Rudolf Steiner on the Effects of Radiant Electricity and Electromagnetic Technology

In our continued efforts to bring to light the real effects of electricity and electromagneticism from Rudolf Steiner’s perspective, we present these selections from his work concerning electricity and its connection with human spiritual development. The compendium below is an offering to help frame the nature of electricity in relation to spiritual science and was sent to us by a friend as a contribution to the conversation.  Our thanks go out to him and we hope the reader will find these indications as powerful as we did. 

The Evil, Demonic Nature of Electricity

GA 152 – “… we lack the courage to truly grasp the world with our souls. . . . Morality has no living place in our world; it is only an abstraction. . . . we have no capacity to see that the foundation we lay today through our moral impulses becomes the basis for moral consequences in the future. . . .

. . . We have no real idea of how a new planet can grow out of our decadent, decaying earth; nor do we understand that the new earth will develop out of the impulses humanity is developing today. Today we lack the courage to think, to envision that moral impulses are the seeds for the world of the future. . .

. . . Now we shall look at the other side of the natural order. Across from the moral order stands the natural order, which has brought about our awe-inspiring modern natural science. . . .  [The discovery of electricity] happened less than 150 years ago. And now electricity is a central ingredient of modern civilization. . . . It had not yet occurred to anyone that an atom would be described as an electron, as if it were an entity that consists entirely of electricity. But the latter is what is taught in schools today. . .

. . . The extent to which human thinking has become saturated with electricity is a fairly recent development. Now we speak about atoms as if they were tiny suns surrounded by orbiting electrons. When we look around us at the forces within the universe, we presume that electricity is everywhere. This permeates our entire culture, including our manner of thinking. If we did not ride trains so frequently, we might not have associated atoms so quickly with electricity. . . .

. . . If we were to look at the ideas that humanity had before the Age of Electricity, we could see that at one time an observer of nature still had the freedom to recognize the spiritual aspect of nature, at least to the point of thinking about it abstractly. A tiny remnant of scholastic Realism still remained to facilitate this perspective. But electricity is so pervasive in the lives of modern human beings that it gets on our nerves. Our sensitivity to electricity made it impossible to maintain a connection to the spiritual.. . .

. . . The effects of this go even further. The true light that floods the space of our universe is increasingly compromised in its purity, and even suffers the degradation of being seen as something similar to artificially generated light. When we begin to speak openly about these things, anyone who is (154) completely committed to the value of the electrical culture thinks that we are out of our senses. But that is so because a person who thinks a criticism of electricity is nonsense is someone weighted down by excessive historicism, and who cannot find a connection to the immediate present. [a condition discussed previously]. . .

. . . With electricity we enter a sphere that presents something different to the imaginative observation than what we receive from other aspects of nature. As long as you deal only with light and sound (that is, optics and acoustics), then you do not need to make a moral judgment about the world of sound as tone, for you still may perceive a slight echo of the reality behind these ideas and concepts. Electricity, however, drives away this echo. If, on the one hand, we cannot discover the reality of moral impulses, then, on the other hand, we also shall fail to observe and perceive the moral essence within nature itself.. . .

. . . If you ascribe a real power and effect to the moral impulse, so that these impulses inherently have both potential and power, just as the seed already contains the germ of a fully grown plant, you may be called half a fool. If you were to go still further and attribute moral impulses to natural processes, then you will be called a complete fool. If you have felt an electrical current in its spiritual nature surging through your nervous system, you would know that electricity is not just a force of nature; electricity is also something moral. Whenever we enter the realm of electricity, we are giving ourselves over to something moral. If you put your finger into a closed circuit of electricity, you immediately feel that you have expanded the realm of the inner core of the human being, out of which there arises what is moral. The electricity that resides within the human being is also the area out of which your moral impulses originate. Whoever experiences the totality of electricity, at the same time experiences the moral within nature. . . . [Modern physicists] have theorized that the atom has an electrical nature and have forgotten, because of the general consciousness of our time, that when they present the atom as electrical in nature, they have ascribed a moral impulse, and therewith a moral nature, to it. By making the atom into an electron, you (155) are not attributing to it a moral aspect, but rather an immoral essence. Within electricity all kinds of moral impulses of nature are swimming; but actually they are immoral, instinctively evil impulses that must be overcome with the help of the higher worlds.. . .

. . . The greatest contrast to electricity is natural light. Looking at electrically generated light we see a mixture of good and evil. We have lost a real perception of evil in the natural order. We do not notice that by electrifying the ideation of atoms, they then become conveyors of evil. I described in my recent natural-scientific course that by attributing electricity to the constitution of the atom it causes atoms to become purveyors of death. . . . As soon as the atomic form of matter is identified with electricity, it also identifies nature with evil. In that case atoms composed of electrons are tiny, evil daemons.. . .

. . . when the physicists declare, as they do today unthinkingly, that nature is made up of electrons, then they are actually saying that nature is composed of little daemons of evil. To the extent that we accept this explanation of nature, then we must also accept that evil is being ascribed to the creators of the universe. . . . electricity in nature is also morality. If we observe our surroundings today, we see pictures of a moral activity, one that is wrapped in evil.. . .

