Stewart Easton's biography - Chapter 12
THE GENERAL ANTHROPOSOPHICAL
It has often been asked why Rudolf Steiner, with his supersensible faculties, was unable to foresee and guard against the burning of the Goetheanum. His answer to this question was categorical: Supersensible faculties, which are a gift from the spiritual worlds, may not be used for personal ends, not even to save one's life; and the safeguarding of a building he himself had so largely created might be thought of as a personal end. Moreover, as Steiner was to explain later, the question shows a misapprehension about the nature of his clairvoyance. It was not a diffuse kind of omniscience as some people apparently believed, but was a directed clairvoyance. He would have needed to direct his spiritual gaze upon the Goetheanum as it would appear several years ahead, if he were to have foreseen the fire. If, as Marie Steiner thought was the case (see page 192 above), he did indeed foresee disaster at the moment when he first saw the site on which the Goetheanum would be built, such a prevision would not be the result of consciously exercising his spiritual faculties, but rather, we must suppose, it would consist of a kind of presentiment such as almost all of us sometimes experience. It would not have given him a clear intimation that the Goetheanum, which was not yet built or even designed, would eventually be destroyed by fire. It should always be recognized that Steiner was not a magician, but a seer, and he practiced neither white nor black magic for good or evil ends.
Like all those who had worked on the building with him, and like all anthroposophists who had contributed so selflessly and to whom it had come to mean so much, Steiner was grief stricken beyond words by the fire; and even when he spoke about it on December 31st, 1923, on its anniversary, he remained scarcely less moved than on the day after it. It was clear from the beginning that the fire was the work of one or more incendiaries, and it represented therefore the culmination of the many campaigns of hatred that had been directed against Steiner and the Goetheanum. For the moment his enemies had triumphed; they had succeeded in destroying the fruit of more than ten years' devoted work. A building whose purpose had been not merely to serve as the center of the Anthroposophical Movement, but to help mankind, all mankind, to experience the spiritual through art as well as through the acquisition of knowledge, a building through which also beneficent spiritual beings could approach closer to manthis building had overnight been transformed into a still smoking ruin; and those, including Steiner, who had truly loved the Goetheanum, were necessarily filled with a sadness from which many of them, perhaps also including Steiner, never fully recovered. All the important newspapers in Europe reported the fire, some objectively, some with compassion. It is scarcely believable today that several newspapers in Germany and Switzerland nevertheless openly gloated over it as though they shared in the "triumph," as perhaps they did. And it is true that it seemed in the weeks and months that followed as if the enemies were closing in for the kill. The attacks never slackened, nor were their authors any more concerned with telling the truth than they had been before. One example Steiner drew to the attention of the members in a lecture at Stuttgart, in case those who had not been present might even believe the calumny. It was said that the anthroposophists during the fire simply watched and meditated in the belief that the fire would put itself out, whereas the truth was that every able-bodied person toiled through the night without stint, constantly entering and reentering the burning building to save as much as could be saved, while others manned the volunteer fire brigades. They did not leave the building to its fate until Steiner gave the order to do so, just before the domes collapsed. He himself and most of the others stayed all night until the entire wooden part of the building had been burned, and the concrete foundations were cracked and blackened. In Dornach there was perfect accord during the fire and immediately afterwards. Only later, and in other places than Dornach did recriminations begin; and though Steiner set himself against recriminations, he did urge all members everywhere to use the opportunity to examine themselves and their personal attitudes toward Anthroposophy and the Society, and towards the Movement, and he himself took the lead in reminding them of their history. As far as the inquest into the causes of the fire was concerned, he insisted that no prosecutions should be started and no effort be undertaken to find the incendiaries and their abettors. Since the authorities came to the definite conclusion that the anthroposophists bore no share of blame for the fire, and that as a consequence full insurance was due to them, Steiner expressed himself as satisfied and turned his attention to the future.
As we have seen in the last chapter, Steiner at the turn of the year was in the middle of a course on the origins of natural science; a performance of a medieval Three Kings Play had also been scheduled for New Year's Day. Never at any moment does Steiner seem to have contemplated abandoning his work, nor even of modifying the immediate programme as scheduled. Since the Goetheanum was no longer available, he gave instructions for the preparation of the Schreinerei for the play, and for the remainder of the lecture cycle; and promptly at 5 p.m., as usual, he entered the Schreinerei with Marie Steiner, ready to give his customary introduction to the play. In this introduction he included some fairly brief remarks on the fire, and on the need for continuing the work in spite of the disaster. Then the play began and it was carried through to the end, although the actress who played the part of the angel and who gave the first speech could hardly utter her lines. In the evening Steiner again gave a short address before continuing the course on the natural sciences.
Thus no alteration in the planned schedule of events was permitted, but everyone who has written about that day has referred to the unusual heaviness in Rudolf Steiner's step which contrasted with his usual light springy treadthough his voice was as deep and strong as ever. In the end not a single item of any program that had been scheduled was dropped.
Looking back now more than fifty years later on that crucial year of 1923 with the benefit of hindsight, it seems clearer than perhaps it seemed at the time that the entire Anthroposophical Movement was gravely endangered by the fire, and that its enemies may indeed have been close to triumph. The members, Rudolf Steiner of course most of all, had made a tremendous material and spiritual investment in the Goetheanum. Although the insurance would cover only a fraction of the costs of rebuilding, the material investment could no doubt be replaced in the course of time, if there were the will to rebuild, and, more important still, if there were in the Society enough human resources to keep the new building going, with enough spiritual substance to fill it when Rudolf Steiner would no longer be there. It should nevertheless be recognized that the problem was not a new one, and that it had existed before the fire. Financial support for Anthroposophy was already falling off, and even if the fire had not occurred, some reorganization of the Society would have been necessary, and some way of obtaining funds would have had to be found.
All this is clear from an urgent appeal made by Rudolf Steiner in the Hague just after he had given a deeply esoteric lecture there to members. He was never at any time an alarmist, but this appeal, made on November 5th, 1922, just eight weeks before the fire, speaks of the Goetheanum as "unfinished," and that "we shall not be able to continue with the building of the Goetheanum unless we receive abundant help on the part of a greater number of our friends, and this Anthroposophical Movement, which has been active these last years at all possible points of the periphery, will then be without a center." After criticising the Society as badly organized, especially by comparison with its opponents, he went on to point out how much could be done at Dornach, in, for example, the field of medicine, if support were forthcoming, but "this depends on the existence of the center in Dornach. The moment the Dornach center breaks down, everything breaks down, and it is this that I want our friends to be conscious of, for it has in many instances disappeared from their consciousness. And I must say, it has really become an extremely heavy burden for me, a crushing burden." Finally: "All can be said in one sentence: Help me to think, my dear friends, how we shall be able to go on with the Dornach Goetheanum; for within a very few weeks we shall have come to the end of our means."58
It is entirely understandable that an urgent appeal for funds should in particular be addressed to the Dutch members, since, unlike the German and Austrian currencies, the Dutch guilder was still sound; and Holland had remained neutral during the war, as had Switzerland, thus making it possible for these two countries to contribute more. It is also understandable that after the first great rush of enthusiasm immediately before the war, and the renewal of contributions after it was over, members were no longer as willing to make contributions as before, especially since most of them were inclined to think that the Goetheanum was in all essential respects completed, the organ having been installed, and lectures and eurythmy performances now being given in the great auditorium. After the destruction of the Goetheanum, it must, in January, 1923, have seemed virtually impossible to Steiner even to contemplate rebuilding unless the Society and Movement were placed on an entirely different basis than hitherto. For a man nearing his sixty-second birthday the prospect might well have seemed daunting, and it seems likely enough that the many calls that he made to the members to take stock of their attitudes, and his frequent discussions with members and delegates of the organized groups on the subject of the history of the Movement and Society from 1901 to 1923 were in a sense also addressed to himself. For it was in part his anomalous relationship to the Society that was responsible for its current weaknesses.
When the Movement for Religious Renewal, later the Christian Community, was founded in 1922 Steiner drew attention to the fact that this Movement was in no sense the religious branch of Anthroposophy, and that it should not drain off the limited funds available for the support of Anthroposophy. Nor should support for any of the enterprises stemming from Anthroposophy lessen that given to the center without which, Steiner insisted, the periphery could not continue to exist. After the fire he returned to this problem, mentioning specifically the Waldorf School and the various enterprises connected with the movement for the Threefold Social Order. All were in their way admirable, he said, but not if they flourished at the expense of the Anthroposophical Society and its work. He also reserved some criticism for members who initiated a project with enthusiasm, and then failed to see it through to completion. How could members now be persuaded to see a huge new building project through to completion, having already failed to provide enough support to complete the First Goetheanum?
Steiner could, of course, be quite certain of winning the verbal approval of members for the rebuilding, even if a few members, especially from Germany, would prefer to see the new Goetheanum elsewhere. But such a formal approval would be only the first step, and he was unwilling to make a decision until there had been both a thorough heart searching on the part of the members, and a major reorganization of the Society. It seems likely that his decision on the reorganization, indeed a total refounding, was gradually arrived at during the course of 1923, and that the form the new Society was to take was not fully present in his spirit until nearly the end of the year.
The Society at this time (January 1923) was headed by a committee of only three active persons, and its headquarters was Stuttgart, the German city where the Waldorf School was situated, which had in recent years become by far the most active center for Anthroposophy in Germany. In some respects Stuttgart had been spared the great postwar upheavals, the former kingdom of Württemberg of which it had been the capital having quietly dissolved itself at the end of the war. Several of its leading industrialists were anthroposophists, and others were sympathetic to the Movement. But within the Society everything was far from harmonious, and the existing leadership was contested, especially by younger and more active members. Moreover there was some resentment that Dornach had now become the center of the Anthroposophical Movement, in spite of the fact that there were far more members in Germany than in Switzerland or any other country.
The executive committee of three in Stuttgart did not include among its members either Rudolf or Marie Steiner. The latter had been a member of the executive committee until fairly recently but Steiner himself was not even a member of the Anthroposophical Society. Though he could naturally exercise his influence on the Society by addressing the Committee and members, as a rule he preferred to leave them free to make up their own minds without interference from him. Since he lived in Dornach and largely concentrated on his work there, the Committee did as a rule more or less as it pleased, much to the disgust of many of the younger members who felt that the Committee and the Secretariat wasted far too much of their time and energies on what appeared to be unproductive bureaucratic tasks.
During the postwar period there had been a considerable increase in the membership of the Society. Interest in Anthroposophy was also increasing abroad, but all who wished to become members had to submit their applications to the Stuttgart Committee, which had no way of distinguishing among the applicants. The only criterion for membership was readiness to accept the three very general principles inherited from the old Theosophical Society that had remained unchanged when the Anthroposophical Society was formed in 1913. As in the Theosophical Society, members could form local groups, but these had no official status, and could form and dissolve at will. In early 1923 there were as yet no nationwide societies, nor was much anthroposophical literature available either to members or to the public. Steiner's major books were kept in print in German, but lectures, when available at all, were mimeographed, and only members had access to them. Some foreign members had made themselves responsible for publication of the books within their own countries, as, for example, Harry Collison, who later in 1923 became the first General Secretary of the Anthroposophical Society in Great Britain. A company called the Anthroposophical Literature Concern started business in 1922 in Chicago with a list of several books and a couple of brochures by Rudolf Steiner. But, on the whole, it is hard to resist the conclusion that the entire Anthroposophical Movement was underorganized in 1923, and that Steiner was quite right when he came to the conclusion that if a second Goetheanum were to be built, its construction should he approved by as many representative anthroposophists as possible. Above all that the will to go ahead with the building should be fortified by a more solid organization, capable of raising funds systematically, and seeing to it that the building was completed and not left to languish half-built for lack of will and funds to complete it.
Such, then, was the material side of the enterprise, and at least one important decision was taken early in the year looking toward the future. Steiner recognized, and mentioned the matter several times in his lectures, that a kind of "federal" system would be a great improvement on the present situation. This would necessarily mean that local societies would have to be organized, which would later be "federated" with the central Society in Dornach. Throughout the year these local "national" societies came into being, usually led by the outstanding personality of the particular country, as long as he or she was prepared to accept the necessary responsibility. This person then assumed the title of General Secretary. By the time of the Christmas Foundation Meeting for the new General Anthroposophical Society there were fifteen national societies, with the title the Anthroposophical Society in Great Britain, Finland, Norway, and the rest, and each had a General Secretary. The only country that had two societies, each recognized by Rudolf Steiner, was Germany, where the breakaway Society, known as the Free Anthroposophical Society, had been unable to reconcile its differences with the older Anthroposophical Society in Germany, with headquarters in Stuttgart, and, with Steiner's acquiescence if not active approval, had been permitted to constitute itself as a Society. Most of the younger members, at least in the Stuttgart area, associated themselves with this new separate Society.
As far as Rudolf Steiner was concerned these arrangements were necessary, but formed in themselves no basis for the founding of a spiritual society. He was concerned with the spiritual substance, and the form was subsidiary. Indeed, if the new Society possessed this substance and it had agreed on its tasks the most suitable form for it might well be expected to reveal itself. At the end of February, 1923 delegates from all over Germany assembled in Stuttgart to form the new Anthroposophical Society in Germany. Steiner used this opportunity to give two important lectures on the subject of unity within the Society. He began by speaking of the fire, emphasizing that the grief and pain of members at the loss of their building "can be turned into strength to support us in everything we are called upon to accomplish for Anthroposophy in the near future," gaining a new unity from the need to face a common disaster. He tried in these two lectures to instill into the delegates the need to experience a feeling of community, of recognition that all anthroposophists were engaged in a common task and were bound together by their karma. He explained with great care why it is that there may well be less, rather than more, brotherliness in a society dedicated to spiritual development. The gist of his explanation was that egotism in the members of such a society will increase if a serious effort is not made to overcome it. Each individual in his search for the spirit must be alone, sunk within his own self. By contrast, if one is engaged in pursuing external aims, a man has necessarily to cooperate with other men, and with some of these at least, he may cultivate a fraternal relationship. The danger for anthroposophists is that they may become isolated and shut up within themselves, convinced that they are right, that their point of view is the only valid one, and that even their fellow-anthroposophists do not understand Anthroposophy as they should. Thus it follows that a view opposed to their own is not only wrong, but spiritually wrong, and it becomes a spiritual duty to take issue with it. This attitude is extremely damaging to Anthroposophy, Rudolf Steiner insisted. The most essential quality for an anthroposophist is tolerance, to which he must educate himself. As a result of cultivating this quality, Steiner added, no doubt with a humorous glint in his eye, it may even become a pleasure to hear something foolish said, because what at first hearing sounds foolish is often very wise, much wiser than we clever ones are willing to admit. So, he concluded, even if we are tempted to interrupt a speaker, we might bear this possibility in mind and refrain!
Steiner was of course fully aware of the difficulty human beings experience when they strive to unite together in a society, even if it has aims shared by all its members. This is especially true of a society that has spiritual aims. Such societies are particularly vulnerable to the spirit of dissension, and it is not easy to prevent them from falling apart as soon as an important controversy arises. It seems to me that especially in his lectures of 1923, the theme of unity was never very far from him, even though he seldom made it explicit. What seems to have preoccupied him was this question of how the members could learn to work together in confidence in spite of differences, what they could share together that would not serve also to divide them.
