The Future Culture of Divine Sophia 


Harrie Salman

The spiritual teachers Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925) and Peter Deunov (1864-1944) have spoken about the next culture in terms of love and brotherhood. They located the centre of this culture in the Slavic countries. More specifically the new culture is supposed to have as its core area Northern Russia, the Baltic countries and Finland. From there it will spread over the world. It is usually called the Slavic culture, but we may also call it the Sophia culture, because its basic qualities will be more feminine than in our present culture (the 5th post-Atlantic culture) and because the lands in Northern Russia were dedicated to the cathedral of Holy Sophia, the wisdom of God, in Novgorod. In the later Middle Ages they were known as the Land of Holy Sophia. In this article we will bring together some visions of this coming Sophianic culture.

Steiner – the culture of the developing spirit-self

One of the tasks of Anthroposophy is to prepare the next culture that according to Rudolf Steiner will begin around the year 3573. This culture will be characterised by inspirations from the constellation of Aquarius. Inspirations from the stars need time to become effective in a new culture. This time lag is according to Steiner 1199 years. The beginning of the astrological age of Aquarius is in 2374.

Steiner connects the sequence of cultures with the development of our etheric, psychic and spiritual bodies. In our present culture we develop our consciousness soul, and in the coming culture our spirit-self will begin to develop. This spiritual body can be understood as the transformation of our astral body that is brought about by our I. The spirit-self is the higher self of man, known as manas in Theosophy. Its full development will only be reached in the next planetary stage of the Earth.

By learning to control our urges, sensations and desires, our astral body will be ruled by our I and gradually be transformed into what was called in esoteric Christianity the ‘Virgin Sophia'. This is the purified soul that can receive the individualized Holy Spirit, which is the spirit-self. The culture of Holy Sophia is in this sense the culture in which people will purify their souls into vessels for their spirit-self. We may also call them ‘Grail vessels'. This spiritual self is a manifestation of the spiritual world within our I. Its further development leads to our awakening to a higher spiritual consciousness.

In this future culture of spiritual awakening, whose first beginnings are already there, according to Rudolf Steiner, natural etheric clairvoyance will be widely spread. People will be more consciously connected with their angels. Their society will be different, no power will be exercised over them, so that we can speak of a condition of ‘anarchy' in a positive sense. People will rule themselves. According to Rudolf Steiner the community of Philadelphia (brotherly love), mentioned as the 6th community of the Book of the Apocalypse, is an image of the next culture.

On October 9, 1918 Rudolf Steiner spoke about the activity of the angelic world in our astral bodies.[2] The angels are weaving into them three kinds of images that will lead to the new social forms of the future. The first images will provoke a feeling of unhappiness when others around us are not happy. This awakens an impulse of brotherhood. The second kind of images will make it possible that in the future everybody will see something divine in every other human being. We will see in others the hidden image of God. This will turn every encounter into a religious act, a sacrament, that will in the future replace the institutionalised religions. Freedom of religious life will be the consequence of this experience. And the third group of images will enable us to experience in our thinking the spiritual nature of reality.

These three results of the angelic activities are essential for an understanding of the new culture – brotherhood, religious freedom and a spiritual approach to reality. Steiner however warned that we should become conscious of these activities. Otherwise the images will be placed in our etheric bodies and will work in an instinctive way. This will lead to the opposite of brotherhood, as in nationalism, to the development of materialistic medicines and to an egoistic use of machines based on an instinctive skill of creating harmonizing vibrations to make them work.

When we will follow the weaving of these images with our consciousness we will be guided by them to the next culture. We can do this by developing an interest in other people that is deeper than usual in our culture, so that we may receive a vision of the secret of what the other person is, by understanding that true Christianity will lead to absolute freedom of religion, and by developing an insight into the spiritual nature of reality. We must pursue our path to the new culture in spite of the spiritual beings that want to lead us astray and keep us from working with the images of the angels.

The Russian folk soul carries its own images that have shaped the culture of Old Russia – the image of Mother Earth, that shows us that we are members of the family of mankind, in which all our brothers and sisters deserve to be happy (as in the first image of the angels); the image of the Invisible City of Kitezh, which is an image of the society of the future; and the image of Holy Sophia, the Wisdom of God, to whom the important churches of Kiev and Novgorod were dedicated.