. . . If anthroposophy were either fanatical or ascetic, a great storm would be brought to bear against the culture of electricity. Of course that would be absurd, for the only people who could talk this way have a worldview that does not take reality into account. They might say, ‘Oh, that is the work of Ahriman! Away with it!’ But you can only do that in the abstract. . . . (156) the entire storm about Ahriman, which sounds like such a virtuous position to take, is nonsense. You cannot avoid the fact that you have to learn to live with Ahriman. But you must find the right way to live with him; for you cannot allow yourself to be overpowered by him. . .

. . . Read this scene [final scene of my first mystery drama, The Portal of Initiation] again and you will understand the difference between being in Ahriman’s presence unconsciously and confronting him in full consciousness. Ahriman and Lucifer have their greatest power over human beings when we are unconscious of being in their presence; for then we can be manipulated by these beings without even being aware of it. Thus the power of the ahrimanic aspect of electricity over human beings in our culture can hold sway only so long as we are unconscious and unaware of the significance of electrification of the atom, and blindly assume that electricity is harmless. Thus we would remain unprotected from the fat that nature bound up with electricity produces a nature made up of tiny daemons connected to evil. It is frightening to witness the extent to which today’s scientific research is daemon-idolatry, a workshop or veneration of daemons. We must become  aware of this, for by awakening our inner consciousness we also become aware that we are living in the time of the consciousness soul. . .

. . . Why do we not recognize that we live in the age of the consciousness soul? On the one hand, we are weighted down by an inner paralysis and a preference for the explanations and ideas generated by the past; and on the other hand, we are unwilling to work with new ideas and to immerse ourselves in understandings that open the way to a healthy future.”

Ahriman’s speech about his new relationship with the now-fully-conscious souls of Johannes and Maria, Scene 11, p. 151:

“I must renounce their spirit.

They turn now to the light.

And yet it will not be denied me

still further to delight their souls

with shine of semblance.

They will not any longer

believe it to be truth,

but they will have the power to see

how semblance manifests the truth.”

GA 157 –  “. . . The critical issue: . . .

. . . To acknowledge that nature’s order today, with its electricity, is a moral order as well as an anti-moral order connected to evil. . . .

. . . Today we talk about the absorption of oxygen and many other examples of absorption in a material sense. But you never hear (158) that the electricity within the human being absorbs the immoral impulses within us, and that this phenomenon is a natural law like other natural laws. . . .

. . . We do not live into our words anymore; otherwise, by following the sound of words, they would convey to us something living.”

GA 160 – “We have to muster our courage, so that when we speak about electricity we can use moral and anti-moral concepts in our discussions. Human beings in the modern era shudder at thoughts like these. We find it unpleasant to realize that when we enter an electric train we have to sit in Ahriman’s seat. . . .in fact the most important task we have is to know that, from now on, the development of earth existence calls for the integration of natural forces into cultural life. That means that the active influences of Ahriman must be taken into account as a reality. We have to be fully conscious of this in order to put ourselves in the right relationship to it.”

From: Awake! For the Sake of the Future, trans. Jann. W. Gates (Great Barrington: SteinerBooks, 2015; CW 220)

Ahrimanic Electrical Forces Rob Us of Our Body and Humanity

“Bear in mind that in the Weimar that Goethe frequented – and in the other places he went – there were no telegraph wires anywhere about, no telegraph cables or the like. The atmosphere there was not riddled with telegraph wires with electric power lines. And now just think for a moment how finely made the instruments all around us are, into which electricity is being conducted. Human beings have devices like these in front of them and all around them. People over there in America are beginning to suspect that this has an influence on the physical human being too – the fact that he has these electric power lines and the like buzzing all around him. When Goethe traveled the world there were no electric currents induced in the body. Today you can travel far and wide, but you can never get so far away that these electric cables do not follow you. They are continuously inducing currents in you. Goethe was not exposed to such currents. All this robs human beings of their physical body; it brings the physical body into a condition in which the soul simply cannot enter into it. We must be quite clear about this: in the days when there were no electric currents, when there were no electric wires buzzing in the air, it was easier to be human. In those days these Ahrimanic forces were not there, constantly robbing us of our body even when we are awake. It was not necessary then for people to make such efforts in order to approach the spirit. That is why it is necessary today to muster far stronger spiritual forces merely to remain human than it was a hundred years ago.”

July 11, 1923, Die meschliche Seele in ihrem Zusammenhang mit göttlich-geistigen Individualitäten (GA 224; Dornach: Rudolf Steiner Verlag, 1992), p. 232, translated in Paul Emberson, “Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity Syndrome,” New View 74 (January-March 2015): 18; first published in Anthro-Tech News  16 (Autumn 2014).


Alternate partial translation with additional sentences by Malcolm Gardner (in Agriculture, fn. 5, p. 279): “In times when there were no electrical currents, when the air was not swarming with electrical influences, it was easier to be human. . . . For this reason, in order to be human at all today, it is necessary to expend much stronger spiritual capacities than was necessary a century ago.

“But it does not occur to me to be reactionary and say something like: Well then, we must banish all these modern achievements! That’s not the objective. Modern human beings need the access to the spirit that spiritual science provides, so that through this strong experience of the spirit they can also become stronger in relation to the forces that accompany modern culture, the forces that harden our physical body and take it away from us.”

