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The Spiritual Configuration of Europe
The Spiritual Configuration
of Europe

By Gennady Bondarev

Translation from the German
by Graham Rickett

[NOTE: This is Chapter Sixteen of the book Anthroposophie auf der Kreuzung der okkult-politischen Bewegungen der Gegenwart (The Crisis of Civilization in the English edition) written by the Russian mining-engineer, sociologist, philosopher, and Anthroposophist Gennady Bondarev (Gennadij Bondarew in the German transliteration). Bondarev was born in 1936 and was the leader of the Russian Anthroposophical Society in Moscow in late Soviet times, when he was repeatedly interrogated by the KGB. He escaped these interrogations essentially unharmed, and he is inclined to attribute his escape to Divine protection. However, he was expelled from the Dornach Anthroposophical Society in 1998, allegedly due to the publication of this book. -- In this book he analyzes the cultural, political and economic planetary situation from an Anthroposophical point of view. The book (in English translation by Graham Rickett) is available (in a proofreader's spiral-bound edition, without illustrations) from Nelson Willby at the Wellspring Bookshop in London. The German edition is available from the Lochmann Verlag in Basel; see this page for Bondarew's works available there. -- The first appearance of parts of this book on the WWW was on Rudolf Saacke's former website. His present websites are Anthroposophie Online and anthroposophie.pl. -- This present webpage is adapted from a document provided by the publisher, Willy Lochmann. The text enclosed within {braces} below was in footnotes or endnotes in the original. -- Robert Mason)


The National as a Factor of Development

The time has now come for us to shed light on the purely esoteric background that permits us to speak of a spiritual mission of Middle Europe. But as this concerns the archetypal, 'Ur'-phenomenological foundation of the cultural-historical process, the many-faceted social-political phenomenology of life today will receive, for the purposes of its comprehension, a certain methodological form (Gestalt), which will take the place of an ideological, speculative, subjective and consequently false approach.

A materialistically-minded politologist will undoubtedly pay no attention whatsoever to what is presented here, or will dismiss it as a form of occult-political error. But it has already been sufficiently demonstrated here that a politologist of that kind is not taken seriously by any of the deeply occult, mutually-opposing powers. The most patent confirmation of this fact is the making public of their own occult, even deeply occult, positions by the Soviet 'Eurasians' - those who yesterday were, without exception, Marxists, atheists and materialists. Thus it is left to the reader to decide whether he chooses to remain on the level of superficial political gossip, or to penetrate the esoteric depths of life. It must be borne in mind that even in the latter case we will encounter a broad palette of ideological doctrines - of the 'occult kingdom', the occult Eurasian-Atlantic conflict, etc. - whose most important ideological credo is based on the principle of 'he heard a ringing but does not know where the bells hang', because, as a rule, it is the work of Philistines.

Owing to the all-encompassing character of anthroposophically-oriented spiritual science, which has proved beyond question to be the universal methodology of knowledge - of the senses as well as of the supersensible - and thanks to the fact that Anthroposophy in the truest sense of the word is a doctrine of the nature of knowing (Wissenschaftslehre) - ignorance of this fact is not sufficient reason for its denial - we have the possibility of penetrating to the archetypal phenomenological depths of the social-political sphere, thereby avoiding occult indoctrination, which in its essence is more dangerous than any superficial political gossip.

A single, short chapter does not of course allow us to present all the spiritual-scientific foundations that provide the basis for the forming of political judgments. But no science can expect to demonstrate its entire content at every point. When working on new problems it refers back to what already exists as content. We will proceed in the same way, in the hope that the interested reader will call to mind again what has been said in this book, and will himself turn at least to such fundamental works by Rudolf Steiner as - Occult Science, Goethe's World-View, or some of the lecture-cycles on the social question.

Rudolf Steiner bequeathed to us a great deal of material to enable us to understand the course of the spiritual development of humanity. The most important factor in this development is the destruction of the forms of consciousness pertaining to the group, and the emergence of the self-cognizing autonomous personality. The evolution of earth and man passes through a number of different stages, which are under the influence of a variety of spiritual cosmic forces. These spiritual forces are the Divine Beings, the Hierarchies, who bring about a periodical densification of spiritual substances down to the state of matter, followed by its spiritualization. Life thereby continuously renews its forms, so as to become in the course of evolution an ever more suitable vessel, or bearer, of the individual spirit, i.e. thinking, object-consciousness. As the life-conditions change, so also do the form-conditions of being change on the path of metamorphosis. Within the framework of the spatio-temporal evolutionary cycle closest to us, spiritual-scientific teaching speaks of a sevenfold chain of metamorphoses whose elements are called 'Root Races'. The word 'race' appears here in its older, original meaning, rather than that which it is given today. The concept of 'root-race' (which has long been used in occultism) indicates a certain stage in the development of earth and man, where, together with the spiritual, an essential part of the biological evolution of man takes place. The root-race also represents one of the forms of differentiation of the universal human group-consciousness.

According to the world-embracing plan of Divine creation the human being was, we might say, conceived as a unified form that was to extend over the entire earth. A hierarchy of spiritual beings of immense power - the spirits of movement (Dynamis) - who did not wish to be involved in the temporal development of the world (and thus remained in a certain sense faithful to eternity; but it is not possible to go into this in more detail here) - held aloof from this development and assumed a luciferic character. They spurned a creation of man that presupposed his descent into matter. But since these spirits acted from various planets of the solar system, the unitary human form became differentiated, with the result that the various races spoken of by modern science formed out of the unified humanity (cf. May 13, 1912, GA 136).

Thus we must seek the primary cause for the division of humanity into races not only in the processes of earthly development, but also in the cosmic forces. The luciferized Spirits of movement worked upon the ether-bodies of human beings, and as there are seven kinds of ether-forces seven races developed also (cf. Jan. 9, 1916, GA 165). They emerged in the course of an evolution which encompassed a time-span of four root-races. In this time the universal nebula differentiated out into a variety of planetary forces and planets, heavenly bodies, while man passed through a series of conditions of materialization - from the condition of warmth down to the mineral -, which is described in the Bible as the expulsion from Paradise.* {*Spiritual-scientific research of this kind provides the critics of Rudolf Steiner within the Anthroposophical Society with reasons to accuse him of racism. Their reasoning in truth is hardly more than an etymological speculation of the following kind: a scientist who works with the doctrine of races, is a racist. It then follows that people who study communism may be called communists; people who study capitalism are capitalists etc. The tragedy, however, lies in the fact that this is not a bad joke, but in the case of some particularly 'advanced' anthroposophists, is equivalent to a reality.}

A particularly intensive formation of races took place in the period of the Lemurian and Atlantean root-race. At that time the Malayan race formed through the working of the backward Spirits of movement living on Venus; the Indian (red) race arose in America, where the working of the spirits of Saturn was dominant; the forces of Mercury brought into being the black race in Africa etc.

Following the retarded Spirits of Movement, the retarded Spirits of Form also became active in the creation of races. They influenced the human physical bodies. Those among them who live on Mercury had a special influence on the glandular system, resulting in the formation of the black race. In the Mongolian race the Spirits of Form of Mars worked in a specific manner upon the blood. The spirits of Jupiter influenced the nervous system of the European and Arian peoples by way of the impressions of sense and feeling (cf. June 12, 1910, GA 121).

In the hierarchy of the spiritual beings through whom the divine creation is realized, on the levels below the Spirits of Form there stand the Spirits of Personality (Archai) and then - the Archangels (Archangeloi). Retarded, luciferized beings exist among them also. Through their working the differentiation of races into individual nations came about. The individual human being experiences the influence of these supersensible leaders of nations by way of the blood - blood-relationships and heredity. This is why the pathos, the passion, the emotion with which the human being feels his belonging to a nationality will appear with a certain elementary force. A man will not try to apply logical reasons or judgments, when it comes to establishing or experiencing his belonging to his nationality. The blood, and the heart, which is under the influence of the blood, unites man with his nationality (in the Mongolian race the working on the blood takes place in a different way, in the direction of his physical nature), brings him to live within his nationality. The impulses we are concerned with here are subconscious ... (Jan. 7, 1917, GA 174).

