Anthroposophy

The Social Future: Culture, Equality, and the Economy (CW 332a)

6 lectures in Zurich, October 24 - 30, 1919 (CW 332a)

In 1919, shortly after World War I, the structure of society and the economy, both in Germany and globally, became a primary concern of Rudolf Steiner. In addition to writing The Threefold Social Order, in which he presented his ideas for social renewal, Steiner also gave lecture courses that year, including The Social Question as a Question of Consciousness (CW 189); Impulses of the Past and Future in Social Events (CW 190); Spiritual-Scientific Treatment of Social and Pedagogical Questions (CW 192); The Esoteric Aspect of the Social Question(CW 193); The Social Question (CW 328); as well as others and the lectures in this book, The Social Future. 

That year, Rudolf Steiner also published his "Appeal to the German People and the Cultural World," which began: "Resting on secure foundations with the assurance of enduring for untold ages"—this is what the German people believed of their empire, founded half a century ago. Today they can see only its ruins. Deep searching of the soul must follow from such an experience." 

In The Social Future, Rudolf Steiner presents what he saw as the underlying social problems of his time and offers his approach to solutions for a more successful and equitable social future. What he has to say is remarkably suited to our time, almost a century later. His predictions have come to pass, yet few of his recommendations have been implemented on any large scale. 



How to Achieve Existence in the World of Ideas

Two Lectures Cycles, Followed by Two Christmas Lectures Dornach, October 3–7 
and December 12–20, 1914; Dornach, December 26 and Basel, December 27, 1914 (CW 156)

The first lectures expand on the idea of inner “reading” and “hearing” as the path to spiritual knowing. The spiritual world gives something and we, as spiritual researchers, receive and then read or interpret it. Spiritual knowledge is not a matter of will, desire, or intention on our part, but a gift from the spiritual world for which we must prepare ourselves by silencing our desires, emptying ourselves, and presenting ourselves in humility and devotion to the spiritual world. Then we become aware of the reality that the spiritual world is nowhere else but here, all around us; and if we dissolve the sense of being skin-bound, we can become open to it, reflect its images in our astral bodies, and then learn to read them by identification. Steiner describes this complex, subtle, existential and living process, in which ultimately we can become one with the universe, in a masterful way from which anyone who meditates, or wishes to begin to meditate, will gain a great deal.

The second lecture cycle, “How to Achieve Existence in the World of Ideas,” deepens the themes developed in the first cycle, so that the two together provide a useful guide to the processes underlying meditation or learning to know the spiritual world. At the same time, because work was just beginning on the building that would become the Goetheanum, Steiner connects the esoteric principles of its design with the overall theme of the suprasensory human being in relation to meditation and spiritual knowing.

The volume closes with two wonderful lectures in celebration of Christmas. Here Steiner has a threefold emphasis: Christ, supraearthly, glorious, and divine, fully united with humanity and the Earth and born in each human heart. To celebrate Christmas truly means that we recognize all three of these as one in the spiritual world, in the earthly world, and in ourselves. Learn more

The Language of the Consciousness Soul: A Guide to Rudolf Steiner’s “Leading Thoughts”

The impulses of the consciousness soul tend toward isolation and separation if not practiced anthroposophically. This can be seen as a tragedy for humanity. Nevertheless, it is exactly this inner solitude of contemporary human beings that awakens a great longing for community. Anthroposophy needs to be experienced in the stillness of the soul, but it gives rise to community most significantly when, through the cooperation and unified efforts of many, something higher can take shape.
— Rudolf Steiner

In The Language of the Consciousness Soul, Carl Unger unfolds and expands Rudolf Steiner’s “leading thoughts” to help the reader comprehend the deeper meaning behind the words. Unger lets us see how Rudolf Steiner created a mandala-like image of Anthroposophy, revealing an ever-expanding cosmology and epistemology that goes far beyond mere philosophy or a belief system to a practical path of spiritual investigation and knowledge for modern humankind.


Materialism and Spirituality—Life and Death

Materialism and Spirituality— Life and Death Berlin, February 6 , 1917

Rudolf Steiner

Let us turn our thoughts, dear friends, as we continually do, to the guardian spirits of those who are absent from us, taking their place where the great destinies of the time are being fulfilled:

Spirits ever watchful, Guardian of their souls!