I think that the many lectures he gave during this year on the subject of the great festivals, on how to experience the changing of the seasons in such a way as to penetrate to the spiritual reality behind the earthly phenomena, may well have been given so that members could share a common spiritual experience. In April he gave a series of five such lectures, translated under the title of The Cycle of the Year, explaining how in earlier ages men, under the guidance of their initiates, were led to experience the relationship between earth and cosmos at different seasons, recognizing how the earth breathes out during the spring and summer and breathes in again in autumn and winter. In ancient times festivals were held to celebrate each season: the Christians took over Christmas and Easter for their own festivals, and often also celebrated midsummer with a festival in honor of St. John's Day. But the creation of a Michaelmas festival was something that was greatly needed in our time, Steiner said. This should be a festival "of courage of soul, of strength of soul, of activity of soul." Although it would be held at the time of the falling of the autumn leaves, and thus it appeared that there was nothing in outer nature to be celebrated, just for this reason a festival created by man himself was especially necessary.
This theme was taken up again very strongly in Vienna later in the year in a cycle called Anthroposophy and the Human Gemüt, and then in Dornach in a deeply esoteric cycle devoted to imaginations of the four leading Archangels, each presiding over one season of the year, Michael in autumn, Gabriel at Christmas, Raphael at Easter and Uriel at midsummer. It is probable that one of Steiner's hopes when he gave this cycle was that members would unite together in spirit at certain times of the year to re-imagine for themselves the work of these Archangels in connection with our planet.
This cycle on the Archangels was followed by one of his most comprehensive and original cycles, translated under the title of Man as Symphony of the Creative Word, in which Steiner revealed much about the true relationship between man and the other kingdoms of nature, and with the elemental world, and this was supplemented in a remarkable way by a short cycle given at the Hague on the occasion of the founding of the Anthroposophical Society in Holland, in which he spoke in extraordinary detail about man as he is viewed by supersensible beings living in the spiritual world. This cycle, called simply Supersensible Man, places man in his true position as a supersensible being among other supersensible beingswhereas the previous cycle Man as Symphony had placed him among the invisible nature beings, as well as among the visible birds, butterflies, and animals, whose true being, like man's, is also invisible because it is supersensible and lives in the spiritual worlds.
By far the longest stay abroad during 1923 was in Great Britain where the Steiners spent almost the whole month of August. The first part was spent in the small resort town of Ilkley in Yorkshire, where he had been asked by some eminent educators to give a course on education preparatory to the founding of a Waldorf School in England, an event that occurred two years later. Here Steiner was extremely well received, as was the eurythmy, presented by Marie Steiner and her pupils. The summer conference which followed the course of lectures at Ilkley, had been scheduled to take place in Penmaenmawr, a Welsh seaside resort. This little town greatly impressed both Steiners, as well as Dr. Ita Wegman, Guenther Wachsmuth, and the eurythmy troupe accompanying them. Many participants in this conference, in which Steiner lectured on The Evolution of the World and Humanity (now published under the title The Evolution of Consciousness) have published their reminiscences of the lecture hall within earshot of the waves, the rain and the wind and the many leaks in the roofin short a British summer as it has so often been experienced by natives, but somewhat rarely by continentals.
To compensate, if compensation was necessary, there was the magnificent scenery and the proximity of the Druid circles on Penmaenmawr Mountain. Marie Steiner, determined as ever in spite of her lameness, was drawn up the steep slope in a cart and apparently enjoyed the trip in spite of inclement weather. Steiner himself, accompanied by Wachsmuth, made the climb on foot, Steiner surprising his companion and biographer by his agility and his ability to climb at least as fast as Wachsmuth, and with no visible signs of fatigue at the close. While on the mountain within one of the stone circles, he began to speak about Druids and the ceremonies that had been performed there, about the shadows and the sunlight, evidently from a direct clairvoyance as he was experiencing it again at that moment. The experience made such a deep impression on him that he spoke about it on several occasions, and he included information about the Druids in many subsequent lectures.
It will be clear from the range of Steiner's activity in 1923 that the enemies of Anthroposophy who kept attacking him in brochures and pamphlets, in the hope, as Steiner explained it, that he would be so much occupied in replying to them that he could no longer engage in direct spiritual research, were disappointed. It is true that he lectured scarcely at all in Germany during the year but this was in part due to the enormous difficulties involved in visiting and working in Germany as the result of the uncontrolled inflation. The anthroposophical publishing enterprise had also finally to be moved from Berlin to Dornach in 1923, and Marie Steiner undertook the task, in spite of her infirmity. She has left a vivid account of the difficulties she and the devoted Johanna Mücke, who was responsible for the day to day management of the Press, had in packing up all the books and getting them into Switzerland at a time of such chaos. Steiner gave very few public lectures during the year, usually only one during the course of each foreign visit. There was no regular program of public lectures such as there had formerly been in the German cities, especially Berlin. On the other hand he gave regular lectures to workmen engaged in clearing the site of the Goetheanum preparatory to the new construction, and he continued these lectures until he had to give up lecturing altogether in the autumn of 1924. As a rule he answered questions that he was asked by these workmen, devoting each lecture to one or two questions. He crowned this activity with the workmen with nine lectures on bees which in their way completed the material he had given in his cycle to members, Man as Symphony of the Creative Wordthough, as might have been expected, the lectures on bees are couched in a colloquial style evidently much appreciated by this special audience.
By July, 1923, Steiner was satisfied that the means would be forthcoming for the rebuilding of the Goetheanum, and a meeting of delegates was held in Dornach from July 20th to 23rd. At this meeting it was unanimously agreed that a new Goetheanum should be built, and Steiner was asked once more to assume the responsibility for designing it. At the Christmas Conference of 1923 he presented a drawing of the proposed new building, and completed a plasticine model of it in the first months of 1924. It was from this model that the architects worked, and the new Goetheanum had already begun to rise over the foundations of the old one before Steiner died. As he lay on his sick bed he often referred to the familiar noises of construction in the Schreinerei and on the building itself. Opened in 1928, it was in most respects a strong contrast to its predecessor. Instead of fitting gently into the landscape, the new building, constructed of reinforced concrete, stands almost defiantly on the earth. It is a building of great dignity and grandeur, and much larger than the old building, as was indeed made necessary by the growth in membership and the many new tasks that would be carried out in it. If it lacks the intimacy of the First Goetheanum, it was also of great interest to architects, especially for the imaginative use it made of its resistant material and the sculptural form of the building as a whole, by contrast with the sculptured interior of the First Goetheanum, which was not repeated in the Secondand indeed could not have been in the quite different circumstances of the 1920s.
Although the decision to rebuild had been taken, the other problems connected with the Society were by no means solved by July, and it seems likely that Rudolf Steiner had not yet come to any definite conclusions himself. But a study of the lectures he gave during the year strongly suggests that he knew that the year's work would reach a climax by Christmas. His own spiritual powers were constantly being enhanced, perhaps even in part as a result of the tremendous testing of his spiritual fortitude represented by the destruction of the Goetheanum. Those who were closest to him at this time have described how sometimes they were awed by him, as they used not to be in earlier years, though in his intervals of relaxation he was as light-hearted and full of good humor and fun as he ever was. We have noted how Wachsmuth was with him on Penmaenmawr Mountain when Steiner spoke directly out of an immediate experience of what had taken place on that spot so many centuries earlier, and this immediacy of experience he had not always possessed. What seems to have been revealed to him fully in 1923 for the first time was his own historical role, the work that he had to do and that still needed to be completed, and the role that would fall in due course to his co-workers. Although there was as yet no outward sign of illness, the experience of the previous New Year's Eve had certainly taken its toll of his forces. He undoubtedly realized that his days were numbered, and that what he had to do must be done quickly or not at all.
The delegates' meetings in Stuttgart early in the year, when the personal weaknesses of the members, and their inability in so many instances to place Anthroposophy always first in their considerations, became so woefully apparent, certainly brought home to him how great was the danger that all his work might eventually come to nothing. In one of his reports to the Dornach members about a Stuttgart meeting, he even told them that at one point in the meeting he had been ready to abandon the Society altogether and find some other way of spreading Anthroposophy. He himself was aware, and had always been aware, of his own responsibility to the spiritual worlds, and to Michael, in whose service he had placed himself. But he knew now, as perhaps he had not fully realized before, that he must do much more than simply acting as a teacher and revealing the results of his own spiritual research. He must also take the responsibility for providing his anthroposophical co-workers with a new and different kind of Society to enable them when he was gone to continue working, and even doing research in those fields which he with his unique capacities had opened up for them.
Several times during the year he drew the attention of the members to the changes in consciousness that men had undergone during the various post-Atlantean epochs, and the role played by higher beings in the process, and how these beings had actually made it possible for man to think as he now does, with his present wideawake consciousness. As the year drew to its close he began the last cycle he was to give before the Christmas Foundation Conference; and indeed many of his auditors had already arrived in Dornach for that conference. The subject was Mystery Knowledge and Mystery Centers, and in it he spoke in detail about the various ancient Mystery Centers where the initiates had taught, and where under their guidance the neophytes had in turn been initiated into the teachings handed down from antiquity, at a time when direct clairvoyant insight was in the process of disappearing. Then these ancient Mysteries fell into complete decadence and nothing arose to replace them or give them new life. But after Christ had passed through the Mystery of Golgotha, thus in his person fulfilling all the Mystery teachings, human beings acquired the possibility of becoming free, and of achieving a knowledge of the natural world and everything that was in it.
The first new Mysteries which took account of this change of consciousness were the Rosicrucian Mysteries at the beginning of the age of the consciousness soul (fifteenth century onwards). After the Christmas Conference Steiner at once took up again the subject of Rosicrucianism in a cycle entitled Rosicrucianism and Modern Initiation, but for the Conference itself he gave a cycle which was a culmination of all he had been teaching during the year, published under the title of World History in the Light of Anthroposophy. Here he spoke of the development of humanity as a whole, stressing the different epochs and what they had brought to mankind, showing how, with the loss of all direct knowledge of the spiritual worlds during recent centuries, and the rise of what he called a "God-estranged" civilization, men have now reached the point where it has become a vital need for them to receive new spiritual revelations, which can be proclaimed for all men and not only for initiates. Thus he made it clear to this special audience assembled for the founding of the new Society, that Rosicrucianism had now been brought up to date with the new Mystery knowledge that he himself had given, for which they themselves would in future be responsible. It would be for them to determine the future of the world. Characteristically he did not spell out this message, but left them free to draw the only possible conclusions from what he was telling them.
As late as November, 1923 when he was present at the founding of the Anthroposophical Society in Holland, Rudolf Steiner was still speaking of an "International" Anthroposophical Society which was expected to come into being at Christmastide, and said that the "International Society must arise on the basis of the national societies." It was therefore generally assumed by members that the newly founded Society would be a kind of federation, and that a central executive committee would be chosen by the delegates to the proposed Christmas meeting. This would carry responsibility for the work in Dornach, leaving all the newly founded national societies to manage their work independently. Nothing had as yet been said by Steiner about his decision to become president of the Society himself; and such a move when it came was totally unexpected. When he did present his proposals it was to a small group of collaborators whom he himself had chosen, and who thereupon agreed to become the first Executive Committee (or Vorstand, the name by which it is usually known, even by English speaking members). The entire plan for the new Society was presented as a whole to these members, with all necessary explanations, and the discussions that followed were in essence clarifications by Rudolf Steiner of the ideas that had been embodied in this archetype.
This procedure was in full keeping with Steiner's conception of the Society as a body of individuals who wished to join together to carry out a common aim on a completely free basis. Nothing was required of these members except that they should be of the opinion that a true science of spirit exists, and that an organization such as the School for the Science of Spirit at the Goetheanum, a school that was founded at the same time as the new Society, was justified. Initiative, however, rested with Rudolf Steiner and his chosen Vorstand, and it was they who were founding the Society, not the members. No one was elected to office, but the Society would come into existence only if the members accepted Steiner and the Vorstand as their leaders. Only in this way could the freedom of the founders be assured, in Rudolf Steiner's view. The national societies would enjoy the same freedom, except that their statutes must be in accord with those of the General Society. Although they would fix the dues payable by their members, a definite sum of money per member would be sent by them to the Goetheanum to help defray its expenses. Each member of the Vorstand would be in charge of a "section" of the School for the Science of Spirit, and it was in these sections that the actual work of the School would be accomplished. One section was placed in the hands of the sculptress, Edith Maryon, but she was not at the same time a member of the Vorstand. It was assumed that other sections would be formed later in accordance with whatever talent was available; and in fact when Miss Maryon died the following year her section was for the time being discontinued as no one suitable was available to head it. Early in 1924 a new section was formed with the title "Section for the Spiritual Striving of Youth."
As soon as the preliminary discussions with the members who were to comprise the Vorstand had been completed, an invitation was inserted in Das Goetheanum to all national societies and to all members to come to Dornach for the foundation conference scheduled to begin on December 24th. Such a vast number of members signified their intention of coming that the Schreinerei had to be temporarily enlarged to accommodate as many as possible of them, but those members whose acceptances of the invitation arrived last were urged by the secretariat not to come, as there would be no accommodations available for them. As it was, facilities were strained to the uttermost, and the Schreinerei, (especially its new additions) was often most uncomfortable, as the heating system could not be expanded to meet the need at such short notice. However, the whole Conference must have been a soul-warming experience for everyone present. Even those members who could not be there participated in the event, since Rudolf Steiner laid the new Foundation Stone not in the earth but in the hearts of all the members.
The fundamental purpose of the new foundation was to unify the Society and the Movement, which had hitherto been separate; or, to use Rudolf Steiner's own words, the Anthroposophical Movement was in the future to have its sheath in the Anthroposophical Society. Rudolf Steiner, who had not even been a member of the old Anthroposophical Society, was to be the president of this one, and he thus united his personal destiny with it, while accepting responsibility for everything that went on in it. Entry into the Society was made as easy as possible, and by entering the Society no obligations at all were accepted. But entry into the School for the Science of Spirit with its different sections carried with it certain freely accepted obligations, and members were accepted into it only after they had been approved by the leader of the Schoolin effect, during Rudolf Steiner's lifetime, by himself. One of the sections of the School had Rudolf Steiner as its head; this was not a specialized section, but a "section for general Anthroposophy," and its members received special esoteric instruction from him. For this reason it was made obligatory for members to have belonged to the society for a certain period of time before they could be accepted into the School.
