Ahrimanic beings and their influences

From Anthroposophy

General positioning: Spiritual beings evolve along a normal developmental line, but as in any population there are cohorts that lag behind or develop ahead. The Luciferic beings developed from the Old Sun planetary stage onwards, see Schema FMC00.019, and play a key role in the development of Mankind. A polar opposite counterimpulse of the Luciferic stream and beings are the Ahrimanic beings.

In the solar system upto the higher spirit world, we have the normally developing spiritual beings, but also Luciferic, Ahrimanic, and Asuric beings. Together they constitute what is called evil with its many faces: the chance to err, lie, do harm, etc. On the higher budhi and nirvana planes evil does not exist.

Man is the battleground between the above mentioned classes of beings, and hence Man is torn between the Luciferic and Ahrimanic paths of development, or the right balanced development represented by the Christ.

  • This is symbolized by the Representative of humanity, a statue by Rudolf Steiner.
  • See also Schema FMC00.244 on the Human 'I' page, and Schema FMC00.238 on I-less human beings for schematic perspectives on how Man is currently placed between the Luciferic and Ahrimanic influences both in one's life development (FMC00.244), and in an evolutionary context on Earth. (FMC00.238)

Aspects

  • evolutionary positioning: Ahrimanic spirits have remained behind instead of growing into the First Hierarchy (of Cherubim, Seraphim, Thrones), they have only become Spirits of Wisdom (1921-03-11-GA203)
  • Ahrimanic influence on Man
  • incarnation of Ahriman
  • the whole physical cosmos is mineral-material due to Ahrimanic influences, and due to Luciferic influences
  • names:
    • Ahriman (name used by Zarathustra in the ancient Persian cultural age)
    • also known as Mephistopheles, Satan, Mammon, Beelzebub, and Angramainyush (1908-09-11-GA106)
  • influence of the Ahrimanic spiritual beings since the middle of the Atlantean epoch ( 1909-03-22-GA107; GA013, Ch 6 Part 4)
  • Ahriman as
    • the God of hindrances
    • origin of fear
  • Further reading, also see: Fall of the spirits of darkness (1917-GA177 on Ahrimanic beings on Man)

Illustrations

Schema FMC00.238 depicts various aspects related to the battle for the soul, the 'I' of Man on Earth. See more on I-less human beings.

  • It shows how, in the second half of a planetary phase, the beings of the next phase already emerge, whilst the main beings go through what is called the 'human stage' at CoC level 4 (see Twelve Conditions of Consciousness, and schema FMC00.077A on Creation of solar system).
  • Hence, already today the Future Jupiter men are emerging, and they can incarnate prematurely into human beings that are not evolved or strong enough.
  • Furthermore it also depicts how backwards beings who are lagging the normal evolutionary pathon planetary phase N will continue their development in phase N+1, for example the backward angels live as Luciferic beings in Man on Earth from the Lemurian epoch onwards.
  • Hence it illustrates how Man is really pressed between Luciferic and Ahrimanic influences, and how the various lecture references hang together.
FMC00.238.jpg

Lecture coverage and references

1912-GA017 (The Threshold of the Spiritual World) .. explains that viewed from the spiritual realm,

[w]e feel the physical world to be a kind of reflected image of the world of the spirit. Yet this image, although reflecting the events and beings of the spiritual world, does not merely do this, but also leads an independent life of its own, although it is only an image. It is as though a person were to look into a mirror, and as though his reflected image were to come to independent life whilst he was looking at it.

Moreover, we learn to know spiritual beings who bring about this independent life of the reflected image of the spiritual world. […]

[…] One class of these spiritual beings presents itself in such a way that through them we discover the reason why man experiences the physical world as substantial and material. We discover that everything material is in reality spiritual, and that the spiritual activity of these beings consolidates and hardens the spiritual element of the physical world into matter. […] And so we will call the beings who bring about materialisation the Ahrimanic beings.

