Historical Conscience – From Uriel to Michael

This article was first published in New View Magazine Issue 77 Autumn 2015

The light from the widths of the world
Lives on within me powerfully,
Becoming light of soul
And shining into spirit depths,
To bring forth all the fruits
Which in course of time shall ripen
The Self of Man from the Self of the World

                            - Rudolf Steiner, The Calendar of the Soul  (Week 22)
                                           translated by Terry Boardman

In October 1923, the Michaelmas season, Rudolf Steiner gave a remarkable course of lectures (1) about the four seasonal festivals of the year in which he related the seasons to the activities of four great spiritual beings whom he refers to as archangels who, out of his spiritual research, Steiner could confirm belonged to a hierarchy of spiritual consciousness, a hierarchy that has also long been recognised in Christian esoteric tradition. This tradition, particularly informed by the work of Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite (a Christian theologian and philosopher of the late 5th to early 6th century) and his book De Coelesti Hierarchia (On the Celestial Hierarchy), but also Thomas Aquinas in his Summa Theologica (Summary of Theology), recognises three Orders or Choirs of spiritual beings; ranging from those closest to the Creative Source, the Godhead, down to the angel, the spiritual being closest to each individual human being. The archangels that Steiner refers to in connection with the four seasons have the middle rank in the third and lowest group of hierarchies of heavenly beings. In that third group archangels have angels ‘below’ them and archai ‘above’ them. According to Steiner, the seasonal archangels hand on what they have done and presided over each season to the next archangel in the seasonal round, but they also work in pairs, so that when one is active in the cosmic periphery, above the human being, so to speak, the other is active ‘within’ the earth and within the human being. The four archangels are referred to as Raphael (archangel of the spring), Uriel (archangel of the summer), Michael (archangel of the autumn) and Gabriel (archangel of the winter).

The names of these archangels are from the Hebraic/Jewish tradition stemming from the Jews’ exile in Babylon (597-539 BC) and are originally of Babylonian origin. We find such seasonal beings in other cultures further east too. Four such beings were honoured in Hinduism, where they were the servants of the god Indra; they were adopted into Buddhism and so made their way eventually to China, Korea and Japan. They came to Japan at the very beginning of Buddhism there in the late 6th century AD and so were very much identified with Buddhism and with the protection of the State and the ruling elite, who had adopted the new faith. The four beings are known in India, China, Korea and Japan as the Four Heavenly Kings (Shi-ten-no in Japanese). They have specific names, characteristics, seasons and cardinal directions: Jokokuten  – spring, east; Zochoten – summer, south; Komokuten – autumn, west; Tamonten – winter, north. Rudolf Steiner associated the four archangels of the seasons with four different tasks: Uriel – enlightenment/thought; Michael – movement/will; Gabriel – nourishment/nutrition; Raphael – healing. As we are now passing from summer to autumn, from Uriel to Michael, let us look at some of the phenomena of the time. The key here will be what Steiner called ‘historical conscience’ and what to do about it. It has to do with the will to understand and confront past errors, within oneself and within one’s culture. With Uriel, we weigh up and understand; with Michael, we act without fear on the basis of that understanding.

