Luciferic influence on Man

From Anthroposophy

This topic page covers the specific influences on the human being in the current Earth stage, the gifts, downsides and redemption of Lucifer by Man.

For the Luciferic principle in general terms and with a broad overall positioning: its evolutionary origin within the solar system evolution, positioning in the development of the spiritual hierarchies, the being of Lucifer and the various luciferic hosts, see Luciferic beings and their influences


Lucifer and Ahrimanic influences are to be seen in a broader context of 'counterforces' or spiritual influences that are opposing or side tracking Man's development. They are two polar force-fields or influences that pull into different directions, whereas the Christ represents the balanced middle ground. See also: Christ Module 14 – the counterforces: Lucifer, Ahriman and Asuras, or more broadly Evil.

The Luciferic influence is to be seen in an evolutionary context within our solar system, originating from the Old Sun stage, when a certain class of Cherubim renounced the sacrifice of the Thrones and thereby wrestled themselves free and independant of the normal stream of evolution. This gave rise to a host of Luciferic beings. This is explained on War in heaven#.5B1.5D - Evil and hierarchies

Luciferic influence on Man

For Mankind is especially important what happened in the Lemurian epoch. At that time Luciferic beings, retarded SoF that did not fully reach their evolutionary goal on Old Moon, sneaked into the Human astral body and thereby gave Man free will but also the possibility for evil. This is called the 'Fall of Man' in the Old Testament, the seduction by the snake that 'opened Man's eyes'.

This Luciferic infection had

  • the negative effect of a corruption of the astral body (and the bodies below), whilst
  • the positive effect is that it gave Man freedom.

The Luciferic influence can be called an 'infection' because the astral body was infected with desires and urges before it had reached a state of maturity. Because this infection or 'sin' happened before the development of Man's I-consciousness, it was not personal sin but karma for the whole of humanity, therefore this is called 'original sin'. These imperfections are transferred through the principle of inheritance and the Model for hereditary physical body. The impact is that illness and death arose in the physical body as a result of the luciferic infection.

See also: Fall and redemption - original sin and grace for a balanced positioning of both the above negative and positive aspects.

A very different world

The changes due to the luciferic infection are so vast and on many fronts, that one needs to study the many facets together in order to grasp its full impact - see Aspects below for further references.

As a result of the luciferic infection, Man now has a mineral physical body (see Schema FMC00.488) versus the intended bodily constitution (and only a spiritual elemental lower body). This also brought the cycle of death (of the physical body) and rebirth. It also gave rise to the various human races. And Man's I- consciousness would have been completely different. Last, also the impact of the Christ Impulse, which would then have taken place in the middle of the Atlantean epoch, would have been quite different.


Consequences of Luciferic infection for Man

  • evolutionary perspective: the Luciferic influence in Man in the Lemurian epoch (1906-06-13-GA094, 1909-03-28-GA111), see coverage under Aspects on the Lemurian epoch topic page. Some key bullets of the impact below:
Man without the Lucifer infection
  • without the Lucifer infection, Man would have been of a purely spiritual non-material or non-mineral nature (1911-12-30-GA134); the 'real' Man consists of a supersensible structure or sheath
    • Spirits of Form (SoF) created as an Imagination of Man -> the current material bony system is the Man of Imagination filled out with matter.
    • Spirits of Movement (SoM) created an Inspiration of Man ('movement') -> this Inspiration from the SoM is now filled with muscle substance
    • Spirits of Wisdom, created an Intuition ('that is to say, immediate being — Beings') -> this Intuition from the SoW is now filled out with nerve substance.
    • the whole proceeding out of the cosmos enclosed in an egg-shaped aura as outcome of the working of the Thrones.
  • That spiritual sheath structure has now - due to the Luciferic infection - been injected with physical matter. "owing to the very conditions Man had himself induced under the Luciferic influence, he received into him an inrush of breaking spirit, of matter. Matter is thus something with which we are filled but which does not belong to us" (1911-12-30-GA134)
  • the impact on Man's bodily constitution, and the physical lower body which would normally have been (without luciferic influence) a purely spiritual elemental body, see Schema FMC00.488 below and Thinking Feeling Willing#1917-10-08-GA177
  • the different human races are a result of the abnormal or luciferic beings, see Human races#Spiritual scientific aspects
  • impact on the human blood as a key to the mineral physical body, see Blood is a special fluid#1911-12-31-GA134.
  • Lucifer gave Man freedom or independence and ego-ity, but also brought egoism (1906-11-01-GA266)
  • The Luciferic effect influenced 'the original plan'. It brought the possibility of freedom, but also of error.
Death - illness - original sin

