Ahrimanic influence on Man

From Anthroposophy

Sub-human ahrimanic beings living in the elements of Earth and water enter Man's subconscious, especially during sleep, and take hold there of Man's will forces and weaken Man.

For a more general presentation see also Ahrimanic beings and their influences


  • positive influences
    • Ahriman has the power and helps Man to carry into higher worlds as much as possible from the world of the senses; to carry the passing moment (and of what is of value in there in terms of sensory existence) into eternity (1912-08-30-GA138)
  • negative or dangerous influences
    • the Ahrimanic influence which asserts itself in human evolution has to do with lying, with untruthfulness (see the expansion on the effects of untruthfulness in GA174, and the fall of the spirits of darkness GA177)
    • the God of hindrances, who wants to prevent Man from making progress
    • origin of fear
    • Mammon is the God of money (1907-12-05-GA266)
    • his hosts attack men's bodies and souls to corrode and ruin them, bacteria that arise under his influence can give rise to terrible epidemics and strange nervous diseases; children could be born with a ruined nervous system. In future they'll increase in a terrifying way, and many human bodies will waste away from terrible diseases and plagues (1908-08-09-GA266)
  • working in Man
    • positioned in Man's ether body and system of nerves and senses (1914-11-20-GA158)
    • where in the ether body? Ahrimanic beings live in Man's light (ether) body and keep Man in darkness, they shackle the physical body so the etheric body cannot free itself (1916-01-02-GA165) Rudolf Steiner stresses:

      When from out of and by light the human soul is capable of observing what takes place in its own light-body, it has liberated itself from the Ahrimanic forces which otherwise obscure what takes place therein

    • the moral order on earth is bound up with the human etheric body. Man is only conscious and ‘armed with his moral qualities’ while awake, while asleep is he open to spiritual influences on his etheric body (1922-12-03-GA219)
    • how ahrimanic elementals (that belong to an entirely different sphere of evolution) can work in Man's subconsciousness when Man's I-consciousness is dimmed (1924-08-19-GA243).
    • the double
      • Ahrimanic influences can separate off certain intense attachments and parts of Man's etheric and astral being from the rest of the soul, and form this independant soul fragment giving it a human shape, which can confront Man in the elemental world as our 'double'. The double is part of ourselves: a large part of the etheric body that is separated off as something objective to which Ahriman has given our own shape. This encounter with the double is in the nature of an elemental phenomenon. It can happen as a result of subconscious soul impressions and impulses even to a person who is not clairvoyant (1913-08-30-GA147)
  • the illegitimate manipulation of deceased souls by secret societies, and ahrimanic influence - see Souls after death (eg 1917-01-22-GA174)


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.

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

Overview coverage

A printed book with the title 'The Influences of Lucifer and Ahriman: Human responsibility for the Earth' collects relevant lectures from 1919-GA191 and 1919-GA193.

Reference extracts

In the extracts below, Mammon is another name for Ahriman.


An especially important event took place on the astral plane in November 1879. Since then esoteric life has taken on a quite different direction. The esoteric stream that lived in mankind since the 14th century was replaced by a new one. Previously all occult life took place very quietly and hidden from the outer world under the direction of the archangel Gabriel (“annunciation”). Something quite similar to a birth took place on the astral plane in 1879. What had slowly ripened since the 14th century could now be carried into the world in a freer way, even though only for a few people. For Gabriel's rule was followed by that of the archangel Michael. He's the radiant sun that lets esoteric wisdom shine out into a small host of people.

Materialism is included in the divine plan of creation and it has a purpose in the whole world. But the time has now come for the esoteric sun to shine brightly under Michael's radiant direction. For materialism's dark forces are increasing.

Michael's radiant rule will be followed by a dark, terrible age that starts about 2300. Together with Michael, a dark God has begun his rule — the God Mammon. For occultism Mammon isn't just the God of money. He's the leader of all base, black forces. And his hosts attack men's bodies and souls to corrode and ruin them. There's a lot of talk about bacterial today, and they influence a lot of things. In future they'll increase in a terrifying way, and many human bodies will waste away from terrible diseases and plagues.


For since 1879 we've entered a new stage of human evolution. Gabriel worked on the development of a new organ in man's brain by regulating human births (1525–1879). A 16th century man would not have understood our present theosophy. It's up to archangel Michael to stimulate men to use their newly acquired organ, that degenerates if a man doesn't use it. Such a man comes under the influence of Michael's opponent, Mammon or Beelzebub. This is the God of hindrances, who wants to prevent men from making progress. The bacteria that arise under his influence can give rise to terrible epidemics and strange nervous diseases; children could be born with a ruined nervous system.


And the Ahrimanic? What is that?