In a lecture held on November 3, 1918 Rudolf Steiner pointed to the special mood that lives in the Russian soul and that is essential for the formation of the new culture. He called this an ‘invincible Grail mood' that will be the foundation for the Russian future and its contribution to the spirit-self culture. In this mood we connect heaven and earth, by transforming our earthly reality and raising it up to receive the spirit from above. The Russian nation has the mission to work on this religious Grail ‘system' so that it can become a ‘cultural ferment' all over the world in the new culture.[3]

In this lecture Steiner differentiated the nations of Europe according to the basic forms of their spiritual life – as a ‘nation of the lodges' in the West, as a ‘nation of the churches' in Central Europe and as a ‘nation of Christ' in the East. Among these nations Christ has been experienced in different ways. In the East he was experienced as Spirit, as a spiritual being, in Central Europe as a King and in the West as a Teacher. Russia has become this Christ-nation through a process of preparation that started in the 9th century, in which the Russian soul develops special qualities. In this process a territory was created where people kept their souls open for the continuous influx of the impulse of Christ, for the ongoing presence of the ‘breath of Christ'. He remains present in their souls as ‘an inner aura that permeates the thoughts and feelings of this nation', as Steiner said in a lecture of November 2, 1918.[4]

In his book The spiritual origins of Eastern Europe and the future mysteries of the Holy Grail Sergei Prokofieff described this Grail mood in terms of three qualities – the willingness to make sacrifices, patience and compassion. These are essential qualities of the Russian soul which are visible in Russian life and literature. They shine through the outer appearance of souls that can however be darkened by the strong forces of the Russian double, the shadow of the true Russian being.

In another context Steiner spoke about a transformation of the human soul that will enable Christ to work through human beings. Then he will work as a teacher, a farmer, a medical doctor in social life. We can imagine how people of the new culture will realise the Christ impulse of love in daily life so that Christ can work in such a way. In their communities the people of the next culture will ask others to help them carry their personal karma. In early Christianity this was done through a public confession of the transgressions of the members of the congregation. Only later the personal confession to a priest was introduced. In the past Russian peasants were used to confess their sins to Mother Earth while they were lying prostrated on their fields. In the next culture people may ask the help of others to transform their karma.

This co-carrying of karma leads to taking on a part of the negative karma of other people. It can take place in social life, but it may also be a decision taken before we were born. We can exchange (part of) our positive karma with a fellow human being who is too heavily loaded by his/her negative karma. In a lecture of November 11, 1922 Steiner also spoke about the possibility that before we descend into the new physical body that we have prepared, we can give this body to another person whom we have heavily damaged in an earlier life, in order to harmonise our karma. [5]

The next culture will not only be a culture of love and brotherhood. There will also be conflicts with people who remain stuck in their egoism and refuse to take care of others. In the future these conflicts that already are visible on a global level will escalate into a war of all against all, as Rudolf Steiner predicted.

Anthroposophy prepares the next culture from Central Europe by opening new spiritual dimensions of reality. Central European anthroposophy has a rather mental character and in Russia it will be ensouled. Russians will bring the fire and the warmth of the Slavic soul to the spiritual future of Europe. They have to “ensoul the spirit”, “breathe soul into the spirit”, Steiner told Russian anthroposophists in Helsinki on April 11, 1912.[6]

Peter Deunov – the new culture of the Slavic people (the spiritual Israel)

A second preparation for the new culture comes from Bulgaria. In 1898 the Bulgarian spiritual teacher Peter Deunov read a message with the title A Call to My Nation. This call came from the folk spirit of the Bulgarian nation, who had presented himself to Deunov as Elohil and as the guide of this nation and of the other Slavic nations to the new culture. His preparatory work had started in the 9th century.[7] Deunov committed himself to Elohil's mission and began to work on the spiritual education of the Bulgarian nation. This work radiated out into many other countries, including Russia.

Deunov can be regarded as the younger brother of Steiner and his School of the White Brotherhood as a parallel school to what Steiner developed in his spiritual school. Steiner's teaching concentrates on the spiritualisation of thinking, while Deunov starts with the purification of the human heart. Their basic views on man and the cosmos are very similar, as well as their message on the Second Coming of Christ. On March 22, 1914 Deunov announced the beginning of the Second Coming on that particular day. He also declared that it was also the beginning of the New Age, which is at the same time the Age of the returning Christ and the Age of Aquarius.

