Rudolf Steiner: His Life and Work
From Anthroposophy to Associative Economy
Rudolf Steiner’s central task was to articulate and demonstrate the laws of reincarnation and karma. He encouraged us by his example to be awake responsible co-creators as we plumb the depth and breadth of the gifts and challenges of being human. His mission, message, and the Movement he created and Invited us to join are as relevant (or more) now as they were during his lifetime (1861-1925). Those who long to reclaim their wholeness will find a priceless life-changing opportunity to collaborate towards a more humane culture based on the principles of initiation.
Rudolf Steiner’s life was dedicated to support us in the awakening to who we are as human beings and what we are capable of becoming as co-creative initiative takers in the face of the unknown.
Yet few understand his breakthroughs, his striving and his intentions which he undertook on behalf of the whole of humanity. Fewer yet are able to follow his lead with the courage to discern and live from their “destiny calling” with cash flow that reflects their core values.
As we learn more about Steiner’s life and offerings we can better understand the impact of his life and deeds and better position ourselves to collaborate to meet the trials and tests of our times.
Dr. Rudolf Steiner, foresaw that in this first third of the 21st century, we human beings would face an unprecedented crises.
He indicated that right now in our time, we would either face the grave of civilization or the dawn of a new age—when human hearts begin to have thoughts.
We are currently at a crossroads and at this writing, we can see that the grave and the dawn of civilization are happening simultaneously – both within us and about us. On the one side we see the disasters, disparities, and shortcomings of our decisions: the meltdown at Fukushima, our use of and our “buy in” to nuclear energy, the violations of rights, the ongoing wars, resource depletion, extinctions, unprecedented homelessness, migrations, unsustainable monetary practices in our banking system . . . and on the other we see the rise of the environmental and biodynamic movement, new educational models such as Waldorf Education and the emergence of a new collaboratively-directed world economic paradigm pioneered by a few of the leading thinkers and economists of our time who have advanced Steiner’s indications for what it would take to create a balanced economy with care and consideration for the inter-connectedness of all of life.
Rudolf Steiner called the body of his life work “Anthroposophy”. In his written works called the Leading Thoughts which he wrote shortly before his crossing he defined it as:
Anthroposophy is a path of knowledge to guide the spiritual in the human being to the spiritual in the Universe. Anthroposophy is born as a need of the heart, of the life of feeling; and it can be be justified only inasmuch as it can satisfy this inner need. Those individuals alone can acknowledge anthroposophy, who find in it what they innately feel impelled to seek. Hence only those who acknowledge this heart-felt longing can be anthroposophists – those who feel certain questions on the nature of the human being and the universe as an elemental need of life, just as one feels hunger and thirst.”
Who Was/Is Rudolf Steiner and Why Should We Care?
We may gain a context for the time we live in now, as we delve into the striving of Rudolf Steiner in his last earthly lifetime (1861 to 1925). During that time, Dr. Steiner worked with near superhuman capacities to articulate and demonstrate a new world conception and paradigm that holds within it impulses of renewal in almost every field of practical human endeavor.
He championed the human individuality within each of us to reclaim our capacity to be a Door at the Threshold between the earthly and the spiritual worlds. In doing so, he demonstrated that each of us have the innate capacity to change the world by the way we inwardly “hold” and “perceive the present trials out of a questioning mode of what can I do to make a difference? How can I serve?
Rudolf Steiner teaches that thoughts, intentions are real and when we have the empathy to hold the events of the present in inner pictures from this questioning mode, with faith and trust that we will gain insight when we surrender to the wisdom that can and will come to us in the form of imaginations, inspirations, and intuitions, we can begin to develop the strength to act on what we are given and what we inwardly know to be true with our inner compass and truth barometer. Rudolf Steiner demonstrated and articulated this research methodology which enabled him to have extraordinary results with so much of what he undertook in many different fields of endeavor.
Rudolf Steiner imagined that the healing impulses that he gave voice to back then, during WWI and the aftermath, would reach its full blossoming and maturation now.
Rudolf Steiner left behind a legacy of forty-two written works and over 6000 transcribed lectures which were delivered to doctors, educators, priests, farmers, entrepreneurs, theosophists, economists, young people, and individuals seeking a re-enlivening of almost every area of the arts. The impulses he initiated are as relevant or more now as they were then. There are active world-wide movements based on his original courses that have developed and continue to mature that provide healing antidotes to the many ills of our modern life.
We have begun to see the 100-year anniversaries of many of Rudolf Steiner’s greatest gifts to humanity. After a century, we can gain a perspective about the greatness of the individuality of Rudolf Steiner and the breadth and depth of his offerings. From Biodynamic Agriculture, to the Arts, to Waldorf Education to the Metamorphosis of the Human Being from Life through the AfterLife to Rebirth, to a New Economic Paradigm, Steiner’s ideas are slowly spreading and evolving to provide us with a new ways of thinking, being, and acting out of our Spirit-Selves as responsible collaborative and associative human beings. Perhaps his most potent deed for social renewal is, as yet, incomplete and yet most sorely needed in our time.
It was only toward the end of his life that Dr. Steiner was able to articulate what he considered to be his destiny task: which was to reveal the guiding principles behind reincarnation and karma so people could actively develop the soul faculties to gain insights far beyond the appearances of outer events. He spoke from experience as he gave concrete examples of the metamorphosis of individuals who were key influencers as they incarnated from life to life and shaped the evolutionary story of humanity.
Steiner revealed to those who had ears to hear and eyes to see, his own evolutionary journey along with some of his most intimate colleagues. This was a first in human history: a human being awoke and was able to share with the rest of humanity from a scientific method of inquiry – that others could reproduce – not only his own incarnations but the spiritual-supersensible counterpart to how the earth and our role and our mission with the earth came about.
From a larger context, which Steiner elaborated, the ultimate destiny of humanity is to learn to love in harmony with the evolving wisdom of the world. To truly love requires freedom. In our time, we can see a reflection of how much love we have for one another and the earth – or not – by looking into our personal and world economic transactions.
An Intellectual Wonder ?
The late Russell Davenport, a former editor of the magazine Fortune, writes in his book The Dignity of Man: ‘
That the academic world has managed to dismiss Steiner’s work as inconsequential and irrelevant is one of the intellectual wonders of the twentieth century. Anyone who is willing to study those vast works with an open mind (let us say a hundred of his books) will find himself faced with one of the greatest thinkers of all time, whose grasp of the modern sciences is equaled only by his profound learning in the ancient ones. Steiner was no more of a mystic than Albert Einstein, he was a scientist rather — but a scientist who dared to enter into the mysteries of life.’
Those whose are fortunate enough to encounter the multitude of books published with Rudolf Steiner’s name as author, on almost every topic imaginable, are likely to ask themselves, “Who is this person, Rudolf Steiner?” How did he come to share so much on such a wide variety of topics in his lifetime? What was driving him?
Frederick Rittelmeyer, one of his students and also a preist, who understood him well, said in his book, Rudolf Steiner Enters My Life:
Without Rudolf Steiner having to speak about it, one got the impression of how his life was prepared long, long, beforehand. how at the right moment the necessary helpers were sent, how everything came together for an undertaking which, knowingly and full of wisdom, reaches into the history of humanity. The outer world has absolutely no inkling of this. The life of a guide of humanity who has a mission of the highest order is a work of art, worked on by other human beings and angels together.
Understandably, many of those who first encounter Steiner’s work, or even after they have begun to delve into some of Steiner’s foundational books, may long for an overview of Rudolf Steiner’s life aims, his core breakthroughs, the historical turning points in time, and the vast possibilities available to those of us who feels a destiny call and an inner confirmation and quickening of our own life task(s) upon looking into Steiner’s life and work. The intention behind this article is to meet that longing and to a create a broader context that features the life and work of the enigmatic individual, Rudolf Steiner, who encourages us to wake up to the Call of our Time and fashion our destinies accordingly.