The sensation of summer
In summertime in England, when there often seems to be no real summer at all, or perhaps only a few days, as was the case this year, it can be hard to experience the essence of summer, which is so easy to do in warmer climes such as in the middle of the continent of Europe, on the Mediterranean coasts or in most of Asia. In those regions especially, the forces of summer’s heat and light threaten to overpower us and take us out of ourselves. In East Asia, for example, with brilliant cloudless skies day after day, the summer air is palpably thick, and the phrase “you could cut the atmosphere with a knife” feels literally true. One feels one is moving through the air like moving through water, feeling resistance, sensuous warm resistance.  The sound of insects is so strong, it drowns out birdsong and drums its way into one’s ears, creating another form of pressure. The warm monsoon rains caress the skin. The inevitable thunder storms are grandiose and spectacular; they too overpower and oppress, urging surrender. The light, the air, the insects, the rain, the thunder – all contrive to overpower the human self, which yearns to flee beyond all these natural pressures or else to surrender to this ‘sauna of psycho-physical sensations’, even to merge into it and become one with these natural forces. It is not surprising that some people from the more northerly, cooler climes of Europe would actually enjoy this sensuality, so unusual in their own heavy-clouded, cool and sometimes rain-laden ‘summers’. One wonders how on earth the ancient Greeks and the Indians managed to develop all their philosophy amidst all the unrelenting heat, where it seems hard even to think one clear thought after another. But when there are no summer storms raging in Asia or the Mediterranean, the sky can seem so brilliant and vast that it draws one’s feeling upward and outward. Nature, ‘enlightened’ in summer enlightens man, and his thoughts and feelings seem able to expand to the infinite. ‘Zocho’ in the eastern name Zochoten also means ‘expansion’ and ‘enlargement’ of wisdom: thus Zochoten is the catalyst of spiritual wisdom (‘ten’ means ‘heaven’ or ‘heavenly being’). And so in summer we are particularly challenged to stay awake and open to that catalysis, so as not to be overpowered by the sense of oneness with nature. Another aspect is that at the top of the seasonal cycle, there is the very beginning of a sense of separation into a threefold awareness of spirit, soul, and body, which later, in autumn, becomes much more intense. This summer experience and the beginning of the threefold, or ‘trinitarian’ awareness of the human organism, can be understood through music, which according to Steiner is the most suitable art with which to celebrate a midsummer festival. Let us consider an example of this.

Vivaldi’s “Summer”
Everything about summer is on the grand scale, and much of what I have mentioned can so vividly be felt in the “Summer” concerto from the “Four Seasons” suite by Vivaldi (1678-1741). The sultry, heavy, phlegmatic opening, the slow meandering solo violin which seems to reflect the human being’s effort to drag himself through the heat (Vivaldi’s own instructions for the first movement was the phrase “languor caused by the heat”). Vivaldi intersperses these moods with sudden, intense but brief summer storms, harbingers of the final dramatic third movement. In the second movement, the music of the solo violin enters a different realm, much more inward, sorrowful and poignant. There is something of a deep feminine, almost pieta-like mood about it:  the human soul meanders on in this mood between sorrow, regret and dreaminess until finally, in the third movement, it is as if the spiritual world can hold back no longer, and it reaches down with great and shocking power in streaming down-pouring motifs and takes hold of the soul, as if to say: “stay awake! Do not fall asleep! Be aware of what rises from below you if you do!” A musical summer storm of tremendous enlightening force breaks over the listener and dispels the sultry phlegma and will-lessness which can so easily lead us into errors of all kinds, from lapses of concentration at work to acts of gross immorality. At the same time, mighty  motifs rise up from deep in the bass register; to this listener they feel solid and blue in colour, like the blue-grey of summer storm clouds and with them also rise evanescent silvery-white upstreaming gestures in the music. Fierce lightning from above interpenetrating with a blue-grey and silver uprising powerful will-force from below. The spirit of this music by Vivaldi descends upon us from on high and shakes us from below out of our lethargy, so that by the end, the solo violin seems to represent the human soul between these two forces, which, one could perhaps say, is truly awake and moving with the same energy as that which descended from above and arose from below, so that there are now three energetic forces audible and visible to the mind’s eye: from above, below and balanced between them the human soul.  It reminds me of Zazen meditation sessions in a Japanese Buddhist temple in summer when the monk comes round and gives a  – politely administered  – thwack on the shoulder to help keep the drooping meditant awake and remove his attention from the numbness in his legs. But the change wrought here in the Vivaldi violin solo and in the human soul does not at first come from within, but from the descent of a cosmic fire from above and earth-spirit will from below. Steiner associates this cosmic fire and light with the quality of the archangel Uriel, the archangel of summer, whose stern face is visible to clairvoyant Imaginative perception within the radiant intelligence of the summer light.

