Heads Up: Steiner's "Esoteric Lessons"
- To All:
Readers' alert: Some excerpts, in English,
from GA 266 have recently appeared at the eLib.
This volume contains notes taken in the
"esoteric lessons" that Steiner gave in the
first Anthroposophical esoteric school. This
school was conducted circa 1904-14, associated
first with the German section of the
Theosophical Society and then with the newly
founded Anthroposophical Society.
Compared to the usual lecture transcripts,
these notes are very sparse, which would seem
to indicate that they were not stenographic
records, but probably just the jottings of some
of Steiner's students in that school. Thus,
the reader usually doesn't get much
explanation, but mostly bare assertions and
hints, and is left to puzzle out for himself
how to fill in the gaps. Nevertheless, the
depth and richness of these hints makes the
effort well worthwhile.
Another difference from Steiner's usual
lectures lies in the fact that in at least some
(perhaps most? perhaps all?) of these esoteric
lessons he was not speaking for and of himself
but was relaying messages from those Teachers
that he called *The Masters of Wisdom and of
the Harmony of Sensations [or Feelings]*. On
this aspect, here are some words from the
respected Steiner archivist Hella Weisberger:
(quoted here from the Yahoo "Spiritual Science"
group, message #4376, with my punctuation:}
"Whereas, in the above sense, Rudolf Steiner
took personal responsibility for the
supersensible knowledge he gave in public, this
did not apply in the same way to the Esoteric
School. He stated that the School stood under
the direct guidance of the Masters and that
therefore all that flowed through it must
emanate only from the Masters of Wisdom and of
the Harmony of Sensations and Feelings, ,and
from no other source. The chief obligation of
the pupils of the School was to apply all the
common sense they had to what was taught them
and to ask themselves if it was a reasonable
path to follow (from an esoteric class,
Dusseldorf, April 19, 1909)."
"It was apparently not always the case, but in
certain of his esoteric lessons, or at certain
moments during his esoteric lessons, Rudolf
Steiner spoke as the direct mouthpiece of the
Masters. A participant in the Dusseldorf lesson
of April 19, 1909 reported that this particular
lesson commenced with the following words: '"My
dear Sisters and Brothers, this esoteric lesson
is one where the responsibility does not rest
with the one who is speaking!" Those words were
uttered because, in the following description
of how Zarathustra had once received initiation
from the Sun Spirit, Rudolf Steiner himself was
Zarathustra at that moment. It must have come
as a grand experience that "our great teacher,
who had shared the results of his
investigations with us, could now demonstrate
through his own person how an ancient leader of
humanity revealed himself by means of
inspiration -that is, how Rudolf Steiner, as
the first of the modern age, could transform
himself through his own strict inner discipline
into a serviceable tool for spiritual beings to
work through, not as a medium, but as a fully
conscious spiritual investigator."'
"There are very few accounts of this particular
feature of Rudolf Steiner's activity in the
esoteric lessons where he could be experienced
as the Messenger of the Masters. The following
account is from memory: 'I remember exactly how
Rudolf Steiner entered the room. It was he and
it was not he. When he came to the esoteric
lesson he did not look like Rudolf Steiner, but
only like his outer sheath. "Through me are
speaking the Masters of Wisdom and of the
Harmony of Sensations and Feelings," he began.
It was always a solemn occasion. One is quite
unable to forget it-the expression of his
"Another person wrote of the deep impression he
had when first attending an esoteric lesson:
'Everyone sat in silence. When Rudolf Steiner
entered the room it seemed to me that a super-
earthly radiance still shone upon his features
out of that realm from which he had come to us-
it not only appeared this way; it was so. As
though with direct knowledge and understanding,
he spoke of the great Masters who guide our
life and our endeavors from above: Kut Hoomi,
Morya, Jesus, and Christian Rosenkreutz- the
"Masters of Wisdom and of the Harmony of
Sensations and Feelings."
"'This much can be said: that the sanctity of
this hour was indescribably beautiful. Rudolf
Steiner appeared at this moment entirely as the
Messenger of a higher realm. The impression is
-- It seems to me that in considering these
notes the reader should repeatedly ask which
advice is universal, as was given to the public
in *KoHW* and *OS*, and which might not be
applicable to everyone, everywhere? It might
be well to keep in mind the fact that these
lessons were given to particular groups under
particular circumstances, and that therefore
the advice might be restricted to those people,
times, and places . . . or not?
-- RS give many hints on the practice of
meditation, hints that might be very helpful .
. . or perhaps confusing. In *OS* and *KoHW*
we are already given many exercises, so many
that it is hard to know how or whether to
practice them all. And in these lessons RS (or
the Masters) gives still more exercises.
Again, the reader now is forced to use caution
while he is sifting through these rough jewels.
"What's elaborated in meditation doesn't just
benefit the meditator it goes back into the
cosmos and is of use to the whole world."
