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Twelve Lectures for Doctors and Curative Teachers
By Rudolf Steiner
Bn 317; GA 317
Translated by Mary Admas
Copyright © 1972
This course of lectures given to doctors and curative teachers contains
an astonishing number of fertile suggestions for the treatment of
retarded and handicapped children. Beginning with the general principles
of curative education and the relationships of the four bodies of
the human being, Steiner then discusses particular cases such as:
epilepsy, hydrocephalus, infantilism, adenoids, kleptomania, the
autistic child, and more. A great variety of remedies and treatments
are discussed along with many details of their effects on the different
organs. These lectures constitute one of Steiner's major contributions
to the treatment of children “in need of special care.”
Translated from shorthand reports, unrevised by the lecturer. Revision
made from the German edition of 1965 entitled,
(No. 317 in the Bibliographical Survey, 1961).
This English edition is presented here by permission of the Rudolf
Steiner Nachlassverwaltung, Dornach, Switzerland.
This translation made by Mary Admas.
This e.Text edition is provided with the cooperation of:
The Rudolf Steiner Press
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| ||Cover Sheet
||June 25, 1924|
Understanding of normal children helps with abnormal and vice versa.
Right way to regard symptoms. Abnormal commonly regarded as
deviation from the supposed normal. Distinction between soul and
spirit-soul. Soul life of thinking, feeling and willing only a
reflection of higher permanent soul life which passes through
repeated incarnations and is seated in organisation of body. Head
system is synthetic. Metabolic-limb system analytic. Higher form of
thinking builds the brain. Lower uses it as reflector. Metabolism
with separated organs is basis of will. Body changes in seven year
periods. In first period body is an inherited model. In second,
descending spirit-soul builds new body. In third, child builds a
third body in accordance with earth forces. Sex maturity merely a
part of earth maturity. In child physical organs and corresponding
soul life deeply connected, in adult more independent. Subtle
forms of illness. In children most defects lie in will rather than in
thinking, whose apparent defects are often those of will. Inherited
defects are often a karmic necessity. Man has exact knowledge of
human organism in spiritual world. Knowledge of the earth world
necessary for that of the body in spiritual world. Why children may
choose defective rather than healthy bodies. The liver enables
thought to be transformed to action. A man whose philosophical system
excluded the will produced a pathological son with no connection to
||June 26, 1924|
Need to go beyond symptoms. A sarcastic newspaper article on
Wulffen's view of Schiller. Model body overcome in second period of
childhood in accordance with strength of child's ego.
Thinking, feeling and willing of the soul are symptoms behind which
stands the thinking which builds the brain synthetically and the
limbs-metabolism analytically. Thoughts not produced by body but
borne by cosmic ether, from which child receives them in building his
own ether body. This living thinking forms the brain which becomes
mirror for dead thoughts and excretes the nerves. In so-called
deranged thoughts the mirror is out of order. Teacher must have
reverence for cosmic ether. Child's etheric permeates body with
varying intensity. Law that every principle is influenced by one
above it. This applies as between teacher and child. How teacher can
develop his astral to influence child's etheric. Need for good
Judgement. Case described of a genius who in a later incarnation
cannot unite his principles and alternates between sanity and
madness. Insanity distorted genius. Interest and love can restore
true rhythm. To educate backward children is to intervene in karma.
The agricultural course and the need for high morality both in the
agricultural methods there advocated and in curative education.
||June 27, 1924|
Difficulty of helping adults as compared with children. On waking,
ego organisation enters directly into physical forces (gravity) and
etheric forces (buoyancy). It connects fully with Earth, Water and
Air, and partially with Warmth. Astral body especially connected with
light (in spiritual science light is perception of all
senses). This light is etheric. Mechanism of the eye correctly
described in modern science. Soul and spirit lay hold of this
mechanism and go out from it to surrounding world. In abnormal
conditions an organ (e.g. liver) may restrict this activity and
prevent consciousness. This happens in epilepsy. If giddiness is
associated with epilepsy exercises for balance recommended. For
disturbances in circulatory system element of warmth to be stressed.
When moral defects are present in epilepsy medicines are necessary.
