Lucifer + Ahriman (A Steiner Primer)

The Lucifer­ic beings … strive for just the oppo­site of what the Ahri­man­ic beings desire. The Ahri­man­ic beings seek to free man togeth­er with the whole of earth-exis­tence from the cos­mic past and to con­serve the earth­ly. The Lucifer­ic beings strive to thrust away the earth, thrust away from man every­thing earth­ly and spir­i­tu­al­ize him entire­ly, so that the forces of the earth can­not work upon him. They would like man to be pure­ly a cos­mic being, and would like the earth to fall away from evo­lu­tion and be cast out into the universe. 

Where­as Ahri­man wants the earth to become an inde­pen­dent enti­ty and man’s whole world, the Lucifer­ic beings strive towards the oppo­site goal. They want the earth to be thrust away from human­i­ty and human­i­ty to be lift­ed into that realm where they them­selves have their exis­tence, the pure world of duration.

In order to attain this object the Lucifer­ic beings seek per­pet­u­al­ly to make the human intel­li­gence auto­mat­ic, they endeav­or to crush down man’s free will. Should intel­li­gence become pure­ly auto­mat­ic and the free will crushed, then with auto­mat­ic intel­li­gence and not with our own will, but the will of the gods, we should be able to accom­plish what it fell to us to per­form. We should become entire­ly cos­mic beings. 

That is the goal towards which the Lucifer­ic beings strive. They endeav­or to make us pure spir­its, such as have cos­mic intel­li­gence in place of their own, spir­its who have no free will, and whose think­ing and act­ing run their course auto­mat­i­cal­ly, as among the Hier­ar­chy of the Angels and to a great extent in the hier­ar­chy of the Lucifer­ic beings — but here in anoth­er respect. They wish to make us pure spir­its and to cast away the earth­ly impulse. More­over they want to cre­ate an intel­li­gence for us which is entire­ly unin­flu­enced by any kind of brain and absolute­ly untouched by the inter­weav­ing of free will.

The beings who flock round Ahri­man, the Ahri­man­ic beings, want on the con­trary to cul­ti­vate most espe­cial­ly human intel­lect, to cul­ti­vate it to the extent of being increas­ing­ly depen­dent on the whole earth-exis­tence. They want, more­over, to devel­op inten­sive­ly man’s indi­vid­ual will — that is, pre­cise­ly all that the Lucifer­ic beings wish to repress. The Ahri­man­ic beings, or, expressed bet­ter, the spir­its serv­ing Ahri­man, want to devel­op ful­ly pre­cise­ly this — we must take that def­i­nite­ly into account.

… Just con­sid­er: we as human beings, are actu­al­ly stand­ing in between these two con­flict­ing aims of the spir­i­tu­al worlds. And in a cer­tain sense we have the task as man so to live our life in the world that we fol­low nei­ther Ahri­man nor Lucifer but find an equi­lib­ri­um between the two currents.

Ahri­man would like to have laws; inscribe laws every­where. And again human com­mu­ni­ty-life is inter­wo­ven with the hatred of Lucifer against law and Ahriman’s sym­pa­thy for it — and one does not under­stand life if one does not under­stand it as a dual­ism. Ahri­man likes all that is out­er form, that can stiff­en; Lucifer likes — the Lucifer­ic beings like — all that is form­less, that dis­solves form, becomes flu­id and flex­i­ble. By life itself one must learn to cre­ate the bal­ance between the want­i­ng to stiff­en and the becom­ing fluid.

[T]here below is Ahri­man who would let every­thing grow rigid, there above is Lucifer who wish­es to spir­i­tu­al­ize every­thing; both, how­ev­er, must remain invis­i­ble, for in the world of Maya only the wave-rip­ples may appear. Woe if Ahri­man or Lucifer should them­selves press into what desires to be life!

(“Eter­nal and Tran­sient Ele­ments: The Cos­mic Past of Human­i­ty and the Mys­tery of Evil,” Dor­nach, Switzer­land from 6 Sep­tem­ber to 13 Octo­ber 1918)


If we con­sid­er the tur­bu­lence of recent years, we will find that it has been caused in par­tic­u­lar by Ahri­man­ic pow­ers. Like the incar­na­tion of Lucifer at the begin­ning of the third mil­len­ni­um BC, and the Christ incar­na­tion at the time of the mys­tery of Gol­go­tha, there will be an incar­na­tion in the west of the being of Ahri­man in the third mil­len­ni­um AD, some­time after our cur­rent life on earth has end­ed. We only prop­er­ly com­pre­hend the course of his­to­ry and human evo­lu­tion over almost six mil­len­nia, if we see it in these terms a Lucifer­ic incar­na­tion at one pole, the Christ incar­na­tion in the mid­dle of this peri­od, and the incar­na­tion of Ahri­man at the oth­er pole. 

