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)


  • 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) is also known as Mephistopheles, Satan, Mammon, Beelzebub
  • when did the Ahrimanic spiritual beings and their influences arise?


Schema FMC00.296 illustrates how we can relate Luciferic and Ahrimanic influences to our life of the soul and the 'I' attitude which we stand in life. In today's world and an age of self love and egotism, people focus on their rights .. and are bound to fall victim of many 'must-do' duties. This can be seen as a polarity Luciferic (self-love, individual focus) and Ahrimanic (working without true or deeper soul engagement). When we are able to stand above our egotism, cool this fire and accept what comes, and we instead we work with inner fire and love our duty truly from an inner soul warmth, we redeem Lucifer. We transmute him from the Luciferic tendency to one of selfless love, a loss beyond our own I.


Lecture coverage and references


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.


Hagemann on "Activities of ahrimanically influenced elemental beings in technology"

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 ma-chinery 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 en-vironment from when we are around mechanisms which we have constructed. For what are we doing when we take things from nature and put them to-gether 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 some-thing 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


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.


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.


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.  


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References and further reading