Steiner Online Library Spiritual Science for Human Evolution

The Presence of the Dead
GA 154


1. Understanding the Spiritual World I

Berlin, April 18, 1914

The nature of dreaming. Hallucination. Etheric substance and increased strength of soul. The esoteric script. Ordinary and super-sensible thinking. The ancient founders of the religions and modern spiritual science of the spirit. The nature of Christ. More about dreaming. The nature of the astral body. The image of the I as the focus of experiences in the spiritual world. Atavistic clairvoyance and healthy judgment. Clear thinking as the precondition for spiritual science.

2. Understanding the Spiritual World II

Berlin, May 12, 1914

Johann Gottlieb Fichte's relationship to the spiritual world and to his human environment. The distinction between physical and spiritual perception. The destiny of a friend (Maria von Strauch-Spettini) and her elevation to guardian spirit of the Mystery Dramas. The deceased friend and poet (Christian Morgenstern) and his nature in the life after death. The depiction of the Dornach building in the press. The formation of judgment on the basis of spiritual science.

3. Awakening Spiritual Thoughts

Basel, May 5, 1914

About sleep. The contrast between blood and nervous system and the rest of the organism in sleep. Germs and ghosts. The nature of germs. Spiritual thoughts as food for the dead. Overcoming egotism with regard to the dead. About the death of a friend (Christian Morgenstern): The founders of the religions and their significance. Modern mankind comes of age. The deed of Christ. The nature of the physical world. The premise underlying the Dornach building. Developing the thinking processes as the task of our times. The expulsion of a member and the reasons for this action.

4. The Presence of the Dead in Our Life

Paris, May 25, 1914

Clairvoyant consciousness and dreaming. The difference between the form and the action of the deceased. Acquiring new concepts to understand the spiritual world. A deceased individual (Maria von Strauch-Spettini) as protector of the Mystery Drama performances. Joan of Arc. Experiencing the angels (mildness) and the archangels (strength). The character of a friend and poet (Christian Morgenstern) after death. The experience of the spiritual world. Angels, archangels, Lucifer and Ahriman. The transformation of experiences in the physical and the spiritual world. The enrichment of thinking. The Dornach building. The essence of the anthroposophical movement. The inauguration of the building.

5. The Blessing of the Dead

Paris, May 26, 1914

Spiritual science as “spiritual chemistry.” Concentration and meditation. Perception of the inner word. Illusion and self-knowledge. The nature of encounters with the deceased. Inspiration of Rudolf Steiner's feeling and will through a deceased friend (Oda Waller). Thinking becomes independent. The enhancement of logical thinking through clairvoyant knowledge. The concordance between intelligence and clairvoyance. The spatial and temporal firmament. Giordano Bruno and spiritual science break through these firmaments. The limits of knowledge and their refutation. Spiritual science as synthesis of science, intellect, and clairvoyant research.


A1. Faith and Knowledge

Notes from a lecture, Prague, April 17, 1914

The great founders of the religions and their task. Thinking that consumes and thinking that nourishes. The “I believe” of earlier times and the “I believe what I know” of today. Max Müller's statement about the divine proclamation. Human beings as illuminating beings after death. The significance of myths and fairy tales in life. Meeting with two priests. The process of seeing. Dead and living ideas. The saying “a healthy soul in a healthy body.” The notion that our senses perceive only oscillations and vibrations. Midsummer and Easter.

A2. Robert Hammerling: Poet and Thinker

Berlin, April 26, 1914

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"You can see from this, my dear friends, what mischief will be set on foot if the truths of Spiritual Science are withheld. For man will be exposed to the forces of evil, and he will only be protected from it by giving himself up to the spiritual life of the good. To withhold the spiritual life of goodness from men is to be no friend to humanity. Whoever does this, be he Freemason or Jesuit, is no friend to humanity. For it means handing men over to the forces of evil. And there may be a purpose in doing so. This purpose may be to confine goodness to a small circle, in order by the help of this goodness to dominate the helpless humanity who are thus led by evil into the follies of life."

—Rudolf Steiner,
Spiritual Science Notes On Goethe's Faust, Vol. II, No. 273-8.

Spiritual Exercises

Calendar of the Soul

In 1912 Rudolf Steiner offered a “calendar of the soul” with weekly verses that express how the changing seasons in both the outer natural world and our inner lives help humanity evolve. Download and read the verses in four translations with commentary by Eloise Krivosheia of the Los Angeles Branch of the Anthroposophical Society.


2022-2023 Calendar Dates