Main CategoriesTheosophy, Steiner and GurdjieffRudolf Steiner and Anthroposophy Spiritual Hierarchies, The

Spiritual Hierarchies, The

Product no.: 0-88010-061-3
Steiner reestablishes the human being as a participant in an evolving, dynamic universe of living spiritual beings: a living universe, whole and divine.

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The nine ranks of angelic and super-angelic beings; their emissaries, the elemental beings and nature spirits; and the fundamental elements of fire, earth, air and water.

10 lectures, Dusseldorf, April 13 - 22, 1909

Ever since nature and consciousness were separated in the late Middle Ages, giving rise to a science of matter alone—in which mind was considered only an epiphenomenon of neural chemistry—the spiritual beings who are the universe have felt abandoned and unable to complete their work, which depends on human collaboration for its suc­cess. Human beings have likewise felt aban­doned and alienated.

In these remarkable lectures, Rudolf Steiner reestablishes the human being as a participant in an evolving, dynamic universe of living spiritual beings: a living universe, whole and divine. He does so in concrete images, capable of being grasped by human consciousness as if from within.

How is this possible? Implicit in Rudolf Steiner's view is the fact that, essentially, the universe consists of consciousness. Everything else is illusion. Hence, to understand the evolution of the cosmos and humanity in any terms other than consciousness is also an illusion. Whenever we are dealing with grand cosmic facts, we are dealing with states of consciousness.

But states of consciousness never exist apart from the beings who embody them. Therefore, the only true realties are beings in various states of consciousness. In this sense, Steiner's spiritual science is a science of states of consciousness and the beings who embody them. Indeed, any science—physics, chemistry, botany, psychology—is a science of beings. And the sensory perception, or physical trace, is simply the outer vestment of the activity of beings in various states of consciousness.

To describe these beings, Steiner uses the names made familiar by the wisdom traditions of the West. He speaks of the evolutionary states of Saturn, Sun, Moon, and so on; the nine choirs of angels; elemental beings and nature spirits; and the elements of fire, earth, air, and water.


"Thus at last, we understand all the dignity and all the importance of Man as a member of our Hierarchies, and when we glance upwards to all the nobility and the glory of the higher Hierarchies we say to ourselves: Be they ever so great, so wise, so good that they never err from the right path, yet the great mission of man is to bring Freedom into the world, and with Freedom firstly that which one calls Love in the true sense of the word. For Love without Freedom is impossible. A Being who blindly follows an impulse, just follows it; but for a Being who can also act otherwise, there exists but one force which he could follow, and that is Love. Freedom and Love are two poles which belong to each other. If Love is to enter into our Cosmos, it can happen only through Freedom, that means, only through Lucifer and those who conquer him; and at the same time through the Saviour of men, through the Christ.

Therefore, the earth is the Cosmos of Freedom and Love, and therefore, the essential thing is, that we, without tempting man away from humility, must learn to reckon the Hierarchies as they ever have been reckoned in Western esotericism: Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones; these follow the direct impulse of the Godhead, having the sight of God. The Spirits of Wisdom, of Motion, and of Form, (Dominions, Mights, and Powers), these are as yet so bound to the higher powers that they have to be given ‘adverse-commands’ in order that evolution should have the possibility of proceeding further. The Archangels and the Spirits of Personality also cannot fail, cannot, through their own free will, sink into evil. Therefore, the spirits of the Hierarchies next above man were called Messengers and Arch-Messengers to show that they did not fulfil their own tasks but the tasks of those who stand immediately above them. But in men a Hierarchy is maturing which will fulfil its own tasks."       ~Lecture 10


Rudolf Steiner (1861 - 1925) became a respected and well-published scientific, literary, and philosophical scholar, particularly known for his work on Goethe's scientific writings. At the beginning of the twentieth century, he began to develop his earlier philosophical principles into an approach to methodical research of psychological and spiritual phenomena.

His multifaceted genius has led to innovative and holistic approaches in medicine, philosophy, religion, education (Waldorf schools), special education (the Camphill movement), economics, agriculture (biodynamics), science, architecture, and the arts (drama, speech and eurythmy). In 1924 he founded the General Anthroposophical Society, which has branches throughout the world.

Editor Gares, Jann
Author Steiner, Rudolf
Translator Querido, René M.
Book Type Trade Paperback
Page Count 240 pp.
Publisher SteinerBooks 2008
Series The Collected Works of Rudolf Steiner
Browse these categories as well: Rudolf Steiner and Anthroposophy, Angelology: Watchers and Celestial Intelligences, Swedenborg and Western Cosmology, Metaphysics, Mysticism and Initiation, Mystic and Esoteric Christianity, Channeling and the Akasha, Western Mystery Schools, Noteworthy Releases 2008

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