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A Vision of the Aquarian Age
Sir George Trevelyan


First published in 1977 by Coventure UK and in 1984 by Stillpoint USA
This book is out-of-print, now available only on this website
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12  Christ and the Adversary Forces


WE HAVE SPOKEN of the powers of darkness. We have noted that evil is a very real phenomenon and that it seems to be rampant in our age. We have said that the devil is having a field day. But what do we mean by these terms? Who or what precisely is the devil?

From his research into the invisible worlds, Rudolf Steiner established a distinction between two demonic forces which constitute a polarity and exercise the greatest adverse influences on the evolving soul of man. It is important to note that we are dealing with a duality, for – if we think of him at all – we tend to think of the devil as a single being. We must distinguish, however, between Lucifer, the fallen angel, the Light Bearer, the Tempter, and Mephistopheles or Ahriman, Lord of Darkness, the denier of the spirit, the eternal negative. Lucifer and the beings and influences who work for him are responsible for that trend in the soul which inflates man's egoism, which kindles his lust for power. The fall of man as myth reflects the descent into the material world. We go through the age-long ordeal of expulsion from the Innocence of Eden Garden, to use Blake's phrase, and pass – by becoming enmeshed in matter – into Experience. It is from this Experience that, in time, we shall be released by achieving Imagination, the entry into the New Jerusalem.

The "expulsion from Eden", the adventure of descent into the gravity plane of earth, involves man's experience of aloneness and separation. Man evolves to self-consciousness. He discovers he has free will. This is the gift, the great challenge, responsibility and opportunity. Man is invited to develop into a being who can reflect God, and so become His companion. The angels do not enjoy free will in this sense. Their joy and purpose and nature is to serve that of which they are an intrinsic part. Man alone is that order of spiritual being which enjoys the possibility of free creative activity. And for this very reason, Lucifer has the opportunity of tempting him. Under Lucifer's influence, man seeks not to become one with God, but to be God, to usurp the divine throne and occupy it himself. Lucifer plays upon the nascent ego and inflates self-consciousness to the point of narcissistic intoxication. Man creates not for God's greater glory, but for his own; he revels in himself and his ideas, investing himself wholly in intellectual pride. The result is a monstrous, swollen egoism.

The Renaissance and the centuries following witness that phase in the evolution of consciousness during which the self-conscious ego strives to increase its power. The close identification with the body and its five senses leads man to loss of contact with his spiritual origin – to forget the reality of higher worlds and to delight in his own power and enjoyment of the material. The Luciferic impulse works in the soul to titillate the sense of freedom for the ego. Thus Lucifer, the Light Bearer, can draw a man away from his true path of finding the light in his heart. The Light Bearer offers a false light, which tempts man even while he pursues spiritual knowledge.

The complementary influence to Lucifer is Mephistopheles. He is the same diabolical force which the Zoroastrian wisdom of ancient Persia called Ahriman, the Lord of Darkness, who opposed Ahura Mazda, God of Light. In Paradise Lost, Milton concerns himself primarily with Lucifer. In Faust, Goethe's attention is devoted to Ahriman/Mephistopheles.

Ahriman drags the human soul ever deeper into matter and the world of the senses, thereby denying the reality of the spirit. He is the eternal negative. In Goethe's Faust, as we have seen, he describes himself as the principle which always negates and denies: "Ich bin der Geist der stets verneint". We see Ahriman working in those trends of thought which regard the universe as a dead mechanism. He is the power behind materialism. He is often the voice of cold and clinical cynicism, of mocking laughter, of icy insensitivity – of what many people mean, in short, when they speak of "being realistic".

Under the Nazi regime, Germany was dominated by Lucifer. Our modern culture, in contrast, owes its chief impetus to Ahriman. We are an Ahrimanic civilisation, lacking virtually all awareness of the reality of higher worlds of spirit. It is Ahriman who tempts us to deny the divine origin of the soul of man. And his influence is all-pervasive. It operates in modern science, which focuses man's attention on the dead workings of matter; in astronomy, whose calculations repudiate the vision of the cosmos as shot through with living intelligence and creative spirit; in our financial systems, which reduce value to crude numerals in dollars or sterling; in medicine, which sees man only as a physical body hardly different from a machine; in psychology when it ignores the higher self in man and presumes to "heal" the ephemeral personality; in much of modern agriculture, which diminishes the earth to a lifeless repository of exploitable resources. The price that modern man has paid for the development of his acute intellectual faculties and his self-consciousness is the atrophying of the organs of perception, which enabled our ancestors to be aware of the spiritual worlds.

Thus we come eventually to deny our divine origin. Some people today even speak of the "death of God", because they can no longer find Him. They fail to recognise, of course, that the loss of the divine is equally explicable by the atrophy of our organs of perception. When those dormant faculties are re awakened, however, we can rediscover that we are part of an immense living whole and that Mind is everywhere.

