War in heaven

From Anthroposophy

The 'War in heaven' or 'Fight in heaven' is the event in the evolution of the solar system that, by divine will, created the 'origin of evil' in order to allow Man to have the possibility of freedom, something that no other spiritual hierarchy in creation has.

When and how?

The 'War in heaven' happened between two classes of the Spirits of Motion, the more advanced and the ones who had remained behind, during the contraction of Old Sun to Old Moon. It caused a split from the one sphere which was Old Saturn or Old Sun, into two bodies:

  • the advanced SoM staying on Old Sun (part of Old Sun during Old Moon stage), and
  • the less advanced forming the Old Moon body.

Where can the remnants still be seen today?

The Planetoid belt or host of small planetoids scattered between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter are a result of this Fight or War in Heaven. Jupiter represents the outer limit of the Old Sun sphere, Mars the outer limit of the Old Moon sphere.

Impact: the mystery of the origin of evil, but also freedom

Hence, during the Old Moon stage some SoM became the seducers of the angels who were then going through the human stage (CoC4). And those angels who fling themselves into that which the SoM produced during the War in Heaven are called Luciferic. These beings became united to the human astral bodies during the Earth evolution and gave to men the possibility of evil, and also the possibility of developing through their own free power; so that in the whole sequence of hierarchies we have only men; and some of the angels, who have the possibility of freedom. In the midst of the ranks of the angels the possibility of freedom begins, but it is first fully developed in men.

Thus those SoM 'were given certain orders', men first received the possibility of reaching their goal by their own strength, a thing which even the highest Seraphim cannot do of themselves.

In what is called the ‘origin of evil’ they could but perform the will of the Godhead who, by means of evil, wishes to develop more powerful good.

Future correction and redemption

The initial War in heaven that lie at the basis for what followed in the Fall of Man with the Luciferic infection in the Lemurian epoch on Earth, had further consequences with the development of Ahrimanic and Asuric counterforces.

See further coverage on the section on: Fall and redemption - original sin and grace


Schema FMC00.345 shows artworks of the fight in heaven as a detail on the left panel of the Last Judgement triptych by Hieronymus Bosch, with on the right a copy by Cranach.


Lecture coverage and references

1909-04-14-G110 (SWCC) - see more on Planetoid belt

For those who have already followed me in this domain, it is not new to hear that [in] the Cosmos things happen very much in the way they happen in ordinary human life. Where beings are evolving there are some who advance and others who remain behind, as many a father knows, who complains that his son in college lags behind whilst others are making good progress. We are concerned, therefore, with a difference in the ‘tempo’ of development. It is the same in the Cosmos.

And through certain causes, which we shall learn later, now that the SoM have entered on their Mission, something came into play which is called in all Esotericism, and in all Mysteries, the ‘fight in Heaven.’ This ‘fight in Heaven’ forms an essential, and integral part of all Mysteries; it contains also the primeval Mystery regarding the origin of Evil.

At a certain point of the Old Moon evolution the Spirits of Motion (SoM) had reached very different degrees of maturity. Some of them aspired to rise spiritually as high as possible; others again had remained behind, or at least had progressed normally in their development. Some of the SoM on Old Moon had progressed much further than their companions. The result of this was that these two classes of SoM divided. The more advanced ones drew out with the body of the Sun, and the others formed the Moon revolving around it.

We have now given a sketchy description of the fight in Heaven, the rending asunder of the Old Moon, so that the planet accompanying the Old Moon comes under the domination of those SoM which had remained behind, and the Old Sun under the domination of the advanced SoM.

Something of this fight in Heaven still sounds in the first sentences of the divine Gita, where symbolically at the beginning of the battle can still be heard echoes of that mighty fight of the heavens. O, it was a mighty field of battle!

From the time when the SoM brought about the formation of the Old Sun, up to the time of that of the Old Moon, when the SoM took up their mission, all was a mighty field of battle; a gigantic fight reigned in Heaven.

The SoW had contracted the whole mass of our solar systems to the boundary of Jupiter, then the SoM contracted it to the boundary of the Mars of today.