It was Rudolf Steiner's expectation that there would be a continuous circulation of information and ideas between the Vorstand and the national societies, and that the General Secretaries of these societies would be encouraged to take part in the meetings of the Vorstand whenever they were in Dornach. However, members of the Vorstand itself would necessarily have to be resident in Dornach. During 1924, after returning from his journeys abroad, Rudolf Steiner always reported back orally to the Vorstand and to Dornach members concerning his own activities, and the Goetheanum News contained these reports also, so that all members could be kept informed as to what was going on. Such intercommunication had been a conspicuous lack in the old Society. All applicants for membership in the Society would be expected to apply through their national society if one existed, and the application would be forwarded to Dornach by the General Secretary of that Society. However, membership in the national or local society was not obligatory; all members belonged as a matter of course to the General Anthroposophical Society and might or might not belong to a group within it. Rudolf Steiner regarded this aspect of membership as so important that, in spite of the numerous demands made upon his time and energies, he himself as President personally signed all the new membership cards. Since there were at this time some 12,000 members throughout the world, all of whom needed new cards, the task that he thus set himself was no sinecure.
All books and cycles of lectures would be made available in the future through the Society bookstores. But the cycles of lectures given to members, and never hitherto made available to the public, would in future include a notice to the effect that the cycle in question had been printed for the School for the Science of Spirit and that "no person is held qualified to form a judgement on the contents of these works who has not acquiredthrough the School itself or in an equivalent manner recognized by the Schoolthe requisite preliminary knowledge." This seemed at the time the best compromise that could be made. The Society in future must be a public one, and it would be out of keeping with its new nature for some cycles to be reserved for members onlyespecially if these cycles were in any event circulated clandestinely and in garbled and inaccurate form, as had been the case too often in the past. But it should also be possible for Rudolf Steiner and his close collaborators to tell critics who quoted passages out of context, and with little or no previous knowledge of Anthroposophy, that they did not propose to be drawn into futile arguments, which would have been unnecessary if the critic had acquired the relevant knowledge before beginning the argument.
In Chapter 8 we described in some detail how Rudolf Steiner laid the foundation stone of the First Goetheanum in a solemn ceremony on a wildly stormy night in the presence of a mere handful of members. This physical foundation stone was still embedded in the lowest foundations of the building which had survived the fire. The new Goetheanum therefore needed no new physical foundation stone. On Christmas Day, 1923 Rudolf Steiner again laid a foundation stone in the presence of close to eight hundred members in the enlarged Schreinerei. But this Foundation Stone he laid in the hearts of the members, all the members, present and future, of the Society, and the ceremony was no less solemn than the earlier one. A week later when he closed the Conference during which the Society had received its new form, he told his audience that "on this Foundation Stone we will erect the building of which the stones will be the individual work done by us severally, in all our groups, as we go out into the wide world."
What then was this Foundation Stone? According to Steiner himself, as he told the members in his address, it was, like the other, the physical stone, a dodecahedron, and he was laying it in the hearts of all those members who were willing to receive it, and to try to make it alive in them. It was, in fact, a meditative verse, but was unlike all the others that had been brought down from the spiritual worlds by Rudolf Steiner, in that it contains within it the deepest secrets of the nature of man and of his relationship with the nine hierarchies and the Holy Trinity. Only through working with this meditation can it come alive, and slowly and gradually reveal ever more of its meaning. Obviously no one present at the Christmas Conference could conceivably grasp this treasure at once, or ever fully realize its manifold nature. But if, as Rudolf Steiner wished, it was received as deeply as possible into the souls of the members, present and future, then from this joint working together the newly founded General Anthroposophical Society might survive as a free society of human beings spiritually united for the same purposeor, as the last words of the verse read:
That good may become
What from our Hearts we would found,
And from our Heads direct
With single purpose.
Such, at all events, was Rudolf Steiner's hope, and numerous members subsequently made clear that they too had the same hope after experiencing this most solemn week of their lives. The Conference and the transmitting of the Foundation Stone represented Rudolf Steiner's supreme effort to bring together the disparate streams of the Anthroposophical Movement into a single united Society. During the course of 1924 he was to explain to many different audiences of members in the most profoundly moving lectures of his life what preparations had been made for centuries in the spiritual worlds in order that a Movement such as this could at last come into beinga Movement that had only become possible since Michael had taken over the guidance of mankind in 1879, and since the Age of Light had replaced in 1899 the Age of Darkness, or Kali Yuga, in which the world had slumbered for five thousand years, while all direct knowledge of the spiritual worlds had gradually died away.*
*These bald paragraphs represent all that should, in the present author's view, be given here regarding the General Anthroposophical Society as it was founded at Christmas, 1923. They deal, of course, exclusively with the form of the Society, and purposely say nothing about the true substance, nor the significance of Rudolf Steiner's deed in uniting himself directly with the Society as its president, an external task that is ordinarily never undertaken by spiritual leaders. It is simply not possible to discuss the esoteric nature of the Society in a book intended for public circulation, nor to attempt to show the historical significance of Rudolf Steiner's act at this particular moment of timenor even why the form taken by the Society was chosen by Steiner for esoteric reasons rather than because of any external considerations. Least of all can anything meaningful be said here about the Foundation Stone meditation.
It is highly unlikely that any of the members present at the meeting understood at all adequately what was being done, even though they felt its tremendous significance, and knew that they had been present and participated in something that was far beyond their capacity to understand. In the years since 1923, however, many members have devoted the most intense thought to the effort to understand the Christmas Foundation and its true significance, and some writings have even been published with the purpose of aiding members to comprehend. Perhaps the most substantial of these is a book by Rudolf Grosse, the present (1980) head of the General Anthroposophical Society, which bears the title Die Weinachstagung als Zeitenwende (The Christmas Congressa Turning Point). In due course no doubt the book will be available in English, but only members who have already done much thinking of their own on the subject are likely to understand, at least at first, much of what Herr Grosse has written. On the Foundation Stone itself a little book published in English as long ago as 1963 will be found most helpful by many. This is F.W. Zeylmans van Emmichoven, The Foundation Stone (London: Rudolf Steiner Press, 1963).
THE SUMMIT OF ACHIEVEMENT
THE ANNUS MIRABILIS OF 1924
It is difficult for anyone to imagine, and impossible for a biographer to describe with any real hope of being faithful to reality, how Rudolf Steiner was able to sustain the enormous load of work that he undertook in the last nine months of his public career. As early as New Year's Day, 1924, he gave the first recognizable signs of the illness with which he was already afflicted, and that was to prove fatal to him in March, 1925. He had no intention of letting the illness get the better of him while he still had so much work to do, but what the efforts to master it must have cost him, and what prodigious efforts of will it must have required to enable him to carry through his self-imposed programme, while scarcely ever giving any outward visible signs of his sickness, can only dimly be imagined by the rest of us. None of his younger and more healthy collaborators could keep up with the sixty-three year old Steiner, suffering, as he was, from a terminal illness, one consequence of which was that all food acted on him like a poison, until in his last months of life he could hardly eat at all.
Steiner must certainly have been sustained by spiritual forces that most of us are unable to tap, and this alone can account for the prodigious amount of work he was able to do in the fifteen remaining months of his life. For the illness constantly gained upon him, if gradually, and in the end he was forced to yield to it, at least to the extent of no longer being able to appear in public. He had then to remain in his sickroom, almost always in bed, and unable to stand. Yet even in these conditions he continued to write his autobiography, and spent every unoccupied minute in reading. He created forms for eurythmy, gave instructions to Marie Steiner on the arranging of the eurythmy tours she and her troupe were undertaking, he handled all of his correspondence, dictating letters daily to his tireless secretary Guenther Wachsmuth; and as a crowning work he produced a series of letters to the members of the Society that are the most spiritually concentrated writings of his entire life. These became for those members perhaps the most widely studied of all his teachings, containing, as they do, the very essence of all that he had tried to give forth during his lifetime. As if these were not enough in themselves, he also appended to each letter a "guide-line," or "leading thought," for meditation on the subject of the letter, which took its content still further than he had been able to do when he wrote the slightly less concentrated sentences of the letter itself. These letters, collectively known as The Michael Mystery, constituted his last legacy to the members, and the circumstances of their writing are seldom if ever forgotten by those of his legatees who, more than fifty years after his death, continue to work with them.59
Even if we take into account the tremendous productivity of some of his earlier years, 1924 stands out as the most productive of all, culminating in September with an extraordinary three week period after his return from his last journey abroad, which was to England. During that period he gave no fewer than seventy lectures, usually at least four per day, as well as granting countless private interviews. Steiner spoke later of these private interviews as if they were the most serious of all the threats to his health; and Marie Steiner did not mince her words as she tried to persuade him to cut down on the number he accorded, insisting that at least some of them were unnecessary, and all were cutting into the slender reserves of strength that he still possessed. When he lectured, even if a few minutes earlier he had appeared so ill that he would never be able to give the lecture, he seemed suddenly to spring to life as he reached the podium and began to speak. When he lectured he naturally knew in advance just what strength would be needed for the task, and he could open himself to whatever new force might flow to him from the spiritual worlds while he was speaking. But when he conversed with people who had asked to speak with him privately, he could not know in advance just how much would be asked of him, and so could not make preparations to husband his strength; and though all who spoke with him were unanimous in recording that his understanding and counsel had never before been so sure and so immediate, it remains true that these members occupied the time that he might have used between his lectures to recuperate in quiet solitudea solitude that he could find now only when everyone else had retired to bed. But until the very end of his public appearances it continued to be his expressed wish that those who felt a need to present their problems to him should be allowed to do so; and when Marie Steiner once asked him if it was not possible for him to spare himself and do at least a little less than he was doing, he replied: "Do less? But I should be doing four times as much!"
From the work accomplished by Steiner during the nine months following the Christmas Conference, it is clear that he had certain aims in mind, though to the best of my knowledge he never spelled them out to anyone. Two of them appear to have been crucially important to him. On the one hand he wished to provide those who wished to engage in practical anthroposophical work with as many potentially fruitful impulses as he could, while on the other he wished to deepen the understanding of the members, and as far as possible help them in their inner development, fitting them, as far as he could fit them, to carry on the anthroposophical impulse when he was gone. Almost certainly from the apparently inexhaustible spiritual knowledge available to him he could have given much more than he did, but what he gave was dependent necessarily on the numbers and quality of those who received. Those who asked for his help and were prepared to work with what he gave them received in ample measure. Numerous suggestions made by him for the first time in 1924 were put to practical use only after many years. Some have not yet been used at all for lack of the qualified researchers able to make use of them.
During the nine months following the Christmas Conference Steiner gave no fewer than twelve complete courses on subjects for which workers were already available. Three were in the educational field, a Section having been reserved in the newly founded School for the Science of Spirit for this subject. This Section Steiner had reserved for himself. The three courses were given in three different countries: in Stuttgart, Germany he gave The Essentials of Education; in Berne, Switzerland The Roots of Education; and in Torquay, England The Kingdom of Childhood. These courses were of special value because Steiner was able to include in them the conclusions he had drawn from the five year experience at Stuttgart.
In Marie Steiner's Section for Speech and Music, he also gave three courses. The two courses in eurythmy, Eurythmy as Visible Song (February) and Eurythmy as Visible Speech (July) brought together at one time all the separate indications he had given over the years since 1912 when he had first brought this new art into being, and he added more that would be of immense value for the future. The third course in Speech and Drama (September 5th to 23rd), a series of nineteen lectures illustrated by Steiner himself and Marie Steiner, was in all essential respects a new course as far as its auditors were concerned, though some of the material was known since it had been developed over the years by Marie Steiner from indications given by Rudolf Steiner. It is a veritable treasure-house of ideas and insights, which, under the direction of Marie Steiner and her successors, have been responsible for dozens of initiatives both at the Goetheanum and elsewhere during the last fifty years.
In Dr. Ita Wegman's Section three courses were also given, the first of which began immediately after the Christmas Conference. This course was given in response to a request from a number of young physicians and medical students, who were looking for a kind of medicine very different from the medicine then in vogue, based as it was on the materialistic and mechanized science of the day. In reply to this request Steiner gave them a full course lasting a week on the subject of Ethics and Practice of Medicine, which succeeded in arousing among his young hearers a passionate interest, showing itself in endless discussions in the Sonnenhof after the course was over. All those who could stay on in Dornach and did not have to return to their work continued the discussions for an entire day and half the following night, trying to clarify for themselves and to draw forth the full consequences for their profession of what Steiner had said. In later life these young people constituted the nucleus of the anthroposophical medical profession, not only in Central Europe, but wherever they took the impulse, not least in England.
The second course given in Dornach to practicing physicians (April 13th to 17th) deepened and widened the information already imparted in earlier years, while the third course was in some ways the most original, and in all respects one of the most extraordinary in Steiner's life, given at the same time as the equally extraordinary course on Speech and Drama (to say nothing of the concurrent course on the Apocalypse for theologians). This third September course, given not only to physicians, but to priests of the Christian Community, is entitled Pastoral Medicine, a subject that is scarcely ever regarded as worthy of serious consideration in the training of physicians, though some clergymen, perhaps especially in the Roman Catholic Church, do make some effort to help the sick and even give some advice on matters of health, apart from their more widely accepted duty to provide as much spiritual consolation as they can. Usually clergymen suffer from an almost total ignorance of medicine, as a result of which they leave so much of their task to doctors, who may be equally ignorant of the teachings of religion. In this course Steiner spoke of the fact that both professions, though separate, are devoted to the service of God, and their practitioners should always work together and be aware of what members of the other profession are trying to accomplish. For a pastoral medicine of the future a knowledge of reincarnation and the biological and psychological development of human beings at different ages is, as Steiner emphasized, essential; physicians and clergymen should also know in what respects the human being is free, at what epoch in his life, indeed, he is capable of making truly free choices, and when, as with young children, he is too young to accept real responsibility. Materialists, he said, cannot comprehend the true nature of man, and so the medicine based on materialism is bound to be one-sided and often very harmful. Physicians and clergymen, even if they lack direct spiritual knowledge, should be aware that illnesses may come from previous karma, or may be paving the way for a next life of great importance for mankind. In concluding Steiner spoke of the Christ as the Healer and Helper of men, and compared the physician, who must know the path that is to be traversed through illness to possible death, with the priest, who must know what comes afterwards.60
This course, it is worth remembering, was given at a time when Rudolf Steiner himself was facing death, and suffering from an illness which proved to be terminal; only ten days after completing this course he gave the last lecture he was ever able to deliver (September 28th), that he did not have the strength to complete. It is also worth noting as an illustration of the mastery Steiner had acquired over his physical organism that a young physician who had noticed earlier in the year that Steiner was ill although no one spoke about it, was present at this course on pastoral medicine, and after observing Steiner closely, came to the conclusion that he must have entirely recovered from his illness! "He was fresh and apparently quite unburdened," he reported. "There was nothing unusual to be noticed. The question seemed rather to be: How can we endure all that is offered us? In unfathomable fulness the Spirit streamed forth. Every domain which Rudolf Steiner touched became fresh as dew. Every aspect was completely new; there was no repetition, either in the formulating or in the train of thought. An overflowing spring poured out its blessings for us. We drank, and did not guess that we were seeing our Teacher for the last time in his earthly body."61
Of the other three courses one was given to the theologians of the Christian Community and so did not come within the framework of any Section of the School for the Science of Spirit. The other two courses require a rather more detailed description. They represent the beginning of two of the most fruitful of all the anthroposophical fields of practical workCurative Education, which has found a considerable following in all the countries where Anthroposophy is established, and Biodynamic Agriculture, which has spread far beyond the still restricted circles of anthroposophists, perhaps too far, since for a truly effective practice of biodynamic farming a much more accurate knowledge of the relationship between the physical and etheric worlds is needed than the ordinary working farmer possesses!
