Esoteric Lessons for the First Class of the School of Spiritual Science at the Goetheanum
4 Volume Set: 19 lessons; 7 recapitulation lessons; 4 individual lessons,
Dornach, Prague, Berne, London; February – September 1924 (CW 270)
During the reestablishment of the Anthroposophical Society as the General Anthroposophical Society during Christmastime 1923–24, Rudolf Steiner also reconstituted, as the School of Spiritual Science, the Esoteric School he had led in three classes from 1904 to 1914. At the same time, he also extended its scope by adding artistic and scientific Sections. However, owing to his illness and subsequent death in March 1925, he was able to make only a beginning by establishing the First Class and the various Sections.
The actual step from the Esoteric School to the School of Spiritual Science was nevertheless an exceptional one. The Esoteric School from Helena Blavatsky’s time had been secret. Its existence was known only to those who were personally invited to participate. By contrast, the existence of the School of Spiritual Science was made known in the public statutes of the General Anthroposophical Society. From the Christmas Conference onward, Rudolf Steiner worked within this publicly acknowledged framework.
The Class lessons comprise a complete spiritual course of nineteen fundamental lessons, given from February until August 1924, with several lessons given elsewhere, and seven more lessons from September 1924, which take up the themes of the first part of the nineteen lessons in a modified form.
This compact, four-volume clothbound set features plates with Rudolf Steiner’s handwritten notes of the mantras and reproductions of his original blackboard drawings in color.
The translations of the mantric verses have been reworked by a committed group of translators, linguists, and editors to express the subtleties of meaning, grammatical accuracy, and poetic style while retaining the original sound and meter of the German mantric forms. Three versions of the existing English translations are also included.
These volumes are translated from the German texts, Esoterische Unterweisungen für die erste Klasse der Freien Hochschule für Geisteswissenschaft am Goetheanum; 4 Volumes (GA 270).
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.
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.
Simon Blaxland de Lange has for many years worked as an educator for people with special needs. He is also a prolific writer and translator and an amateur musician and gardener. Blaxland de Lange helped establish Pericles Translations and Research, Pericles Training and Work (for adults with special needs), and the Pericles Theatre Company. Together with Dr Vivian Law, he cofounded the Humanities Research Group in 1997 and the British group of the Humanities Section of the School of Spiritual Science in 1998. He met Owen Barfield in 1979, and has been a student of his work for the past thirty years.
Julian Sleigh (1927-2013) was born in Florence, Italy, where his father lectured iat the British Institute. He studied economics in London. During his national service he was selected for officer training. While working in Anglesey, Wales, as an assistant for an engineering company, he met Trevor Ravenscroft (author of Spear of Destiny), and through him heard of Rudolf Steiner and Anthroposophy, which led him to work in Camphill, Scotland, for several years before helping to establish Camphill in South Africa in 1958. He married Renate König, daughter of Camphill founder Karl König, and in the ensuing years they had five children.
George Adams (1894-1963)was born in Poland and received an honors degree in Chemistry from Cambridge University. He was a close student of Rudolf Steiner, and translated many of his lectures given to English-speaking audiences. Being a Jew, when Hitler rose to power he changed his name from Kaufmann to Adams and left Germany for England, where he continued his anthroposophic activities and scientific research. In 1935, Olive Whicher joined Adams in London and worked with him in research into mathematics and physics until his death in 1963. He translated and published numerous books, lectures, and articles.
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.