Redemption of Luciferic principle

  • the need to 'redeem Lucifer' that is, to 'get over it' and re-correct what was introduced in Man. Luciferic beings will be redeemed, have caught up the development they missed on Old Moon, with the reunion of the Sun.
  • Christianity as redeeming Lucifer (1904-12-28-GA090A)
    • [WIP note - see also 6.2.3 in SpirHier]

Principle, symbol, presentation

  • the serpent is the symbol of Lucifer and the Luciferic temptation, and the Luciferic principle means 'remained behind upon the Old Moon-stage of development'. Therefore it is impossible to see Lucifer through physical eyes that only developed on earth, he can only be perceived through the inner eye. A correct (imaginative, symbolic) representation in a spiritual-scientific sense would be with "a countenance as expressive as possible, and attached to it, a serpent’s body, but one that resembles the archetypal human spine", such as in the painting by Master Bertram (1916-03-07-GA167, 1916-03-20-GA174A and Schema FMC00.488A)
  • see also Representative of humanity


  • as a result of the Luciferic influence followed the Ahrimanic influence in the middle of the Atlantean epoch
  • influence of Lucifer in the journey between death and a new birth


Schema FMC00.488 is an example of a schema that provides a synthesis to two major points from an important didactic lecture.

For lecture text, see Thinking Feeling Willing#1917-10-08-GA177

The first point (right, and left text boxes) is about the twofold nature of the human being as a result of the luciferic infection in the Lemurian epoch.

The second point (upper and lower text boxes in grey) is about the true nature of thinking: 'dead' thinking whereby our head takes in and processes living astral elementals, versus 'living' thinking whereby these thoughts are coming through the spiritual world and spiritual hierarchies, flowing through the lower part of the body and filled with feeling and willing.

For further study, this relates to:


Schema FMC00.591A: shows additional views to Schema FMC00.591, with - on the left - the rough drawings and accompanying text from lecture 1911-10-14-GA131, in the middle a visualisation of what was described, and on the right Schema FMC00.346 about the Fall and redemption - original sin and grace.

Due to the Luciferic influence, the developmental path of mankind changed considerably, see more on:

shows additional views to Schema FMC00.591, with - on the left - the rough drawings and accompanying text from lecture 1911-10-14-GA131, in the middle a visualisation of what was described, and on the right Schema FMC00.346 about the Fall and redemption - original sin and grace. Due to the Luciferic influence, the developmental path of mankind changed considerably, see more on: *Luciferic influence on Man *Q00.002 - timing of the Mystery of Golgotha#Description of the situation if there would have been no Luciferic infection

Schema FMC00.488A gathers some medieval illustrations of the snake as a symbol of the temptation in paradise, as described in the Book of Genesis. The symbolic presentation of the serpent with a human head is quite common in ancient art. On the left are the copies by Bertram that Rudolf Steiner refers to in his lectures, explaining why clairvoyantly this is the correct way to depict the luciferic principle in spiritual scientific terms (see lecture references on the lower right). On the right some other illustrations. Compare also with Schema FMC00.488 - right text column.

For more info, see the paper by John K. Bonnell in the 'Further reading' section below which contains many more examples with descriptions.


Schema FMC00.018 below depicts the relationship of opposing influences between Jehovah (one of the normally developed seven Spirits of Form) and the beings that 'underdeveloped' or stayed behind on Old Moon, these 'backward' beings we call Luciferic spirits. See also Lucifer and Jehovah.