It is, or should be, clear to everyone that physically or mentally handicapped children, especially those who have been handicapped since birth, present certain problems to mankind that cannot be resolved without some knowledge beyond the ordinary conventional and materialistic scientific knowledge available in our day, and equally beyond the conventional teachings of religion. Among these problems is the question of why children should be born with abnormalities, especially the Mongol child who can never "recover" from his Mongolism; what purpose, if any, these abnormal children serve in the world (and indeed why they should not be quietly "put away" as a burden to their parents and society), and what should be done for them in this life by the vast majority of men and women who are clinically normal. If reincarnation is a true teaching, then it must follow that in this realm, more than in any other, any answer that does not take reincarnation into account is bound to be inadequate. The child who never becomes fully conscious in this life and often dies prematurely cannot be understood in terms of this single life. According to anthroposophical teaching he comes into this present life bearing a karma from his former one, and he will be born again with a karma modified through the fact that he has undergone one life as an abnormal child. Few of those who look after children and adults in the homes and villages which have come into existence as a result of the pioneer work done by pupils of Rudolf Steiner, can perceive the previous or future lives of their charges, and can have little inkling of their karma. But they always have to be aware of their karma. For this reason their moral attitude is and must be different from that of others, and it is surely because of this attitude that Homes run by anthroposophists are looked on with some favor by authorities almost everywhere. The beautiful name chosen by Rudolf Steiner for these children expresses perfectly the attitude that he hoped anthroposophical curative teachers would achieve in relation to their charges"Children in need of special care of the soul" (Seelenpflegebedürftig). Though the physical organism of these children is often weak alsoand Steiner had numerous suggestions as to how this could be helped by special treatments and medicamentsit is indeed essentially the soul that is in need of special care. Treatment should therefore, in Steiner's view, be directed especially towards the feeling and willing, since the thinking capacity so often cannot be reached.
In Chapter 11 we discussed briefly the founding of the Clinical Therapeutical Institute in Arlesheim by Dr. Ita Wegman in 1921. Some of the first patients sent there for treatment were children, and among these some were in need of special care or quite severely handicapped. Dr. Wegman and her colleagues nevertheless undertook to treat them, following in each case advice given by Rudolf Steiner. In due course a building was acquired which later was given the name it still bearsthe Sonnenhofbut as late as 1924 this work was regarded as part of the regular medical practice of the Clinic, and Steiner had not as yet given a systematic course on curative education, each case being treated on an ad hoc basis.
Late in 1923 a few young anthroposophists, none of whom was a medical doctor (two were teachers in a state home for backward children and the third was a university student in psychology), decided that they would like to devote their lives to working with abnormal or handicapped children. As all were anthroposophists they decided to call upon Rudolf Steiner for aid, since they were agreed that no one in the state Home seemed really to know very much about the proper treatment that the children should receive. Nor did the psychology of the day contain much that appealed to them. After listening to what they had to say Rudolf Steiner proceeded to test their patience and persistence for a while. Then he invited them, in spite of their ignorance of medicine, to be present at his course for young medical doctors, after which he encouraged them to ask their own questions. As a result of this first discussion the enthusiasm of the three young men reached close to boiling point, but they still had no moneyit was just after the stabilization of the German currency which left millions of Germans without any financial resourcesnor was the time propitious for obtaining loans or gifts. But they did hear of a large house in Lauenstein which had suddenly become vacant, whose owner was willing to let it on a long lease. It now became a question therefore of raising the money for a rental rather than a purchase so, with Steiner's warm support and encouragement, they went forth on a fund-raising expedition, which was moderately successful. At all events they were able to find a few months' rent, and were able to buy enough second hand furniture, much of which they repaired themselves, so that by May 1924 they were prepared to accept their first children.
A month later, immediately following the Agriculture Course given at Koberwitz Rudolf Steiner, accompanied by two members of the Vorstand, paid a private visit to the new Home to see what the three friends, and another who joined them with no more experience than they, were doing. By this time they had five children and knew of others who wished to come. Rudolf Steiner met them all and spent the entire day (June 18th) with them, giving advice on each child, and, as one of the friends expressed it afterwards, on that day Steiner gave the tone to the entire curative work. As he left he promised them that he would give them a full course on curative education as soon as he could find time for it. The course was eventually given in Dornach from June 25th to July 7th to about twenty persons, including the doctors from the Clinic and the members of the Vorstand. From this course, which is worthy of careful study if only as an example of the kind of living, imaginative, thinking and close observation that Steiner had now developed to a peak of perfection, have stemmed the more than a hundred Homes for backward, handicapped, and delinquent children managed by anthroposophists in all countries where Anthroposophy has taken root. The well-known Camphill Movement, with its many homes, schools, and "villages" was founded just before World War II by Dr. Karl König and was likewise inspired by Rudolf Steiner.
Perhaps the most surprising of all the activities that have their roots in Anthroposophy is the Biodynamic Movement. From 1920 onwards Rudolf Steiner had given indications to several of his pupils on how to work with the etheric formative forces. These have been briefly discussed in Chapter 11. In the course of 1922 and 1923 several farmers who were also anthroposophists approached Rudolf Steiner with questions regarding the increasing sickness of the land as they themselves were experiencing it, and in particular regarding the apparent degeneracy of modern seeds. Others asked him for medical advice on animal diseases, while Count Karl von Keyserlingk, who had a large estate at Koberwitz, near Breslau, in Eastern Germany, asked him about plant diseases. The answers he gave whetted their appetite, as it seemed clear that he had as much knowledge of the invisible world in this sphere as he had in others, and his advice invariably was practical and proved to be efficacious. In 1923 he told Dr. Wachsmuth and Ehrenfried Pfeiffer how to produce a preparation that would help to "dynamize" the soil. They followed his instructions to the letter, and the precious material was ready just in time to be exhibited during the Koberwitz course. Time for this course was finally found in June, 1924, and it was given to about sixty persons gathered together on Count Keyserlingk's estate. This number included, to the surprise of many, the eurythmy troupe from Dornach, whose members were also concerned, if in a different way, with the etheric formative forces, and who perhaps, in Steiner's opinion, ought to learn something about the earth to balance the preoccupation with the celestial inherent in their art!
The course consisted of only eight lectures, plus the answers given by Steiner to a number of key questions from his audience, most of whom were practical farmers or landowners. But in these eight lectures are to be found the seeds of everything that has since come to be known as "biodynamic" agriculture (the name was not given by Rudolf Steiner). They contain at the same time a wealth of esoteric information about the relation between man and the cosmos and how this relationship must be taken into consideration by the farmer. However, most of the information in these lectures was eminently practical, dealing with such subjects as how to make a truly dynamic compost, how to "dynamize" farmyard manure, how to control noxious weeds and insect pests, although Steiner also had much to say on the utility of many other plants regarded today as weeds. Human nutrition was incidentally touched upon, since in his view much human malnutrition is due to the consumption of plants that lack the proper cosmic forces. In drawing special attention to the relationship between man and the plant world, Steiner explained how the plant, as he put it, is like a man standing upside down, with its "head" system in the earth (the roots), its "rhythmic system" in the stalk and leaves, and its "metabolic system" in the flower and seed. This remarkable observation, according to Steiner, is the key to correct nutrition, since each of our "systems" is nourished by the corresponding part of the plant.
Every word in these lectures has been worked over, and there have been countless experiments carried out, not least by Lily Kolisko, who was entrusted by Steiner with the task of proving in a scientifically acceptable manner the correctness of the practical indications given by him in this course. A circle of experimental farmers and gardeners was formed in Germany immediately after the course, and in the years since 1924 similar circles have been formed in almost all Western countries. E. Pfeiffer, after working with biodynamic farming in Europe for many years, and undertaking numerous experiments, eventually moved to the United States, where he became the pioneer teacher of most of the American biodynamic farmers, and where in the later years of his life he also established a research laboratory. His advice was very much sought after, and even industrialists in the United States listened to him respectfully, men who would never have anything to do with Anthroposophy and who knew no other anthroposophists. Pfeiffer, who had been a personal pupil of Rudolf Steiner in his youthSteiner even directed his choice of studies while he was at the universityreceived official recognition from the Hahnemann Medical College in Philadelphia when it granted him an honorary doctorate, a degree that he had never found the time to earn.
During 1924 Rudolf Steiner took very seriously his role as president of the newly formed Society, and made a special effort to maintain liaison with all the national Societies, though his schedule was too tight to enable him to visit more than a few of them. When he made his visits he always spent a part of his time in explaining to members just what was going on at Dornach, and how he envisaged the new Society. Often also he gave lectures and classes similar to those he was giving at the same time in Dornach, so that members would feel that they really had a share in what was being done there. Conversely, he reported not only to the Vorstand, but also whenever possible, to the Dornach members, telling them of his experiences during his foreign lecture tours. He also published his reports in the Newsletters of the Society, which were distributed in all the countries where Societies or groups were established. It was possible from these reports to appreciate the particular atmosphere of these foreign centers as Rudolf Steiner himself experienced them, and this too helped to bring the scattered members together in spirit. His first foreign tour of the year to the Czech capital of Prague he reported in a specially warm and enthusiastic manner, while after his August visit to England he shared his experiences at King Arthur's Castle near Tintagel in Cornwall with the Dornach members on his return. From December, 1923, he was also, as we have noted in an earlier chapter, writing his autobiography which was published week by week in Das Goetheanum, seventy instalments in all.
On January 30th, and thereafter for every week's issue for some months, he wrote a letter to the members giving advice on how to conduct group meetings, the kind of atmosphere that should, if possible, be created in them, and many related questions. These letters originally published in the Society Newsletter have been collected together in a volume with the title The Living Being of Anthroposophy and its Fostering, translated into English under the simplified title of The Life, Nature, and Cultivation of Anthroposophy. These letters demonstrate in a remarkable manner Steiner's constant care for even the smallest details of anthroposophical work.
Before the end of January he embarked on a cycle which may be thought of as introductory, and indeed it was called Anthroposophy, an Introduction. But this title does not mean that the cycle was intended for beginners, nor even for the ordinary public, however well informed in a superficial way. It was given in Dornach to the members and intended as a kind of summing up of the essential elements of Anthroposophy as Steiner now viewed them from the vantage point of his sixty-three years of life, and as he expected members to understand them. Described with the utmost precision and economy, these fundamental teachings are nowhere else presented in such a luminous manner, either in his books or his lecturesand it was evidently Steiner's intention to persuade members to begin their life in the newly formed Society with a re-thinking of all they had studied hitherto. At Easter and Pentecost Steiner also tried to give to the Dornach members a deeper insight into these two Christian festivals. Indeed, at Easter he gave no fewer than four lectures, linking this festival to the Mysteries of antiquity, especially those of Ephesus, once more showing clearly how Christianity fulfills the ancient Mysteries and supersedes them, while the single Pentecost lecture, The Whitsuntide Festival: its Place in the Study of Karma, draws together in one mighty Imagination all the three great festivals, Christmas, Easter and Pentecost, showing how the Father, Son and Holy Spirit work together in human life, thus illuminating, as he indeed told his auditors, what he was simultaneously teaching them on the subject of karma.
These lectures that Steiner gave on karma to the members at intervals throughout 1924 constitute his principal work for the members, aside from the specialized courses not intended for all of them. At this time in his life it first became possible for him to penetrate into spiritual mysteries which, as he informed his listeners, had been partially closed to him in earlier years. After a few lectures intended to deepen their understanding of karma itself and its many nuances, into none of which had he entered so profoundly before, he began to speak in February and March, and then again all through the spring, about individual personalities whose lives through several incarnations he had now investigated. Most of these personalities are well known in history in at least one incarnation, but some of the sequences of these lives are most unexpected. Certainly none would have been likely to have been predicted by persons without Steiner's supersensible faculties; but his concise descriptions of the most striking features of these lives make clear indeed how karma worked in these particular cases. This kind of information would of course be utterly useless, and conveying it to members would have been gratuitous, if it had not been that it illustrates certain general principles of metamorphosis from one life to another, and these principles are of the profoundest interest and importance. Steiner's grave and measured presentation of these facts of human destiny was totally devoid of sensationalism, but the significance of what he said cannot be grasped at one hearing or one reading, and perhaps not for a very long time. The different civilizations into which one individuality incarnates, and why these civilizations should have been chosen by that individuality in order to fulfill his tasks, always supplementing in a different way what had been begun beforesuch material must be pondered over long and carefully, and other information must usually be brought to meet it from one's ordinary knowledge, if the full meaning of these revelations is to be fathomed.
Most of these lectures on Karmic Relationships were given in Dornach, but some of them were repeated in slightly different form elsewhere, occasionally with supplementary information. Four lectures, for example, were given on Steiner's visit to Prague at the end of March, three in Paris in May (his first visit to that city since the war), nine were given in Breslau during the agricultural course held on the neighboring estate at Koberwitz, and six were given in England (Torquay and London). Three were given on the occasion of three separate visits to Stuttgart, and three more were given in various Swiss cities. Although it was certain that transcripts of the Dornach lectures would soon become available for members in other cities, Steiner nevertheless thought it important to give virtually the same lectures in other areas whenever opportunity presented itself and he had the strength to give them. The English lectures, as we shall see when we discuss Steiner's last journey to England, were of a different character from the others. So also were three outstanding lectures that he gave in July in the small Rhineland resort town of Arnhem in Holland at a moment in his life when he was so ill that Marie Steiner begged the local group leader, the young physician, F. Zeylmans van Emmichoven, to cancel the lecture on the day of his arrival. Steiner too expressed himself as willing to abide by Zeylmans' decision, but made it clear that he believed he was physically able to give it. Zeylmans, bearing in mind his responsibility also toward the audience which had assembled from all over Holland and from abroad, decided against his medical judgment that Steiner should give it, and the result was three of the most crucially important lectures that he delivered that year, totally different from anything he had yet given on the subject of karma except the lectures he had just begun to give in Dornach. These Arnhem lectures, indeed, supplemented and clarified in several respects those he had already given in Dornach.
At the beginning of July Steiner had embarked on something entirely new, even for him, by speaking of the spiritual background of the Anthroposophical Movement and Society. He explained how preparations had to be made in the spiritual world long in advance if it were to be possible for certain individualities to incarnate at the same time as others, as was necessary, for example, when such a spiritual movement as Anthroposophy had to be introduced into the world. Obviously the content of these lectures cannot be discussed here, but they are mentioned only to illustrate Steiner's apparently limitless sense of responsibility for the Society and his determination to do everything in his power, while he still had the strength, to impress his own sense of responsibility on the members. Aware as they became through his lectures of this year from what different karmic streams they had come, and of how spiritual beings, especially Michael, stood behind their work, they could not help but feel that they must devote all that they had in them to the furtherance of this work. If, after Steiner's death, when he was no longer there to hold together so many varied individualities, with such different pasts behind them in previous lives, they did in fact find it difficult to hold together, this failure can scarcely be laid at Steiner's door, so mightily did he strive to prevent it as long as he was alive.
