Rudolf Steiner on the Nature of Demons

Demonic possession, exorcisms, Luciferic egotism, Satan worship, and obsession with evil seems to arise in the news everyday and yet there is little understanding of what the nature of those beings and forces are, or what their intent and mission is in relationship to the evolution of the human spirit. Dr. Rudolf Steiner tells us more about these issues than any other person in modern times. It behooves us to listen closely to his indications on these topics so that we might understand the biography of demons, devils, and fallen angels.

The selections below are a sprinkling of Dr. Steiner’s statements taken from his many books and lecture cycles on the topic of demons. These illuminating insights help the modern person find the appropriate place that the spirit of the human being holds in relationship to these beings and settles the fears and concerns that have been bred by movies, books, and social media posts about the power and control they have over human beings. In all cases, no demon, devil, or evil spirit has the ability to “take over” the soul and spirit of a person who abides in the love and protection of Jesus Christ. For the name of Jesus Christ has power over every being on the Earth and Christ’s promise is our strength, “I will be with you always, even until the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20).  

Rest assured that no person may be possessed by evil unless that person has invited evil into their soul. We need not fear evil, Satan, Lucifer, or Ahriman if Christ sits on the throne of our hearts. Be of good courage through your love and faith in Christ’s redeeming powers. Simply demand that Satan “get thee behind me.”

Rudolf Steiner, Truths and Errors of Spiritual Research, Lecture VI, GA 69

The demons of fear, the ahrimanic spirits, rage in the soul of the materialistically minded human being.

Rudolf Steiner, Theosophy of the Rosicrucian, Lecture VI, The Law of Destiny, GA 99

There are, however, terrible and corrupt demonic beings. All demons that are born of lying work in such a way as to throw man back in his development; and because owing to the lies of eminent figures in world-history demons who grow into very powerful beings are all the time being created, we hear of the “Spirits of Hindrance”, “Spirits of obstruction.”

Imagine a people which was composed entirely of liars, the astral plane would be populated solely by the corresponding demons and these demons would be able to express themselves in constitutional tendency to epidemics. Thus, there is a certain species of bacilli who are the carriers of infectious diseases; these beings are the progeny of the lies told by human beings; they are nothing else than physically embodied demons generated by lies.

Rudolf Steiner, Reading the Pictures of the Apocalypse, Lecture X, GA 104a

Christ is the good spirit, the intelligence of the sun; the adversary is the demon of the sun. Certain forces that are constantly working on the human astral body come forth from the demon of the sun. This demon of the sun is the opponent of the Christ spirit and is called Sorat.

Rudolf Steiner, The Event of the Appearance of Christ in the Etheric World, Lecture IX, The Etherization of the Blood, GA 130

In the future, to be immoral will be possible only for people who receive immoral help, who are goaded in this direction, who are possessed by evil demons, by Ahrimanic, Asuric powers, and who strive for this possession. This is the future condition of the earth: there will be a sufficient number of people who increasingly teach morality and at the same time offer a moral foundation, but there will also be those who by their own free decision surrender themselves to the evil powers and thus enable an excess of evil to be pitted against a good humanity.

Rudolf Steiner, The Fifth Gospel, Lecture IV, GA 148

It was always with feelings of bitter sorrow that he witnessed the power wielded by the demons — by the demons issuing as it were from Lucifer and Ahriman — that he witnessed how the heathen peoples had in many respects actually come to the point of taking the demons for gods, even of having in their idols the images of wild, demonic powers which, attracted by these images and rites, entered into the people while they prayed, and obsessed them.

Rudolf Steiner, The Destiny of Individuals and of Nations, Lecture V, The Nature of the Christ Impulse and the Michaelic Sprit Serving It, Berlin, January 19, 1915, GA 157

Of course, we can understand this for it is in line with the materialistic thought of the present time, but we must know that with those machines we are introducing nothing but demons for mankind and we must know how to develop the right powers to resist these demons. We only gain the right attitude to the spiritual world by recognizing these demonic Ahrimanic forces, by knowing full well that they are present.

…It has to be like this, that we allow demons to stream into everything and allow ourselves to be surrounded by them. It is part of the evolution of mankind.

…We need to understand that conditions are such in our age that we are filling our environment more and more with beings of a demonic nature, that we are more and more involved with the principle that is mechanizing our civilization.

The Fall of the Spirits of Darkness, Lecture 5, Changes in Humanity’s Spiritual Make-up, Dornach, October 7, 1917, GA 177

With the human soul withdrawing more and more from the body, the body is increasingly in danger of being filled with something else. And if human beings are not prepared to take up impulses which can only come from spiritual knowledge, the body will be filled with demonic powers. Humanity is facing a destiny where the body may be filled with ahrimanic demonic powers. So, we have to add to what I said yesterday about future development: there will be people in future who are Tom, Dick and Harry in ordinary life, which is something determined by social circumstances, but their bodies will be empty to such an extent that a powerful ahrimanic spirit can live in them. One will be meeting ahrimanic demons. Human beings will not be what they appear to be. The individual person will be deep down inside, and outwardly one will get a totally different picture.

Rudolf Steiner, Three Streams of Human Evolution, Lecture III, GA 184

If an accused Christian is confronted by someone who is possessed by a demon, and out of whom the demon speaks, and if the Christian is allowed to question it in the right way, the demon will admit that it is a demon.

Rudolf Steiner, The Fundamental Social Demand of Our Times, Lecture IV, The New Revelation of the Spirit, GA 186

And these very Spirits of Darkness are the opponents of the Spirits of Personality who bring with them the new revelations of the heavens breaking in upon us with a new clairvoyance, while on the other hand, arising out of the sub-earthly realms, we have the embodiment provided for the adversaries. For these very adversaries are demonic Spirits, Spirits of Darkness, who can now actualize themselves — albeit not through human beings of flesh and blood; they live and move among us none the less, inasmuch as human forces are being replaced by mechanisms, by machines.

Rudolf Steiner, The New Spirituality, Lecture V, GA 200

Just as the human being in ancient times beheld nature and the manifestations of nature and saw in them demonic beings; so, too, must the human being of present times learn to see demonic beings in what he himself produces in the economic life. For the time being these demons, which human beings have not diverted into machines, are still in human beings themselves and manifest as the destructive beings in social revolutions. These destructive social revolutions are nothing other than the result of not recognizing the demonic element in our economic life.

Rudolf Steiner, The Responsibility of Man for World Evolution, Lecture V, GA 203

They make it their own, these Ahrimanic spirits, and they appropriate everything which lives in man of a will-nature, by way of desires not unfolded to love, and carry it over to individual demonic beings. Just as something of a more universal nature arises through that which is hovering over mankind as the intellectual faculty, so do quite individually formed demonic beings arise out of the human appetitive faculties not transformed into love.

Rudolf Steiner, Cosmic Christianity and the Impulse of Michael,  Lecture VI, GA 240

The individuals who had once lived on the earth as Alexander and Aristotle set themselves to fight these demonic idols. And the conflict continued until the time when the French Revolution broke out on the earth. The idols, the demonic idols which it had not been possible to overcome, which had as it were escaped from the fight, descended to earth and became the inspiring forces of the materialism of the 19th century with its many consequences.

Rudolf Steiner, Human Values in Education, Lecture IX, Styles in Education, Historical Examples, GA 310

What penetrates right through the man of today is neither centered in his speech, nor in his studied bearing and gestures, but is something centered in his thoughts. And so, it has come about that science now has a positively demonic significance for the world. The cause of this demonic world-wide significance lies in the fact that people believed that things thought out intellectually could further the development of culture