Central European cultural basin

From Anthroposophy

The title of the topic page 'Central European cultural basin' was coined by Rudolf Steiner in 1915-GA159 lectures where he described the formation and importance of this geographical area as a basin with a mixture of folk souls and various conditions aimed at and required for the development of the conciousness soul. With conditions is meant, that this specific geographical area also has certain telluric conditions of the Earth's etheric formative forces.

In what follows the term 'cultural basin' is used to denote this combination of elements.

In the context of the first world war, Rudolf Steiner traces back this cultural basin to the 9th century and the migrations of the Normans from the North of Europe blending with the Roman and Slavic elements. The concept is important to understand a number of threads that come together:

  • on the one hand a number of conditioning impulses, to be positioned into a larger frame of the 'management' of the Central European geography and people by the guidance of the White Lodge, an important period between the Mystery of Golgotha and preparations for the fifth cultural age of the consciousness soul. Whereas the topic page Transition between 4th and 14th century provides an overview of the transition between the fourth and the current fifth cultural age, from a spiritual perspective; this page covers the preparations that were made on Earth in this same period. This topic has many aspects:
    • [1] geographical influences of the mixing of folk souls in a petri-scale of the Central European area, due to various Migrations. This 'mixing' in a way constitutes the coming together of the Two streams of development, the Southern and Northern.
    • [2] the intellectual influence from arabism into Europe between the 6th and 12the century, see the Reconquista topic page
    • [3] Christianization of the people of Europe, with missionaries as Patrick, Columban, Gallus, Boniface and Ireland as the source of the impulse of true esoteric Christianity
    • [4] the shielding off of the Western influences (from America) for about a millenium, as trade and contacts with America were put on hold through influence of the Roman catholic church, until America was re-'discovered' by Christopher Columbus (1451–1506) in 1492.
    • [5] for a general frame with more context on this period, see also Transition between 4th and 14th century (eg Schema FMC00.167)
  • on the other hand, what happens in history as a result of the above, with a focus on the conflicts between the people and nations of the Central European basin, and the surroundings. Examples are:
    • the 17th thirty years war (between 1618 to 1648)
    • the 20th century thirty years war (consisting of World Wars I and II between 1914 and 1945)
    • and also important historical milestone developments on the borders of this basin, like:
      • the Reconquista in Spain pushing back the Arab Islamitic cultural influence (period 711-1494), with the link to the crusades.
      • the hundred years war between England and France (1337–1453), and the role of the Joan of Arc or the Maid or Orleans in this.

In this way, this pulling together of various threads makes for a better understanding of the dynamics of what is called (see Schema FMC00.059 on History topic page) the 'Spiritual reality underlying symptomatological world events'.

Alongside Two streams of development and Migrations, it provides an excellent example to study the wise guidance of mankind as a meta-layer above all we know as world-historical events, with preparations for the current fifth cultural age starting millenia before as early as the third cultural age.



  • Christianization of the people of Europe
    • early establishment of Christianity between the roman empire upto the ninth century (1918-01-14-GA180)
    • Boniface and the Christianization of the Teutons (1919-09-06-GA295)
    • the central european Christianity and the role of Nicholas I the Great (approx 820-867), positioning vs the spiritual grail current of Boniface (675-754) before him (1922-01-10-GA216)
    • interesting to note: on this important phase, Beinsa Douno did his Ph.D. thesis ('Migration of Teutonic Tribes and Their Conversion to Christianity'); see also: Migrations#1893 - Beinsa Douno - as Peter Dunov
  • Christianization - personalities that played a major role
    • Ulfilas (ca. 311-383)
      • also written as: Wulfilas or Wulfila, or Urphilas
      • was inspired by or an instrument of a higher spiritual being that also stood behind Tolstoj (for more context see Spiritual guidance of mankind#Inspiration)
      • first Christian initiate in Europe (ca. 311-383), known for the first translation of the Gothic Bible
        • "the first Germanic version of the Bible; the so-called ‘Silver Codex,’ consisted of the four Gospels translated in the 4th century by the Gothic Bishop Ulfilas (or Wulfila)". Taken from Prague to Upssala during the Thirty Years War "through strange workings of karma" (1908-04-13-GA102).
        • More on this first translation and Gothic Bible, see 1919-12-28-GA299 (for use of language). It is also referenced in 1921-05-16-GA325 and 1921-04-15-GA204 ("anyone who follows the spread of Eastern Christianity and the spread of Arianism can see a Mithras element in it, even though in already quite weakened form, eg in the terminology used".
        • Also as example: "The first Christian initiate of Europe, Ulfilas", embodied in the German language that the human being found the human 'I': “Ich” for J(esus)CH(rist) (1905-09-27-GA093 and 1907-01-19-GA097).
    • the Iro-Scottisch missionaries like Patrick (approx 384-460), Columban (545-615), and Gallus (ca 550-645) are personalities who had copies of the etheric body of Christ-Jesus. See Schema FMC00.089 on Principle of spiritual economy. (re 1909-05-16-GA109 below)
      • Saint Patrick (in Latin: Patricius) was a fifth-century Christian missionary and bishop in Ireland. Known as the 'Apostle of Ireland', he is the primary patron saint of Ireland, the other patron saints being Brigid of Kildare and Columba. He is venerated as a saint by the various churches in Ireland, where he is regarded as equal-to-the-apostles and Enlightener of Ireland.
    • Boniface (in Latin: Bonifatius, in English Winfrid or Winfred) (ca. 675-754)
      • English Benedictine monk and leading figure in the mission to the Germanic parts of the Frankish Empire during the eighth century. He organised significant foundations of the church in Germany and was made archbishop of Mainz by Pope Gregory III. He was martyred in Frisia in 754, along with 52 others, and his remains were returned to Fulda, where they rest in a sarcophagus which has become a site of pilgrimage
      • covered in 1918-01-14-GA180, 1919-09-06-GA295, 1904-XX-XX-GA090)
    • Johannes Scotus Erigena, or John the Irish-born (ca. 800-877) was an Irish Neoplatonist philosopher, theologian and poet of the Early Middle Ages. He succeeded Alcuin of York (ca. 735–804) as head of the Palace School at Aachen. He also translated and made commentaries upon the work of Pseudo Dionysius the Areopagite and was one of the few Western European philosophers of his day who knew Greek, having studied it in Ireland and in Byzantine Athens.
    • see also Reconquista#1904-11-08-GA051