Uriel and our errors
Uriel’s name means ‘Light of God’. Steiner associates him with ‘enlightenment’ and with ‘historical conscience’. In the apocryphal Apocalypse of Peter, Uriel is the stern Angel of Repentence. He casts light for us upon our human errors that have arisen out of our unconsciousness and lack of conscience. These are not merely personal but societal, cultural, civilisational errors even, that arise out of our human soul depths and which sink from there into the depths of the earth, afflicting and polluting our Earth Mother. We see this all around us. In our own lovely local park here in Stourbridge during summertime young people like to gather and sit together in groups enjoying the warmth of the sun and each other’s company perhaps more than the trees and flowers; they chat and laugh and sometimes play or listen to music, but after they have dispersed, they often leave behind a great mass of litter: beer cans, juice cartons, crisp bags and other detritus. They can’t be bothered to take them to nearby litter bins and assume that someone will come and clear up after them. And of course someone paid by the local town council does so, but before they do, the litter is not just an eyesore, it is like an insult to nature, a disrespect for her, from whom in any case all the food and drink came in the first place. This is, arguably, a British cultural error, not seen so much in some other societies. And indeed, much of our waste ends up in landfill, mixed into the earth itself, another kind of insult.

A far worse error, a civilisational error, is the nuclear waste that we bury in the body of the earth. Late summer is the time we can also  remember the dropping of the atom bombs, fatefully inspired by the science of the West, on the people of the East -  a time for historical conscience indeed, as even in 1945 time many people were immediately aware that a profound threshold in human history had been crossed: the evil ‘enlightenment’ of the sky (2), the splitting of the earth, the pollution of the atmosphere, the merciless destruction of human lives. To the Japanese, many of whom are very superstitious, that terrible light   must have seemed like the appearance of an evil sun demon in the sky, followed by all that sinister substance rising up miles into the air…. An awesome, colossal ‘error’; in former times it would have been called a sin against God and Man, against Nature herself. Yet today, it still sticks in the craw of many in the West to call it what it was – a war crime. Today, in the midst of the refugee crisis facing Europe, British Prime Minister David Cameron insists that Britain is “a moral nation”, while also insisting that Britain should renew the Trident nuclear missile submarine defence system (to be bought from the USA at a cost of some £100 billion over the lifetime of the system) (3).

The Trident system, of course, was designed to be a weapon of genocide, and in being prepared to use it, Cameron is actually saying: “if you attack us, we shall exterminate your country – women, children, old people, all”. Just as at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, only much worse. It is hard to see how this can be the stance of “a moral nation” but Cameron and politicians on both left and right who support the renewal of Trident, and there are many of them, seem unaware of the moral abyss into which they are peering or the moral absurdity of pretending that a nation that is prepared to commit genocide against another nation and then justify it by referring to it as “an insurance policy” can call itself “a moral nation”, which also suggests that there are other nations that are intrinsically or consistently ‘immoral’. In any case, the very notion of a “moral nation” is itself an absurdity, as only individuals can make moral choices, not entire nations.

The Japanese State, (i.e. the individuals who constituted the Japanese government at the time) was also responsible for terrible crimes during the war, albeit of the more traditional warfaring kind, as were many members of the Japanese armed forces. But the current Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo, whose grandfather served in the wartime Cabinet, is determined to return Japan to those days in some respects; he wants to do away with the post-war Constitution and its Article 9 which forswears war as an instrument of the State; he wants normal armed forces that will fight overseas when the need arises; he wants to revise history books to whitewash Japan’s imperialist aggrandisement and wartime atrocities; he wants to return the Emperor to at least something like the status he had before the war. However, Abe is up against many Japanese with some real historical conscience these days and will not find it so easy to achieve his goals. China, Korea and the other countries of East Asia will also have something to say in the matter.

An ‘error’ of the very worst kind
This summer also revealed some societal and cultural errors that have given the British reason to dwell on historical conscience, namely, the ongoing revelations about organised child sex abuse in ‘high places’. This is an issue that sinks to the very lowest and worst depths of ‘human’ nature. Certainly, it is not only an issue that is unique to Britain. There is not space here to discuss other countries in detail but one can point to ‘the Franklin case’ in Omaha, Nebraska, USA (1988-1991)(4) and the Dutroux case in Belgium (1995-2004).(5) In both these cases allegations of child sex abuse and ritualised killings were made against politicians and business figures of the highest echelons. The Belgian case, which caused a sensation and mass demonstrations in Belgium, came to trial in 2004 and resulted in the lengthy imprisonment of some low level perpetrators, notably Marc Dutroux. The Franklin case in America was effectively silenced in the courts, as one can read in the brief wikipedia account of the case online, but there are many other detailed and non-sensational sites online which make it perfectly clear that the case was covered up to protect some very powerful people.

