How to Know Higher Worlds: A Modern Path of Initiation
Published in 1904 (CW 10)
“While we cannot all instantly become ‘seers,’ the cognitive insights of a person who has such vision can nevertheless provide healthy food for all. All of us can apply these insights to our lives; and if we do so, we shall soon realize not only the possibilities of life in every area but also what life lacks when we exclude these insights.” –Rudolf Steiner
This is the classic account of the modern Western esoteric path of initiation made public by Steiner in 1904. He begins with the premise that “the capacities by which we can gain insights into the higher worlds lie dormant within each one of us.” Steiner carefully and precisely leads the reader from the cultivation of the fundamental soul attitudes of reverence and inner tranquility to the development of inner life through the stages of preparation, illumination, and initiation.
Steiner provides practical exercises of inner and outer observation and moral development. By patiently and persistently following his guidelines, new “organs” of soul and spirit begin to form, which reveal the contours of the higher worlds thus far concealed from us.
Steiner in this important work becomes a teacher, a counselor, and a friend whose advice is practical, clear, and effective. The challenges we face in life require increasingly deeper levels of understanding, and Steiner’s text helps readers to cultivate the capacities for such insights and places them at the service of humanity.
This is Steiner’s most essential guide to the modern path of initiation he advocated throughout his life. It has been translated into many languages and has inspired hundreds of thousands of readers around the world. How to Know Higher Worlds has been admired by some of the most brilliant minds of our time.
Foreword by Arthur Zajonc
Prefaces by Rudolf Steiner
1. How to Know Higher Worlds
2. The Stages of Initiation
4. Practical Considerations
5. Requirements for Esoteric Training
6. Some Effects of Initiation
7. Changes in the Dream Life of the Esoteric Student
8. Achieving Continuity of Consciousness
9. The Splitting of the Personality in Esoteric Training
10. The Guardian of the Threshold
11. Life and Death: The Great Guardian of the Threshold
Afterword by Arthur Zajonc
This volume is a translation from German of the written work Wie erlangt man Erkenntnisse der höheren Welten? (GA 10).
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.
Arthur Zajonc, Ph.D., is the Andrew Mellon professor of physics and interdisciplinary studies at Amherst College and is currently the director of the Academic Program of the Center for Contemplative Mind, an organization of 1500 academics supporting the appropriate inclusion of contemplative practice in higher education. Dr. Zajonc is the former General Secretary of the Anthroposophical Society in America, a cofounder of the Kira Institute, past President of the Lindisfarne Association, and a senior program director at the Fetzer Institute. He has served as scientific coordinator and editor for several dialogues with the Dalai Lama: The New Physics and Cosmology, held in 1997 and published in 2004, and “The Nature of Matter, the Nature of Life” (2002, unpublished). He was also moderator for the 2003 MIT dialogue, published as The Dalai Lama at MIT (2006). Dr. Zajonc is the author Catching the Light (1993, 1995), coauthor of The Quantum Challenge (2nd ed. 2005), and coeditor of Goethe’s Way of Science (1998).
Christopher Bamford is Editor in Chief for SteinerBooks and its imprints. A Fellow of the Lindisfarne Association, he has lectured, taught, and written widely on Western spiritual and esoteric traditions. He is the author of The Voice of the Eagle: The Heart of Celtic Christianity (1990) and An Endless Trace: The Passionate Pursuit of Wisdom in the West (2003). He has also translated and edited numerous books, including Celtic Christianity: Ecology and Holiness (1982); Homage to Pythagoras: Rediscovering Sacred Science; and The Noble Traveller: The Life and Writings of O. V. de L. Milosz (all published by Lindisfarne Books). HarperSanFrancisco included an essay by Mr. Bamford in its anthology Best Spiritual Writing 2000.
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