Between these two planetary frontiers in the heavens lies the great battlefield of the fight of Heaven. Only in the nineteenth century has the physical eye discovered again these devastations produced by the Fight in Heaven. You have a host of small planetoids scattered in between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. These are the wreckage of the battlefield of the fight in Heaven which was fought between the two points of cosmic time when our solar system was contracted first as far as Jupiter, then to Mars. And when our astronomers direct their telescopes towards the heavenly spaces and still discover other planetoids, these are still the wreckage of that great battlefield, of that fight in heaven between the advanced SoM and those who were less advanced, and which also brought about the severing of the Moon from the Sun.


.. the path of development of these ‘adversely-commanded’ SoM shaped itself quite differently from that of their brothers; their action was quite different, and the result was that, during the Old Moon stage, they became the tempters, the seducers, of those beings we call Angels. The Angels were passing through their human stage during the Old Moon development.

  • There were Angel-men on Old Moon who looked at the way the hindrances acted on development, and who said to themselves: ‘We can now put ourselves in the way of conquering the hindrances, we can plunge into the whole stream of the Moon's evolution; but we prefer to pass it by, we do not want to plunge into it, we want to remain above with the good Gods.’ These Angels tore themselves away, at a certain moment of the Old Moon development, from the SoM who were throwing hindering influence down into the Old Moon-evolution.
  • But there were other Angels who said to themselves: ‘We will not follow our brothers, for if we follow them, development would turn back, nothing new would be embodied in it.’

Just because of the existence of these hindering influences, something new was infused into evolution, from the time of Old Moon onwards.

  • Those Beings who said to themselves: ‘I shall have nothing to do with that which is going on down there, I shall stay with the Mights who do not wish to be tainted by anything low,’ these withdrew from the mass of Old Moon and became part of the followers of all that is connected with the Sun. They would not have anything to do with what was proceeding on the forsaken Moon, when all the hindering powers held sway.
  • But the other Beings who plunged down into it, had now to take into their bodily nature; (which they received on Old Moon) all the hindering influences that existed there. They had to harden themselves more, as it were, than would otherwise have been the case. Their bodily sheaths became denser than they would otherwise have been. In their bodies were implanted the consequences of the deeds of the SoM, but these deeds were well rooted in the divine plan of the world — we must keep that well in mind.

A further result of this was, that as the Old Moon stage passed on into that of the Earth, the whole process was repeated, and those Beings who had plunged into the full tide of the Old Moon's stage, remained behind those who would have nothing to do with it, and others remained still further back, and were attracted by the retrograding development. The result of all this was, that during the Earth evolution angel-men existed, who were advanced, and others who were retrograde.

The advanced Angel-men approached the men of the earth during the time, when, in Lemuria, they were ripe to receive the germ of the human ‘I,’ and gave them the choice, as it were, to rise into the spiritual worlds, then, and not to have anything further to do with that which since the time of the Moon, had mingled with the course of the world's development. The Beings who had stayed behind, whom we call the Luciferic beings, came into touch with the human astral body — they could not approach the ‘I’ — and grafted into that astral body all the results of the fight in heaven. While to the Mights was assigned the fight in heaven, for they were created Gods of Hindrance; the consequences of their deeds now slipped into the human astral body, and there signified something else; they signified the possibility of error and the possibility of evil. Man had now been given the possibility of error and of evil with the object that he should also have the possibility of rising above evil and error, through his own strength.

Now consider that such Beings as the SoM, belonging to the second hierarchy H2, could not have had the power to become evil of their own free will; they had to be ‘adversely-commanded;’ and it was the beings of the third hierarchy, and only those who stand nearest to man, the angels, who first had it in their power to follow, or not to follow, the hindering Powers.

Those who did not follow we always find represented in the pictures which illustrate the victories fought out in heaven.

They express what happened during the Old Moon staget, when Man had progressed as far as the organisation of his astral body, that is to the human-animal stage. Then those angel beings who, so to speak, remained good, tore themselves away from the course of the Old Moon development, they escaped from what was going on down there, on Old Moon.

This picture is represented to the soul of man in different ways.

  • It was originally represented in the fight of Michael with the dragon.
  • You see it also in the symbol of the Bull of Mithra, where it is specially clearly expressed.