Thus the intellectual faculty which makes our great scientific and technological civilisation possible is developed at the cost of spiritual awareness. We have de-spiritualised the world precisely to the extent that we have humanised it. And, denying the existence of spiritual beings as so much old superstition, we are left at the mercy of Ahriman and his minions. Unrecognised, they can work unhindered in human thought, dragging us ever deeper into the morass of the material. Until we recognise their reality, we obviously have no power to oppose these principles of evil. There is a profound truth in the tradition that, if we can call the devil by his name, we can overcome him. Too often, we simply do not discern that evil entities can possess our souls and drag us down into darkness. Herein lies the importance of the churches' renewed interest in exorcism. Many disturbed souls are in fact suffering from possession, either by dark entities or by other earth-bound souls. Without the knowledge and techniques for dealing with such contingencies, psychology is at a loss and Ahriman will have his way.

Man is the great experiment of God. By developing towards freedom, however, he runs the risk of losing all touch with the divine will and the spiritual worlds. Materialism in itself is not necessarily evil. On the contrary, it has been the great spiritual task of Western man to explore and master matter. Teilhard de Chardin, for example, has inspired us to awaken to the holiness and beauty of matter as the receptacle for spirit. But much materialistic thinking involves the narrowing of the focus of our vision, with the consequent danger that man completely loses sight of his spiritual origin. Then he may fall into a new bestiality, the more terrible for being conscious. He may be caught in a debased or depraved sensuality, or manifest a personal self-aggrandising egoism. Ahriman and Lucifer tear the soul in two directions and away from its true course of evolution.

What we call "evil" occurs when these two demonic impulses get out of control and begin to run amok. In their elemental nature, they need not be evil. On the contrary, they are necessary. Their task is to be the tempters, without which the human soul could not experience the education earth has to offer. We must not complain against the "referees" who arrange the hazards in our obstacle race. We must accept those obstacles as something to be surmounted, knowing that "to him that overcometh shall be given the crown". In some sense, therefore, Lucifer's rebellious deed can be seen as a sacrifice, in order that man be allowed the requisite tests and trials. In time, Lucifer will himself be redeemed. So, too, will Ahriman. When either gets out of hand, however, when either is allowed to destroy our sense of perspective and blind us to the broader context, "evil" is the result.

How, then, is true balance to be attained, true perspective to be established and sustained? It is obvious that we must work with Ahriman, since he is the force which controls the material world in which we live. And, at the same time, we must also develop idealistic vision and activity of the ego, which are Lucifer's province. The purely practical man, devoid of vision, will be lost, while the idealist must have his feet firmly planted on the ground. Luciferic aspiration must filter down into the Ahrimanic regions of a technological culture, but mystical vision must also remain anchored to earthly reality.

True balance is achieved through the presence of the divine impulse in the heart. Steiner expressed this truth in a great sculptural grouping, thirty feet high, which he carved in wood to stand in his great centre for spiritual science in Dornach, Switzerland. He called this the "Representative of Humanity". With a majestic gesture, Christ holds Lucifer in control, a winged figure in the air above Him. At the same time, by the power radiating through His other hand, Ahriman is contained, a Mephistophelian figure lurking among the roots of the trees in the field of gravity. In this sculpture is the image of threefold man redeemed. Man is a being of thinking, feeling and will. As in all life, the unity is maintained through the balanced working of the trinity of systems. But until man has awakened the spiritual impulse within his heart, he is in danger. One or the other of the two demonic forces will perpetually strive to en snare his soul and hurl it into confusion and imbalance.

It is particularly urgent in our age of spiritual awakening to recognise the polarity of negative forces, held in balance by the positive power of light – the Christ. It is clear that, as we approach the great spiritual turning point in the closing years of this century, the veils between the two worlds will grow thin, and spiritual energies will be released. Though neutral in themselves, these energies can be "hijacked", as it were, appropriated and usurped in thought and will by Lucifer or Ahriman. And we oppose them in blindness until we recognise their reality.

Steiner foretold that Ahriman would actually incarnate in a physical body, as Christ did two thousand years ago. He need not manifest as a political or flagrantly materialistic leader, of course. On the contrary, he might appear as an occultist, for example, a splendid and beautiful young man who could lead successive generations of mankind astray. The wiles of Mephistopheles are infinite, devious and ingeniously labyrinthine in their workings. But they do continue to work, as a dark and living force.

Needless to say, the same applies to Lucifer. In such apocalyptic passages as Matthew 24 and Luke 17, we are admonished against the deceivers:
They have already appeared. They are doing so at present and will continue to do so, with greater and greater frequency and impact. And we cannot afford to minimise their potential influence. Lucifer can divert a genuine spiritual impulse within a soul or a movement into a patent perversion of the light. By the vulnerability of his own egoism, man can be deceived into betraying his true task. Even unconsciously, a spiritual leader can become an instrument of Lucifer. It is more frightening still when such voluntary submission to possession is conscious and deliberate. We have already had to contend with one such instance in our time. In The Spear of Destiny, Trevor Ravenscroft chronicles how Hitler placed himself at Lucifer's disposal, and how the entire pantheon of Nazi leaders employed techniques of dark occultism and black magic in their quest for world power and racial domination.