When we meet Ahriman in the super-sensible world, we find his particular attributes are quite different from those of Lucifer.

  • To come into relation with Lucifer in the supersensible world, we really only need to purify and cleanse ourselves from all the dross of faulty I-hood and the egoism of sensory existence. For that, Lucifer will make us a good guide in the actual supersensible world, and we shall not easily become his prey.
  • But with Ahriman it is different; his is another task in world evolution. While Lucifer reveals all that is hidden, Ahriman's task for the world of the senses can be described by saying that where our world of the senses is, where it becomes visible, there is Ahriman, but he permeates it invisibly, supersensibly.

How does Ahriman help us? He helps us considerably in the physical world; he helps every soul. Indeed, he helps every soul to carry into higher worlds as much as possible from the world of the senses, of what is played out only there, because the world of the senses exists for some purpose and is not merely maya. It exists as the stage for events that beings may experience, and what is thus enacted and experienced must be borne up into super-sensible worlds. The power to carry into eternity what is of value in sensory existence is the power that belongs to Ahriman. To give the passing moment back to eternity, that is in Ahriman's power.

For the individual soul in relation to Ahriman, however, something quite different comes into consideration. What men experience primarily in sensory existence is of infinite value to them, and I hardly think I shall meet with much opposition if I say that the enthusiasm and the inclination carefully to preserve what we experience in sensory existence, and to save it up as far as possible for eternity, is generally much greater than the other tendency, namely, to bring down into the world of the senses all that we can from the hidden spiritual worlds. Man loves the world of the senses quite naturally and comprehensibly, and would like to take as much as possible of it with him into spiritual existence. Certain religious faiths, in order to comfort their adherents, tell them that they can quite well take with them into spiritual life all that is in sensory existence. No doubt they say it because they unconsciously realise how much man loves what is his in physical existence. This is what Ahriman's power strives to bring about, that all that we have here can be carried on with us into spiritual worlds.

This inclination and desire to carry up the physical into the super-physical is both strong and forceful in the soul. It is not at all easy to get rid of it when, through death or initiation, you rise from the world of the senses into higher worlds. Therefore, you still have it in you when you become a being of the higher world. If you meet Ahriman there, this is just where he becomes dangerous because he willingly helps you to carry into these super-sensible worlds all you have gained and experienced in sensory existence.

There could be no more cherished companion than Ahriman for those who would preserve each passing moment for eternity. Many men, as soon as they have passed the gateway into the super-sensible world, find in Ahriman an accommodating companion; he is always seeking to make what takes place on earth play its part in the higher worlds and to claim it there for himself and for those who work with him. But even that is not the worst, because you do not enter the super-sensible world without having in a certain respect cast off your selfhood. If you gained entrance there with your ordinary, normal impelling force, you would soon seize hold of Ahriman and feel him to be a most easy-going companion. But you cannot enter in that state. On entering higher worlds, you already have the faculty for recognising him as partaking in the divine, since with overwhelming tragedy he permeates earth evolution in sensory existence and is forever at pains so to transform it that it shall become a spiritual life. That is Ahriman's deep tragedy! He would like to change all that has ever appeared in the physical into the spiritual, and he battles in the world order for the purification and cleansing, in cleansing fires, of everything physical. In his sense that is good, but it would be evil in the sense of the divine, spiritual beings if Ahriman, who is their opponent in the world order, could carry out all his aims.

Much must be done there in a different way from how he would have it done. I should like here to describe what I mean by a comparison. By applying this comparison to the whole world order, you will be able to appreciate how Ahriman strives for himself after what he can call good, yet how impossible it is to fit this “good” into the whole world order.

Now let us take any animal that, for its progressive development in sensory existence, must shed its skin. From time to time, it must lay aside its skin like a kind of image of itself and progress in life with a new form. Something has to be cast aside to give the being in question new possibilities of life. Ahriman would like to save everything and would like to prevent all snakes from casting their skin; he would like everything used up that, in the mind of the world order, must be cast aside. Man, too, would like to do that in sensory existence. There is a great deal he would prefer not to leave but to take with him, although in the mind of a higher world order it is destined for the temporal and the passing moment. Because the urge is so strong in him, man would, if it were possible for him among all his questions in the sensory world about unknown paths and so forth, want first to ask, “Where can Ahriman be found? Where can Ahriman help one to carry into eternity what is held in the passing moment?”

