The Mission of Folk Souls (CW 121)
The Mission of Folk Souls (CW 121)
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The Mission of Folk Souls (CW 121)

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The Mission of Folk Souls

11 lectures, Oslo, June 7–17, 1910 (CW 121)

“It is particularly important…especially at the present time, to speak about the mission of the individual folk souls…because the destiny of humanity in the near future will bring people together in far greater measure than has hitherto been the case in order to fulfil a mission common to the whole of humanity. But the members of the individual peoples will only be able to offer their proper, free, and positive contributions if they have, above all else, an understanding of their own native origin, an understanding of what we might call the self-knowledge of their people, their folk.”— Rudolf Steiner

In the mythologies of all ancient cultures, humanity is portrayed as intimately interwoven with the activity of lesser and greater gods, spirits, devas, and elemental beings—as members of the grand symphony of creation. Who are these gods, pictured so vividly in various myths and legends? And how are they connected with the mission of humanity as a whole and the diverse peoples of the Earth?

In his preface to this lecture course, Steiner argues that a true basis for a “psychology of peoples” cannot be given by the “anthropological, ethnographical, or even historical studies” of conventional science, but requires “a basis…in spiritual reality.” It is precisely this spiritual reality—the creative activity of the beings of the hierarchies in connection with the destiny of humanity—that forms the heart of these lectures and of Steiner’s view of folk psychology more broadly.

These lectures form Rudolf Steiner’s most comprehensive and profound account of the mission of folk souls.

The Mission of Folk Souls is a translation of Die Mission einzelner Volksseelen im Zusammenhange mit der germanisch-nordischen Mythologie (6th rev, ed.), Rudolf Steiner Verlag, Basel, 2017 (GA 121). Updates to the manuscript in correspondence with the 2017 German edition by Daniel Hindes.

C O N T E N T S:

Foreword by the editors
Introduction by the editors
Preface (1918) by Rudolf Steiner

Lecture One: June 7, 1910

On the necessity of a higher degree of impartiality regarding the contents of spiritual folk knowledge. Homelessness as a stage of occult development and the knowledge and self-knowledge of folk…

Lecture Two: June 8, 1910

Diversity in the etheric aura throughout the regions of the earth and its connection with folk spirits. Etheric influence of the folk spirits on the human temperaments…

Lecture Three: June 9, 1910

Soul forces of the human being, the higher inner life of the folk spirits, and their experiences of the human “I.” Ascending and descending periods of folk life as the incarnation of archangels. Angels as mediators between folk spirits and individuals…

Lecture Four: June 10, 1910

The human being and his four bodies as the result of the manifold activity of spiritual entities. Spirits of form (exusiai) as bestowers of the I-organization. Normal and abnormal spirits of form in relation to the first, middle, and last third of human life…

Lecture Five: June 11, 1910

Incarnation of the human individuality in the course of time in the most diverse peoples and races. Significance of the doctrine of karma and reincarnation for the objective understanding of the connections between peoples and races…

Lecture Six: June 12, 1910, morning

Original working of the third and highest hierarchy out of the cosmos from outside, the working from the interior of the earth as reflection. Interaction of abnormal and normal spirits of form in view of the uniformity of humanity and the diversity of races…

Lecture Seven: June 12, 1910, evening

Ascension of folk spirits to time spirits and spirits of form among folk currents of the post-Atlantean period. Ascension of the archangel of the ancient Indian culture to the spirit of time and then to the direction of the entire evolution of post-Atlantean humanity…

Lecture Eight: June 14, 1910

Superficiality of comparative religious studies and mythology researchers. Evaluation of Germanic-Nordic mythology. Awakening of the I at different stages in the five post-Atlantean cultural epochs and the shaping of their mythologies…

Lecture Nine: June 15, 1910

Difference between subjective development of the I and objective viewing of the I in the development of the post-Atlantean period. Contrast between Indian and European culture in mythology. In Europe, in various ways, the development of relations of the I to the world…

Lecture Ten: June 16, 1910

Slow development of the I in different stages in the diversity of European culture, while the Orient developed high wisdom with the “I.” Feeling of the Germanic-Nordic individual as a member of the tribe and the group soul at the time of Tacitus. Thor and Sif. Development of the basis of the I and European culture through the ancient Celts and their mysteries…

Lecture Eleven: June 17, 1910, evening

Special occult truths in Germanic-Nordic mythology as they are investigated by spiritual science at the present time. View of the descent of souls in the last Lemurian and in the Atlantean times in Tacitus’ narrative of the Goddess Nerthus. Memories of the descent of the spirit-soul in the sagas of the Vanir concerning Freyr and Freya. The horse Blodughofi and the magical ship…

APPENDIX:

• Concerning the Revised and Extended Edition
• Origin of the Lecture Cycle
• Selected References by Rudolf Steiner to this Lecture Cycle
• Special Note

Editorial and Reference Notes
Rudolf Steiner’s Collected Works
Significant Events in the Life of Rudolf Steiner
Name Index

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.

Additional information

Weight 18 oz
Dimensions 6 × 0.75 × 9 in
Author

Translator

Johanna Collis

ISBN13

9781621482680

Published

November 2022

Format

Paperback

Pages

264

CW/GA

CW 121

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