We Invite you to Read Further to Explore:
> Steiner’s Gifts and his Inner Battles, the crises he foresaw humanity heading toward –that is upon us now, and his intention to return in our time with his colleagues to accompany us through the trials.
> The Deeds of the Last Century that were undertaken in preparation for our time.
> The World-wide Movements that have come out of Rudolf Steiner’s preparatory work
> The Incomplete Dynamic Social Structure that Steiner envisioned as necessary to meet our current world crises and to provide the infrastructure to support us as creative collaborators in every practical field of human endeavor.
> The Unseen Resources and the Support that is available to us now.
Between now and 2025, the centennial anniversary of the culmination of Rudolf Steiner’s life and work, we can accompany his striving a hundred years ago and see how we might individually and collaboratively implement and further the current evolutionary shift that is being asked of us.
Why? and What’s at Stake?
Why should we care? to learn more about the individual Rudolf Steiner and his perceptive insights into the human plight and our developmental journey? Steiner’s lived his life from a universally human perspective. Within his striving, we can find exemplary leadership for our own striving. Within the recollection of his unfolding biography and his contribution to understanding the evolutionary journey of humanity through the ages, we can find our biography. Within his insights to Freedom, Equality and Associative Economy we can find the antidote to many of the ills of that currently plague our world community.
What’s at stake? We are each responsible to discern our own destiny call and how we might contribute to the awakening and healing needed at this time. Rudolf Steiner has forged a new path and paradigm and has given us the tools and the context so that our individual destinies can serve the Destiny of our Time.
A short biography and overview is provided here so you can gain an overview of Steiner’s key breakthroughs and an appreciation for the new era in consciousness that Steiner pioneered which we can continue to develop. Like a pebble in a pond that continues to ripple out to the shores, we imagine that Steiner’s deeds will continue to work on in the practical life of the earth for centuries to come as long as we are able to meet and cross the threshold of our current impending world crises and challenges.
I Am With You Until the End
“Rudolf Steiner said to me: whoever writes an esoteric book takes on himself the obligation to help everyone who reads even a single line of it, throughout their future lives.”
Stein then goes on to say: “If this was so, he would have much to do!”
This is quite a statement! If this is true, then everyone who reads even a line of a quote from one of Rudolf Steiner’s books on this site or elsewhere will have an ongoing relationship with Rudolf Steiner. To ease the burden of Steiner, we can empathetically retrace the spiritual striving of his individuality and seek to understand the courage it took to make the stand he did in contrast to the mood of the times in which he lived. If we are called, we can join him in his mission to restore the dignity, love, and courage to our human striving.
LIFE TRIALS, LESSONS AND TRIUMPHS
Steiner’s Early Call: Supersensible Perception
Rudolf Steiner enters his earthly life on February 25, 1861 in Kraljavec, Austria, a small peasant village in the foothills of the Alps. He in his autobiography he shares how grateful he is to have been born in an area of such natural beauty and majesty. On his long walks through the colorful pine scented forests he observed the intricacies and diverse expressions of life as he viewed the snow-capped mountains in the distance.
At a very early age, Steiner was able to see and hear with a wakeful consciousness beyond the threshold of our “normal” physical-material sensory perceptions. At the age of seven, in the year 1868, he was visited by an aunt who lived far away shortly after she died. She came to him in her spirit-being and asked young Rudolf for his help. Though he was a young boy, the magnitude of his soul must have lit up as a guiding light that his aunt could perceive from the “other side”. His family knew nothing of the aunt’s passing at the time of the visitation. A day or two later, his father received news that his sister had died. This was his first Call to be an emissary and helpmate for individuals to find their orientation to their essential nature as spiritual beings that have a life before birth and after death.
In later writings, Steiner recounts that after the spiritual encounter with his aunt, his spiritual awareness grew with increasing clarity. He perceived and lived with the elemental spirits of nature, the creative beings behind the manifest expressions of the physical world with as much intensity as his physical-sensory impressions. The spiritual world unfolded before him in ever greater depth and intimacy in a constant and consistently objective way.
In elementary school, Steiner took up the study of geometry with the greatest enthusiasm. He spent hours “questioning” and “creating” with interpenetrating lines and forms, and began to get the first glimmering of insight into a language that could explain what he saw as the formative, shaping principles behind matter. Through geometry, Steiner could begin to justify and define his experience of the the worlds he experienced as formative realities that were not perceived by other people that he questioned.
In his early years before the age of nine, it became clear to him that there was no one in his environment with whom he could converse regarding his interactions with his extraordinary perceptions of the world. He remained silent about this hidden world for many years. The inner loneliness invoked a longing in his soul to articulate a path that could help others enter and understand the world that so deeply informed his young soul. This longing ripened into one of his main life intentions which he accomplished from a multiplicity of perspectives.
Throughout his school years, Steiner interacted intensively with different personalities who held varying world views and perspectives. He pursued every aspect of the natural sciences, mathematics and philosophy with the same enthusiasm he had initially devoted to geometry. He “vivified” these subjects by tutoring his classmates and enjoyed the challenge of supporting even the most developmentally delayed individuals overcome their learning difficulties. In this way he began to learn a lot about body-soul integration and the incarnation process that varies with each individual.
On the Way to Doctor-hood
and More Learning Breakthroughs
In 1879, Rudolf Steiner entered university studies and undertook a a degree in the sciences -mathematics, physics and chemistry. In addition, he immersed himself in the study of German literature and philosophy with some of the greatest German thinkers of the time. He undertook his studies with great earnestness and a sensitivity towards the the unique bodily, soul, and spiritual configuration of each individual he encountered. In his autobiography he states:
I was deeply impressed by learning philosophy, not merely out of books, but from the lips of the philosophers themselves.
I felt in duty bound at that time to seek through philosophy for the truth. I had to study mathematics and natural science. I was convinced that I should find no relationship between these and myself unless I could place under them a solid foundation of philosophy. But I perceived a spiritual world, none the less, as a reality. In clear vision the spiritual individuality of each person I met revealed their true nature to me.
During his university studies, he supported himself with ongoing tutoring, by which this time, he had become quite adept. He continued to learn a lot about the way other students thought and the obstacles they faced. He actively engaged with his peers to support them overcome the most difficult of challenges. This set up a theme in his biography, for he was continuously sought after throughout his life by people from the most diverse walks of life who sought his council and insights in regards to their most pressing and urgent personal and vocational needs and questions.
Professor Karl Julius Schroer, his history teacher, befriended Steiner and recognized young Steiner’s developing scientific genius. Schroer, who was a well known Goethe scholar arranged for Steiner to edit and publish Goethe’s scientific works. Steiner accepted and did so with full engagement over the course of seven years.
Karl Julius Schroer came to have an incredible effect on Rudolf Steiner – not so much for his learned knowledge but for who he was in his being. Steiner inwardly wrestled with Schroer for he observed that Schroer’s admiration of Goethe stopped short in fully metamorphosing the Goetheanistic way of thinking into a new spiritual scientific paradigm valid for his time. This would have been the fulfillment of Karl Julius Schroer’s most potent destiny task, which in essence, he passed on to Steiner. This did not make it easy for Steiner because by destiny, this should have already have been in place as a foundation for Steiner to develop his own life work. Steiner intuited that Schroer was unable to live out of the fullest expression of his destiny due to his inability to overcome the intellectualism in the education he received. Schroer inwardly rejected the intellectuality of his time rather than fully engage with it so intensively that he could transform it. Schroer knew, however that Goethe was on the leading edge of a new way of thinking and perceiving and recognized Steiner’s emerging scientific acumen and literary ability from a Goetheanistic perspective.