Shielding off Western influences from America

  • up to the seventh century, connections existed between America and Europe (Norway), also with Ireland/England, though the continent was not called America. People from Europe travelled on trade ships to study diseases (caused by the Earth's magnetism). European people are more susceptible to the influences of the double. From the eight century, Europe had to be protected against the double and matters related to the Earth's magnetism. The connection was cut by papal edicts also influenced by Iro-Scottisch monks who spread early Christianity across Europe. All this was part of preparations for the fifth cultural age (1917-11-16/18-GA178 and 1918-01-22-GA181)

Wars - conflicts between peoples

  • the 17th century thirty years war
    • "much of what is present in the consciousness of Central Europe is linked with the way the soil of this empire in Central Europe has constantly been chosen as the scene of battle for all the quarrelling nations. This was particularly the case in the seventeenth century, during the Thirty Years' War, in which Central Europe lost up to one third of its population through the fault of the surrounding peoples. The peoples of Central Europe were utterly flayed by those of the periphery." (1916-12-18-GA173)
    • more on: Jacob Boehme#Note 1 - Historical perspective - waves and counterwaves
  • the 20th century thirty years war
    • see the many lectures in various GA17X volumes; Schema FMC00.489 below shows the fragmentation into multiple republic states after the formation of the unified central-european germanic empire in the period 1870s.

Spiritual scientific dimensions

  • the dimensions of migrations and conflicts (such as between the Normans and the Roman culture) also relates to folk souls: Schema FMC00.459 shows with beautiful clarity the merging of Northern and Southern development streams, as from the southern side the Roman and Greek, and from the northern side the Celtic folk souls blended with the multiple archangels of the people in Central Europe. One can relate this process of 'mixture' to the later development of the time spirit for the fifth cultural age, for which all this were preparatory stages.
  • With conditions is meant, that this specific geographical area also has certain telluric conditions of the Earth's etheric formative forces (see oa Schema FMC00.211, Schema FMC00.455, FMC00.347).
  • link with folk souls in the Central European area, see Schema FMC00.459 on Folk souls. Notice in this schema the complexity of the guiding spirit for the current fifth cutural age of the consciousness soul, and relate to the developments between peoples and nations upto the 15th century.

See also


Schema FMC00.501: illustrates the forming of the enclosure of the Central European cultural basis, which is as old as the 9th century when the conquests of the Normans brought a mixture of the Celtic and Teutonic elements.

To be superimposed on this explanation is the arabic influence on the development of the intellectual soul, coming through Spain into Europe in the period of approx. 600 to 1200 AD, for more info see the topic page Reconquista.

illustrates the forming of the enclosure of the Central European cultural basis, which is as old as the 9th century when the conquests of the Normans brought a mixture of the Celtic and Teutonic elements. To be superimposed on this explanation is the arabic influence on the development of the intellectual soul, coming through Spain into Europe in the period of approx. 600 to 1200 AD, for more info see the topic page Reconquista.

Schema FMC00.602: is a blackboard drawing by Rudolf Steiner that sketches Europe at the time of the spreading of Christianity, as described in the lecture of 1924-03-15-GA353.

See also the perspective of folk souls (Schema FMC00.459) overlaying Migrations, in context of the impulse of the third Greco-Latin cultural age (Schema FMC00.534 on the topic page 325) and Christ Impulse - meeting of two streams (Schema FMC00.113).

is a blackboard drawing by Rudolf Steiner that sketches Europe at the time of the spreading of Christianity, as described in the lecture of 1924-03-15-GA353. See also the perspective of folk souls (Schema FMC00.459) overlaying Migrations, in context of the impulse of the third Greco-Latin cultural age (Schema FMC00.534 on the topic page 325) and Christ Impulse - meeting of two streams (Schema FMC00.113).

Schema FMC00.347 is a high level world map with the predominant ethers per geographical areas (Hagemann & Wachsmuth). This is however indicative at a very high level, Hagemann published a map of the dominant mix of ethers across Europe at a more granular level.


Schema FMC00.211 gives a schematic overview of Sigismund von Gleich's analysis of the human races in the Atlantean epoch, the geography of the cultural ages in the Postatlantean epoch, and the developments in the Lemurian epoch with the five geographical focal points for planetary influences on Earth (from RSL). The schema's illustrate a spiral movement, geographically speaking, in how the races or cultural ages 'roll off'.