For a long time, similar crimes had been covered up even more effectively in Britain, but the case of the notorious Jimmy Savile, (a nationally known celebrity DJ, who died in 2011) which came to light as summer passed into autumn in 2012, when he was publically exposed to have been a serial child abuser for decades, has finally opened up an abyss that in Britain too, in the depths of its depravity, appears that it may reach to the heights of the political Establishment. Its effects have rumbled on in the following years as well-known entertainers and other figures from the pop industry world – have been arrested one after another, but the political world seemed immune – until this year. The summer saw the Establishment making almost desperate attempts to fend off the accusations as the police finally appeared to show themselves ready to pursue ‘evidence’ wherever it led. The depth of mistrust within the Establishment itself and amongst the public was all too clear when the Home Secretary Theresa May announced on 7.7.2014 that an Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse in England and Wales was to be carried out into so-called ‘historic’ child sex abuse going back decades, but the first two chairs of the inquiry resigned one after the other after doubts were raised as to their suitability and impartiality. In the end, it was clear that no British chairperson from the Establishment was beyond doubt, and Dame Lowell Goddard, a New Zealand High Court judge, had finally to be appointed. She opened the Inquiry on 9.7.2015; it is expected to run for several years. Dame Goddard’s appointment in itself is an indictment of the British legal profession at the highest level, because it shows that no British judge could be found who would take the job or was considered to be suitably impartial.

In July, one of the victims of that ‘historic’ child abuse, Richard Kerr, finally named some of the powerful people who had been involved either in actual abuse of children from the Kincora children’s home in Belfast, Northern Ireland or in covering up such abuse. All of these people are now deceased. They included Leon Brittan, Home Secretary in Margaret Thatcher’s Cabinet; Sir Maurice Oldfield, former head of MI6 (appointed by Thatcher in 1979 to head security and intelligence in Northern Ireland); Sir Anthony Blunt, former Master of the Queen’s Pictures (who was also an agent for MI6 and the  Soviet KGB); Sir Knox Cunningham MP (parliamentary private secretary to Prime Minister Harold Macmillan; Sir Peter Hayman, former deputy director of MI6; Sir Nicholas Fairbairn MP, former Solicitor-General for Scotland, and Sir Cyril Smith MP. Kerr also named  Lord Mountbatten, the Queen’s cousin, who was Prince Charles’ beloved ‘mentor’ and chief of the General Staff 1959-65; he was assassinated by the IRA in 1979. “The Kincora story in a nutshell? It’s about people in power who tried to use boys like myself to gain leverage over others for political reasons during the Troubles” – Richard Kerr (6) In other words, for political blackmail.

But that is only the surface motive. Underneath is the question of why the abuse of children, especially boys, has been so widespread in the upper echelons of British society. One reason for this is surely the malign influence of classical education in British ‘public’ boarding schools (which in Britain today are not ‘public’ at all in the normal meaning of that word, but refer exclusively to elite, private schools)  notably, the influence of the ancient Greek idea that love between an adult male and an adolescent boy was superior to relations between adult males and females; women were  deemed incapable of intelligent thought and responsible citizenship. In ancient Greece such homosexual relations were not supposed to be extended to pre-pubescent boys and were supposed to focus on aesthetics and communion of spirit between older men and adolescents as a means of educating adolescents to become good citizens. But human desire and lust being what they are and were, it was inevitable that, given this socially sanctioned Greek attitude towards relations with adolescents, some men, both in Greece and in other European cultures in later centuries, would be drawn by their appetites to want to cross the puberty boundary and indulge themselves with children (the Romans by contrast, looked down on what they called ‘the Greek vice’). This would then all too easily descend into the abuse of the innocent. It has invariably happened over the centuries, in both East (e.g. Tibet) and West, in male-only environments such as monasteries. The 17th century philosopher John Locke, in referring to the all-male Public Schools and the classical curriculum available at them, wondered why parents “think it worthwhile to hazard [their] son’s innocence and virtue for a little Greek and Latin” and felt that “such a mixture of rudeness and ill-turned confidence that those misbecoming and disingenuous ways of shifting in the world” that were characteristic of boarding schools “must be unlearned and all the tincture washed out again to make way for better principles and such manners as make a truly worthy man.” (7) Writing in Therapy Today, Nick Duffel, who went to boarding school himself and now runs the group Boarding School Survivors for damaged ex-boarders has written: “The majority [of British leaders] have boarded at our famous public schools and embody a recognisable veneer of confidence, linked with the ability to suggest sincerity while disregarding feelings and bullying others at work.” (8) These traits have long been recognised in Britain as some of the main results of a ‘public school’ education. They start when the child is artificially removed from the home and the care of its own family:

