References to Archangel Oriphiel by Sergei O. Prokofieff
"The Twelve Holy Nights and the Spiritual Hierarchies"
By Sergei O. Prokofieff
Rudolph Steiner has written about the opposition in our cosmos between the Sun-Intelligence (Michael) and the planetary Intelligence (the six other Archangels). This opposition reaches its greatest state of tension, one could even say its culmination, in post-Christian times through the chief opponent of Michael in the choir of Archangels, the Saturn Archangel Oriphiel.(37) For in contrast to Michael, Oriphiel wishes to remain with the planetary impulses, which extend to the Spirits of Movement; hence he wants to draw his impulses only from the `dark' or `night' zodiac, where laws of `iron necessity' hold sway (as they prevailed throughout earthly evolution until the Mystery of Golgotha) and where starry impulses are received only out of the cosmic past of our cosmos, from memories of Old Sun existence.
In contrast, Michael-Christ now wishes to lead humanity beyond the limits of the planetary world to a union with the whole starry cosmos, to a present apprehension of his impulses directly out of the sphere of the Spirits of Wisdom, or the Sophia-sphere, and thereby to conscious union with the forces of the `Mystic Lamb' which are represented in our cosmos by the seven region of the `light' or `day' zodiac. Oriphiel wants to lead humanity back to full subjection to cosmic necessity, as was ordained in old times by God (Jahve); while Michael wishes to lead men towards a creative activity of their own which issues from an inner experience of freedom in a truly Christian sense(38)towards the starry sphere of our cosmos where, in mastering the forces of the Scales through the forces of the Spirit Man (Virgin), man may become a being `that pours forth something that has passed out of the stage of time into the stage of duration, or eternity' (GA 102, 27.1. 1908).
Rudolph Steiner speaks about this in particularly significant way in the course of a lecture of 1 August 1924 (GA 237). There he describes how, in the circle of other Archangels who have so to speak resigned themselves to the fact of man's fall from the spiritual world through the influence of the Luciferic an Ahrimanic powers, `Michael alone refused to submit', they can come to Earth to embrace the Divine in a wholly sinless form'.(39)
`Man cannot do it!'such is the view of the other six Archangels. And against this point of view there now stands in our cosmos Michael who, in Rudolph Steiner words, `protested most strongly against the Fall of man'. It is just this faith in humanity, that man `can indeed rise to the Divine', which testifies directly to his connection with the whole starry cosmosin contrast to the other Archangels, who want to remain in the sphere of activity of the planetary Intelligences. Thus Rudolph Steiner characterizes Michael's opposition to the six other Archangels, and to the Saturn Archangel Oriphiel in particular, as `a view of majestic sublimity', as `something of overwhelming grandeur'.
Even the names of the spiritual Beings bear witness to the difference between their spiritual activity in our cosmos. When translated from the Hebrew, the name `Oriphiel' means `My neck [is] God'; for Oriphiel directs his gaze wholly to the planetary world (to the past) and apprehends the working of the starry Spirits of Wisdom only as a `memory' of the Old Sun condition of the Earth. He is not connected with their activity in the present, so that it is in truth possible to say of him: God (the starry Hierarchies) works for him and only `from behind', in his `neck', that is through the forces of memory.(40)
In contrast to Oriphiel, Michael directs his `face' to God (to the starry Hierarchies). He does not only remember the past but above all enquires incessantly about the working of the Divine Forces in the present. Translated from the Hebrew, the name `Michael' means the question: `Who [is] like God?' IN other words: God is before him always and he contemplates Him incessantly, finding in this the life-element of his cosmic existence. The contemplation of God `in the present' bears in itself the seeds and aims of the whole future evolution of the world and of humanity. Thus unlike Oriphiel, who is ever turned towards the past, Michael directs his whole being towards the future,, towards what is becoming, towards the Divine Purposes of world evolution.
Where the eternal aims of Gods
On thine own I
For they free Willing
In these words from the third, `Michaelic' part of the Foundation Stone Meditation,(41) there is revealed the very essence of Michael's world-mission as the embodiment of the `eternal aims of God' and as the mediator between these and humanity.
Man's relationship to the Revelation of Michael is of decisive importance in our time. For if his impulse in the present epoch of his rulership are not taken up by a sufficiently large number of souls, mankind will be threatened in the next epoch of Oriphiel's rulership, which begins around the year 2400, by the danger of falling into `spiritual paganism', of being drawn fully into planetary life that is devoid of any individual freedom and hence rejecting the high starry impulse which was brought to the Earth by Christ and which is now represented by Michaelthe possibility of free cosmic creativity.