Radiant Electricity Today and Its Effects on Thinking and Life

Emberson remarks that the amount of radiant electricity in 1923 compared to today was microscopically smaller and has “dampened down” human intelligence, damaging our brain and nervous system and robbing us of the capacity to think spiritual thoughts in the way Goethe did.

“Here, of course, the whole role of electricity in nature needs to be considered. It’s of some comfort to know that at least in America, where people are developing a better gift of observation than here in Europe, voices can be heard saying that human beings will no longer be able to grow and develop as they used to, now that the whole atmosphere has electric currents and radiations running through it. This has an effect on the entire development of the human being.  It even makes a difference whether the trains in a given area have steam engines or are electrified. The effects of steam can be recognized, but electricity has a terribly unconscious way of working – people simply cannot tell where certain things are coming from. Nowadays both radiant and conducted electricity are being used above ground to carry news as quickly as possible from one place to another. The effect of the radiant electricity on the people living in the midst of it will be that they will no longer be able to comprehend the news that is transmitted so quickly. Electricity gradually wipes our comprehension. This effect is already noticeable today; you can already see that people have a harder time comprehending things that come toward them than they did a few decades ago It is a hopeful sign that at least in America some insight into these things is evident. . . .

… People come along and make all kinds of wild prophesies about the healing power of electricity, even though earlier it wouldn’t have occurred to them at all. Things come into fashion this way. As long as it had not been discovered, it was impossible to think of healing by means of electricity. Now all of a sudden it’s a method of healing, not just because it is available, but because it has become fashionable. Radiant electricity is sometimes not much more of a remedy than if you were to take tiny, thin needles and poke the patient with them. Any healing that occurs is not due to the electricity but to the shock effect. . . .

. . . You mustn’t forget that electricity always works most strongly on the head-organization of humans and animals (and correspondingly on the root-organization of plants). If you preserve fodder by passing electricity through it, the animals that eat it will eventually become sclerotic. This is a slow process, you won’t notice it right away. You might notice at first that the animals tend to die sooner than they ought to, but you’ll blame it on all kinds of other things; you won’t trace it to the electricity. Electricity is really not something that can work on living things and do them any good. You see, electricity lies one level below the living, and the higher a given form of life is the more it tries to ward off the electricity. If you constantly make an organism defend itself unnecessarily, it gradually gets nervous and fidgety and sclerotic.” 

“Fourth Discussion,” June 16, 1924, Koberwitz, in Spiritual Foundations for the Renewal of Agriculture, trans. Catherine E. Creeger and Malcolm Gardner (Kimberton, PA: Bio-Dynamic Farming and Gardening Association, Inc., 1993; GA 327), pp. 173-175.

Electricity and Three Realms of Subnature

GA 82 – “He (Christ] will become visible to greater and greater numbers of people. This will inevitably come to pass in the natural course of evolution. That it will come to pass is as true as were the achievements involving electricity in the nineteenth century. A number of individuals will see the etheric Christ and will themselves experience the event that took place at Damascus.”

GA 84 – “Light destroys itself in this post-Atlantean age. Until the time of Atlantis the earth was part of an upward, progressive process. Since then it has been in a process of decay. What is light? Light decays and the decaying light is electricity. What we know as electricity is light that destroys itself within mater.  And the chemical force that undergoes a transformation in the process of earth evolution is magnetism. Yet a third force will become active; and if electricity seems to work wonders today, this third force will affect civilization in a still more miraculous way. The more of this force we employ, the faster will the earth become a corpse so that its spiritual part can work its way through into Jupiter embodiment. Forces have to be applied for the purpose of destruction, in order that Man may become free of the earth and that the earth’s body may fall away. As long as the earth was involved in progressive evolution, no such destruction took place, for the great achievements of electricity can only serve a decaying earth. . . .By understanding the process of evolution we shall learn to assess our culture in the right way. We shall also learn that it is necessary for the earth to be destroyed, for otherwise the spiritual could not become free. We shall also learn to value what is positive, namely the penetration of spiritual forces into our existence on earth.”

GA 91 – “What we call chemical action is projected into the physical world from the world of devachan – the realm of the harmony of the spheres. . . . The numerical ratios in chemistry are an expression of the numerical ratios of the harmony of the spheres, which has become dumb and silent owing to the densification of matter. If man were able to etherealize material substance and to perceive the inner formative principle in the atomic numbers, he would be hearing the harmony of the spheres. . .

. . . We have the physical world, the astral world, the lower devachan and the higher devachan. If the body is thrust down lower even than the physical world, one comes into the subphysical world, the lower astral world, the lower or evil lower devachan and the lower or evil higher devachan. The evil astral world is the province of Lucifer, the evil lower devachan the province of Ahriman, and the evil higher devachan the province of the Asuras. When chemical action is driven down beneath the physical plane – into the evil devachanic world – magnetism arises. When light is thrust down into the submaterial – that is to say a stage lower than the material world – electricity arises. If what lives in the harmony of the spheres is thrust down farther still, into the province of the Asuras, an even more terrible force – which it will not be possible to keep hidden very much longer – is generated. It can only be hoped that when this force comes to be known – a force we must conceive as being far, far stronger than the most violent electrical discharge – it can only be hoped that before some inventor gives this forces into the hands of humankind, human beings will no longer have anything immoral left in them.”

