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Posts Tagged ‘Lucifer’

I’m reading an interesting book at the moment entitled The Incarnation of Ahriman: The Embodiment of Evil on Earth. It is a collection of lectures by Rudolf Steiner about Ahriman, the specter of ultra domination who has already incarnated or will be incarnating soon, here in the West.

In the first lecture, which is all I have read til this point, Steiner speaks about a mistake that folks in the modern world make, namely the idea that we live in a dualistic world. Steiner makes the point that in ancient times, people believed in a trichotomous cosmology. In other words, humans were made up of three parts–body, soul and spirit. Your body is your physical body, your soul is your intellect and your spirit is the supernatural part of you that interacts with spirit realm.

It isn’t too difficult to see why the Catholic church would work really hard to nix that last little bit about every human having his/her very own link to God…the priests wanted a corner on the God market. At some point during the 8th or 9th century it became heretical to believe in three parts. This was enforced rather vehemently by some powerful groups.

Steiner points out that this switch to an erronious dualistic view is apparent in most popular modern work. He points to Milton’s Paradise Lost and Goethe’s Faust to show the how conflict has taken on the duality of good v. evil. This duality is also present and prevalent in the even more modern stories by JK Rowling, Tolkien, Stephen King, Stephanie Meyer, Philip Pullman, etc., etc., etc.

In Steiner’s world view, things are a bit different. Rather than one horrid source of evil striving to possess the souls of the multitudes fighting against one source of goodness, Steiner believes that there are two sources of evil, Lucifer-who urges humanity to throw caution to the wind and be free from the annoying rules and ethical boundaries and self discipline…”let them eat cake!”–and Ahriman–whose goal is to divert power away from the “natural” divine sources toward himself, a task that can only be completed by divorcing a human being from her own beliefs and intuitions.

Between these two powers of decay is the balancing point. For Steiner, the balancing point is Jesus. Jesus personifies the calm compassion that it takes to remain unswayed by ultimate hedonism or by ultimate domination of spirit. Steiner is not the first to corollate Jesus with the fulcrum between two parts. Here is the ancient symbol of the vesica piscis:

Notice the (for lack of better term) football shape between the two circles with equal radiuses. That shape is the pictorial form of the middle path. The dualism (two circles) automatically creates a third form, the point that lies in the middle of the two. Between any two poles (heaven/hell, good/evil, black/white, Lucifer/Ahriman, etc.) lies a middle point. The trichotomy can’t be escaped, no matter how hard those fundamentalists try.

(Grønbæk Kirke-Jesus in a vesica piscis surrounded by symbols)

Personally, I prefer to think of the vesica piscis as the middle path, rather than labeling it Jesus right away. It is the point that is neither too far in one direction or too far in the other. Our job as humans is to always check for drift and adjust course if necessary.

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(John Martin-Le Pandemonium)

Lots of people know about Lucifer. Some people picture him with red horns and a pointy tail, sitting on a steamy rock throne in hell. Others picture a white guy lurking on lonely roadsides waiting for a country boy with a fiddle or a guitar to come by for a healthy competition. Then there’s Lucifer as a fallen angel, used to be God’s right-hand-man, but went to the dark side instead.

Rudolf Steiner had a slightly different take on the devil and his purposes. I don’t think I can say this any more succinctly than Bobby Mathurne in his review of Steiner’s book The Influences of Lucifer and Ahriman:

In Christian theology the forces of Christ are set against the forces of the devil who represents in one figure all that is evil, and one is exhorted to abjure all that is of the devil. This might lead one to wonder, “How is the knowledge of good and evil bad? Isn’t that what the devil in the Garden of Eden wanted to share with Adam and Eve?”

Steiner divides the devil into two beings, Lucifer and Ahriman, and shows us how neither is bad per se, each provides gifts to human beings that further our evolution, and that it is us who must learn to balance these gifts in our individual lives. His recommendation for a solution to the problem of the devil is to transcend the tendency towards either Luciferic frenzy or Ahrimanic tedium by creating a spirit-filled synthesis of the two in our lives from now on.

Luciferic Traits, Attributes Ahrimanic Traits, Attributes
frenzy, hyperactivity tedium, boredom
unification, generalization diversity, particularization
one language many languages
gnosis, speaking and thinking statistics, proof, literal Gospel reading
qualitative quantitative
fantasy, illusion, superstition concrete sensory-based, materialism
spirit-permeated cosmology mathematical astronomy
eating & drinking w/o spirituality un-read knowledge stored in libraries
unified vision [United Nations] individual vision [Chauvinism]
flexibility, airy solidification, granite-like
the high flight of Icarus the humility of Francis Bacon
pagan wisdom technological advances

(table taken from Mathurne’s review)

In short, Lucifer embodies passion, overindulgence, expansion, beauty, hedonism, bigger, better and more, more more!! Ahriman, on the other hand embodies coldness, separation, exactitude, control, contraction, compartmentalized, tighter, smaller, and less, less, and less.  Steiner said that Lucifer was incarnated onto the earth (into a human form) during the third millennium before Christ was born (2000 BCE) in the far East of China. Since Christ incarnated in Middle East, Steiner foretold that Ahriman would incarnate onto the earth in the West during the third millennium after Christ’s death (2000 CE).

So who is this philistine fellow who is purportedly presently walking amongst us? The idea of Ahriman originally came from Zoroastrian religious text written in ancient Persia. He he was called Angra Mainyu by Zarathustra, the ancient Iranian prophet who brought Zoroastrianism to the Middle East. Zarathusthra taught that there are two competing forces in the world. The first is Ahura Mazda, the benevolent instrument of “Bounteous Principle,” and the second is the malevolent force of Ahriman/Angra Mainyu, the destructive principle. Steiner modified this character a bit. He chose to turn the duality into a trinity, with Christ in the middle, holding the balance.

Whether or not you choose to believe that Ahriman is born again as Steiner prophesied, there does seem to be a decidedly Ahrimanic force seeping ever stonger into our cultural frame work. Whether you label it “tea party movement” or “defense of marriage act” or “880+ billion dollars spent on the military during the fiscal year of 2010,” there’s an awful lot of cold-hearted, over literally translated compartmentalization going on here. These types of examples gathering speed alongside a huge population of disheartened and apathetic masses who use denial their main method of coping certainly could portend a growing oppositional force in the Western world today.

So what’s to be done to head off the evil spectre of Ahriman? Steiner has some suggestions, which I will summarize in a later posting. Thoughts on this?

(Rudolf Steiner-Representative of Man)

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