Even when not mistreated, being left in the care of strangers is traumatic… A shell is formed to protect the vulnerable self from emotion that cannot be processed. Whilst appearing to conform to the system, a form of unconscious splitting is acquired as a means of keeping the true self hidden… The child then makes no emotional demands but also no longer recognises the need for intimacy. The self begins to become inaccessible; ‘Boarding School Syndrome’ develops. The syndrome starts to fester on Day 1; there is loneliness, dejection. But boarders learn to be stoic: they pull themselves up by their bootstraps and take it all on the chin. More potent BSS symptoms appear decades later, when strategies once adopted to survive boarding school become maladaptive. BSS sufferers have problems with relationships, problems with intimacy, depression…The men especially are often very closed-off emotionally… They get on with the job, and so on. But they never talk about their feelings. (9)(emphasis TB)

Secrecy in Britain
But an even deeper level to this whole nexus of issues surrounding child abuse and the British Establishment is that of the concern of that Establishment for secrecy in so many areas of life. This has come to affect British culture as a whole over the centuries. It is hard to identify the roots of this particular national trait. Other cultures, such as the Russians and the Japanese, are also secretive, but in different ways. Whereas all Russians knew about the KGB and its infamous headquarters, until the mid-1990s, the British secret services (MI5, MI6) pretended that they themselves didn’t exist; no-one knew of their offices, and the government refused to speak of them. As long ago as 1836 Henry Taylor wrote in the journal The Statesman: “A secret may be sometimes best kept by keeping the secret of its being secret.”  In Boarder or Day Boy, Bernard Porter notes that “… Not only are we [British] secretive, we are secretive about how secretive we are. We aren’t allowed to know, and don’t on the whole seem to care, what is being kept from us.”(10) Clive Ponting has written: A powerful and persistent culture of secrecy – reflecting the basic assumption that good government is closed government [the very symbol of the British Parliament is, after all, the portcullis (!) – a mediaeval device intended to deny enemies  entry to a town or castle - TB] and the public should only be allowed to know what the government decides they should know – was carried over from the nineteenth century and refined in the twentieth century when it was given statutory backing through Britain’s formidable secrecy laws (11). The most formidable of these was the Official Secrets Act of 1911, which was introduced to address the alleged issue of German spies in the run-up to the First World War. The Secret Services (later MI5 and MI6) had been spawned two years earlier at a time of maximum Anglo-German tensions and growing, largely Press-stoked, hyperbolae about a coming war. (12)

The aristocracy that ruled Britain for centuries had always had to keep their secrets well-hidden from the servants, which was often not so easy, but in 1717 the culture of secrecy in Britain received a considerable boost when four Freemasonic lodges came together in London to found United Grand Lodge, which soon became the national headquarters of British Freemasonry, another all-male coterie making for secrecy, and another institution that has tried to pretend that it hardly exists and has no influence on national life. Yet it has pervaded British culture for 300 years and has included amongst its brethren countless members of the elite, including royalty, the political Establishment, the police, military, the legal profession, business and academia. Although it leaves out half the population – women (13) – its membership straddles the social classes, and this social range, one would imagine, would therefore make Freemasonry an excellent and most fitting subject for plays, films, TV series, comedy sketches and so on, but no: it has been almost utterly absent from such media -  out of sight and therefore out of mind. The mainstream news have neither commented on it  nor investigated it. Anglo-American historiography hardly refers to it and suggests it is no more significant than membership of a golf club. The question of the influence of Freemasonry, however, is rather like the debate over the influence of advertising. If it were not useful and efficacious, no-one would have got involved with it or spent time and money on it. Rudolf Steiner, for one, was convinced that Freemasonry, and not only in Britain, had a very great deal to do with plans for the First World War. (14)

