Rudolf Steiner

Rudolf Joseph Lorenz Steiner was an Austrian philosopher, social reformer, architect, and esotericist. Steiner gained initial recognition at the end of the nineteenth century as a literary critic and published philosophical works including The Philosophy of Freedom. At the beginning of the twentieth century, he founded a spiritual movement, anthroposophy, with roots in German idealist philosophy and theosophy; other influences include Goethean science and Rosicrucianism.
In the first, more philosophically oriented phase of this movement, Steiner attempted to find a synthesis between science and spirituality; his philosophical work of these years, which he termed spiritual science, sought to apply the clarity of thinking characteristic of Western philosophy to spiritual questions, differentiating this approach from what he considered to be vaguer approaches to mysticism. In a second phase, beginning around 1907, he began working collaboratively in a variety of artistic media, including drama, the movement arts and architecture, culminating in the building of the Goetheanum, a cultural centre to house all the arts.
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'Like so much of Renaissance Art, Shakespeare's work bears an open secret. The esoteric spiritual content is undisguised, though it may be unexpected and not always immediately recognized. And, like all the great artistic achievements...this work remains incomplete until we recognize and respond to its open invitation that we become active participants.' - from the Introduction

The perennial universal appeal of Shakespeare's work is well established. His core themes explore the challenges of the human condition whilst celebrating the potential of human beings to achieve and develop in earthly life. But what is it that enables Shakespeare's characters to live and breathe beyond the confines of their written roles, some 400 years after the plays were first performed?

In these collected lectures, edited with an extensive introduction by Andrew Wolpert, Rudolf Steiner throws new light on the Bard's work, describing the on-going life that flows from it, and the profound spiritual origins of Shakespeare's inspirations. He shows how Shakespeare can enliven us in our longing for contemporary ideals and truths; indeed, in our goal of becoming fully human. Our engagement with the plays, not just as actors and directors, but also as students and members of an audience, can thus become a co-creative participation in the redemptive potential of Shakespeare's enduring legacy. Steiner speaks about Shakespeare in connection with the evolution of the arts of poetry and drama, and the transitions between cultural epochs. He reminds us of the sources and characteristics of classical Greek drama, recalling Aristotle's definition of drama as catharsis, and pointing to Shakespeare's connection to these cultural and historical wellsprings.
This is the classic account of the modern Western esoteric path of initiation made public by Steiner in 1904. He begins with the premise that "the capacities by which we can gain insights into the higher worlds lie dormant within each one of us." Steiner carefully and precisely leads the reader from the cultivation of the fundamental soul attitudes of reverence and inner tranquility to the development of inner life through the stages of preparation, illumination, and initiation.

Steiner provides practical exercises of inner and outer observation and moral development. By patiently and persistently following his guidelines, new "organs" of soul and spirit begin to form, which reveal the contours of the higher worlds thus far concealed from us.

Steiner in this important work becomes a teacher, a counselor, and a friend whose advice is practical, clear, and effective. The challenges we face in life require increasingly deeper levels of understanding, and Steiner's text helps readers to cultivate the capacities for such insights and places them at the service of humanity.

This is Steiner's most essential guide to the modern path of initiation he advocated throughout his life. It has been translated into many languages and has inspired hundreds of thousands of readers around the world. How to Know Higher Worlds has been admired by some of the most brilliant minds of our time.

Contents:

Foreword by Arthur Zajonc Prefaces by Rudolf Steiner How to Know Higher Worlds The Stages of Initiation Initiation Practical Considerations Requirements for Esoteric Training Some Effects of Initiation Changes in the Dream Life of the Esoteric Student Achieving Continuity of Consciousness The Splitting of the Personality in Esoteric Training The Guardian of the Threshold Life and Death: The Great Guardian of the Threshold Epilogue (1918) Afterword by Arthur Zajonc Index


"A true classic of spiritual literature. It is one of the best ways I know for opening up one's life to the spiritual realms in a manner that is balanced, integrated, and loving. It is the product of a great soul who pointed out new routes into the interior." --David Spangler, author of Blessing: The Art and the Practice

"It is not only a personal guide to the spirit, but also a path through self-knowledge to compassionate action in the world."--Arthur Zajonc, author of Catching the Light: The Entwined History of Light and Mind

For centuries, the tradition of the "mystical chronology" of the world's seven archangelic regents has been part of Western esoteric teaching. According to this tradition, 1879 marked the return of the solar spirit Michael--the archangel of the Sun--to oversee earthly evolution. Steiner always placed his life and work in the service of Michael's evolutionary task. And he recognized that, at the beginning of the twentieth century, humanity emerged from the Kali Yuga--the Dark Age--and entered the Age of Light.

