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The Rudolf Steiner Archive

a project of Steiner Online Library, a public charity

Original Impulses for the Science of the Spirit
GA 96

The lectures in the German edition of this volume were edited by Wolfram Groddeck and by Ernst Weidmann (17 December 1906, 25 March and 1 April 1907). Revision for the second edition by Robert Friedenthal.

The lectures were given for members of the Besant Branch of the Theosophical Society in Berlin. The Branch had been founded by Rudolf Steiner and Marie Steiner-von Sivers in 1905. The lectures are part of Rudolf Steiner's regular lecturing activities, interrupted only when he had to visit other cities, which happened quite frequently at this time. Rudolf Steiner would, however, always pick up the thread of what had been said on the last occasion, even if there was no direct connection between the themes.

The lectures for members given outside Berlin during that time have appeared in The Christian Mystery (GA 97). Tr. A. R. Meuss. Gympie, Australia: Completion Press 2000.

At the time when he gave these lectures, Rudolf Steiner was still presenting his anthroposophically orientated science of the spirit within the Theosophical Society (until the Anthroposophical Society was founded in 1912/13). He always used the terms ‘theosophy’ and ‘theosophical’ in relation to his independent spiritual investigations. Following directions he gave at a later date, the terms have been replaced by 'science of the spirit' and ‘anthroposophy’, ‘spiritual scientific’ and ‘anthroposophical’ in these pages unless they specifically referred to the theosophical movement founded by H. P. Blavatsky, or in more comprehensive terms an approach which is usually given the name theosophy.

