myths however yield fruitful results for those willing to look behind the poetic veil, and can become guiding principles for proper education and guidance in the future. The relations between Faust and Mephistopheles, and Oedipus and the Sphinx are examples of this educative function of such myths. The great poets and seers of a culture are first to apprehend the Being who accompanies man. Then, the rest of the people become aware and then mindful of this archetypal spirit. Thus, in modern Western culture, Goethe first perceived of this second Evilconfronting mankind who he called Mephistopheles. However, it is not a new Evil but an old Evil since Zarathustra, the great, ancient Persian prophet, was the first to perceive this ancient Evil as a threat to mankind. He called it Angra Mainyu (later it was called Ahriman). Goethe called thisEvil, Mephistopheles-Ahriman, which every single human being will have as a companion and who will operate most powerfully of all during childhood.
Unfortunately, mankind will be unprepared for this assault due to its lack of understanding of the trickeries of Mephistopheles-Ahriman. The presence of these two archetypes, the Sphinx(Lucifer) and Mephistopheles (Ahriman) are well documented in the legends and fairy-tales. Modern scholars viewing them from their rationalist position find them perplexing, but the secret of all legends and fairy-tales is that their content was originally actual experience. That is, they all arose, from man’s direct relations either to the Sphinx or to Mephistopheles-Ahriman. In the legends and fairy-tales of antiquity, allusion is frequently made to the motif of the riddle, the motif of the Sphinx. That is, where something has to be solved, some question answered by thequesting hero; or else an allusion to the motif of enchantment, of being under a spell. TheAhriman motif is different from that represented by the Sphinx. In face of the Sphinx, the human being is aware of something that penetrates into him, which can arouse internal tension that feels as though it can tear him to pieces. This is the perpetual doubt and uncontrolled passion that plagues humanity. In face of the Mephistophelean influence, man feels that he must yield to it, succumb to it, and even bind himself to it. That is, we are constantly in danger of falling victim toMephistopheles, of surrendering ourselves over to him to such an extent that we cannot get free.
The ancient Greeks were very much closer to the wisdom of Nature and the manifestations of Nature than we are today. They approached the wisdom of Nature without theology, in our modern sense of the term, and in this receptive consciousness, many questions and riddles impressed upon them. Modern approaches to Nature are fundamentally different from that in antiquity. Man no longer believes that direct intercourse with Nature brings him near to the Divine Wisdom of the world. Whereas the ancients immersed themselves in Nature and absorbed Her energies by “breathing and by the blood,” modern man searches for wisdom by theology, which is a cerebral, or a “nerve-process.” The “breathing process” is much more intimately connected with Nature than is the”nerve-process,” which is why the ancient Greek had such a living feeling of being led on to wisdom by the Sphinx. In the modern age, it is very different since theology arrived on the scene. We endeavour to get near to the Divine Wisdom of the world, by study, via the “nerve-process,” and not via the “breathing and the blood” as practised unconsciously by the ancients. Modern theology is a cerebral or a “nerve-process”: it is the study of the Divine Wisdom by a theological theory or system. However, because wisdom is shackled to the modern consciousness, to the “nerve-process,”by the process of ratiocination, man draws near to Mephistopheles. Wisdom, imprisoned in the”nerve-process,” has caused modern consciousness to perceive Mephistopheles shackled to it, that he –Mephistopheles-Ahriman, the Satan of the Bible– stands at our side.
In Faust, the Mephistophelean-Ahriman legend has been stripped of all the extraneous elements that have been woven around it. Here, Goethe tells the simple story of a young theologian striving for wisdom, who is plagued by doubts. Moreover, because he signs a pledge with Mephistopheles, who is in fact the Ahriman, or Satan, personified as “the Devil,” he is drawn into the Devil’s web of intrigue and corruption. It was the task of the ancient Greek, through the development of conscious “Ego-hood,” to conquer the Sphinx: to prove themselves master of the forces contained in the processes of the breathing and the blood. In the modern age, man must get the better of Mephistopheles by enriching the Ego with the wisdom that can be born only from knowledge and investigation of the spiritual world. The Oedipus legend indicates that in their rightfully allotted place, the Dark Gods Ahriman and Lucifer work beneficially, but in their wrongful place, they are injurious. It is a sort of spiritual pollution: pollution in the physical environment is merely something out of its naturally occurring place.
