Foundations of Esotericism
31 lectures, Berlin, September 26 – November 5, 1905 (CW 93a)
“It is a cosmic law that what has once taken place can never vanish, but must reappear later in a metamorphosed form. Every thought, feeling and action brought about by man does not only affect the world around him but will reappear in the future.” (from the preface)
This course of lectures was originally offered as private, strictly verbal instruction to a selected group of esoteric students. In an atmosphere of earnest study, Rudolf Steiner “translated” important concepts of human and cosmic knowledge from the “akashic script” into earthly language—content rarely found in his later lectures. Although Steiner was working within the Theosophical Society at the time, he nonetheless acted as an independent spiritual teacher: “I would present only the results of what I observed in my own spiritual research.”
The manifold, exact, and detailed descriptions of evolutionary events in these lectures form a background to the development of the humankind. Steiner vividly describes the great event of the Moon separating from the Earth, which occurred, according him, to provide an environment suited to human progress. The wonderful moment when the higher human being descended in a “bell-like” form and enveloped the lower human body—then still on the level of animals—depicts what eventually provided human beings with a body suited to the development of the true human self, or “I.” Spiritual beings and the great initiates then guided humanity along the destined path.
Rudolf Steiner presents a sweep of esoteric knowledge, including the phases of “planetary” evolution, myths and symbols, human physical and spiritual organs, illness, reincarnation, and more. Also included are unexpected insights into specific phenomena such as dinosaurs, bacteria, radiation, black and white magic, the Sphinx, and Freemasonry.
This volume is a translation from German of Grundelemente der Esoterik (GA 93a).
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.
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