The Mysteries

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The Mysteries: A Poem for Christmas and Easter by W. J. v. Goethe

1 Lecture, Cologne, Dec. 25, 1907 (CW 98)

In this lecture, given on Christmas day, Rudolf Steiner reflects on the deep mysteries of the events surrounding Christ’s incarnation, death, and resurrection on Earth. The foundation of his message was the three magi from the East and Goethe’s poem “The Mysteries,” told from the perspective of a kind of archetypal pilgrim of esoteric Christianity:

“Here, in Goethe’s poem, we have a wonderful phenomenon. We encounter a person who, in the simplest childlike words, not spoken out of his intellect and formed ideas, imparts to us the highest wisdom, the fruits, of his previous cognitions. He has transformed these cognitions into feelings and sentiments, and has, therefore, been called to lead others who may even have learned more conceptually. Such a pilgrim with a mature soul who has transformed into immediate feeling and sentiment much of what he had collected as knowledge in prior incarnations…such a pilgrim do we have before us in the person of Brother Marcus. As a member of a secret Brotherhood he is sent out with an important mission to another secret Brotherhood….
“Die and be born—overcome what has been given to you originally in your three lower bodies. Kill it off, but don’t kill it to wish death, but to purify what exists in the three bodies, so that you can conquer in the ‘I’ the power to reach more and more perfection. By killing off what has been given in the three lower bodies, the ‘I’ gains the power of perfecting. In the ‘I’ the Christ shall, within the Christ principle, take up the power of perfecting, even into the blood. Even into the blood shall the power be effective.”

This lecture was translated from Natur- und Geisteswesen – ihr Wirken in unserer sichtbaren Welt (CW 98)

About the Author

Rudolf Steiner (b. Rudolf Joseph Lorenz Steiner, 1861–1925) was born in the small village of Kraljevec, Austro-Hungarian Empire (now in Croatia), where he grew up. 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 12 oz
Dimensions 5 × 0.25 × 8 in


Marianne H. Luedeking




May 2014






CW 98


Steiner Books


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