Lucifer and his hosts approached man at a time when man was still not ready for his astral body to become independent. The effect upon man was twofold. This Luciferian advance occurred towards the end of the Lemurian epoch when, in his astral body, man was actually exposed to the influences issuing from Lucifer. Although the Luciferic Spirits operated within the evolutionary process in the ancient Lemurian epoch, what actually did they achieve? The best way to understand this is to understand the course taken by human evolution. The higher spiritual Beings called the “Thrones”poured out their own substance to lay the first foundation of the human physical body many, many thousands of years ago. Then, the “Spirits of Wisdom” imbued man with the ether, or life-body, and then much later the “Spirits of Form” endowed man with the ‘I’, the ego. This faculty allowed man to realise himself as distinct from his environment so that he might become an independent being. In other words, man became a self-conscious being. The evolutionary process was arranged that although man was imbued with an independent consciousness concerning the external world, he was still dependent on the “Spirits of Form” as puppets on strings. This plan however was subverted by powers that wished to oppose creation. In the Lemurian epoch, the Luciferic Beings set themselves in opposition to the “Spirits of Form.”
In this act of rebellion, great benefits were lost yet in a certain sense a beneficial effect was introduced into the evolutionary process of mankind. What Lucifer introduced to mankind was the prospect of freedom, but this knowledge of freedom also exposed man to the possibility of evil-doing, of succumbing to passion and desire in the world of sense. This of course is the source of the Garden of Eden story in the Book of Genesis. The Luciferic influence acted on the subtle body of man called in esoteric language the astral body. The Luciferic Beings established their footing in the human astral body and eventually took possession of it. Consequently, two powers operated in the astral bodies of mankind at this time. They were, the Beings who bring man forward, the “Spirits of Form,” and the Beings, the Luciferic Spirits, who, while obstructing this constant impulse, had at the same time established the foundations of mankind’s independence. This invasion of the human form filched the command of the evolutionary process from the “Spirits of Form,” who otherwise would have remained in the sole possession of the astral body of man. If creation had been allowed to run its course unhindered, the “Spirits of Form” would have instilled into the astral body the forces, which give man his human countenance. They would have made man into an image of the Gods, that is, of the “Spirits of Form.” Mankind would have been moulded into image of the gods, but it would be at the cost of an eternal dependence on the “Spirits of Form.”
The intervention of the Luciferic Beings in the evolutionary plan for mankind caused the plan to be revised, but had they not intervened, man would have remained in a state of innocence and purity in his astral body. In essence, without the Luciferic influence, man would have remained a spiritualised animal, an animal that would gradually have evolved into a far nobler and more beautiful form than could have been developed by man under the influence of Lucifer. The “Spirits of Form” would have influenced the every impulse of man’s astral body, moulding it according to the original plan of the Book of Genesis. These Beings would have retained their sway over mankind until the middle of the Atlantean epoch.
If the original plan for mankind were carried out, his faculties of perception and cognition would not have been directed to the material world until a much later period. No passions, no desires would have arisen from his sense-perceptions and he would have confronted the physical world in a state of innocence; obedient in his every action to the impulses infused into him by the “Spirits of Form.”This blissful state was envisioned for humanity during its sojourn in the Lemurian and early Atlantean epochs. Man’s every deed on earth would have been induce by a kind of spiritual instinct and not by mere impulses caused by passions and sensual urges. However, this was not the case. Under the influence of Lucifer man came earlier to the stage, where he followed his own impulses earlier than would otherwise have been the case. In short, man had become an independent being, with a measure of inner freedom. However, the consequence was that mankind became somewhat detached from the spiritual world. Although man would have remained far more of an angelic being if Lucifer’s influence had not taken effect in the Lemurian epoch, but he would have also been a mere puppet of the higher Beings, the “Spirits of Form.” This is the caveat of Creation: left alone, man would have been a beautiful, noble, spiritualised animal yet under the sway of benign higher beings; traduced by Lucifer, he was blessed with self-conscious knowledge of Creation.