1913-03-29-GA145

.. that these animals are not what they appear to be in maya, but are imaginations: that is, they are imaginations, conceived in a consciousness. Who, then, conceives the animals as imaginations? Whose imaginations are they? Animals, also plants in their outward forms — though plants less than animals, and least of all minerals — are imaginations of Ahriman. […] Thus, if we take the lion-tribe; the group-soul of this species belongs to the good spiritual beings, as it were, and the war of Ahriman against the good spiritual beings consists in his pressing their group-souls into the separate individual forms of the animals and imprinting upon them his own imaginations. The separate lion-forms, as they move about outwardly in the world, are forced out of the group-souls by Ahriman.

1915-10-24-GA254

We have heard that when man breaks through the veil of nature and penetrates into the world lying behind nature, he encounters Ahrimanic beings, beings intent upon destruction. In the World Order these beings are bitter enemies of man's earthly nature, so that if, through weakness, he allies himself with them — and this is possible, as I have indicated — he is allying himself with the enemies of man on Earth. That is a fact, and a certain relationship existing between the human being and the Cosmos does much to promote such an alliance.

These beings behind the veil of nature are highly intelligent. I have spoken of human intelligence, but these beings have their own kind of thinking and intelligence; they have feeling, although it is different from human feeling; they also have will, although it, too, is different from human will. They perform certain deeds which come to expression outwardly in manifestations of nature, but the essential substantiality of which lies behind the veil.

Now there is a remarkable affinity between something in man and the highest faculties of these beings. I will make this clear in the following way. When man crosses the Threshold of the spiritual world and approaches these beings, it may seem to him as if he were entering a veritable inferno, or whatever he conceives it to be. What matters is that he shall understand the experience aright. What will strike him most forcibly is the remarkable intelligence of these beings. For they are extraordinarily clever, extraordinarily wise. Their faculties of soul come to expression in this cleverness. But the soul-forces, the higher forces of these beings are all related to the forces of man's lower nature. Sensuous urges in man are, in these beings, the very forces which strike one as so significant. Thus there is a relationship between the lowest forces of man and the highest forces of these spiritual beings. That is why they strive to identify themselves with the lower forces in man. When a man enters this other world, instincts of destruction or hatred, or the like, arise in him, because these beings draw up what constitutes man's lower nature to their own higher nature, and with their higher forces work through man's lower forces. Nobody can ally himself with these beings without debasing his own nature, without greatly enhancing the strength of certain sensuous urges and impulses.

This is a fact of which special account must be taken, for it shows us unambiguously how we must picture our relation to the Cosmos. In our own human nature there are lower urges and impulses. But these lower urges are forces which represent lower impulses only in us, as human beings. These same urges are, in these spiritual beings, higher forces. But these beings are working all the time within us. They are always there within our nature. Our progress in Spiritual Science depends essentially upon our recognising them, knowing that they are there. This enables us to say: we have our higher forces and we have our lower forces, and, in addition, those forces which in us are lower forces but in these spiritual beings are higher forces. — This expands the duality of our higher and lower forces into a triad. We are already at the border of the Threshold of the spiritual world when, instead of the duality of our higher and lower forces, we recognise the triad.

Now as I said, in our age it is impossible to adopt the method employed by Father Antonius in dealing with Paul the Simpleton; it is also impossible to do many things in the way certain Orders have been wont to do them. — It amounts to this: the knowledge in its old form cannot be used. For if it were thus presented to men, it would bring about exactly what I have been speaking about. It would without any doubt arouse lower instincts in them.

For example, there actually exists in the world an Order which leads men to knowledge of these mysterious beings without any preparation. In all such men, instincts of destruction are aroused, so that this Order is actually responsible for sending human beings with destructive instincts out into the world. In a passage in one of his writings Nietzsche hinted at the existence of this Order without knowing the actual circumstances.

1921-03-11-GA203

Now when the Earth came into existence, there was the question:

Will man now remain simply an inseparable member in the great organism which mounts to its eighth sphere, the great organism of the Elohim, or will he develop to freedom and become independent?

This question of whether men should become independent was decided through a most definite cosmic act. In respect of our will-system psychically and our metabolic-limb system we are indeed parts of the Elohim, there we are asleep. There we are not separate. We are separated, severed, in respect of our head-system.