GA 92 – “Electricity is light in the sub-material state. Light is there compressed to the utmost degree. An inward quality too must be ascribed to light; light is itself at every point in space. Warmth can expand in the three dimensions of space. In light there is a fourth; it is of fourfold extensions – it has the quality of inwardness as a fourth dimension.”

Sub-Physical World:

“Life ether -> sub-physical higher devachan: terrible forces of destruction

Chemical ether -> sub-physical lower devachan: magnetism

Light ether -> sub-physical astral world: electricity.”

October 1, 1911, Basel,  “The Etherisation of the Blood” in Esoteric Christianity and the Mission of Christian Rosenkreutz, trans. rev. Matthew Barton (London: Rudolf Steiner press, 2000; GA 130)

Demon Magic In Technology and Sacramentalism

Steiner is speaking about “a demon magic that frequently imbues modern technology” using the example of the created (ahrimanic) vacuum that allowed James Watt to develop the steam engine, also that Watt was inspired by the Copernican conception of how the planets revolve around the sun as a kind of model movement could incorporate into his machine:

“Of course, no one should suppose that what I have just said indicates that steam engines should be done away with. In that case one would have also go do away with a good deal more because they are by no means the most demoniacal. Whenever electricity is used – and much else besides – there is far more of demon magic because this operates with entirely different forces having an entirely different significance for the cosmos. . . . demon magic signifies progress, and the earth will continue to make more and more progress. Developments in the world soon will make it possible to produce immense effects ranging outward into the universe. Doing away with these things or condemning them is not what we are after because they are obviously justified. But what must be borne in mind is that since they must appear on the one side in the course of human progress, counter forces must be created on the other to re-establish a balance. Counter forces must be created. They must bring about a balance that can be created only if humanity again comes to understand the Christ principle, if humanity finds the way to Christ. . . . Just as we work all the way to the physical stars and into the cosmos by means of the demons of the machines, so must we find the way spiritually into the worlds in which human beings live between death and a new birth where the beings of the higher hierarchies are to be found. . .

. . . Well, it is entirely superfluous to argue over whether or not Christ drove out demons. It is more important that we learn to reproduce His miracles and thereby cast the demons out now where we can. We still have little power to cast out demons in the higher sense as antiquity knew how to do through its atavism. That is the destiny, the karma, of our epoch. But we can begin to drive out these demons of whom I spoke yesterday; they are there and it is negative superstition to suppose that they are not. How do we drive them out? Humanity will be convinced that they are being driven out when what is unholy service today becomes holy; that is, permeated with the Christ consciousness. In other words, this means that we must change to a sacramentalism in which man’s deeds are imbued by the consciousness that the Christ stands behind him everywhere. Thus, he ought to do nothing in the world except that in which the Christ can help him. If he does something else, the Christ must also help him but He is thus crucified again and again in human deeds. The crucifixion is not merely a single deed; it is a continuing deed. So long as we do not drive out the demons through what lives in our souls by changing external mechanical actions into holy actions, we will continue to crucify Christ. . . . What was symbolically practiced in the ancient cults of Christianity and was once performed only on the altar but take hold of the entire world. Humanity . . . should learn not to construct machines in an indifferent way but to fulfill a divine service and bring sacramentalism into everything that is produced. . .

. . . Most of all, human beings can begin to develop sacramentalism in two areas. The first is that of educating and teaching children. We will begin to spiritualize what the religions call ‘baptism’ when we look upon every human being who enters the world through birth as bringing his/her Christ forces with him/herself. Thus we will have the right reverence before the growing human being and can then direct the entire education and especially the teaching of the child in this spirit so that we bring in this teaching a sacramentalism to fruition. . . . Finally, when we endeavor to bring what we call our knowledge into our consciousness in such a way that, as our souls are filled with ideas of the spiritual world, we are aware that the spiritual world is entering into us and that we are being united with the spiritual; when we look upon that as a ‘communion’; when we can realize true knowledge in a sentence you find expressed before 1887: ‘Thinking is the true communion of humanity,’ when the symbolic sacrament of the altar will become the universal sacramental experience of knowledge. It is in this direction that the Christianizing of man must move forward.”

November 26 and 27, 1916, Dornach, in The Karma of Vocation, trans. Olin D. Wannamaker, rev. Gilbert Church (Spring Valley: Anthroposophic Press, 1984), pp. 187-188, 205-207.

Purely Ahrimanic Subnature and Human Resistance

“By far the greater part of that which works in modern civilization through technical science and industry – wherein the life of man is so intensely interwoven – is not nature at all, but sub-nature. It is a world which emancipates itself from nature – emancipates itself in a downward direction…

. . . But in the age of technical science hitherto, the possibility of finding a true relationship to the ahrimanic civilization has escaped man. He must find the strength, the inner force of knowledge, in order not to be overcome by Ahriman in this technical civilization. He must understand sub-nature for what it really is. This he can only do if he rises, in spiritual knowledge, at least a far into extra-earthly super-nature as he has descended, in technical science, into sub-nature. The age requires a knowledge transcending nature, because in its inner life it must come to grips with a life-content which has sunk far beneath nature – a life-content whose influence is perilous. . . .