Lucifer is the pow­er in us which stirs up all quixot­ic and fer­vent pow­ers, all false mys­ti­cism, all that seeks to ele­vate us arro­gant­ly beyond our actu­al capac­i­ties. In a sense, it brings our blood into chaot­ic dis­or­der, in order to lift us out of our­selves. Ahri­man, on the oth­er hand, is the pow­er that makes a per­son pro­sa­ic, hard-head­ed, philis­tine, that ossi­fies us and per­suades us of the illu­so­ry truth of mate­ri­al­ism. Basi­cal­ly, our human nature is the effort to main­tain equi­lib­ri­um between the Lucifer­ic and the Ahri­man­ic pow­er. And in mod­ern times, the Christ impulse aids us in cre­at­ing this bal­ance or equi­lib­ri­um. These two poles are always present in us: the Lucifer­ic and the Ahrimanic.

Now it is intrin­sic to such things that they are long pre­pared before­hand. Just as Lucifer once appeared in human form in Chi­na, and Christ Jesus appeared in human form in the near east, so Ahri­man­ic pow­ers are prepar­ing human evo­lu­tion in a way that will allow human­i­ty to suc­cumb to Ahri­man when he even­tu­al­ly appears in human form in west­ern civ­i­liza­tion, which will scarce­ly any longer be civ­i­liza­tion as we know it. There is no use enter­tain­ing illu­sions about such things. Ahri­man will appear in human form. All that will mat­ter is the degree to which he finds humankind pre­pared for his arrival, whether his prepa­ra­tions will enable him to enlist all human­i­ty, all civ­i­liza­tion as we know it, to fol­low his dic­tates, or whether he will find a human­i­ty that can offer him resistance.… 

Ahri­man, hop­ing that his incar­na­tion will be as fruit­ful as pos­si­ble for him, is most keen­ly inter­est­ed in human beings per­fect­ing this illu­so­ry sci­ence, which more or less accounts for all sci­ence today, but with­out them real­iz­ing that it is illu­so­ry. Ahri­man has the very great­est inter­est in teach­ing peo­ple math­e­mat­ics, but with­out them see­ing that math­e­mat­i­cal and mechan­i­cal views of the cos­mos are mere illu­sion. He has the very great­est inter­est in teach­ing human­i­ty chem­istry, physics, biol­o­gy, and so forth, which fig­ure in our cul­ture as great­ly admired dis­ci­plines. But to make us believe too that they embody absolute truths, rather than par­tial aspects, pho­tographs, if you like, from only one viewpoint… 

Ahri­man has the pro­found­est inter­est in con­ceal­ing from human­i­ty the fact that mod­ern intel­lec­tu­al and ratio­nal­ist sci­ence, with its cra­dle of empiri­cism, is a great illu­sion. He would secure supreme tri­umphant suc­cess if he could suc­ceed in per­pet­u­at­ing, into the third mil­len­ni­um, these sci­en­tif­ic super­sti­tions so preva­lent every­where today, which even dic­tate the terms of social sci­ence. Born then as a human being, he would rejoice to find these sci­en­tif­ic super­sti­tions liv­ing with­in west­ern civilization. 

Keep­ing humankind locked in its sci­en­tif­ic super­sti­tions is one of the means employed by Ahri­man to make his incar­na­tion as effec­tive as pos­si­ble. The oth­er means, a sec­ond means, is to encour­age every­thing that divides peo­ple today, sun­ders them into small cliques and group­ings at odds with one anoth­er. In the polit­i­cal are­na, we can see this clear­ly today in all the par­ties and fac­tions. If we study this phe­nom­e­non with an open mind, we can see that these par­ties feud­ing with each oth­er can­not be explained by mere dif­fer­ences in human nature.… Here it is very clear that non-sen­so­ry pow­ers, Ahri­man­ic pow­ers have been exert­ing their influ­ence. And these har­mon­ic pow­ers are at work wher­ev­er dishar­monies between groups of peo­ple arise.

(Prob­lems of Soci­ety: An Eso­teric View: From Lucifer­ic Past to Ahri­man­ic Future CW 193, 10 lec­tures by Rudolf Stein­er, held in Zurich, Bern, Hei­den­heim and Berlin between 4 Feb­ru­ary and 4 Novem­ber 1919.)


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