[Positioning - Luciferic backward beings]

What occasioned this severance? It came about through the fact that certain spiritual beings who by a normal evolution would also have become Spirits of Form (SoF or Elohim) did not become SoF, they remained behind at the stage of Archai or Archangels. .. they are Beings who, if they had advanced normally, could have been SoF. But they did not advance normally, they stayed behind. They belong .. to the same sphere to which the Angels, the Archangels, belong; but they are not the same nature as the Angels or Archangels or Archai.

They are actually of the same nature as the Spirits of Form, but have remained behind in their evolution and have fallen into the hosts of Angels and Archangels, manifesting themselves in the same sphere.

Their activity has had to confine itself; they do not work upon the whole man, nor on what Man has pre-eminently acquired upon Earth, the metabolic-limb system, but they work upon the head-system of Man. I will draw here the head-system (see diagram, rose) as the counter-pole of the will-system, the metabolic-limb system. Here the great cosmic organism of the SoF is not active, but actively at work are the backward SoF whom I will draw so (yellow), working in this sphere together with Angeloi, Archangels and Archai. These beings, the laggard SoF, are actually opponents of the other SoF. The other SoF have separated Man off from themselves, but they would not have been able to give him freedom because they have an influence on the whole Man.

On the other hand, the laggard Spirits of Form restrict themselves to the head and gave man reason, intellect. They are essentially the Luciferic spirits and as you may see from what has been said, they are givers-of-will on a lower level.

The Elohim give will to the whole man; they give will to the head. The head would otherwise be filled only with will-less concepts. Concepts only become rational by being penetrated with will and becoming the power of judgment. That has come about through these spirits.

You will perhaps realise from what has now been depicted from a certain aspect that one must not apply cut-and-dried ideas when one considers cosmic opposing forces. One must not simply treat the Luciferic spirits with scorn, turn a cold shoulder — if I may express myself so — but one must be clear that these spirits are of an essentially higher order than man himself. In fact, they are not actually opponents of Man, they are opponents of the Elohim because they have remained behind in evolution and confine themselves to the human head. That is what we must bear in mind.

If you picture what these spirits would really attain if they had an entirely free hand with human evolution one comes to the following. When the Earth came into existence, there were the Elohim risen to their high rank while the others had stayed behind at earlier stages of evolution. These are in this way the bearers of what was pre-eminently imprinted into man from the past, from the Old Saturn, Old Sun, Old Moon existence, the bearers of what is to be implanted into man of the sublime past which we went through in the three former metamorphoses of evolution.

Since they have remained behind and set themselves in opposition, as it were, to what the Elohim purposed for the human beings of the Earth we can say of them: These Beings who are really Spirits of Form but who meet us in the spiritual world among the ranks of the Angels, Archangels and Archai imprint into man all that would like to keep him from descending to a complete earth existence. They would really like to keep him above the mineral kingdom. They would prefer man to experience only what is in the sprouting plant world, what lives in the animal world and in the actually human world. But they do not want him to come down to the dead mineral world. And in particular they desire above all that he should have no contact with our technics. That enrages these Spirits. They would like to keep man in a spiritual sphere and not let him descend to the earth. In this way they are opponents of the Elohim, because the Elohim, who have made man solidly firm in the dust of the earth, as the Bible expresses it, have drawn him down into the mineral kingdom. But freedom, the freedom which man is to experience in the earthly element, actually does not depend on just those Spirits who would keep him free of the earthly.

[Introducing and positioning Ahrimanic beings]

Now, by means of the Elohim Man has been established in the terrestrial mineral world and this has enabled still other spirits to gain access. Note carefully the difference between the spirits of whom I have just spoken and the spirits of whom I have still to speak.

