The Michaelic stream

From Anthroposophy

Human history is created by the continuous 'infusion of impulses' by 'waves of incarnating souls' that influence history and the course of evolution.

There is a large group or population of individualities and their incarnations through the ages, that are all part of a such a stream of spiritual scientific teaching and initiation. As cultures and traditions were different, the name and format of the teachings and initiation practices was very different across the ages. Today we use the term spiritual science, one can use other words like theosophy, hermetics, anthroposophy, philosophy, esoteric christian that were more typical or appropriate in other ages .. or refer to the ancient mysteries already starting in the Atlantean epoch down to the mystery schools in the ancient cultures, and the rosecrucian movement in the middle ages.

What cuts across all this is a stream of individualities that impact the world through their life and work, and this we call the stream.

Through Rudolf Steiner's GA runs a coverage of such individualities and their storyline across multiple incarnations. In the Karmic Relationships lectures of 1924 some 50 named cases are presented, however throughout the GA the lectures cover personalities that are part of this stream. This even if personalities can not always be mapped to incarnations of individualities.

It is clear that injections of spiritual guidance continue to exists throughout history and are maintained and carried further by the 'waves of incarnating souls'. Thus it is normal that we still find today people very attracted by and resonating with vedanta and bhagavad gita, others to buddhism, others again to magic or alchemy, and so on. The net effect is that one can speak of many, related, substreams that are all part of (and together make up) a larger current.


Rudolf Steiner lectured on various occasion on the difference between souls of:

  • arthur and grail streams
  • shepards vs magi
  • old souls and young souls
  • platonists and aristotelians (and transitional souls), see eg the Karmic Relationship cycles
  • Seth-Abel current and the Sons of Cain

Very noticeable in the history of the anthroposophical movement is the difference between the older generation much geared towards theosophy, and the new generation full of energy to 'do something' on the basis of the insights of spiritual scientists. The audience interests in 1920 were quite different than those in 1904. And similar within the movement there is a 'subcurrent' of souls very much attracted to christianity as a core, see the Christian community (eg Rittelmeyer, Bock). Also, karmic research pointed to previous incarnations in substreams such as the platonic school, the grail stream in the middle ages with the templars versus the christian esoteric or scholasticism wave.

Furthermore, Rudolf Steiner also mentions Manicheism and its founder as another related stream which appears as more important even for the future.

As a result of all the above, many authors have written about the substreams that come together in the anthroposophical movement as a merger or various substreams or communities, see references below.

Aspects for study

  • The White Lodge
  • The ancient Mysteries (or Mystery Schools or Centers)
  • The Michael stream as in Rudolf Steiner's Karmic Relationships (KR) lectures
  • the substreams


Lecture coverage and references

Essential are:

  • GA087 of October 1901 to April 1902 sketches the lineage from Heraclitus via Pythagoras and the Greek philosophers (Parmenides, Empedocles, Plato, Socrates), Philo of Alexandria and connecting this with the writers of the four gospels, the school of Paul and Dionysus Areopagite and down to Scotus Eriugena. Connecting in the underlying stream of Christ in Egyptian, buddhist, Greek myths and spiritual life.
  • GA237, GA238 and GA240 contain the lectures of the period between 1 July upto 16 September 1924 in which the Michael School was sketched from the time of Plato and Aristotle, over the School of Chartres, upto the anthroposophical movement; not just on earth but also in the supersensible world, and including the inspiration by individualities from the spiritual world.
  • in between these two lie 22 years and the rest of the GA, with very many lectures (and references in lectures) of personalities that fit into this story through the ages, from the old mystery schools up to today.


Sketching a stream

Below follows a highly condensed summary with names to illustrate interrelationships (non exhaustive, for illustration purpose only). These are only names of personalities with a historical cultural impact, spanning four cultural ages of Persia, Egypt, Greco-Roman, and the current Anglo-German. The information mentioned may only be clear to those who have studied the GA and all related sources, but each statement can be backed up.

The point is the following: a) one can make a graphical map to show how (with a timeline) how a small number of key individualities are 'spider in the web', or backbone of this stream in the world, and 'connect' many well-known historical individualities across the ages, b) in depth research of these names in Rudolf Steiner's GA will show extensive coverage, as well connections and storylines given. It is an underlying, common theme.

The reader is invited to do the exercise and sketch a timeline and make the connections to see the 'stream' effect' emerging from own research.

