by Michael Warden
Anthroposophy posits that just as flood ended the Atlantean chapter of human evolution, our own era will be terminated by massive egoistic conflict. Although the signs of that are already visible in both international geo-politics and the increasing use of commerce and investment as a forms of warfare at all levels of society (survival of the fittest), its final culmination may yet be very far away - perhaps even thousands of years.
That is a daunting prospect. What will happen between now and then? Can the Earth even last that long? How can one even begin to imagine what may happen in such periods when one looks at the developments just of the last century? Clearly we must raise ourselves a level, and look beyond the confines of our own present lives and the small periods of years we normally see extending behind and in front of us.
We are at present, according to Anthroposophical cosmology, in the 5th Post-Atlantean cultural age, the Age of the Consciousness Soul, running from 1414 (its beginning marked by the Renaissance / Enlightenment), until 3573. (This is based on cultural ages beginning 1200 years, or one Venus pentagram cycle, after their corresponding astrological age - in this case the age of Pisces in 214 A.D.) It is a period in which individuality in both its positive and egoistic forms comes to the fore - which of course is closely related to our current problems.
It is the time more than any other in all of evolution when we are completely cut off from our spiritual origins, in order that we can develop - against great resistance - true individuality and freedom. It is characterised by schisms (based on the newly emerged and still immature selfhood) between science and spirituality, individuality and society, capitalism and communism, etc.
These schisms cannot be fully resolved in the 5th cultural age. However, Steiner suggested that during each cultural age, the dawn of the next already begins to form 1.
Regarding our planet´s continued viability in this age, it is clear that the Earth is presently unwell, substantially as a result of human activity. However, it is not anywhere close to dying, and nor should we necessarily expect a linear continuation of the present relationship between man, technology and planet. Seeds of initiatives to move toward ´moral technologies´ are in progress, and coming events are likely to change the orientation of human activity greatly. Also, as will become evident below, there will be something of a regeneration of the Earth from the inside.
Returning to the big questions of what lies ahead of us: It must surely be true that predicting detailed developments of society, ecology, technology etc is quite impossible. Anthroposophy however is more concerned with the great cycles of spiritual evolution which provide the context in which such detail emerges.
These are based particularly on certain time cycles;
2160 years, which is the average length of an astrological age (our present age of Pisces, the coming age of Aquarius etc, based on the Precession of the Equinoxes).
1200 years, which is the time taken for Venus to trace a pentagram in the heavens.
33 and 1/3 years, which is the duration of the Earthly life of Christ.
291/2 years, which is the orbital cycle of Saturn.
12 years, which is the orbital cycle of Jupiter.
While such cycles, as will become evident, put the ´war of all against all´ far away at the end of the 7th Post Atlantean cultural age, There are anthroposophists (for instance Paul Emberson) who suggest that our present situation could vastly accelerate that. That´s a complicated issue, which has similarities to time of Gondhishapur when attempts were made to bring on the Age of the Consciousness Soul before we were ready for it, causing it to fail. As will be seen a little further on, there have also been other times in the long history human evolution when great cosmic timetables were changed by earthly events. That only makes all of our actions in the immediate future even more important.
In any case, once we get to the smaller time cycles, there seems to be good reason to believe that looking only decades ahead may provide insights to the whole period. What follows then, is a sketch of the relationship between the present 5th cultural age and the coming 6th and 7th, followed by a slightly more detailed look at the pivotal decades of the fifth which lie immediately ahead of us.
Broadly, the theme for the remainder of the 5th is a battle, which each of us must fight individually, even if in an increasing spirit of co-operation, to overcome the schisms which grew up since real independence began to emerge at the time of the Enlightenment - independent thinking which became ever-hardening egotism, science which became ever more inclined to refute spirit, capitalism which grew ever more selfish and ever more an end in itself, and communism which seems hardly a better solution. The already-visible polarisation between those who struggle for such overcoming and those who align themselves with the growing currents of egotism and materialism can be expected to continue and deepen.
By the time of 6th cultural age (3574 - 5733) the degree of choice regarding which side of the polarity to walk on will be declining substantially. The number of humans with spiritual and clairvoyant capacities will be greatly increasing, and a major aspect of their work on Earth will be supporting the redemption of ´the fallen´. In fact, that theme will already start to develop in our own age, and will continue all the way into the next incarnation of the planet, millions of years away.
By the 7th (5734 - 7893) choice about the paths of ascent or descent will be gone, returning again only after even vaster periods of time have passed. During this 7th cultural age, the increasing polarisation between ascending and descending humans will have become physically visible. While ascending humanity will find greater powers of sustenance both from each other and from the spiritual world which they are increasingly part of, the descending beings will become inceasingly immersed in unprecedentedly savage and barbaric conflict, eventually wiping each other out.