Until a certain stage, or a certain moment, the working of the spiritual beings mentioned above was, despite their luciferic character, lawful and necessary. On the path of evolution to individual 'I'-consciousness, the passage through the levels of the universal human, the racial, the national, the transition from the group-consciousness of the race to the group-consciousness of the tribe, the folk and the nation was a mighty advance for humanity. But from the moment that man learned to master 'I'-consciousness the previous conditions change fundamentally. The connection to the Folk-spirit through the blood now gives way, as mentioned above, to a connection founded on personal karma. Nationality becomes a part of the personal karma of the human being. Thus a man now inwardly experiences two streams: the one bears him from incarnation to incarnation, so that he is here concerned with his destiny and his individual task of development; the second stream determines his obligations toward the nation in which he incarnates. Of these he learns by way of his individual spirit-guide - the Guardian Angel - from the Soul or Spirit of the Nation (cf. June 9, 1910, GA 121).

Thus a human being who has acquired mastery of individual consciousness enters into a purely spiritual relationship with the spirit-guide of his nation (and also with another hierarchic being - the Genius of language). He understands that he is rooted in this nation only through one incarnation, but he bears in his own individual being something quite different, he bears infinitely more and also infinitely less than what is in the folk-soul. To identify with the folk-soul has no meaning whatever where reality is concerned, if it goes beyond what is contained in the words: love for the Fatherland, love for one's homeland, patriotism etc. (Dec. 17, 1916, GA 173). Within the context of this legitimate experience of his national connections he devotes himself to cultural, spiritual activity in order to serve man on his path towards 'I'-consciousness.

From a certain point onwards the nations are led by the Archangels of rightful development, whilst the luciferic Archangels or even the retarded spirits of personality appear in the role of their shadow-like doubles (there exist also ahrimanic doubles of the rightful spirit-guides of nations). So long as a man remains true to the rightful Archangel, the spirit-leader of the nation, he will not conflict with other nations but will strive to serve the interests of the whole world. Thus Rudolf Steiner told the Russian anthroposophists that you have this task, to show yourselves worthy with regard to the Russian Folk-soul ... You should come to know the yearning of the Russian Folk-soul for impersonal Anthroposophy ... Do not ... hesitate ... to seek the way ... to your own Folk-soul. Regarding the sense of responsibility towards mankind, he said: The Folk-soul has already taken on this responsibility towards mankind on your behalf. You only need to find it, this Folk-soul. You need merely let it speak through your thoughts, feelings and impulses of will, and if you feel the responsibility towards your Folk-soul, you will at the same time fulfil your obligation towards humanity (Apr. 11, 1912, GA 158).

It should not be difficult to imagine how fateful and irreparable a mistake a Russian makes, who abstractly declares himself to be an Internationalist. We live in the epoch of the consciousness-soul. Next to the descending movement toward the individual, objectively thinking spirit, an ever stronger upward movement is taking place. Whoever is unable to distinguish between them will not be able to tell the difference between a justified feeling of nationality, and nationalism or even racism. Only spiritual science can give us the help we need. The doctrine elaborated within it concerning the races and nations promotes the understanding of a development that frees the human being from the tribal principle arising from blood relationships, and has nothing to do with incitement to nationalism, as the authors of the Flensburger Hefte, who call themselves anthroposophists, wish to believe. It is the task of the friends of Anthroposophy to foster an understanding of the world and man as a creation of the Divine, which has arisen from the good and is led towards the good, up to the moment when he becomes himself an autonomous source of good and no longer needs any kind of leadership from the outside.

 

The Individual as a Factor of Development

Within the sevenfold chain of metamorphoses - which has been described from many aspects in other works of the present author - the entire earth was, during the first two Root Races (called in Occultism the 'Polarian' and 'Hyperborean'), in a half-spiritual condition. Substance first densified to the state of warmth, then to that of air. Then man remained in a stage between animal and actual human being. It would be absurd to speak of the existence of any occult centres of earthly human development during this time.

Earthly substance condensed in the third, Lemurian epoch to the watery state. The earth was covered with a world ocean that was the home to human beings who bore no trace of an individual consciousness or of individual purpose. This whole development was guided from the outside by the Divine Hierarchies and their helpers - the elemental spirits of nature, as well as humanoid beings who were so far ahead of general development that Divine leaders could incorporate (but not incarnate) in them. The entire spiritual aura of the earth had at that time an unusually strong influence on all life-forms. The physical forces leading to mineralization of substance worked predominantly from North to South. For this reason the continents lie mainly on the Northern hemisphere. The etheric or life-forces worked predominantly from the South. The astral aura of the earth worked most strongly from East to West and West to East; the cosmos of astral forces worked into the earthly aura, accelerated the individualization of the human monads and led to the development of an individual consciousness.

The Lemurian root-race concentrated where today we find the wide expanse of the Indian Ocean. There were no continents, but the state of the surface of the watery sphere was not homogeneous. The human being had a cartilaginous spine and did not yet master the upright posture.

The next, the Atlantean, root-race developed where we find the Atlantic Ocean today. Continents began to rise out of the ocean for the first time. Man emerged from the watery element and settled on the land. In the process, and this is of particular importance, his spine assumed a vertical posture relative to the earth's surface, man became an upright being. Man's uprightness, according to Rudolf Steiner, is due to the migration from East to West, from the realm of the Indian Ocean to the region of the Atlantic Ocean. He had to move counter to the astral forces of the earth, so that their effect could multiply and could alter the as yet plastic, easily moulded reciprocal interaction of the sheaths of man, his physical, etheric and astral bodies.

But man owes not only his uprightness to the migration from East to West. In the process of settling the Atlantean continent (which took place over a sufficiently long time), the speech-organs of man developed - the larynx -, and in the course of the seven Atlantean sub-races (cultural epochs) he acquired the gift of speech, of language.

The Atlantean Root-race was followed by our own, the post-Atlantean (fifth) Root-race, which has no particular name. The Atlantean continent was destroyed by natural catastrophes, and most of its population migrated to the East. The new migration was not only unavoidable, but also necessary. For the astral aura of the earth could thereby work on the human astral body, so that the sense of thinking, the sense of mental picturing could develop (cf. Oct. 27, 1909, GA 115).

In the course of the post-Atlantean Root-race development turned westwards again and extended itself over the entire gigantic Eurasian continent as well as the North of Africa. The movement of the cultural epochs from East to West brought about a refined soul-spiritual working of the earthly aura on the human being. His bodily nature was already not very receptive to this kind of influence of the earth-aura, but meanwhile the cultural work within civilization had been added to the refined working of the cosmic forces.* {*The development within the Root-races also has the character of a sevenfold metamorphosis. In traditional occultism the parts are known as sub-races; Rudolf Steiner calls them Cultural Epochs, which is especially pertinent with respect to our own and the previous Root-race. [¶] All such phenomena of development can only be treated here in a very compressed form, whereby the overall pattern and the essential aspects are described with regard to the development of 'I'-consciousness as it shows today in the most advanced part of humanity, the Europeans. Some might object that part of the migrants from Atlantis (the Indians) moved to the West but also have mental picturing today, and that following the Lemurian epoch not all of humanity on earth settled in the West and yet all acquired uprightness. To this one can reply that it is precisely objections of this kind that should move us to come to clarity on the criteria that determine development. Indeed, with the passage of time everything that is acquired by the most advanced part of humanity becomes the property of all, but in a qualitatively different way - without individual effort, solely through the spirits guiding humanity. But the time will come when a development that is not based on 'I'-consciousness will be entirely impossible. But it is hardly possible to explain to a materialist that the intellectuality of a Japanese, for example, is qualitatively different from that of an English person or a German, although something of this could already be inferred from an analysis of the personal pronouns.} As a result man developed the threefold soul - the Sentient, Rational and Consciousness-soul. Humanity, says Rudolf Steiner, was not only to come to mental picturing, but also to concepts ... Humanity ... takes the direction eastwards in order to acquire pictorial thinking, while pure concepts could only be won by means of a movement back to the West (Ibid.).