May your vibrations waft

To the Earth human beings committed to your charge

Our souls’ petitioning love:

That, united with your power,

Our prayer may helpfully radiate

To the souls it lovingly seeks!


And to the spirits of those who have passed through the gate of death:


Spirits ever watchful, Guardians of their souls!

May your vibrations waft

To human beings of the spheres committed to your charge

Our souls’ petitioning love:

That, united with your power,

Our prayer may helpfully radiate

To the souls it lovingly seeks!


And that Spirit, Who for the healing of the Earth and for her progress,

and for the freedom and salvation of humankind, passed through

the Mystery of Golgotha;

The Spirit whom in our spiritual science we seek,

to whom we would draw near,

May he be at your side in all your difficult tasks!

Let me first express the deep satisfaction I have in being able to be once more in your midst. I would have come earlier, but for an urgent need, that kept me in Dornach until the work on “The Group” had reached a point at which it could be continued without me. You have often heard me speak of “The Group,” which will stand in the east end of the Goetheanum and presents the Representative of Humanity in relation to ahrimanic forces on the one hand, and on the other to luciferic forces. These days, one needs forethought for the future, and it seemed to me absolutely necessary, considering what may happen, to make that progress with “The Group” before leaving Dornach, which has now been possible. Furthermore, the times are certain to bring home to us with particular intensity the fact that meeting with one another here on the physical plane is not the only thing that sustains and strengthens us in the impulse of spiritual science. Rather, we must be born up through this difficult time of sorrow and trial by coming together in our anthroposophic efforts, even if together only in spirit. And indeed, this very thing is to be the test for our anthroposophic efforts.

Since we were together here previously, we have had to lament the loss from the physical plane of our dear Ms. Motzkus, as well as other dear friends who have left the physical plane because of the current terrible events. It is especially painful to see Ms. Motzkus no longer among the friends who have shared our anthroposophic efforts here for so many years. She had been 1 These meditations were repeated at the beginning of each lecture in the series. Materialism and Spirituality—Life and Death 3 a member of our movement since its beginning. From the first day, from the first meeting of a very small circle, she always showed the deepest and most heartfelt devotion to our movement and participated intimately and earnestly in all the phases it went through, in all its times of trial and testing. Above all, through the events and changes through which we had to pass, she preserved an invincible loyalty to the movement in the deepest sense of the word—loyalty through which she set an example to all those who would wish to be worthy members of the anthroposophic movement. Thus, with our gaze we follow this beloved and pure soul into the spiritual worlds to which she has ascended, still feeling toward her the bond of trust and confidence that has grown stronger and deeper over the years, knowing that our own souls are linked with hers forever. . . . Read more


Winter Solstice Meditations

Breathing the Spirit

Breathing the Spirit

Winter Solstice Meditations

by Rudolf Steiner

Earth blocks the sun,

forces of vision compel

from earth’s elements

liberated sight.

Christmas 1922



See the sun

at deep midnight

use stones to build

in the lifeless ground.

So find in decline

and in death’s night

creation’s new beginning

morning’s fresh force.


Let the heights reveal

divine word of gods;

the depths sustain and nurture

the stronghold of peace.

Living in darkness

engender a sun;

weaving in substance

see spirit’s bliss.


Berlin, December 17, 1906

WHY TWO NEW BOOKS OF THE FIRST CLASS LESSONS?

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WHY TWO NEW BOOKS OF THE FIRST CLASS LESSONS?

WHAT IS THEIR RELATIONSHIP?


For those not already familiar with the nature of the First Class Lessons, the two important recently published and similarly titled volumes of Rudolf Steiner’s esoteric legacy— the first bearing the title The First Class Lessons and Mantras: The Michael School Meditative Path in Nineteen Steps and the second the title The First Class of the Michael School with the subtitle “Recapitulation Lessons and Mantras”— may easily cause some confusion. Some explanation is thus required.

The first volume—The First Class Lessons and Mantras: The Michael School Meditative Path in Nineteen Steps—is complete. It contains all the nineteen lessons of the class as unveiled by Rudolf Steiner orally and for the first time in Dornach between February 15 and August 2, 1924.

The second volume— The First Class of the Michael School: Recapitulation Lessons and Mantras—contains individual lessons given between April 3 and September 20 1924 in various cities: Prague (First and Second Lessons, April 3 and 5), Berne (First Lesson, April17), Breslau (First and Seconds Lessons) June 12 and 13), London (Second Lesson, the record of the First Lesson being lost, April 27) and Dornach (the first seven Lessons, September 6 to September 20).

