In 1924 - the year before his death in 1925 - Rudolf Steiner was finally in a position to speak about his true work for this lifetime: bringing back a concrete knowledge of Karma and Reincarnation to Christianity and Western Civilization. But this required the foundation of modern spiritual science having been laid before he could offer this more advanced work; this foundation was to been have been brought by another Initiate who failed in his task (becoming too materialistic in his 19th century incarnation), forcing Steiner himself to bring this Spiritual Science for over 20 years before getting to his own core work.
The essence of Steiner’s new impulse regarding knowledge of Karma and Reincarnation was given in a series of lectures in 1924, which have been collected in the 8 volumes titled KARMIC RELATIONSHIPS. These are among the most important of all Steiner’s works.
One of the key moments of the series occurred on July 28, 1924, in what is available today as “Lecture VII: The New Age of Michael” in Karmic Relationships Volume III.
In this lecture Steiner revealed to his audience the deeper karmic background of who they were, and why they had incarnated at this time. He then went further, giving what became known in some circles as the “Michael Prophecy”: that the largest mass incarnation in history of initiates -- persons who usually incarnated with their own soul groups at different times, not all together -- would occur at the end of the 20th century, as a fulfillment of their preparation between Death and Rebirth in the supersensible School of Michael in the Sun sphere.
Below is a short excerpt from this lecture, with emphases added to highlight certain points:
Then there arose under the leadership of Michael something which we may call, as we must use earthly expressions, a supersensible School. What had once been the Michael Mystery — what had been told to the Initiates in the ancient Mysteries of Michael, and must now become different, since the Intelligence had found its way from the cosmos to the earth — all this Michael himself now gathered up, expressing it again with untold significance to those whom he had gathered around him in this School of Michael. For it was a supersensible School of Michael at the beginning of the 15th century. All that once lived as the Michael Mystery in the Sun Mysteries now became alive again in supersensible worlds...
It was pointed out how at the end of the 19th century... Michael himself would once again assume dominion upon the earth. Throughout the intervening time since the age of Alexander, the six other Archangels would have fulfilled their several dominions. Now a new Michael Age would begin. But this new Michael Age must be different from the others. For the other Ages of Michael were such that the Cosmic Intelligence had always expressed itself in the common sphere of humanity. But now, — thus said Michael in supersensible worlds to his pupils, — now in the new Michael Age something quite different would be required.
For what Michael had administered for men through many aeons, pouring it into earthly existence in living inspirations, this had now fallen away from him. But he was to find it again when at the end of the seventies of the 19th century he would begin his new earthly rule. He would find it again at a time when, to begin with, an Intelligence bereft of spirituality had taken root among men...
My dear friends, those who were in that supersensible School of Michael partook in the teachings which I have outlined so very briefly. The teachings they heard were a repetition of what had been taught in the Sun Mysteries since ancient time. They were already a prophecy of what was to be achieved when the new Age of Michael began.
They were an inspired call, a solemn challenge to those who are gathered around Michael, to hurl themselves into his stream and take hold of his true impulse, to the end that Intelligence may once again be united to the being of Michael...
Those who are able to receive Anthroposophy today with true and deep devotion in their hearts — those who are able to unite themselves with Anthroposophy — have within them the impulse, as a result of all they experienced in the supersensible at the beginning of the 15th century and at the beginning of the 19th century, to appear again on earth at the end of the 20th century together with the others who have not yet returned.
By that time anthroposophical spirituality will have prepared for what must then be realised, through the community of them all, namely, for the fuller revelation of all that has been supersensibly prepared...
The Earthly and Spiritual Schools
of Archangel Michael
Now Available Online