Thursday, February 7, 2008

Heroes, Villains and Rudolph Steiner

Linda said...
Can you tell me about "the Opposing Spiritual Powers," and how they are like anti-heros?

Thanks for the question, Linda. I should preface the answer by saying that I have read the Rudolph Steiner teachings for several years now and find them to be mythical and complicated. I feel that whatever organization there is to life is much, much simpler, but I do admire some of his concepts. One of my favorite is his idea that humanity has a soul that influences and evolves along with our individual souls, much like CG Jung’s collective unconsciousness. Another is that our awareness unfolds, and humanity evolves due largely to the interplay of opposing forces (the tree of knowledge or good and evil.) The Steiner teachings tell us that in the course of human history, three specific opposing forces have provided our common soul and individual souls with opposition to our perfect nature (the Christ impulse) or the God within us. The dynamic of these forces are such that either we transcend the opposition and realize freedom by reconciling the forces (transcending duality) or we continue to battle.

Lucifer was the first, providing our natural, darker side. He is closely linked to nature and the mechanics of human nature so that the opposition he presents are storms or plagues or the fall of an civilization or the domination of our ego nature. His gift to humanity was free will, obtained in the choice to realize the Christ impulse and to transcend.

Ahriman was the second. His influence was first felt about 4M years ago and is still present today. He is associated with technology and materialism and prevents us from not seeing through the material to the spirit. He is also closely linked to the laws of karma, and keeps us from understanding the process of our freedom from karmic debt. But once the Ahrimanic forces have been reconciled, and we are free from karmic debt, we enter the age of Azuras. The Steiner teachings tell us that humanity is just beginning to enter this age but is still primarily ruled by Ahriman.

Not much is written on the Azuras and to research, I joined the Steiner library in New York, and read several of his books and lectures that hadn’t been taken out of the library in decades. I also joined Steiner discussion groups all over the world, talking to folks who had their own ideas about where Steiner was going with this. The forces of Azuras distract us into looking away from spirituality and convince us that our material experience is reality, not a reflection of our conscious awareness. It tricks us out of taking our objective into the subjective and becoming the creator with it, and believing the reverse is true. The Azuras has both the natural quality of Lucifer and the Ahrimanic qualities of technology and materialism. There is a bit written and much discussed about Steiner’s notion that once we give any part of ourselves to the Azuras, it can never be recovered. My (controversial) belief was that Steiner understood that once we transcend duality, mind and soul (karma), our lives and the formation of our experience is more immediately effected by universal laws. Once we consciously understand how to reconcile the opposition and realize our connection with all of life, we are distracted less easily even though the distractions become more dramatic. Ken Wilber would say it hurts more but we suffer less after the One Taste.

It’s easy to see how these opposing forces can be used as the hero/anti hero of a novel. I develop the characters of the three anti heros in my trilogy to reflect the nature of Steiner’s opposing forces. This allows me to develop the character of the heroine along a natural line of spiritual development, learning to release her karmic debt and move into a more harmonious storyline. And who doesn’t love a happy ending?


Heather said...

This seems crrepy to me, like Satanic. Is that what you mean?

Molly Brogan said...

No, this does not mean Satanism, quite to the contrary. Whereas Satanism and other Occult practices of “black magic” apply self will to universal law, the Steiner teachings propose that we grow as a person by applying the Christ principal, or our highest potential as connected with god and all of life, to the opposition. He believed firmly that Divine Will leads the life of the spiritual aspirant. Steiner named his opposing forces, I think, to try to include the worlds major religions: Lucifer with Christianity, Ahriman with the Muslim faith, and Azurus with Hinduism. His Anthroposophy was his attempt to provide a philosophy that was inclusive of all religion.

Anonymous said...

An interesting post. I've often heard about Steiner's teachings but didn't pursue them. As you say - and like many of the westerners, the Theosophists for example, who became interested in Eastern thought before the recent explosion in the 60s - it all sounds a bit too conceptual.

You said that once we start to overcome duality, distractions become more dramatic. In my experience (mostly connected to Buddhist and Hindu thought) when we move a bit further towards understanding of life, we may notice our distractions more. There is a danger here that people on a spiritual path can become more dualistic in their thinking, if it becomes about setting up goals to strive towards. I think the answer lies in realising that acceptance of this moment is the answer. If you are always concerned with the future, and becoming something, always striving, there will always be dualism.

Molly Brogan said...

I agree, our concept of time is integral to our concept of duality. Once we reconcile the opposites, the past, present and future become all time - the expanded awareness of now. Even in the goal setting - you are seperating what you are and what you strive to become. Becoming in this sense is a wonderful remembrance of what has gone before. Becoming, in the transcendent sense, includes the one and the many in the unity of all. Thanks for the great comment. Molly