Translated by A. R. Meuss

Preface by Anna R. Meuss
I. Original Impulses for the Science of the Spirit January 29, 1906
Inner feelings and thoughts as realities in human social life. Rosicrucian origin of occult brotherhoods and their influence on civilization. Psychological epidemics a threat resulting from materialism. Fallacy of spiritualism and the mission of a genuine science of the spirit.
II. Inner Earth and Volcanic Eruptions April 16, 1906
Nine layers of the inner earth. Involvement of deeper layers in volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. Connections between human emotions and natural disasters. Role the dead play in changing the shape of the earth. Pliny the Elder and materialistic science.
III. Past and Future Ways of Perceiving the Spirit May 7, 1906
The hidden world of the Greek mysteries. Hegel’s Eleusis. Materialism at its lowest point in the last third of the 19th century. The mission of H. P. Blavatsky.
IV. Education Based on Spiritual Insight May 14, 1906
Imitation as the configuring principle for the first seven years of life. Developing a sense of beauty and powers of imagination. Authority as the key element in the second 7- year period. Memory and habits. Golden words spoken by Pythagoras. Awakening sense of individuality and power of judgement in the third period of life. The spiritual view of the world genuinely useful in everyday life.
V. Spiritual Insight Offering Greatest Liberation I: Man's Share in the Higher Worlds October 1, 1906
Ennobling inner feelings with spiritual elements in the soul. Suggestion with modem science similar to epidemic hysteria of medieval asceticism. Origin of our feelings and thoughts in astral world and world of spirit. Freedom from compulsion will only come with insight into the relationship between physical world and higher worlds. The symbolic writing of natural phenomena. Inadequacy of social experiments based on the materialistic view. How metals influence people.
VI. Spiritual Insight Offering Greatest Liberation II: The Mission of the Spiritual Science Movement October 8, 1906
Being undemanding and willing to help. Rousseau and Böhme as examples of occult vocation. The coded writings of Johannes Trithemius. Spiritual knowledge must spread in our time. Ordinary thinking and the creative world of thoughts behind physical phenomena. The future is determined not by principles and institutions but by the human being.
VII. Karma and Details of the Law October 15, 1906
Lasting qualities, temperament and memory have their foundation in the ether body, emotions and passing impressions in the astral body. How conscience arises. The life of ideas will be the foundation for character; character traits will be our physical constitution in the next life on earth. Love for the world around us means we’ll stay young for a long time in a later incarnation. Wisdom as a fruit of earlier suffering. Cause of Schopenhauer’s basic pessimism. Karmic law and Christian teaching of redemption not in conflict.
VIII. The Relationship of Human Senses to the Outside World October 19, 1906
Genesis of man in the course of planetary evolution. Potential for hearing existed from the beginning of the Saturn stage. Development and differentiation of the individual senses. The physical process of seeing relates to the way a clairvoyant perceives colour. Astral nature of shadows.
IX. The Way to Higher Knowledge and Its Stages I: The Rosicrucian Way October 20, 1906
Main characteristics of Eastern, Christian Gnostic and Rosicrucian ways of inner development. Relationship of Rosicrucian disciple to teacher. Truth and Science and The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity as books for inner training. The seven stages of the Rosicrucian way. Significance which things communicated out of spiritual science have for life after death.
X. The Way to Higher Knowledge and Its Stages II: Imaginative Perception and Artistic Imagination October 21, 1906
The symbolic language of the natural worlds. Group souls of animals and plants. Man and the mineral world. Life in the spirit will give rise to a new style in art.
XI. Matters of Nutrition and Methods of Healing October 22, 1906 a.m
Science of the spirit has universal character. Poisons as medicines. Paracelsus and Hahnemann. Correspondences between digestive process and ability to think. Effects of coffee and tea. Regulating our diet. Asceticism. Laboratories for work based on the science of the spirit.
XII. Karma Technique October 22, 1906 p.m.
Death and sleep. The memory review. The soul’s experiences in kama loka and devachan. Coming down for a new incarnation. The higher worlds hold counter images to our inner feelings, thoughts and actions. Destiny gods.
XIII. Signs and Symbols of the Christmas Festival December 17, 1906
Holy night experience in the ancient mysteries. The Christos as bearer of spiritual rebirth. Legend of the paradise tree. The Rose Cross as a symbol for the victory of timeless eternity over time. The seven Christmas signs.
XIV. The Lord's Prayer: An Esoteric Study, Prayer and Meditation January 28, 1907
Ways of uniting the soul with the divine and spiritual principle. The upper three and lower four parts of essential human nature and how they relate to the seven petitions.
XV. The Lord's Prayer: An Esoteric Study, Movement and Change an Essential Principle in the World of the Spirit, School of Turanian Adepts February 18, 1907
The cosmic soul pours astral substance, which originally was one, into separate human bodies. School of Turanian adepts and how it lived on in the great original religions. The effect of the Lord’s Prayer is due to the thoughts it contains. L awareness will remain when humanity reaches the goal of its evolution.
XVI. Human Biography and Planetary Evolution March 4, 1907
Earlier and future stages in earth evolution. The function of the spleen. Mistletoe a relict of Moon evolution. Esoteric background to old names of planets and seven days of the week The sevenfold sequence of human biography. Myth of the giant Ymir.
XVII. The Significance in World History of the Blood Flowing on the Cross March 25, 1907
The three aspects of the godhead in esoteric Christianity. School of Athens. The blood principle in pre-Christian initiation superseded by the Christ. Individualization as a precondition for the future bond of brothers.
XVIII. Purifying the Blood by Removing Egoism through the Mystery of Golgotha, an Easter Lecture April 1, 1907
The Christ event as a tremendous influence on the spiritual atmosphere of the earth. Man received his soul when God breathed into his nostrils. Air and blood warmth make speech and breathing possible. Numerous national gods in the past; the Christ as one spirit for all humanity. Mysteries of the Holy Spirit, the Son and the Father.
XIX. How We Come to Christianity through the Science of the Spirit April 27, 1907
Parable of the untrustworthy agent as interpreted by theologians, and its true significance as an image showing how the law gives way to the Christ impulse. Human evolution shown in the parable of the lost son. Phantoms, spectres, demons and how they are overcome by transforming the nature of the lower bodies. The five wise and five foolish virgins, a parable for the further development or retardation of the human bodies. The symbolic language of the Book of Revelation. The Lamb and its adversaries. The number 666.
XX. Three Ways of Being Personal June 12, 1907
How the arts played a role at the Munich Congress. Genuine morality does not come with commandments but from insight. Egoism and death, two aspects of the same process in evolution. Reflection of personality in the aura. Goal of evolution is not to reduce the personal to something impersonal but to enhance it so that it will be more-than-personal.