Schema FMC00.455 illustrates how the development of mankind - and its developmental goals in different epochs and cultural ages - requires different spiritual influences and etheric formative forces mapping to different geographies. As elaborated in 1909-10-27-GA115, this explains the different locations of the central continent for the different epochs (large arrows). Also within our Current Postatlantean epoch, it explains why the cultural center of different ages follows a certain curve (in blue, see also insert upper right from Sigismund von Gleich, see Schema FMC00.211). Observe that both movement follow a similar 'flat U' form at a different level in terms of epochs or cultural ages (for more info, see von Gleich) Related, for further conditioning of Earth and Man by zodiacal spiritual influences, see Zodiac clock); whereby the Spirits of Form condition the epochs and great transitions of the Earth between them (see Spiritual hierarchies and their eigenperiods)


Schema FMC00.489 depicts the political-cultural map of Europe in 1890 (upper left) and 1950 (lower right). For background, see explanation on: Jacob Boehme#Note 1 - Historical perspective - waves and counterwaves

Schema FMC00.533 positions some important personalities in the first four centuries after Christ, a period of persecution of Christians, but also where Christianity was established by the roman empire, and with major debates between various streams due to influences from pagan and gnostic streams, as well as scepticism about the divinity of Jesus, the trinity, etc. The schema is not intended to be complete, but can be used as a mind map to position some important names that occur in the storyline of the Michaelic stream in the lectures of Rudolf Steiner.

Above with rectangles in grey are three main church fathers, blue rectangles show important Individualities of special high stature, as explained by Rudolf Steiner (and see also White Lodge and Three classes of Buddhas). Brown rectangles below relate to the christianization of central europe preparing for the age of the consciousness soul, see 1921-05-15-GA325 and Central European cultural basin, also Schema FMC00.438)

The blue KRI numbers are the Karmic Relationship Individualities, see more on Karma research case studies and KRI - Karmic Relationships Individualities. For example: Origen and Spyridon are incarnations of Daskalos, part of the stream of John the Evangelist. Augustinus was a carrier of a copy of the etheric body of Christ, see Principle of spiritual economy and (- also on that topic page) the I of Master Jesus (KRI90) lived again in Lucian of Antioch, the teacher of Arius (1909-02-19-GA109 notes to lecture).

Rudolf Steiner often described the importance of the First Council of Nicaea in 325 and the great polarity between Aryanism and Athanasianism, also Daskalos describes this from a perspective of Spyridon. Also the Individuality of Soloviev attended (KRI 49) attended that council (in an incarnation not further named).

For a broader perspective and what followed, see Transition between 4th and 14th century and The Christ Impulse from the 1st to the 20th century (oa covering battle between Constantin and Maxentius in 312).


Lecture coverage and references

Cultural basin


We want to turn our glance to fields of life that show us how humankind has come to something fatefully illogical concerning its surroundings because of the materialistic way of thinking. We hear, for example, in the way usual today the individual nations accusing each another: I have not wanted the war; it is you who has incited it. The question is legitimate and one can now already answer it — for the facts speak clearly — where the external causes are.

But for the spiritual-scientific seer it is different. In this question he has to realise that the war is basically the last phase in the course of events, or at least a later phase of matters that were there already before. One commits a mistake in the judgment also with illness processes where one often still speaks of such, whereas these are already health processes, which must take place to recover. The external processes, which take place to paralyse the illness and to recover, have happened before and are not to be observed. The war also is an apparent illness process. It is an effort of humankind to come beyond certain processes which were there before. The illness lies already before in the really unhealthy relations between the peoples. If anyone investigates the external causes with reason, he ignores the internal ones.

[cultural basin]

In the area where we are crowded together like in a fortress and are surrounded with a ring, it must seem reasonable to especially raise the question which the internal causes are, or of which kind the single cause is by which this encirclement was caused. One speaks of such an encirclement for the last years, for the last decades, but if you look at the great connections, it begins much sooner. It sounds peculiar, but one can give the year 860 A. D. — not 1860, but 860. For such a long time, the process is going on, which finds expression now in a way we can call the most dreadful war of humankind, since it inhabits the earth.

In the deeper interrelation of European history one finds the extremely strange fact that in Central Europe something of spiritual substance was crowded together. If anyone investigates this deeper interrelation, he sees that it was crowded together there for a particular purpose. It concerns not the external determinations of blood or race, but the fact that something like a spiritual substance permeates the world. Something like a snake-shaped ring contracts in Central Europe coming down from the distant north. Two currents of the east and west go to the south and meet forming a ring.

  • From a centre, the Normannic tribes move in the 9th century down who are related by blood to so many things that later exist in Central Europe.
  • But they push their way into the Romance element, which comes from Southern Europe, and flow together with it. In 860, they stand in front of Paris; there the Normans were overpowered by the Romance people. The western France came into being from that. More than the Angles and Saxons could bring to the British islands, the Normans brought back from France to England.
  • In the east, the Normannic people moved down, they got from the north to the Volga and the Black Sea into the Slavic regions. Later the Tartar current coalesces. The Slavic element overpowers the Normans and gives them the Christian religion in its eastern form. They become Slavic as “Ros” — they are called in Finland that way — nothing has remained except the name Russia. This name is of Germanic origin. The name Rurik has the same origin.