Here is the one good thing! Man is not able to find Ahriman in the world of the senses because here he is invisible and spiritual. It belongs to the obligations of the Guardian of the Threshold that Ahriman should remain as invisible as possible in the physical world. Thus, man can unfold what lies in his own forces alone for the preservation of the passing moment in eternity, and cannot unconsciously let Ahriman help him. Here again, good and evil play into man's physical life as two poles. Man as a soul passes through human evolution in which one task is good, genuine and true; that is, to carry out of the sensory world all that has eternal value and to make it part of the eternal kingdom. This is the duty laid upon us — to take the precious treasures of the moment and offer them up on the altar of eternity. When we let Ahriman help us with the real treasures of temporal life, then it is good. But when at the moment of entering the super-sensible world, we come to know Ahriman — until then we cannot see him — and show him the tendency that remains in us to carry out of the sensory world into the super-sensible world what has no value, then this has a great deal of value for him. It is worthless, however, for his opponents. Then he can find us to be useful tools to lead what is loved here in sensory existence over into eternity. Because it is thus loved, it takes its place through him in eternity.


.. describes the double

Let us use the following to illustrate some of their actions. The human soul is pretty complicated and has many conflicting tendencies which it cannot control. These live deep down within it, beyond the reach of our ordinary consciousness. As I have already mentioned, the experience of entering the elemental world can be likened to the grotesque act of sticking one's head into an ant hill. As we stick our consciousness into the elemental realm, every thought becomes an individual living thought-being and begins to lead an independent life, in which our consciousness is immersed.

Now the clairvoyant has the following experience. All human beings have elements in their souls beyond their full control, elements to which they are emotionally attached.

Ahriman becomes particularly active towards these especially intense attachments. The soul contains portions that can be pried loose from its entirety, and because we do not fully control these components, Ahriman pounces on them. Through Ahriman's unjustified activity, overstepping his proper domain, a tendency arises for those parts of man's etheric and astral being that are inclined to separate from the rest of the soul's life and become independent to be formed by Ahriman and even given human shape.

As a matter of fact, there are all sorts of thoughts sitting in us that are capable of taking on human form. When Ahriman has the chance to make these parts of the soul independent and give them human shape, they confront us in the elemental world as our Doppelgänger, or double. We have to be aware that everything changes as soon as we leave our physical body and enter the elemental world. One can't encounter oneself while in the physical body, but we can be in an etheric body on entering the elemental world and still see this etheric body from outside as one sees the double.

In terms of its substance, the double is a large part of the etheric body. We retain part of that body, but another part of it separates off and becomes objective. We look at it and see that it is part of ourselves, to which Ahriman has given our own shape. Ahriman tries to squeeze everything to make it conform to physical laws. The physical world is ruled by the Spirits of Form, who share this rulership with Ahriman. Therefore Ahriman can shape part of the human being into the double.

This encounter with the double is in the nature of an elemental phenomenon. It can happen as a result of subconscious soul impressions and impulses even to a person who is not clairvoyant.

[Example illustration follows]

The following can occur: Somebody or other may be an intrigant and thereby have done harm to other people. He may have gone out and set another intrigue in motion. On returning home, he may enter his study, where papers are lying on his desk, papers that may contain things he made use of in his intrigues. Now what may happen, despite the cynical cast of his ordinary consciousness, is that his subconscious may be seized by these impulses to make intrigues. He comes in, looks at his desk — and what does he see? He sees himself sitting there!

It's an uncomfortable encounter, to enter one's own room and see oneself sitting at the desk. But such things belong to the realm of the possible; they happen often and most easily to those given to intrigue.

What one encounters is indeed the double. The double is one among many tasks I have set myself to tackle in the two plays, The Guardian of the Threshold and The Souls' Awakening. We know that the double is experienced by Johannes Thomasius. It is due to his peculiar development and to the strange experiences he has lived through that he has these encounters with the double in the scenes shown; Ahriman can form a part of his soul in such a way at this soul fragment — essentially a part of his etheric body — is filled with self-seeking soul elements. This sort of thing occurs only when the preconditions are such as those in Johannes Thomasius's case. You can get quite an idea of Johannes's particular soul in the course of the four dramas. A certain stage in his soul development is also indicated at the end of The Guardian of the Threshold. Such a stage is reached by many seekers on the spiritual path.


.. is completely about the light-ether-body and how Ahriman affects this

Why can this not be done in ordinary life? Why is it that we first perceive the results of the impacts of the etheric body on the physical body?

It is because Ahriman and Lucifer are bound up with the earthly world, because Ahriman has shackled the physical body so firmly to the whole being of man, that the etheric body cannot easily free itself; because he has so densely compressed the physical body to the etheric body; and because the spirits that serve Ahriman are always present, they bring it to pass that when Man is in the light, his light-body with its movements are darkened, so that he cannot behold them. Demons continually keep the light-body of Man in darkness. This is because the organisation of the physical body and etheric body is brought about by Ahriman.

We can therefore say [and I shall write this sentence on the blackboard, for it is of great importance]:

“When from out of and by light the human soul is capable of observing what takes place in its own light-body, it has liberated itself from the Ahrimanic forces which otherwise obscure what takes place therein.”