A brief summary may be permitted. In Ancient Lemuria the development of humanity passed through seven sub-races; followed by the migration of the most advanced part of humanity to the West, whereupon man acquired uprightness and the ability to speak. The development of humanity also passed through seven sub-races or cultural epochs on Old Atlantis, after which a further migration occurred - eastwards. It took place in three streams - across North Africa, and through Southern and Middle Europe. The separation of the streams was due to differences in the occult-religious education that the groups of human beings had received on Atlantis through the various oracles oriented to the different planetary spirit-leaders - the spirits of Jupiter, Mars etc. The great Initiates received from the corresponding Atlantean oracles the impulses of leadership, which the Gods were at that time gradually beginning to place in the hands of human beings.

The stream of migrants who took the path through Europe and into the South of Russia were the Aryans. They spread as far East as Lake Baikal. Their vanguard reached India. In the region of today's Gobi Desert the great Initiate Manu, the leader of this entire stream of Aryan migrants, founded a new Mystery centre from which further Initiates arose, who became the founders and leaders of the post-Atlantean cultural epochs.

At the time of Old Atlantis the Aryan race was characterized by the fact that it lost its declining clairvoyant abilities more rapidly than the representatives of the other races. We must note that supersensible faculties constituted the main characteristic of the aristocratic elite on Atlantis. This is why the Aryans as a race were generally despised in times long past. The faculties germinating in them, all that we master as logic and conceptual thinking today, were not appreciated at that time, and so the Aryans were counted among the lower castes. After the migration some of them settled in the Southern area of the vast Siberian region, between the Urals and Lake Baikal (cf. Chapter VI, p. *). Others continued their migration further to the South. It would appear to be a result of this movement - against the stream of etheric forces of the earth - that the first post-Atlantean, Old Indian culture was passive and lived in a half dreamlike state. But in the course of this epoch man developed the individual ether-body and this meant the final overcoming of the animal-stage of human development. Seven Holy Rishis were sent from the Mystery centre of Manu to the Indian peninsula, in order to lead this culture.

The Old Indian cultural epoch lasted 2160 years (the time taken by the earth to move through a sign of the zodiac, as a centre of mighty forces that work down into earthly development). From there the cultural impulse went over to Persia-Iran (the earth moved from the sign of Cancer to that of the Twins). The great Initiate Zarathustra was sent from the initiation centre of Manu to the people living there. He taught them how to work metals and use the soil for farming, and sense-perceptions received a strong developmental impulse. The bonds of the astral body began to loosen and the human being acquired an individual astral body - the bearer of the individualized sense and feeling perceptions and of desires and passions.

In order to lead the third, Old Egyptian cultural epoch, a next great Initiate was sent - Hermes Trismegistos. Human beings now began to develop the individual sentient soul, and, bound up with this, individualized feeling and experience, and individualized tendencies and drives.

At the beginning of the fourth, Greco-Latin, cultural epoch the Mystery centre in the region of today's Gobi Desert had already lost its earlier importance (but the memory lived on in the tradition of Shambala). The cultural development, and that of history which had now begun, now had a momentum of their own. The Greeks partly took over the spiritual impulses from Egypt, but also developed them in part out of their own strength.

With the advent of the fifth, European, cultural epoch (in 1413 AD) cultural-historic development underwent a peculiar transformation. In contrast to the earlier cultural epochs, when the great Initiates came to those special regions that since the Atlantean migration were settled by people, now the population itself came to Europe and displaced its original inhabitants - the Celts, a deeply spiritual people which was, however, not suited to fulfil the tasks of the European culture. In the 2nd-1st century B.C. the descendants of the people who had once migrated with Manu to the Siberian region - the Germanic and subsequently the Slavic tribes - returned to Europe. For millennia they had remained as it were in a culturally static condition, untouched by the development undergone by other peoples through the course of three-and-a-half cultural epochs. At the same time the leadership of these tribes was so constituted, during the epoch of Old Atlantis, that out of the cosmos impulses streamed down to them, which prepared the coming of the Christ - the God of the human 'I' - to the earth. These peoples retain the forces with which they have been endowed, until the moment when the general cultural development of humanity, whose central motif is the elaboration of the threefold soul, is ready to carry its elements to a unity by way of individual 'I'-consciousness.

We have to point out again that the development of the cultures is in a certain way comparable to the spiritual development of the individual human being. In order to create new and independent cultural phenomena a people has to set to work the ether-forces given to it specifically, which, as we have described, are used up in the course of cultural activity, so that with its completion we have on the one hand a mature culture, on the other, a people or group of peoples who created the culture, but who are now weakened as to their life-content, and as though 'burnt out'. They offer themselves up as a sacrifice, as it were, on the altar of the spiritual development of mankind, and other peoples must take their place, men of a different constitution of spirit and soul, who are able to carry further the cultural impulse which, with the exhaustion of the final developmental stage, undergoes a profound metamorphosis.

Here lies the origin of the concept of senile, ageing and young nations. The Persians, Egyptians, Jews, Greeks of today are senile peoples. Their blossoming or, let us say, 'national youth' lies far in the past. The young nations link on to this past through the exercise of 'spiritual economy', so that they do not have to begin all over again. But it is they who will themselves create the new in the spiritual development of humanity and who will have to expend their life-forces, whereby in time they too will grow old.

In this way the senile nations serve the new culture solely with the spiritual values they have created. Any claim for spiritual leadership on their part, or the wish to create something fundamentally new, is the death of culture. Of necessity these nations must learn to follow others, for those who create the new culture have been prepared for this task through millennia by the higher spiritual leadership, and have an entirely different soul-spiritual constitution. An analysis of culture provides ample evidence for this fact, so long as it is not falsified by political and nationalistic doctrines.

For those peoples who are approaching the challenge of new spiritual tasks the Divine Hierarchies create a special etheric-astral aura which corresponds to the entire physical-spiritual constitution of those who will be subject to their influence. This again is similar to the situation of an individual human being incarnating on earth. It is entirely justifiable to speak of the incarnation of a people into culture.

It is the special purpose of the development of the European cultural epoch to provide the human being with the possibility of unfolding the last and highest member of the soul - the consciousness-soul. But simultaneously with the development of all three soul-elements the divine world places the spiritual leadership of humanity's earthly evolution into the hands of man, who stands before the task of developing an individual 'I' that can be the centre of an autonomous, universal self-regulation, self-determination of the personality, which requires him to master pure thinking. In other words, the possibility is opened up for the first time in evolution, for the attainment of freedom by the individual spirit. And the third task of the European culture is that man, after development of the threefold soul has been accomplished, can begin to work individually on the threefold spirit, consisting of Spirit Self, Life Spirit and Spirit Man or, to use the concepts of Old Indian esotericism, Manas, Buddhi and Atma. The Germanic and Slavic tribes that came to Europe were prepared for the fulfilment of these three tasks.

None of the previous epochs had such a wealth of tasks to fulfil, and none was at the same time so full of changes. For the qualitative change of the course of evolution stands in relation to the quantity of tasks. Up to the 16th century A.D. man was only approaching the development of individual 'I'-consciousness. In our modern cultural epoch he learns to master it, not as an initiate, but as a simple participant in the cultural process.