About these relations one has rather doubtful views. In the west of Europe many people speak that the French are appointed to resurrect the old Celtic element in a kind of Renaissance. One has the idea that in Central Europe are mainly Teutons and that in the west the Celtic element predominates. However, it is vice versa, in the French population is much more Teutonic blood, in Central Europe is more Celtic blood, this is true. Thus maya stands against truth. Only the inhabitants of the west are completely overpowered by the Romance element. In the east the Norman and with them the Teutonic elements are overpowered by the foreign race element. Still today there a religion prevails that is foreign to the Russian folk-soul. Thus the people in Central Europe are encircled as it were. The Romance element reaches to Constantinople, and on the other side the Slavic Normans reach to Constantinople as well. There we have the snake, the ring.


It is as if people know nothing about that what has taken place in the interplay of forces of the earth population and what has led from this interplay of forces to the grievous involvements which caught fire from the flame of war, finally, and flared up. One talks hardly of the fact that one calls the encirclement by the previous English king who united the European powers round Central Europe, so that from this union of human forces around us, finally, nothing else could originate than that what has happened. One does not want to go further back as some years, at most decades and make conceptions how this has come what is now so destiny-burdened and painful around us.

But the matters lie still much deeper. If one speaks of encirclement, one must say: what has taken place in the encirclement of the Central European powers in the last time, that is the last stage, the last step of an encirclement of Central Europe, which began long, long ago, in the year 860 A. D.

  • At that time, when those human beings drove from the north of Europe who stood as Normans before Paris, a part of the strength, which should work in Europe, drove in the west of Europe into the Romance current which had flooded the west of Europe from the south. We have a current of human forces which pours forth from Rome via Italy and Sicily over Spain and through present-day France. The Norman population, which drives down from the north and stands before Paris in 860, was flooded and wrapped up by that which had come as a Romance current of olden times. That what is powerful in this current is due to the fact that the Norman population was wrapped up in it. What has originated, however, as something strange to the Central European culture in the West, is due to the Romance current. This Romance current did not stop in present-day France, but it proved to be powerful enough because of its dogmatically rationalistic kind, its tendency to the materialistic way of thinking to flood not only France but also the Anglo-Saxon countries. This happened when the Normans conquered Britain and brought with them that what they had taken up from the Romance current. Also the Romance element is in the British element which thereby faces the Central European being, actually, without understanding. The Norman element penetrated by the Romance element continued its train via the Greek coasts down to Constantinople. So that we see a current of Norman-Romance culture driving down from the European north to the west, encircling Central Europe like in a snake-form, stretching its tentacles as it were to Constantinople.
  • We see the other train going down from the north to the east and penetrating the Slavic element. The first Norman trains were called “Ros” by the Finnish population which was widely propagated at that time in present-day Russia. “Ros” is the origin of this name. We see these northern people getting in the Slavic element, getting to Kiev and Constantinople at the same time.

The circle is closed!

On one side, the Norman forces drive down from the north to the west, becoming Romance, on the other side, to the east, becoming Slavic, and they meet from the east and from the west in Constantinople.

In Central Europe that is enclosed like in a cultural basin what remained of the original Teutonic element, fertilised by the old Celtic element, which is working then in the most different nuances in the population, as German, as Dutch, as Scandinavian populations. Thus we recognise how old this encirclement is.

Now in this Central Europe an intimate culture prepares itself, a culture which was never able to run like the culture had to run in the West or the culture in the East, but which had to run quite differently. If we compare the cultural development in Central Europe with that of the West, so we must say, in the West a culture developed — and this can be seen from the smallest and from the biggest feature of this culture — whose basic character is to be pursued from the British islands over France, Spain, to Sicily, to Italy and to Constantinople. There certain dogmatism developed as a characteristic of the culture, rationalism, a longing for dressing everything one gets in knowledge in plain rationalistic formulae. There developed a desire to see things as reason and sensuousness must see them. There developed the desire to simplify everything.



The Central European being aims at the intimacy of spiritual life most eminently, and this is that what is enclosed by the Midgard Snake in the East and the West. So far we have to go to combine completely in our feeling with that what happens, actually. Then we gain objectivity just from this Central European being to stand in front of the present great events with the really supranational human impulses, and not to judge out of the same impulses which are applied by the East and the West. Then we understand why the Central European population is misunderstood that way, is hated by those who surround them. Of course, we have to look at the mission of Central Europe for the whole humankind with all humility. We are not allowed to be arrogant, but we must also protect the free look for what is to be done in Central Europe.


quote A

People today no longer think of the historical impulses out of which this empire in Central Europe arose. They do not consider, for instance, that the soil on which this empire has been founded was for many centuries a kind of reservoir, a kind of fountain-head for the rest of Europe. You see, something Roman, in the sense of a continuation of what used to be Roman, no longer exists today. What used to be Roman has, if I may say so, evaporated and has only entered into other folk elements in the form of isolated impulses. Take the soil of Italy. During the course of the Middle Ages all sorts of Germanic elements kept migrating to Italy. I might have an opportunity to define this more closely later on. In today's Italian population, even in their very blood, there flows a tremendous amount of what can be called Germanic. This was instilled into them by the Roman element, but not in any way which might make it possible today to call the people of present-day Italy a continuation of the old Roman people. It was always the case that from Central Europe, as from a reservoir of peoples, all sorts of tribes migrated to the periphery, to Spain, North Africa, Italy, France, Britain. And as the peoples rayed out in this way, something not of these peoples came to meet them: the Roman element. In the middle, as it were, was the reservoir


A man such as Dante, about whom I spoke to you yesterday, is simply a characteristic expression of a general phenomenon.

