The Fall of the Spirits of Darkness
14 lectures, Dornach September 29 – October 28, 1917 (CW 177)
“Spirituality will come to human beings because Michael won his victory in 1879…. On the other hand, the spirits of darkness are now here among us.” — Rudolf Steiner
Speaking at a time of intense war in Europe, Rudolf Steiner reveals the spiritual roots of the crises of our times and the means by which we can overcome them. Since 1879, Steiner tells us that “backward” angels, or “spirits of darkness”—who were forced out of the heavens and made their abode on Earth following their defeat in a forty-year battle with the Archangel Michael—have influenced human minds. It is now possible for human beings to awaken more consciously to the truth of these profound changes and thus inwardly counter the fallen spirits’ influences. We can come to the realization that definite spiritual causes lie behind earthly events in our rapidly changing times.
In these fourteen lectures, given at the end of 1917 following four years of war in Europe, Steiner speaks on the complex spiritual forces behind the World War I, humanity’s attempts to build theoretically perfect social orders, and the many divisions and disruptions that would continue on Earth into our own time. Humanity in general was asleep to the fact that fallen spirits, cast from the spiritual worlds, had become intensely active on Earth. This manifested mainly in human thinking and perception of the surrounding world. However, the defeat and fall of these spirits also ensured that a science of the spirit would always be available to humanity.
This volume is a translation from German of Die spirituellen Hintergründe der äußeren Welt. Der Sturz der Geister der Finsternis. Geistige Wesen und Ihre Wirkung Band I (GA 177).
C O N T E N T S:
Introduction by Anna Meuss
1. The Driving Force behind Europe’s War
2. Humanity’s Struggle for Morality
3. The Search for a Perfect World
4. The Elemental Spirits of Birth and Death
5. Changes in Humanity’s Spiritual Make-up
6. The New Spirituality
7. Working from Spiritual Reality
8. Abstraction and Reality
9. The Battle between Michael and “The Dragon”
10. The Influence of the Backward Angels
11. Recognizing the Inner Human Being
12. The Spirits of Light and the Spirits of Darkness
13. The Fallen Spirits’ Influence in the World
14. Into the Future
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.