 

The Primary Law of the Development of Civilization

The mastery of 'I'-consciousness is not only of cultural-historical, but also of evolutionary significance. This capacity belongs in a series of developmental stages, such as the learning of the upright gait, speech, and thinking. Consequently in the fifth cultural epoch changes are beginning to occur, that may be compared to those which accompany a change of root-races: The cultural process comes into close relation to a re-orientation of the working of planetary forces, of the forces of the entire earthly aura, in their influence upon human development. This is the reason why, already during Old Atlantis, the Aryan peoples were exposed to a special instreaming of the Christ-impulse, which came down from the cosmos at that time. They developed the inclination to make earthly experience their own, to think it through, and on this basis to develop a thinking consciousness, the autonomous 'I'. It should be noted that the Aryan race surrounds itself with the entire Indo-European family of languages, with its manifold variation with respect to geography, history, and religion and many other factors. It therefore makes little sense to give special emphasis to the racial origin of the folk-groups that migrated to Europe at the beginning of our era. Membership of the Aryan race is of significance only with regard to the starting-point, the initial predispositions with which it was endowed by the Divine leaders of humanity. One of these predispositions - the most important for our time - is that the Old Germanic and the Slavic peoples carry within them the seeds for the overcoming of every racial principle.

After their migration to Europe, the Germanic and Slavic tribes were separated in accordance with the three tasks mentioned above. They 'were separated' (passive, Trans.), for at that time they had neither an individual nor a national self-consciousness of any kind. From the spiritual leadership, those who remained in Central Europe received the task of developing the autonomous 'I'; or rather: Middle European cultural development had this character. That part of the Germanic tribes which went to the North-west - the Anglo-Saxons - was given the task of developing the consciousness-soul. The task of bringing about the transition from the development of the threefold soul to the development of the threefold spirit and thus, in the first place, the Spirit Self, is accomplished by the joint working of Middle European and Russian culture. All the other peoples of Europe have to fulfil secondary tasks relative to the three principal ones mentioned above.

Development is carried forward not only by mutual assistance but also by contradictions. Thus, what once arose from Central Europe created in time an opposition to it. In the course of history the group-egoism of the mercantile (Anglo-Saxon), the ecclesiastical (Latin) and the warlike (Gallic) principle grew. But these contradictions need not become irreconcilable. More important is what makes Europe into a unified, complex organism, not a 'Pan-Europe'. This organism cannot be understood if the racial and national differences are over-emphasized or denied. Either case leads to an absurdity comparable to the intention of a physiologist to examine a human organism while ignoring the difference between heart and lung etc. on the grounds that it is all made of cells; or alternatively, to examine single organs without studying their relation to the others.

The spiritual and the national configuration of Europe can only be understood when the great laws of world development are known. Closest to us appear the laws that govern the development leading from one root-race and one cultural epoch to the next. They can even be discerned on the basis of what has been presented in an extremely condensed form.* {*The author has worked more extensively on these questions in his book The Awaiting Culture - Esoteric Outlines of Russian History and Culture (Die wartende Kultur; Basle, 1995).} If we take a geographical map and mark the course of evolution within the last root-races we find a very interesting pattern which is repeated on different levels. The movement of the root-races and cultures on the earth's surface follows the form of simple or meandering spirals. This is not surprising, as the spiral has been known since primeval times as the symbol of development, and symbols are derived from supersensible observation.

Seven sub-races combined to form the Old Lemurian root-race. Then, as we have already mentioned, development made a leap. It moved to the region of Atlantis, but in such a way that the movement of the human monads from East to West itself led the human being to the upright posture; he developed the speech organs and learned to master the word.

Seven cultures form the developmental 'spiral' on Old Atlantis, and man was thus prepared for a new metamorphosis or, in the language of biology, a mutation. The population of Atlantis moved eastwards and, under the influence of the spiritual forces of the earth and the spiritual forces of the cosmos transmitted by way of the earth and the entire planetary system, man acquired mental pictures, the perceptions given in thought-images. And now, proceeding from the Mystery centre of Manu, the spiral of post-Atlantean cultures arises. The first four cultures move from East to West: the direction through which man had previously become an upright and speaking being. This time he does not 'raise himself' in a physical sense, but in his soul - he develops the threefold soul as his very own possession (formerly he had experienced its inspirative influence from the cosmos), and the present brain-structure which allows us to think in concepts.

Beginning with the European cultural epoch the impulse of spiritual development again moves from West to East. This is of fundamental significance for all earthly relationships. This shift means that the astral aura of the earth is itself involved in man's learning to master the individual Spirit Self, in his transition from pure to imaginative thinking. Formerly the Spirit Self worked out of higher worlds, because in the old cultures man did not experience himself fully as an individual. He knew: Ex oriente lux (The light comes from the East). This is why in occultism one speaks of man faring to the eternal East when he dies. The Messiah, the Divine Logos, came from the East. As post-Atlantean humanity, migrating eastwards, moved in the direction of His approaching impulse, it acquired, in a special way that was in keeping with the epoch of the complete individualization of man, the ability to gather earthly experience and think it through. And then, beginning with the Old Indian culture, humanity moved in the same direction as the Christ in His descent to earth. They met in the fourth, Greco-Latin, culture and man confronted the task formulated by the Apostle Paul: learn to sacrifice the lower 'I' and experience the Not I, but Christ in me.

The European cultural epoch is dedicated to the fulfilment of this task. The human being must learn to identify in his lower 'I' with the cosmic 'I' of the Christ. It therefore became necessary to turn the movement of the cultural impulse to the East again, but from now on in a different sense: Ex occidente lux (The light comes from the West). Mastery of the individual Spirit Self in the sixth, Slavic-Germanic cultural epoch will be entirely the task of single individuals who will to take their development actively into their own hands, who go the path of self-knowledge and self-education under the motto: The Kingdom of heaven must be taken by storm. What has been presented so far can be clarified by means of the following drawing (Fig. 2).

We have now found the fundamental law of world evolution within the context of the seven root-races, similar to the bio-genetic fundamental law in biology. We have thereby also built a foundation for an understanding of the spiritual task of Europe, Middle Europe having doubtlessly the most important role to play in its realization. There one is working not only on the development of the individual 'I', i.e. on the all-embracing synthesis of cultural-historical development hitherto, but the strength must also be found to lead this development towards the East, in a qualitative sense, in that cultural creativity formerly inspired from higher spheres has to become a thoroughly individual process, arising as the fruit of the realization of the lower 'I' in the highest 'I'. Classical German philosophy and Goetheanism are in part a transitional phase, but are also partially a product of creativity in this sense. Otherwise the entire remaining cultural heritage of Europe has, despite its grandeur, arisen out of the impulses of the Greco-Latin culture, and is at best a re-working of the old heritage by the young genius of Europe. Goetheanism and Anthroposophy alone are new creations that have arisen wholly out of the forces of the fifth cultural epoch. Only in these has it begun to fulfil its own tasks; all else, with few exceptions, must be regarded as a preparation.

The situation of Middle Europe, particularly that of Germany, reminds one of the 'ship's wheel' on the 'sailing vessel' of European civilization. All that once radiated from the centre of Europe in all directions (the Germanic tribes), has in essence maintained its connection to the spiritual task of the centre; it became something equivalent to the 'spokes' of the 'wheel', providing all the other peoples of Europe with an orientation in their task of turning the 'wheel' of history and culture. This too shall be clarified by means of a diagram (Fig. 3).

This is the general principle of the reciprocal interaction of the European national cultures. Only a person of ill-will could see in it a disparagement of any nation. The laws of development also presuppose the coming into being of morality and freedom, but do not determine them. Each national culture has to fulfil its specific task within that of humanity as a whole, and thus Europe represents a special spiritual-organic, anthropomorphic entity. In it the Italians develop the sentient soul as it ought to be in the fifth cultural epoch, the Spanish and French the rational soul, the Anglo-Saxons the consciousness-soul.* {*The culture of the USA has meaning and importance only in so far as it is also working on this task. Everything else it brings is either useless or harmful.} The North Germanic, Scandinavian nations work on the task of bringing complex nuances to the phenomenon of the 'I'. The mission of the Finno-Ugric peoples is quite remarkable. As part of the Mongolian race they moved along the Southern route (via North Africa) from Atlantis to the East, then some went to the North and reached Europe again along the shore of the Arctic Sea. Thus, like the Aryans, they have not taken part in the development of the previous cultural epochs. They had a cultural epoch of their own on Atlantis and reached Europe by their own route, where they formed a small enclave in the North-east. It is the task of Russia to take on the cultural impulse of Middle Europe and then carry it further. It will fulfil its own original spiritual tasks in the sixth cultural epoch and lives therefore in the anticipation of its coming. The West Slavs are the vanguard of this culture. Hungary too was not by chance a part of the great Middle European Reich, at one period. The Turkish peoples wish also to join in fulfilling the European cultural mission. This is why they settled in the Balkans. It is a cruel folly that the Western European and American camp is inspiring wars there.