As will become clearer when we look at the detail within our own 5th cultural age, the support and protection for those on the ascending path, both by their own powers and from the spiritual world, will increase very much.
At the end of the seventh, just as the flood terminated the Atlantean evolutionary epoch, the war of all against all will terminate ours, with widespread horrific and savage destruction, survived by a smaller number of non-participants, by that time very much further evolved and increasingly guided by the spiritual powers which they have freely chosen to collaborate with. This group will begin the next evolutionary epoch.
Beyond that, on vast timescales, humanity moves from living in the present ´mineral´ states of physical life, through cycles of ´plant´, ´animal´ and ´human´ states of physical life, implying degrees of ´livingness´ and creative powers unimaginable today. Those cycles in turn lead up to the end of the present incarnation of our planet. To put that in its proper context, there have been three prior incarnations of the planet, and three more to come. The preceding incarnations of the Earth, called the ´Saturn´, ´Sun´ and ´Moon´ incarnations, were predominantly spiritual / etheric / semi-solid incarnations, existing to prepare for physicality. The present incarnation is the only purely physical incarnation, existing specifically for the purpose of developing human individuality and freedom. The subsequent Jupiter, Venus and Vulcan incarnations are various states of transcendence of the physical. At the transition from Venus to Vulcan incarnations, those who have followed the path of evil all the way, and resisted redemption offered through the help of their ever-ascending fellows, are permanently ejected. This may in a sense be ´judgement day´, but it is incredibly far distant 2.
In all of this we find a reminder that ´we are not human beings on a spiritual journey, but spiritual beings on a human journey´.
Now with that vast and sweeping context, back to our immediate situation , and its pivotal role in all of that. Our time is pivotal both for the second coming (the etheric coming) of Christ, and for the imminent incarnation of the anti-Christ, Ahriman. These events are the spiritual counter-part of the great polarisation of dark and light forces which are presently playing out visibly in every aspect of Earthly life.
After the crucifixion 2000 years ago, the etheric body of Christ both united with the Earth and began to expand into the solar system. Having expanded as far as the sphere of Saturn, it began to contract again, arriving back to Earth at the beginning of the 20th century. Specifically, 1899 was the end of a 5000 year ´dark age´, the Hindu Kali-Yuga, and the beginning of a new age of light. That transition coincided exactly with the completion of the 56th cycle of 33 1/3 years since the crucifixion / resurrection. One cycle later in 1933, the etheric Christ began to penetrate the interior layers of the earth. Anthroposophical writer Robert Powell refers to these two dates, 1899 and 1933, as the ´dawn´, and the ´sunrise´ of the age of light, or second-coming.
Much of what will happen in the immediate future must be considered in the context of this ongoing second-coming process, and its interaction with the 9 inner layers of the earth. These inner layers were described by Steiner. Each one is associated with specific types of demonic force it harbours, one of the nine members of the human being (physical body, ether body, consciousness soul, astral body etc), and one of the Beatitudes (blessed are the meek, the peacemakers etc) representing the attitude needed to overcome it.
The effects of these layers being penetrated one by one by the etheric body of Christ is essentially that their dark forces are released into the world to be confronted by humanity. Such release of dark forces will culminate in the incarnation of the anti-Christ. At the same time new levels of Christic forces become available to support and sustain humanity and enable the transformation of dark energies released. This penetration of the inner layers of the Earth has been happening, since the start of the long ´second coming´ process, on a 12 year cycle governed by Jupiter. (12 is a very fundamental number, related to the 12 disciples, the twelve tribes of Israel, the 12 astrological signs, 12 months of the year and numerous other important phenomena. The planet Jupiter is also the archetype for the next, spiritual, incarnation of planet Earth, in the far distant future).
In his essay ´Subnature and the Second Coming´ Robert Powell describes in some detail the levels of counter action and Ahrimanic resistance to the second coming, from the two world wars erupting right at its commencement, through the influence of each twelve year period since. He relates each cycle to destructive wold events, positive social movements and other factors such as the rise of certain kinds of drug addiction, all of them specific to the particular kinds of demonic force associated with a given layer, and the biblical ´Beatitude necessary to overcome them.
The 1945 - 1957 period, associated with the second layer, saw the beginning of massive release of radioactivity into the atmosphere (attack on the etheric body).
The 1957-1968 period, associated with the third layer, the use of LSD became widespread (attack on the astral body), together with promiscuity and pornography, but also the hippy movement emerged as a kind of parody of ´blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the Earth´, and racial discrimination was made illegal in the USA - though not before Martin Luther King had been martyred.