  • Those of whom I spoke earlier are in the spheres where the Angels, the Archangels and the Archai are to be found. We find them among the hosts of these Spirits and it is they who bring flexibility, mobile reasoning, into the human head, the activity of phantasy, art, and so on. The[se spirits] .. have been present throughout evolution, they have only stayed behind; they were not able to share in it but they are backward Elohim, present in the cosmos with the Elohim, only not willing to let Man come quite down to Earth. However Man did come down to Earth through the Elohim.
  • But because man has been pressed down into the mineral kingdom, because the Elohim have given him an independence which is no full independence, for he experiences it asleep in his will and metabolic system, because of this, other spirits have secured admittance. They smuggle themselves, as it were, into evolution .. from outside came other Spirits. We find them if we direct the occult gaze to the hosts of the Cherubim, Seraphim, Thrones. Of the spirits actually belonging to this order some again have remained behind. They have not entered these hosts, they have only become Spirits of Wisdom (SoW). One can say of them that they would really like to begin quite a new creation on the earth, they would like to preserve a thorough earth-man. He has been incorporated in the mineral kingdom through the Elohim and they would like to take this as a beginning and from then on carry evolution further. They would like to wipe out the whole past; “Oh dear, the past,” they say, “that no longer bothers us; man has come down into the mineral kingdom, now let us tear him away from the Elohim, they do not need him, let us tear him away from the Elohim and begin a new evolution. Let him be the original member and then live on and on!”. Those are the Ahrimanic Beings. They want to expunge the whole of the past and leave man with merely what he has gained directly on the Earth.

You see how the Elohim take a middle stand; they would like to link the past with the future.

  • The spirits whom I described before would like to permeate man through and through with his lofty past.
  • The other spirits want to wipe out the entire past, take away from the Elohim what Man is out of the dust of the Earth and make a new beginning, make evolution only begin from the earth onwards, Away with this “balloon” of Old Saturn, Old Sun, Old Moon. None of that is to have any meaning for Man. A new evolution is to begin with the Earth; this is to be the new Saturn, then a new Sun comes, and so on. That is the ideal of these Beings. They break into man's unconsciousness, into the will-life, the metabolic-limb-life, that is where they make their attack. They are that race among the spiritual beings who want to give Man a special interest for the mineral-material, an interest in what is externally mechanistic. They would particularly like to destroy everything that the Earth has brought over from the Old Moon. They would like the animal world to disappear, the physical human world to disappear, the plant world to disappear, and of the mineral world only the physical laws to remain. Above all they would like human beings to be removed from the earth and to form a new Saturn out of machines, a new world purely of machines. In this way, the world should go on; that is actually their ideal. In the domain of external science it is their ideal to reduce everything to matter, to mechanise.

[Religion]

In the sphere of religion these two polarities are plainly to be perceived.

In former times, as you know from other lectures that I have given here, men were more exposed to the Spirits of the first kind who work on the head-nature. Even in the time of Plato you find that if one spoke of the eternity of the human soul, it was especially of the pre-natal existence and what one actually remembered of this previous existence.

That ceased gradually the further we come Into the Middle Ages, until the Church entirely prohibited a belief in pre-existence. Today this belief is held by the Church to be heresy.

Thus on the one hand there is a tendency to the knowledge of pre-existence, on the other hand the Ahrimanised Church which continues Man's life only beyond his death and makes his future existence merely the fruit of what he is here on earth.

You have that as an article of faith - what a human being experiences here in physical life he carries with him through death. His soul always looks back to that. The whole succeeding life is actually only the continuation of what was here between his birth and death. That is precisely the same as what the Ahrimanic Spirits want. This is just the important question that lies before mankind today:

Shall the Ahrimanic faith go on flourishing as if there were only a life after death, or shall the consciousness of pre-existence re-awaken and shall it then come to a union of pre-existence and post-existence through a centre balance?

That is what Spiritual Science must seek, the Christ-principle, the equilibrium between the Luciferic-Ahrimanic — on the one side pre-existence and post-existence on the other. That is the weighty problem of the present day, namely, that after humanity has succumbed for a time to the Ahrimanic belief in a mere post-existence, we should unite with it the consciousness, the knowledge, of pre-existence, in order to come to a conception of full humanity

Elementals

Hagemann on "Activities of ahrimanically influenced elemental beings in technology". Lecture referenecs are Schmidt numbers.