Another way to depict this in relation to Man, is Schema FMC00.238 on I-less human beings


Lecture coverage and references


provides explanation on redeeming of Lucifer [to be worked still - in Evo]

With the Luciferic principle is meant that beings that were not able to achieve their evolutionary goal on Old Moon, joined their future development (destiny) and longing for wisdom with Man. Christinianity is about redeeming this Luciferic principle. Evil is a result from Freedom that came along with this Luciferic principle. A higher principle always thanks the lower principle that stays behind.The higher dhyan cohans had to get out of the Luciferic to get the ability to embody manas.

A good God could never create Free Man .. for this another being – left behind – was required to provide counterimpulses.


Lemurian epoch#1904-12-31-GA090A


gives a good introduction

On Old Moon certain archangels had not completed their evolution. They brought 'enthusiasm' into blood and astral body and set up the connection beteen the brain and the physical senses, hence live in the nerve branches ending in the sense organs.


(freely translated)

[Luciferic influence]

Man was not independant, could only do what the spiritual forces would tell him, in whose environment he was embedded, so to speak. Man received everything from these spiritual beings as behaved as if guided by instinct. This is how the forces of these spiritual beings worked and showed themselves, beings who did not themselves incarnate on earth. It were those beings who were not positively oriented toward humanity that worked on Man thus that the longing for this missing independance came about. The divine plan did include this independence for Mankind, but these beings made it come about much earlier. Together with other forces, they slipped in to the astral body, that was at that stage not yet fully connected with Man's being, and this have Man a sort of will-power, that was only astral though and not led by intelligence, thereby enabling error and evil. These powers are called the Luciferic powers, and they had a good and an evil side. They seduced and side-tracked humanity into error, but also gave humanity freedom.

The Lemurian Man had only a soul perception. He would see form nor colour of a flower, and no outerly appearances. The flower only showed as a lightning astral image, that was observed with an inner organ. The divine plan included Man to start perceiving with outer senses around the middle of the Atlantean epoch, but through the Luciferic influence this happened sooner, whilst Man's instincts were still pure. That is the 'fall of mankind'. Religious sources say it was the snake that openened the eyes of Man. Without this Luciferic influence, Man's body would not have become so solid as it is today, and Atlantean Man has seen the spiritual side of reality. Instead man fell into sin: illusion and error.

To make things worse: around the middle of the Atlantean epoch the influence of Ahrimanic forces was added to this. The Luciferic powers had worked on the astral body, now the Ahrimanic powers slipped in and worked on the etheric body, especially the ether head. This way Man fell into the illusion that the outer physical world is the real world.


for background start reading the lectures starting from 27th


the quote below is preceeded by important context, see The nature of atoms#1911-12-30-GA134

But now a question will arise in your minds. You will ask: How would it have been with Man if the Luciferic influence had not entered into him in this connection?

We related yesterday how it would have been in many different aspects, but what would have happened in this connections.

  • Well, you see, Man could not have had such nerves as he has today. For these nerves only arise in their particular form of matter through the fact of the irregular connection of the bodies of Man.
  • Similarly he could not have had bones or muscles if it had not been for the Luciferic influence.

In short, we have seen how the various kinds of matter arise through forms being spiritually poured into something which is only there at all because of Luciferic influence. None of these different substances — muscle, nerve, etc. — could have come into existence without the Luciferic influence.

With still more intensity than we did yesterday must we ask the question: What then is Man altogether as material Man?

Man as he meets us externally is simply and solely a result of the Luciferic influence. For unless the Luciferic influence had been there he would have had no nerves, no muscles, no bones in the present-day sense of the words. Materialism describes nothing but what Lucifer has made of Man. Materialism is thus in the most eminent degree discipleship of Lucifer; it rejects all else.


What would Man be like if he had remained in Paradise?

In order that tomorrow we may be able to carry our study further — and with rather easier conceptions — I will give you now today a brief sketch of what Man would have become if it had not been for the Luciferic influence.