Against this background, Steiner described the ascent of Michael as cosmic ruler, his battle with the "dragon" of the spirits of darkness, and his roles as the countenance of Christ and the guardian of cosmic intelligence. He also gave many profound indications of how Michael's evolutionary task depends on the free and independent collaboration of human coworkers. Speaking on behalf of Michael, Steiner laid out the essentials for a new Michaelic path to full humanity.

Among the elements of this path are the development of selfless individuality; cosmopolitanism; the practice of the presence of Christ; fearlessness; the transformation of thinking and perception in a new synthesis of science, art, and religion; the spiritualization of space; and the separation of thought from language.

The Archangel Michael gathers most of Steiner's statements on this subject, making it an important source for coming to terms with today's political, social, psychological, and spiritual crises.

Read Bobby Matherne's review of this book
12 lectures, Berlin, Oct. 23, 1909-Dec. 16, 1911 (CW 115)

This series of lectures provides the basis for an entirely new psychology. The first four lectures give a precise, dynamic understanding of the human soul in relation to the activity of the senses and to the subtle processes that make up the human being on Earth. The next four lectures focus on what we can know of the human soul based on direct observation alone. No theorizing takes place. To show what we can know of soul life through the immediacy of engaged observation of oneself and others, Rudolf Steiner refrains from using his own higher capacities of clairvoyance to form a picture of our soul life. The concluding lectures portray the relationship of soul life to spirit life, showing us how to awaken individual spirit life and how to distinguish between illusory and genuine spiritual experiences.

Presented more than a century ago, we might be tempted to think that, insofar as psychology is concerned, the content of these lectures are outdated. It is also tempting to think that, because Steiner is not usually associated with the founders of modern psychology, his efforts must be considered, at best, an interesting aside. On the contrary, these lectures are actually a wellspring for the true stream of psychology, as the term itself means "soul study."

A Psychology of Body, Soul, and Spirit should be read by anyone interested in psychology as well as by those interested in inner development. Whether we are involved in education, medicine, art, drama, economics, or business, the perspectives contained in this book have the potential to restore the frequently missing element of soul in psychology today.

Robert Sardello's in-depth introduction places Steiner's lectures in the context of modern life and psychology and provides insights into how to read and use this text for inner development and a deeper understanding of spiritual science.

Contents:

Introduction by Robert Sardello Part 1 -- "Anthroposophy" The Human being and the Senses Supersensible Processes in the Human Senses The Higher Senses, inner Forces, and Creative Principles in the Human Organism Supersensible Currents, Group Soul, and the I in Human Beings and Animals Part 2 -- "Psychosophy" Aspects of Soul Life The Activities of Human Soul Forces The Senses, Feeling, and Aesthetic Judging Consciousness and Soul Life Part 3 -- "Pneumatosophy" Franz Brentano and Aristotle's Doctrine of the Spirit Truth and Error in Light of the Spiritual World Imagination-Imagination; Inspiration-Self-Fulfillment; Intuition-Conscience Nature, the Evolution of Consciousness, and Reincarnation


"Steiner does not talk about soul; he speaks from soul. That is the entire method. There is, however, an entrance fee for doing psychology. The fee is that you need to leave behind your well-known-to-you self-identity. You must suffer the experience of leaving behind not only what you know, but also what you think you know of yourself. This requirement qualifies psychology as integral to the work of initiation. --Robert Sardello, from his introduction


A previous translation of these lectures were published as Anthroposophy, Psychosophy, Pneumatosophy and as Wisdom of Man, of the Soul, and of the Spirit. This volume is a translation from German of Anthroposophie, Psychosophie, Pneumatosophie (GA 115)

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