“For nothing is secret that shall not be made manifest…”
Steiner spoke about seven Time Spirits (Zeitgeister), spiritual Beings who preside, one after the other, over spans of several hundred years of human history. He stated that humanity is now living through the Age of Michael, which began in 1879 and will last for another 300 years or so. A key characteristic of this age, as of previous Michael Ages (the last was c.600-c.250 BC;  according to Steiner, the influence of these Beings on the earth and human affairs recurs over repeated cycles of time), is the shining of the sunlight of knowledge, a true spiritualised intelligence, which is brought into our earthly reality through the spread of new ideas and insight and also notions of “openness and transparency”, and radical social changes that result from all this.(15) “Openness and transparency” happen to have become two current common demands in modern life, particularly since the 1960s and events such as the assassinations of the Kennedy brothers in the USA and of Martin Luther King – events about which there was widespread public suspicion that the truth was being suppressed by the Establishment. As Christ says in the Gospel of St. Luke: For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither anything hid, that shall not be known and come abroad (8:17) and Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops (12:3) In 2000 Robert B. Stinnett’s book Day of Deceit revealed that President Roosevelt had known all about the coming Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor well before it happened, and was thus responsible for the deaths of some 2471 Americans and for the scapegoating of Admiral Kimmel and Lt. General Walter Short. The A-bombs were dropped because America had entered the war against Japan after Pearl Harbor, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt presented the Pearl Harbor attack as a complete surprise, “a day that will live in infamy”. We now know that Roosevelt lied to the American people and to the world as a means to get the USA involved in the  World War.

The Second World War was an evil alchemical product formed out of the crucible that was the First World War. That First World War could have been stopped at Christmas 1916/17 – before Germany resorted to unrestricted submarine warfare (1 Feb.1917) and before the Russian February Revolution on 23 Feb. 1917 (8 March in the Gregorian calendar). In 2004 the British people learned that on 30 December 1916, at the very crucial time when war and peace hung in the balance, the Germans having offered peace and the Americans having offered to mediate,  the Czarina’s adviser, Grigori Rasputin, who had always been against the war, was actually killed by a bullet through the forehead fired by a British MI6 agent, Oswald Rayner, and not by the bungling efforts of the degenerate Russian Prince Felix Yusupov and his friends, as we had been told by the Press and by historians for over 80 years. Yusupov (1887-1967) had studied at Oxford before the war, was a member of the university’s elite Bullingdon Club and had become a Freemason while at Oxford. He also developed in Oxford his lifelong friendship with… Oswald Rayner (1888-1961). (16)

These are examples of nations being confronted by their historical conscience. Two others may be cited from exactly 100 years ago, which played a significant role in the First World War– the sinking by a German U-boat of the liner Lusitania on 7 May 1915 (it was carrying many American citizens when the US was still neutral) and the execution of the British nurse Edith Cavell on 12 October 1915 by a German firing squad; she had been found guilty of facilitating the escape of some 200 Allied soldiers. The British government put out a statement on 30 July 1982 when private divers were about to go down to the wreck of the Lusitania; it was reported in the national press as follows: “Successive British governments have always maintained that there was [sic] no munitions on board the Lusitania (and that the Germans were therefore in the wrong to claim to the contrary as an excuse for sinking the ship)… The facts are that there is a large amount of ammunition in the wreck, some of which is highly dangerous. The Treasury have decided that they must inform the salvage company of this fact in the interests of the safety of all concerned. Although there have been rumours in the press that the previous denial of the presence of munitions was untrue, this would be the first acknowledgement of the facts by HMG.” (17). The person who bore the ultimate responsibility for the safety of the Lusitania was Winston Churchill, First Sea Lord. “A week before the sinking of the Lusitania, Winston Churchill wrote to Walter Runciman, the President of the Board of Trade, stating that it is ‘most important to attract neutral shipping to our shores, in the hope especially of embroiling the United States with Germany.’”(18) Historian and former British naval intelligence officer Patrick Beesly has written: “I am reluctantly driven to the conclusion that there was a conspiracy deliberately to put the Lusitania at risk in the hope that even an abortive attack on her would bring the United States into the war. Such a conspiracy could not have been put into effect without Winston Churchill’s express permission and approval.”(19) 100 years on (!), the British government has yet to release some documents about the Lusitania’s last days; these include some critical signals passed between the Admiralty and Lusitania. As with the sinking of the Lusitania, British propaganda made the most of the execution of Nurse Cavell, but we now know that brave though she undoubtedly was, she was not merely the selfless martyr that British propaganda made her out to be. She never denied she had helped soldiers escape, but understandably, she never admitted that she was also an agent for the secret service, which it is now clear she was, as revealed by a leading academic expert on British undercover operations and former Special Operations Executive officer in World War II, Prof. M.R.D. Foot (20).