The three lectures on karma given by Steiner at Arnhem in July, 1924, were by no means the only lectures he gave in Holland on that occasion. Indeed if Dr. Zeylmans had not arranged for two series of public lectures on education and medicine, he would surely not have given his consent to his lecturing at all, but would have insisted that he go to bed. As it turned out the two public lectures were among Steiner's best on both topics. But, according to Zeylmans, it was only while he was lecturing that he sprang to life. Then, as he put it, he was "as always, sparkling with fire, full of life and vitality. One could hardly realize this was the same man." At other times he could not conceal his weariness, and to a doctor's eye he appeared emaciated as well as utterly exhausted. When he went to England, again to a resort town where a full conference had been scheduled (Torquay), a further few weeks had passed, and the illness had taken a further toll of his dwindling physical resources. But he carried the long programme, both in Torquay and London, through to its end, and insisted on making the trip also to Tintagel, which in a sense completed his experience of Celtic Britain begun the previous year at Penmaenmawr.
Dr. Wachsmuth reports in his biography that Rudolf Steiner was already seriously ill while he was in England, and was never able to take more than a very little food. But he was insistent that no one except the members of the Vorstand who accompanied him should be allowed to know, and that no public attention should be paid to his illness. Wachsmuth and Dr. Ita Wegman tried to help as much as they could by giving him various medicaments in the intervals between his lectures and during mealtimes; and it seems that none of the audience noticed anything amiss.
The packed programme at Torquay would have taxed a man in perfect health and in the prime of life. Steiner had been asked to speak on truth and error in spiritual research, and how this kind of research differs from the search for knowledge in ordinary science. No doubt the English members were especially anxious to hear Steiner talk on such a subject because of the widespread interest in spiritualism in England, the efforts to bring supersensible knowledge within the framework of ordinary external science through the medium of such organizations as the uniquely English Society for Psychical Research, and the known existence in England of secret brotherhoods devoted to occult pursuits. Steiner responded to this request with a tremendous cycle of eleven lectures, published in England under the title of True and False Paths in Spiritual Investigation, and in America under the title Initiate Consciousness. Both these titles are appropriate enough, since Steiner devoted much of his time in the early days of the course to giving a detailed account, scarcely to be found anywhere else in his published lectures, of how the modern initiate acquires supersensible knowledge. He then devoted almost two full lectures to spiritualism, explaining exactly what supersensible perception reveals as taking place during spiritualistic seances, and how mediums damage themselves by allowing their ego to slip out, thus permitting the entrance of an Ahrimanic elemental being who takes the place of the medium's own "I". Then this being, supremely clever as all such beings are, is able to deceive the listeners. Amid much else in this important cycle Steiner drew special attention to the possibilities inherent in the use of supersensible knowledge in the practice of medicine. He and Dr. Ita Wegman, he told his audience, were in the process of collaborating in a book which should draw the attention of the world to these possibilities and what had been achieved thus far. The book, which had been begun in mid 1923, was finally published after Steiner's death, but he had the opportunity to correct its proofs just before his death, and to know that the work, entitled in English Fundamentals of Therapy, would soon be appearing. In her preface to the first edition (September, 1925), Dr. Wegman wrote that it had been their intention to write several collaborative works on the medicine of the future. This one would therefore have been only the first of many.
While he was giving his cycle on True and False Paths Steiner also gave on the same days seven lectures to a newly formed college of teachers which was planning to open a Waldorf School in London (The Kingdom of Childhood). Wishing also to keep the English members informed on everything that he had been doing for the last months he lectured to members the day after his arrival in Torquay on the significance of the Christmas Foundation of the Society, following this with the first of three lectures on karma. In this first lecture he spoke about the character of the present age from the time that Michael became the time-spirit in 1879, explaining at the same time why he had hitherto spoken so little about Michael in spite of his transcendent importance. Certain Ahrimanic beings, he told his audience, had been able to seal his lips, thus preventing the knowledge of Michael from becoming known. But his lips were now unsealed and he was able to speak as freely as he wished without any hindrance from them. The letters of the last six months of his life are an eloquent testimony to his new freedom.
The third lecture in this series, given on August 21st, bears an altogether different character from the others, the result of a visit to Tintagel on the north coast of Cornwall, the traditional site of King Arthur's Castle. As had happened the previous year at Penmaenmawr, Steiner had a direct clairvoyant experience of what had in the far distant past taken place at the Castle, and he related it to his enthralled listeners, among whom was Dr. Guenther Wachsmuth, who includes it in his biography. He was able to describe exactly where the Castle had stood, even the layout of the rooms, and the inner experiences of the Knights of the Round Table as they sat, each with a symbol of one of the signs of the Zodiac above him. He spoke also of Merlin and his teachings and his knowledge of the cosmic deed of Christ, and he explained why it was that such places as this were chosen for the kind of initiation necessary for King Arthur and his Knights. When he gave his lecture on August 21st Steiner was still full of the Tintagel experience of the previous Sunday, and here his actual words characterizing the natural setting of the castle should be quoted directly:
"There, in a comparatively short time, one can perceive a wonderful interplay between the light and the air, and also between the elemental spirits living in light and air. One can see spirit-beings streaming to the earth in the rays of the Sun, one can see them mirrored in the glittering raindrops, one can see that which comes under the sway of earthly gravity appearing in the air as the denser spirit-beings of the air. Again, when the rain ceases and the rays of the Sun stream through the clear air, one perceived the elemental spirits mingling in quite a different way. There one witnesses how the Sun works in earthly substanceand seeing it all from such a place as this, one is filled with a kind of pagan "piety," not Christian but pagan piety, which is something altogether different. Pagan piety is a surrender of heart and feeling to the manifold spiritual beings working in the processes of nature.
"Amid the conditions of modern social life it is not, generally speaking, possible for men to give effect to the processes coming to expression in the play of nature forces. These things can be penetrated only by Initiation-knowledge. But you must understand that every spiritual attainment is dependent upon some essential and fundamental condition . . . In the days of King Arthur and those around him, special conditions were required in order that the spirituality so wondrously revealed and borne in by the sea might flow into their mission and their tasks."62
Steiner then went on to speak of the mission of King Arthur and his Knights and contrasted it with the mission of the Knights of the Grail, whose task lay in southern Europe, making clear how each group was aware of the Christ and sought him in its own way. At King Arthur's Court, he said, a "pre-Christian Christianity" prevailed. He returned to this subject once more when on August 27th he gave his last lecture to the English members, the third of three lectures on the subject of karma, similar to those he was giving at the same period in Dornach. This lecture he concluded with the following words of farewell: "We know too that we remain united even when divided in physical space. We shall remain united in the signs that can reveal themselves to the eye of spirit and to the ears of soul, if what I have said in these lectures has been received in full earnestness and has been understood."63
After this last lecture to members Steiner still had some public engagements to fulfill before he left London, including two on education and two to physicians on the new anthroposophical impulse in medicine. When at last he was free to leave England, however, he did not at once return to Dornach, where more than a thousand members had assembled, eagerly awaiting the series of courses and lectures that had been promised, a larger assemblage even than had been present for the already overcrowded Christmas Foundation Meeting. Steiner's physical condition was such that he agreed at last to accept Dr. Ita Wegman's advice, and went to Stuttgart for a few days' rest. As a result he was able for the last time to recuperate enough to carry through his enormous program, described earlier in this chapter. Since he arrived later in Dornach than had been expected Marie Steiner had to work for a few days by herself with the many students who had come to Dornach to be present at his promised course on Speech and Drama. This course had originally been intended for professionals only, but after a few exceptions had been permitted, the floodgates were opened, and dozens more were eventually allowed to attend.
On the day of his return, September 5th, Steiner gave his introductory lecture to this course, as well as the first of his lectures to the theologians of the Christian Community on the Apocalypse. The same evening he resumed his lectures to the members on karma that had been interrupted by his journey to England. Thus, starting with a mere three lectures, during the course of the next three weeks he progressed on some days to four, and even five, if we count the talks he gave to those working on the new Goetheanum. Of the three courses given to restricted audiences, those on the Apocalypse and on Pastoral Medicine have not been made publicly available. But it is possible from the published Speech and Drama course to detect without difficulty how much Steiner must have enjoyed himself as he was giving it, even going so far as to recite whole scenes from various dramas, playing every part himself, strongly and without apparent hesitation. He kept this up right until September 23rd, giving a lecture each day as part of this course, as well as all his others. How much of his dwindling strength the course used up we can only imagineaccording to himself none at all, as he could receive power while speaking to these audiences, losing it only in his private interviews.
There can be no doubt at all that in these last weeks of his lecturing life he attained the culmination of his powers, and that all the knowledge he had won for himself over the last decades was now at his free disposal, so that he was more truly eloquent than at any previous time in his career. All those who were present have spoken not only of the unfailing flow of his inspiration but of the goodness, the kindliness, that shone from his eyes during these last courses of his life. Dr. Zeylmans van Emmichoven, from whom we have quoted before, was present at the course on Pastoral Medicine, and he painted an unforgettable picture of what it was like to be present at the course especially when he knew as a medical doctor how ill Steiner was, in spite of his ability to triumph over his illness when he was lecturing.
"All of us who went to Dornach to attend the new courses in September 1924," he wrote, "felt that we were lifted into other spheres, high above our ordinary consciousness; our very faces changed, we were seeing and hearing beyond the range of our own capacities. As we looked at one another we asked ourselves inwardly: Is that really so-and-so? It was something quite unbelievable and indescribable. We were already living in a spiritual world that was by no means within our grasp. There were moments during the last lectures of the course on Pastoral Medicine when only love and spirit radiated from Rudolf Steinerwith such intensity that it was almost difficult to listen to what he was saying. But the audience was, of course, one to which he could allow his whole being to speak. . . .
"That same afternoon, one or two doctors among us, together with Frau Dr. Wegman, had been with him. He lay on his couch with a rug over him and gave us a last injunction. I had then to return to my work in Holland. On 30th March, 1925, his death summoned us to Dornach."64
The lectures and courses all came to an end on September 23rdthe last lecture on karma dealing, with an appropriateness that can scarcely have been accidental, with the destiny and former lives of Steiner's first and favorite teacher of German literature in Vienna, Karl Julius Schröer, who for reasons connected with his personal karma, had devoted so much of his life to Goethe, but had been unable "to carry Goetheanism forward into Anthroposophy," thereby leaving this task to be performed by his pupil, Rudolf Steiner. In letters written to Marie Steiner after his collapse Rudolf Steiner told her that he could now see that it might have been wiser to forego these intensive weeks of September, as Dr. Wegman had constantly urged him. "From a purely personal point of view," he wrote, "it would have been more sensible to listen to Wegman earlier; she wanted me to take a rest but, as you know, I had a feeling that I owed it to higher powers to hold those September courses." It is also true, as these letters show and as will be discussed briefly in the next chapter, that Steiner did not believe he was as ill as he proved to be, nor as yet did Dr. Wegman believe he was in any real danger of death. She thought only that it was absolutely necessary as a matter of urgency that he take the rest he had so long refused.
At last, on September 27th, she was able to persuade him not to give the lecture to members that had been scheduled, and a notice was posted to this effect on the bulletin board of the Schreinerei. The members who had climbed up the hill read the notice with stupefaction. No one could remember any occasion in the past when Rudolf Steiner had cancelled a lecture, not even when he had pleurisy! Most of them had not even known that he was ill, though many knew he was on a strict diet. The doctors at the Arlesheim Clinic had been anxious, and their anxiety was naturally shared by its head, Dr. Ita Wegman, who was so often with him. So the crowd of members milled around, reluctant to go home, talking about this unexpected end to the wonderful September feast of Anthroposophy. But few indeed could even imagine that there was anything seriously amissleast of all that his lecturing days were almost over. So it was with great relief that they heard the next day that Rudolf Steiner would begin the Michaelmas Festival with his lecture, as scheduled.
He arrived, as always, perfectly on time, but many afterwards spoke of their perception that he was indeed suffering, and mentioned that his voice was softer and slightly less resonant than usual. At a moment when he would ordinarily have been about half way through his lecture, when he had in fact spoken about a deeply esoteric subject in a manner that cried out for further elucidation (perhaps wishing to let the members think further about it for themselves), he led his auditors over to Michael and the Michael stream, on which he had spoken briefly at the beginning of his lecture, telling them how important it was that "the Michael activity will be shed abroad in the future among mankind."
"Because this is so," he went on "I have made the effort today to rise up and speak to you, if only in these short words. My strength is not sufficient for more today," and after a few more sentences he concluded his lecture with a four verse meditation on Michael, which provided a kind of keynote for the remaining work which he was still to do on earthas will be discussed in the next and concluding chapter. Almost the last form Steiner ever gave in eurythmy, shortly before his death, was the eurythmy form for these meditative verses.
As the words died away, Rudolf Steiner left the podium, and walked slowly from the improvised lecture hall to the room in the same building that had been fitted out as his studio and bedroom, in which stood the still unfinished carved Group, with the Christ, the Representative of Mankind, holding in balance the powers of Lucifer and Ahriman.
Everyone in the hall stood up and watched in silence as their teacher, who would never again be seen in his earthly life by the vast majority of them, passed from the hall. His steps died away as he entered his studio bedroom which he would never again leave in his lifetime.
THE CROSSING OF THE THRESHOLD
The last six months and two days of Rudolf Steiner's life were passed in full awareness of everything that was going on around him, including the first steps toward the building of the new Goetheanum. But only a few of his closest fellow-workers were permitted to see himMarie Steiner, of course, when she was in Dornach, Guenther Wachsmuth, his secretary and the treasurer of the Society, his personal physician, Dr. Ita Wegman, and Dr. Ludwig Noll, who at her request came to Dornach to share responsibility with her, and Albert Steffen, vice-president of the Society. A few other members visited him from time to time, including a eurythmist who had been given a poem to work out and whose efforts he wished to see for himself. He corrected the distribution of her colored veil with his own hands. However, such visits were very rare and always by personal invitation. We must therefore rely on the accounts of these close friends and helpers for all that is known of his external life at this time. Since almost all his writings for the period have been published his actual work is well known to us.
At first he was able to sit in an easy chair, but soon the movement from bed to chair became too difficult for him, and he lay on the bed, or half sat up, with his papers and books around him. Until the end of 1924 he seems to have thought that his health was improving, however slowly and almost imperceptibly. This opinion was at the time shared by his doctors. It was a great disappointment to him that a series of lectures scheduled to take place in Berlin in October had to be cancelled, and he sent a special message to the members on October 19th, explaining the reasons for this necessary decision. Conditions in Germany, and especially in Berlin, had not in recent years been propitious for lecturing. But by late 1924 the currency had been stabilized and the country was at last beginning to recover. Hitler was still in prison after the fiasco of the Beer Hall Putsch in 1923. This improvement was reflected in the reception given to Marie Steiner and her eurythmy troupe, who performed without further organized interruption in leading German cities, including Berlin, often to crowded houses. Even after his condition had begun to deteriorate further the eurythmy continued, so that Marie Steiner herself was rarely in Dornach during this period.