. . . There are very few as yet who even feel the greatness of the spiritual tasks approaching man in this direction. Electricity, for instance, celebrated since its discovery as the very soul of nature’s existence, must be recognized in its true character – in its peculiar power of leading down from nature to sub-nature. Only man himself must beware lest he slide downward with it. . .

. . . In the age when there was not yet a technical industry independent of true nature, man found the spirit within his view of nature. But the technical processes, emancipating themselves from nature, caused him to stare more and more fixedly at the mechanical-material, which now became for him the really scientific realm. In this mechanical-material domain, all the divine-spiritual being connected with the origin of human evolution, is completely absent. The purely ahrimanic dominates this sphere. . . .

. . . In the science of the spirit, we now create another sphere in which there is no ahrimanic element. It is just by receiving in knowledge this spirituality to which the ahrimanic powers have no access, that man is strengthened to confront Ahriman within the world. . . .

. . . Technical science and industry become sub-nature. This makes it urgent for man to find in conscious experience a knowledge of the spirit, wherein he will rise as high above nature as in his sub-natural technical activities he sinks beneath her. He will thus create within him the inner strength not to go under.”

March 1925, in Anthroposophical Leading Thoughts, trans. George and Mary Adams (London: Rudolf Steiner Press, 1973; GA 313), pp. 217-219.

Electricity and Life after Death

GA 37 – “What does it mean, for instance, to go on a tram compared to the fact that it is not all that long ago that there were no electric trams? It means that we are surrounded by things put together in a purely mechanical way. This generates an imagination, but one that may remain unconscious; it is there, however, influencing the soul and apt to deprive us of our belief in life after death. This life is torn out by its roots. This belief could still cope with the horse-drawn coaches of old, but cannot do so when it comes to modern forms of transport. These call for greater, stronger powers. . . .

. . . expert opinions cannot stop progress; it advances in the face of opposition. The railways have indeed made people more nervy, and humanity has changed because of them. The whole fabric of the inner life has changed, and without the railways people would still have greater inwardness. . . .

. . . Earth evolution proceeds in such a way that this had to happen the way it did. In anthroposophy there is no wish to turn the clock back, but it will be clear that faith could hold its own with the old coaches but not with the railways.”

GA 38 ­– “Anthroposophy is active in the subconscious and belief in the spiritual world will be an important factor in the further evolution of humanity. Faith is no longer sincere among very many people today. Because of this the reasons coming from anthroposophy must be brought into play. If we take note of this we will find that in earlier times people had that spiritual connection with the dead and were able to give them sufficient strength. Today it needs spiritual insight and there we see that the spiritual thought of the soul living on must be fired by insight. . . . We need not be devastated at having been left behind, for we can be the helpers of the dead. . . .

. . . On the other hand the dead can also be our helpers. Some people know very well what they owe to the dead. . . . Young children often die who are advanced souls in the spiritual world and able to tell us a great deal.”

GA 67, GA 68 – “If people had an organ for the direct perception of electricity and magnetism they would have not only this organ, which would be an organ of perception, but also the power to kill any other person or make them sick. Such an organ would directly confer that power. . . .

– – – For the spiritual scientist’s insight shows that it is a very good thing for human beings not to have the electrical and magnetic organs, for in this way they will not be able to damage others with them. Their lower instincts and desires thus also cannot run free initially, causing disaster to them and to others. Human beings have a world around them which teaches them slowly and gradually to conquer these lower powers and only then progress to higher powers.”

How the Spiritual World Projects into Physical Existence: The Influence of the Dead, trans. Anna R. Meuss (Forest Row: Rudolf Steiner Press, 2014; GA 150)

Effects of Electric Light on Bees

GA 81 – “You can also see that sunlight, which has the ability to bring about chemical changes – and you said that the bee notices this – has a very different effect than electric light does. Electric light has much more of a hardening effect on all substances, it doesn’t dissolve or break apart substances as sunlight does. Because of this, a bee experiences a very slight rigidity, or paralysis, when exposed to electric light, a reaction it does not have in sunlight.”

Bees, trans. Thomas Braatz (Hudson: Anthroposophic Press, 1998; GA 351).

The Double, Ahrimanic Body Electricity, and the Christ Impulse

GA 56 – “Shortly before we are born . . . there is also an opportunity for another spiritual being, apart from our soul, to take possession of our body, namely, of the subconscious part of our body. This is a fact. Shortly before we are born another being indwells us; in the terminology we use today we would call this an ahrimanic being. . . .

. . . These beings lead their lives by making use of human being to enable them to inhabit the sphere in which they wish to dwell. They have an exceptionally high degree of intelligence (57) and a very significantly developed will, but no qualities of soul, nothing like what we would call the human qualities of soul and heart and mine.  So we proceed through our life while having our soul and also a double who is far cleverer, far cleverer than we are, very intelligent, but with . . . an ahrimanic intelligence, and in addition also an ahrimanic will, a very strong will, a will that is much more akin to the forces of nature than it is to our human will which is ruled by our heart and mind. . . .