It is not meant that in doing this these angels avoided their duty, but they were put forth as an ideal for the future. It was said:

‘These beings preferred to rise into the spiritual worlds, whereas you have descended. Other beings came down with you, those who followed the Powers of Hindrance. You must now work upon that which you have absorbed in this descent, and carry it up again into the spiritual world; when you rise again you must become a Michael, a conqueror of the Bull.’

For every symbol of this kind is used in a twofold sense.

Thus we see that, because those SoM’ were given certain orders, men first received the possibility of reaching their goal by their own strength, a thing which even the highest Seraphim cannot do of themselves. This is very essential. The Seraphim, Cherubim and Thrones cannot do otherwise than follow the immediate impulses given them by the Godhead. The SoW of the second hierarchy, too, cannot do otherwise. A certain number of the SoM were ordered to oppose, so that those SoM also, who, as it were, threw themselves into the way of development, could not do otherwise than follow the orders of the Godhead.

In what is called the ‘origin of evil’ they could but perform the will of the Godhead who, by means of evil, wishes to develop more powerful good.

Now let us descend to those beings we call the Spirits of Form. They also could not have come to this of themselves. They could not have grown wicked of themselves, nor could the archai, nor could the archangels. For, when these were men (CoC4) on Old Sun, the SoM had not yet been ordered to oppose, there was as yet no possibility of becoming wicked.

The first who had the possibility of becoming evil were the angels, for this could only happen after the development of Old Moon. There, from Old Sun to Old Moon, the Fight in Heaven took place. A part of the angels avoided this possibility, they would not be seduced by the forces which had to introduce hindrances, they held to the way of the old nature. Thus, as far down as the angels, or part of them, we have beings who are absolutely unable to do otherwise than follow the divine Will.

We now come to two categories of Beings.

  • First those angels who fling themselves into that which the SoM produced during the Fight in Heaven; these are beings who on account of their later deeds we call Luciferic. These Beings became united to the human astral bodies during the Earth evolution and gave to men the possibility of evil, and also the possibility of developing through their own free power; so that in the whole sequence of Hierarchies we have only men; and some of the Angels, who have the possibility of freedom. In the midst of the ranks of the Angels the possibility of freedom begins, but it is first fully developed in men. When man entered the earth, he had at the beginning to be assailed by the power of the Luciferic Spirits; they penetrated the human astral body with their force. The ‘I’ was therefore attracted towards those forces, so that during the Lemurian and Atlantean evolutions, and even later we have the ‘I’ as in a cloud, as sheathed in a cloud, which was produced by the assaults of Lucifer.
  • Man was saved from being overpowered by these forces which penetrated him, only because he was overshadowed by earlier Beings, because Angels who had remained above, and also Archangels, came down from the spirit world, incarnated into special individuals and guided men. And this continued up to the time when something quite particular took place; when a Being, whose existence up to then had always been united to the existence of the Sun, when a Being had progressed so far as to be able to penetrate, not only the physical, etheric and astral bodies of men, as former exalted Beings had done, but to penetrate into man even as far as his I.

1917-10-GA177 of 'The fall of the spirits of darkness'

1917-10-26-GA177 (L12) introduces the spirits of darkness

  • covers the battle between Michael and the dragon (L9 of 14th),
  • the influence of the backward angels (L10 on 20th),
  • and the influence of the fallen spirits in the world (L13 on 27th)



This is a short note written quickly in one go in 2015. It was at that time a test to 'enter cold' and write from a worldview of spiritual science and try to communicate to a world who doesn't know a thing about it. One needs to introduce everything from scratch as one goes along and build up the storyline at the same time. The question is whether such writings 'can work', at all, whether they can maybe still have an appeal of truth .. even if people have not been educated before on any of the concepts used.

Re: War in Heaven - Anthroposophical worldview provides contextual background and explanations

There are obviously many questions to this. One may want to refer to or check out the anthroposophical or theosophical worldview that explains the evolution of the solar system and mankind. This gives an answer to all the questions asked here. A first entry point, just suggesting to add one concrete reference,may be Rudolf Steiner's Outline of Esoteric Science.

Now these are not matters that can be explained in short and simple terms, as the evolution of spiritual beings and influences on mankind is of a rather high complexity.

