Michaelmas and the Soul-Forces of Man
4 lectures, Vienna, September 27-October 1, 1923 (from CW 223)
Steiner shows the need to “expand the horizon of life into the breadth of the world” in order to overcome today’s hermit-like existence. He shows that the path to becoming true citizens of the cosmos is through the forces of the Archangel Michael, who is always present and prepared to help us.
Synopses of the Lectures:
September 27 — How shall man, the earth citizen, once more become a citizen of the cosmos? The expansion of life’s horizon into cosmic reaches. Philosophic aspects and impulses determining the human being in the picture of Michael’s Conflict with the Dragon.
September 28 — Present-day man as a world hermit. The way back to spirit through the Michael force. Enchantment and liberation of the elemental beings. Man’s responsibility to the cosmos. What is demanded of us is a profound faith in the spirit that will make us into instruments of the divine-spiritual forces. Experiencing spirit through pure thought leads to inspiration.
September 30 — Prerequisites of the inauguration of an autumn festival: penetrating extra-terrestrial, cosmic contexts; experiencing the course of the seasons. The Druidic and the Mithras Mysteries; the sun circles and cromlechs. Observation of the sun yielded knowledge of the connection between heaven and earth. The language of the heavens was deciphered and the cult gave directions regulating practical and social life, thereby becoming a sort of divine service — the image of the Bull in the Mithras cult, and the schooling of the neophyte’s capacity for sensitive perception: the heart as a sense organ was raised to a certain degree of consciousness. Through the heart organization the course of nature was perceived within man, and through the heart science the spirit of the sun’s annual passage through the zodiac was studied. In this way men read in the heavens what was to be done on earth — Concerning the cosmic-historical evolution of the planetary system.
October 1 — We need realistic thinking in place of mere methods of calculation. The far-reaching social significance of a Michael Festival. Earth spirit and human spirit. The cosmic breathing process. Nature-consciousness, self-consciousness, and spirit-consciousness.
This volume is a translation of the final four of the nine lectures in Der Jahreskreislauf als Atmungsvorgang der Erde und die vief grossen Festeszeiten.
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.