. . . In the nineteenth century science discovered that our nervous system is interspersed with forces of electricity.  Science was quite right. But the scientists are wrong if they believe that the nervous force which belongs to us and which provides the foundation for our inner world of pictures and thinking has anything to do with the electric currents that course along our nerves. Those electric currents are the forces that are introduced into our being by the being I have just been describing. They do not belong to our being at all. There are electrical currents in us, but they are of a purely ahrimanic nature. . . .

. . . These beings of high intelligence . . . have decided out of their own will that they do not want to live in the world to which they were assigned by the wise gods of the upper hierarchies. They want to conquer the earth, so they need bodies. Having no bodies of their own they use as much of human bodies as they can since the human soul cannot quite fill out the human body.”

GA 58  “But there is one aspect of human life which they cannot stand, and that is death. So they always have to depart from the human body they have invaded before it is afflicted by death. This is again and again a bitter disappointment for them . . .

. . . If the Mystery of Golgotha had not taken place, if Christ had not passed through the Mystery of Golgotha, these beings would long since have gained the ability on earth to remain in the human body after a karmically predetermined death. They would then have gained control over human evolution on earth and eould have become the masters of this human evolution on earth.”

GA 188 – “I mentioned last time that a certain quarter seeks to remove the impulse of the Mystery of Golgotha from the world by bringing in another impulse from the West, a kind of Antichrist, and that coming from the East the Christ impulse as it appears in the twentieth century is to be paralyzed by distracting people’s attention from the coming of Christ in the etheric realm. . . .

. . . From the quarter which will put forward the Antichrist as the Christ will come endeavors to make us of something that can work through the most material of forces, that can work spiritually through the most material of forces. More than anything else, that quarter will strive to make use of electricity, especially the earth’s magnetism, to bring about effects all over the world. I have shown you how the forces of the earth rise up in what I have termed the human double. People will discover this secret. It will be an American secret to use the earth’s magnetism in its duality, the northern and southern magnetism, in order to send controlling forces across the whole earth, forces that work spiritually. Look at the magnetic map of the earth and compare the magnetic map with what I am about to say, namely, the magnetic line where the needle deflects to the eat and to the west,  (189) and where it does not deflect at all. I cannot now give more than hints about these things. . . .

. . . Spiritual beings are incessantly working in from a specific point of the compass. . . . since those beings working in from the cosmos are able to mediate the secret of the earth’s magnetism, one will be able to fathom that secret. Thereafter, with regard to those three things ­ gold, health and life-extension – one will be able to work very effectively in the direction of group egoism.”  (more on using the morning and evening forces and streams from certain constellation of the zodiac)

GA 190 – “The spiritual secrets that on earth can cause the spirit to stream through from the cosmos – with the help of the dual forces of positive and negative magnetism – those spiritual secrets derive from the direction of Gemini.” (more on brotherhoods that want to bypass the Mystery of Golgotha)

Secret Brotherhoods and the Mystery of the Human Double, trans. Johanna Collis  (Forest Row: Rudolf Steinr Press, 2004; GA 178)

Electro-Magnetic Therapy

GA 42 – “Phenomena involving electricity and magnetism encompass a process on earth or a sum of processes on earth which are inwardly connected wit what we must call both earthly and non-earthly. The field of electricity and magnetism is one which really ought to be studied more deeply in relation to human health and illness. . . . phenomena of electricity and magnetism have a close connection to what is intrinsically earthly in nature.”

GA 43 – “We can say that electricity and magnetism are basically constituted by something that is both outside the earth and within it. But the earth appropriates electricity and contains electrical effects that really originate outside of the earth. In fact, the electrical and also magnetic effects can be held back in the earth’s atmospheric periphery without being appropriated by the earth. . . .

. . . If we magnetize iron, in relation to the earth this means we turn the magnet into a little thief. We endow it with the capacity to rob the earth and retain what the latter wishes to absorb form the cosmos, before it can do so. We make the magnet into a little robber. It appropriates what the earth wants and has the inward strength to retain it for itself. All electrical and magnetic fields we have created on the earth are really stolen from the earth for our own use; and thus we inveigle nature into stealing, teach it to keep beyond the earth’s reach what comes form outside the earth. And here we have something eminently extraterrestial, which we cunningly retain above the earth although the earth seeks with all its strength to draw it inside itself, in order to let it stream out from itself again. But we do not allow it to do so, holding it back instead from this activity. And this is why we must regard electrical and magnetic fields as excellent opponents of arrhythmic processes in us. Thus really a form of therapy should be developed which specifically addresses severe arrythmia or any other severe or mild disorders of the rhythmic system – in mild cases it works even better – by holding a strong magnet close to the human organism, not actual touching the body, at that distance that would need to be determined experimentally.”

