From “The Occult Movement in the 19th Century,” lecture 5, Oct 1915 (audio below)
Sphere Four comes into being through the birth of the mineral element. In that Lucifer and Ahriman approach, snatch mineral substantiality out of Sphere Four and infuse it into Sphere Three, the Old Moon is recapitulated, but now with materiality that belongs properly to the Earth.
Mark this well: instead of pure Imaginations being there, the Imaginations are densified by the infusion of a mineral element that has been wrested from the Earth. Densified Imaginations are thus created. We are therefore drawn into a world of densified Imaginations which are not lunar in character because they have been densified by materiality belonging to the Earth. They are ghosts, spectres — that is to say, behind our world there is a world of spectres created by Lucifer and Ahriman.
Let me express it schematically, as follows: On the Old Moon certain pictures were present. These should have passed over to the Earth as something everywhere perceptible. But Lucifer and Ahriman retained them for themselves. Lucifer and Ahriman wrested from the Earth certain of its constituents and made them into Imaginations, so that these Earth-substances became, not Earthly formations, but Moon formations. Into our Fourth Sphere, therefore, there has been instilled a sphere that is really a Moon-sphere, but is filled with Earthly substantiality and is therefore a bogus creation in the Universe. To the seven Spheres, an Eighth, created in opposition to the progressive Spirits, has been added. The necessary consequence of this is that the Spirits of Form must do battle on the Earth for every morsel of substantiality capable of mineralisation, lest it should be wrested from them by Lucifer and Ahriman and borne into the Eighth Sphere.
In order that he might be ripe for freedom, the mineral nature had to be incorporated into him; he had to become a being permeated with the mineral element. Hence man can be educated for freedom only within the earthly-material world.
This by itself indicates the tremendous significance of the earthly-material world. That which must be acquired by mankind — freedom of the will — can be acquired only during Earth-evolution. In the Jupiter, Venus, and Vulcan stages men will need this freedom of will. Therefore when we consider the question of freedom, we are in a realm of great importance; for we know that the Earth is the begetter of freedom precisely because it is the Earth that impregnates man with the physical-mineral element.
From this you will understand that what stems from the free will must be kept within the realm of Earth. To Spheres Three, Two and One, it is impossible to apply anything that stems from the principle of freedom. But the endeavour of Lucifer and Ahriman is to drag the free will of man, and whatever stems from it, into the Eighth Sphere. This means that man is perpetually exposed to the danger of having his free will wrested from him and dragged by Lucifer and Ahriman into the Eighth Sphere.
This happens if the element of free will is transformed, for example, into visionary clairvoyance. When this is the case, a man is already in the Eighth Sphere. This is a matter of which occultists are so reluctant to speak, because it is an awful, terrible truth. The moment the free will is transformed into visionary clairvoyance, what unfolds in the human being becomes the booty of Lucifer and Ahriman. It is immediately captured by them and thereby spirited away from the Earth. You can see from this how, through the shackling of free will, the spectres of the Eighth Sphere are created. Lucifer and Ahriman are engaged perpetually in shackling man’s free will and in conjuring all sorts of things before him in order to tear away what he makes out of these things and let it disappear in the Eighth Sphere.
When clairvoyance in all kinds of different forms develops in naive, credulous, superstitious people, it is often the case that their free will has been sacrificed. Then Lucifer instantly seizes hold of it, and whereas these people imagine they have had an experience of immortality, the truth is that in their visions they see a part, or a product, of their souls being wrested away and prepared for the Eighth Sphere.
From this you will realise that Lucifer and Ahriman have an avid desire to bring as much as possible into the Eighth Sphere. Although Goethe mixed Lucifer and Ahriman together, he has nevertheless correctly described how a soul is wrested away from the clutches of Mephistopheles-Ahriman! It would be the richest prize for Lucifer and Ahriman if they could ever succeed in capturing a whole soul for themselves; for thereby such a soul would disappear into the Eighth Sphere and be lost from Earth-evolution. The greatest victory for Lucifer and Ahriman would be if one day they could claim that countless numbers of the dead had passed into their sphere. That would be their greatest victory. Moreover there is a way of achieving it. Lucifer and Ahriman may say: human beings long to know something about the life between death and a new birth. If, therefore, we tell them that they are learning something from the dead, they will be satisfied and will direct their feelings towards the realm from which announcements are made to them as coming from the dead. If therefore we desire that the hearts and minds of men shall be guided towards the Eighth Sphere, let us say to them: we are telling you something that comes from the dead. We shall capture men by alleging that the dead are in our domain.
This devilish plan — for here we have indeed to do with the devil — was put into effect by Lucifer and Ahriman when it had occurred to occultists to endeavour to accomplish something through mediumship. Lucifer and Ahriman inspired the mediums through whom they arranged the whole business, in order that people might be guided to the realm whence the dead were alleged to be speaking. Lucifer and Ahriman could then lay hold of their souls. The occultists were alarmed when they saw what course things were taking and they took counsel among themselves as to how to steer away from it. Even those who belonged to the left wing realised what was happening, and they said: we will do something different! An opportunity then presented itself through the appearance of a remarkable personality, namely H. P. Blavatsky. Now, after the plan had been seen through and the occultists on the Earth no longer lent their hands to it, Lucifer and Ahriman were obliged to pursue their aim in a different way.
Materialism had come upon the scene in the natural course of the Earth’s evolution. Therefore in order to reckon with the mineralised process of evolution, it was necessary that men’s attention should be focussed entirely on material things. That is materialism pure and simple!