The Christmas Conference (eBook)

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The Christmas Conference: For the Foundation of the General Anthroposophical Society 1923/1924

The laying of the Foundation Stone, lectures and addresses, discussion of the Statutes, Dornach, Dec. 24, 1923 – Jan. 1, 1924 (CW 260)

“This anthroposophic movement is not an earthly service. This anthroposophic movement in its entirety, in all its details, is a service of the gods, a divine service.” Rudolf Steiner

During Christmastime 1923, one year after the fiery destruction of the first Goetheanum, in a wooden carpentry shop overlooking the charred ruins Rudolf Steiner established the General Anthroposophical Society, to which he joined his destiny. This volume documents that occasion. Readers will find the complete proceedings of the conference, as well as Steiner’s in-depth description of the structure and organization of the new Society. Discussions of the statutes are also recorded in detail.

The laying of the Foundation Stone into the hearts of the members is at the center of this book. The foundation Stone Verse (or mantra) is reproduced in the different forms in which Steiner gave it each day of the conference along with his commentary on its different rhythms.

Also included is Rudolf Steiner’s lecture on plans for the second Goetheanum, illuminating the spiritual significance of its architecture, as well as his talk on the burning of the temple at Ephesus. This edition features a foreword and conclusion by Marie Steiner. The text is complemented by a list and biographical data of the members mentioned and reproductions of handwritten notes and blackboard sketches.

C O N T E N T S:

The Program of the Christmas Foundation
Introduction by Virginia Sease
Preface to the 1985 German Edition


The Close of the Year and Turn of the Year 1923/24
Foreword by Marie Steiner to the First German Edition in 1944
Introduction to the Eurythmy Performance by Rudolf Steiner


The Opening of the Christmas Foundation Conference (Rudolf Steiner)
Rudolf Steiner’s Opening Lecture and Reading of the Statutes
The Laying of the Foundation Stone of the General Anthroposophical Society
The Foundation Meeting of the General Anthroposophical Society
Meeting of the Vorstand and the General Secretaries of the National Societies
Continuation of the Foundation Meeting
Rudolf Steiner’s Contribution during the Meeting of the Swiss School Association
Continuation of the Foundation Meeting
The Idea of the Future Building in Dornach (Rudolf Steiner)
Open Discussion of Swiss Delegates under the Chairmanship of Rudolf Steiner
The Envy of the Gods—the Envy of Human Beings (Rudolf Steiner)
Continuation of the Foundation Meeting
The Rebuilding of the Goetheanum
On the Right Entry into the Spiritual World (Rudolf Steiner)
On Behalf of the Members


Conclusion by Marie Steiner
Rudolf Steiner’s Words of Welcome at the Social Gathering
Notes on the Verses
The Printed Versions of the Verses in German
Three English Translations of the Verses
List of Names with Biographical Notes

This volume is a translation from German of Die Weihnachtstagung zur Begründung der Allgemeinen Anthroposophischen Gesellschaft (GA 260).

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.

Marie Steiner-von Sivers (1867–1948) was born in Wlotzlawek, in Russian Poland and grew up in St. Petersburg. She trained as an actor, but left the stage when she met Theosophy through Edouard Schuré, whose works she translated. In 1900, she met Rudolf Steiner, whom she later married and worked alongside in the development of Anthroposophy. She died in Beatenberg, Switzerland.

Virginia Sease was born in Pennsylvania and earned her doctorate in German from the University of Southern California. She taught in a university and a waldorf school in Los Angeles and has been a member of the Executive Council of the Goetheanum since 1984. She directs the English language Anthroposophical Studies Program at the Goetheanum.

Michael Henry Wilson (1901–1985) was born in Birmingham, UK, into a Quaker family. His mother, Theodora Wilson, met Rudolf Steiner and visited the first Goetheanum in Dornach, Switzerland. For several years he was a professional violinist and conductor. A meeting with the German curative educator, Fried Geuter, in 1929 led him to leave his successful musical career and to study at the Goetheanum and become fluent in German. Later he was a founder and director of the first curative home in the UK. He translated several of Rudolf Steiner’s works, including his highly acclaimed edition of The Philosophy of Freedom, and researched and lectured on Goethe’s theory of color. Michael Wilson lectured at Emerson College for many years after its move to Forest Row and remained connected with it until his death. He was devoted to his wife Betty and their three children, Diana, Robin, and Christopher.

Additional information



Johanna Collis, Michael Wilson


Marie Steiner-von Sivers


Virginia Sease




December 2020






CW 260


Steiner Books


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