An Outline of Esoteric Science: Written in 1909 (CW 13)
“Esoteric science is the science of what takes place esoterically, in the sense that it is perceived not outside in nature but where one’s soul turns when it directs its inner being toward the spirit. Esoteric science is the opposite and counterpart of natural science.” –Rudolf Steiner
This masterwork of esotericism places humankind at the very heart of the vast, invisible processes of cosmic evolution. When we use the term “natural science,” don’t we mean that we are dealing with human knowledge of nature?
Steiner worked and reworked his Rosicrucian cosmology to make it increasingly precise and accurate. An Outline of Esoteric Science is as vital and relevant now as it was when first published in 1910 and remains the most comprehensive and effective presentation of a spiritual alternative to contemporary, materialistic cosmologies and a strict Darwinian view of human nature and evolution.
In this foundational work of spiritual science, we see how the creation and evolution of humanity is embedded at the heart of the vast, invisible web of interacting cosmic beings, through whom the alchemical processes of cosmic evolution continue to evolve. Included are descriptions of the physical-spiritual makeup of the human being; the relationships of the different “bodies” of the human being to sleep and death; and a detailed, practical guide to methods and exercises, including the “Rose Cross Meditation,” through which we can attain knowledge of the spiritual worlds.
The most remarkable and revolutionary aspect of this work is the central function that Steiner attributes to the Christ and his involvement in human and earthly evolution through the Mystery of Golgotha.
Introduction by Clopper Almon
Preface by Rudolf Steiner
1. The Character of Esoteric Science
2. The Makeup of the Human Being
3. Sleep and Death
4. Cosmic Evolution and the Human Being
5. Knowledge of Higher Worlds—Initiation
6. Cosmic and Human Evolution—Now and in the Future
7. Details from the Field of Spiritual Science
Appendix: Rudolf Steiner’s Early Introductions
This is essential reading for all serious students of esoteric spirituality.
About the Author
Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925) was born in the small village of Kraljevec, Austro-Hungarian Empire (now in Croatia), where he grew up (see right). As a young man, he lived in Weimar and Berlin, where he became a well-published scientific, literary, and philosophical scholar, known especially for his work with Goethe’s scientific writings. At the beginning of the twentieth century, he began to develop his early philosophical principles into an approach to systematic research into psychological and spiritual phenomena. Formally beginning his spiritual teaching career under the auspices of the Theosophical Society, Steiner came to use the term Anthroposophy (and spiritual science) for his philosophy, spiritual research, and findings. The influence of Steiner’s multifaceted genius has led to innovative and holistic approaches in medicine, various therapies, philosophy, religious renewal, Waldorf education, education for special needs, threefold economics, biodynamic agriculture, Goethean science, architecture, and the arts of drama, speech, and eurythmy. In 1924, Rudolf Steiner founded the General Anthroposophical Society, which today has branches throughout the world. He died in Dornach, Switzerland.
Clopper Almon, a seasoned student of Anthroposophy, is a cofounder of the Rudolf Steiner Institute. He has taught courses there on Rudolf Steiner’s Outline of Esoteric Science and on other subjects. His is professor of economics at the University of Maryland, where his professional work is in building quantitative models of economics.