The first matter I'd like to suggest, is that we distinguish the outer
material world from the inner immaterial world - matter from spirit, and
outer sense experience from inner soul experience.
What this means to me is that the essential aspects of "the mystery of
evil" really only take place in the immaterial soul world, and are a
kind of macro rite of passage for the I-am. I use "mystery" as a way
of referencing this Rite aspect.
The outer material world is like a stage setting, and even some parts of
the inner immaterial world as well.
The reality is only the I-am and the other essences of Spirit in the
Spiritual Cosmos - that is the Eternal. The rest, even the culture and
dominant paradigms of an Age, are part of the stage setting, which over
time passes away.
This means that the astral body and etheric body (and the physical
world) are inner and outer stage settings, within which the Rite is
enacted, kind of like a way the Temple is decorated. Beautiful, filled
with spirit as any work of Art, but still a stage setting that is
repeatedly taken down and replaced as one Act of the Grand Play follows
another (my etheric body and astral body dissolve after death, only to
be redrawn in the process of my next incarnation).
Yet, even in this sense, the ethereal and astral "substances" are a kind
of plastic, basically formless medium which is ordered according to
higher Arts by Cosmic Beings (essences).
This "mystery of evil" is taking place over many epochs and may go all
the way to the Day of Judgment. The epoch of the consciousness soul is
like an opening Act, following on the Orchestral prelude (the fourth
epoch) in which Christ incarnated. (leading to the end of the Kali Yuga,
and the beginning of the Reign of Michael as Time Spirit)
During this opening Act humanity will make choices that may well divide
us into what are still "human" races, one taking the path of deeper
descent into materialism via instinct, the other the path of rising
conscious choice. In some cases this will lead to separate communities,
but one of the "choices" offered to those on the upward spiral will be
to remain with the fallen and still falling - to share their fate out of
impulses of love and brotherhood, a "renunciation" patterned on the
previous actions of higher beings who Steiner would sometimes call
"retarded", for they have sacrificed their "rise" in order to do other work.
Those making such a choice will feel deeply, "there but for the grace of
god go I". Understanding the grace that exists in their own
development, they will offer themselves to other work - the spirit-self
unable to not feel the pain and suffering of others who are fallen and
This is the grand scheme as I am able to "think" it.
Then there are the details particularly relevant to today - for each
epoch will have its own special characteristics.
One characteristic, in which we who are karmically connected to
Anthroposophy will run into, is that task connected to "telling the
story" of this mystery. This we struggle with here, for we have these
words Ahriman, Asuras etc. and Steiner having birthed them now is
karmically bound to the choices we make in introducing them further into
A sub-characteristic of this choice is how do we characterize these
beings. Such choices might include: evil beings, opposing beings,
resisting beings and so forth. I am of the mind that we do not do a
service to the understanding of this mystery by using terminology which
makes of such beings a new kind of bogeyman. That I think would
neither be good, true nor beautiful. Let me explain.
If these resisting beings were ultimate powers in the Spiritual Cosmos,
they would already have won the "battle". This is obviously not the
case, which means they are constrained in some fashion - that is they
The most obvious limitation I have come upon is the indication
(discovered also by others) that once we pass through the interior
spheres of the earth, we come to the realm of the Mother, a golden Globe
where the Divine Feminine (as a community of beings) carries on a
In my own work with this "community", I had a dream/vision of Ahriman,
on the Day of Judgment, weeping and broken, laying at the feet of the
Mother, begging for forgiveness for all the terrible actions it was his
created nature to have to author.
This leads us to the Creation itself. My conception of it is that the
Father and Mother God-unity divided itself into fragments of being,
unlimited in number, ever generating, while among this multitude were
certain types of fragments (Aspects) having more of the once-whole than
others. Ahriman, for example, is that Aspect quality of the once-whole
that might be called cold calculating intelligence.
As is my practice, the Sun Demon I will not name, having perhaps more
experience than most on this list with the magical rules of existence
that are just as real as the moral rules. As to what are called the
Asuras, to touch on that leads us to the double-complex, concerning
which it is my view that Anthroposophy now needs to speak into modern
culture, as much from experience as possible.
I do not trust intellectual statements about the nature of evil, and its
mystery, when it comes from people who cannot yet speak from experience
about their own relationship to the double-complex. It is my
experience that such thoughts are too much rooted in phantasy, and too
little grounded in reality - missing as they do the moral element of
confession typified by the AA member who on rising to speak says: "My
name is John, and I am an alcoholic."