If it had not been for this influence, then we should have in human evolution on the Earth, to begin with, what came from the influence of the Spirits of Form. For the Spirits of Form were the last Spirits of the higher hierarchies who worked into Man. Now these Spirits of Form created a purely super-sensible form — nothing spatial at all. What Man would have been — I will only sketch it for you in quite a cursory manner today — what Man would have been, no outer eye could see, no outer senses could perceive; for pure soul forms cannot be perceived by outer senses.

  • What Man would have been coincides with something I have described in Knowledge of the Higher Worlds — it coincides with what is there given as Imaginative knowledge. An “Imagination” would Man have been, created by the Spirits of Form. Nothing of a sense nature, purely super-sensible Imagination. If we were to draw a rough diagram of what man would have been like — (see diagram) — we should have an Imagination picture of what the Spirits of Form created as an Imagination of Man.
  • But it would also be permeated with what remained over in Man from the creative working of the earlier hierarchies. We should have to show it in our diagram as permeated first of all with what was left in Man from the Spirits of Movement, the Spirits of inner Movement (2). That would reveal itself to us as what we have described in Knowledge of the Higher Worlds with the words “Inspired Knowledge.” For these movements would only be recognisable as Inspiration. This means that we should have first the complete Man, consisting of Imagination, and then we should have as well movement — Inspiration.
  • And what the Spirits of Wisdom give would be Intuition. This would be a positive inner content with which all the rest would be in a manner filled out. We must put here (3) Intuition, that is to say, immediate being — Beings.
  • And the whole we would behold as proceeding out of the cosmos and enclosed in an egg-shaped aura which would be the outcome of the working of the Thrones. Such would be the super-sensible nature of Man, consisting of contents which would be accessible to super-sensible knowledge alone. Fantastic as it may appear, it is the real Man.

If we may say so symbolically, it is Man in Paradise, who does not consist of the material contents of which Man now consists but who has a super-sensible nature throughout.

And what happened through the Luciferic influence?

Breaking-up spirit (that is to say, matter), spurted, as it were, into the Imaginations, and the result stands there today in the bony system of man. The bony system is the Man of Imagination filled out with matter. Matter does not belong to what is really the higher Man; through the Luciferic influence it has been shot into what would otherwise only be Imagination. We must picture to ourselves — if such a thing were not absurd — that there was a time when one could quite easily pass through a human being, but that then these Imaginations drew together, and, in addition, were afterwards filled out with bony substance. Nowadays we should knock up against bones if we tried to pass through a human being. But Man only later became impenetrable.

That which is in Man from the Spirits of Movement is filled out with muscle substance, and that which would be perceived as Intuition is filled out with nerve substance.

It is only when we get beyond all these that we come to the supersensible. With the etheric body of Man we are already in the super-sensible. The etheric body is today only in the smallest degree material; it appears as very fine jets or sprays of the etheric, giving rise to a matter finer than that of which nerves are made, a kind of matter that does not really come into consideration for us here at all.

So you see, man is really a being who has undergone a great coarsening in his nature.

  • For were he as he was originally intended in the purposes of the Gods he would have no bones, but his form would consist in super-sensible “Imagined” bones; he would have no muscles to serve as an apparatus for movement, but he would have super-sensible substance moving within him; whereas now what moves in him has been everywhere interlarded with muscle substance.
  • The super-sensible movement which was given to man by the Spirits of Movement has become physical movement in the muscles, and the intuition given by the Spirits of Wisdom has become in the man of the senses nerve substance.
  • Nerve substance has been, so to say, crammed into the Intuition.