When we speak of the unification of Europe in the spirit of Kalergi or of Pan-Americanism it is as if we wanted to inflict a deathblow on the whole of civilization. Europe will be unified only through the spiritual and cultural tasks, which presuppose the greatest possible variety and uniqueness of the individual national cultures. The reciprocal interplay, the mutual enrichment of the cultures of the individual European peoples will be fostered for quite a long time yet by the inspirations of the Archangels - the spirit leaders of the nations. However, these will no longer come through the blood but on the path of individual spiritual efforts. There is in Europe already a conscious interaction (this does not necessarily have to be a supersensible experience) of culture-creating individuals with the Archangel. Anthroposophy makes it possible for us to add supersensible experience to this. But since everything now takes place on an individual basis, the preconditions arise of themselves, for man's ascent from a national being to the universal-human - for his ascent, not for some kind of wild, arbitrary leaps, which are in reality regressions to the group consciousness, the ideological, the mediumistic.

 

The Aura of the Russian People

In our time it is extremely dangerous to ignore the fact that the culture of humanity is in the stage of transition from group to individual consciousness. Nothing here should be under or overestimated. We should be guided in our judgments by a sober realism which is founded on knowledge of the truth.

The modern human being, if he wishes to participate in cultural evolution, takes on an entirely individual task. But to begin with this bears the seal and the specific quality of the national culture and, correspondingly also (by way of karma) of the entire soul-spiritual constellation of the individuality. Therefore with this as our starting-point, we can only raise ourselves to creativity in the universal-human sense inasmuch as 'I'-consciousness is developed. But since man is still weak and this very seldom happens, the spiritual leadership - the Spirit of Age, the hierarchical being who guides the development of the entire epoch - realizes the task of humanity nationally through the Archangel. For this purpose entire peoples are woven into a national aura of a given configuration. Here it is especially important for us to consider and compare the auras of the Russian and the German peoples.

Of great significance for an understanding of the character of the aura of the Russian people is a lecture by Rudolf Steiner from April 9, 1914 where he speaks of the coming into being of the Kiev Rus and of the Finnish epic. It contains a drawing that, without a doubt, represents the supersensible form into which the Slavs were woven in their migration from the region of the Balkans and Carpathians to the North-east, and which then became their national aura. The form appears as two interlocking ovals, the lower of which was formed through the working of the great initiate Skythianos who, in order to fulfil this mission, incarnated close to the Caspian Sea. To the deeply occult deeds of Skythianos there was added somewhat later the Byzantine cultural-religious influence, which came to Russia with the conversion to Christianity. Thus arose the aura of the Kiev Rus. (The interested reader is again referred to the communications of Rudolf Steiner in GA 158 [Kalevala] and to the book by the present author The Awaiting Culture). The substance of the aura was predominantly etheric. Further northwards the working of its etheric forces becomes weaker and more refined. In the upper oval the astral forces predominate, while their effect weakens toward the South in the region of the lower oval (though naturally it does not cease altogether). In the area where the ovals overlap, where eventually the city of Moscow appeared, the aura took on a complex character and formed something in the nature of what the individual human being possesses as soul-body, the sheath in which consciousness first arises. The Southern oval calls forth in the human being the mood of the unified soul, and finds its reflection in the character of the Southern Russians, in the culture of the Ukraine. The northern oval furthers the development of the threefold soul. The so-called 'stem of the soul' passes through the entire aura. It arose on the path followed by the Varagans through Russia to Byzantium. They brought to Russia the principle of statehood, and the 'ferment' for the development of 'I'-consciousness. The 'stem of the soul' is a kind of axis of national self-consciousness for the peoples who settled in Russia.

At present the aura of the Russian people, as Rudolf Steiner described it, corresponds only to the European part of Russia. But even in that great aura which encompasses the gigantic Siberian continent and the Asiatic border-region of Russia, it is of decisive importance, for it determines everything that promotes Russian self-consciousness by way of culture and spiritual creativity.* {*We understand very well how the apologists of regional sovereignty on the one hand and the adherents of the 'Soviet monolith' on the other will take ideas such as these. The spiritual-scientific viewpoint does not accord with either opinion, for it is not based on doctrines but springs from the truth that is drawn from spiritual reality. The time will come when the spiritual-scientific view on the Russian question will be visible to everyone, and revealed as true. We can only hope that by then it will not be too late.} The remaining part of Russia, larger than its European part, is absorbed in a mood of anticipation of the future Slavic-Germanic culture. Even a climatically gigantic region of the earth (the North, Siberia) has so far been preserved from mass-settlement and resultant ecological destruction. But this is not an idle waiting. As Rudolf Steiner says, even the Asiatic border regions of Russia are involved in preparing the future culture of the Spirit Self. But here something else should be accentuated, namely that the original aura of Russia has the same configuration as the aura of a single human being - it is anthropomorphic. It stretches like a giant Anthropos from the Black Sea to the Barents Sea.

In one of his lectures Rudolf Steiner called the Russians the 'Christ-people'. But Christ is the God of the human 'I'. All of His activity for the sake of man has an individualizing character. It is a grave error to want to experience him as a national God or a king. The anthropomorphic aura of the Russian people (or, more precisely, the aura of the population of Russia) would have us seek longingly for the image of the ideal, perfect man, of man as he will be when he masters the Spirit Self. Only through such human beings will Christianity move from the stage of preparation to the stage of realization. It will be possible on a large scale in the sixth cultural epoch, but for single individuals the way is already open.

 

Germany in the European Community of Peoples

If the future cultural epoch is to follow the right path of development, the entire course of cultural-historic development must be altered qualitatively. Above all, Middle Europe has to provide the seed of the fifth cultural epoch - Goetheanism and Anthroposophy - with enough strength to grow; so much strength, that from it an essentially different culture can arise than the one that is nourished with the 'juices' of antiquity and Hellenism (where it is not even doing this, everything is sinking into barbarism). Middle Europe also faces the task of turning the movement of culture eastwards again, and gradually passing on the spiritual impulses for its future metamorphosis (today already this must be done actively). Without the help of all the European peoples, these tasks cannot be fulfilled by Germany, or even by all the German-speaking peoples; though Germany is prepared for the task to a special degree through the configuration of its aura. In order to understand it we have to turn to a whole series of statements by Rudolf Steiner. As a characterization of Middle Europe he said that we find there what is always becoming and never is, that the 'I' seeks through mutual relationships to connect with the cultures of the neighbouring peoples and realizes an all-encompassing exchange of forces with the Sentient, Rational and Consciousness-soul (cf. Oct. 31, 1914, GA 157). Thus he remarks, for instance, that Shakespeare is understood better in Germany than in England. Rudolf Steiner says further, that the German nation works everywhere as a ferment, because it is peculiar to the 'I' to swing in different directions. Other nations say resentfully of the Middle European that he is here (on earth) only to plough the soil and search in the clouds ... This is why he tries in a certain sense already in his striving during earthly life to discard what has to be discarded when one goes through the portal of death into the spiritual world (Ibid.). In a certain sense only those have accomplished the task of the Germans, who have taken their self-education into their hands. The mere instinct-people ... remain behind in a certain sense (Dec. 8, 1918, GA 186). Fichte, Schelling, Hegel, who meet with such hostility today, created a thinking that is admittedly not yet spiritualism, is not spiritual science, but which is the seed of spiritual science, which, so to speak, if it is meditated through, truly leads to spiritual science. But for this reason the German national character has to remain fluid, it has to allow us to say: One is an Italian! One is a Frenchman! One is an Englishman! But one is always becoming a German! (Mar. 14, 1915, GA 159). The cultural historian of the future will certainly ascribe the same importance to the German spirit for the cultural education (Bildung) of modern times as one does today with the Greeks for that of antiquity (GA 30, p. 244). If the Norman-Germanic element had purely been active for itself, then today it would be easier to emphasize the justified monotheism that does not accept the abstract One God, but accepts the sequence of hierarchies, Angeloi, Archangeloi etc. (Nov. 23, 1918, GA 185a).