Steiner took on the task, suggested to him by Schroer, and began to develop a new spiritual scientific methodology of research that arose from Goethe’s observations of the laws of “emergence” and “metamorophosis”. Steiner began by fully embracing Goethe’s scientific works and edited them in such a way that they could become comprehensible to a wider readership. The articulation of a spiritual scientific methodology along with a language of new distinctions, was necessary as a foundation for Steiner’s own destiny task, which he later revealed which was to introduce the laws of karma and reincarnation.
Years later, in Steiner’s lectures on Karmic Relationships (Vol.4 lecture 10) Steiner describes the individuality of Schroer as none other than the reincarnated Plato. In Greece, Plato fulfilled his task and passed the further development of it over to Aristotle. Aristotle developed objective, individualized thinking and a scientific methodology which has impacted our culture for centuries. The impact is due in part to Alexander the Great’s campaign’s to bring what he learned from his years of tutoring with Aristotle to the rest of the known world.
Rudolf Steiner now took up the task to fully metamorphose the scientific objective thinking that Aristotle had developed into a new spiritual scientific methodology that takes into consideration the interpenetration of the spiritual world in all physical forms of matter. For Steiner perceived that, matter was never without spirit and spirit never without matter.
Steiner gained a tremendous respect for the scientific method of inquiry of Goethe which contributed to the inspiration for his doctoral thesis, which he completed in 1891. His thesis was also backgrounded by the study of Fichte’s philosophy of the activity of the ego in scientific research. His doctorate was later published as ‘Truth and Knowledge’. How do we come to know what we know?
1879 – a Turning Point for Rudolf Steiner and the World
From the years 1879 to 1883, from age 18 to 22, upon inwardly grappling with all the diverse perspectives that were presented to him through his studies and personal encounters at the University, Rudolf Steiner inwardly began to intuit the content of a book that he would later publish in his mid-thirties called Intuitive Thinking as a Spiritual Path: A Philosophy of Freedom. Steiner came to an objective universal experience of his “I-being” as the active transparent participant in each thought and sensory perception. He realized that through free-will each individual can find him or her Self as the active creator within the transparent activity of thinking. In other words, each of us can ask ourselves, Can I sense and experience my Self as a co-creative participant and recipient within my thinking process?
It was no light matter for my mental life at that time that the philosophy which I learned from others could not be carried all the way to the perception of the spiritual world. Because of the difficulty that I experienced in this respect, I began to fashion a form of “theory of knowledge” within myself. The life of thought came gradually to me as the reflection radiated into physical human being from that part of the human being which I experienced as spiritual in nature.
Thought experience was to me an objective reality – as something which could be inwardly experienced through and through – into which doubt could find no entrance. The world of the senses did not seem to me so completely a matter of experience. It is there; but one does not lay hold upon it as one can be inside the very nature of the creative process of thinking. In or behind the sensory world there might be an unknown reality concealed. Yet we human beings (with our activity of thinking) are set in the midst of this world.
Therefore, the question arises: Is this world, then, a reality complete in itself? When our thoughts illuminate the world of the senses, . . and we break into the sensory world by means of thought, thought then appears to be that means of which the world of the senses expresses its own nature. The further development of this reflection was at that time a weighty part of my inner life.
– See more at: http://wn.rsarchive.org/Books/GA028/TSoML/GA028_c03.html;mark=157,21,25#WN_mark-
In other words, thinking is generated and created by the transparent aspect of ourselves that is supersensible in nature. We are not our thoughts or our body. Our body allows us to have thoughts which can be perceived as objectively as any other material-physical object. By means of a thinking that is self-aware of it’s own generative, imaginative nature, we can accompany the source of the wellsprings of the process of creation. We then bring a certain reflection and completion in our accompanying the living processes to the world through our thinking.
Later in Steiner’s life he often cited that 1879 was a significant turning point in time for all of humanity. He perceived that the War in Heaven described in pictorial Imaginations in the book of Revelation, whereby the Archangel Michael fought and the Dragon and his hosts fought began roughly in 1840 and ended in 1879. Additionally he perceived that 1879 was the same year that the Archangel Michael became the guiding Time Spirit for humanity for approximately the next 355 years.
Michael succeeded in overcoming the “Dragon” (identified with the craving for self-satifsying desire, power and egoism) and cleared the heavenly realms from the Dragon and his hosts’ influence, but “Woe to the earth and the sea and its inhabitants”, for the Dragon and his angels were cast to the earthly realm and now tempt and torment the souls of human beings with great vengeance and rath, for they know their time is short.
If Rudolf Steiner’s perception of the timing of the War in Heaven is accurate, then Steiner incarnated in 1861 during the midst of the culmination of the War in Heaven. In this scenario, as Michael began to conclude his victory to clear the path in the spiritual world for a new relationship with human beings, Steiner incarnated in time to perceive the onslaught of the draconian forces that begin to take hold in the souls of human beings before the onset of WWI. Steiner describes Michael as a champion of human freedom and that Michael has the faith that the human being will be able to overcome the Dragon (of egotistic short-sightedness) by developing a heart-felt cognition through our capacity for conscience, altruism and compassion.
So if we take the premise that the War in Heaven concluded in 1879, and the dragon was cast to the earth, it is at the same time that Rudolf Steiner had his seminal breakthrough thoughts which would later be articulated in his book, The Philosophy of Freedom. In his notebook at the time, he writes, “Ahriman (the ancient Persian name for the Dragon) smashed.” The dragon would like to confine us to our physical-material senses and manipulates through fear of all kinds.
From an Anthroposophical biographical perspective, the year between the 18th and 19th year, could be described as a fortuituous time for an inner or outer event or series of events, which reveals a glimpse of our life task. Our soul often discovers the first deep insights and intuitions for the path ahead. This glimpse matures itself and comes into fuller clarity as the “I” is birthed at roughly the age of 21.
Conceptions (devoid of any acknowledgement of the spiritual world) met me everywhere (in my University studies). They caused me unspeakable difficulties in my thinking. They banished all spirit from the objective external world. Before my mind there stood the idea that even if the observations of natural phenomena led to such opinions, one who possessed a perception of the spiritual world could not arrive at these opinions. I saw how seductive these assumptions were for the manner of thought of the time, educated in the natural sciences, and yet I could not then resolve to oppose a manner of thought of my own against that which then prevailed. But just this caused me bitter mental struggles. Again and again I felt I must suppress the criticism I could easily frame against this manner of thinking to await the time in which more comprehensive sources and ways of knowledge should give me a greater assurance. – See more at: http://wn.rsarchive.org/Books/GA028/TSoML/GA028_c03.html;mark=157,21,25#WN_mark
Such was the inner battle Steiner waged in his inner life as he fully engaged with his contemporaries during his diverse University studies.
Over the course of a few years, and numerous rigorous encounters, he eventually gained the confidence and certainty to reconcile the scientific methodology with his ability to perceive in full light of consciousness the spiritual laws and formative forces that permeated matter. Again in his autobiography he states:
A spiritual perception formed itself before my mind which did not rest upon dark mystical feeling. It proceeded much more in a spiritual activity which in its thoroughness might be compared with mathematical thinking. I was approaching the state of soul in which I felt that I might consider that the perception of the spiritual world which I bore within me was confirmed before the forum of natural scientific thought.
When these experiences passed through my mind I was in my twenty-second year.
– See more at: http://wn.rsarchive.org/Books/GA028/TSoML/GA028_c03.html;mark=157,21,25#WN_mark
I Am the Door
The Journey from Head to Heart to Will to Intuitive Cognition
After completing his doctorate, and for the next several years, Steiner continued to refine his epidemiological inquiry. He continues to work on editing the Goethe archives, while he steeped himself in the life and work of Friedrich Nietzsche. Steiner recognized Nietzsche as someone who had begun to experience an intuitive consciousness of the “invisible world which interpenetrates the physical world” but could not come to terms with it in his thinking. Nietzsche longed to understand this world, but was not able to have a full breakthrough in the light of full consciousness, His spirit eventually broke down and he was considered by many as mentally incapacitated.
