Part of the problem with standing in the Western ruins involves clearing away the fog of spiritual war, which is deliberate and has the effect of turning the conflict into a free-for-all, in which chaos and confusion deepen demoralization. Rudolf Steiner’s work is important in any history of esoterism, however, his reliance on evolutionary terminology and concepts, and the deterioration of Theosophy/Anthroposophy following the acceptance by those movements of modernist or New Age categories of thought, make this a perilous project. Nevertheless, Steiner potentially gives Western minds the ability to cognitively “discern the spirits” and rightly “divide Thoughts”. Specifically, the work of Gemmdy Bondarev is helpful in accomplishing this.
Bondarev’s magnificent chapter on the Mystery of Good and Eviloffers a platform from which we can see what is happening upon the world stage, in a manner compatible to Christianized minds, given that the Anglo-Saxon & the Romanity blocks of mankind were given the task of developing man’s consciousness in a certain direction, thus giving them the Imperium but also exposing them to unique dangers. Corruptio optima pessimi, so they say.
In a nutshell, the teaching is this:
In this era, for which the Christ was necessary to guide and develop man’s increasing Luciferic impulses in the imagination and the growing Ahrimanic dominance of Number/Measure, the specific danger is that a New Trinity will be formed, not from Christ upholding Lucifer with his left hand (from falling into fantasy) and suppressing Ahriman with his right (from reducing everything to King Whirl and the God Number), but from the Asuric powers which will harmonize Lucifer and Ahriman in their own Anti-Christ, to replace Christ. The issue is as much about Higher vs. Lower, as it is, “Good” versus “Evil”.
The Asuras are demons (archai) of the lowest order of angels, spirits of sub-personal impulse, which will attempt at this moment in history the subversion of the Luciferic gift of the ability to choose between Good & Evil, and will use Ahriman to initiate or incarnate a one-world order or earthly paradise, in which man is made comfortable and easy in all of his animal impulses; thus the spiritual degradation will occur unnoticed, apace.
To those steeped in Tradition, this sounds not only plausible, but familiar.
Christ knew the danger of this moment, and His descent into hell was designed to redeem the possibilities of Lucifer and Ahriman (higher angelic powers) in order to maintain a balance, only accomplished under the higher “I”. The Asuras, by contrast, need man’s spiritual energies to be directed to lower, or sub-personal ends, in which man will become an animal, and eventually, lower than an animal. They are incapable at this time of being redeemed (they are Legion, and Christ sends them into the pigs), and will collapse during Cosmic Ascension into the “eighth sphere”, or the outer darkness, where there will be Aeons of gnashing of teeth and weeping, as no one knows (at this time) how they will be redeemed, or if anything of humanity they have carved out for themselves will survive this outer darkness to be Recapitulated when the Eighth Sphere is regained.
This is “feeding the Moon” on a vast scale, or something even worse. The Fathers dealt with these creatures in the deserts of the Thebaid, because these misguided angels need man’s energies either to survive at all or simply out of envy (no one really knows for sure – their intentions are not “enlightened”, even to the extent that Lucifer’s were). This lower order of fallen angels is purely demonic and sub-lunary. That is, they cannot expect to be mastered by man (as other fallen daemons may be capable of), but actually have to be “killed” or left behind. They are not nature spirits, angelic archons, or even “daemons”, but sub-personal demons who are seriously retarded, and have “evolved” by degeneration. It is their power that is evident and prime during the Kali Yuga.
The prelude to Anti-Christ is the milieu of a coming earthly utopia in which life is made easy for Shudras and Out-Castes. These peoples identify with the Asuras. They reflect cosmology, by being parasitic, and needing the higher elements to be made lower, so that Life is made easy for them. However, unlike Lucifer or other fallen angels, who were the “gods” of the old myths, they are not “higher” than man in any sense, and it is doubtful whether they can be “taken with us”, so to speak, even on our terms. The Christian Tradition’s solution was to excise them totally, to separate from them. Modern esotericism entertains more hope. This is an interesting question: all agree that they are sub-personal. They may specifically be sub-personal, in particular, to the Western project of generating a sanctified Ego under the direction of Logos, an Ego capable of being “raised up”. This was the basis of the Super-Ego which dominated Western high culture until recently.