Rudolf Steiner himself seems to have been aware of the nature of his illness, and on the basis of his knowledge of the medicaments necessary to help him to overcome it, he proposed various new remedies to Dr. Wegman, who took the steps that were needed to procure them. But no real improvement resulted; and though at first he did not grow noticeably weaker, it remained certain that if he could not succeed in assimilating enough food to keep him alive, the illness must necessarily have a fatal termination. It can scarcely be a coincidence that it was on New Year's Eve, the second anniversary of the Goetheanum fire, that his health took a definite turn for the worse. It will be remembered that it was on New Year's Day, 1924 that he first gave an outward sign of his illness when he had to withdraw suddenly from a social ceremony that he was attending. It may be equally significant that his closest collaborator of all in the work on the First Goetheanum, the English sculptress Edith Maryon who had likewise used up so much of her own strength in the sculpture of the building, also died prematurely in the course of 1924 at the age of only 52. On the last day of 1924 Dr. Wegman for the first time became truly anxious, and largely lost the optimism that had sustained her for so long.
Even in the last months of his illness Steiner could write to his wife in terms such as he would scarcely have used if he had believed he was in grave danger. He would use such expressions as "my progress is very slow, but I must soon be able to work again." Later still he wrote: "My progress is slow, but I trust I shall be able to return to work on the model of our building." He planned to give a course of lectures for those who wished to take up nursing as a profession. This course was planned for May, 1925, and was never officially cancelled, as Steiner always thought he would be well enough to give it. Even in March 1925 his death did not seem to be imminent, and Marie Steiner, who acted as his representative in Society matters as well as directing the eurythmy, was in the end not summoned until it was too late, and she arrived in Dornach only after he had died.
Dr. Wachsmuth tells how Rudolf Steiner expected all his correspondence to be brought to him every morning at 11 o'clock, and how he at once dictated replies to almost all of it. He continued to read with the same interest he had always shown. Dr. Wachsmuth was given the task of selecting and bringing to him books that might be of interest to him. When he entered the studio-sick-room with the books Steiner looked at them all and made his decision immediately as to whether to keep them or not, stacking the ones he wanted on the right of the bed and the others on the left. Dr. Wachsmuth could scarcely believe that he actually read the books, but by the next visit Steiner had at least familiarized himself with the contents!
Two important tasks were carried out in February, 1925, the formal constitution of the General Anthroposophical Society in accordance with the requirements of Swiss law, a task to which Steiner devoted himself with his usual careful attention, and the gift of a special ritual for the installation of the head of the Christian Community. This was given to Dr. Emil Bock who had come to Dornach for the purpose of receiving it. Steiner had earlier agreed to be present at the ceremony when Dr. Friedrich Rittelmeyer was to be installed, and the ceremony itself was postponed several times, always with the hope that he could after all attend. Not wishing to postpone it any longer he wrote out the ritual for Dr. Bock, and urged that the ceremony be held at the earliest feasible moment. It took place on February 24th in the presence of Dr. Wachsmuth and Marie Steiner.
Such, then, was the external life of Rudolf Steiner as it could be seen and reported by his friends, and as is shown also in the many personal letters he sent during this period, especially to Marie Steiner. But, as we have already noted, these last months were truly made fruitful for the future by the two great works which occupied him, the letters to the members, each accompanied by "guide-lines" or "leading thoughts," and the instalments of his autobiography. Both were written entirely by hand, never dictated, and were invariably ready for the weekly issues of Das Goetheanum (the Autobiography), and the Newssheet for members (What is Happening in the Anthroposophical Society?) which printed the Leading Thoughts. Both the autobiography and the Leading Thoughts were started while Steiner was still leading an active life, the autobiography just before the Christmas Foundation meeting, and the Leading Thoughts afterwards. The first Leading Thoughts appeared immediately after the completion of the cycle called Anthroposophy: an Introduction, and were a kind of distilled essence of Anthroposophy, as was, in a certain sense, the cycle also. The first Leading Thought begins with the best known of all definitions of Anthroposophy, and it is worth quoting in full as Steiner's last word on the subject that he intended not only for his own time but for posterity. It is also notable in this "thought" how clearly he shows why no one can or should be "converted" to Anthroposophy, but can only, through his own need, come to acknowledge it.
"Anthroposophy is a path of knowledge, to guide the Spiritual in the human being to the Spiritual in the universe. It arises in man as a need of the heart, of the life of feeling; and it can be justified only in as much as it can satisfy this inner need. He alone can acknowledge Anthroposophy, who finds in it what he himself in his own inner life feels impelled to seek. Hence only they can be anthroposophists who feel certain questions on the nature of man and the universe as an elemental need of life, just as one feels hunger and thirst."
When Steiner reached the 102nd thought there is a marked change which must surely be linked to the abandonment of his active life as a lecturer and his confinement to his sickroom. From this time onwards the Leading Thoughts, which had hitherto consisted of a distillation of the main ideas of Anthroposophy, intended especially to be used for study purposes by the Groups, now become a distillation of the letters that accompany them, though in a slightly different form. The first letters of this new last phase of his work were written to the members just before the onset of his last illness. On August 17th and August 31st he began to speak especially of the age in which mankind had been living since the beginning of the era of the consciousness soul in the fifteenth century, and of the changes that ensued when Michael in 1879 became the ruling archangel. With the issues of October Steiner set out to describe in words of the utmost clarity and conciseness the whole mission of mankind on the earth, and his task of attaining freedom and building love into the world. He spoke of how men in earlier ages harbored only divine thoughts, then step by step they began to think for themselves, and assumed for themselves the task of ruling the earth without interference from the divine world. But as man moved in this direction and absorbed into himself the Intelligence that had formerly been cosmic, and was in any event cosmic in origin, he became subject to ever more temptations from Lucifer and Ahriman, though the Mystery of Golgotha has made it possible for him to choose instead to take the Christ Impulse into himself, and follow the path indicated by Michael. Deeper and deeper the letters go into the secrets of human evolution, and ever more difficult to grasp are the concepts unless the previous letters and their guiding lines have first been mastered.
So at the last, as February drew into March, we may picture to ourselves Steiner on his deathbed working out each thought, putting it in the most perfect possible form, while the chapters in the autobiography also grow shorter and more compact as he thinks out and expresses, still with the utmost precision and clarity, just what he wishes to say for posterity. Then comes the day when he does not write on the manuscript of the autobiography "To be continued," and the installments then come to an end.
The last letter, published only after his death, concerns the danger that mankind will sink into subnature, the realm of the Ahrimanic and even more evil powers, unless he can rise as high with his consciousness into the spiritual world as he sinks below it with his technical civilization.
"He must find the strength," Rudolf Steiner writes in his last message, "the inner force of knowledge, in order not to be overcome by Ahriman in his technical civilization. He must understand Sub-Nature for what it really is. This he can do only if he rises, in spiritual knowledge, at least as far into extra-earthly Super-Nature as he has descended, in technical Sciences, into Sub-Nature. The age requires a knowledge transcending Nature, because in its inner life it must come to grips with a life-content which has sunk far beneath Naturea life-content whose influence is perilous. Needless to say, there can be no question here of advocating a return to earlier stages of civilization. The point is that man shall find the way to bring the conditions of modern civilization into their true relationshipto himself and to the Cosmos. There are very few as yet who even feel the greatness of the spiritual tasks approaching man in this direction. . . . In the Science of the Spirit, we now create another sphere in which there is no Ahrimanic element. It is just by receiving in knowledge this spirituality to which the Ahrimanic powers have no access, that man is strengthened to confront Ahriman within the world."66
On March 29th in the evening a deterioration in Steiner's condition was noticeable, and a message was sent to Marie Steiner in Stuttgart, telling her the news, but adding that there were as yet no grounds for special anxiety. In the early hours of the following morning she received a message telling her that his condition had again worsened and that she must return at once to Dornach. She began the journey immediately, but it was too late. In his studio sickroom Dr. Wegman asked him if he had any last message to send to the members. Faithful to the last to his unwillingness to impinge on the freedom of others, knowing that any such last message would become a binding injunction on the members, he looked for the last time into the eyes of this friend who, as both knew so well, had shared his destiny in so many earlier earth lives, and who now anxiously awaited his answer. But he made no reply, a few moments later folding his hands across his breast, and closing his eyes. Without any sign of even a moment's struggle he soon afterwards passed peacefully across the threshold into the spiritual world.
* * *
Often during his lifetime Rudolf Steiner had explained to members that when an important step forward had to be taken in human evolution, an individuality had to be prepared specially in the spiritual world who would later embody in himself those new capacities that would soon belong to all mankind. Such an individuality would necessarily be out of the ordinary, even, in his time, unique. It would never be possible for his contemporaries to understand him fully, because of his very strangeness and only a few would become his pupils and followers.
Rudolf Steiner never spoke of himself openly in this way, although the gift of clairvoyance that he possessed from his youth onwards is not known to have been shared in such measure by any of his contemporaries. He did not declare himself to be a forerunner; he did not even call himself a messenger of the spirit, as some of his pupils and biographers have called him. He simply lived and worked at all times and always as if it was his life mission to perform the task of revealing to such of mankind as would listen, the reality of the spiritual worlds as he perceived them in direct vision, and what the spiritual beings whom he perceived expected of man. To do this was to make the fullest possible use of those gifts with which he had been endowed. As he grew older and his powers matured he perceived ever more clearly the obstacles to be overcome and the magnitude of the work that lay before him still to be done, while the time allotted to him on earth became ever shorterso much to do and so little time!
When his last illness fastened itself upon his physical organism and could not be shaken off he refused to yield to it and continued his productive work until death took him, almost suddenly. He would never have agreed that his work was done, nor that he had fulfilled all his obligations to the spiritual beings who were his guidesnever at any time in his life did he take credit for anything he had done, nor was he ever at any moment in it complacent.
If indeed it is true that Rudolf Steiner embodied in himself capacities that will one day belong to all mankind, and in this sense he is the first example of a new kind of man, in another and different sense he was surely exemplary. He wished to use his capacities for the benefit of all mankind, and in so using them he never spared himself. So, when on March 30th, 1925 he crossed the threshold into the spiritual world, he had earned the right to die at the foot of the Christ statue that would now forever remain unfinished.[Note #65 seems to be missing from the text, in this or the previous chapter. -- T]
Notes on Earlier Biographies of Rudolf Steiner
The main source used for the first six chapters of the book was Steiner's own autobiography, published under the title of The Course of my Life, an exact translation of Mein Lebensgang. This book, translated by Olin D. Wannamaker, appeared in a second edition in 1951 (New York: Anthroposophic Press). More recently a new translation by Rita Stebbing was published in an edition that appeared in 1977 from Rudolf Steiner Publications, Blauvelt, New York. This edition contained over six hundred footnotes written by Paul Marshall Allen, many of which were of considerable use to me in writing this biography. The title of this version was simply Rudolf Steiner, an Autobiography. Of almost equal importance to a student of Steiner's life is Guenther Wachsmuth, The Life and Work of Rudolf Steiner (New York: Whittier Press, 1955) translated by Olin D. Wannamaker and Reginald E. Raab. This book gives a year by year account of Steiner's life and work from 1900 to his death, and thus supplements the autobiography in an exemplary manner. Wachsmuth acted as Steiner's secretary for the last years of his life and much of his book is based on first hand knowledge.
Other biographies in English are A.P. Shepherd, A Scientist of the Invisible, of which only about a quarter is devoted to Steiner's life, the remainder being concerned with his teachings (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1954, many times re-printed). Frans Carlgren, Rudolf Steiner, 1861-1925 is a rather slight but very valuable work, constituting a more or less official biography directed to the general public (Dornach: School of Spiritual Science, Second Edition, 1964). Johannes Hemleben, Rudolf Steiner, a Documentary Biography (East Grinstead: Henry Goulden Ltd, 1975) is a translation (by Leo Twyman) of a book which was extremely successful in its original German edition published by Rowohlt of Hamburg in 1963. The book is much stronger in the first part, that part of Steiner's life covered by his autobiography, than it is in the later chapters which are somewhat sketchy. The author is a Christian Community priest and as might be expected it is particularly strong on the material concerned with Christianity.
Another book by a Christian Community priest, the founder of the Christian Community, is Friedrich Rittelmeyer, Rudolf Steiner Enters my Life (London Christian Community Press, 1954). The book is a first hand and often very vivid account of Rittelmeyer's association with Rudolf Steiner.
Perhaps the most complete of the biographies to which I have had access is Simone Rihouët-Coroze, Biographie de Rudolf Steiner (Paris: Triades, 1973), a well documented account of Steiner's life in 393 pages. Again the first half of the life is handled much more fully than the second. But both parts are dealt with effectively and the documentation is far from being confined to the autobiography.
CL The Course of My Life, by Rudolf Steiner (N.Y., 1951)
R. Friedrich Rittelmeyer, Rudolf Steiner Enters my Life
(Christian Community Press, London. 3rd edition, 1954)
N.Y. Anthroposophic Press, New York, or Spring Valley.
London. Rudolf Steiner Press, London, or it predecessors.
1. CL chapter 3
2. CL chapter 3
3. CL chapter 1
4. CL chapter 1
5. CL chapter 2
6. Karmic Relationships, London, 1976. Vol. VIII
7. CL chapter 4
8. Letter of October 26, 1890, quoted by J. Hemleben in Rudolf Steiner. English edition, Henry Goulden Ltd, East Grinstead, 1975.
9. CL chapter 7
10. CL chapter 6
11. CL chapter 3
12. CL chapter 5
13. From Symptom to Reality, London, 1976. Lecture 7
14. CL chapter 17
15. Published by Rudolf Steiner Publications (Englewood, N.J., 1960) under the title Friedrich Nietzsche: Fighter for Freedom. The book contains also the memorial lecture given by Rudolf Steiner in 1900.
16. CL chapter 18
17. Riddles of Philosophy (N.Y. 1973), p. xvi
18. See note 15. The address is pp 201-212, the quotation p. 212
19. CL chapter 21
20. "Haeckel and his Opponents" in Three Essays on Haeckel and Karma, (London, Theosophical Publishing Co, 1914) pp. 85-87
21. Riddles of Philosophy, p. 307. This book is an enlargement, published in 1914, of Conceptions of World and Life in the Nineteenth Century, published in German in 1900.
22. Philosophy of Freedom chapter 12
23. CL chapter 30
24. CL chapter 30
25. See note 20. The essay referred to is the third in the book Three Essays on Haeckel and Karma, and is entitled "Haeckel, the Riddle of the Universe, and Theosophy." Reprinted in Two Essays on Haeckel, London, 1935.
