Review of “The Archangel Michael: His Mission and Ours: Selected Lectures and Writing” by Rudolf Steiner.
A great Introduction by Christopher Bamford reviews who Archangel Michael is to mankind through the writings of Rudolf Steiner, letting us know that when, in 1894, Steiner published *The Philosophy of Freedom* we were given the “first Michaelic work”:
“Under different names, from the moment the idea of humanity was born in the Divine Mind, the spiritual Being known as Michael has accompanied humanity on its journey through the cosmos.
“This Being or divine-cosmic Presence was most important to Rudolf Steiner. Every aspect of Steiner’s life and work is permeated by service to Michael’s evolutionary task”
In the Prologue we find “Intimations of the Archangel Michael in Different Traditions”:
Indian: From the Rig Veda
“Let me now sing the heroic deeds of Indra, the first that the thunderbolt-wielder performed. He killed the Dragon and pierced an opening for the waters; he split open the bellies of mountains.
“He killed the Dragon who lay upon the mountain; Tvastr fashioned the roaring thunderbolt for him. Like lowing cows, the flowing waters rushed straight down to the sea.”
Persian: From the Denkard
“When he came up from the water, he saw Vahman, the Amahraspand in the shape of a man, fair, bright, and radiant. Vahman wore a garment like silk, which was as light itself. And he was nine times taller than Zardusht. He questioned Zardusht: ‘Who are you? Whose are you? What is your chief desire? In what are you diligent?’
“And Zardusht answered: ‘I am Spitaman Zardusht. My chief desire, in both existences, is righteousness. And my wish is to become aware of the aim of the two existences. And I shall practice as much righteousness as they show me in the pure existence.’
“And Vahman bade Zardusht: ‘Go forward to the Assembly of Divine Beings.’”
Chaldean (Babylonian): From the Babylonian Epic of Creation:
“Thou, Marduk, art most honored of the great gods,
Thy decree is unrivaled, thy word is Anu.
From this day unchangeable shall be thy pronouncement.
To raise or bring low—these shall be in thy hand.
Thy utterance shall be true, thy command shall be unimpeachable.
No one among the gods shall transgress thy bounds . . . .”
Greek: From the Homeric Hymn to Apollo:
“. . . Phoebus Apollo laid out the foundations [of Delphi],
Broad and long from beginning to end;
and on them the songs of Erginos, Trophonios, and Agamedes,
dear to the immortal gods, placed a threshold of stone.
And numberless races of humanity built the temple all around
With hewn stones, to be a theme of song forever.
Near it there was a fair-flowing stream, where the lord,
Son of Zeus, with his mighty bow, slew a She-Dragon,...”
Hebrew: From the Book of Enoch
These are the names of the holy Angels who watch.
Uriel, who is over the world and over Tartarus.
Raphael, who is over the spirits of human beings.
Raguel, who takes vengeance on the world of the luminaries.
Michael, one of the holy Angels, to wit, he who is set over the best part of humanity and over chaos.
Saraqael, who is set over the spirits who sin in the spirit.”
Hebrew: From the Book of Daniel
“The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, *Michael*, one of the chief princes, came to help me . . . .”
And, some Christian sources to round it out, like the Epistle of St. Jude, the Book of Revelation, the Celestial Hierarchy of Dionysius the Psuedo-Aeropagite, Joan of Arc and the Pico Della Mirandola.
Suffice it to say, St. Michael, the Archangel stands as one of the major figures of angelic myth. From the Judeo-Christian tradition, explicitly, to the Chaldean, Indian and even the Greek, this figure has loomed large in angelic lore.
This book captures this major figure in Anthroposophical development, theory and practice. In Steiner’s Anthroposophy, Michael brings what Steiner calls the Christ Impulse:
"We say that as a result of the Mystery of Golgotha, the Christ-Impulse entered earthly evolution, entered human evolution to begin with, and is now united with it. People say they do not see Him. Indeed they cannot see Him, and will not see Him, as long as they remain deluded about human beings and view them as something quite different from what they really are. As soon as the spiritual nature of human beings ceases to be mere theory and becomes instead a vividly felt soul reality, enabling us to *see* the supersensible in our fellow human beings, then we will begin to cultivate within us the faculty of perceiving the Christ-Impulse everywhere in our midst.”
Lastly, let me leave you, the potential buyer with this Publisher’s Note:
“The lectures printed here were given by Rudolf Steiner to audiences familiar with the general background and terminology of his anthroposophical teaching. It should be remembered that in his autobiography, *The Course of My Life,* he emphasizes the distinction between his written works on the one hand, and on the other, reports of lectures that were given as oral communications and were not originally intended for print. For an intelligent appreciation of the lectures it should be borne in mind that certain premises were taken for granted when the words were spoken. ‘These premises,’ Rudolf Steiner writes, ‘include at the very least the anthroposophical knowledge of humanity and of the cosmos in its spiritual essence; also what may be called ‘anthroposophical history,’ told as an outcome of research into the spiritual world.”