These lessons, once again given orally, “recapitulate,” that is repeat or recap not precisely, but in the moment, speaking to those present for whom this is the first hearing of them.

In other words, they differ somewhat but for those who attended and were already familiar with the first presentation of the Lessons—or now, given publication, have read and mediated them—they enlarge upon and illuminate in a new light what was given before.

A Path Towards Contemporary Meditative Practice

Lessons of the Michael School

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Long unavailable to the general public, these “esoteric lessons and mantras” represent Rudolf Steiner’s final word on the appropriate spiritual path for those who desire to engage in a contemporary and initiatory meditative practice, a path of self-knowledge leading to world knowledge, enabling anyone earnestly willing to enter into the experience and understanding of the spiritual realities that surround us.

From his earliest days in the Theosophical Society, Rudolf Steiner, hoping to create a society of meditators, worked diligently toward this goal with a limited number of individuals in what was then called “The Esoteric School.”* In one form or another this School endured until the First World War, after which, except for a few meetings, it ceased to exist—until the re-founding of the Anthroposophical Society over Christmas/New Year 1923/24, when it was reborn, now under the aegis of the Archangel Michael, in a quite different form as The First Class. (There were to be two more classes, but Rudolf Steiner died.)

In his lifetime, Rudolf Steiner insisted that the Lessons not be printed in any form. But over the years, so many pirated versions containing multiple errors and falsifications appeared, that the decision was made to print an official version, but access to it was severely limited. Rudolf Steiner certainly believed, however, that esoteric knowledge and teaching should not be withheld from the general public but be made generally available to anyone who sought it—as this edition is.

These Lessons, given and appearing under the sign of the Archangel Michael and thus sometimes also called “the lessons of the Michael School”—or the “Michael Lessons”—must be reckoned as one of Rudolf Steiner’s deepest gifts to posterity. Though the path the Lessons present is “esoteric,” no one should for this reason feel excluded. Indeed, anyone who has found sustenance in earlier works such as “How to Know Higher Worlds” or “Theosophy” should feel themselves fully prepared and invited to enter the transformative world of the Lessons.

As Thomas Meyer writes in his introduction to the present edition:

The prerequisites for taking this path are a will fired by a healthy common sense and a healthy trust in the human capacity to develop and enter into the field of spiritual knowledge.

The path described here stretches over nineteen lessons, or levels, that will perhaps be challenging to many seekers. It is however a secure path. Those who enter upon this path strengthen themselves to meet the dangers of self-illusion, such as grandiosity and vanity.

Feel the Nervous Energy of Counterculture and Homeschool Anyways


There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. If you block it, it will never exist through any other medium. It will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how valuable it is, nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.

You do not even have to believe in yourself or your works. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive.

— Martha Graham to Agnes De Mille

Rudolf Steiner wrote about Nervousness and I-ness in a short lecture in January 1912. It was his words that drives home what Martha Graham was saying to Agnes De Mille.

It is this “nervousness made up of precisely of the unused potential of the self” that Steiner describes as being without a goal that keeps us spinning in wonderings and wanderings of our inner storyteller that takes such pleasure in making us second guess ourselves. My inner storyteller has been quiet lately as I have clear goals aligned with my mission, but it was not always this way, and I am sure as every trail has forks my inner lizard will rejoin me again.

Self-doubt in the form of nervousness is alive and well in our modern world, but some remedies can help us overcome it. In this lecture, Steiner describes the importance of attention and the essence of the human being through its connection through the world. It is by connecting to the natural world, where we can quiet the inner dialog that distracts us.

Self-doubt is an attention thief. It keeps us from making decisions and trusting our intuitive knowledge. It casts doubt on everything.

Children learn from watching those who care for them. Nervousness is like a virus that is quickly spread. Taking time to connect with yourself through a daily nature practice will help quiet the voices of doubt and build your immunity to the dis-ease of nervousness. It will strengthen your child's immunity to self-doubt too.

You can strengthen your resistance to nervousness by finding practices that require no decision making. Taking a few moments each day to sit and connect with nature in the same spot is a decision. Practicing this decision process builds the muscles while also resting the mind.

All you have to do is sit still, close your eyes, and be with nature. The earth will take care of the rest.

This post originally appeared on Kathy Donchak's personal blog on March 25, 2018.