On a visit to see him, Steiner witnessed that he had become disconnected and disinterested in the life around him and unable to fully penetrate his body. Nietzsche had given up.
In March of 1894, Rudolf Steiner completed his book, which he had envisioned at 18, and published it in under the title, Intuitive Thinking as a Spiritual Path: A Philosophy of Freedom. This was the same month and year he also published a book, entitled, Friedrich Nietzsche, A Fighter for Freedom.
Steiner was sorely disappointed that Nietzsche was not mentally able to embark upon the journey and the breakthroughs he described in his newly authored works. We can guess that due to Steiner’s interest in Nietzsche, his two books, were influenced, in part, by Nietzche’s distress and extreme frustration with organized religion and the limits to knowledge epitomized by the leading philosopher of the time, Kant. We can also imagine that Steiner believed his two newly published works would have been the healing antidote for the upper limit that Nietzsche had reached in his consciousness and could not breakthrough .
Intuitive Thinking as a Spiritual Path: A Philosophy of Freedom, represented an unparalleled breakthrough in a transformed thinking and broke the barriers to knowledge that had been imposed on European thinking by Kant. The latter claimed that there were limits to knowledge and that the thinker could never escape the boundaries of his or her own mind. Kant asserted that the human being could never really know that which he observes in the outer world as percepts. Steiner leads the reader past this limit to an experience of “the other”. At the height of materialism, when both soul and spirit were questionable realities, Steiner forged a path across the abyss between you and I, self and world.
Intuitive Thinking as a Spiritual Path: A Philosophy of Freedom, is a bold step beyond philosophizing. It is a journey in thought through levels of conscious awareness. Rudolf Steiner described it as follows:
“Intuitive Thinking as a Spiritual Path: A Philosophy of Freedom, is a biographical account of how one human soul made the difficult ascent to freedom.”
In the first half of the book, Steiner explored the modern world’s basic conceptions and their shortcomings. From these varying perspectives he conscientiously acknowledges the experience of the thinker able to witness his or her own thinking as an objective spiritually creative process. This is the source and possibility of inner freedom and choice in every situation.
In the second half of the book he revealed how “the self-aware of Self” can begin to consciously direct the attention and the intention of the creative flow of activity experienced within thinking to a deeper place of active listening within one’s own being. The logic, clarity, and continuity of consciousness first won through disciplined thinking could undergo a metamorphosis to become a logic and knowing of the heart which opens to what he would later call Imagination (clairvoyance or clear seeing) Inspiration and Intuition.
In this way, the clear intimate nature of thought can become imbued with love-engendered forces of the heart and intuitive capacities of the will. From this he articulated how a new ethical individualism can arise whereby we are able to break our habits of mundane thinking and acting and begin to listen and act from a creative intuitive response unique to each situation.
Steiner came to understand and describe the leverage point within each one of us as the essential Self expressing itself as Word in the creative power of our thinking, speaking and actions. The Word which expresses itself through our thoughts has the same source to that which resounds through the whole of Nature. Largely unconscious in most individuals, he articulated a process to access the innate creative power within each person with clarity of attention and intention.
Steiner asserted that in the active process of waking up to our Selves as the ones who are the creators within the activity of thinking, who can stop or reverse our thinking and turn the thinking process upon ourselves, new soul faculties begin to dawn.
When we are able to free ourselves from brain-bound physically dependent thinking we can begin to think in concert with the formative creative forces that wisely shape and form all living things. In doing so we begin to perceive the world as a process of becoming. We see the oak within the acorn and the butterfly in the egg of a caterpillar.
With this shift, Imaginations of the spiritual essence and the formative forces beyond the sense perceptions begin to reveal themselves to us. Dropping deeper, into the process of heart-thinking-listening develops the capacity to hear and receive inspirations of the inner language of what is alive in the realm of the soul of the gestures and sounds and speech in our environment. When we can engage our whole being to actively listen from out of silence of our creative-will-wisdom-center we become receptive to moral intuitions as they arise. We intuit how to receive and meet the Other and come to know the spiritual essence within and behind the sensory world in any given situation.
Steiner asserted that true freedom can be found through the experience of the “I” as that part of ourselves that has creative moral choice in every situation including each thought, feeling and deed. Taken further, he described how we live in continuous possibility of changing something in ourselves in order to change any given situation. This he called moral imagination and ethical individualism, which leads to moral intuition, which he also equates with love. Can we sacrifice the process of our own thinking and allow our attention to fully listen or perceive another human being, plant, animal, or world situation in such a way that we perceive the spirit at work and what it might be asking of us in the moment? We can connect with the world in a new way as we wake up to our “I” as the co-creative principle active in all of creation.
To step into our I, reverse the activity of thinking, is a choice available to each one of us. When we knock, the door shall open. With this choice, Steiner says we can now truly begin to discover and perform free deeds of love. He concluded that this Threshold experience is available to each person who can say “I” to him or her self. Through the “attention of the experience of the I”, within and behind the intimate activity of thinking and its transformation that permeates our feeling and willing, we gradually develop organs of spiritual perception.
Nothing can reveal itself to us which we do not love.
-Rudolf Steiner, How to Know Higher Worlds
Steiner made some comments about the experiential activity that is expected for reading and experiencing his book:
Now what kind of approach by the reader did “Intuitive Thinking as a Spiritual Path: A Philosophy of Freedom”, count on? It had to assume a special way of reading. It expected the reader to undergo the sort of inner experience that, in an external sense, is really just like waking up out of sleep in the morning. The feeling one should have about it is such as to make one say, “My relationship to the world in passive thoughts was, on a higher level, that of a person who lies asleep. Now I am waking up” It is like knowing, at the moment of awakening, that one has been lying passively in bed, letting nature have her way with one’s body. But then one begins to be inwardly active.
One relates one’s senses actively to what is going on in the color-permeated, sounding world about one. One links one’s own bodily activity to one’s intentions. The reader of “Intuitive Thinking as a Spiritual Path: A Philosophy of Freedom” should experience something very like this waking moment of transition from passivity to activity, though of course on a higher level. Readers should be able to say, “Yes, I have certainly thought thoughts before. But my thinking took the form of just letting thoughts flow and carry me along. Now little by little, I am beginning to be inwardly active in them.” 
This was a revolutionary breakthrough turning point in Rudolf Steiner’s life: He had found the unseen universal key to the door of the leverage point of the “I” that can lead one to the path across the Threshold from everyday consciousness to supersensible consciousness. He articulated a path to a deep moral intuition from a transformed thinking.
Key to Steiner’s ability to wake up in the process of thinking to the supersensible realities around him was to relinquish his will to impose his own thinking on anyone or anything. Instead, he demonstrated the ability to work with the creative striving of the other. This other could be a human being, a garden, the economy of the world, the planets, zodiac, or a social organism.
Steiner’s book, Intuitive Thinking as a Spiritual Path: A Philosophy of Freedom became the foundation upon which all of Steiner’s further work was based.
Steiner’s ability to articulate his experience of the transparent “I” in the generative nature of thinking and the freedom of the soul to be both active and receptive in the process, leads to the possibility to develop new organs of perception that dynamically bridge the gap between “my I” and “your I”, between our individual sense of Self and our engagement with the sensory world. This freedom of choice, to connect at a deep level and receive new revelations, is a healing response to the core wound of humanity – out of which all the misperceptions and misdeeds toward one and another and nature arise. That core wound is the perception that we ourselves are separate and isolated from the creative evolutionary processes of the World.
1899 – The End of 5000 Years of a Spiritual Darkening of Consciousness
The Dawn of a New Culture Arising
After he had succeeded to articulate his foundational work, Intuitive Thinking as a Spiritual Path: A Philosophy of Freedom, Dr. Steiner’s life began to change rapidly. He applied the same rigor of thinking and observation he had gained through the study of the natural sciences to his own spiritual perceptions, and in the last years before the turn from the nineteenth to the twentieth centuries he came to an experiential understanding of the mysteries of religion(s) that had lived as questions in his soul from the time he was a young boy.