The Divine Plan was to open fully man’s eyes in the middle of the Atlantean epoch. Then the entire fabric of the material world of sense would have lain around him, but gazing upon it he would simultaneously have perceived the Divine-Spiritual, and would have seen the Divine-Spiritualworld behind every physical object. Man would be wholly dependent on the benign stewardship of the “Spirits of Form”; however, he would also have the developed the faculty enabling him to look back to the source of life, the Divine, from whence he had proceeded. He would then behold theGods of Light sending their radiance into his soul, guiding and leading him. From this heightened illuminated state man could purview the entire world of sense would have been outspread in transparency before him, revealing behind it those other Divine-Spiritual Beings who had taken the place of what had now been lost. Just as one spiritual world closed behind him a new spiritual world opened before him. However, man would have remained a child in the hands of higher,Divine-Spiritual Beings, and independence would not have been established in the human soul. This then was the Divine Plan that the Luciferic Beings prevented when they seduced mankind from his lofty state.
The Divine Plan did not happen, because Lucifer approached man, and by his machinations, made part of the underlying spiritual world invisible to man. A veil descended between the spiritual world and the world of sense. This veil cast darkness over the spiritual Beings of the world out of which man is born, and who would otherwise have remained perpetually visible to him. The veil descended because of the personal instincts, passions, and desires that arose in the human astral body. This was exactly what the Lucifer had planned. The Luciferic Beings schemed to incite the passions, desires, urges of men that would not otherwise have arisen. They debased and intensified these passions so that mankind turned away from his heavenly home and sought to sojourn in the physical realm of earth. Had humanity not succumbed to the blandishments of Lucifer it would have retained a perpetual longing for its heavenly home, and for the realms of spirit whence it had descended. Crucially, no passions inciting mankind to crave for what is to be found only on earth would have arisen in it. The earthly realm would not have aroused the slightest interest in the souls of men. For it was only through the intervention of the Luciferic Spirits that man came to crave for the impressions of the earth. The Luciferic Beings brought this about by pervading the innermost member of the soul of men, the astral body.
However, the Spirits of Form arrested this headlong descent into the material realm and brought mankind back from the abyss by initiating countermeasures. They inculcated into the being of man what would otherwise not have been his lot that militate against the Luciferic influence, which had inspired humanity to seek all-things sensory. The necessary counterweight to the deeds of the Luciferic Spirits was the introduction into the field of experience of mankind three realities: pain, toil, and death. These three countermeasures were the mechanism that stopped humanity from totally rejecting the higher spiritual realms and focussing entirely on the world of senses. Where the Luciferic Spirits gave man material desires, the higher spiritual Beings introduced illness and suffering as the consequences of material desires and interests, and thereby thwarted humanity’s total immersion in the realm of the senses. In short, pain, toil, and death were introduced as obstacles to the Luciferic Spirits’ plan to trap mankind in the physical realm, cut-off from his spiritual heritage. This is the origin of mankind’s primal karma.
