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Spiritual Science — Anthroposophy — Rudolf Steiner


But a time will come, and it is close at hand, when Anthroposophy will explain to the spirit the natural phenomena of the spirit-realm in man, just as physics explains the rainbow to the sense of vision and the Aeolian harp to the ear.

I.P.V. Troxler (1830s)

Characteristics of Anthroposophy

Nearing the end of his life, Rudolf Steiner mentions (17th June 1923) that 'Anthroposophy goes back directly to the subject matter which is dealt with in philosophical terms in my The Philosophy of Freedom, as well as in my writings on Goethe of the 1880s' (History of the Anthroposophical Movement, Lecture 8, GA37).

With the above quote in mind, I suggest that the key characteristics of Spiritual Science can be described accordingly in a three-fold manner.

Spiritual Science has its own

  • epistemology (ie, its own theory of knowledge) that recognises that each branch of knowledge has its peculiar and specific manner of investigation appropriate to its field;

  • ethical or moral stance, namely ethical individualism, that recognises that each act and situation has to be considered on its own merit; and

  • path of development towards freedom or, rather, the state of 'inner freehood' that engenders genuine spiritual activity.

These three areas are touched upon in Rudolf Steiner's Philosophy of Freedom.


Anyone with sufficient interest can find the principles of Anthroposophy in my Philosophy of Freedom

Rudolf Steiner The Anthroposophic Movement, p31

. ∴ .

effects of spiritual science on practical life

If Rudolf Steiner can be said to have had wide impact in a large variety of fields, it is, in my personal view, because as soon as one applies the three areas mentioned above, each and every part of the social world becomes enlivened with impulses arising from the human being.

Whether the field be farming, organisational management, education, architecture, medicine, politics, religion, music, visual art, or indeed any of the myriad other engagements we each may have, the area speaks anew in its own peculiar manner, and according to its own needs.

Let's take a few of these areas and observe in succinct form some transformations.


Calendar of the Soul – Southern Hemisphere

by Rudolf Steiner

translation by Brian Keats - Astro-Calendar








Steiner architectural principles

Neither form nor function takes precedence, but rather the space is defined by its enclosure. Both form and function are subsidiary to the living qualities of warmth and light within the space created for use by men, women and children.


I recall that the first time I participated in some Eurythmy, my sense was that here was a developed art form that made manifest the intrinsic qualities of sound by bodily reflection. I described it as 'living Kabalah', using that last term to refer to the intrinsic 'movement' of Hebrew letters.

Politics and the 3-fold Social Order

One can observe history and which of three independent streams within the social fabric have their dominance, and whether these are healthy.

Not that long ago, at least in Europe, the Church wielded too much influential directing power over the judicial and the economic. At another time under feudal rule, the judicial wielded imbalanced power. In our age, the economic has assumed undue power over the other two areas of life.

Each of these three different areas may be said to have an ideal that, when applied to another sector, wreaks havoc.

The judicial-political sector is healthy when a sense for people's equality is living; the educational-religious-artistic sector when freedom or liberty is poignantly blossoming; and the agricultural-economic-distributive sector when a sense for the brother/sisterhood of all is embraced. To paraphrase another anthroposophist (whose name escapes me), there is a need for individual freedom in the cultural-spiritual sphere, for community in economic life, and for equality in the judicial sphere.

Steiner and Education

The fundamental principal in Steiner education arise from viewing the human being as a spiritual being in the process of incarnation. Conditions may be created that either assist, or hinder, effective development.

Of note is also that neither the economic nor the political spheres should dictate educational needs. In fact, economic development and political reforms occurs as a consequence of individuals able to meet the world as fully individualised adults. This is hindered when education is placed at the service of either the economy (in which case the child is viewed as a potential unit of production and consumption) or the political realm (in which case the child is viewed as eventually serving the existing socio-political unit).

Anthroposophical / Spiritual Science Resources

In making the following recommendations, I am aware that there are other possible alternatives. These are, however, what are generally considered to be essential texts. I have here also exceeded my self-imposed limit of three texts.

essential Rudolf Steiner reading:

Steiner, Rudolf Philosophy of Freedom (also published as Philosophy of Spiritual Activity & other titles)

Steiner, Rudolf Knowledge of the Higher Worlds (also published as How to Know Higher Worlds)

Steiner, Rudolf Anthroposophy - a fragment

Steiner, Rudolf Theosophy

Steiner, Rudolf Towards Social Renewal

Steiner, Rudolf Christianity as a Mystical Fact

recommended Anthroposophical sites:

Steiner e.library (USA - the most useful place for online works by Rudolf Steiner)

RudolfSteinerWeb.com (USA - a site that will eventually list a complete bibliography)

Anthroposophical Society (Dornach, Switzerland - official site)


Steiner, Rudolf Study of Man (also published as Foundations of Human Experience)

Stockmeyer, Karl Rudolf Steiner's Curriculum for Steiner-Waldorf Schools

von Heydebrand, Caroline The Curriculum of the First Waldorf School


Southern Cross Review
(Córdoba, Argentina - one of the best regular e.Newsletters)