It has often been said that Christians are pretty much obliged to believe in the reality of both demons and angels - since they are so often mentioned in the New Testament. Yesterday, William wrote about demons - today I am mentioning angels.
Readers of my Notions blog will now that I have been very interested in a 1918 lecture by Rudolf Steiner that was translated (with the help of Owen Barfield!) as The Work of the Angels in Man's Astral Body.
This is a very difficult thing to read for several reasons. Firstly because it includes several of Steiner's assumptions concerning the nature and structure of reality - which it is unlikely that you will believe are true (I don't). For instance, he accepts the complex and constrained hierarchy of angels derived from Dionysius the Areopagite; and he divides (sharply and rigidly) the human into Physical, Etheric, Astral and Ego/I 'bodies' or sheaths. All of these have some validity, but I mostly need to 'retranslate' them into something I regard as closer to reality.
Secondly, because this is a lecture transcription, and was never edited by Steiner, it seems to contain some errors and omissions - or at least awkward and hard-to-follow transitions. For example: the last few paragraphs don't seem to have much to do with the main lecture. Perhaps they were in response to a question from the audience?
Thirdly - I think the lecture material is a mixture of the most brilliant prophecy I have ever seen, bar none; and stuff that is just wrong.
However - if you are prepared to make the effort to tackle this piece, I think you will be deeply and profoundly rewarded. I have found it to be of immense value in understanding what is happening nowadays; and what failed to happen in recent generations.
In essence, the lecture is about the way that angelic influences have tried to inform Men by means of conscious ideas and imaginations (i.e. 'astral' knowledge) - but modern man refuses to acknowledge the reality of the spiritual; and instead the same impulses have only had an effect unconsciously, at the level of instinct. And this has led to the evil we see around us.
An example Steiner gives is sexuality. The true angelic impulse is towards a recognition of the divine in all persons, an actual knowledge that every human is a son or daughter of God. But this explicit spiritual knowledge has been refused (because people reject belief in God, and deny any meaning to the divine). Instead it works through at a materialist level, and impact in the form of the political ideologies of Leftism - with the false distortion that all humans are 'equal'.
The suggestion is that we have an angelic impulse; but this is demonically distorted. According to Steiner, there are two classes of demons - Luciferic and Ahrimanic: the Luciferic works at the level of instinctive gratification - so this would include the sexual revolution, promiscuity; the aim of more sex with more and more people (and things) of more and more different types etc. The Ahrimanic is the bureaucratic pseudo-rational - and this would include the many regulations and laws that assert that all Men are the same, interchangeable, and that Life ought to be monitored and regulated to enforce this materialist model of 'equality'.
Although the demons are of two, very different, almost opposed types (eg instinct and impulse versus planned and bureaucratic); in practice they reinforce each other; just as the mass media (Luciferic) sustains the world of regulations and laws (Ahrimanic) - when the media 'calls for' ever-more regulation and monitoring to solve 'problems'; which then identifies more 'problems' and generates more media pressure. Public Relations is where the two interface.
Anyway, this is only one of the amazingly precise prophecies that Steiner produced 100 years ago.
My point here and today is that this is evidence of angelic influence in our lives.
We need, more than almost-anything, to become consciously aware of these angelic influences in our own minds. Only by such direct awareness can we understand what really needs to be done.