These folks, who recognize evil (error, not sin) in themselves, can
speak of it in the only socially healthy way possible, as far as I am
concerned, for they do not place evil as something outside themselves,
wandering about the universe on its own (as it were), but are willing to
confess to what they themselves do and have done, and take
responsibility for this.
Merely to give people some intellectual picture, rooted in what Steiner
said and wrote, instead of one's own experience, is to me to offer
something not yet ripe in the soul - a knowledge too abstract. Only
naked confession puts us in the right place of washing the feet out of
which we can then speak a truth about ourselves, and offer that truth,
instead of some vanity of concepts we have collected from reading, and
which we judgmentally think others should know and understand.
It is here then, in addiction and the like, that one comes to an
experience of the work of Asuras - the "eaters of egos". Those, who
live into these depths of inner terror and self generated error (evil),
will know intimately how the "self" looses pieces of itself in this
process. Here is what the AA work calls "hitting bottom". Hitting
bottom is not an outer experience, but an inner one, where we feel this
gnawing at our I, and know that we can no longer accept this.
We know, in a most intimate and unidentifiable fashion (almost
conceptless), that here is a place beyond which we do not dare go. The
Asuras then are a Cosmic power akin on a spirit level to that function
in nature which takes things apart and disassembles them so that
something other and new can be recreated. Here it is human spirit, or
I-am, that wanders to close to that state which attracts "the eaters -
disassemblers - of egos".
[The practice by some on this list and elsewhere, to see a phenomena in
existence (such as torture or weird government mind control
experiments), for which they have a strong antipathy, and then to label
this phenomena as connected to the Asuras, I find to be flawed
thinking. Torture, and so forth, is the "Beast from the Abyss", which
is not a product of Cosmic resisting beings and their work, but rather
the product of human freedom. Our untransformed free natures rises from
out of the darkness within (encouraged and promoted by the
double-complex, but authored by our choices to give into dark
pleasures). This human darkness is the "Beast", which may be one of the
reasons Steiner did not want to speak at the beginning of the 20th
Century on these themes. With our growing freedom, when ever it takes
the form of descent into animality and licentiousness, is this Beast.
Having given the I-am freedom the Gods rolled the dice in a very heavy
way - another reason many of those, who learn how to rise (instead of
continue the Fall), will choose to accompany the descending stream and
to work from there for the future.]
To return to the true asuric process: We (in many case, but not always)
having hit bottom are now ready to "surrender" to the higher ego, the
higher power in the self. We admit powerlessness over the demonic
egregore - a psychic parasite (soul tumor, is what Steiner calls it in
Symphony of the Creative Word) that the luciferic and ahrimanic doubles
have encouraged us to generate. We stumble into that inner territory
where we know we cannot be human on our own, but must needs discover how
to be human with others.
In the Twelve Steps we have then a Christ authored, Divine Mother
supported, social process of redemption from the experience of the
Asuras. Understanding this, as students of spiritual science, we might
come to realize that what are often otherwise seen as "dens of iniquity"
are actually biographical communities of I-ams exploring profoundly
spiritual processes of transformation through the biography - a kind of
test drive of something that will overtime be more and more fruitful for
all of humanity (addiction, in the sense of tumors of the soul - of self
generated independent beings in the astrality - lies in all our futures,
if we cannot learn now to meet the double-complex in a spiritually
Even the Asuras then, serve the progress of humanity, and so it becomes
necessary more than ever for those who come to Anthroposophy to learn to
live out of the new thinking, so that a thinking/perceiving of the true
nature of social existence can arise, and circles come into being that
seeks to penetrate with this thinking the truth of social existence
(where the Christ lives), and to make stories - new oral culture - of
that to be shared with the wider circles of humanity, who yearn to hear
the true nature of their own being, and of earth existence.
We have two powers than to apply to the present. One is the capacity
for the inner work of the new thinking which leads (in part) to an
understanding of the Shadow in the Soul, and the other is the capacity
to render into stories for the benefit of others of what has been
learned on the stoney path to true self knowledge (not - most definitely
not - the spreading of what Steiner said as if it was the key). Self
knowledge is part of the key to this time, and the other part is service
to the Thou.
In the above, I hope to have sketched briefly my sense of the more
broader (in terms of time) nature of the mystery of evil, and as well
those details that seem to me to dominate our present.