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.

Personal connection

See also: Future Oriphiel age - a related topic part of esoteric lessons, because in the current Michael age souls are being prepared for this coming difficult period


Christian Rosenkreutz selects those whom he wants to have as his pupils in a remarkable way. The one chosen has to pay attention to a certain kind of event, or several events in his life of the following kind

[see lecture] ...

When such an event awakens in a person the inner disposition to look at his life from that time onwards as a gift, nowadays this makes him a follower of Christian Rosenkreutz. For that is his way of calling these souls to him. And whoever can recall having had such an experience can tell himself: Christian Rosenkreutz has given me a sign from the spiritual world that I belong to his stream. Christian Rosenkreutz has added the possibility of such an experience to my karma. That is the way in which Christian Rosenkreutz makes his choice of pupils. He chooses his community like this. Whoever experiences this consciously, knows: a path has been shown me, and I must follow it and see how far I can use my forces to serve rosicrucianism. Those who have not understood the sign, however, will do so at a later time, for whoever has received the sign will not be free of it again.

That a man can have an experience of the kind described is due to his having met Christian Rosenkreutz in the spiritual world between his last death and his last birth. Christian Rosenkreutz chose us then, and he put an impulse of will into us that now leads us to such experiences. This is the way in which spiritual connections are brought about.


Many a person of whom we do not expect it, is a pupil chosen by Christian Rosenkreutz. Even today it is possible to speak of a sign by means of which Christian Rosenkreutz calls to one whom he has chosen. Many people can apprehend this sign in their life; it may express itself in a thousand ways, but these different manifestations all lead back to a typical form which may be described as follows.

[see lecture] ...

And when the man in question realises this he will be led to the resolve to work in a spiritual movement.

If the resolve is taken, this means that he has actually been chosen. This is how Christian Rosenkreutz begins to gather his pupils around him, and many human beings, if they were sufficiently alert, would be conscious of such an event in their inner life.

The human beings of whom it can be said that they were, or will now be, united in this way with Christian Rosenkreutz, are those who should be the pioneers of a deeper understanding of esoteric Christianity. This stream of spiritual life connected with Christian Rosenkreutz provides the highest means for enabling the Christ Impulse to be understood in our present time.

1924-08-08-GA237 d

... And now we may express something that is deeply connected with the karma of the Anthroposophical Society. It is a thing of immense significance, and, if I may say so, it is only here that we come to the right shade of feeling. For with all that we can describe by choosing comparisons from the conditions that surround us, we cannot exhaustively characterise what is taking place behind the scenes in spiritual worlds. Whatever thoughts we may select from the earthly conditions that surround us, they are but dim and feeble. Having made all these preparations, we must have recourse to the pure description of things spiritual.

Thus we must say: All that has led the souls together into the Anthroposophical Society, all that has brought them into this community through a sincere and inward impulse of their souls, holds good, needless to say.

Yet how does it come about? How are the forces really there, which lead these human beings in our time to find their way together under purely spiritual principles, when in the ordinary world of today they are complete strangers to one another? Where do the forces lie, that lead them together?

My dear friends, they lie in this: Through the entry of Michael's dominion in the Michael age in which we live — with the penetration of Michael to earthly rulership, replacing the rulership of Gabriel — Michael himself is bringing the power which is to bring order again into the karma of those who have gone with him.

Thus we may say: What is it in the last resort that unites the Members of the Anthroposophical Society?

It is that they are to bring order again into their karma. This unites them.

And if any one of them notices in the course of his life that

  • he is entering here or there into relationships that do not conform to his inmost impulse; relationships, perhaps, diverging in one way or another from what we may call the true harmony in man as between good and evil, if he has this on the one hand,
  • while on the other hand he has constant impulse to press forward in the Anthroposophical life,
  • the fact is that such a man is striving back again to his real karma. He is striving once more to live and express the real karma. This is the cosmic ray that pours through the Anthroposophical Movement, clearly perceptible to him who knows. It is the restoration of the truth in karma.

In this connection we can understand very much, both of the destiny of individuals in the Anthroposophical Society and of the destiny of the whole Society. For these, of course, merge into one another.

This, my dear friends, shall now rest in your souls. You must say to yourselves: Those who out of these great decisions feel in themselves the impulse to come to the anthroposophical life today, will be called again at the end of the 20th century, when at the culminating point the greatest possible expansion of the Anthroposophical Movement will be attained. But it will only happen if these things can really live in us, — if there can live in us the perception of what penetrates cosmically, spiritually, into the earthly physical domain. It will only be so if there penetrates even into the earthly Intelligence, into the perceptions of men, the knowledge of the significance of Michael. This impulse must be the very soul of our anthroposophical striving. The soul itself must have the will to stand fully in the midst of the Anthroposophical Movement. Thus we shall find it possible, my dear friends, for a certain time to come, to carry in our souls thoughts of a great and far-reaching nature. But we shall not only preserve them, we shall make them living in our souls. And through these thoughts our souls will grow and develop anthroposophically, so that the soul will become what it was intended to become through its own unconscious impulse to come to Anthroposophy.

I say again: So that the soul may be taken hold of by the mission of Anthroposophy. I have spoken these earnest words to you in this last hour, so that you may let them work in you quietly and in silence for a time: that the soul shall really be taken hold of by the mission of Anthroposophy.


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)