The Refugee Crisis
Just as the child abuse issue arose again this summer in Britain as from the culture’s lower historical depths it was pushed from the headlines by a very different crisis that seemed to come from outside the country, as thousands of refugees fleeing war and social breakdown in the Middle East clamoured to get into Britain at the French port of Calais, and this then gave way to an even greater crisis as refugees began to pour into the continent, heading mainly for Germany and Sweden. But here too, although the media did not want to acknowledge it, one could see that this crisis was of our making. Not only does the destruction of Syria have more distant historical roots in British and French foreign policy going back exactly 100 years  to the secret Sykes-Picot Treaty of 1915-1916, when the two countries planned to dismember and occupy large parts of the Ottoman Empire (Syria for France; Palestine and Mesopotamia for Britain), it also has more recent roots in Anglo-American aims to undermine Syria which is a major ally of both Iran and Russia. While giving aid to Syrian refugees in camps in Syria and in neighbouring countries, Britain and America have looked on while America’s proxies in the region, notably Qatar and Saudi Arabia have supported, armed, and financed the insurgents, Syrian and foreign, that have been attacking Syria like a bunch of wolves throwing themselves at a bear so that what only six years ago was a functioning, stable, relatively progressive society by the standards of the region is now in many areas a chaotic horror. The West is actually attacking Russia indirectly, through the onslaught on Syria, as it was attacking Russia through the Ukraine crisis last year, first by installing a new regime in Kiev through an illegal western-backed coup and then by imposing punitive sanctions on Russia. As summer has given way to autumn, we are now hearing voices in the West calling for direct military intervention i.e. for more war, in order to “save the refugees”. These siren voices claim that only getting rid of Assad and stopping the war will end Europe’s refugee crisis. But can we in the West not realise that it is our elites, our governments, acting in our name, that have destroyed so much of  Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and now Yemen by our anti-Russian and anti-Iranian policies? Can we in Europe realise that it is our elites’ subservience to the USA that is leading us ever deeper towards conflict with Russia as well as damaging our economies? Have we the ability and the will to stop our elites from leading us down this destructive path?

In becoming one with nature in summer, if we stay awake to these processes, we can also become ‘enlightened’ by the qualities of Uriel to see and judge our own faults, to exercise historical conscience. But the threefoldness that was hinted at in the Uriel Imagination (the descending light above, the rising elements from below and the human soul in between) becomes reality for us in autumn when, although  nature around us dies, we do not allow ourselves to ‘fall’, to die inwardly with it – when we do not become depressed in soul and spirit by the outer dying of nature’s body but inwardly rise above it. Michaelmas is the festival of the will, when the iron in the meteor showers of late summer have helped to fortify our courage, the iron in our blood, in our souls. We come into movement; we take action. Understandably, we seek to help the refugees; our hearts go out to fellow human beings in distress. Governments argue over how many refugees to take in. But why should only Syrian refugees from war come to Europe? Why not Afghans (who have experienced nearly 40 years of war, 15 of them caused directly by the West), why not Pakistanis (destabilised by western attacks on Afghanistan, including the use of ‘drones’, i.e. unmanned aerial vehicles with lethal armaments), why not Iraqis, Kurds and Yezidis (obvious reasons), why not Libyans (again obvious), why not Yemenis (whose country is currently being destroyed by the proxies of Iran and the West) why not those in the Caucasus? Are the German and Swedish elites willing to take ALL who wish to come from these countries? If so, then tens of millions might want to come.