When we fear, we must think of Ahriman as we saw him in one of the Mystery Plays.

Look at this fragment of the Pistis-Sophia. Does it not appear as if it had been saved on purpose to enable us to speak somewhat as follows: Behold, you opponents of the new Spiritual Science. Does not this new Spiritual Science say: that by the light, the light-movements of the light-body can be seen, when the opposing Ahrimanic demons do not prevent it.

There was once a time when this was already known; and the Pistis-Sophia presents a physical evidence of that time.


Then, during the subsequent Atlantean age, there came the entrance of the Ahrimanic element into earthly evolution.

Just as during the fourth Postatlantean age human knowledge had to come to an understanding of the Luciferic symbol, so now, during our fifth Postatlantean age, it was necessary to place before the soul in an adequate but yet sufficiently indicative form, the opposite symbol.

The figure of Faust has Ahriman at his side, as Eve has Lucifer. Lucifer approaches the woman, Eve; Ahriman approaches the man, Faust.

And just as the man, Adam, was indirectly beguiled through Eve, so here, the woman, Gretchen, is deceived through the man, Faust. The seduction of Gretchen is the result of deception, because Ahriman is at work. Ahriman is the ‘Lying Spirit’ in contrast to Lucifer who is the ‘Tempter.’ This, then, is how they may be described: Lucifer, the Tempter; Ahriman, the Lying Spirit.

Much exists in the world for the express purpose of guarding mankind from temptation by Lucifer: rules of conduct, maxims, moral precepts, instituted customs and so forth. But there is less to help man to protect himself in the right way from falling prey to the Ahrimanic impulse — namely, untruthfulness.

All that is Luciferic in man has to do with the emotions, the passions. On the other hand, the Ahrimanic influence which asserts itself in human evolution has to do with lying, with untruthfulness. And in our age man must be armed not only against the attacks of Lucifer. It is high time for him to forge his armour against the attacks of Ahriman.


is a lecture series called 'The spiritual background of the external world. Fall of the Spirits of Darkness.


.. is about how Ahrimanic beings - defeated by the Michaelic hosts - now influence human beings, especially through materialistic thinking


We see how the faith of Europe sends its aura into the regions where the Romans had sent their gold! In the East the Crusaders came into contact with money and its results; with Roman gold on the one hand, with Oriental Gnosis on the other. This aura under which the Crusades arose must be taken into consideration. It is entirely the aura of European faith — that is the one tone, the one colouring the picture. Let us set against this colouring — if it were to be painted, it would have to be in this one colour — another picture of the dawn of the Consciousness Soul. How should this be represented?

Consider Dandolo, Doge of Venice (1120–1205), formerly in Constantinople and blinded there by the Turks, who was the incarnation of the Ahriman-spirit, and, in spite of his blindness, was the ruler Venice — that Venice which imported the Ahrimanic element into the spirit, as I have described. It was a moment of great significance in the history of the world when this Doge conquered Constantinople, and led over the original spirit of the Crusades into the later ones.

How did it happen?

The Crusaders originally went to the East in quest of the holy places and relics, wishing to bring them under the mantle of their faith. That was their aim they wanted to bring the relics back reverently to Europe. They wished to establish a real link between their faith and the events of he Mystery of Golgotha. When Venice intervened, what became of the relics? They were all collected, but in reality everything was made a business transaction! Under the influence of Venice, the relics were gradually treated as stocks and shares; they rose and rose in value.

The capitalist aura spread through Dandolo, the incarnation of the Ahriman-spirit!

We ask ourselves — how did Venice succeed in reversing the earlier trend of events? Venice led trade back from the East to Europe; she rekindled commercial life, which had been impossible before. The question must arise:

How could Venice become so powerful in the realm of commerce, while Europe was fundamentally so poor?

Commerce was carried on by barter. During the first part of the period of which I have been speaking, Europe was cut off from the East, to which, to begin with, she had given her coinage. In the absence of money, barter was substituted. Over and over again the historical fact of the way in which Venice came into this field must be insisted upon. We can prove that Venice drove a great bargain for the possession of Alexandria and Damieta, in order to barter her goods for the Oriental wares she coveted.

What was it that Venice sold?

One thing can easily be proved by documentary evidence, and many others could be added to it: investigation in this direction could be carried far. The Venetian wares were men! Thousands of men! The new trade with the East was begun with human beings — men were sold to the East; and anyone who follows up what became of them arrives at a remarkable result, of which outer history as yet knows but little. From these bartered men sprang the strongest of the warriors with whom the great military expeditions from Asia into Europe were successfully undertaken. The choicest troops of the Asiatic tribes which later fell upon Europe consisted of the descendants of the men sold into slavery to the East by Venice and other Italian States.


is called 'The ahrimanic deception'


.. is called 'The Michael deed and influence as counter-pole of the Ahrimanic influence'. Extract SWCC.

