What Is Anthroposophy? Three Spiritual Perspectives on Self-Knowledge
3 selected lectures by Rudolf Steiner
This is one of those books that can change your life. Radical, thought-provoking, and indeed mind-boggling, it leads to a completely new way of looking at what it means to be human—a spiritual being in a universe that itself is not just physical, but psychic and spiritual as well.
These three previously untranslated lectures are a masterly introduction to what Rudolf Steiner means by “Anthroposophy.” They explain why Steiner describes this path—which means literally “the wisdom of the human being”—as one that “unites what is spiritual in the human being with what is spiritual in the universe.”
Steiner begins by describing what happens when we die. He shows the relationship between our physical life on Earth and the etheric, astral, and spiritual life of the cosmos. He also explains how physical lives are completely interwoven with cosmic existence, and how the “missing links” in evolution are spiritual in nature.
Steiner then demonstrates what he calls the “dilettantism” and “soullessness” of mainstream psychology. He points out that, since the second half of the nineteenth century, the idea of the soul has been lost and that, consequently, understanding of our inner lives is without a sure foundation. A very different view emerges, however, from a truly spiritual perspective.
In the third lecture, Steiner takes as his guide our three states of being—waking, dreaming, and sleeping. He describes in detail what happens in these three states and how each is bound up with our lives as physical, psychic, and spiritual beings.
With the profound insights in this book, the world becomes a much larger, richer, and more exciting place to live.
Introduction by Christopher Bamford
1. The Physical Perspective
2. The Psychological Perspective
3. The Spiritual Perspective
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.
Christopher Bamford is Editor in Chief, Emeritus, 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).
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