He inwardly assessed the evolutionary descent of the spirit of human beings into physical form through the past cultural ages – a dynamic counter impulse to Darwin’s theory that we arose from lower forms to higher forms. Steiner perceived that the people of the ancient cultures of India, Persia, Egypt and Greece still retained elements of clairvoyant consciousness and intimate connection to the spiritual world but had not yet attained true freedom. From 3000 BC to about 550 BC individuals were only beginning to experience their own individual consciousness in the clear light of waking consciousness.
He surmised that with each passing millennium, from 3000 BC onwards, the perceptions of the spiritual world gradually began to grow dim and continuously decreased until in Greece, the statement, It is better to be a beggar in the upper world than to be a king in the realm of shadows, began to be accepted as truth. This was necessary for human beings to win freedom of choice, gain self knowledge out of their own efforts and to be able to discover and experience the impact of their own thoughts, feelings, and deeds.
Steiner recognized that in his lifetime, the time had now come for human beings to reconnect in full self consciousness to the creative Word World that is an evolving emerging power within and about every one of us. It was time now to assume full responsibility for the consequences of our thoughts, feelings, and deeds with our fellow human beings, and collaborate with as much conscientiousness as possible with the wisdom of the creative life that expresses itself everywhere within the life of the earth.
Furthermore, in his awakening to the “I” as the “Door” to Self consciousness, he recognized the descent of the “I Am” presence in Time as the Being of Christ who has accompanied humanity from it’s seminal beginnings:
The Christ-Being was known in all the mysteries. In ancient India, at the time of the Seven Rishis, the being who represented Christ was called Vishva Karman. Zarathustra named him Ahura Mazdao, and in Egypt he was known as Osiris. The Jewish people called him Jahve or Jehova, and then in the fourth cultural epoch this very same being lived for three years on our physical earth (in the body of Jesus of Nazareth). . . .
Mystically, the Christ united Himself with the earth when the blood streamed from His wounds at Golgotha. At that time He appears in the aura of the earth, and He has been in it ever since.
Who was the first man to see Christ in the aura of the earth? It was St. Paul, who did more than anyone else for the dissemination of Christianity. What caused Saul to become Paul? Neither the teachings nor the events that took place in Palestine, but the event at Damascus, which was of a super-sensible nature. Before that experience, Paul could not believe that the one who had died so disgracefully on the cross had been the Christ, but as an initiate of the cabala he knew that the Christ would be visible in the aura of the earth once He had appeared on earth. That was the experience of Paul, which transformed him from Saul to Paul.
From a series of lectures by Steiner published under the title Priciples of Spiritual Economy–
In later lectures he shared his observation that 1899 was the year of the end of the 5000 year long period of spiritual darkening of consciousness and a pivotal point for the emergence of the light of a new consciousness within human souls.
In his autobiography Steiner recounts that just at the turn of the century in 1899 that he came to understand the Being that made possible the spiritual revelations that revealed themselves to him:
The true substance of Christianity began germinally to unfold within me as an inner phenomenon of knowledge. the unfolding of my soul rested upon the fact that I stood in spirit before the Mystery of Golgotha (the life, death, and resurrection of Christ Jesus) in the most inward, most earnest solemnity of knowledge.
With his clear inner perception and his experience of the central importance that the Being of Christ continues to play in the evolution of humanity, he wrestled with how to bring the insights of this central event to others from a scientific perspective without the dogma of religiosity.
Out of a clear perception of the needs of the time, and a conviction that he had a valuable gift to offer humanity, he made the difficult decision to speak openly and directly out of his inner faculties of perception for the first time in his life. This took courage, for he intuited he would be attacked and widely misunderstood.
Once he made that decision, the spiritual floodgates were opened. He gave his first public lecture at the age of 40, working mainly with the Theosophical Society as well as through articles and books. Within a few years, Steiner had surveyed with clarity and intimacy the Spiritual Beings at work in the kingdoms of nature and in the cosmos. He spoke of the nature of the human soul and spirit and of their potential for further development and formulated exercies for a self-conscious understanding of the task of our age. He spoke of the experiences of the soul before life and after death, and of the spiritual history of the human being and the earth.
To begin with, his audiences were small but grew steadily over the years until he reached a climax toward the end of his life when he was able to book the largest auditoriums in Europe as he addressed up to 4000 people at a sitting. Through the attention, he also attracted his enemies who opposed his impulse to free humanity as he empowered people to do their own research with the supersensible knowledge he so freely shared. Attempts were made on his life.
From his insightful observations over the course of his life, with the precision of thinking of a scientist, he described how we came to be here on this planet earth, our evolutionary story, what our great collaborative task is, and practical suggestions for living from a higher possibility in all areas of practical life. He called the body of knowledge which has become part of his world changing legacy – Anthroposophy. Anthropos—the human being; Sophia—divine wisdom. Rudolf Steiner defined Anthroposophy as “a path of knowledge to lead the spiritual aspect of each individuality (the I) within each human being to a collaborative partnership with the Universal Creative Spirit of the evolving world. This path of knowledge is sought by the heart-felt soul longing to experience its creative unfolding in coherence with the originating Divine source from which it has been born*.”
Over the course of the next twenty five years, he forged a path from thinking, to the arts, to the implementation of Anthroposophy to renew almost every area of life. He personally lived simply and modestly, but created great wealth around him. He was able to garner economic and artistic support to build the largest double domed building on earth, which was an architectural masterpiece as a performing arts studio and lecture hall which was also to house the administration of the Anthroposophical Society and later, the School of Spiritual Science.
Since about the 16th century AD, we human beings have won our freedom through our experience of a deep sense of separation from the Divine. The pain of separation has led us to individuate and develop our individual thinking, skills, and collaborative capacities.
We have now reached the far shore of rugged individualism and isolationist living as a necessary step in our evolving human experience. We can see evidence that we have reached that far shore in our current economic challenges around the world. Today many of us experience a longing to collaborate towards a greater aim of caring for one another, the whole of the world and our resources.
It is obvious that Steiner’s intention was to lay the foundation for the dawn of a new culture. The sheer volume of Steiner’s work in nearly every practical field of human life is staggering.
In Steiner we find an example of what can be done when one is ignited by the courage and commitment to serve humanity from the fire of his inner convictions, well won through many trials.
Steiner came to know, love and give expression to Anthroposophia—who, for him, was a very real spiritual being in our midst that can be turned to for guidance in all our endeavors. Every look at nature can kindle a longing to know her. He said:
Anthoposophia knocks at the portal of our hearts with the words, Let me in. – Rudolf Steiner, Nov. 18th, 1923
Rudolf Steiner’s Foundational Books
Of the 50 books that Rudolf Steiner wrote, the following are foundational for understanding for developing new capacities to perceive who we are, how we got here, and how to change something in ourselves to change our lives and our world.
- How to Know Higher Worlds, A Modern Path of Initiation, which still remains today as the foundational book that anyone can pick up, read, and implement the exercises in order to nurture the soul capacities necessary to develop spiritual organs of perception.
- Theosophy: An Introduction to the Supersensible Knowledge of the World and the Destination of the Human Being describes how to live a more wakeful life as we percieve our individual destiny signature through unfolding soul cycles in the complex organization of body, soul, and spirit in life and after death.
- An Outline of Esoteric Science is Steiner’s monumental book on the re-telling of our evolutionary journey from origins of the earth, the human being, the process of involution that accompanies evolution, the central event of earth evolution, i.e., how we got here, where we are now and where we are going.This could be considered a reinterpretation of the apocalyptictic Book of Revelation by John.
- Intuitive Thinking as a Spiritual Path, A Philosophy of Freedom as a path of thinking that engages the head, the heart and the intuitive will to develop new faculties for transforming a situation by changing something in ourselves in the encounter as we awaken to the central place of our transparent I-consciousness in perception.