In the previous section, we became acquainted with elemental beings who are necessary servants of the creator powers in the realm of birth and death, and who also have the task of developing technology and of leading our modern civilization to its destruction. The following shows the manifold ways in which these elemental beings work in technological processes. A three-stage process is involved here. In the first stage, the raw materials which are necessary for technological processes are torn from their natural surroundings and broken down. Rudolf Steiner describes this as follows.

"When we break up nature, beginning with minerals, we bring about a certain feeling of pleasure on the part of the spiritual elemental beings in it...In what occurs, the important thing is that we drive the elemental spirits which belong to the sphere of the regularly progressing hierarchies out of the kingdoms of nature which they hold together. There are elemental ("very useful") spiritual beings everywhere in nature. When we disintegrate nature, we press the spiritual kingdom of nature-spirits out of it. This is what is continually happening during the first stage. We break up and pulverize material nature and thereby free the nature spirits. We lift them out of the sphere assigned to them by the Jehovah gods, into a realm where they can flutter around freely, where they are no longer bound to their original assigned dwelling places. Therefore we can also call this first stage the expulsion of the nature spirits.

In the second stage we put together again what we have taken from nature and broken down, in accordance with the laws we have discovered. When we make a machine or a complex of machines from raw materials, we plant certain spiritual beings in the thing we construct. The thing we make is by no means devoid of spirit.

At the third cultural stage, we could say that the effect technology has on us is that we stuff ourselves full of ahrimanic spirits - we really stuff ourselves completely with them. This is how it looks from the inside. Now if we turn away from this occult side of modern life and look back to the days when a human being slept in such a way that he was only separated from nature by walls permeable to the spirit, when he worked in nature during the day in contact with the regular spirits from the Jehovah hierarchy, we have to say that at that time, human souls-the I and the astral body-brought spiritual things from nature into their physical and etheric bodies, which had a stimulating effect on their inner soul life. This is becoming increasingly rare today"(2994)

In the following words Rudolf Steiner describes the experiences of our I and astral body during sleep in a moving motor vehicle, and how these experiences are brought back in a befuddling way into our physical and etheric bodies upon awaking.

  • "Because of certain 1in-übtions which cosmic laws naturally impose on us, in a case like this our ego and astral body are mainly very dose to our physical and etheric bodies, so that when we're asleep in a moving train coach, our ego and astral body are basically right inside the braking, rolling, and noise which is connected with the wheels and the machinery of the train, etc.. The same is true if we're on a modern steamship. We are inside everything that is going on around us there. We are inside these truly not very musical experiences in our environment, and one only needs to have gone through the very first steps in initiation to notice upon waking how the ego and astral body returning to the physical and etheric bodies bring with them what they experienced while they were being squeezed through the machinery the moment before they woke up...One really brings in the worst disorder, the most awful racket-rattling„ squeaking, creaking-And if one has a sensitive feeling for this, its effect upon one's etheric body is as if-this, of course, is a crude comparison, but you will not mis-understand it-as if one's physical body were being crushed and cut into pieces. This is an entirely neces-sary accompaniment to modern life." (2994)

Rudolf Steiner elaborates on this theme as follows:

  • "When we sleep, our soul merges with all the mechanisms which we ourselves have constructed. But a mechanism we have constructed is something quite different from the nature around us which was built up by nature spirits. For example, when we are outside in the woods, where everythirtg has been built up by nature spirits, we are in an entirely different environment from when we are around mechanisms which we have constructed. For what are we doing when we take things from nature and put them together in the machines and apparatus which we use in everyday life? We are not just putting pieces of matter together. Every time we put pieces of matter together, we are giving a demonic ahrimanic servant an opportunity to unite with the machine. We give a starting point to the ahrimanic demonic elemental spirits and servants in every machine and mechanism, and in everything that belongs to present-day civilization. When we live around machines, we are living to-gether with demonic ahrimanic elemental spirits. We  become permeated by them; we not only become permeated by the squeaking, creaking mechanisms, but also by something that is extremely destructive for our soul and spirit...We should notice and understand that our age is characterized that we are permeating the environment with demonic beings more and more. We are increasingly dealing with things that are mechanizing our civilization." (3009)

A few years later, Rudolf Steiner made the following comments on this same theme.