"Some people get angry at city noise, but
the really harmful thing there is the demons
that the noise keeps in check. One must be able
to live in noise without getting angry."
"There's an occult way of silencing these
unwanted thoughts, and that is to clearly
imagine a [bright, yellow] shining Mercury
staff with a black snake winding around it and
then a white snake winding against the other
". . . the evening retrospect is such an
important, indispensable exercise."
"Before going to sleep in the evening do a
short retrospect of the day's experiences.
Completeness is of less importance than the
judging of oneself as if one were a different
person. One should learn from oneself. Life
should increasingly become a lesson."
"Meditation should be the first work of the day
in the morning."
"Another exercise that makes abstract ideas
into mobile and living pictures is to imagine
the old Moon as a kind of peat of living
spinach containing woody bark that corresponds
to our present mountain chains. Likewise
imagine the old Sun as being full of life and
Steiner even gives some indication of how
"dream journaling" might be useful:
"One gradually notices that one's dream life
takes on a more regular character. The
spiritual world flows into this at first.
Meditation is the occult key for this. One
should get a notebook and briefly write down
characteristic reams in the morning. Thereby,
one gets practice in retaining what flows to
one from higher worlds. That's the first
elementary method to later get to bringing
spiritual experiences through, that is, that
they break through into bright day
consciousness. Dreams that are only
reminiscences from daily life or that are based
o heart disturbances, headaches or other bodily
conditions are only of value if they're clothed
in a symbolical form, for instance if the
thumping heart appears as a cooking oven, or
the painful brain as a dome into which animals
creep, etc. Only the symbolism is of value here
and not the dream's content. For the symbolic
form is initially used by the spiritual world
to introduce us to the forces of higher
-- Here's a puzzling little hint about physical
hygiene; one might wonder whether one has to be
a filthy couch-potato in order to be an
"The jogging, exercising and bathing that are
often recommended are wrong for an esoteric;
they pull him down into his physical body. He
should try to move his limbs as little as
-- Some hints on diet:
"Although one can't eat one's way into the
spiritual world, eating the wrong things an
make spiritual development difficult or
"Not everyone is in a position to pick out the
foods that are favorable for his occult
development. Sometimes it's better to renounce
things that promote us inwardly. But it's
nevertheless true that some foods have
qualities that do not help men."
"Milk is good for men because it's connected
with an animal's life process and animals give
it voluntarily. Whereas meat obtained by
killing animals is bad for occult development,
and so are all salts." [This, of course, was
said before "factory farming".]
"Vegetarianism without spiritual striving leads
"It's especially important to avoid alcohol in
every form." [This sounds pretty categorical;
one might wonder why this advice was not given
in *KoHW* and *OS*. Should we assume that
there might be exceptions to this rule?]
"It's inadvisable to eat meat and fish." [also
not legumes and mushrooms]
". . . it's mainly filberts that supply the
brain-building substance. All other nuts are of
less value and peanuts should be avoided
-- And on sexuality:
"The terrible degenerations that we see in
sexual things will get much worse when Saturn
rules the earth 400 years from now."
"Asuras are starting to work in the post-
Atlantean epoch. They're the words of the three
an they mainly work into sexual life in the
physical body. The many sexual aberrations
today re to be ascribed to this strong influx."
"The [sexual] productive force as such is the
most sacred thing that we have, because it's
directly divine. The more divine what we pull
into the dirt is, the greater the sin."
. . . and for the romantics among us:
"The nectar and ambrosia that the Gods feed on
is the love of men and women."
-- Some surprising miscellany, such as the deep
importance of smells:
"In occultism one calls the eternal part of man
that goes through all evolutions his personal,
"A being of a higher or lower nature lives in
every odor. Very high, god beings live in
incense; they draw us up directly to God. The
lowest kind of beings are incarnated in musk
-- More profound miscellany:
"AUM. One wards off bad influences when one
says it in the right way; it connects man with
the creating Godhead, the three Logoi. The evil
beings who want to tear men away from the
Godhead can't stand it."
"Christ is the archetype of the I, let my I
strive to become a copy of this archetype.
And 'I am' is the only right name for this
archetype; we can never speak of 'He.'
"And no one can arrive at knowledge unless what
was already revealed is first given to him as a
teaching. That's quite impossible. That's why
in esoteric schools they always taught things
that can let a pupil come to knowledge. That's
why teachings that can be given publicly are
given in theosophy to give those who long for
it a chance to arrive at a knowledge of truth,
to get to Christ."
"But world karma is God. Everything that God is
and does in the way of good is better than we
could do it."
". . . Jesus says that if someone strikes you
on one cheek you should offer him the other one
also, because if he hits you there too he's
making bad karma good."
"One can find a wrong idea behind every
disease, if one traces it back."
"Together with Michael [in 1879], a dark God
has begun his rule the God Mammon. For
occultism Mammon isn't just the God of money.
He's the leader of all base, black forces. And
his hosts attack men's bodies and souls to
corrode and ruin them."