Universally Human Movements that Continue to Grow
in Every Area of the World out of Rudolf Steiner’s Work and Influence
- Waldorf Shcools offer a curriculum from pre-school to
Grade Twelve which supports the development of creative, free thinking students who can make an impact with their gifts. The curriculum meets the student with age appropriate stories, exercises, and challenges to develop their talents by learning with head, heart, and hands.
- Biodynamic Farmers and Gardeners work to create a diversified, balanced farm ecosystem that generates health and fertility as much as possible from within the farm itself. Preparations made from fermented manure, minerals and herbs are used to help restore and harmonize the vital life forces of the farm and to enhance the nutrition, quality and flavor of the food being raised. Biodynamic practitioners also recognize and strive to work in cooperation with the subtle influences of the wider cosmos on soil, plant and animal health. – quoted from biodynamics.com
- Anthroposophical Medicine treats the human being in all their bodies: physical body, life body, soul, and spirit with potentized remedies, an understanding of the dynamics of nutrition, herbs, and curative movement, painting, color therapy, diet, meditation, karma, biography work with life cycles, etc.
- Curative Education meets and provides a creative life for the developmentally disabled or handicapped
- Renewal of the Arts – inspired out of spiritual perception fosters creative expression of the spirit in painting, sculpture, drama, dance, architecture, music, singing, and creative speech
- A Movement for Religious Renewal (The Christian Community) enacting new spiritual sacraments in The Act of Consecration of the Human Being
- Threefold Social Principles—towards world peace with the underpinning principles of Spiritual Freedom, Equal Rights, and Associative Economy
- Astrosophy—a new science of the stars which offers insights into our individual life purpose with the earth, our connection to the cosmos and the gifts and challenges of our unique destiny path
- Threshold Care of body, soul, and spirit in the three days following death to support the most conscious transition to the AfterLife and to create the conditions to foster the review of our life lessons – the only thing we can take with us!
- Staying Connected with Those who have Crossed for mutual learning and intimacy to renew all of life from a larger perspective
- A Methodolgy to Unveil the Laws of Karma and Reincarnation—which Rudolf Steiner expressed as his real destiny task, so that we could begin to wake up to who we are to one another and recognize our interconnected responsibilities. He followed many individuals as case studies through their various incarnations and articulated the laws of reincarnation and karma. He also discretely shared his own biographical spiritual journey from incarnation to incarnation with clarity and incredible depth of insight into the cultural consciousness of the time of each
- A New Understanding of Money and Economics which has evolved into what many call Associative Economics. Associative Economics is a path and process to foster a healthy world economy and to sustainably manage the earth’s resources as if everyone’s needs matter – including the given resources of the earth and the manifold varieties of life.In Steiner’s time he witnessed the soaring inflation in Germany after WWI and how it crushed the spirit and the initiatives of the people. It made life incredibly challenging. In response, he penetrated the current economic processes with his thinking and pointed out the errors on which it was based and why neither socialism or capitalism were sustainable in the long run. In 1922 he predicted that neither would last another 100 years. Economics is now at the forefront of everyone’s mind and everyone is challenged to master it’s lessons and to question our current economic paradigm that has grown out of the West in the last century. In his Economics course, Steiner referred to money as the “spirit realized”, the “veil of karma”, and “moving bookkeeping”. He called economics the outer reflection and covering of our consciousness as a shell is the outer covering of the nut. If we accept Steiner’s assessment that our economy is a reflection of our consciousness and our cash flow a reflection of our karma, and that we have come of age now and it is time to take responsibility for our destiny decisions and become more collaborative initiators of a new economic paradigm, we believe it behooves us to become more aware of the money processes that flow through our hands that both impact and are impacted by the processes and practices of world economy. If we imagine a worldwide network of individuals who collaborate through associations in their particular fields, with the aim of stewarding the earth’s resources and cash flow to meet humanities’ needs we begin to see Steiner’s vision for how we can begin to connect our individual initiatives to the interconnectedness to all of life – through the information shared amongst the associations. It begins with our individual economic decisions and how we position ourselves in relation to others.
At the foundation of Steiner’s work is a new story that can help us place ourselves in our unfolding journey from ancient cultures to the modern day. Dr. Steiner was one of the first individuals to spiritually perceive the conditions that fostered our human origins and to describe in intimate detail humnaities’ process of incarnation from life to afterlife to life, the planetary stages of earth existence, our trials, our journey toward freedom, love, wisdom, and courage.
He confirmed that “right now, right here” in the twenty first century lies the most profound opportunity for humanity. We have the possibility to embrace our past and revision the future from a new wakeful conscientiousness that acknowleges that our inmost being is deeply connected to the life of the earth and to one another.
A Map to Cross the the Threshold of the Crises Before Us
The life of Rudolf Steiner would not be complete without at least touching on the culminating event of his life. That event was the re-founding of the Anthroposophical Society which he inaugurated during the Holy Nights of Christmas from Dec. 24th to Jan. 1, 1923/24. This refounding took place one year after the First Geotheannum was burnt to the ground by arsonists. As Rudolf Steiner watched the building go up in flames he witnessed the destruction of his work with artists and craftsmen from all over the world for over a decade. Out of the ruins of this painful experience, over the course of the next year, Steiner came a new vision and for a new social form and began the plans for a second Goetheanum to act as cover for the first.
At the refounding, for the first time in human history, a public institution, open to any and all, has at its core, the process of initiation through initiative to meet the needs of our time. Rudolf Steiner, an initiate, initiated by the trials of his life, joined the Society as its President. He had not been a member of the Anthropoosphical Society up to that point for he did not know if he joined an earthly Society, whether he would lose his capacity for spiritual research. He took this risk as he formed and joined a refounded Society and worldwide Movement that he envisioned would come to full maturity to stave off the impending crises.
The social vessel that Rudolf Steiner inaugarated included three structural aspects and processes which included The “General” or “Universal” Anthropsophical Society, The School for Spiritual Science with its three classes, and the Goetheanum Association. They are described in more detail as follows:
- The “General” or “Universal” Anthroposophical Society was created and
continues to exist to nurture the life of the soul and so that individuals may find their way to one another with a common striving within the context of Anthroposophy. Membership was and still is open to all who “acknowledge the validity of Rudolf Steiner’s work in the world”. For the first time in world history, an initiate—Rudolf Steiner—actively formed and became the president an earthly institution which stood for a new renaissance in human thinking to activate our co-creative capaciites. No one’s freedom was curbed. It was Steiner’s intention to found the freest, most modern society with the most cutting edge research and innovations. It was to be de-centralized so that breakthroughs and new insights would be continuously renewed from all areas of the world. The members were free to act according to their moral intuitions. Their relationship to Anthroposophy could be cultivated without obligation to authority and in cooperation with people they wanted to associate with for that purpose. Expulsion in this universal Society is questionable because who may presume to judge the inner connection one person or another has to Anthroposophy?
The School for Spiritual Science was founded for Members who wish(ed) to represent Anthroposophy publicly or involve themselves vocationally in one of the many practical applications of Anthroposophy as outlined above. There were general lessons for all and then sections which were formed to support research and innovation in practical fields of initiative. So a person would first join the Society and then after two years could join the School of Spiritual Science and undergo the spiritual scientific training and exercises provided therein. After familiarizing themselves with the lessons, they could then request to join a section to collaborate with others in their field. So, for example, Waldorf School Teachers would join the Pedagogical Section, Biodynamic Gardeners or Farmers would join the Agricultural Section, Medical Doctors and those in the Medical Profession the Medical Section etc.
We can imagine that Steiner intended that this School as the spiritual wellspring of the Movement through objective spiritual scientific training that would lead to the fructification of ongoing research in all areas life. We hold the premise that Steiner intended Three Classes of The School to address the three distinct aspects of social life: spiritual life, rights life, and economic life. Before his untimely death, Rudolf Steiner was able to complete a portion of the First Class Lessons and appointed a co-leader—who we know from his evening lectures of the re-founding was also his destiny companion over many lifetimes—Ita Wegman.