The descent into matter was resisted by certain initiates in the great centres of the Oracles in ancient Atlantis. The initiates were trained to behold that part of the spiritual world, which had been concealed as the result of Lucifer’s influence. The aim of these guardians and pupils of the ancient Oracles in the Atlantean Mysteries was to retain knowledge of that part of the spiritual world of light denied because of Lucifer’s influence upon the astral body of man. What could also be seen by these High Initiates were the spiritual hierarchies. That is, spiritual figures seen by man in the various conditions of soul flowing parallel with the world of sense, figures which, from a World of Light, penetrate into our world decked in the raiment provided by the astral world. These spirit beings were spiritual Beings of a higher rank than man who had not descended into the physical world, and therefore remained invisible to ordinary sight when man’s eyes were opened prematurely by the Luciferian influence. Yet, the Dark God, Lucifer was an opponent of these Worlds of Light, and ceaselessly worked against them. Luciferic entities, but not Lucifer himself, were also visible to the initiates to the Atlanteans. Who in their shadowy, clairvoyant consciousness, in the sleeping state, and in conditions midway between sleeping and waking, could be transported into the spiritual world. Thus, part of the World of Light and part of the world opposing the World of Light were visible to the Atlantean initiates. Manifest to clairvoyant vision was the noble figures belonging to the World of Light that were as fascinating and splendid in their astral raiment as those of the opposing world of deception were fearsome and terrible.
This then is the double-edged sword presented to mankind by Lucifer: the capacity to attain freedom and the possibility for man to fall into error and Evil. If Lucifer had stayed his hand, the conditions described above would have come about in the middle of the Atlantean epoch. Then the tapestry of the sense-world would have been outspread before man in a rarefied glory, because it would have been apprehended by him with a spiritual sight gifted to him by the Divine. The mineral, plant and animal kingdoms would have been materially visible to him, as would the phenomena of nature and of the heavens, thunder, lightning, clouds, air, all would have been visible to external sight. The entire physical world would have been cognisable to man without the Luciferic interpolation, but he would also see the unmistakable presence of Divine-Spiritual Beings behind it all. However, as described above this did not happen. Lucifer’s influence had already taken effect in man’s astral body, which then moulded the physical body in such a way that it could not become the vehicle by which the physical world of sense and the spiritual world could be simultaneously apprehended. The three lower kingdoms of nature, the mineral, plant, and animal kingdoms lay around him and in these, he made his earthly home. Nevertheless, the physical world became a veil over the spiritual world, and man could not, nor can he to this day, see directly into the spiritual world. Consequently, man could not behold the physical sense-world in the form in which it would simultaneously have revealed itself to him as a spiritual world.
The Lucifer’s rebellion had caused a change in the unfolding evolutionary plan. Mankind had been diverted from the predestined course and evolved a self-consciousness that precluded certain advances planned for him. The Luciferian influence was able to assert itself until the middle of the Atlantean epoch when another demonically inspired power introduced itself in the human evolutionary process. This influence arose from a wholly different source and it should not to be confused with that of Lucifer and his hosts. However, this confusion between the two sources of Evil has prevailed in most treatments of the Problem of Evil.
Although Lucifer first made it possible for man to come under the sway of this other Evil influence, he is not the source of it. Lucifer initiated the descent into matter by his entrapments, by causing the human physical body to become denser than it would otherwise have become. Nevertheless, it was another influence that approach man in order to bring him completely into the material world of sense, thereby shutting him off entirely from the spiritual world. This second Principality of Evilwas the one that later seduced mankind into the illusion that there is no other world than the world of material existence outspread before him. This Evil was an opponent quite different in character from Lucifer that approached man in the middle of the Atlantean epoch, and ensnared him in sensory illusion. This Being is the Evil that casts the mist and darkness around man’s faculties of perception that fools him into believing there is nothing beyond the physical world of the senses. In other words, this Evil convinced mankind that the physical world was the be-all and end-all of existence.
Hence, mankind falls into the error that it would not only be futile but also foolish to seek to fathom the secrets of the world of sense. Whilst under Lucifer’s influence the sense-world became like a veil, under this Being’s influence the physical world in its totality became like a dense palisade, closing off the spiritual world. At this critical phase of human evolution it was only the Atlantean Initiates who were able, through the preparation they had undergone, to pierce this dense covering of the material, physical world. This second Principality of Evil arose from a being call Ahriman. Thus, since the middle of the Atlantean epoch there arose Two Faces of Evil personified by the Dark Gods Ahriman and Lucifer.