It is not often that Rudolf Steiner so explicitly states 'significant important very very extremely serious'. He does so because Mankind seems to be blind to what he explains.

For the first section below we refer to Schema FMC00.238 on I-less human beings. It contains further references that explain this point further. It shows the Luciferic influences coming 'from above' into Man's head and the arising Ahrimanic influences emerging 'from below' in Man's will.

.. the archai (the present Spirits of Personality or Time Spirits), were on Old Saturn state at the stage of evolution at which the human being is today, although in quite different forms, with a completely different outer aspect. What we designate today as archai, was going through the 'human stage' during the Old Saturn stage. The archangels were man during the Old Sun stage, the angels during the Old Moon stage. During the Earth stage we are man, going through the human stage.

Our own evolution went on alongside all this, by way of preparation. If we go back to the Old Moon stage we must say: Here the angels were human beings, with an appearance quite different from ours, for there were quite different conditions upon Old Moon. But alongside these Old Moon men, the angels, we developed in a pre-state of the Earth evolution, in a very advanced state, so that we had to be taken into consideration by the angels. Especially during the descending phase of the Old Moon evolution did we, at times, constitute a troublesome concern for the angels. The same, however, is the case with us in descending Earth evolution: since the Earth evolution has entered its descending phases, other beings make themselves felt.

['to be taken very, very seriously' - see underlined]

.. it is a significant, an important result of spiritual-scientific research which is to be taken very, very seriously, that

we have already entered the period of Earth evolution when certain beings make themselves felt who upon Future Jupiter will have advanced to the form of man, a different form of man, to be sure, but which, nevertheless, may be compared with the being of man. For we will be different beings on Future Jupiter. These so-to-speak Future Jupiter men exist already now just as we existed upon Old Moon. They exist, of course not externally visible; but I explained to you recently what it means to be externally visible, and that man is also a super-sensible being. Supersensibily these beings are very decidedly present.

I emphasize once more: it is an extremely serious truth that certain beings make themselves felt which exist in the environment of mankind.

They make themselves felt more and more since the middle of the fifteenth century. These beings possess chiefly the impulse of a force which is very similar to the human force of will, that force of will of which I told you yesterday that it exists in the deeper strata of the human consciousness. These invisible beings are related to that element of which ordinary consciousness thus remains unconscious today; but they already make themselves very strongly felt in the development of present-day humanity.

[The WWI example]

For the person who takes spiritual research truly seriously this is a problem of great magnitude. I was confronted with this problem especially strongly — at the time I spoke to a number of our friends about it in one or another form — I was confronted with this problem in a demanding fashion, as it were, when, in the year 1914, this war catastrophe broke in upon us. One had to ask oneself:

How did an event overtake European mankind which it is impossible to gauge as to its causes in the way that is customary in regard to previous historical events?

The one who knows that not more than thirty or forty people participated in Europe in the decisive events of the year 1914, and who also knows the soul condition in which most of these people were, will be confronted by this significant problem. For most of these people, as strange as it may sound today, most of these people had a dulled, obscured state of consciousness.

During the last few years much has occurred that was caused by a dulled human consciousness.

In the decisive places of the year 1914 we see everywhere that the most important decisions of the end of July and the beginning of August were reached with an obscured consciousness; and this has continued on right into our present day. This is a problem, terrifying in its nature.

If we investigate it spiritual-scientifically, then we find that these obscured consciousnesses were the gateways through which precisely these will-beings were able to take possession of the consciousness of these men; they took possession of the obscured, veiled consciousness of these human beings and acted with their consciousness.

[Ahrimanic nature of these beings]

And these beings who thus took possession, who are still sub-human beings, what kind of beings are they? We have to pose this question very seriously: What kind of beings are they?

  • .. we have asked about the origin of human intelligence and human intelligent behavior which has its instrument in our head organism. And this intelligent constitution of our soul stems from that deed of the archangel Michael which is commonly presented in the symbol of the Fall, the casting down of the Dragon. This is actually a very trivial symbol. For, if we really conceive of Michael and the Dragon, we have to visualize, first, the Michael Being, and, secondly, the Dragon who, in reality, consists of all that which enters into our so-called reason, into our intelligence. Not into a hell does Michael cast his opposing hosts, but into the human heads; there this Luciferic impulse continues to live. I have characterized human intelligence as an actual Luciferic impulse. Thus we may say: if we look back into the evolution of the Earth, we find the Michael-deed, and to this Michael-deed is joined the illumination of man by his reason.
  • The sub-human beings whose main character consists of an impulse which strongly coincides with human willing, with the human power of will, now appear from below, as it were, whereas the hosts of forces cast down by Michael came from above; and while these latter took possession of the human power of will; they unite themselves with it and are beings produced by the realm of Ahriman. Ahrimanic influences acted through those obscured consciousnesses.