Among those involved in any spiritual movement, there is always risk of Luciferic infiltration, through the channels of egoism and self-aggrandisement. The Antichrist may work through the vehicle of ostensible light. We must be perpetually on guard, for in the near future new movements may well arise, outwardly plausible, which are nevertheless the instruments of the demonic. The present revival of interest in black magic is symptomatic. Through naive fascination with the mysterious and forbidden, unwitting souls may be snared and led astray, abdicating their spiritual birthright for sheer power or sensuality. Through drugs, black magic rituals and other fashionable shortcuts to spiritual or psychic experience, the soul's development may be seriously retarded, if not arrested.

We live in a time of spiritual awakening. Mankind is reaching the stage in evolution when a great step forward can be taken towards cosmic consciousness. A new age is indeed dawning. It should hardly be surprising, then, that forces which deny and distort spiritual knowledge are struggling ever more furiously to establish their dominion. The Battle of Armageddon has been truly joined. Each soul is the battlefield, and each must choose his affiliation, pledge his allegiance. Tolkien's great myth of the conflict of the Light and Darkness is powerfully relevant to our epoch.

If we do not recognise Lucifer and Ahriman, we are always vulnerable, always liable to be led astray. These principles can play upon our innocence, and twist or exaggerate our positive qualities into instruments of evil. It is obvious enough that without spirit, man can become a heartless creature. Powerful intellect and remorseless will can channel a lust for power, as our era has abundantly witnessed. And the danger is not by any means past. The dark forces function on all planes of being, and the soul which places itself at their disposal will continue to exert an influence beyond the grave. Nazism did not die with Adolf Hitler. And if Lucifer suffered a temporary setback with the fall of the Third Reich, it is now Ahriman who stands triumphant.

We must therefore ask ourselves how we are to counter the demonic wiles. They are highly intelligent and sophisticated, these workers for darkness, and will attack at the most unexpected moments. If protection against them is to be maintained, we must learn to be continually alert, prepared at all moments of the day to call for spiritual help in our defence.

As a means of protection and a key to the humanity of the New Age, we must remember Steiner's image of the Christ holding the redeemed Lucifer and controlled Ahriman in creative balance. We must remember the simple but great principle that the dark forces give way before the light of the Christ. In meditation and in moments of crisis, we can direct our thought to the light, can call down the shaft of light to suffuse our thinking, heart and will. In our creative imagination, we can surround ourselves with a cloak or protective sphere of radiance. The descending beam of light can be received in the heart. There it will be transformed into love for all being and so directed outwards again to meet and transmute the encroaching darkness. A powerful meditational symbol is a cross of light surrounded by a circle or sphere – the Iona cross of Celtic Christianity seen three-dimensionally – with the heart altar at the crossing where the star can shine. This great archetypal symbol is a wonderful image for the Grail.

The rays of love can be directed towards the eternal being within each soul or form. However evil a man may be, he can be redeemed by light and love, a force which no evil can ultimately withstand. This has been confirmed by accounts of underground churches behind the Iron Curtain. In numerous instances, it has been demonstrated that evil can be disarmed. If a man can regard his torturer with love, recognising an imperishable divine core within a deluded soul, the adversary will be rendered helpless. In this connection, it is worth reading Tortured for Christ, by Wurmbrand. This book reveals what is happening today in the martyred churches of Eastern Europe. Their predicament echoes that of the early Christians sacrificed in the Colosseum. Those martyrs were undefeatable; knowing the presence of the Christ and their own immortality of soul, they went through torture and death with joy. The same virtue is apparent in their successors of our epoch, which so parallels the decline of Imperial Rome.

We would do well to embrace these contemporary martyrs as examples. They are a beacon for us, and their suffering under lines the immense gravity of the present situation – the dangers posed to man's soul by the ruthless workings of Lucifer and Ahriman. At the same time, their unswerving tenacity epitomises the awakening of the all-conquering Christ within the human heart. For Michael and his angels do battle with the dragon.


Next:  13. Meditation – the Gateway

This way! Click me and I'll take you to the next page!
A Vision of the Aquarian Age
Sir George Trevelyan


First published in 1977 by Coventure UK and in 1984 by Stillpoint USA
This book is out-of-print, available only on this website
Next page
Previous page


Start of the book
Download a zipfile
HOME
Articles   Books
Brief biographies
Close encounters
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© Copyright Sir George Trevelyan and estate, 1977 and 2001. This book may be downloaded and printed on paper in single copies for personal use and study only, in a spirit of fair play and without financial transaction. .