The Three Classes of the School of Spiritual Science
- The First Class of the School of Spiritual Science was/is open to as many as applied and who were accepted. It was generally stated that a person could apply after being a member of the Society for 2 years. The lessons of the First Class were/are intended to be a source of strength for members, so that as they step out with their intiatives, they can work with clarity of thought, perception and intention as they participate on the world stage with co-careative capacities. Meditations were/are offered to meet and metamorphose the adversarial forces and beings of doubt, fear and hatred. In this Class we learn to master our inner life with attentive spiritual freedom and choice which builds capacities for objective research and clarity of discretion in speaking, listening, and acting in material and non-material realms.
- Though the Second Class of the School for Spiritual Science did not take form
in Steiner’s time, it would make sense that the Second Classes would address the developmental soul skills needed for soul-to-soul social co-creation and collaboration with an inspirational focus in the life of equality and the life of rights. How do we listen and speak to one another with equanimity and respect, despite differences? How do we call an “I” to “I” meeting or Circle in our businesses or initiatives where each person’s voice is valued? How do we chose who we want to collaborate with in an initiative? How do we meet conflict and controversy? In this Class we can imagine the possibility to be inspired to form a collaborative social vessel and forge our contracts of association whereby the participation of each individual in association has a much greater impact than the sum of the parts.
- Following this development, we can imagine that the Third Class would foster:The economic and social skills to develop the necessary intuitions for consequential clarity in cash flow, economic responsibility and resource management for the furthering of initiative in all areas of practical endeavor. Participants would learn to intuitively unveil the karma behind economic transactions and to think with economic mobility for and with one another on behalf of the greater community.
It has been intuited that Steiner intended that he would maintain leadership of the Third Class. At the same time he assumed presidency of the Goetheanum Association which held legal and economic responsibility of the Society’s home in the Goetheanum and the maintenance of the buildings and grounds.
- The Third aspect of the Threefold Anthroposophical Movement which is mirrored in the the third of what we imagine to be the three classes as stated above, is the Goetheanum Association, which existed before the refounding of the Society. This association managed the practical ownership of the buildings and the grounds. and we can imagine from his speaking at the Refounding of the Anthroposophical Society during the Christmas Conference of 1923-24, that Steiner envisioned this Association to be transformed to foster associative entrepreneurial endeavors. For example collaboration was begun between he and Ita Wegman, the Medical Doctor and Director of the Medical Clinic and also between the two of them and the Anthroposophical Pharmaceutical Company which makes innovative remedies to address imbalances in body, soul, and spirit. He made the comment that one new anthroposophically developed remedy, if accepted by mainstream would help to fund further research, development, and treatment plans. Similar collaboration was envisioned between the Biodynamic Farms and the Pharmacy. This Goetheannum Association with its bylaws continued as the legal/earthly vessel and was registered with the authorities. After the refounding there were separate meetings in June of 1924 to address the associative economic aspects of work. These meetings were challenging and, though he never said anything, from the resports we have read of people who attended the meetings, we believe it became clear to Steiner that there were karmic jealousies which hindered possibilities which must have been disheartening and devastating to him. Furthermore, his soul companion, Ita Wegman, who supported him wholeheartedly, was not accepted by certain members within the Leadership Circle which made for strained relationships.
After Rudolf Steiner joined the Society during the refounding of the Christmas Conference his creative spiritual capacities were ignited like never before. He was now congruent with his destiny task which was, in part, the articualtion of the laws of karma and reincarnation.
The Past, The Present, and Where Do We Go from Here?
At Christmas of 1923-24 Steiner refounded the Anthoposophical Society and united his karma with it, while he discretely revealed his past incarnations in light of World History with his close companion through the ages, Dr. Ita Wegman. The intimate and world-changing relationship between he and Dr. Wegman met resistance by some of key members in leadership positions of the Society. He went on to work closely with Ms. Wegman in the newly refounded Society to found a new medical impulse. He himself worked incessantly day and night toward building a foundation so the many practical initiatives mentioned above could gain momentum towards their greater maturation. He also counseled individuals on their destiny paths who came and went incessantly from his studio. During the autumn of 1924, Dr. Steiner became ill and was unable to lecture anymore. It can be surmised that he took on the unresolved karma of the members who were not mature enough to handle their own jealousies and insecurities themselves.
Though he had asked members to “step into” the Christmas Conference as an ongoing evolving event, there was no commemeration of it, one year later during what we call the Holy Nights of 1924-25. In fact, there was a meeting to absolve some important elements of Steiner’s original intentions.
Rudolf Steiner’s prolific activity of almost superhuman capacities began to come to a close in late 1924. Before he crossed the threshold a few short months later in March of 1925, he reminded us that he and many of those with him would return toward the end of the 19th century and the early part of the twentieth century to meet and transform the perils of humanities plight.
He foresaw the death and destruction that penetrates the economic system out of the West which casts it’s far-reaching shadow over the world. He also perceived the attempt toward the dissolution of the ego in socialism which brought with it perils of its own. Steiner envisioned another economic and social possibility born out of the metamorphosis of capitalism that had at its core altruism and care and concern for one another and our given resources. This economy will be created by wakeful human beings who have the courage to trust the call of their destiny and undertake initative with cash flow that reflects core values.
With Steiner’s envisioned return along with the return of “all the great initiates of the ages” now in our time, Steiner expected the maturation and full flowering of the Worldwide Society by the early part of this century to meet the great crises with which we are in the process of traversing now. We submit that the full flowering has been delayed due to the sleepiness of the members and a certain contentedness and comfort with accepting things as they are without reclaiming the past, making ammends and rectifying the errors that have had world consequences.
Steiner died before his social intentions could be fully implemented and brought to fruition. However, the spiritual/social intention of Steiner’s Deed is real and can give us insight as to what is needed to cross the current abyss humanity faces.
Dr. Christopher Houghton Budd asks some hard questions of us in his book, Economic Testament (Now titled The Deed of Rudolf Steiner):
How is the Society/School to continue and to develop after the untimely death of Rudolf Steiner so soon after its inauguration? Who is to succeed him – not in the outer sense, but in the sense that, whoever his successor is, we can all recognize him (or her) as the rightful heir (to use an impossible expression)? What is to be done if the sketch left behind by Rudolf Steiner is to be filled out? Are we doomed, for example, to make the most of the fragment of the School that he was able to develop – namely, the first third of the intended lessons of the First Class? What about the rest of these? And what about the Second and Third Classes? Are we somehow supposed to wait for someone else to complete this work?
Is it perhaps to remain uncompleted? And yet, if it is uncompleted, then it is also incomplete and that means it cannot give us the basis that Rudolf Steiner clearly meant it do. Are we perhaps to expect the return of the Master – like so many school children waiting for the teacher to come back into the classroom in order to continue the lesson! What is the reality in all this and how do we approach it? It would be the greatest tragedy, for example, if, all the while we were waiting for Rudolf Steiner, he were waiting for us. What if his return were dependent on our going out to meet him? . . if it were not a return by him at all, but an awakening by us to his supersensible presence? Above all, it would be tragic if Rudolf Steiner were counting on us to take his initiative further, while we were assuming ourselves to be ineligible for and unworthy of the task.
Directly after (Refounding the Society at) the Christmas Foundation Meeting, Rudolf Steiner made it clear that what had taken place was an outlining. It remained for the membership to fill out what, in outer historical terms, had only been sketched. Indeed, only to the degree to which this was done, would the Society have historical existence in the new sense of history. Only then, could it become something that we all do together, rather than something he did alone. It is thus a vital question: Does “The Deed of Rudolf Steiner” refer to his own action? Or could it not be that, as a deed of uniting his karma with ours, his deed is our deed also?
