The Age of the Conscious Soul

by Nelson Willby

The time is overdue to resume our newsletter.  There has been a long hiatus of silence.  But the times call for an articulate voice to sound forth the state we are in and offer some insight into and a way out of the predicament we find ourselves in today.  Perhaps this is a tall order, but a vital one and one which requires every effort.

Let us begin by considering where we are – where we have reached in the long course of evolution and what level of overall development humanity has attained.  Following the time frame of Rudolf Steiner, we have since the beginning of the 15th C (1413 AD) entered the age of the Conscious Soul which development will continue for a period of 2160 years to the year 3573 AD.  Because of a time lag due to cultural inertia, that is, the time taken for the permeation and absorption by the more sensitive and developed members of humanity to the new impulses – while the preceding soul qualities of the earlier age continue with a momentum that only gradually falls away leaving humanity in a state of transition that for some may be an experience of emptiness.  This is the point we had already reached by the end of the 19th century when three significant events came together bringing the inertial time lag to an end and precipitating the entry into the age of the Consciousness Soul.   These were the ascent of the Archangel Michael to the regency of the rank of Time Spirit of our present age in 1879, the end of the Dark Age – the Kali Yuga in 1899, and the appearance of a world teacher in 1902, Rudolf Steiner, who would elaborate a world view through the first quarter of the 20th century based on the spiritual nature of the human being and offer a methodology for creating a relationship to the Spirit – the world of origins and creative forces.  Since his death in 1925, the world has been fully launched into the New Age of the Consciousness Soul and any attempt to remain embedded still in the past soul condition now becomes a hindering force that serves the opposing powers of darkness.

Thus it is essential to come to understand the nature of this Consciousness Soul.  What are its characteristics, its qualities and how can we implement them?  Since these capacities of the Consciousness Soul are a potential in the soul of all humanity, if they are not taken up consciously by the human being today they can be exploited and seized upon by the dark forces for their own use.  In this way humanity is denied them, kept back in the old soul forces and in danger of being controlled by them.

In what I call operation awakening, we must come to recognise that we are living in a network of lies – greater today than ever before because the power of the dark forces which author and sponsor these lies is very great today.  Each lie is like a hole in the ground we stand on.  And when there are enough of them they tend to coalesce as our support crumbles and falls away – the lie can never support us, because lies are a negation of reality and we are then endangered of plunging into an abyss.

So let us consider the aspects of the Consciousness Soul which from now on let us call the Spiritual Soul, the designation Rudolf Steiner preferred.

True Individuality:  “Have the courage to make use of your own brain.”  -- The motto of enlightenment was penned by the German philosopher and proponent of the enlightenment, Immanuel Kant more than 200 years ago.  What does it mean to make use of one’s own brain or mind?  To think and act for oneself and through one’s own insight.  To do this – to do one’s own thinking requires research and knowledge – activation of the will to know.  The quest for knowledge becomes a fundamental requirement to become a knowing-doer.  Anthroposophy would provide this path: a path of knowledge leading the Spirit in Man to the Spirit in the Universe.  The path of knowledge is made up of thoughts and ideas and the perceptions based on them enabling us to see behind the outer façade of appearances.  In other words, the sources of the outer mineral world – its true nature is gradually revealed.  One thus becomes proof against deceptions and illusions.  To quote from an esoteric lesson given by Rudolf Steiner in Berlin 24 October, 1905:

I must search everywhere as to how I can love. God is in all things, but the divinity is something I must first search for.  I am not straight away to love the external aspect of a being or thing.  For this is deceptive and I could easily be led into error.  But behind all illusion lies truth, and truth one can always love.  And if the heart seeks the love of truth in all beings, then there lives the Spirit in the heart. Such love is the garment that the soul should ever wear.  Then the soul itself weaves the divine into things.

On the other hand, the love of our ordinary consciousness and its hereditary dictate leads to the detailed preoccupation with the outer façade of the world and thereby the grave risk we incur of falling into error and becoming a prey to the lie.


The way to avoid this danger is to quicken an active thinking, an independent thinking for oneself which may mean, if necessary, to stand alone in a minority of one.  I stand with my feet on my own ground and venerate the truth with all my heart.    Thus will we come to realise our own true “I” principle – who we are – more and more as we develop our individual thinking.  This is a thinking which becomes an ever truer expression of our “I” principle.  It is a “clair-thinking” which begins to live and to take wing capable of seeing beyond the surface, no longer bound to our physical bodies, to our brain.  Because it is not bound to the brain, it is a thinking which is beyond detection by any brain scanner such as is being developed today by neuroscience to read people’s intentions! (See the front page of the Guardian, 9 February 2007)  Such thinking belongs to the development of our Spiritual Soul.


To us it is given

At no stage ever to rest.

They live and they strive the active

Human beings from life unto life

As plants grow from springtime

To springtime – ever aloft,

Through error upward to truth,

Through fetters upward to freedom,

Through illness and death

Upward to beauty, to health and to life.

Rudolf Steiner