The Archangel Michael: His Mission and Ours
For centuries, the tradition of the “mystical chronology” of the world’s seven archangelic regents has been part of Western esoteric teaching. According to this tradition, 1879 marked the return of the solar spirit Michael—the archangel of the Sun—to oversee earthly evolution. Steiner always placed his life and work in the service of Michael’s evolutionary task. And he recognized that, at the beginning of the twentieth century, humanity emerged from the Kali Yuga—the Dark Age—and entered the Age of Light.
Against this background, Steiner described the ascent of Michael as cosmic ruler, his battle with the “dragon” of the spirits of darkness, and his roles as the countenance of Christ and the guardian of cosmic intelligence. He also gave many profound indications of how Michael’s evolutionary task depends on the free and independent collaboration of human coworkers. Speaking on behalf of Michael, Steiner laid out the essentials for a new Michaelic path to full humanity.
Among the elements of this path are the development of selfless individuality; cosmopolitanism; the practice of the presence of Christ; fearlessness; the transformation of thinking and perception in a new synthesis of science, art, and religion; the spiritualization of space; and the separation of thought from language.
The Archangel Michael gathers most of Steiner’s statements on this subject, making it an important source for coming to terms with today’s political, social, psychological, and spiritual crises.
About the Author
Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925) was born in the small village of Kraljevec, Austro-Hungarian Empire (now in Croatia), where he grew up (see right). As a young man, he lived in Weimar and Berlin, where he became a well-published scientific, literary, and philosophical scholar, known especially for his work with Goethe’s scientific writings. At the beginning of the twentieth century, he began to develop his early philosophical principles into an approach to systematic research into psychological and spiritual phenomena. Formally beginning his spiritual teaching career under the auspices of the Theosophical Society, Steiner came to use the term Anthroposophy (and spiritual science) for his philosophy, spiritual research, and findings. The influence of Steiner’s multifaceted genius has led to innovative and holistic approaches in medicine, various therapies, philosophy, religious renewal, Waldorf education, education for special needs, threefold economics, biodynamic agriculture, Goethean science, architecture, and the arts of drama, speech, and eurythmy. In 1924, Rudolf Steiner founded the General Anthroposophical Society, which today has branches throughout the world. He died in Dornach, Switzerland.
Christopher Bamford is Editor in Chief for SteinerBooks and its imprints. A Fellow of the Lindisfarne Association, he has lectured, taught, and written widely on Western spiritual and esoteric traditions. He is the author of The Voice of the Eagle: The Heart of Celtic Christianity (1990) and An Endless Trace: The Passionate Pursuit of Wisdom in the West (2003). He has also translated and edited numerous books, including Celtic Christianity: Ecology and Holiness (1982); Homage to Pythagoras: Rediscovering Sacred Science; and The Noble Traveller: The Life and Writings of O. V. de L. Milosz (all published by Lindisfarne Books). HarperSanFrancisco included an essay by Mr. Bamford in its anthology Best Spiritual Writing 2000.