According to Elohil the Slavic people are predestined to prepare the ground for the New Age of Christ. Following his revelation, Peter Deunov was the first teacher to define the next culture as the Slavic culture. In his teaching, which he called the Teaching of Christ, Deunov wanted to show the way to this new culture. In 1944, the last year of his life, he lived in a village near Sofia with a group of disciples. Excerpts of his talks have been collected in the book The Wellspring of Good, of which various editions exist. In this book, in the section on The Slavic Nation, we hear him saying:

“The Slavic people will bring something new. They come now to create the new culture. In a sense, they are now the spiritual Israel.”

“In general, Western people have a developed intellect. In the Latin people, the feelings and heart are developed. The Slavic people now carry the power of the soul – Love. They are the people of Love for humankind. They carry the culture of Brotherhood.”

“One of the great characteristics of the Slavic nations is self-sacrifice.”

“A beautiful quality of the Slavic nation is altruism.”

“All Slavic people need to unite into one. After the unification of the Slavs, the whole world will unite. The future race will unite all. The Slavs will introduce a spiritual element into the world – that we may become as brothers. Their mission is the unification of all nations.”[8]

On different aspects of the new culture Peter Deunov said in the aforementioned book:

“All musicians and singers will be inspired in the future. Their music will be able to cause the total transformation in the fallen souls and will awaken the impulse for science in those who have never desired to study.”

“The future culture is of the heart. For this reason we need to be attentive to our hearts and nourish them.”

“In the future order, money will be a servant of Love, and power will serve Love.”

“New organs are forming in the human brain for the man of the future.”

“A new Knowledge, a new culture is coming into the world. I call it the culture of Divine Love, Wisdom and Truth. It will teach people how to live.”

“An illuminated epoch is coming. The idea of brotherhood will come into realization. This Divine Spring will come gradually, not all at once. People will change without noticing.”

“The new which is coming into the world is to work out of Love.”

“Everyone will work without being paid. This will come in the future.”

“The day will come when money will go out of circulation.”

“The Slavic people will serve as the engraftment of the sixth race” (the people of the new cycle of seven cultures that will come after the current cycle of seven post-Atlantic cultures).

Vidar – the philosophy of the spirit-self culture

In the 9th century Swedish Vikings rowed into the waterways of the Finnic and Slavic lands of Eastern Europe. They established a new order with the force of their I-consciousness and created the early Russian state in the territory between Novgorod in the north and Kiev in the south. This Germanic intervention created conditions for the development of Russian society prior to the invasion of the Mongolian hordes in the 13th century. Here we see a third force working for the preparation of the new culture.

It is a source of inspiration that works in a more hidden way than the inspirations from Central European Anthroposophy and the Bulgarian School of the White Brotherhood. In the future the consciousness of Northern Europe will again be necessary for the further development of Russia. Already in 1703 imperator Peter the Great opened a window to Europe by founding the town of St. Petersburg in a territory where Finnic people were living.

In his lectures on the mission of the individual folk souls, Rudolf Steiner spoke about a future task of Vidar, the leading archangel of Scandinavia, in the second part of the epoch of the consciousness soul (ca. 2400-3500). It is the task to make the philosophy of the culture of the spirit-self, that was already prepared by the Russian philosopher Vladimir Solovyov and his contemporaries, available for mankind. On June 17, 1910 Steiner said: Vidar is “specially capable of bringing about that which could not yet be given in the first half of the fifth post-Atlantean age of civilization but which may still play its part in the second, viz., the spiritual element which we pointed out as being prophetically germinal in the Slavic philosophy and national sentiment. While this was in a state of preparation the first half of the fifth post-Atlantean age of civilization had to be passed through. All that could be attained then to begin with was a very sublimated spiritual perception in the form of philosophy. This must then be grasped and permeated by the forces of the people, so that it may become the common possession of mankind, and become comprehensible in all parts of our earth-life.”[9]

Daniil Andreev – the culture of the Rose of the World

Russian culture has a strong feminine aspect that goes back to the veneration of Mother Earth. In the Russian Orthodox tradition that was strongly influenced from Bulgaria, the cult of Sophia, the Holy Wisdom of God, became very important. She was considered to have incarnated in the Virgin Maria and the cathedrals of Kiev and Novgorod were dedicated to her. In 19th and 20th centuries this feminine quality appeared in Russian philosophy. Vladimir Solovyov was the founder of the Russian teaching of Sophiology, the study of Holy Wisdom. with whom a tradition of religious philosophy began that strongly influenced the theologians Pavel Florensky and Sergei Bulgakov, the anthroposophist Valentin Tomberg and the poet Daniil Andreev.

