We see many souls who are condemned for a certain time between death and a new birth to be the slaves of the spirits who send sickness and death into physical life. Thus we see there souls between death and a new birth who are under the dominion of beings whom we call the Ahrimanic spirits, or the spirits of hindrance, of those who work at death in life, and of those who bring obstacles into life.
And a hard lot it is which the seer observes, in some souls, when they have to submit in this manner to the slave yoke. If one traces back such souls to the life they led before they passed the portals of death, one finds that the souls who for a certain time after death must serve the spirits of resistance have prepared this for themselves by self-indulgence during life. And the slaves of the spirits of sickness and death have prepared this fate for themselves by having been unscrupulous before death. So there we see a certain relation of the souls of men to the evil spirits of sickness and death, and to the evil spirits of resistance.
Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 140 – Occult Research into Life Between Death and a New Birth: THE ESTABLISHMENT OF MUTUAL RELATIONS BETWEEN THE LIVING AND THE SO-CALLED DEAD – Stuttgart, February 20, 1913
Translated by Ruth Hofrichter