  • "A cultural world which is filled with ugly machines, smoke, and ugly chimneys, and which lacks beauty, is a world in which people do not want to make a connection with their pre-earthly existence. It is a world that tears them out of their pre-earthly existence. One can truly say-and not just by analogy-that a completely industrialial city is a delightful abode for all the demons who would like to make man forget that he had a pre-earthly existence in the spiritual world." (5142)

Finally, we have indications by Rudolf Steiner about the ahrimanically influenced elemental beings who will become increasingly active in technology, and the fact that the "very useful" elemental beings will lose their particular connection with plant growth.

  • "Where Man does not yet have or cannot have an influence, and where elemental spirits and nature spirits still do, present-day Man does with respect to social life-there one still has the sacraments. Although people do not realize this yet, there are very  strong ahrimanic impulses in individual human beings today. I repeat: people do not realize this yet. These ahrimanic impulses are trying to snatch away the sacramental influence of certain elementary nature spirits upon earth evolution. When modern technol­ogy has developed far enough to be able to generate artificial warmth over certain surfaces, one will snatch away plant growth and especially the growth of grains from the nature spirits and elementary spirits. This will happen. I am not criticizing it, for it is something that will necessarily occur in the future. One will not only make greenhouses or heated rooms for smaller numbers of plants to grow in the winter, but one will heat entire grain fields, so that the grain will be torn away from the laws which work down from the cosmos. lt will be able to grow at other times than those times when it only grows by its own nature with the intimate help of the nature spirits and elemental spirits. This will bring about the same degradation for plant seeds as has happened to the sacramental nature of conception and birth when they became spread out over the entire year." (3318)

Incarnation of Ahriman

1915-10-25-GA254

1916-05-16-GA167

1917-11-18

Moreover, people who wish to take over Christ's sphere of influence will actually call this Ahrimanic being 'Christ'. It will be essential to learn to distinguish the true Christ, who will not appear again in the flesh, from this other being. This is a very real battle, not an affair of abstract ideas - a real battle to set another being in the place of Christ for the whole of the rest of the Postatlantean epoch, some 6000 years.

1919-10-27

It depends on how human beings are prepared, whether they can resist this. Many people will in any case scoff at the whole idea of such an incarnation, which is just one of the means Ahrimanic powers use to hide the reality. It helps to know the means through which he works. One is the mathematical-mechanistic illusion of the universe held by science. Another is to foment everything that breaks people into small groups, especially the impulse towards nationalism. But his best means of triumph is to believe the half-truth that the Gospels give the whole of Christianity.

1919-11-15

When Ahriman does incarnate, he will, if not prevented, establish a great occult school which would make people magically into seers, though prematurely and without the effort otherwise necessary. But the clairvoyance of each person would be different, confusion would prevail, and constant strife would be inevitable. People could survive, but all culture would be overthrown.  

1921-03-13-GA203

1924-07-20-GA240

Why is dead matter called Ahrimanic?

1924-04-21-GA316

Why is the quartz crystal an earthly thing, retaining its form really in a very pedantic, rigid way? The quartz gets its form from an inner force and if you break it apart with a hammer the single parts always retain the tendency to be six-sided prisms, self-contained, six-sided pyramids. This tendency is present. You can as little rid the quartz of this tendency as you can get pedantry out of a man who is pedantic by nature. You may atomize a pedantic person, but he will still remain pedantic. The quartz does not allow itself to come to the point where the cosmos can do anything with its forces. Therefore the quartz has no life. If the quartz could be pulverized to such a degree that in the single fragments it no longer had the tendency to be governed, in the single fragment, by its own forces, something living and cosmic would grow out of the quartz. This is what happens in the formation of a seed. In the seed, matter is driven out to such a degree that the cosmos can intervene with its etheric forces. The world must be seen as a perpetual entering into chaos and again an emergence from chaos. What is contained in quartz also came at one time from the cosmos, but it remained at a standstill, has become Ahrimanic. It no longer exposes itself to the cosmic forces. As soon as anything enters into the realm of the living it must always pass through chaos.

Discussion

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References and further reading