  • Who are today's French people? Not merely descendants of the Latin element. Franks, in other words former Germanic tribes, spread out over this land. Their make-up became mingled with folk elements no longer their own, elements containing Latin aspects, via Roman civic attitudes, mixed with ancient Celtic aspects; the result of all this being something in which many more Germanic impulses live than might be imagined.
  • A great many Germanic impulses live in today's Italian population as well. If we wanted to, we could study the migration of the Lombards into northern Italy, a Germanic element which simply absorbed the Roman.
  • Britain was originally inhabited by elements which were then pushed back into Wales and Brittany and even as far as Caledonia, but not before they had sent out messengers to draw the Jutes, Angles and Saxons over to the island so that they might deter the predatory Picts and Scots. Out of all this an element emerged in which the Germanic obviously predominates.

This spreading out took place in all directions. In Central Europe the reservoir remained behind. Connected with the fact that the centre had to develop differently is that jump — which I do not want to brag about as a jump forward — which is expressed in Grimm's law of sound shifts. This law need not be measured with the yardstick of sympathy or antipathy, for it is simply a fact. Anyone can imagine what led to it, but this need not be confused with sympathy or antipathy.

When the Roman Caesars were carrying out their campaigns against the Germanic tribes, those who were first conquered formed by far the greater part of the army, so the Romans fought the Germanic tribes with Germanic tribesmen. Even in later times the massed peoples of the periphery stood by what was to be found in the centre to the extent that it became necessary to form the empire which, in its final phase, was the Holy Roman Empire. You know the passage in Faust where the students are glad that they need not worry about the Holy Roman Empire. But, on the other hand, it also came about that the periphery made terrible war on the middle element, it was constantly rebelling against the middle element.

One must also take into account that much of what is present in the consciousness of Central Europe is linked with the way the soil of this empire in Central Europe has constantly been chosen as the scene of battle for all the quarrelling nations.

This was particularly the case in the seventeenth century, during the Thirty Years' War, in which Central Europe lost up to one third of its population through the fault of the surrounding peoples. Not only towns and villages but whole tracts of countryside were destroyed. The peoples of Central Europe were utterly flayed by those of the periphery. These are historical facts which must simply be looked at squarely.

Now it is not surprising that in Central Europe the inclination arose to want something other peoples had already achieved, namely an empire. But the population of this soil has far less of a relationship to the idea of empire than has that of western Europe, which clings particularly strongly to it, regardless of whether it is a republic or a monarchy. This is irrelevant. You have to look beyond the mere words and see how the individual, whether in a republic or some other form, stands in relation to the state he belongs to, whether his feeling for the way he belongs to it is of this kind or that. I said it is not surprising that the impulse arose in Central Europe to want an empire, a state which makes it possible, on the one side, to build up some protection against the centuries of attack from the West and, on the other, to put up a barrier against what comes from the East — which is something that is still necessary for Central Europe though not, of course, for the East. These things are, I believe, comprehensible.

quote B

It must not be forgotten that what has seemingly been achieved recently by Germans in certain directions, both territorially and culturally, has come about as a result of the way Germany is wedged between East and West.

Because of this, during the course of the nineteenth century certain characteristics came to be developed more precisely in Germany than among those peoples to whom they really belong. This is eminently understandable. Self-knowledge has not penetrated to every corner yet, and since the Germans are so capable of assimilation and are able to take in and absorb so much in certain respects, the peoples of the West—not the East—have had an opportunity to discover, in certain respects, much about themselves through what the Germans have absorbed from them. Such characteristics, when seen in oneself, are always found to be excellent and obvious—naturally enough! But when they are met in another, one notices for the first time what they really are.

You have no idea how much of what the West finds objectionable in Central Europe is no more than a reflection of what has been absorbed from there by Central Europe.

People have no idea what mystery lies hidden here.

Looking at the matter objectively, it is most remarkable to discover how some members in particular of the French nation are quite incapable of seeing in themselves things which they find terribly objectionable in others who had absorbed them under French influence in the first place. Perhaps it is not all that nice if it comes to meet you as an imitation. But if mankind is to progress at all then, as I described it in my recent book Vom Menschenrätsel, it will be essential for this collaboration of Central European thought to take place. This is necessary and it cannot be eliminated; and it must not be brutally destroyed either.


We have here a contrast arising out of the very nature of things. So long as Orient and Occident were connected by land routes, it was perfectly natural that the countries of Central Europe should take the lead. Life in these Central European countries was shaped accordingly. Much spiritual culture also travelled along these routes. It was quite different from what came later. As the centuries proceeded, the land routes were supplanted by ocean routes. As you know, England gradually took control of all the ocean connections which others had opened up. Spain, Holland and France were all conquered as far as their sea-faring capacities were concerned, so that in the end everything was held under the mighty dominance which encompassed a quarter of the earth's dry land, and gradually also all the Earth's oceans.

You can see how systematic is this conquering, this almost exterminating, of other seafaring powers when you remember how I told you some time ago that in the secret brotherhoods, especially those which grew so powerful from the time of James I onwards, it was taught as an obvious truth that the Anglo-Saxon race — as they put it — will have to be given dominance over the world in the fifth post-Atlantean period. You will see how systematic the historical process has been when you consider what I have also mentioned and what was also taught: that this fifth post-Atlantean race of the English-speaking peoples will have to overcome the peoples of the Latin race.