We may think that the nature of the German folk spirit is such that it continuously takes the path down to the nation and up again into the higher world ... that thereby especially within this folk-being the forces are to be called forth that in the most palpable sense lead to spiritual science. When the folk-spirit descends it brings about a strict folk-character in the physical world. When the folk-spirit ascends again and leaves the national character in a fluctuating state, then ... [the nation] learns to recognize that all being dissolves between the sensible and the supersensible world. The time of Fichte's activity was the time when the folk-spirit descended most strongly to earth. Only then was a creativity possible in such concepts and ideas as were revealed in the 'I'-nature of Fichte (Mar. 16, 1915, GA 157). By contrast, Jakob Boehme, although he is called the 'Teutonic philosopher', is a man independent in time of what his folk spirit is (May 9, 1915, GA 159).

It is not possible here to mention everything said by Rudolf Steiner about Middle Europe, and so a small selection of quotations should suffice to indicate the problem area; a study of which is to be validated by an analysis of the entire phenomenology of the German spirit - history, culture and language. Then - and the author is quite sure of this, because he has already partially examined it - what to a certain degree can only be stated hypothetically will become still more apparent.

A thoughtful study of the statements of Rudolf Steiner concerning Middle Europe, the overview (Anschauen - in the sense of Goethean method) of its history and culture, allows the aura of the German people to appear in a form that - in contrast to the aura of the Russian people - is oriented from the earth to the heavens (Fig. 4). That which forms the 'stem of the soul' in the Russian aura - the axis of the coming into being of 'I'-consciousness through the development of the soul-element that is connected to the earth and even to its configuration - is, in the German aura, directed from below to above, from the earth to the heavens. Along the axis of the 'I' a gigantic whirling and pulsating 'storm' rises up from the earth. This is how the etheric forces of the German people are oriented, and this endows the German 'I' with a mighty impulse of spiritual uprightness. Counter to the movement of the etheric forces, there descends earthwards from the heights a 'storm' of the astral aura, in which the inspirations of the folk spirit are revealed.* {*In the Russian aura the spiritual forces descend as in a chalice, in many respects still hovering above the folk-element. Thus they work in a way that is more spiritual (like the revelations) but less individualized.} If one tries to represent the configuration of the aura as a form, then a geometrical figure, or rather a symbol, an image appears - the hexagram. In the fifth cultural epoch this truly inexhaustible esoteric symbol belongs to Central Europe. In contrast to the third, Egyptian-Chaldean-Babylonian cultural epoch, a seventh element is now added, which expresses the mystery of the growing individual 'I'. Occult symbols have been at all times an expression of purely spiritual, not national or political, constellations of development. They should not be equated with badges or military distinctions that are awarded for warlike deeds of heroism. Still less can they serve as symbols of nationalism.

Formerly the Archangel Michael was the countenance of Jahve. Now he is the countenance of God. The old Star of Solomon was an expression of the state of the astral body of a human being who possesses group-consciousness. Today it symbolizes the character of the aura of the German people, or of entire Middle Europe, where the astral body of the individual is being transformed into the Spirit Self through the force of the lower 'I' appealing to the higher 'I'. Individual striving to develop is accompanied by the working of the aura of the people, the peoples of Middle Europe (we have to distinguish many nuances here). Hence the German (and in an extended sense the Austrian, the Swiss, possibly all the peoples of Northern Europe) strives simultaneously to work the soil and to seek in the clouds, always to be in process of becoming. Meanwhile the folk spirit draws near to the earth as though pulsating, only to withdraw again continually, thereby bringing it about that the spiritual strivings of the German are formed in accordance with the folk-character, but are then freed from it again. In this way the national is not active as something group-like but as an inspiring principle in the 'I', because the astral 'storm', in its descent to the earth, does not spread out over the surface but is fixed in individual centres of self-consciousness.

When we observe the aura of the German people from above, it has the form of a two-petalled lotus flower as represented in the red stained-glass window of the Goetheanum. In the traditional representation this lotus flower has the appearance of a Swastika rotating from left to right, clockwise from West to East.* {*Through the development of the two-petalled lotus flower the lower 'I' of the human being comes into relation with the higher, cosmic 'I'. It is just this relation that is expressed by the Swastika. It has nothing in common with the symbol of the cross. Its horizontal component can be recognized as a crab-like spiral - the sign of evolution in the course of which man develops the individual 'I'. This spiral appears in the red stained-glass window as a symbol of the two-petalled lotus flower. The higher 'I' descends from the spirit to man. This is why the 'I'-line of the Swastika can only be formed in thought, in imagination. If the sign is drawn completely, it would have the following form:
Esoterically the Swastika is represented with a right-to-left rotation because it then expresses the processes that flow to the astral world. Great caution is needed in dealing with this form. [¶] In a further aspect the Swastika symbolizes the four-petalled lotus flower.} Thus we arrive at a deeper understanding of why this ancient sacred sign has been so degraded and has been impressed upon the consciousness of humanity as a symbol of evil. (Something similar is happening today with the hexagram.) In truth, the sign of the Swastika rightfully belongs to Germany and to the whole of Central Europe, because Germany is the 'third eye' of the world, that centre of modern civilization through which it can establish the conscious supersensible connection with the world of the spirit. The highest creation of the Middle European spirit - Goetheanism and Anthroposophy - must be seen from the aspect of this task, and Middle Europe as the point of all the forces of humanity that strive to fulfil this task. This is the reason why, in the circle of the German-speaking peoples, so many souls of genius are born who through their karma are connected to the folk-soul and to the great tasks of human development. An oppression, a destruction of Germany and Middle Europe, the falsification of its spiritual nature, would mean to sever the connection of earthly civilization with the spiritual world, to cast it into the darkness of materialism. - A distortion of the spiritual nature of Russia, the dissolving of its connection with Central Europe is tantamount to robbing the world of its future. These are the truths that must be understood above all, regardless of how and to what extent an understanding of the history of human relationships has been falsified in our century.

 

Culture and Initiation

Chapel in Palace of Charlemagne; built 796-804 under
direction of Einhard (thin lines show later reconstruction)
 
The essential nature of every cultural epoch is determined by the character of the science of initiation, which itself is always brought into strict correspondence with the evolution of the human being - above all with the evolution of his soul and spirit. Anyone with even a little contact with esotericism will know that the levels of individual consciousness are closely related to the development of the lotus-system in the human being. The two-petalled lotus flower is intimately related to thinking consciousness. For this reason consciousness does not sink into a trance through its development, but becomes imaginative - a super-consciousness that is revealed in the normal state of mind of the human being only in moments of enthusiasm. Following the two-petalled flower the human being must develop the sixteen-petalled flower, located in the area of the larynx. Its development requires, in addition to the perfecting of oneself as an individual, a harmonizing of social relations. Rudolf Steiner says that the social relations of mankind as a whole depend on the condition of the sixteen-petalled lotus flower. The so-called 'Eightfold Path' of Buddha has in our cultural epoch to become an accepted social factor of everyday life - the sixteen-petalled lotus flower can unfold only within social and cultural relationships, but not in ascetic solitude.