Indeed, as long as one does not take into consideration these forces as forces objectively existing in the world just as one takes into consideration what today is called magnetism, electricity, and so forth, one will not gain an insight into that nature which, according to Goethe's prose Hymn to Nature, comprises man. For nature, as it is conceived of in today's natural science does not contain man, but merely the human physical self.

At the beginning of Earth becoming we have to do with a downfall of Luciferic beings; today we have a rise of Ahrimanic beings. The former beings influence the Luciferic power of thought, the latter the human power of will; we have to recognize the arrival of these latter beings within the evolution of mankind. We have to realize that these beings arrive and that we have to reckon with a conception of nature which, to be sure, for the time being only includes man; for the animal kingdom will only be included later on in the Earth period. Upon the animal these beings have no influences as yet.

We shall not comprehend the human race without taking these beings into consideration. And these beings, who are, as it were, pushed from behind, for behind them there stands the Ahrimanic power which endows them with their strong will power, which pours into them their directive forces, — these beings who as such are sub-human beings are controlled in their totality by higher Ahrimanic spirits and thus contain something which far surpasses their own nature and being. Therefore they show something in their appearance which, if it takes the human being captive, acts much more strongly, very much more strongly than that which the weak human being can control today, if he does not strengthen it through the spirit.

What is the aim of this host?

.. just as the hosts which Michael has pushed down have aimed at human illumination, at human permeation with reason, these hosts aim at a certain permeation of human willing.

And what do they want?

They burrow, as it were, in the deepest stratum of consciousness in which the human being is still asleep today in his waking state. Man does not notice how these beings enter his soul and also his body. Here they suck in, with their power of attraction, everything that has remained Luciferic, that has not become Christ-permeated. This they can reach: this they can take possession of.

.. our time raises these problems for us and we must no longer pass by these things .. it has become convenient for human beings to think differently, that is, not to think about or take Man into consideration at all. And it is not without danger to speak about these things in complete truth at a time when many people do not at all love the sense for truth, quite apart from the fact that false sentimentality might find these things a psychic cruelty.


the Ahrimanic being and the moral ether, see partial (incomplete) extract on: Spectrum of elements and ethers#1922-11-12-GA266.2F3

[Ahrimanic beings influencing man while asleep - Irregular Moon/Mercury/Venus beings]

It is found to begin with that man is influenced not only by those Beings and their physical reflections, the Stars, which can be directly observed, but that within earthly exist­ence itself, supersensible Beings akin to those of the world of Stars have so to speak set up their abode in the earthly realm.

You know that the people of the Old Testament wor­shipped Jehovah—who was an actual Being, connected with what manifests in the physical world as Moon. It is of course more or less a figure of speech to say that the Jehovah-Being has his dwelling in the Moon, but at the same time there is reality in the expression. Everything pertaining to this Jehovah-Being is connected with the Moon.

Now there are Beings who `scorned'—if I may so express it—to make the journey to the Moon with the Jehovah-beings when the Moon separated from the Earth, and who remained in the earthly realm. So that in a way we can divine the existence of the true Jehovah-beings when we look at the Moon.

We can say : that is the outer physical image of everything that participates in a regular way in the World Order in connection with the Being known as Jehovah. But when we learn to know what takes place inside the surface of the Earthwhether in the solid or the watery states—we find beings there who have disdained to make their home on the Moon, and have in an irregular way made the Earth their dwelling-place.

Now the Moon-beings, as I will call them, have helpers. These helpers belong to Mercury and Venus, just as the Moon-beings belong to the Moon. The Venus-beings, the Mercury-beings and the Moon-beings form a kind of trinity. The so-called regular beings of this kind in the Universe belong to these Stars. But both in the solid and the watery constituents of the Earth, we find beings belonging, it is true, to the same category, but—one might say—to a differ­ent epoch of time. They are beings who did not share in the Earth's cosmic evolution.

These beings have an influence upon sleeping man just as the regular cosmic beings have ; but their influence is per­nicious. I must characterize it by saying : when a man goes to sleep, then in the condition between falling asleep and waking, these irregular Moon, Venus and Mercury-beings approach him and set about persuading him that evil is good and good evil. All this takes place in man's unconscious condition, between going to sleep and waking.

It is a shattering experience connected with initiation that beyond the threshold of ordinary consciousness things by no means without danger to humanity are encountered.