Evil acts when Good is exalted (although it appears the other way around to us in the Kali Yuga). Thus, the danger of man as he attempts to redeem his consciousness and integrate his lower and higher I (Alchemy) is that he is exposed to the action of the Asuric forces, in a false Trinity: this is the Reign of Quantity, or the Age of the Anti-Christ, or “Modern Times”. It is a necessary step with laws of its own, one of them being that Man has to be capable of discerning cognitively what is happening in order to clearly resist.
Here is Bondarev on discerning the times, & it would apply interiorly, as well:
The earthly human ‘I’ arises through the combining of these ingredients: thinking, feeling and willing. They all owe their genesis to the earthly existence of man: the higher nerve activity, the sensations and perceptions and a certain unconscious, instinctive force – the will. All three ingredients have a positive and a negative pole: affirmation is opposed by negation, a positive feeling by a negative one, constructive will is opposed by destructive will or absence of will. All this has long been known to the traditional sciences. Spiritual science completes the picture by adding the knowledge of the personified nature of all psychic and spiritual manifestations of man – his qualities. When physiology speaks of the decay of nerve substance during the thought process, Anthroposophy provides in addition the teaching of ahrimanic beings, of their goals and world-mission. When psychoanalysis describes the ‘sludge’ in the soul and the various confusions arising in the human ‘libido’, Anthroposophy places over against this the teachings of the ‘Doppelgänger’-being dwelling in the sub-nature of man, and of reincarnation and karma. The conditions prevailing in the cosmos require of man that he should attain knowledge of the world-battle waged by the Gods against the luciferic and ahrimanic hordes. In this battle the highest God, who passed through death on earth and pointed the way to the final overcoming of the world-dualism of spirit and matter, is on the side of man. But man can follow Christ only in the ‘I’, for He is the God of the human ‘I’. This means that, in his ‘I’, which he lives out in the combined faculties thinking, feeling and willing, the human being should strive for the ideal of the higher life, which brings not impoverishment and loss but enhancement of self-consciousness and the wealth of individual being.
The spiritual elite will have to sharply “discern spirits” in order to brighten the Light sufficiently to discern the second coming of Christ, both to battle Anti-Christ, but also to accept and know Christ – too many Christians will think that the Anti-Christ is Christ himself, or be demoralized. Likewise, many of the esoteric high initiates in the West are like the misguided spirits, and cannot discern the possibility that they have not “arrived”. They are living in a “false heaven”, and are vulnerable to subversion. In fact, in the West, they have succumbed en masse.
This plays out in history, following the triumph of Christianity, as a second temptation:
The new epoch brings yet another problem. If we disregard mass culture, which is already in a terminal state of decline, and we turn to those who, in the face of all hindrances, have found through their connection with esoteric Christianity the strength and ability to balance the working of Lucifer and Ahriman through the impulse of the Christ – the God of the human ‘I’ who reveals Himself through the Holy Spirit when the human being overcomes everything that is national, tribal, racial – we find these people confronted now by the retarded spirits of time, the Asuras. They lie in wait for those who are striving towards the consciousness-soul and cause them to lower this into the sphere of the instincts. For this reason the Anglo-Saxon and German-speaking peoples, whose task it is to bring to birth the ‘I’ in the threefold soul, and who therefore have to master the consciousness-soul, and also those who turn to Anthroposophy, incur the greatest risk in the new epoch. Dangers have always lurked on the path of development, and this will always be the case. But if we expose ourselves to dangers, we should do so with understanding. It is a purely Asuric idea to want to build an earthly paradise where man is not exposed to any risks. The majority of people will be led in the new epoch to a certain degree of individualization. Intellectualism will increasingly become a possession of the broader masses, but for the sole purpose of harnessing these masses completely to mechanized culture, to the extent that the human being will be incorporated as an element into the various mechanical-cybernetic systems of the future, and also, in part, of the present. The ‘Highest’ to which man can look up will be, instead of the Spirit Self, ahrimanic immortality, while the most varied cybernetic-parapsychological refinements will spread over the earth, which not only prolong human life, but also rob souls of the possibility of passing through a spiritual evolution after death. In the last resort it will be possible to convey a not inconsiderable portion of humanity into the sphere of the electro-magnetic energies, the fallen ethers, in order on this foundation to build up an anti-world, an anti-cosmos, which will be placed over against the divine world creation. The initiates of the Latin and the Anglo-Saxon race know of this and look upon such a perspective of development as being quite acceptable. But it is not given to them to understand and become conscious of the fact that there is no place in it for the human soul and spirit, as they are subject to the influence of ritual (ceremonial) magic. Already these people are the virtual rulers of the world. Must we keep silent about all this, and wait patiently for the events to unfold? – May every thinking person answer this question for himself. We owe a certain forbearance to the person who simply does not want to believe all this, who thinks that the world is moved by the chance fortuity of events and the play of arbitrary choice or of the noble intentions of human beings standing in isolation to one another. But it is quite different for those who have grown out of the swaddling bands of their social, political and occult infancy. They should on no account underestimate the significance of present events. Rather, they are such that their significance cannot be estimated highly enough. We are the witnesses and participants in a cosmic mystery drama, the course of which has an immediate bearing on our own destiny.
