The Cycle of the Year: As a Breathing Process of the Earth
5 lectures, Dornach, March 31 – April 8, 1923 (GA 223)
“Human beings must attain an esoteric maturity in order to think not merely abstractly, but to be able to think so concretely that they can again become festival-creating. Then it will be possible again to unite something spiritual with the cycle of sense phenomena.” -Rudolf Steiner
These five lectures were given at Easter, 1923. Rudolf Steiner, in a fully conscious way, laid a foundation for celebrating the Christian festivals – Christmas, Easter, St. John’s, and Michaelmas. This is begun with a description of how the festival year evolved over long ages from the Earth’s cycle of inbreathing and outbreathing. These forces are the Earth’s soul activities in relation to the cosmos.
Steiner reveals the deep relationship between humanity and the seasons of the Earth, the solstices, and the equinoxes. And through the festivals of the seasons, he reveals humanity’s relationship to the Christ Being The esoteric realities behind the festivals are also discussed in relation to sub-earthly and supra-earthly forces, the ancient Mysteries, the activity of the Archangel Michael, morality, and the arts.
This volume is a translation of five lectures from Der Jahreskreislauf als Atmungsvorgang der Erde und die vier großen Festeszeiten. Die Anthroposophie und das menschliche Gemüt (GA 223). The remaining four lectures from the German volume (in Vienna) are contained in Michaelmas and the Soul-Forces of Man.
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. 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.