  • highest individualities
    • Zarathustra is the same individuality as Master Jesus, incarnated also as Zarathos
      • Pythagoras was a pupil of Zarathos
      • Hermes and Moses were both pupils of Zarathustra
    • John, the author of the Gospel and Revelation, is Lazarus-John and the same individuality as Christian Rosenkreutz and Saint-Germain
    • Paul of Tarsus or St Paul is also known as Master Hilarion
    • all are said to be part of the White Lodge
  • 20th century
    • Rudolf Steiner
      • two teachers are said to be Christian Rosenkreutz and Master Jesus
      • previous incarnations as Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas
    • Daskalos refers to John as his direct teacher (same individuality as Christian Rosenkreutz)
    • Franz Bardon belongs to the stream of Hermes in Egypt
  • other important individualities
    • Novalis is said to be a student of Pythagoras .. Novalis and Raphael are incarnations the prophet Eliah and John Baptist
    • Philo of Alexandria taught the books of Moses, and incarnated as Spinoza and Fichte. Lazarus-John was his pupil.
    • Goethe is potentially an incarnation of Moses (unconfirmed)
      • Hermann Grimm (incarnation of Pliny the Young) is linked to Goethe and has a clear connection with Raphael
      • Carline Michaelis (linked to Goethe, Schlegels and Schelling)
    • Julian Apostate is Tycho de Brahe, Swedenborg is an incarnation of Ignatius von Loloya
  • other recurrent names are
    • Heraclites, Empedocles, Parmenides, Socrates, Plato, Apollonius of Tyana
    • Scotus Eriugena, Dionysus Areopagite, Dante and Brunetto Latini, Alain de Lille and Bernardus Silvestris, Augustinus, Francis of Assisi
    • Jakob Boehme, Lessing, Schelling, Schiller, Hegel, Solovief, Tolstoj, Louis Claude de Saint-Martin, August and Friedrich Schlegel, Wagner, Nietzsche, Brentano
  • some anthroposophists
    • Ita Wegman had incarnation as Alexander the Great, Marie Steiner as Hypathia and Albertus Magnus, Willem Zeylmans as Ramon Lull

Anthroposophy and Hermetics and Esoteric Christianity

On the topic page about the teachings of Franz Bardon, the link was made between anthroposophy and hermetics. Rudolf Steiner, Franz Bardon and Daskalos, take a different entry or approach towards initiation.

From the above one can see that Steiner is in the rosecrucian stream (masters Christian Rosenkreutz and Master Jesus), Daskalos in fact in the same stream (master Johannes or Christian Rosenkreutz), and Franz Bardon (master Hermes, closely linked to Zarathustra or Master Jesus).

Going further one can see links with Moses <-> Goethe (who studied the earth's breathing) and Philo of Alexandria (who taught the books of Moses) with his incarnations as Spinoza and Fichte. Furthermore the fact Steiner was told by his master early-on to study Fichte, and later covered both Goethe, Fichte extensively as well as Philo of Alexandria (re GA087). Another clue is offered when Steiner makes an explicit distinction between anthroposophy and theosophy, calling anthroposophy more focusing on the earth and Man, whereas theosophy is more about cosmogony and spiritual evolution.

Steiner did start within the theosophical environment following guidance from his master very early on, coming from the study of the work of Goethe and Fichte. Soon he changed course from the indian-inspired theosophy of Blavatsky towards the rosecrucian stream (see 1907 Munich congress), and - without being outspoken about it - a course of esoteric christianity in the period 1906-7 to 1911. That period has the GA096 and GA097 volumes on the Christ, the courses on the four gospels and the books of Genesis and Revelation, the fifth gospel, the announcement of Christ in the etheric, and many lectures on the Christian and Rosecrucian initiation.

Related pages

References and further reading

  • Hans Peter van Manen
    • Twin roads to the new millenium (1980 in DE as 'Christussucher und Michaeldiener - Die karmischen Strömungen der anthroposophischen Bewegung', 1988 in EN)
  • Bernard Lievegoed
    • Mystery streams in Europe and the new mysteries (1982)
    • Man on the threshold (1983)
    • The battle of the soul (1993)
  • Malte Diekmann: Der Kreis der Mysterienströmungen. Karmische Gruppen in der Anthroposophischen Gesellschaft und Bewegung (2005)
  • Hella Krause-Zimmer: 'Christian Rosenkreutz' (2009)
  • Thomas Meyer: 'Rudolf Steiner's core mission' (2009)
  • Peter Selg
    • Rudolf Steiner and Christian Rosenkreutz (2010 in DE, 2012 in EN)
    • The Michael School (and the school of spiritual science)
  • Rudolf Steiner selected lectures in 'The secret stream' (2000)