And so

  • when you find a drawing of the skeleton in an anatomy book you can think to yourself: It was originally intended to be a pure Imagination and has become so coarsened by the Luciferic and Ahrimanic influences that it meets us to-day as dense, thick, hard bones that can be broken and fractured. So fast and firm have the Imaginations become! And now do you still say that Man cannot find in the physical world any reflection of the world of Imagination! Whoever knows what the skeleton really is may find, when he looks at it, a picture of the world of Imagination.
  • And when you see a picture of the man of muscle you really ought to say to yourself: That is an utterly unnatural picture, it is inwardly untrue. In the first place I see it, whereas I ought to hear it spiritually. For the true state of the matter is this — rhythmic movement has been interlarded, by a super-sensible process, with muscle substance which does not really belong to it at all; what remains ought not to be seen but heard, like the swaying movement of music. You should really hear Inspirations. And what you see pictured there as the man of muscle — are the Inspirations of Man made rigid in matter.
  • Finally we come to the man of nerves. The man of nerves we ought really neither to see nor to hear, but only to perceive in an altogether spiritual manner.

From a cosmic point of view there is a complete distortion in the fact that we have visibly before us what should only be grasped in purest spirituality. It is in reality a spiritual sheath that has been, so to speak, injected with physical matter. We see before us visibly what should only be perceived as an Intuition.

The expulsion from Paradise means simply this — that Man was originally in the spiritual world, that is to say, in Paradise, and he there consisted of Imagination, Inspiration and Intuition — that is, he was in an entirely super-earthly existence. And then, owing to the very conditions he had himself induced under the Luciferic influence, he received into him an inrush of breaking spirit, of matter. Matter is thus something with which we are filled but which does not belong to us. We bear it in us, this matter, and because we bear it in us we must die a physical death. There you have, in point of fact, the cause of physical death, and of much besides. For inasmuch as Man has left his spiritual condition he lives here in physical existence only until matter gains the victory over what holds it together. For the nature of matter is such that it is perpetually trying to break up and go to pieces, and the matter in the bones is only held together by the power of Imagination. When the power of the bones gains the upper hand then the bones become incapable of life. It is the same with the muscles and the nerves. So soon as the matter in the bones, muscles and nerves gains the upper hand over Imagination, Inspiration and Intuition and is able to break asunder, in that moment must man lay down his physical body. There you have the connection between physical death and the Luciferic influence. We shall follow it up to-morrow by showing how evil, too, and many other things — illnesses, etc. — have come into the world.


Let us assume that someone who has taken the first steps on the path of initiation, because his soul life has become clairvoyant by his own efforts to open the eyes of his soul, meets the figure in super-sensible worlds whom we call Lucifer. How did we describe this being yesterday? He comes before the soul as a being forever striving to make the eternal, which otherwise is in constant movement and change, into the stable, temporal and momentary, so that as something individual it can rejoice in its power to grow individually great.

If as a soul you meet Lucifer in super-sensible worlds, he then appears there as the great Light-bearer who leads, really leads, to bringing down into sensory existence all the treasures that pertain to real being in the spiritual world, and to the creation of its reflection and revelation in the world of the senses. If you follow Lucifer in this striving of his in super-sensible worlds, then you are working for the fulfilment of the primordial task of the universe; that is, to reveal the un-revealed, to commit to the moment all that is eternal and to make it possible that all that flows away into limitless eternity should be held fast in the inward greatness of the individual moment.

Now a desire exists in every human soul as an echo from the spiritual worlds to bring to fulfilment this striving to make manifest the un-revealed, to fix the eternal in the passing moment. Hence it is that when man enters super-sensible worlds, either by way of initiation or by death, it is really Lucifer who acts as his Light-bearer.

The dangers to which man is exposed when face to face with Lucifer in higher worlds are really only present when man takes with him into these worlds too great a measure of what in sensory existence constitutes his right relation to Lucifer. Lucifer is only dangerous for man's life in higher worlds if he takes with him too much of the nature and essential being of physical man.

How then do matters stand with Lucifer within the actual life of the senses, where there is always the interplay of super-sensible worlds? In the historical course of man during sensory existence and in his evolution we have to do above all with the interplay of the higher worlds, which send active impulses into physical life so that one thing may take place after another, in the way things are played out during the whole earth existence in the history of mankind.