No, this is not the solution. The real cause of the refugee crisis is of course the war, not just the West’s proxy war against Assad and against Russia’s interests in Syria, but against Iranian influence anywhere, and for Western control, direct or indirect, of the Central Asian ‘Heartland’ (the Mackinder thesis of 1904, continued by the American geostrategist Zbigniew Brzezinski and his allies, that I have written about in previous articles in New View), and all of this is intended to ensure that world domination by “the West”  continues and is not unduly threatened by Russia-Iran-China. This is why the war is going on. But at the same time, playing into the actions of Russia-Iran-China are powerful, decadent forces from the past  – Russian Orthodoxy, ‘Confucian Communism’ and Shi’ite Mullah-bound fundamentalism. The real, long-term solution to the refugee crisis is not to encourage millions to come to Europe, as the German and Swedish elites seem to be doing, but for the West to stop its own aggressive wars, both direct and indirect, so that the peoples of the Middle East and Central Asia can lead their lives in peace in their own homelands, which is actually what most of them would no doubt prefer to do. That will require the peoples of Europe (the British included, of course) and North America to take action to stop western aggression – within our own souls and by our own governments. Let Steiner have the last word, from 13 October  1923 (21): Michael who receives from Uriel the thought-forces, and through the power of cosmic iron, out of which his sword is forged, transforms these thought-forces into forces of will, so that in man they become the forces of movement.


(1) GA 229 in Rudolf Steiner’s Collected Works.
(2) The leader of the Manhattan Project that developed the first A-bombs, J. Robert Oppenheimer said in 1965 that on seeing the explosion of the light of the first A-bomb explosion on 16 July 1945 he thought of a verse in the Bhagavad Gita, the spiritual text of ancient India, which speaks of “the radiance of a thousand suns [that] burst at once into the sky… like the splendour of the mighty one”.
(5) http://www.isgp.nl/Belgian_X_dossiers_of_the_Dutroux_affair_v1.1.php
(6) http://www.exaronews.com/articles/5608/richard-kerr-names-powerful-men-who-covered-up-kincora
(7) John Locke, Some Thoughts Concerning Education: And Of the Conduct of the Understanding  (Hackett, 1996) p.46.
(8) http://www.vice.com/en_uk/read/boarding-school-syndrome
(9) See n. 6.
(10) http://www.lrb.co.uk/v21/n14/bernard-porter/boarder-or-day-boy
(11) Clive Ponting, Secrecy in Britain (1990) p.1
(12) For the extent to which this was indeed an artificially engineered paranoia about spies and invasion scares, see A.J.A. Morris, The Scaremongers (1984)
(13) There are a few lodges for women but in essence Freemasonry has remained an all-male affair. For the esoteric background on its origins, see Rudolf Steiner, The Temple Legend – Freemasonry and Related Occult Movements (GA 93)
(14) See R. Steiner, The Karma of Untruthfulness Vols. 1 and 2 (GA 173, 174)
(15) Michael, as ‘the Sun archangel’, has in the West been regarded as one of the most important archangels associated with human development. Western esotericism therefore sees him as presiding over a quarter of the yearly seasonal round (which is dependent on the Sun) and, since the Sun is traditionally one of the seven celestial, or ‘planetary’ bodies  associated with human development, Michael also presides over a seventh of the cycle of the Time Spirits’ rulerships. See R. Steiner, The Archangel Michael – His Mission and Ours (Anthroposophic Press, 1994)
(16) See Andrew Cook, To Kill Rasputin – The Life and Death of Grigori Rasputin (2005) p.79
(18) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RMS_Lusitania
(19) See n.15.
(20) Cited in Nicholas Rankin, Churchill’s Wizards – The British Genius for Deception 1914-1945 (2008) pp. 52-54
(21) R. Steiner, Four Seasons and the Archangels – The Working Together of the Four Archangels (GA 229)