To start with, the main thing is the interrelation between the English-speaking peoples and those whose languages are Latin in origin. Recent history cannot be understood without the realization that the important aim — which is also what is being striven for — is for world affairs to be arranged in such a way that the English-speaking peoples are favoured, while the influence of any peoples whose language is based on Latin fades out. Under certain circumstances something can be made to fade out by treating it favourably for a while, thus gaining power over it. This can then make it easy to engulf it.

In those secret brotherhoods, about which I have spoken so often, little significance is attached to Central Europe, for they are clever enough to realize that Germany, for instance, owns only one thirty-third of the earth's land surface. This is very little indeed, compared with a whole quarter of the land surface plus dominance over the high seas. So not much importance is attached to Central Europe. A great deal of importance was attached, however — especially during the period when present events were being prepared — to the overcoming of all those impulses connected with the Latin races.

It is remarkable how short-sighted the modern historical view is and how little inclination there is to go more deeply into matters which are quite characteristic of situations. I have already pointed out that what has so long been practised as a pragmatic view of history is not important, reporting as it does on one event, followed by another, and another, and yet another. What is important is to recognize the facts characterized by the many interrelationships in the events which follow one another. What matters is to point out what is characteristic about the facts, namely, what reveals the forces lying behind maya. Pragmatic history must today give way to a history of symptoms.

Those who see through things in this way will be in a position to form judgements about certain events which differ considerably from those of people who reel off the events of world history — this fable convenue — one after the other, as is done in historical science today. Consider some of the things you know well in connection with some others about which I shall tell you. First of all, a simple fact: In 1618 the Thirty Years War began because certain ideas of a reformative kind developed within the Czech Slav element. Then certain aristocrats belonging to these Slav circles took up the movement and rebelled against what might be called the Counter-Reformation, namely, the Catholicism from Spain which was favoured by the Habsburgs. The first thing usually told about the Thirty Years War is the story of the rebels going to the town hall in Prague and throwing the councillors Martinitz and Slavata and the secretary Fabrizius out of the window. Yet this is quite insignificant. The only interesting point is perhaps that the three gentlemen did not hurt themselves because they fell onto a dunghill. These are not things which can bring the Thirty Years' War to life for us or show us its real causes.


What we must do is learn to understand history symptomatically and widen our horizons. We need to develop a sense for what is important and what really gives insight.


Taking our departure from what we have said so far, we could state that in Central Europe there existed what we might call the 'primordial soup' for what later streamed out to the periphery, particularly towards the West. Let us take a closer look at this 'primordial soup' (see diag, p.179). For a very long time it has been customary for the nation which represents this 'primordial soup' to call itself 'das deutsche Volk'. The peoples of the West have exercised a kind of revenge on this nation by refusing to call them by the name they have chosen for themselves, a name which signifies a profound instinct. They are called 'Teutons', 'Allemands' , 'Germans', all kinds of things, but never, by those who speak a western language, 'Deutsche'. Yet this is the very name that has deep links with the nature of this people which is, in a way, the 'primordial soup'. One stream of this went southwards. We described it as the papal, hierarchical cultic element. ... [cont'd]

Ireland as source and impulse for later spreading of Christianity & Shielding off Western influences from America

Illustrations of the seeding by the adepts of the White Lodge in the earlier cultural ages, to develop what is to come later; in this case migration in third cultural age planting seed for the fourth cultural age (1917-11-19-GA178). See also 1905-06-27-GA091 that describes how the adepts could 'plan ahead' across incarnations and cultural ages in view of developing lineage for the development of certain bodily principles as the human I.


the Iro-Scottisch missionaries like Columban (545-615), Patrick (approx 384-460), and Gallus (sixth century) are personalities who had copies of the etheric body of Christ-Jesus. See Schema FMC00.089 on Principle of spiritual economy.


preparation by fifth cultural age, Iro-Scottish monks spread Christianity in Europe

For this purpose a very special arrangement was required. You must try to understand what developed at that time. In the centuries preceding the fourteenth century, the human being had to be guarded from this double. The double had to be gradually withdrawn from man's circle of vision. Only now is he gradually permitted to come into it again, now when the human being must adapt his relationship to him. A really significant arrangement was required, which could be attained only in the following way. Since the ninth or tenth century, conditions in Europe were gradually adjusted in such a way that the European people lost a certain connection that they had formerly, a connection that was still important for human beings in earlier centuries, the sixth and seventh centuries A.D. Beginning in the ninth century and especially from the twelfth century on, the entire shipping exchange with America with the kind of ships there were at that time, was abolished.

This may sound very strange to you. You will say, “We have never heard anything like this in history.” In many respects, history is just a fable convenue a legend; for in earlier centuries of Europe development, ships continually sailed from the Norway of that time to America. Of course it was not called America it had a different name at that time. America was known to be the region where the magnetic forces particularly arose that brought the human being into relation with this double. For the clearest relations to the double proceed from that region of the earth that comprises the American continent. And in the earlier centuries people sailed over to America in Norwegian ships and studied illnesses there. The illnesses in America brought about under the influence of earthly magnetism were studied by Europe. And the mysterious origin of the older European medicine is to be sought there. There one could observe the course of illness that could not have been observed in Europe, where people were more sensitive with regard to the influence of the double.