The self-seeking strivings of every human soul that we regard as human and egoistic play into the life of the senses, and we know that the development of every soul must start from egoism. We also know that man can work his way out from egoism. Into all that souls have been able to do on earth through egoism, there comes what we may call the manifestation of the eternal in the passing moment. Luciferic forces are forever playing into what is fixed in the individual soul and also into all that the individual man can do for the whole world-order and existence through being an egoist and having the power to develop within him inward greatness that wells forth from his inner being. For what is individual greatness in the individual soul but the seed of all the greatness in the whole world evolution of man? What gave Homer, Shakespeare, Dante, Goethe, their power to affect mankind? It was their I-hood, and because within them there were whole worlds, worlds that issued forth from their inner being alone, out of their ego-hood. In this indirect way, through I-hood, the impulses of spiritual life are introduced, which are from epoch to epoch the mediators of the greatest spiritual deeds of mankind. In this we find Lucifer again. It is he who is Light-bearer, impulse and power behind all the greatness that radiates into human evolution from the mighty forces of eternity that, at certain points of time, surge up from the individual human soul.

Man's soul is placed between two poles that are simply the impression and reflection of all the worlds in which the soul actually stands. At the one pole the human soul hardens within itself, winds itself into the cocoon of its selfhood, and only desires what is of service to itself, what is for its self-gratification. At the other pole the human soul draws forces from its own depths that are able to radiate into the whole life of humanity. When does this ego-hood of man come to light? This happens the moment we think how necessary it is for every man to sacrifice for others what is his own, what is his most individually, what belongs most deeply to his ego-hood. But

  • in all that man can do for his fellows out of his I-hood lives Lucifer, the other pole of Lucifer;
  • in all that man can thus achieve for humanity under the influence of the Light-bearer, lies a reflection of what Lucifer really is in higher worlds, a reflection of his creative activity, which is the revealing of the unrevealed.

Can we then say that Lucifer is evil, or can we say that Lucifer is good? One can only say that if a man maintains that Lucifer is evil, and that we must flee from him, then it must also be said that we must avoid fire, because in certain circumstances it destroys life. On the path of initiation we find that the words good and evil cannot be used in this way for the description of any being of the super-sensible world order. Fire is good when it acts in good conditions, evil when it works in evil ones; in itself it is neither the one nor the other.

So it is with Lucifer.

  • He exercises a good influence on man's soul when he becomes the instigator of man's sacrifice on the altar of human evolution of all that is most individual in his soul.
  • Lucifer becomes an evil being rather, what he does becomes evil, when he arouses impulses leading only to self-gratification in the human soul.

Thus, once our attention has been drawn to these beings, we have to follow up the effect their deeds have in the world. The acts of super-sensible beings can be described as good or bad; the beings themselves, never!

Just imagine that somewhere, on some island or other, there were a human race holding the opinion that, in all circumstances, one must protect oneself from Lucifer and that he has to be kept at the greatest possible distance. That would not prove that the men of this island had better knowledge of Lucifer than anyone else, but simply, by virtue of their particular qualities that these men were only able to convert into evil what Lucifer could give them. The views about Lucifer held by the people of this island would only be characteristic of the people, not of Lucifer. I will not say whether or not this island exists. You can look for it yourselves in the evolution of the world.

We must seek the attributes of Lucifer in the being Lucifer whom we meet in the super-sensible world. The manner of his working has to be sought in how his powers take on different qualities when, for instance, they work on such an island and their effects actively ray out on such an island.


see also: Nerve-sense subsystem#1916-03-07-GA167 and Schema FMC00.488

Recently we were in Hamburg and saw a picture done in the 13th, 14th century by Master Bertram and I want to tell you something about this picture.

Let us go back to the biblical story of the fall into sin which we in spiritual science call Luciferic temptation. When a painter in our modern age paints the fall into sin, so he would paint Adam and Eve on either side of the tree and then, naturally, a serpent on the tree. According to whether he is an Impressionist, Cubist, Expressionist or any other ‘ist’, he would more or less paint this; he would paint it beautifully. But he will paint a serpent looking like any serpent which crawls in the grass; that is realism. But is it realism? Is it actually not realism? I cannot imagine any simple woman being deceived by such a serpent.

