The Archangels, who belong to the Third Hierarchy, received Intuitions from the Second Hierarchy, and Inspirations from Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones — the First Hierarchy. Whence do they receive Imagination? There is no Hierarchy beyond the First! The Imaginations cannot at any rate come to them from any one of the Hierarchies named in the writings of Dionysius the Areopagite. For he tells of no Hierarchy beyond the first. Certain Archangel Beings were therefore obliged to turn to the past for Imaginations, to find in the past the pictures of the speech-forming power, — for that is what the Imaginations are. What came from an earlier time had to be carried on into the future. There was no longer any immediate and present flow of the speech-forming power. And inasmuch as speech now took its source from an earlier stage, into it crept an Ahrimanic element. This is a fact of incalculable significance. And what the Archangels felt above them came to expression in the world of man in a deadening of speech and language. Language became polished and at the same time paralyzed; it no longer retained the livingness it had in earlier days.
We can describe the evolution that goes on above in the Heavens at the same time as mankind evolves on the Earth below. And we can also describe its copy or reflection on Earth — the progress from the language of will to the language of feeling and thence to the language of thought or symbol. And we can know that amid it all Archangels are ascending — or shall we rather say descending— from Intuition to Inspiration and to Imagination. We behold first the evolution of the Archangels and all that takes place in connection therewith among the higher Hierarchies, and when we turn from that to man in his evolution, it is on the evolution of language and of the word that we have to fix our attention. We will consider one particular stream in the whole history of mankind, into which a divine stream was interwoven. It goes back to the origin of all things, the far beginning of all things. “In the Beginning was the Word” — where was the word in those distant ages, when mankind had a language of the will? The Word was with God, it had to be sought there by means of Intuition. “The Word was with God.”