Among these Sophiologists only Daniil Andreev (1906-1959) gave a vision of the culture of the future. Tomberg referred to it as the ‘Eternal Israel', comparing those who are preparing it to the Israelites on their way from Egypt to Palestine. Andreev is known for his visionary book The Rose of the World, written in a Soviet prison between 1950 and 1957, edited after his release and published in 1991.[10] It describes his journeys in the spiritual world in which he was guided by the writers Michail Lermontov and Fyodor Dostoevsky and by the poet Alexander Blok, who explained to him the structure of the spiritual world and the spiritual history of Russia.

Andreev describes that the 19 great cultures have an inspiring center in the spiritual world, called a zatomis.the home of the enlightened and pious souls. The Grail temple of Monsalvat is the zatomis of North-Western Europe and the English speaking world, while the spiritual center of Russia is called Heavenly Russia (or Kitezh). Inside this center is the Heavenly Kremlin, where half a million enlightened souls abide. Here a new temple is being built for the ‘Great Feminine Essence', the ‘Great Feminine Monad', called Zventa Sventana (which means the Brightest of Bright, the Holiest of Holy). According to Andreev, she descended from the highest realms of the spiritual world to its lower realms at the end of the 18th century. She will be born in Heavenly Russia in an ‘ethereal' human form created by Yarosvet and Navna, two elevated spiritual beings guiding Russian culture.

This book also contains a description of the new world religion, called the ‘Rose of the World', that will unite the existing religions and found a global spiritual culture inspired by Zventa Sventana. Andreev imagines that her coming to Heavenly Russia and the creation of this universal religion, which are both predestined, will happen in the coming two centuries, when mankind is ready for it. It will transform the society into a religious community, realizing thereby the so-called ‘Russian Idea' of the writer Dostoevski and philosopher Solovyov.

The new feminine culture will encompass all aspects of social life, unite the nations of the world in a brotherhood, diffuse material well-being, raise the standards of morality and culture, create a cult of the Holy Virgin-Mother and of Zventa Sventana, educate people as persons with noble qualities, and transform the planet into a garden. This will be a ‘Golden Age', as Andreev wrote. The main goal of the Rose of the World will be to save as many souls as possible from the danger of spiritual enslavement by the coming Antichrist.

Andreev expected the coming of this Anti-Logos at some moment in the 23rd century. He will destroy the Rose of the World and when his evil rule as global leader of more than a century shall be brought to an end by Christ, only a few dozens true believers will remain. After several decades the Second Coming will take place in the 24th century, Andreev thought. Then Christ will rule over a new epoch together with Zventa Sventana, who will appear like the Cosmic Virgin from the Apocalypse of St. John.

The Rose of the World is a prophetic book that looks forward to a future feminine culture in which Zventa Sventana can be seen as a manifestation of Holy Sophia. Andreev was a seer, but also a heir to a tradition of religious philosophy in which the topics of Holy Sophia, the Antichrist, the Second Coming of Christ played a significant role. His apocalyptic visions created a story that captivated the minds of millions of Russians. We cannot remain under their fascination, but we must investigate their truth and meaning, and see if they fit into our image of the future.

Robert Powell proposed a time frame for the descent of Zventa Sventana to the Earth, which he takes as an historical fact that according to Andreev took place around 1800. Powell starts from the year 1775.[11]

In phase 1 (1775-2375) she is Sophia clothed with the twelve stars of the zodiac, who arrived from the central sun of our galaxy in the Orion arm of our galaxy and began a further descend towards our solar system. In 2375 the Age of Aquarius will begin, and around this time Andreev placed the Second Coming.

In phase 2 (2375-2975) she is Sophia clothed with the Sun, who will arrive in our solar system and unite with the sun, before descending to the sphere of the Moon.

In phase 3 (2975-3575) she is Sophia with the Moon under her feet, who will arrive from the sphere of the Moon in her ethereal form in the aura of the Earth in 3575, when the Slavic culture will begin.

A Sophianic culture

Seen from this perspective Daniil Andreev may have placed the coming of the Rose of the World as the new culture, and of Zventa Sventana too early in time. Her identity with Holy Sophia is not clear, nor how her appearance can be connected with the apocalyptic vision of the Cosmic Virgin and the marriage of the Bride (Sophia) and the Lamb (Christ) at the End of Times. The interpretation of spiritual events and their foreshadowing in earlier times is, however, difficult. What Andreev saw as the establishment of the world religion of the Rose of the World can also be seen as the coming of an age of feminine spirituality that has already started. This might become a global movement in the coming centuries before it will blossom in the Slavic culture of the future. The prediction by Andreev of coming of the Antichrist in the 23rd century, that Solovyov predicted for the 21st century, can also be seen in relation to the prediction by Rudolf Steiner of the incorporation of Ahriman in a human being at the beginning of the 21st century. The reign of the dark ‘prince of this world' as the New Testament calls him, is already all around us. In the spiritual world we look through windows at spiritual realities, but to tell when they will appear on earth is difficult to say, as there are always many stages.

