Egyptian Myths and Mysteries
12 Lectures, Leipzig, September 2-14, 1908 (CW 106)
Rudolf Steiner emphasizes the astonishing and special relationship between our own time and that of ancient Egypt—how, in the natural rhythm of the ages, the so-called third post-Atlantian (Egyptian) epoch is mirrored by the fifth (present) epoch. In this sense, today it is especially relevant to look at ancient Egypt with fresh eyes. The evolution of Western civilization has been profoundly influenced by Egyptian myths through the Greek mysteries. Because of other influences, however, this heritage has degenerated; thinking has mummified and and myth has all but disappeared. Consequently, it is important to revive the seed of goodness passed down to us from ancient Egypt.
Through true imagination, it is our task to renew human knowledge related to the creative forces in nature, which the Egyptians attempted through the Osiris-Isis myth, and the Greeks through the myth of Demeter. This is what Rudolf Steiner attempts in this lecture cycle.
Steiner’s subjects include: experiences of Egyptian initiations; esoteric anatomy and physiology; the stages of evolution of the human form; and much more. The final lecture is on the Christ impulse as the conqueror of matter.
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.