People holding the materialistic view of life have no idea to what man is exposed between going to sleep and waking. He is actually exposed to these beings who persuade him in his sleeping state that good is evil, and evil good. The moral order on Earth is bound up with the human etheric body, and when man sleeps, he leaves his moral achievements behind him on the bed. He does not pass over into the state of sleep armed with his moral qualities.

Natural Science today is everywhere touching the fringe of things which need to be explained by Spiritual Science. You may recently have seen in the newspapers some interest­ing and thoroughly well-founded statistics. It was stated that criminals in the prisons have been found to have the soundest sleep of all. Really hardened criminals are never tormented during their sleep by bad dreams or the like. This only happens when they dip down again into their etheric bodies, for it is there that the moral qualities lie. It can much more easily happen to one who is striving to be moral, that through the constitution of his etheric body, he carries over something into his astral body and is then tormented by dreams as the result of comparatively trifling moral lapses. But generally speaking it is a fact that man does not carry over at all, or only to a very slight extent, the moral consti­tution he acquires during earthly existence but is exposed during sleep to the beings just referred to.

[Ahrimanic beings during sleep]

These beings are identical with those I have always desig­nated as Ahrimanic. They set themselves the task of keeping man on the Earth by every possible means. You know from the book Occult Science that the Earth will one day pass over into the Jupiter condition. That is what these beings want to prevent. They want to prevent man from developing in a regular way together with the Earth and then passing over into the Jupiter condition in a normal way. They want to preserve the Earth as Earth and mankind for the Earth. Hence these beings work unceasingly and with great intensity to achieve the following.

You must remember that these are things that take place behind the scenes of existence —real processes that have been going on ever since there has been a human race on the Earth.—Man passes into the state of sleep in his Ego-being and astral-being. These Moon, Venus and Mercury-beings who are living unlaw­fully on the Earth, now endeavor to give man an etheric body composed of the Earth's ether whenever he is asleep.

They hardly ever succeed. In rare cases of which I will speak at some later time, they have succeeded ; but this hardly ever happens. Still they do not give up the attempt for over and over again it seems to them that their efforts might succeed, that they might surround, permeate a man while he is asleep and has left his etheric body behind, with another etheric body built up from the Earth's ether. That is what these beings desire.

If an Ahrimanic being of this category were actually to succeed in bringing a complete etheric body stage by stage into a man every time he slept, such a man would be able after death, when living in his etheric body, to maintain himself in that body. Otherwise, as you know, the etheric body dissolves in a few days. But a man to whom the above had happened would be able to continue existing in his etheric body and after a time there would arise a race of etheric humanity. That is what is desired from this side of the spiritual world, and then it would be possible by such means to preserve the Earth.

Within the solid and the fluid components of the Earth there are in very truth a host of such beings. Their desire is to make mankind into pure phantoms, etheric phantoms, until the end of the Earth's evolution, so that the normal  goal of Earth-evolution could not be attained. And in the night-time these beings by no means lose courage; over and over again they believe that their efforts may succeed.

Now man today has quite a passably good intellect which has developed considerably at the present time when philistinism is on the increase. Man can certainly pride himself upon possessing intellect. But this intellect is not even re­motely on a par with the intellect of those higher beings who desire to achieve what I am now describing to you. Let no­body say : 'These beings must be fearfully stupid.' They are certainly not stupid. Seeing that they work only upon human beings in sleep, there is nothing to deter them from believing that they might succeed before the end of Earth-evolution in preventing a large portion of the human race from reaching their future destinations—destinations bound up with the Jupiter embodiment of the Earth.

But one who is able to see behind the scenes of physical existence can perceive that these beings do sometimes lose courage, are disappointed. And the disappointments they experience are not experienced in the night, but by day. One sees, for instance, how these Ahrimanic beings suffer dis­appointments if one comes across them in hospitals.

Now of course the illnesses that befall men have one aspect that calls upon us in all circumstances to do everything we possibly can to heal them.

[Ahrimanic influences causing: Illness, error, and egoism]

But on the other side we must ask : how do the illnesses suffered by men arise out of the dark sources of natural existence?

Those illnesses which are not the result of external in­fluences but arise out of the inner constitution of man, are connected with the fact that when the Ahrimanic beings have almost succeeded in making a man assume an etheric body that is not his normal one, then, instead of bringing the lawful working of the etheric forces into his physical body and into his own accustomed etheric body on waking, such a man bears into himself causes of illness. Through these causes of illness the true Venus, Mercury and Moon-beings protect themselves against the harmful influences of the irregular beings. Indeed if a man did not at some time or another get this or that illness, he would be liable to the danger of which I have just spoken. In any illness his body breaks down, collapses, in order that there can be 'sweated out,' if I may use the expression, whatever irregular etheric processes he has taken into himself through the Ahrimanic influences.