As far as I know, Andreev was the first seer to speak about the ‘Feminine Essence' Zventa Sventana that is inspiring a new global religion and preparing herself to descend to the etheric world of the Earth, to work together with Christ. Recently the seeress Estelle Isaacson has also written about the descent of Holy Sophia to the Earth and her union with Christ in the hearts of humanity.[12] For most people, including anthroposophists, this is a totally new perspective on the transformation of spiritual life as we move towards the beginning of the new Slavic culture.

In this article we have met many aspects of the new culture. In the spiritual life of the future we will concentrate on the connection with our higher self and on the development of our spiritual consciousness. In our social life we will live as brothers and sisters in the family of humanity. Our way of thinking will be an elaboration of the thoughts that have already been developed by the Russian religious philosophers, including their thoughts on Holy Wisdom. And in our whole life we will integrate the inspirations coming from the Divine Feminine.

What will develop in the future must already be prepared by groups of people now. It is not enough to talk about Holy Sophia and wait until she will be there. We can practise the new qualities that integrate the male and the female aspects of life in our souls and our communities. One way to imagine a Sophianic life is to remember that Rudolf Steiner said the spiritual life of Western culture, including Central Europe, needs the soul forces of Russia (and the other Slavic countries) so that ‘soul' will be breathed into the spiritual life of the West. The spirit needs to be ensouled.

The School of the White Brotherhood shows how this can be done. Soul forces are active in this school, coming to life in human warmth and love, brotherhood and sisterhood, music and singing, sacred movement and dance (paneurythmy), excursions into the mountains, summer camps, the practice of prayer and living with the gospels. They bring ennobling, artistic and religious soul qualities into spiritual life. Anthroposophy needs them so that the being of Anthropo-Sophia can come to life in our whole soul and not only in our minds.

We can be teachers applying the pedagogical methods of Anthroposophy, but it is not enough to teach in an anthroposophical way. That would still be a rather mental activity. It would be necessary to teach in a Sophianic way, which means with our soul, in a creative, artistic, lively, enthused, warm, humane way. Sophianic ways are connected with activities that transform our astral body into the spirit self, whose main qualities are love and wisdom. With heart intelligence and rejuvenating activities that give us joy. In fact, in every profession, in everything we do, we can work and live in a Sophianic way. In a way in which Sophia comes life in us as our individual Anthropo-Sophia.

Published in the electronic journal Starlight, Easter issue 2021

[1] This article elaborates the content of a lecture given on July 26, 2019 during a Sophia seminar in Lappeenranta, Finland.

[2] Rudolf Steiner, Der Tod als Lebenswandlung, Complete Works, Nr. 182.

[3] Rudolf Steiner, Geschichtliche Symptomatologie CW, Nr. 185.

[4] Idem.

[5] Rudolf Steiner, Geistige Zusammenhänge in der Gestaltung des menschlichen Organismus, CW Nr. 218.

[6] Rudolf Steiner, Speech to Russian participants, in: Die geistigen Wesenheiten in den Himmelskörpern und Naturreichen, CW, Nr. 136.

[7] The text of this message has been translated by Harrie Salman and can be found at:

[8] The Wellspring of Good, pp 362-365.

[9] Rudolf Steiner, Die Mission einzelner Volksseelen, CW Nr. 121, lecture 11.

[10] Daniel Andreev, The Rose of the World, Lindisfarne Books, Hudson 1997. This edition contains the first six of the twelve parts of the book. The whole book has been translated into German: Daniil Andrejew, Rosa Mira: Die Weltrose, Vega e.K. Verlag, Frankeneck, 2005-2009, in three volumes. In Finnish: Daniil Andrejev, Rauhan Ruu­su, Helsinki, Ruusu-Ristin kirjallisuusseura, 2008.

[11] Robert Powell and Estelle Isaacson, The Mystery of Sophia, Lindisfarne Books, Great Barrington, 2014, chapter 16.

[12] Idem.


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