26. CL chapter 27
27. CL chapter 22
28. CL chapter 26
29. From Symptom to Reality, Lecture 6. See note 13
30. CL chapter 27
31. From Symptom to Reality, Lecture 6
32. Anthroposophical Movement, lectures given in Dornach in 1923. (London: H. Collison), Lecture 3
33. Anthroposophical Movement, lecture 1
34. Occult Movement in the Nineteenth Century, London, 1973 Lecture 2
35. R. pp 56-57
36. CL chapter 37
37. Guenther Wachsmuth, The Life and Writings of Rudolf Steiner, (New York. Whittier Press, 1955.) This book recounts Steiner's life year by year from 1900 onwards. References will be therefore to years. This first reference is 1907.
38. CL chapter 34
39. Occult Seals and Columns, (N.Y., 1972) pp. 59-60
40. The address is printed in Guidance in Esoteric Training (Lon¬don. 1972), page 88 ff. The quotation from the Basel address of September 22, 1913 was translated from S.R. Coroze, Biographie de Rudolf Steiner, p. 265.
41. Quoted in Arild Rosenkrantz, The Goetheanum as a New Impulse in Art. Privately printed, no date. Chapter 2
42. Lecture entitled The Architectural Conception of the Goetheanum," Berne, June 21st, 1921, privately printed, available as supplement to German edition of Der Baugedanke des Goetheanum, (Stuttgart: Verlag Freies Geistesleben, 1958).
43. This translation has been adapted from that appearing in Wachsmuth, op. cit, note 37, under the year 1914
44. These extracts are taken from a section of Belyi's book which appeared in Number 25 and 26 of the Journal for Anthroposophy, Spring and Autumn, 1977 (New York, Anthroposophical Society in America). German version was translated from the Russian original by Svetlana Geier (Basel: Zbinden Verlag).
45. R. page 112
46. See especially the course given in July and August, 1922 entitled World Economy, 3rd edit. London, 1972.
47. Education as a Social Problem, N.Y. 1969, Lecture 4
48. F. Hartlieb, The Free Waldorf School at Stuttgart, London, 1928
49. Unpublished lecture given at the Annual Meeting of the Anthroposophical Society held in Berlin 19 January 1914
50. R. page 134
51. Human Life in the Light of Spiritual Science, Liestal, Oct. 16, 1916, N.Y. 1938
52. See note 37. Wachsmuth, 1921
53. See note 32. Anthroposophical Movement, Lecture 7
54. Spiritual Science and the Art of Healing, London, 1950, Lecture 1.
55. Golden Blade, 1958. Article entitled "Religious Renewal."
56. R. pp. 137-38
57. Introduction to a collection of prewar Berlin lectures published in German in 1926. English edition (London, 1934) bears title Turning Points in Spiritual History.
58. Printed as appendix to lecture given at the Hague November 5, 1922, under title "Concealed Aspects of Human Existence and the Christ Impulse" (N.Y. 1941).
59. These letters are incorporated in a book entitled in its most recent edtion (London, 1973) Anthroposophical Leading Thoughts.
60. This very brief summary is taken from the slightly less brief summary by Albert Steffen who, as a member of the Vorstand, was permitted to be present. The summary appears in his book Meetings with Rudolf Steiner (Dornach: Verlag Für Schöne Wissenschaften, 1961).
61. Golden Blade, 1958. Article by Kurt Magerstädt.
62. Karmic Relationships, London, 1975, Volume VII, Lecture 3
63. Karmic Relationships, Vol. VIII, Lecture 6
64. Golden Blade, 1958. Article "Rudolf Steiner in Holland."
65. The Last Address, London, 1967
66. See Note 59. Letter # 29, March, 1925
- Tarjei, I've stopped a little bit just to say that I appreciate your efforts to bring about the information on Steiner's biography, which I otherwise would not find.
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- [This index, which is the last part of the book, gives references to page numbers. This will have to be adjusted to anchor-links in the web version. -- T]
Adler, Felix, 62
Adyar, India, 119, 127, 129, 186, 189
Aeschylus, 163, 178-179
Age of Light, 330
Agriculture of Tomorrow (Kolisko) 295
Ahriman, 155, 196, 203, 229, 256
influence in 19th century, 117
influence in modern world, 360-361
pictured in Group sculpture. 227
Ahrimanic spirits, 84-85, 240, 348-349
Akasha Chronicle, 134-136, 140, 145, 150, 284
Alcyone, 156, 187
See also Krishnamurti
anarchism, 86-88. 94
Anthea (plant dyes) 205
Anthroposophical Literary Concern, 317
Anthroposophical Society (1913)
and Christian Community, 303-304, 314-315
founding of, 189-190
organization of, 314-319
in postwar period, 277-278, 293,323-329, 327-328
and Theosophical Society, 115-116, 121-122, 157-158
and Threefold Movement, 247
Anthroposophical Society (1923)
See General Anthroposophical Society
Anthroposophy and the Human Gemüt, 320
Anthroposophy: an Introduction, 344, 359
Anthroposophy, definition of, 126, 359
Apocalypse, course on (1924), 336, 351
Appeal to the German People and the Civilized World, 241-242, 244
See under Thomas
Archangels, roles of, in seasons, 320
See also under separate archangels Aristotle, 58, 177-178
clinic at, 297-298, 339, 354
Arnhem, 298-299, 346-347
Art, and Anthroposophy, Chapter 7, passim
Art, origin of, 171
Arthur, King, 350-351
At the Gates of Spiritual Science, 195
Austria, 224, 243
See also Vienna
Austro-Hungarian Empire, 12, 15
Autobiography of Rudolf Steiner, characterized, 15. 29-31, 81-82, 136, 140-141,158-159
last chapters of, 360-361
See notes for quotations from
Bach, John Sebastian, 50-51
Balde, Felix, 18
Basel, 195, 199
Bavaria, 13, 15
See also Munich
Bayazid II (Sultan) 106
Beer Hall Putsch, 194, 357
Belyi, Andrei, 207, 213-217
Berlin, as anthroposophical center, 190, 210-212
move of Steiner to (1897) 77
postwar work in, 356-357
public lectures in, 75, 222-223, 322
publishing house in, 322
theatres in, 92
University of, 79, 85
Besant, Annie, 110, 119-120, 124, 126-129,131,156-157, 168-170, 187-189, 283
Bhagavad Gita, 210
Biodynamic Agriculture, 8, 338, 341-343
Bismarck, Otto von, 13
Blavatksky, H.P., 110-111, 116-122, 128, 157, 187, 283
Bock, Emil, 300, 358
Boehme, Jakob, 2, 18
Bölsche, Wilhelm, 107
Bolshevik Revolution, 230, 240, 248
Bolsheviks (Treaty of Rapallo), 288
Boos, Roman, 242, 245-246
Brandes. Georg, 64
Brest-Litovsk, Treaty of, 232
Brethren of the Common Life, 106
Brockdorff, Countess, 123, 127, 132
Bruckner, Anton, 307
Brunn am Gebirge, 31
Brussels, Steiner's visit to (1902), 112
Buddha, Gautama, 131, 133
Buddhism, and Theosophy, 131
Bugayev, Boris, See Belyi, Andrei
Camphill Movement, 341
capillary dynamolysis, 295
"Children in Need of Special Care of the Soul," 339
Children of Lucifer (Schuré ), 170-171
Christ and the Human Soul, 150, 159
Christ and the Spiritual World, 150
Christ, baptism of, 151-152, 196
temptation of, 83
See also Mystery of Golgotha
Christ Impulse, 3, 89-90. 256, 271
Christian Community, 150, 300, 303-304, 314-315, 337, 351, 358
Christianity, and Anthroposophy, 133, 137, 146, 197
and Theosophy, 122, 283
Christianity as Mystical Fact, 89-90, 132¬133, 141, 147-148
Christmas Conference (1923) 182, 322, 324-325, 327-330, 331 n, 334-335, 349, 351, 359
See also General Anthroposophical Society
clairvoyance, loss of, in course of history, 4-6, 146
of Rudolf Steiner, 17-18, 24, 56, 63-64, 136, 310, 362
Clinical Therapeutical Institute, (Arlesheim), 297-298, 339, 354
Collison, Harry, 222, 316-317
Comte, Auguste, 1
Concept and Percept, discussion of, 57-58
Communism, in postwar Germany, 286
See also Bolshevik Revolution
consciousness soul, 105, 143, 200, 224, 235, 301, 324-325
defined, 164 n, 166
Consecration of Man, Act of (Christian Community), 301-303
Corvinus, Matthias, 106
Cosmic Memory, 140
Cosmology, Philosophy and Religion, 307
Cotta World Literature Library, 56
Curative Education, 37-38, 338-341
Cycle of the Year, The, 319-320
Darwin, Charles, 1, 19, 116
Darwinism, 19, 42, 71, 73
Dornach, 194-195, 202, 205, 316, 322
buildings of, 273-274
contrast with Stuttgart, 266
Steiner's first view of, 192
See also Chapter 8, passim
Dreyfus Affair, 94, 104
Dual Monarchy, 13-14, 243
Earthly Death and Cosmic Life, 212, 240
East in the Light of the West, 171
Ebert, Friedrich, 286
Education as a Social Problem, 256-257
Education of the Child in the Light of Anthroposophy, 253-254
Egypt, Ancient, 162-163, 178, 203
Eisner, Kurt, 244, 288
Eleusis, Sacred Drama of, 165-166, 172, 191
Ephesus, Mysteries of, 162
Erzberger, Matthias, 288
Esoteric Cosmology, An, 138
Essentials of Education, The, 335
Estella, in Steiner's drama, 173-174, 176
Etheric Formative Forces in Cosmos, Earth and Man (Wachsmuth) 294
Ethical Culture Society, 62
Ethical Individualism, 60-62, 73, 87-90
Ethics and Practice of Medicine, 336
Eunike, Anna, 54, 87, 91-92, 97-99, 104, 130
Eurythmy, 167, 172, 288, 290, 293,. 321, 333, 335, 356-358
beginnings of, 180-185
Eurythmy as Visible Song, 335
Eurythmy as Visible Speech, 335
Evangelists, initiation of, 148
See also under individual evangelists
Evolution of the World and of Humanity, 321
Evolution, Steiner on, 75-76
Faust (Goethe), 41, 48, 167, 222, 224, 309
Festivals, role of, 319-320, 344
Fichte, I. H., l l l
Fichte, J. G., 39, 55, 111, 128, 167-168, 223-224
Fifth Gospel, The, 150, 152-153, 196, 284
Foch, Marshal Ferdinand, 288
Foundation Stone, First Goetheanum, 195¬197, 206, 329
Christmas, 1923, 197, 327, 329-330, 331n
Fourteen Points, 241, 246
Francis Ferdinand, Archduke, 15
Free Academy (Berlin), 107, 113
Free Anthroposophical Society, 317
Free Corps, 286
Free Literary Society (Berlin), 92
freedom, Steiner's view of, 58-63, 102-103
French Revolution, 235
Friedrich Nietzsche: a Battler Against his Time, 64, 67
From Buddha to Christ (lecture to The Kommenden) 108. 126
projected lecture at Genoa, 157-158
From Jesus to Christ, 150, 188
From Symptom to Reality in Modern History, 240
For quotations from, see notes
Fundamentals of a Theory of Cognition with Special Reference to Fichte's Scientific
Fundamentals of Therapy, 297, 349
Gabriel, Archangel, 270, 320
General Anthroposophical Society (1923), 8. 29, 141, 279, 325-330, 358
karmic relationships of, 346-347, 351
national societies in, 317-318, 328, 343
Newsletter of, 343
Vorstand of, 326, 340, 343
General Knowledge of Man as a Basis for Pedogogy (Study of Man), 277
geometrical drawing, 23, 25, 27
geometry, Steiner's interest in, 20-23, 40
German Workers' Party, 287
Germany, opposition to Steiner in, 305
postwar conditions in, 277, 281, 285-287, 322
role of, as viewed by Steiner, 224-225, 241-243
Giordano, Bruno, 107, 131
Giordano Bruno Bund, 81, 97, 107-109, 112-114,126,129-131
Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von, on Art and Nature, 180-181, 200
color theory of, 41-42, 53, 205
Faust of, See Faust (Goethe)
Green Snake and Beautiful Lily of, 46-47 93, 122
and idealism, 223-224
influence on Steiner of, 48-49
metamorphosis of plants, 41-42, 202-203
and reincarnation, 143
Steiner's studies on, 2, 39, 41-43, 46-48, 52-53
theory of knowledge of, 78
and urpflanze, 43, 47
world conception of, 44-45, 53, 78, 90, 126
Goethe Archives, 50, 52-53, 76-78
Goethe as the Founder of a New Science of Aesthetics, 49-50, 160
Goethe Society (Vienna), 160
Goethe the Scientist, 44-45
Goethean thinking, 234
Goetheanum, First, building of, 8, 15, 173 185,194-195,198-209,222,226,273-274, 279
burning of, 290-293, 303-304, 308-312, 314
financing of, 313-314
first use of, 274-275
intimacy of, 323
metamorphosis in, 202-203
problems presented by, 275-276
sculpture in, 202-203, 357
Goetheanum, Second, 200, 279, 293, 309, 322-323, 356
Goetheanum, Das, 343, 359
Goethe's Conception of the World, 46, 48, 56, 90, 226
Goethe's Secret Revelation, 93-99, 122
Golgotha, Mystery of, See Mystery of Golgotha
Gospel of St. John in Relation to the Other Gospels, 150
Gospels, Steiner's lectures on, 148-149
See also under names of evangelists
Gothic churches, 201
Grail, Knights of the, 350
Greek temples, 201
Greek tragedy, 177-179
See also under Mysteries
Griensteidl Cafe, 31
Grimm, Hermann, 53, 62, 79
Grossheintz, Dr., 192-193
Grossheintz, Frau, 193-194
Group, carving of, 226-228, 273, 354, 363
Haeckel, Ernst, 19, 68, 70-76, 85, 107-109, III, 128, 132
Haeckel and his Opponents, 71
Hahnemann Medical College, 343
Harnack, Adolf, 111
Hartleben, Otto Erich, 79-80, 85, 93
Hartlieb, F., 263-265
Hartmann, Eduard von, 51, 60-63, 63n
Hegel, G. W. F. 39-40, 128, 167-168, 223
Hesse, Hermann, 242
Hierarchies, Spiritual, 83-84
Hiscia Institute, 298
Hitler, Adolf. 194, 225. 243, 277, 287. 292, 357
"homeless ones," 121-123
House, Colonel E. M., 228
Hübbe-Schleiden, Dr., 169
Human Values in Education, 267
Hungary, 12, 106
In the Changed Conditions of the Times, 240
Ingersoll, Robert, 111
Inner Life of Man and Life Between Death and Rebirth, The, 211