Then it was necessary for the connection with America to be gradually forgotten, and this was essentially brought about by the Roman Catholic Church through its edicts. And only after the beginning of the fifth post-Atlantean epoch was America rediscovered in a physical, sense-perceptible way. This was only a rediscovery, however, which is so significant because the powers that were at work actually achieved their purpose: that nothing very much should be reported in the record of the ancient relations of Europe with America. And where it is reported it is not recognized, it is not known that these things relate to the connection of Europe with America in ancient times. The visits were nothing more than visits. That the Europeans themselves became the American people (as is said today when the expression “people” is confused with “nation” in an incomprehensible way) was possible only after the physical discovery of America, the physical rediscovery of America. Earlier there were visits that were made in order to study how the double plays a very special role in the differently constituted Indian race.

For a long time before the beginning of the development of the fifth post-Atlantean age, Europe had to be protected from the influence of the Western world. This is the significant historical arrangement that was cultivated by wisdom-filled world powers. Europe had to be protected for a long time from all these influences; and it could not have been protected if the European world had not been completely shut off from America in the centuries before the fifteenth century.

The effort had to be made for a long time in the preparatory centuries to give something to European humanity that carried the finer sensitivity. You could say that the intellect, which had to take hold of its proper place in this fifth post-Atlantean age, had to be very carefully protected in its first appearance. What was supposed to be revealed to it had to be presented to it very gently. Often this refinement was similar to the refinement of education, where sound measures of punishment are also applied, of course. Everything to which I am referring pertains, of course, to greater historical impulses.

Thus it happened that Irish monks in particular who were under the influence of the pure Christian-Esoteric teaching developed in Ireland, worked in such a way that the necessity was perceived in Rome to cut Europe off from the Western hemisphere. For it was intended that this movement arising in Ireland should spread Christianity over Europe in such a way, in these centuries before the fifth post-Atlantean epoch, that people would not be disturbed by all that was emerging from the sub-earthly regions in the Western hemisphere. Europe was to be kept ignorant of all the influences from the Western hemisphere.

This is a good place to speak about these conditions. Columban and his pupil Gallus were essential individuals in the greatly significant mission movement that sought its success in Christianizing Europe by surrounding Europe at that time with spiritual walls, and allowing no influence to come from the direction I have indicated. Individualities such as Columban and his pupil Gallus, who founded the city where I am lecturing today and from whom it gets its name (St. Gallen) saw above all that the tender plant of Christianity could be spread in Europe only if Europe were surrounded by a wall, as it were, in the spiritual respect.

Behind the processes of world history lie deep mysteries filled with significance. The history taught and learned in schools is only a fable convenue.

Among the facts most important for an understanding of modern Europe is this one: that from the centuries when Ireland began to spread Christianity in Europe until the twelfth century, the Roman Church worked on the problem at the same time through papal edicts, which gradually forbade shipping between Europe and America, so that Europe completely forgot the connection with America. This lapse in memory was needed so that the early period of preparation in Europe for the fifth post-Atlantean age could be developed in the right way. And only when the materialistic period began was America discovered again to the West, as is related today. From the East, America was discovered under the influence of the greed for gold, under the influence of purely materialistic culture, which simply must be taken into account in this fifth post-Atlantean epoch, and to which man has to find a suitable relationship.


legend of Ireland, preparations for lineage

During the fourth post-Atlantean age it was still necessary to consider other things, not only the spoken word. What were these other things? Let us take a definite instance. The island of Ireland, to use its modern name, has quite special characteristics which distinguish it from the rest of the world. Every part of the earth has some distinguishing characteristics — there is nothing unusual in that — but the point here is that Ireland has them to an exceptional degree.

You know from my Occult Science that it is possible to look back and discern various influences which have flowed from the spiritual world into the evolution of the earth. You have heard also what things were like in the Lemurian Age and of the various evolutionary developments since then. Yesterday I called attention to the fact that the whole earth must be regarded as a living organism, and that the various influences which radiate out to the inhabitants of particular territories have a special effect on the “double,” also mentioned yesterday. In ancient times people who knew of Ireland gave expression to its peculiar characteristics in the form of myths and legends. One could indeed speak of an esoteric legend which indicated the nature of Ireland within the whole earth-organism. Lucifer, it was said, had once tempted mankind in Paradise, wherefore mankind was driven out and scattered over the earth, which was already in existence at that time. Thus a distinction was drawn — so the legend tells us — between Paradise, with Lucifer in it, and the rest of the earth. But with Ireland it was different. Ireland did not belong in the same sense to the rest of the earth, for Paradise, before Lucifer entered it, had created an image of itself on earth, and that image became Ireland.

Let us understand this clearly. Ireland is that piece of the earth which has no share in Lucifer, no connection with Lucifer. The part of Paradise that had to be separated, so that an earthly image of it might come into being, would have stood in the way of Lucifer's entry into Paradise. According to this legend, therefore, Ireland was conceived as having been first of all that part of Paradise which would have kept Lucifer out. Only when Ireland had been separated off, could Lucifer get in.

This legend, of which I have given you a very incomplete account, is a very beautiful one. For many people it explained the quite individual task of Ireland through the centuries.

In the first of my Mystery Plays you will find what has been often described: how Europe was Christianised by Irish monks. After Patrick had introduced Christianity into Ireland, it came about that Christianity there led to the highest spiritual devotion. In further interpretation of the legend I have just described, Ireland — Ierne for the Greeks and Ivernia for the Romans — was even called the island of the saints, because of the piety that prevailed in the Christian monasteries there. This is connected with the fact that the forces which radiate from the earth and lay hold of the “double” are at their very best in the island of Ireland.