With the help of the image of the ship's wheel mentioned above we have tried to illustrate the character of the peoples of Europe. It is the image of the sixteen-petalled lotus flower, which was represented in the Gothic and Romanesque churches in the form of the 'rose' window above the entrance (cf. figures). In the Romanesque churches the 'roses' were often shown with eight petals. To the person approaching the temple was immediately revealed the architectonic idea of the whole church, which was also eightfold (see diagrams in figures). This is how the ancient principle of the eightfold path of Buddha, who five hundred years before the physical coming of Christ had brought the teaching of love and compassion to men, was given to the emergent self-consciousness of Europe.

But this does not mean a return to Buddhism. No, for Buddhism itself comes to life again in a metamorphosed form in the Christian culture of Europe, where the relations between human beings must be built up on the basis of the virtues of the eightfold path of Buddha in a new colouring, which has been shown by Rudolf Steiner in its correspondence to the Christian path of initiation. He also said that the experience of these virtues is bound up with the development of the sixteen-petalled lotus flower, which in its turn determines the degree of social harmony over the entire earth.

Esoteric Christianity brings the positive experience of the spiritual development of the past to a synthesis within itself and raises it to a qualitatively new level, as the architectural genius of Middle Europe proclaimed to the entire world already before the beginning of the fifth post-Atlantean cultural epoch. The esotericism of the Romanesque and Gothic churches is in no way inferior to the esotericism of the Egyptian temples. Anyone can recognize this. It is enough to analyze geometrically the façade of Strasbourg Cathedral alone (see figure) in order to recognize the image embedded in the architecture of the temple, of the individuality raising himself spiritually on the path of development of the 'lotus flowers'. (The reader who is especially interested in this theme can also analyze geometrically the obelisk of Sesostris I in Heliopolis. It is known that the obelisks were the symbols of man raising himself physically into the upright posture.*) {*Cf. Otto Schubert, Gesetz der Baukunst, (Law of Architecture), Leipzig, 1954. Vol. II, p.36, 303.}

Thus we have before us the real phenomenology of the Middle European cultural impulse, which spread throughout Europe and gave it the character of a living organism in which, as opposed to a mechanism, no part can be replaced. And if we disregard political speculations and ideological interpretations of culture, we arrive at a profound understanding of the significant and unique role of each European people in the development of the cultural impulse of our epoch, which has its focal point in the human 'I'.

Single Rose, Strasbourg Cathedral Cathedral at Auch, Rose at West Front

Purely out of an understanding of the nature and meaning of Middle European spiritual creativity, and not out of the wish to defer to nationalism of any kind, we must assume that the symbol of the sixteen-petalled lotus flower still belongs to Central Europe today, and not to the East. It takes up its initial position in Central Europe, as it were, and from here strives, through the combined work of the nations, outwards in all directions, through the entire world: Ex occidente lux.

Rose-window, Strasbourg Cathedral  
The next stage in the development of the individual spirit, of consciousness, is connected with the twelve-petalled lotus flower. Its symbol belongs in a certain sense to Eastern Europe, and to Russia first and foremost. - Thus it is of crucial importance for Eastern Europe to take part in the cultural life of Europe, and for the cultural life of Europe as a whole to prepare for its impending metamorphosis, which is to be realized in the transition from the fifth to the sixth cultural epoch.* {*If Russia were to go its own, autonomous path the twelve-petalled lotus flower would from the point of view of initiation-science be developed earlier than the two- and sixteen-petalled flowers. This would have very tragic consequences at the threshold to the supersensible world.}

This is the path of development of humanity that is rightful and in harmony with world laws.

Strasbourg Cathedral. Triangulation of Erwin von Steinbach's plan

 

The Archetypal Phenomenon of the Occult-Political Battle

Beside the legitimate and progressive course of development there is always an accumulation of forces of inertia, which cause the cultural impulse either to move in only one direction or to move in one spot, repeating itself endlessly and ossifying in a given state. If we look once more at that loop in the evolutionary spiral, which embraces our present cultural epoch, we can recognize the most important directions of inertia and stagnation (Fig. 5).

All modern occult-political forces that hinder development through their activity behind the scenes are based ultimately on the partial justification of their strivings. It is of extreme importance to understand this peculiarity of the world-wide struggle in our time. This partial justification proves in reality to be worse than complete error, because it is rooted in the laws of development but stands in their way. Thus the ideology of Rome - Jesuitism - is based on the premise that Christ came at a time when the greater part of humanity was still in the condition of group-consciousness. The rationality of Rome represented the highest form of individualization for that time. And because Rome took up Christianity, the Cæsaro-Papacy must be regarded as the highest form of societal and religious life. That which comes from the North brings, according to Rome, only destruction and chaos - in the far-distant past it was these very barbarians from the North who destroyed the glorious Imperium - the flower of civilization. Later, it was they again who, with their reformation, did irreparable damage to the most perfect Christian Church. The Latin race is better suited than any other, they believe, to bear Christianity into the world. The main enemy of Christianity is Central Europe with its seductive call to knowledge, secularization and freedom - as also its 'offshoot' - the Anglo-Saxon world that is sunk in materialism.


Anglo-Saxon political occultism builds on the many thousand years' tradition of the cultural movement from East to West. Its leading occultists (where and in what form does not concern us here) say: 'We are the only rightful heirs to the Greco-Latin culture. The Gods themselves, and the stars, look favourably upon us in our striving to rule the world. The time of the Latin race is over, and it must disappear. Central Europe stagnates and keeps us waiting. Admittedly it brings something to culture, but has to be held in a firm grip, its conservatism must be destroyed, it must be economically weakened and politically lamed so that it cannot prevent America from realizing the world rule to which it is destined. As to Eastern Europe, its importance is, in the end, limited to the reserve of genetic forces, which are considerably weakened in the rest of the world.'

The Nordic ideology arose in the wake of the cultural impulse in its movement from the South of Europe to the North. It is to an unimaginable degree reactionary, because it appeals for the restoration of the ancient Hyperborean, if not even the Polarian root-race. Only to Lucifer can the deeper meaning, the content, of an ideology of this kind be known. But its human bearers are only dreaming, they are possessed by it because not a single conscious mind among them is capable of establishing any reasonable relation to that in the highest sense spiritual planetary being of humanity as a unity devoid of all individual characteristics. Nordic ideology also has an ahrimanic component - it is Louhi, the Queen of the North (Kalevala).

Finally, the ideology of 'Eurasianism', whose popularity has grown enormously over recent years, represents the intention to allow the sixth cultural epoch to ripen before its time, to anticipate it at least in part, at a time that is in no way appropriate for it, and thus to place it into utterly unsuitable conditions, to drain the life forces of the Eastern European peoples and render them incapable of cultural creativity at the time when the Slavic-Germanic cultural epoch begins. For this reason the occultists everywhere in Russia today are saying that the age of Aquarius will begin in the coming century.

We have in 'Eurasianism' a repetition of the impulse of Gondishapur. The 'Eurasians' intend to build a bridge directly from Rome to Moscow (the 'Third Rome') and thereby cause Middle Europe to fall out of development entirely. Here is to be sought the origin of the two world wars, in which the aim was realized to incite Germany and Russia to war with each other. In the 'Eurasian' ideology hostility towards Germany will always outweigh resentment towards the USA, not in its phraseology which is oriented to political fashion, but in essence.

Rome regards 'Eurasianism' with mixed feelings. On the one hand the 'Third Rome' is a competitor, for here the first two are deemed sufficient. On the other hand, Rome sees in Eastern Europe, in Russia, an effective weapon in the struggle against Central Europe and America. The Americans for their part consider Russia a strong weapon in their struggle against Rome, against Europe and against the East in the widest sense.

If we bring all that has been said so far about the occult-political world-picture into a system, we arrive at the configuration in which the main spiritual forces on the world stage stand in relation to the true forces of development (Fig. 6).