In the 1969 - 1980 period, associated with the fourth layer), heroin became epidemic (attack on the sentient soul), and terrorism emerged as a routine part of Earthly life. The space program manifested as a parody of the true inner relationship with the cosmos which is our real destiny, and Brezhnev intensified the Cold War. But at the beginning of the period a huge and principled social movement against the war in Vietnam expressed the counter-principle "blessed are the righteous". (A quarter of a million people in a single protest, at the time the biggest in history). Equally throughout the period Mother Theresa was very active in her work in Calcutta, and shortly before its end she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for that work.
The 1980 - 1992 period, associated with the fifth layer, was marked by an explosion of cocaine use (attack on the intellectual soul), both as an expensive drug of high level professionals and in the highly destructive form of crack on the streets. Aids became a global issue. Reagan pushed his SDI ("Star Wars") initiative. At the same time, the period saw the beginnings of the release of Eastern Europe from communist totalitarianism.
The 1993 - 2004 period (sixth layer) saw a huge rise of depravity, child abuse and bestiality, much of it associated with the internet. This period also saw the destruction of the World Trade Centre and the subsequent inferno in Iraq (accompanied by protest movements around the world many times bigger than those for Vietnam). It ended with German anthroposophist Judith von Halle receiving the stigmata. (Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God).
This brings us to the present period, 2004 - 2016 (seventh layer) which opened with the Indian Ocean Tsunami, Hurricane Katrina, and the 2005 Kashmir earthquake. These claimed close to half a million lives between them. Judith von Halle described this series of events as ´Ahriman rattling his chains". In the same period the Haiti earthquake took another 100,000 – 300,000 lives, putting two of the ten deadliest quakes in history (with the Indian Ocean Tsunami) into the same period. During this 12 year period Ahriman is expected to incarnate on Earth. The incarnation is expected to be brief, perhaps a few years, but depending on exact timing could extend into the eighth period.
The primary indication of this is based on the Saturn cycle, with each 29.5 year Saturn orbit being equated to one day of the three and half years of Christ´s ministry after the baptism in the Jordan. Following that measure of time, humanity is now experiencing the 39th day in the wilderness, when Christ encountered Ahriman. This relates to the period from 1988 to 2018. It is not connected with winter solstice 2012, which Terry Boardman showed in 2010, with extensive and scholarly research, to be a misrepresentation of the Mayan cycle – see Terry Boardman, 2012 Truth or Con, on YouTube 3.
While the years ahead promise the extremest of trials however, strength is also extended to us in three significant ways:
First, the pair of transits of Venus across the face of the Sun (2004 and 2012), was an event which occurs only every 600 years and is associated with an influx of Sophianic energy.
Second, 2014 marks 600 years since the dawn of the age of the consciousness soul (Renaissance / Enlightenment). That is a half-cycle of cultural wave associated with the Venus pentagram. On that basis 2014 was mentioned by Steiner as a time when entirely new impulses could enter into human life. These emerge from human creativity in response to the times and their nature is unforeseeable before they emerge. Thus we can expect the beginnings of the biggest changes in society since the Renaissance / Enlightenment. Both the intensifying breakdown of existing systems and institutions, and the growing hunger for change in the world´s population are indicative of this.
Thirdly, on July 27th 2014, a conjunction of Sun, Moon and Jupiter with take place in the Hindu lunar mansion of Pushya. This is an event of great significance which the Hindus associate with the emergence of great spiritual leadership for humanity, and a major intensification of the age of light which began in 1899. This may be a Hindu rather than an Anthroposophical perspective, but the end of the Kali-Yuga and dawn of the Satya-Yuga in 1899 was also given explicit significance by Steiner.
Thus the coming few years can be expected to be amongst the darkest and most difficult in history, but with equally huge spiritual support available to those with the will to draw upon it. The purpose of such struggle, throughout, and the reason for being confronted with such polarised choice, is the cultivation of genuine human autonomy.
The eighth period (2016 - 2028) will continue to be extremely challenging. Even with the incarnation of the Anti-Christ over, the major theme of this period is the confrontation of every individual with their own ´double´ - the element of the demonic which lives inside each of us. Since the ´double´ is associated with the inner earth, transforming it simultaneously contributes to the transformation of the Earth. Not all will meet that challenge with equal willingness, and divisiveness can be expected to be extreme.
In the ninth period (2028 - 2040) the etheric Christ will reach the Earth´s core, Ahriman´s dwelling place and strongly associated with black magic. The counter point is Christic forces becoming available which will enable human beings to cultivate the white magic needed to overcome this 4.