We know from spiritual science that Lucifer is a being who had remained behind at the Old Moon development. Lucifer, during the Old Moon evolution, could not be seen with physical eyes such as we have upon Earth, so the serpent could not be something which could be seen with the physical eye, not the serpent referred to in the Garden of Eden. Lucifer had to be seen inwardly.

When you study the human being more accurately, you can see in every skeleton that it consists of two portions. You have the skull and the spinal column attached to it with the brain inside the skull and the spinal fluid in the spinal column, and the rest of the human being is attached to it. You can consider the human being only as being attached to it. You have the head like a small cosmic sphere attached to the whole thing.

You can also say: Thank God that man through his own wisdom cannot contribute to this head coming into existence through his birth. It would look very strange if the anatomists and physiologists could contribute anything to produce this wonderful structure of the human head.

This human head comes into existence between death and a new birth as in a large sphere which we could compare with our blue heavenly sphere, that in which our karma is woven and is an organization which as it goes towards incarnation, becomes smaller and smaller and then unites itself with the mother. That which then becomes our head is woven through by countless beings of the hierarchies out of the whole cosmic all. It is a wisdom of the most immense magnitude, a wisdom which has embodied in it all the experiences.

Our head is an inheritance of the Old Saturn, Old Sun and Old Moon incarnations. The earth with all its forces could not have been able to produce this head. It is only possible to bring into existence that which is added to the head, not the head with all its forces.

The other part of the human being, not the head with the spinal column, but that which is attached to it actually is earth man.

Now, how would a person with inner vision try to represent Lucifer actually as an Old Moon being?

One would represent a human head and would attach something like a boned up spinal column to it, something like a serpent; and that is how Master Bertram in the 13th, 14th century presents Lucifer there on the tree between Adam and Even. In the Hamburg Museum you can see the picture represented just like that. So you see that the painter who painted this picture has the living knowledge of the configuration of Lucifer within him. You can also see that it was not so very long ago that we still had the ancient atavistic clairvoyance which has now been lost.


At the Museum of Art, in Hamburg we recently discovered a proof that may be advanced externally. It results from the following fact:

Let us bear in mind that great symbol at the beginning of the Old Testament: Adam and Eve’s Temptation, what is known to us as the Luciferic temptation. Let us think of this. When a modern painter paints this (his standpoint is quite an indifferent matter; it is all the same whether he is a realistic or an idealistic painter, an expressionist, impressionist, or futurist), he thinks that the reality can be conveyed best of all if he paints Adam and Eve in a more or less ugly way; between them, he will paint the Tree of Paradise and upon it the Serpent, with a real serpent’s head, as large as the Tree. Can this be termed realistic, in the true meaning of the word? I do not think so. Leaving aside the present assumption, it is impossible to believe that the archetypal mother Eve could have been so stupid as to be tempted by a real serpent. Imagine, a real serpent creeping through the green grass should have caught mother Eve! Even the present serpent can only be looked upon as a symbol of something else.

Let us recall the thoughts that should really be connected with the Luciferic temptation. The serpent is Lucifer. It can only symbolize Lucifer. The fact that this being remained behind upon the Old Moon-stage of development, is connected with the Luciferic principle. It is therefore impossible to see Lucifer through physical eyes, for these have only developed upon the earth. Lucifer can only be perceived through the inner eye, and so he cannot resemble an earthly serpent that can be seen through our ordinary earthly eyes. Lucifer should be imagined as spiritual science is able to represent him.

Imagine now that man carries upon him his head, as the most perfectly formed member of his body. Attached to it (it suffices if you study a skeleton) is the remaining organism; the spine is attached to the head. Everything that has, later on, developed physically, was formed in advance. If we go back into evolution, if we were to perceive Lucifer through our inner power of vision, we would see him in the form which he had upon Old Moon, when he was preparing the earthly human head, a human head that was not so dense and solid as the present one, for it was inwardly mobile, manifold in its forms, and attached to it was a human spine, a spinal cord, that may be imagined in the form of a serpent’s body. Lucifer would, therefore, have to be painted with a countenance as expressive as possible, and attached to it, a serpent’s body, but one that resembles the archetypal human spine. This would be a kind of picture of Lucifer.