You will say: then the Irish should be the best of men. But that is not how things work out in the world! People immigrate into every region of the earth and have descendants, and so on. Human beings are thus not merely a product of the patch of earth where they live; their character may well contradict the influences that come from the earth. We must not attribute their development to the qualities found in a particular part of the earth-organism; that would be merely to succumb to illusions.

But we can say, more or less as I have said to-day, that Ireland is a quite special piece of land and this is one factor among many from which should come a fruitful working out of social-political ideas. Ireland is one such factor, and all these factors must be taken account of in conjunction with one another. In this way we must develop a science of human relationships on the earth. Until that is done, there will be no real health in the organisation of public affairs. That which can be communicated from out of the spiritual world must flow into any measures that are taken. For this reason I have said in public lectures that statesmen and others concerned with public affairs should acquaint themselves with these communications, for only then will they be able to control reality. But they do not do this, or at least they have not done it so far; yet the necessity for it remains.

This speaking, this communication, is the important thing today, in accordance with the tasks of the fifth post-Atlantean age, for then, before speaking leads to actions, decisions have to be taken just as they are taken in relation to impulses on the physical plane. In earlier times it was different; other methods could then be employed.

At a particular time in the third post-Atlantean age a certain brotherhood took occasion to send a large number of colonists from Asia Minor to Ireland.

[for context, see also Migrations eg Schema FMC00.453 and Schema FMC00.453A]

These settlers came from the region where much later, in the fourth epoch, the philosopher Thales was born. It was from this same milieu and spiritual background that the initiates sent colonists to Ireland — why? Because they were aware of the special characteristics of a land such as Ireland, as indicated by the esoteric legend I have told you about. They knew that the forces which rise from the earth through the soil of Ireland act in such a way that people there are little influenced towards developing intellectuality, or the I, or towards a capacity for taking decisions. The initiates who sent these colonists to Ireland knew this very well, and they chose people who appeared to be karmically suited to be exposed to such influences. In Ireland there still exist descendants of the old immigrants from Asia Minor who were intended to develop no trace of intellectuality, or of reasoning power or of decisiveness, but were on the other hand to manifest certain special qualities of temperament to an outstanding degree.

So, you see, preparations were made a very long time in advance for the peaceful interpretation of Christianity which eventually found scope in Ireland, and for the glorious developments which led to the Christianising of Europe. The fellow-countrymen of the later Thales sent to Ireland people who proved well suited to become those monks who could work in the way I have described. Such plans were often carried through in earlier times, and when in external history written by historians who lack understanding — though of course they may be intelligent enough, for intelligence today can be picked up in the street — you find accounts of ancient colonisations, you must be clear that a far-reaching wisdom lay behind them. They were guided and led in the light of what was to come about in the future, and the local characteristics of earth-evolution were always taken into account.

That was another way of introducing spiritual wisdom into the world. It should not be adopted today by anyone who is following the rightful path. To prescribe the movement of people against their will, in order to partition parts of the earth, would be wrong. The right way is to impart true facts and to leave people to decide their actions for themselves.


An important incident of European life in the Middle Ages is the fact that at that time the knowledge of the Western quarter of the globe was lost to Europe. There was indeed always an inner connection, especially between Ireland and England, and the territory now called America. A certain connection was always kept up between Europe and the West.

Only in the century following the 'discovery of America', intercourse with that continent was forbidden by a Papal document (of course it was not called ‘America’ then).

This connection with America only ceased with its so-called ‘discovery’ by a Spaniard, but outer history is so inaccurate that people are under the impression that in Europe America was not known at all before the year 1492. Almost everyone believes this. Many similar facts can be brought forward which spiritual science has to make valid from its own sources. We are standing at a turning point in time when historical life must be considered from the aspect of spiritual science.


This esoteric legend that I have presented in a very incomplete way is something very beautiful. It was for many people an explanation for the unique task of Ireland throughout the centuries. In the first Mystery Drama that I have written, you find what is so often told, how the Christianizing of Europe originated with the Irish monks.

When St. Patrick introduced Christianity into Ireland the situation was such that Christianity led there to the highest devoutness.

It gives new meaning to the legend about which I just spoke that Ireland — called Ierne by the Greeks and Ivernia by the Romans — was called the Isle of the Saints in those times in which the forces of European Christianity originated in their best impulses directly from Ireland, from Irish people who had been lovingly initiated into Christianity. It was called this because of the great devoutness that reigned within their Christian cloisters.

This is connected with the fact that these territorial forces, about which I have spoken, ascending from the earth and taking hold of the human double, are at their very best on the island of Ireland.

Christianization of Central Europe


This way several regeneration efforts were made. The first one goes back to an iniate that cannot play a role in history as such, because it still concerns something like pre-history for these geographies. He is however named in the saga, it concerns the german apostle Bonifatius. From him stems the original form in which Christianity came from Ireland to Germany, with a mix from Druidic culture, Indian influence, and an impulse from Dionysus Aeropagite.


lecture title: What did Europe look like at the time when Christianity spread?

see also Schema FMC00.602

1893 - Beinsa Douno - as Peter Dunov

Ph. D thesis at Boston University: "Migration of Teutonic Tribes and Their Conversion to Christianity"

on the migration and Christianization of the Germanic tribes, see also wikipedia page

Wars - conflicts of peoples



Related pages

References and further reading