The small circle in the figure expresses the 'wheel of history', that with the help of social-cultural and historical endeavours will be turned from West to East by all the countries of Europe and the entire world, thereby bringing about the succession, the metamorphoses of the cultural epochs. These justified efforts are to a greater or lesser degree opposed by the unified forces of the anti-spiritual and anti-historic impulses (outer circle on Fig. 6). The period of their emergence as separate entities has come to an end, as shown by the appearance of the Asuras in the political and cultural life of humanity. The unity of these forces is clearly manifest in the 20th century. Events like the wars of Germany with the USA and Russia may outwardly represent a contradiction, but they are at the same time merely episodes in the advance of these forces towards their one and only goal: to turn back the universal development of mankind. To this end the paralysis and oppression of Middle and Eastern Europe is essential. On the one hand wars further the attainment of this goal, and on the other, unions - the mixing of all the peoples of Europe, and later the races, into a grey mass. But other methods are also projected.

The Swastika, which was elevated to a political symbol or sign for Germany, expressed (for one who knows) this unity. It moves against empirical time within which evolution is realized; it turns evolution backwards - this is ultimately what Pan-Americanism strives to achieve. The esoteric meaning of the Swastika was carried from the astral plane to the external plane of history. Therein also lies the origin of all ideas regarding the 'hallowing' of life in society (cf. Ch. 17 and 18).

In contrast to this, a rightful development on the historical and cultural plane is expressed by the Swastika which rotates clockwise. It is the symbol of the two-petalled lotus flower opening gradually on the exoteric path, in proportion as each individual human being attains the capacity for freedom and moral autonomy, whereby he will begin to draw the motives of his actions from the world of moral intuitions, as Rudolf Steiner has described in the Philosophy of Freedom.

The picture given above would not be complete if we did not show its connection to the higher spiritual plane, of which Rudolf Steiner says: Four mighty, exalted figures stand in universal space, each at one of the four points of the compass. Thus they form the cosmic cross. They lead and guide events in the world and are servants of the One who is the life of the Sun (Christ). In the course of each cosmic day the Sun spirit inspires each one of them in turn. They are the primordial forces which are mirrored in the three forces of thinking, feeling and willing in the cosmos and in the human soul (GA 265, p. 336). These figures are the four Archangels. In the following (Fig. 7) are shown the main principles of their working, and their connection with the four Festivals of the year.

Michael, who stands in the East, brings the forces of the three other Archangels into harmony and he is the 'Countenance of God'. As he imparts his inspiration he invites human beings to be active with him. The human being acting out of free will in accordance with the intentions of the Archangel Michael becomes the bearer of the principle 'Ex occidente lux'. The four forces of political occultism enclosed within the ring of the Midgard-snake become its instrument. While Midgard surrounds Europe in an ever-widening noose it strives to isolate her spiritual and cultural life from the working of the four leading Archangels. For this reason the forces of political occultism want to fill human thoughts, feelings and motives of will with their ideologies and suppress self-consciousness with the help of mass-suggestion.

These are in a very condensed form some of the essential elements of the methodology of modern politology. Anyone who does not master them is given over to empty quarrels and enmities. But those whose sense of national self-worth is undermined by the development of the actual state of affairs can merely be told: Have patience, the time will come when Germany will fulfil its cultural-historical task, and then retire into the background and make way for others. But God grant that the latter does not happen today. For this would mean that the secret societies of the West would have succeeding in diverting the cultural impulse before its meeting with the Spirit Self, in forcing it further westwards. In this case one would have succeeded in making the fifth cultural epoch, in which the Anglo-Saxon race - with full justification - plays a leading rôle, eternal in a certain sense, in endowing it with a peculiar ahrimanic immortality. If this were to happen - says Rudolf Steiner - the sixth cultural epoch would indeed begin, but it would be transposed to South America and take effect only in a modified form. It would then come into contradiction with the spiritual laws of earth and cosmos. Only the human beings with the greatest strength of spirit would be able to attain the Spirit Self individually, through efforts having the character of an initiation. As to the rest of the inhabitants of the earth, their fate would veritably be a 'gnashing of teeth'. The emergence of the evil race, as prophesied in the Apocalypse, would move forward at an accelerated pace. The black-magical Mysteries of Taotl would come to life with renewed force.

The signs of a possible future of this kind can already be recognized in our century, because it is being decided today what course the whole further evolution of the earth will take. People who are not afraid of knowledge are quite capable of grasping this themselves. And we should not be surprised to see all demons of evil let loose to destroy Germany, to spiritually lame Russia, to prevent Europe from fulfilling its spiritual task. The publications of Pan-Americans we have already mentioned indicate this very clearly; in them we meet the world-wide lies, distortion and calumniation of the history of the people and their character. Anyone who still falls for the illusion of an abstract humanism should read these books. Next to Th. N. Kaufman's book, mentioned in chapter 3, one ought also to make acquaintance with the work of another American 'wise man' - Louis Nizer. It was published in 1944 (Chicago-New York) under the title: What to do with Germany. The author asks: What should we do with millions of murderers, with a criminal nation whose entire culture (including Fichte, Novalis etc.) right down to its folk-songs, is pervaded with biological militarism? Our reply - says the author, would be: One can't convict a whole people, ... you can't kill 80 millions. But, what should be done with them? If they are not destroyed, should they not at least be subjected to 'racial sterilization?' If 20,000 physicians were each to conduct 25 operations daily, the entire procedure of making 50 million fertile Germans sterile would take about three months. Maybe more time needs to be allowed for women. With a natural death rate of 2% per year the German nation would then vanish from the face of the earth within two generations.

But - the author says - we will have to forgo a project of this kind. Why? - Well, because Germans would then assume the role of martyrs, but mainly because mass uprisings could take place (!) and after all, only the fate of future generations could be resolved by means of sterilization, not that of the living. President Truman demanded that every American should read this book, and Eisenhower ordered his officers to write summaries of it.

We do not want to quote the entire content of this book,* in the place of which the American 'wise men' should rather have written a different one entitled 'What have we done with America?' {*The book goes on to develop the promising solution of the 'German problem' - re-education instead of physical destruction - applied after the capitulation. May those above all read it, in whom, owing to a repressed chauvinism, certain chapters in our book prompt an outburst of uncontrolled anger. May they then be persuaded that their impaired spirit is borne by lies, possession, and hostility towards the true interests of humanity, and that their humanistic mask is likewise hypocritical through and through.} At the end of this chapter we would only say the one thing that should have become clear to anybody possessing healthy common sense - that the path to the overcoming of nationalism and chauvinism leads only through the unmasking of lies of this kind. The farther back they lie in the past, the more the ultimate source of the world-wide lies takes on the character of an unshakeable truth, that is as though sanctified by tradition. It becomes progressively more difficult to arrive at the actual truth, and 're-educated' humanity is less and less inclined to change. It is as the poet said:

All honour to the madman,
Who feeds humanity with golden sleep!

Have not these words become the final universal dogma, in which all the warring world-forces, all the contradictions of civilization join together in peace? But if someone 'cannot sleep', if he has enough strength to clear the way to a number of sources, only horror awaits him. But at the same time he will understand that a human being of our time, whether he wishes it or not, is faced with the choice of either erecting the 'humanistic society of the future' on the nightmare of the lie inflated to hypertrophy, or laying aside his night-cap and applying all his strength to the search for the true grounds of life, in order, after physical death, not to experience a second and far more terrible death - that of the soul. No proof is surely needed that it is utterly necessary to choose the second option, even if we are then reviled as a 'Fascist', a 'Chauvinist', a 'misanthropist', etc. Let us be certain of it: The Prince of this world understands very well that he is the spirit of the lie. We should not expose ourselves as fools in his eyes.

150 years ago the outstanding Russian philosopher-Prince V. F. Odoyevsky wrote: In the madness of materialism the West delivers its great thinkers to the graveyard of thoughts, and tramples those in the dirt, who wish to abjure this madness with strong and holy words.

Could he have guessed that his words would become especially relevant at the end of the 20th century?




Go to Chapter Two

Go to Chapter Twelve

Go to Chapter Nineteen

Go to "Excerpts from The Crisis of Civilization"

Go to "The Advent of Ahriman"