This is the Mystery riddle that Rudolf Steiner left us with. If we believe that Rudolf Steiner is still spiritually accessible, and that thoughts and intentions have an objective reality, then each one of us can find our right relationship to both Rudolf Steiner and his unfulfilled social deed as a living imagination in potential form. Each of us can find our unique destiny questions as we join in a shared inquiry as to how to bring healing to the wounds humanity has incurred since Steiner’s death, as we suffer attacks on our spiritual freedom, equal rights, and economic brotherhood-sisterhood.
Steiner envisioned that millions of souls would find their way to the Anthroposophical Society and work collaboratively toward a global culmination of the spiritual scientific discoveries to provide relief to humanities’ escalating current crises. He saw the culmination taking place now – in this first third of the 21st century. As a Society, we have yet to fulfill Steiner’s intention for a threefold social structure and process that could demonstrate the viability of separating out three distinct spheres of human activity – freedom in spiritual-cultural life, legal-equal rights life, and a cooperative, associative economic life. All the breakdowns in our political, social, and economic life can be attributed to our lack of understanding and implementing threefold principles.
At the basis of our current cultural condition which informs all else is our economic life. If we have clarity in our own bookkeeping about the threefold nature of money, as Steiner elaborated in his Economic Lectures, and which has been further made practical by Dr. Houghton Budd and colleagues at the Centre for Associative Economics in London, we can be initiators in the economic process and take a stand for threefold community life as we envision, review and steward our cash flow.
Dr. Christopher Houghton Budd, quoted earlier, convenes an annual Economics Conference as an activity of the Social Science Section of the School of Spiritual Science. During one of the events in Canterbury, he and colleagues described the path of the modern striving entrepreneur as a modern path of initiation. In this imagination the entrepreneur is described as the candidate for initiation, the business is structured as the new Temple, and Finance is respected as the Guardian of the Threshold. Entrepreneurs are challenged to bring their vision into reality from initial concept to communication to inter-relationships to cash flow. Through entrepreneurship we take up our destiny tasks from a position of self responsibility and authority. We can begin to collaborate toward a new culture based on initiation principles as associative entrepreneurs.
Aligning with the Spirit of Renewal
We can imagine a spirit of renewal and challenge that ebbs and flows with each 33.3 years, which could be envisioned as a Christ rhythm. After three times 33.3 years (100 years) we can surmise we can expect to see an intensification of both challenges and opportunities. Steiner’s lectures given during and after World War One are more poignant and relevant today than 100 years ago. Many of his lectures addressed the destiny of individuals and nations and the impact of the war on souls on both sides of the Threshold.
As we reach the 100-year anniversaries of many of Steiner’s key contributions to humanity, his works will have gone through a 3 times 33.3 year rhythm. What was esoterically given by Steiner 100 years ago was received by a relatively small group of souls around him. Upon the completion of the 3 times 33.3 year rhythm, we expect that many more people will have evolved to be able to receive Steiner’s contributions and that they can be understood and implemented by a more widespread and cosmopolitan audience.
2012 marked the 100-year anniversary of the Steiner’s original Calendar and the year of the original founding of the Anthroposophical Society. Between 2012 and 2023—(2023 being the 100 year anniversary of Steiner’s three-fold intentions and the refounding of the Anthroposophical Society), we believe we have a window of opportunity to actively explore further spiritual, social, and economic research together so that we may begin to organize ourselves in freedom to create a social vessel worthy of our humanity.
If a threefold Anthroposophical Society in the sense of the Christmas Conference does not arise within the coming years, the being Anthroposophia will seek incarnation elsewhere. . . We must dissolve old forms and build new ones to make room for a spiritual stream of the new initiatives in every area of life. Circles of friends where transformations of soul can take place, circles where we can put away our social armor are called for.
Who we would have to be, what we would have to do, so that Rudolf Steiner, along with Ita Wegman and many of his closest colleages that were expelled from the Society in the early part of the last century feel welcome to return and to join us?
In conclusion, humanity is currently at a crossroads, a moment of decision, as to whether we are capable of being co-creative stewards on planet earth. The old ways of thinking and being no longer serve us. However, the destructive momentum created by our old ways has gained considerable traction and power. We believe that if we study the tremendous gifts offered to us by one of the most perceptive initiates of our time, each of us can find a right relationship to the threefold light of our star and we can discover our role and an imaginative map to cross the gap of our current dilemma.
Who will you be? and What do you choose? the Dawn of a New Age? the Grave of Civilization? or the Dawn Arising out of the Grave?
For those who are interested to learn more about the history and the current activities of the Society which Rudolf Steiner founded, you can learn more at:
www.goetheanum.org (International Membership)
www.anthroposophy.org (U.S. Membership)
For those familiar with the Anthroposophical Society who may have an interest to learn more about Rudolf Steiner’s intentions for the culmination of the Anthroposophical Movement arising out of sound economic thinking now in our time, we highly recommend the audio workshops under the theme, The Inner and Outer Aspects of Associative Economics by Dr. Christopher Houghton Budd. The two workshops form a whole and were given over the course of four days in Viroqua, WI USA. The first workshop, entitled, Rudolf Steiner’s Unfinished Deed focuses on how we might step into the “Imagination” of the completion of what Rudolf Steiner intended at the refounding of the Christmas Conference of 1923/24 and how that Imagination can be a guide for us in our anthroposophical initiatives. The second workshop entitled, Money: The Old and New Mysteries, focuses on our evolutionary relationship to Money and the initiation consciousness which is required to master it. Dr. Houghton Budd leads us through an exercise that can support us to think in differentiated dynamics regarding the three kinds of Money and how it shows up in accounting. You can learn more or purchase the full audio with workshop drawings HERE.
For the practical implementation of a new money paradigm based on Rudolf Steiner’s insights that can be a contribution to your life and initiatives, (whether for-profit or non-profit) you may want to consider signing up to be notified when we open registration for the Money Unveiled program led by Arthur Edwards. You can learn more and sign up to be notified HERE.
Futhermore, if you long to live and create from an anthroposophically inspired associative-economically based village community, you can learn more and connect with us HERE.
 Karmic Relationships Vol. 8 and Anthroposophical Leading Thoughts – Rudolf Steiner
 The Course of My Life by Rudolf Steiner Published by Anthroposophic Press, Inc 1951
 All references to Steiner’s early life can be found in The Course of My Life by Rudolf Steiner Published by Anthroposophic Press, Inc 1951
 Intuitive Thinking as a Spiritual Path: A Philosophy of Freedom Written in 1894 (CW 4) Rudolf Steiner, Translation by Michael Lipson, Ph.D.
 Matthew 7:7 of the Bible
 Currently Published in English by Steiner Books
 Rudolf Steiner in his lectures entitled, Awakening to Community
 The Course of My Life, Rudolf Steiner, Anthroposophic Press 1951
 Rudolf Steiner, Nov. 18th, 1923
 Sergei O. Prokofieff: The Heavenly Sophia and the Being Anthroposophia published by Temple Lodge
 The Dignity of Man by Russell Davenport, Harper & Brothers Publishers; First Edition edition (1955)
 The Social World as Mystery Center: The Social Vision of Anthroposophy by Harry Salman
 Dr. Christopher Houghton Budd, An Economic Testament in Relation to the Work of Rudolf Steiner, New Economy Publications
 The Social World as Mystery Center: The Social Vision of Rudolf Steiner by Harry Salman, published by Threefold Publishing
*Evolutionary facilitator and planetary midwife for the birth of a new era, Barbara Marx Hubbard, used the phrase and concept, A Map to Cross the Gap with her idea of the Social Wheel of Co-Creation – which she envisions to be a think-tank research circle to explore positive solutions to current world problems, which is what Steiner has essentially founded with the inception of the School of Spiritual Science in the refounding of the Anthroposophical Society.