And a further reaction called forth in order to prevent man from falling a victim to this Ahrimanic influence, is the possibility of error.

And a third thing is egoism.

Man is not fundamentally intended to be ill, to fall a prey to error, or to be egoistic to an exaggerated degree. Egoism as such is again a means of holding man to the evolution proper to the Earth instead of being torn out of it by the Ahrimanic beings. This, then, is one order of beings which can be discovered behind the scenes of ordinary sense-existence.

Around 1923, from GA266/3

From GA266/3 (p 374 in 2011 EN edition)

To the question from one of us about where the ahrimanic forces assert themselves most strongly, Dr. Steiner answered: "As far as I have been able to see, it is the case in the cinema and with the typewriter. It is not that there are no other machines, with respect to their construction, that are more ahrimanic. However, as regards the effect on the human being, it is as I have said. "


[Ahrimanic beings and possession]

Each cosmic world can be reached by developing the appropriate level of consciousness.

We gain knowledge of the plant kingdom by raising our consciousness to the world of archetypal plant forms. We are then able to recognize the differences between the plant forms, e.g. violet and belladonna. The violet belongs to the world of emptied waking consciousness. The belladonna derives its being from other worlds; the astral world penetrates into the fruit and it is therefore poisonous. The same astral forces which fashion the animal into a sentient being, when entering into plants cause them to be poisonous. The belladonna attracts to itself something from an alien world, whilst the violet remains within the world proper to it.

In the world of the dead, elementary beings exist who make use of forces which do not belong to their world, but to the physical world. Their function is to transmit Man's achievements on the physical plane to future generations, e.g. writing, the construction of motor vehicles and so forth. They are Ahrimanic beings and belong to an entirely different sphere of evolution.

Demoniac forms in the world of the dead are the astral reflection of poisonous plants, e.g. autumn crocus. Non-poisonous plants, e.g. violet, have their archetype in the next higher world. Through the medium we contact the plant archetypes but in a world that is foreign to them.

On the physical plane all men have mediumistic possibilities. Mediumistic persons have developed certain parts of the brain which no longer form the basis for I-activity. Through the medium the elementary beings project into the present what should have been communicated to the future. These beings are caught up in the destiny of the Earth and sacrifice their future mission.

The law of Archimedes and the weight of the human brain. The weight of the human brain is 20 grammes (instead of 1500 grammes) because it floats in a fluid medium. Only these 20 grammes can contain the Ego. The medium is a person in whom the 20 grammes no longer contain the I. In trance conditions this “phantom” 20 grammes, the residual weight of the brain, is invaded by elementary beings; the I is insulated. Under these conditions the elementary beings can use the fluid, breath and light emanations.

Through mediumism the spiritual world trespasses into the physical world. This danger is always present when man's I-consciousness is dimmed.


Nietzsche in Also sprach Zarathustra

Read the 1912-08-30-GA138 lecture referenced above, then relate to the famous line:

„Weh spricht: Vergeh! Doch alle Lust will Ewigkeit — will tiefe, tiefe Ewigkeit!"

The Midnight Song is also put to music in the fourth movement of Gustav's Mahler third symphony.

Every pure moment of intense life experience, like a tiny mosaic stone of our life, is filled with a longing to last, to not perish.

When did the Ahrimanic spiritual beings and their influences arise?

The origin of the Luciferic spiritual beings is described in detail by Rudolf Steiner. See Schema FMC00.019 on Luciferic beings and their influences. This is (until further notice, not known to us) not the case for the Ahrimanic (or Asuric).

1916-08-26-GA170, see quote above, states:

.. during the subsequent Atlantean age, there came the entrance of the Ahrimanic element into earthly evolution.

See Schema FMC00.297 that maps the Ahrimanic beings as Moon-Mercury-Venus beings, and compare with FMC00.298 showing the various CoL in the current Earth planetary stage of development. This shows that beings went to the Mercury and Venus spheres as a result of the departure of the Sun at the start of the Hyperborean epoch, followed by the departure of the Moon in the Lemurian epoch.

Now first study these two major events in depth from a perspective of the Earth's physical development, and the stepwise development of an environment to accomodate physical Man. Including the 'hardening' of Earth as a result of the departure of the Moon.

Then study the Book of Genesis, which starts at the departure of the Sun. The Luciferic infection happens in the Lemurian epoch, and makes that Man becomes a material mineral being. See FMC00.299.

Thirdly, contemplate Schema FMC00.238 on I-less human beings to put the above in perspective.

Ahrimanic influence in the world around us

see also: Mineral plant like spiders and Contemporary worldview war

Related pages

References and further reading

  • Johannes Greiner: 'In Ahrimans Welt. Leben mit Maschinen und Medien' (2019)