intellectual soul, 143, 224
intermaxillary jawbone, 44
Inzersdorf, 28, 31
Jacobowski, Ludwig, 97, 99, 108, 126
Jesus of Nazareth, 151-153, 196
Johannes, in Steiner dramas, 176
John, Apocalypse of, 149-150, 168, 336, 351
Gospel of, 133, 147-150
Prologue to, 183
journalism, and Anthroposophy, 289-290
Kali Yuga, 66, 74, 154, 271, 330-331
Kamaloca, 144, 154-155, 211
Kant, Immanuel, 25-26, 34, 55-57, 60-61
Kappstein, Theodore, 107
Karl, Emperor of Austria-Hungary, 228, 231-232
karma, 143, 154-155
and illness, 337-338
lectures on, (1924),344-345,349-350,353
Karmic Relationships, 345-347, 350
Keightley, Bertram, 128
Kepler, Johannes, 105
Keyserling, Count Karl von, 341
King Arthur's Castle, 343, 349-350
Kingdom of Childhood, The, 267, 334-335, 349
Knowledge of Higher Worlds: How is it Attained?, 31-32, 83, 134, 139-142, 144-145, 187. 226
Koberwitz, 340-341, 345
Koguski, Felix, 18, 20, 28
Kolisko, Elizabeth, 295, 342
Kolisko, Dr. Eugen, 295
Kommenden, Die, 97, 99, 108, 126
König, Dr. Karl, 341
Krishnamurti (Alcyone), 126, 129, 156, 170, 187
Kuhlmann, Richard von, 232
Kürschner, Joseph, 41, 43
Lazarus, 126, 132-133, 147
Leadbeater, Charles, 128, 169-170, 187
Leading Thoughts, 359-360
League of Nations, 271
Lehmann-Russböldt, Otto, 114
Leibniz, G.W., 128
Lerchenfeld, Count Otto, 230-232, 239, 241, 246
Lessing, G.E., 143
"Liberty, Equality, Fraternity," 235
Liebnecht, Wilhelm, 96
Life Between Death and Rebirth in Relation to Cosmic Facts, 211
Life, Nature and Cultivation of Anthroposophy, The, 344
Liszt, Franz, 50
Lodge, Sir Oliver, 117
Loyola, Ignatius, 18,8
Lucas Clinic, 298
Lucifer, 84, 227, 360
Luke, St., Gospel of, 150
Lutyens, Lady, 189
Luzifer-Gnosis, 95, 129, 134, 139-140, 144, 241, 253
Mackay, J.H., 86-88, 90, 94
Maeterlinck, Maurice, 93
Magazine for Literature, 79-80, 85-95, 104, 122-123, 130, 139, 252
Magyar language, 14
Man as Symphony of the Creative Word, 320, 322
Man in Relation to the World of Stars, 308
Maria, in Steiner's dramas, 175
Mark, St., Gospel of, 150, 152, 185, 191-192
Marx, Karl, 1, 96, 116
Marxism, Steiner's view of, 247-248
Maryon, Edith, 209, 227, 273, 326, 357
"Masters," and H.P. Blavatsky, 118
materialism, scientific (monism), 1, 9, 45, 109, 111-112, 117,270-271
Matthew, St., Gospel of, 150
Max, Prince of Baden, 223
Mayreder, Rosa, 33-34, 51
Mead, G.R.S., 128
Michael, Archangel, 270-271, 276-277
and Anthroposophical Society, 347, 354
archangel of autumn, 320
meditation on, 354
as time spirit, 330, 349, 360
Michael Hall School, 267
Michael Mystery, The, 333
Medicine, and Anthroposophy, 296-299
Memorandum of 1917, 231-233, 246
Merejkovsky, Dmitri, 138
Mission of the Archangel Michael, 271
Mission of Folk Souls, 223
Molt, Emil, 242, 245, 250-251, 254-255 258, 269
Moltke, Colonel-General Helmut von, 219-221, 288
Moltke, Frau von, 219
Monism and Theosophy (lecture by Steiner), 97, 109-114, 129-130
money, and Threefold Order, 249-250, 255
moral imagination, inspiration, intuition, 59
Movement for Religious Renewal, 284, 299-301,314-315
Muecke, Johanna, 96, 100-102, 104-105, 113, 322
Munich, as anthroposophical center, 15
assassination attempt in, 281, 290, 305
as projected site for Goetheanum, 190 191, 193-195
Soviet Republic of, 244
theosophical work in, 170
See also Mystery Dramas, Theosophical Congress (1907)
Mysteries, Greek, 162-165, 168, 179
Mysteries of the East and of Christianity, 210
Mystery Centers, 4, 324-325
Mystery dramas of Rudolf Steiner, 171-181, 189, 192, 197, 199
Mystery Knowledge and Mystery Centres, 324-325
Mystery of Golgotha, defined, 89
as fulcrum of world evolution, 146-147, 157, 360
as fuflfillment of Mysteries, 325
influence of, on Steiner's dramas, 179
Mysticism at the Dawn of the Modern Age (Eleven European Mystics), 89, 123, 132
National Socialism, 267-268, 285-288
nations, role of, in Steiner's thought, 223-224,238
Neudörfl, 14, 20-22, 27
Newton, Isaac, theory of color of, 41-42
Nietzsche, Friedrich, 1, 56, 60, 64-70, 76
Steiner's book on, 132
Steiner's lectures on, 108, 123
Noll, Dr. Ludwig, 297, 356
Occult Movements in the Nineteenth Century, 116, 118, 125
Steiner's lectures on, 125
Occult Physiology, 296
Occultists, traditional, attitude to Steiner of, 284
Olcott, Col. Henry Steele, 118-120, 127, 129
Old Saturn, Old Sun, Old Moon, 145
Olympic Games, 162
Outline of Occult Science, An, 74, 140, 142, 145-146
Palmer, Dr. Otto, 298
Pastoral Medicine, 296, 336-337, 352-353
Paul, St., 152, 154, 210
Penmaenmawr, 321, 323, 347, 349
Percept and Concept, discussion of, 57-58. 82-83
See also Philosophy of Freedom
Pfeiffer, Ehrenfried, 294-295, 341-343
philology, Steiner's attitude toward. 52-53, 78-79
Philosophy of Freedom, 83, 87-90, 95, 103, 109, 140
and Christ Impulse, 3, 89-90
content of, 56-63
freedom in, See under freedom
publication of, 61-62, 74
purpose of, 60-63
second edition of, 94, 226
title of, why used, 59-60
writing of, 34, 46, 49, 51, 55-56, 58
and youth, 306
Plato, 55, 162-163
Polzer-Hoditz, Count Ludwig, 231-232, 239
Pottschach, 13, 16
Practical Course for Teachers, 258
Prussia, unification of Germany by, 13
Rapallo, Treaty of, 288
Raphael, Archangel, 320
Rathenau, Walther, 288
Redemption, doctrine of, 154-155, 284
Redemption of Thinking, The, 90
and Christianity, 284
and medicine, 336-338
Reuter, Gabrielle, 34, 54, 87, 242
Riddle of Man, The, 140, 226
Riddles of Philosophy, The (Conceptions of the World and of Life in the Nineteenth
Century), 3, 68, 72, 74, 140, 225-226
Riddles of the Soul, The, 140, 226, 233
Right and Wrong Use of Esoteric Knowledge, The, 285
Rittelmeyer, Friedrich, 148-150, 152-153 249, 280-282, 300-303, 307, 358
Road to Self-Knowledge, A, 140
Roots of Education, The, 334
Rosicrucianism and Modern Initiation, 325
Rostock, University of, 49, 55-56
Rudolph, A. A., 92, 96-100, 104, 110, 112-113, 130
Russian Revolution of February, 1917, 229-230
Sachs and Wolff agency, 279-280, 305
Sacred Drama of Eleusis (Schurf), See under Eleusis
Sanskrit, use of by Steiner, 142-144
Savitch, Marie, 167
Scheidemann, Philipp, 244
Schelling, F. W. J., 39, 128, 167-168, 223
Schiller, Friedrich, 43
School for the Science of Spirit, 295-296, 326-329, 335, and Chapter 13,
Schopenhauer, Artur, 1, 60, 65
Schramm. Heinrich, 22-23
Schreinerei, 209, 226, 273, 276, 312, 327, 329
Schröer, Karl Julius, 41-42, 50, 54, 353
Schuré, Edouard, 124, 138, 156, 163 165 167, 170-172, 191, 222, 307
Second Coming, 153-154
Secret Brotherhoods, 285, 348
Secret Doctrine, The, 118, 121, 170
sentient soul, 143, 224
Shakespeare, William, 177, 267
Sievers, Marie von (Marie Steiner), as actress, 166, 180
and eurythmy, 163, 185
first visit to Dornach of, 192
and Luzifer-Gnosis, 95
marriage to Rudolf Steiner, 218-219
as organizer, 129, 136, 167
publishing work of, 130, 139
and speech, 167
as theosophist, 124-125, 127-128
at Theosophical Congress, London, 110
translator of Schuré, 166
See also Steiner, Marie
Sinnest, A.P., 120
Smits, Lory, 183-185, 192
Social Democratic Party (Germany), 96, 98, 100, 102
Social Order, Steiner's conceptions of, 229, 234-240
Sonnenhof, 336, 339
Sophia, in Steiner's drama. 173-174, 176
Sophie, Grand Duchess of Saxony, 50
Specht, Frau, 74
Specht, Ladislas, 37
Specht, Otto, 37-39, 51
Speech and Drama Course, 92, 335-336, 351-352
Speech, anthroposophical development of, 166-167,180-181
Spirit of Fichte Present in our Midst, The, 223
Spiritual Communion of Mankind, The, 308
Spiritual Ground of Education, The, 267
Spiritual Science and Medicine, 296-297
spiritualism, 110-111, 113
in England, 348
as materialism, 117-118
Stages of Higher Knowledge, 140
Star of the East, Order of, 156-157, 187-188
Steffen, Albert, 276, 303, 356
Stein, Heinrich von, 55
Steiner, Johann, 14, 16
Steiner, Marie (Marie von Sievers), on compassion, 217
and eurythmy, 226, 290, 293, 321, 333, 358
after Goetheanum fire, 312
during last days of Rudolf Steiner, 356, 358, 361
letters of Rudolf Steiner to, 353
member of executive committee, 316
at Penmaenmawr, 321
on private interviews, 333-334
and publishing, 322
as Section leader, 335
and speech, 258. 275-276, 290, 335, 351
as writer, 305
See also Sievers, Marie von
Steiner, Rudolf, passim
clairvoyance of, See under clairvoyance
postwar opposition to, 282-293
Stimer, Max, 60, 87, 224
Stratford-on-Avon, 267, 305
Strauss, Richard, 306
Study of Man, 257-258
Stuttgart, 15, 190, 311, 315-316, 318, 324
anthroposophists in, 255
contrast with Dornach, 266
educational lectures in, 256
Threefold movement in, 245, 250-251
See also Waldorf School in Stuttgart
Supersensible Man, 320
Suphan, Bernard, 50
Swedenborg, Emanuel, 2
Switzerland, neutrality of, 221-222
Thales of Miletus, 162
Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe's World Conception, 46, 49, 54
Theosophical Society, 118-120, 123-124, 283, 292, 316
Berlin Lodge of, 124-126
Congresses of, 1902 (London), 110, 114, 127, 132
1906 (Paris), 137-138, 156
1907 (Munich), 156, 159, 164-169 1909 (Budapest), 170
1911 (scheduled for Genoa), 157, 188
English Section of, 128
German Section of, 115, 120, 125-126, 129-130, 137, 146, 158, 186-190
separation from by Anthroposophical Society, 186-190
Theosophy, 111, 113-116, 119, 121
and Christianity, 122, 146-147, 156-157, 283
See also Theosophical Society
Theosophy (book), 141-142, 211
Thomas Aquinas, 58, 89-90, 109
Threefold Commonwealth, The (Three-fold Social Order), 12, 140.242-243, 243n
Movement, 231-240, 244-245, 263, 269, 272, 279, 282, 285, 287, 315
Threefold human organism, 233-234, 236, 272, 298, 342
Threshold of the Spiritual World, The, 140
Tintagel, 347, 349-350
Towards Social Renewal, 140, 243n
True and False Paths in Spiritual Investigation, 348-349
Truth and Science, 55, 60
Truths in the Evolution of Man and Humanity, 230
Tucker, Benjamin, 86, 88
Turgenieff, Assya, 204, 207-209
Turner, J. W., 205
Typesetters and Printers Union (Berlin), 105
Union for the Threefold Social Order, 246
United States, military government of, 268
Uriel, Archangel, 320
urpflanze, 43, 47
Vedanta philosophy, 113
Versailles, Treaty of, 244, 286
Vienna, Chapter 3. passim
postwar, 278 306-307
Steiner's studies in, 16, 18-19, 28, 31
as world capital, 12
Vienna Institute of Technology, 28, 33, 39¬41, 49, 252
Wachsmuth, Guenther, 113, 291, 294-295, 321, 323, 333, 341, 349, 356, 358-359
Wagner, Richard, Lohengrin of, 51
Waldorf-Astoria tobacco factory, 245, 250, 262
Waldorf School in the Hague, 267-268
Waldorf School in Stuttgart, 8, 251, 253, 258, 265, 272, 279, 287, 315
class structure of, 262
Hartlieb's description of, 263-265
Nazis' closing of, 268
Waldorf Schools as world movement, 8
Waller, Mieta, 180
Ways to a New Style of Architecture, 209
Wegman, Dr. Ita, 297-299, 335-336, 339, 348-349,351,353-354,356-357, 361-362
Weimar, 34. 50-51,91, 190
See also Chapter 4, passim
Weimar Constitution, 244
Wheel of Rebirth, 133
Whewell, William, 42
Whitsuntide Festival: its Place in the Study of Karma, 344
Wiener-Neustadt, 14, 22, 26-27
Wiertz, Antoine, 112
Wigman, Mary, 288
Wilhelm I, Kaiser, 13
Wilhelm II, Kaiser, 77, 220-221, 225, 243¬244
Wille, Bruno, 107
Wilson, Michael, 59
Wilson, President Woodrow, 228-229, 231, 239, 241-242, 246
Woloschin, Margarita, 182-184, 204-205
"Word," dangers to, 166-167
Working Men's College (Berlin), 96, 99-100, 103-104, 108, 112, 123, 247-248
World History in the Light of Anthroposophy, 325
World War I, 219, 221, 228, and Chapter 9, passim
Württemberg, 13, 15, 245, 250, 256, 263, 315
See also Stuttgart
Youth Course, 305-306
Zeylmans van Emmichoven, Dr., F. W., 346-347,352-353
Zola, Emile, 94, 104
Zurich, Threefold Movement in, 246
- --- In email@example.com, "Andrei O."
>efforts to bring about the information on Steiner's biography, which I
> Tarjei, I've stopped a little bit just to say that I appreciate your
otherwise would not find.
I'm glad it's appreciated. It's important, I think, not only to make
all of the Doctor's works available on the web in their entirety, but
also the biographies of his life and work -- a topic that has been
attempted falsified by hole-pundits who are practicing historical
revisionism, and little clever mistranslations in quoted texts, with
Steiner and Anthroposophy as special target for selective indignation.
- I've put the book on my own website while it's being worked over by
James for the Rudolf Steiner Archive:
The Archive has a searchable index-system that makes the index at the
end of the book superfluous, so I'm skipping that bit.
Notes 55 and 65 are missing from the text (chapters 11 and 13-14). The
asterisk notes have been handled in a somewhat clumsy way, but James
has a better solution for the Archive.