A key point regarding all of the last three layers (period from 2004 to 2040), is that the demonic forces released from them are beyond humanity´s present level of coping, and can only be met with the help of higher beings. The beings associated with each of the three periods are Sophia (2004 - 2016), Archangel Michael, the Lesser Guardian of the Threshold (2016 -2028), and Christ, the Greater Guardian of the Threshold (2028 – 2040) 5.
Following this descent through the interior layers of the Earth, there is an ascent, reaching the surface again in 2135. This marks the ´etheric resurrection´, and a new period of potential for human beings to participate in the work of Sophia, Michael and Christ during the remainder of the 5th cultural age. It does not represent the absolute completion of the second coming however, which continues to deepen all the way into the 6th cultural age.
Another consideration relevant to the transition from 5th to 6th Cultural Age is the specific role of the Slavic peoples, who are bearers of an impulse to co-operation different from the competition and self-preservation of the Anglo-Germanic peoples, as well a deeper feeling for personal relationship with the Earth (especially strong in the Russian peasantry). Just as the Anglo-Germanic (now aspiring-global) impulse launched the 5th, the Slavic cultures carry the impulse central to the 6th. It is because of this that the Slavic cultures have been under constant spiritual attack, for instance via the Bolshevik revolution, WW1, and the present attempts to subsume the Ukraine into the EU. Much has been written about such things, by Steiner himself, in 20xx by Gennady Bondarev in his book Microcosm and Macrocosm, and recently by Terry Boardman in his article ´The First World War and the Ukraine Crisis, 1914 - 2014´ 6.
Finally to return one more time to questions of exact timing: Steiner indicated that the ´fall´, leading to separation into two sexes, should have occurred around the middle of the Atlantean evolutionary epoch, but in fact happened in the middle of the preceding (Lemurian) epoch, leading to great corruption and error. And that the physical incarnation of Christ should have happened during the middle of the Atlantean, but in fact happened in the middle of the present Post-Atlantean. Regarding freedom, he also commented that the entire anthroposophical cosmology relates to the ´building of a house´, and does not constrain what we may choose to do when we live in that house, nor even while it is under construction 7. Meanwhile, another perspective on timing, inevitability, changeability etc, is that at any moment of time, there lies in front of us a ´predetermined´ future, based on the karma of all past activities. But as that future moves toward us, it can be transformed at any and every moment by the karma of new activities.
So there are vast, potent, cosmic schema. And there are certain potentials for movement in timing.
In summary, what we can expect between now and the war of all against all is a series of concentric cycles of polarisation between brotherhood and egotism, with each cycle having different qualities, aspirations and possibilities, and with a gradually reducing choice regarding which side of the polarity to walk on. Within that:
First, a period (probably decades) of massive increase (culmination) of the orientation to control, domination, collectivism and eradication of meaning, paralleled by influxes of Sophianic, Michaelic and Christic energies, available to all, but certainly vastly magnified by those who consciously engage with them.
Second, (probably a great many centuries) in which, while the horrors of the ´underside´ continue, there are greatly renewed opportunities for humanity to work together with Christ in the regeneration of the Earth from within.
During both of the above, an ongoing contest for the soul of the Slavic peoples, bearers of new impulses to brotherhood and right relationship to the Earth. Also during both, a reality that every human being is paving the way for their role in following two great cycles (subsequent incarnations).
Third, a cultural age in which human beings have much deepened and magnified spiritual powers, and harmony between the schisms which dog the present world becomes possible. (The ´underside´ also continues, and by now the difference between ascending and descending human beings will be becoming increasingly physically visible).
Fourth, a cultural age in which choice regarding sides of the polarity is more or less closed, and the war of all against all gradually culminates. Its survivors (non-participants) become the seed for a new cycle, paralleling the transition between Atlantis and the world after the flood.
If these periods should in some way collapse into each other because of extreme circumstances, the themes will remain the same, but the stakes will likely become even higher.
The key throughout will be individual will, compassion, and conscious collaboration with spiritual powers.
4 Subnature and the Second Coming, by Robert Powell (Published within ´The Inner Life of the Earth, by Various Authors, Edited by Paul V O´Leary. (See also http://www.eleggua.com/Objects/Powell4.html)
6 The First World War and the Ukraine Crisis, 1914 -2014 by Terry Boardman. http://threeman.org/?p=1855
Other related reading:
Microcosm and Macrocosm, by Genady Bondarev
The ThreeFold Social Order, by Rudolf Steiner
The Atlantean Cataclysms and the Ages Following, by Martha Keltz. http://www.tcpubs.com/brunnen/articles/
From Gondhishapur to Silicone Valley vol 1, by Paul Emberson.