GA 44 – “One might investigate what happens by applying a strong magnet to the back of someone, say with incipient turberculosis – thus allowing such a person to be irradiated b a magnetic field, and enhancing this action by moving the magnet held crosswise, form above downwards and from below upwards. In this way the whole chest organism would gradually be suffused by the magnetic field. In applying this magnetic field one does not need a light field too, at the same time, for this would only disrupt the effect. . . . So you see one could perfectly well place a patient in a darkroom and could soon perceive distinct emanations proceedings from this fingers.”  (GA 45 goes on to describe magnet therapy to combat certain disorders like tuberculosis)

GA 45 –  “We must turn to our surroundings and use something that belongs to the world external to us: light, climatic influences, taking a patient to a higher altitude and every aspect of the magnetic field. This is true too of the electrical field, but here we must give special consideration to the mode of treatment involved. Placing an electrical pole directly on the human organism and allowing electricity to pass through it is quite different matter from first creating an electrical field and placing a person into this field without a circuit passing directly through him from one pole to the other.  It will be necessary to experiment with such things, which are extraordinarily important. Under certain circumstances one can also obtain beneficial effects by allowing the circuit to pass between two pole through a person. But the action in this case will only be one that work over from the metabolic into the rhythmic system. When I conduct electricity through a person, passing it from one pole to the other as it were including the person in the electrical circuit, only the metabolic system in affected. If, on the other hand, I place him into an electrical field, I will notice everywhere on him the same kinds of emanation as were bound in the darkroom experiments – pointed rays on toes and fingers and so forth – and I will find that I can treat patients by this means.”

GA 81 – “Today external forces are used for the purposes of healing in a way which betrays a certain want of judgment – forces such as electro-therapy, the cold-water treatment, and so on. Much light could be thrown by spiritual science on the suitability of one method or another, if it were first decided whether a luciferic or ahrimanic illness is being treated. For example, electro-therapy ought not to be used in illnesses which originate from luciferic causes, but only in ahrimanic forms of illnesses. For electricity, which has no connection whatever with the activities of Lucifer, is useless in treating luciferic forms of disease; it belongs to the sphere of  the ahrimanic beings, although, of course, other beings beside the ahrimanic make use of the forces of electricity. On the other hand, heat and cold belong to the sphere of Lucifer.”

Illness and Therapy: Spiritual Scientific Aspects of Healing,” trans. Matthew Barton (Forest Row: Rudolf Seiner Press, 2013)

7th Interior Layer of Mirror/Reflector Earth (of 9 layers)

GA 11 – “The seventh layer is called the Mirror Earth or Reflector Earth . . .It contains all the forces of nature, but transformed into spirit. Let me try to explain it like this. Think of magnetism, electricity, heat, light or any force of nature, but transformed into something spiritual. For example, a magnet attracts iron, which is an inorganic effect. Now think of it in spiritual terms, as if the magnet were attracting the iron out of inner sympathy. Think of electrical wires transformed into something spiritual and moral, as if the forces of nature were not mechanical, indifferent forces but worked morally. Think of the forces of heat, repulsion and attraction with soul and moral qualities, as if the wanted to do something nice for people and on that account had an inner feeling about it. First, imagine the whole of nature in moral terms. And then think of the whole of nature as something immoral. Think of everything you can imagine by way of morality in human nature, but turned into its opposite. The activities most powerful there are the opposite of what people call ‘good.’ Such are the qualities of this layer. Originally the earth had a great deal more of them, but they are gradually improving as morality progressively develops. The moral development of our earth means that the forces in the Mirror Earth will completely change from being immoral to being moral. The moral process in human society as significance not only for (12) society itself but for the whole planet. It comes to expression in the way the forces of this layer change into moral forces of nature. When our human race has progressed so far that it has produced the highest morality, then everything anti-moral in the Mirror Earth will be overcome and transformed into something moral. That is the purpose of the seventh layer.” [parallel to 7th stage of Christian initiation, “the Resurrection.” p. 6]

April 16, 1906, from Original Impulses for the Science of the Spirit (Lower Beachmont, Australia: Completion Press, 2001; GA 96, lecture 2, trans. A.R. Meuss);


GA 21 – “The seventh layer is called the Earth Mirror precisely because everything that happens on the outermost layer is reflected here, although you must think of it happening in a different way. Everything passive here is active there, and vice versa. If you strike something metal here to make it ring, the metal rings of its own accord down there.”

April 21, 1906, “The Interior of the Earth” from The Christian Mystery (Dornach: Rudolf Steiner Verlag, 1998; GA 97, lecture 27);


GA 26 – “The following layers are only accessible to a conscious observation which is not only that of dreamless sleep but a conscious cognition in deep sleep.” (preceding sentence from An Esoteric Cosmology, p. 113);

“This layer is the Mirror Earth. It is like a prism which decomposes everything reflected in it and brings to expression its polaric counterpart. An emerald would appear as red if viewed through the Mirror Earth.”

June 12, 1906, revised from An Esoteric Cosmology trans. Rene Querido from the French of Edouard Schuré (New York: Spiritual Science Library, 1987; GA 94, lecture 16, p. 113);


GA 31 – “The Earth Mirror or Reflector Earth. This layer gets its name from the fact that, if one concentrates on it, it changes all the characteristics of the earth into their opposites. If the seer disregards everything lying above it and gazes directly down into this layer, and if he then, for example, places something green before him, the green appears as red. Every colour appears as its complementary opposite. A polaric reflection arises, a reversal of the original. Sorrow is changed into joy by this substance.”

September 4, 1906, from At the Gates of Spiritual Science trans. E.H.G. & C.D. (London: Rudolf Steiner Press, 1986; GA 96, lecture 14);


GA 48 – “Ahriman, working with his followers in the spiritual world, is a spirit of lies, a spirit who conjures illusions before men.”