At the Museum in Hamburg there is a picture by Master Bertram representing a story, of creation, and there the paradise-symbol is represented in such a way that Lucifer is portrayed as described, exactly in accordance with spiritual science. In the 13th and 14th century, Master Bertram therefore painted Lucifer correctly, in a spiritual-scientific sense. This can be seen; it is a historical fact. We have frequently spoken of the ancient atavistic clairvoyance. What Master Bertram painted, shows that up to the 13th and 14th century it was possible to paint Lucifer correctly, in accordance with an ancient spiritual science. It can therefore be proved, it can be proved externally, that the human beings have become, so abandoned by the spirit as they are now, only a few centuries ago. This can be proved, and you will be able to discover such proofs.

In other words: What the obtuse people of today consider as the everlasting human nature ... the fact that they look out into the world through their eyes and then combine the things they see through their intellect, has become a human soul-quality only a few centuries ago. Before that time, man was aware of his connection with the spiritual world. This has faded. But we can learn to know that even in the 13th and 14th century people were still able to paint in such a way that this was in keeping with the ancient spiritual science. It is important to bear in mind such a fact. It shows us that the ancient spiritual science had to vanish for the sake of the development of human freedom, for in the 5th post-atlantean epoch arose something that has often been described: namely, the, consciousness-soul had to develop and consequently the old spiritual science had to recede. But it must be brought back again.


.. in the times that went before the Mystery of Golgotha — the human being received quite special forces when he reached the age of 14 or 15, over and above the forces he possessed in earlier childhood. At the 14th or 15th year of life, in those olden times, man received forces which have been lost to mankind since the Mystery of Golgotha. These forces are no longer there; or they are only there in a backward, atavistic manner; — no longer as normal forces of human nature generally.

The forces which the human being thus received when he became about 14 or 15 years old were simply there in his environment inasmuch as he himself was there. Moreover, they were such as could unite with the processes of physical manipulations.


The forces man then received about the 14th or 15th year of life have gradually been lost. It was with the 15th century that they disappeared almost entirely. That is why many things that were written before the 15th century A.D. are no longer intelligible at all to-day, save with the help of Spiritual Science., For in these olden times, the moment a man set to work with any physical manipulations (such as are done nowadays quite commonly in our laboratories), — the moment he did so, he gave occasion for certain Luciferic elemental beings to arise at the same time. At any rate, he could give occasion for this. These Luciferic elemental beings were thoroughly effective; and, if engendered, would have played their part in the social life of men, if these things had not been kept secret.


Mankind to-day is not exposed to those Luciferic elemental spirits of whom we may speak in this connection. But in compensation for this, human beings are exposed all the more strongly to certain Ahrimanic elementals. Ahrimanic elemental spirits come into being to-day with a like necessity, as the aforesaid Luciferic beings did in antiquity. Only they come into being in a very different way — out of quite other forces and impulses in human nature.


The wise men of olden time who received the primeval wisdom from the hands of Lucifer had, as I said, to pledge themselves not to yield to his wishes but to use the wisdom for the good of earth-evolution. And that, in essence, was what was accomplished through the pre-Christian Mysteries. If it be asked what it was that humanity received through these Mysteries, through the influence of the Luciferic beings who, in post-Atlantean times, still inspired certain personalities like the Rishis of India and sent their messengers to the earth — the answer is that Man received the rudiments of what has developed in the course of evolution into the faculties of speech and of thinking.

Speaking and thinking are, in their origins, Luciferic, but were drawn away from the grip of Lucifer by the wise men of old.

If you are really intent upon fleeing from Lucifer, then you must make up your minds to be dumb in the future, and not to think.


Related pages

References and further reading

  • John K. Bonnell: 'The Serpent with a Human Head in Art and in Mystery Play' (article in American Journal of Archaeology, Vol. 21, No. 3 (Jul. - Sep., 1917), pp. 255-291 (37 pages), online here and PDF downloadeable here).