Tag Archives: Ahriman

Spiritual Tasks of the Homemaker – Part 7

In this last section on the “bodies” or realms of the home, we will look into the spirituality of the home space, and how working in the home is a transformative process. (pp. 16-20)


The most important level in the home is that of spirituality, for it completes the home organism. Every home has a certain spirituality:

A certain tone is established through one’s religion and philosophy of life. . . . How does a family live with the elements of culture? How are questions of knowledge, art, the religious life and human relationships handled?

Each member of the household has a guardian angel, who work along with deceased family members within the home, just as the elemental beings of the etheric realm do. Through working with the processes of the home, the homemaker becomes aware of these etheric and spiritual helpers, and so gains a new kind of consciousness. We can also begin to become aware of the two great powers that work in opposition to unbalance us: Lucifer and Ahriman.


Luciferic forces lead us away from the earth and incarnate consciousness, dissolving us up into the clouds and away from daily obligations into chaos.

Ahrimanic forces seek to bind us to the earth, into materialism, dogma, and sterility.

The homemaker keeps these forces in balance by developing the ego, the individuality, the true sense of humanity. Balance must also be maintained within the home itself:

chaos –> overtaxing the etheric body (which can lead to illness)
(but abundance –> inspiration)

absolutism –> soul poverty
(but emptiness –> imagination)


It can easily be thought that anthroposophists are some sort of modern-day Luddites, what with the emphasis on natural materials and the somewhat shunning attitude toward modern technology. However, Rudolf Steiner felt that the true human task was not to refuse the material world but rather to take hold of it with our human spirituality and transform it.

Three elements of the home have been greatly changed through modern technology:

Light: It used to be that light was precious; people were drawn to it. Now we obtain light through the flick of a switch, and a loveless relationship has developed.

Warmth: Until recently, warmth only entered the home by something being burned, and again people gathered around it. This too is now available with little effort and remotely; here too we have a lack of consciousness and feeling.

Power: Labor was once only provided through simple mechanical machines (such as windmills) or through human effort. Now with electricity we have numerous machines around us to do our work. As much as we cannot now do without electricity, we must also develop new ways to compensate for what has been lost. How may this be done?

We have already spoken of the home as the site of process and much non-sensible activity. Another way to look at the home is as an “alchemical laboratory”. Here we again look at the human task as that of grasping the material world and transforming it, which Rudolf Steiner identified as the modern Rosicrucian path. The homemaker seeks to enact this transformation in a balanced way without withdrawing from life; this is the spiritual path of the homemaker.


Next time we will begin to see how this spiritual path is the “point of departure for the new Mysteries.”

Manfred Schmidt-Brabant, The Spiritual Tasks of the Homemaker, Temple Lodge, 1996.

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Spiritual Tasks of the Homemaker – Part 6

And now, the astral realm!


The astral realm relates to the soul life, that of emotions and basic consciousness. In a household, often the “aura” of the space reflects the activities and soul processes of the residents. Don’t some homes radiate welcome and joy, while others are clearly sheltering unhappy people?

Artistic activities are an obvious example of an astral influence, but more important is the sense of humor displayed in the home. Now, by “humor” we mean something fairly specific:

Only someone who can laugh about himself has humour. Laughing at others only is not true humour, but to have humour means to lift oneself above the dichotomies of the world.

When I read this last sentence, I was struck by the word dichotomies. In anthroposophy, the primary dichotomy is that of what we call the “adversarial forces.”

Steiner spoke of Ahriman and Lucifer: the being who wants us to rebuke the spirit and focus solely on the physical world, and the opposite being who wants us to renounce the material and focus solely on the spirit. Steiner places Jesus as the representative of the human being in balance between these forces.

Perhaps we can link these esoteric ideas to humor in this way: if we always laugh at others, we are probably avoiding some sort of realistic picture of our own selves. Perhaps these adversaries are nudging us into superiority or lack of compassion through excessive self-regard, whereas true, healthy humor brings cheerfulness.

Just as there are beings who live in the etheric processes of the household, so other beings work within the astral realm of the home. In ancient Rome, the astral beings of the home were known as penates. These beings are to the home and the family as a whole what guardian angels are to individual human beings, for anything that is formed intentionally as an organism has an angelic helper.


Next time: the spiritual realm of the home.

Manfred Schmidt-Brabant, The Spiritual Tasks of the Homemaker, Temple Lodge, 1996.

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Filed under Anthroposophy, Deep Thoughts, Homemaking