“Protection against Ahriman’s influence in the world will steadily diminish except for the forces streaming from the Christ-Mystery. In a (49) certain sense, and many signs proclaim it, our epoch courts Ahrimanic influences.”

GA 51 – “Since the second half of the Atlantean epoch Ahriman’s karma has been linked with human karma.”

GA 52 – “. . . the sixth Stratum, to the Fire Earth, which contains forces which can bring about terrible havoc and destruction. Actually, the primordial fire has been banished into these forces….

. . . Ahriman’s kingdom operates in a material sense in and from this stratum. What manifests in the phenomena of outer nature, in air and water, in cloud formations, in lightning and thunder – all this is, so to speak, a last vestige on the earth’s surface of forces connected with ancient Saturn and which separated from the earth with the sun. Through the action of these forces, the inner fire-forces of the earth are placed in the service of Ahriman. He has his centre of activity here. . . . Ahriman – in a certain way shackled in chains – has certain foci for his activity in the interior of the earth. If we understand the mysterious connections of what has come to pass on the earth under Ahriman’s influence and what Ahriman’s own karma has become in consequence of this, we would recognize in earthquakes and earth tremors the connection between such grievous and tragic natural events and the power that holds sway on earth. These are manifestations of something which has remained behind on the earth since ancient times as a reaction against the good Beings of Light. . . . In a certain sense we can recognize the echoes of these fire-forces, which in earlier times were withdrawn from human control, in what is wrought by fire in such terrible manifestations of nature. Although Ahriman’s karma has been linked with human karma since the time of Atlantis, the suggestion should not arise than any guilt is to be attributed to those who are victims of what Ahriman’s karma has evoked. Such occurrences are connected with the collective karma of humanity which individuals must also share. The causes which produce their effects in particular locations, as the working out of Ahriman’s karma, often lie somewhere else entirely – while just these particular places afford the requisite opportunity….

. . . The power to work upon fire, which the human race once possessed in Lemurian times, was taken away from it. Ancient Lemuria was brought to its destruction by the fiery passions of human beings. The same fire that is below us now was above us then; it has receded from the earth’s surface.”

GA 57 – “The greatest hindrance to occult investigation in this realm consists in the methods and trends of modern materialistic science. The countless illusions and fallacies accumulating in materialistic science today, all the research that is not only futile, but prompted by the vanities of human beings – these are things whose effects in the higher worlds make investigation into these phenomena and unimpeded vision in the higher worlds impossible, or to say the least, extremely difficult. Free vision is clouded as a result of the materialistic research pursued here on earth. . . .just wait until the time comes when spiritual science has become more widespread and when, through its influence, the materialistic superstitions prevailing in our world will be swept away! Once the nonsensical analogies and hypotheses leading to all kinds of conjectures about the interior of the earth are cast aside, when spiritual science itself has been integrated into the karma of humanity, when it finds its way to human souls and is able to overcome the opposing powers and materialistic superstitions, when further research can be made into all that is connected with the bitterest foe of mankind, that being who chains man’s vision to the sense world – then you will see that it will be possible, even externally, to influence human karma so that the dire consequences of such events may be alleviated. . . . Many scientific (58) pursuits are not permeated with the Faustian striving for truth, but are prompted entirely by vanity and ambition. . . . Not until this fog has been cleared away will the time come when, with respect to certain mysterious phenomena of nature emanating form the enemies of mankind and intervening deeply into human life, it will be possible for help to be given to mankind, and then in no small measure. Until that time comes no such possibility exists.”

January 1,1909, “Mephistopheles and Earthquakes” from The Deed of Christ and the Opposing Spiritual Powers trans. D.S. Osmond (London: Rudolf Steiner Publishing, 1954; GA 107);
All above from Rudolf Steiner, comp; Paul V. O’Leary, The Interior of the Earth: An Esoteric Study of the Subterranean Spheres (London: Rudolf Steiner Press, 2006).


“Then will come the last epoch [of earth evolution], during which human souls will receive the reflection of what we call hope; when strengthened through the force flowing from the Mystery of Golgotha and from the age of morality, human beings will take forces of hope into themselves. . . .

. . . When in the final post-Atlantean epoch our external culture, with its tendency to logic and calculation, comes to a climax, bringing no feeling of satisfaction but leaving those who may not have developed the spiritual within them to face their culture in utter desolation – then out of spirituality the seed of hope will be sown, and in the next period of human evolution this will grow to maturity. .  . this external culture might for a short while be able to hold its own. Ultimately, however, people would ask themselves what they had gained and say: “We have high-tech equipment – undreamt of by our ancestors – to transmit our thoughts all over the earth, yet what good does it do us? The most trivial, unproductive thoughts are sent hither and thither, and human ingenuity has to be strained to the utmost to enable us to transport from some far distant region, by means of all kinds of perfected appliances, something for us to eat; or to travel at high speeds round the globe. But in our heads there is nothing worth sending from place to place, for our thoughts are cheerless; moreover, since we have had our present means of communication, they have become even more cheerless than when they were conveyed in the old snail-like fashion.’”

Rudolf Steiner Esoteric Christianity and the Mission of Christian Rosenkreutz (London: Rudolf Steiner Press, 2000; GA 130), p. 185-186, December 3, 1911, Nuremberg


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