So we are in the middle of a morality/mystery play. Hence the popularity of such works as Harry Potter. Voldemort is coming back.
1. The goal of those who wish to stand should be to master themselves first of all. Guenon, the Church Fathers, traditional Eastern wisdom, and the insights of Western “mystics” all agree on this fundamental point of discerning the origin and arising of spiritual impulses. In the West, the emphasis on Logos was designed to structure and rule the mass of the inner world, providing a way of discrimination. No Western project will be able to do away with Dogma and Logos, both because of prior shaping and because of the unique Western task of integrating the lower I with the higher I, which implies not a retreat from matter, but its spiritualization. I don’t intend to debate or discuss whether the difference with the East is fundamental or a matter of perspective, as others are more qualified. For the beginning Westerner, it hardly matters, except to point out that Christianity is likely a more suitable vehicle for their climbing of the Ladder than anything else. Part of learning to stand is mastering the fear and fog of our currently engineered situation: God’s winds are still blowing; friends and enemies are not easily discerned, but they can be discerned. Use the Logos to help decide.
2. Secondly, the structuring of society in a Traditional order will have to occur, but it will have to be done voluntarily and in full spiritual freedom and insight. Establishing an outright spiritual tyranny, however desirable from the point of view of the alternative, will not work. However, this doesn’t mean that the accusations will not be made, even if Western man “returns”. As Westerners return to the Eternal Fountain, they will have every name in the Book hurled at them: Fascism, Totalitarianism, Elitism, etc. A patient ability to refute and answer and hold fast (Apologia) will be in order. We will be in the same position of the early Christians, who had to be ready at all times to give a gracious and seasoned answer for the hope within us.
3.Thirdly, one can see that the old religions are not irrelevant, since generic “initiation” doesn’t necessarily solve the problem on a grand scale, but rather opens one to the possibilities of subversion on the astral plane. The post-mortem state is still relevant, and indeed, may be a safer mode of spiritual transit (if Reason is allowed to guide the soul) than outright spiritual baptism during the Kali Yuga. In fact, one might even argue that Christianity is the religion par excellence of the Kali Yuga, in that it does not require elite knowledge, but only that a connection to such be vital (through apostolic succession, angelic influence, and/or esoteric Christianity). It may actually be a “shell” to protect a vulnerable and newly born “ego” for the post-mortem transit. Isn’t this precisely Evola’s point in regard to Roman Catholic theology?
4. Regarding Steiner, if Steiner’s “evolution” is seen as prior in Time, but not in logical priority (as Cologero has written is possible), or in terms of Inner Form, then his views of ascension are not necessarily New Age, but rather can describe the trajectory of man’s development during the dark Age of the Kali Yuga. It is unimportant that he has become a “movement” subject to degeneration: the Roman Church endorsed Vatican II, but this doesn’t mean that the war is over, or that all is lost.
The Chaos of the Asuras is allowed because it will deepen the strength and insight of the newly born Western Ego under Logos, to not only freely choose God, but to even pierce to the possibility of discerning Christ and Anti-Christ, which is a different task than discerning Good and Evil. The old liberal mindset sees only cardboard Good and cartoon Evil. In the coming storm, man will definitively be lead to choose between Higher and Lower, and maybe even Good and Best. Man will acquire Sophia, the gift of judging angels, and discerning/commanding demons.
In the Christian Tradition, we would say, God doesn’t want angels, but “sons”. Perhaps the innocent child, the Ego that looks up to the Heavenly Father, the “sheep of the personality” (Tomberg) is the only inner warrior capable of beginning combat in perfect humility against the infernal forces of the Kali Yuga.