"If all men didn't want our earth to become
Jupiter, it couldn't happen although this
would be black magic."
The rejection of spiritual wisdom is a sin
against the Holy Spirit."
-- And there were deeper Mysteries that Steiner
couldn't reveal even in "esoteric" lessons (in
general, despite the stupendous, revolutionary
information that Steiner did give, he still
knew far more than he said):
"Even you, my brothers and sisters, couldn't
receive some of the highest truths. If I would
tell you such a truth this room would be empty
in a few minutes."
-- IMO the notes, sketchy though they may be,
are well worth reading. (There are a few
typos; but not so much that one can't figure
out what the words should be.) Thanks be to
James Stewart et. al.
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- Dear Robert and Friends,
I cannot even begin to supply logical responses to these notes,
although I did wish to take this chance to insert a few comments
regarding thoughts derived from studying Steiner which may prove of
--- In email@example.com, Robert Mason <robertsmason_99@...> wrote:
> To All:
> Readers' alert: Some excerpts, in English,
> from GA 266 have recently appeared at the eLib.
> This volume contains notes taken in the
> "esoteric lessons" that Steiner gave in the
> first Anthroposophical esoteric school. This
> school was conducted circa 1904-14, associated
> first with the German section of the
> Theosophical Society and then with the newly
> founded Anthroposophical Society.
> "Milk is good for men because it's connected
> with an animal's life process and animals give
> it voluntarily. Whereas meat obtained by
> killing animals is bad for occult development,
> and so are all salts." [This, of course, was
> said before "factory farming".]
Steiner speaks of milk as "a perfect food" should one source of
nutrition be called for, although he did not specify that milk is to
be used solely while ignoring other nutrition. I think this is to be
found in his "The Effects of Occult Development Upon the Sheaths of
Man and Mankind"
> "It's especially important to avoid alcohol in
> every form." [This sounds pretty categorical;
> one might wonder why this advice was not given
> in *KoHW* and *OS*. Should we assume that
> there might be exceptions to this rule?]
I cannot recall the specific work(s) where avoiding alcohol is most
definitely to be adhered to unless a reference may be in Steiner's
"Lectures to Doctors" or "Spiritual Physiology" - the reason one is
strongly advised to avoid all alcohol intake is because alcohol takes
the place of the human ego, the human "I" by working in the
bloodstream and this is seen in the pinkish flushing of the alcohol
consumer's face but more importantly, one is acting without his/her
> "It's inadvisable to eat meat and fish." [also
> not legumes and mushrooms]
A reference to not eating fish is to be found in "The Effects of
Occult Development on the Etheric Sheaths of Man and Mankind".
> -- Some surprising miscellany, such as the deep
> importance of smells:
> "A being of a higher or lower nature lives in
> every odor. Very high, god beings live in
> incense; they draw us up directly to God. The
> lowest kind of beings are incarnated in musk
Somewhere among Steiner's works is to be found his words to the effect
we must not ever use perfumes. Also, in speaking of the miasma and
odors found in some swampy areas, Steiner mentions Luciferic or
Åhrimanic influences often find a fertile atmosphere for their work.
> -- More profound miscellany:
> "AUM. One wards off bad influences when one
> says it in the right way; it connects man with
> the creating Godhead, the three Logoi. The evil
> beings who want to tear men away from the
> Godhead can't stand it."
AUM, as I think most of us realize, is the deeply spiritual word used
during the Ancient Indian civilization and perhaps elsewhere under
certain definite circumstances.
"One can find a wrong idea behind every
> disease, if one traces it back."
Some of us are doomed after our physical death to spend some time in
the spiritual worlds spreading disease among mankind on earth. This
may possibly be found in "The Inner Being of Man and the Life Between
Death and Rebirth". Perhaps it is in Steiner's "Cosmic Metamorphosis"
where he speaks of those working among the very ill, and I think this
was in regard to the highly fatal flu epidemic of 1917-18] those who
gave no thought whatsoever to becoming ill from a contagious disease
very seldom became ill from it, while fear, an Ahrimanic trait,
allowed the illness to imbed itself within the human being so effected.
> "The rejection of spiritual wisdom is a sin
> against the Holy Spirit."
This one may be in Steiner's "Building Stones to an Understanding of
the Mystery of Golgotha".
I most sincerely apologize for this disjointed response while thinking
perhaps I might be able to shed a glimmer of light upon very important
> Robert Mason
Here is what Steiner has to say on milk:
"Among oriental peoples there is a certain way of practicing the art of healing in which the doctors attach the greatest importance to the nourishing of their own physical body. (78) In places where the old spiritual life still exists, there are those who have become healers by following a diet consisting exclusively of milk. They are quite clear that because they exclude everything else they gain certain healing forces within themselves, especially in the treatment of so-called mental illnesses. They have their special methods. They know for certain that when they only take milk they then develop quite definite forces."