But in short, a high level introduction for the open mind.

On this planetary embodiment Earth, mankind received the 'I', the ability to have self-consciousness and free will, and hence be de-coupled from direct guidance by other spiritual beings. This 'I' is threefold in that it includes the awareness of the other bodies: physical, etheric or life body, and astral body. This threefold soul is hence constituted by a sentient soul (astral body), intellectual soul (etheric), and consciousness soul (physical). These new faculties were woven onto and granted to mankind by the Spirits of Form and enabled by the first hierarchy (of Thrones, Seraphim and Cherubim).

Now as these components were added in previous epochs Lemuria, Atlantis, and the current Postatlantean epoch, some influences 'sneaked in' to the threefold soul, respectively called Luciferian, Ahrimanic and Asuric influences. These influences (by spiritual beings off course of normal development) put stress on the normal evolution of mankind, challenge it but thereby strengthen its anticipated evolution. In other words: by having to face these challenges, the development of mankind is served in its ultimate finality (even if it makes for a hefty and painful journey).

The war in heaven is this stress field between the main or normal spiritual beings that guide the development of mankind, and the countering spiritual beings (named above). Proponents of this are ao Lucifer or Satan at the time of the Fall, in the Lemurian epoch .. when the awareness through senses seduced mankind by infusing desires, urges. Similarly Ahriman or Mephistopheles convinces man to focus on the material only (re the current material physical worldview). And the Asuric influences that come with the infusion of the consciousness soul make for an over-increase in egotism (which will ultimately lead to the destruction of by mankind at the end of this epoch; this is called the 'war of all against all' in Revelation).

The goal of the whole affair is to allow mankind to be free of spiritual guidance (we don't believe in the spiritual reality these days because our current sensory experience is blind to it), the key point is that freedom is a requirement for love. And mankind is to develop as the next hierarchy in creation, after the previous nine spiritual hierarchies known in religions through the ages, to ultimately become the 'Spirits of freedom and love'. This is the core of what we are to develop, this is our task at hand. Now this freedom is 'a first' in creation and the cosmos. And to enable this feat, something exceptional had to happen, a high spiritual being had to go through the gate of death. This spiritual being is called Christ, the sun-spirit, who has been guiding the development of mankind by making corrective actions at each stage of development of the threefold soul, in order to warrant a balanced evolutionary progression. This happened in Lemuria, Atlantean periods, and finally also at Golgotha which was truly a cosmic event and not something that can be understood in human mundane terms.

Michael is a being of the order of the archangels, and is the representative of sun spirit Christ. His fight represents this battle for balance, against the dragon which represents the opposing influences mentioned above. In practice, what all this means, is that Man has to fight these influences in himself, to find a way of balance through these opposing influences that push and tear his development sidesways. This fight takes place in Man. Christ represents the seed in every human being that allows us, through conscious control by our I, to refine our lower bodies (astral: by controlling urges and growing out of emotional drives; then etheric, ultimately the physical). That way the I is pivotal in creating a higher (spiritual) self by refining and letting go of the lower bodies. This process is one of living the golden rule, of improving morally and becoming love, a giving rather than a wanting human being.

It is important to realize that our physical reality is a Maya reflection of what is going in in this War in Heaven. So everything you see around you, from the first and second World Wars, to current mobile internet computing with Facebook/Google and Apple .. in all such things, we can find a reflection of the above-mentioned spiritual influences. We should not think or judge in the polarity of good or bad, the challenge for us is to retain balance in our development. As in: retain focus on our task at hand, and not be carried away left or right off center. If you doubt it: check the world around you and see how people focus only on the material, or how the small smartphone screen sucks people into a virtual world and out of this world with human beings of flesh and blood around them, or: where did the selfie come from all at once, and can you think of a better symbol of egotism? .. and realize that none of all this existed .. only hundred years ago. So to keep a clear course through that storm is not for everyone. The key to the door is called Initiation, and some people are awakening spiritually in one way or another to this. Sorry if this was too lengthy or too far fetched for most readers not into esoteric or metaphysical worldviews, I guess I was just in a flow there for a minute or two. For what it's worth. May those who are ready to hear, hear.

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References and further reading