Children are born without morality, which they must learn from their
surroundings. An example of an a-moral child. The intellect is
rightly acquisitive, but this acquisitiveness should not enter will.
Collecting and kleptomania.
||June 28, 1924|
Congestion of astral and ego forces in an organ connected with
consciousness leads to fits. Congestion in an organ which hinders
consciousness leads to pain. Conversely, an organ may allow ego and
astral forces to flow out too freely, and this leads to hysteria,
which is not to be associated with sex in children before puberty. In
this condition ego and astral grasp surrounding world too strongly
and child becomes hyper-sensitive. The unfolding of will then causes
him pain, ideas evoke fear and depression follows. Enuresis connected
with this condition. Soreness of soul and relation to
death process. Anxiety among teachers caused by their training. Need
to drive out the anxiety connected with soreness of soul
by inducing a different anxiety which consolidates the astral body.
Bodily activity for epileptics, shocks for the opposite type of
child. Alternation of depression and sense of well-being. Teacher
must enter into child's inhibitions and give him the right stimulus
and encouragement. The best self-education for the teacher.
||June 30, 1924|
Differing Inter-relation of the four principles of man described for
the head and metabolic systems. Impressions in the head system reach
the corresponding member in the metabolic system in becoming
memories. Condition under which the metabolic man cannot retain the
impression, leading to fixed ideas. Opposite condition when
impressions are too strongly absorbed and produce disturbances. These
two conditions related to lack or excess of sulphur in the albumen.
Educational treatment for boy mentally apathetic but excitable in the
will. Barrenness of ideas today and an exercise for developing
creative ideas. Educational treatment for a child mentally active but
outwardly apathetic. Spiritual understanding of children will
save them from the psychoanalyst. Feeble mindedness and mania.
Curative Eurythmy for the same.
||July 01, 1924|
Case history of a boy in whom the head organization has failed to
control the limb system. Reference to the backward child whom
Dr. Steiner himself educated. Unskilfulness in the modern age due to
lack of religious feeling. Interest must be aroused in the boy in all
his activity. Tenacity of language forms. Curative Eurythmy. Three
therapeutic methods taking medicines internally, injections,
and bath lotions. Prescription for the boy concerned. Necessity
of humour and enthusiasm.
||July 02, 1924|
Case history of boy of six. Acting by the mother during pregnancy had
weakened astral. Disintegrating forces out of order in both brain and
metabolism. Speech exercises and curative Eurythmy. Case history of a
boy of eleven. Astral organization cannot properly enter body,
perhaps through deficiency in the model. This causes
fits and other symptoms. Root, leaf and flower of plant affect
head, rhythmic, and metabolic systems respectively. This boy's
imagination to be stimulated by giving him unfinished
toys and encouraging him to carve forms. The first boy again. His
absorption with the sound R. For him lessons must rise to a climax
and then tail off, thus helping astral to enter body.
||July 03, 1924|
Drawings of a boy of twelve shown. Next a hydrocephalic boy and his
clinical history. Sudden death of the child's father. The boy really
still an embryo. Details of mother and child. Child's astral bears
features of mother's astral. Ego not developed in last moments of
pregnancy. Mother's wish to keep the child in the womb. Father forces
weak in embryo. Boy an example of infantilism. Return to first boy,
who appears normal but is a kleptomaniac. His ingenuity. His head
formation. A charming little girl with blue eyes is a sulphurous
child who wets herself by day but not at night. Weak head a result of
poor appetite. Limbs are nourished from cosmos through breathing and
sense activity. The child's fantasy comes from limbs. This child
dreams on falling asleep, not on waking. Treatment of these three
children to be given later.
||July 04, 1924|
Kleptomaniac boy. Moral judgements belong to earth, not to spiritual
world. Astral body of this boy has not penetrated into physical.
His interest is in discovery. Good and bad mean liking
and disliking. Authority of teacher especially needed. Early
excessive pleasure in sounds of speech connected with kleptomania.
Need to study the place and people where such a child is born. Two
examples. Stories to represent a child's nature. The hydrocephalic
child. Such children are ultra-sensitive in head and nerves.
Quietness and darkness recommended. Gneiss as therapy. Nectar and its
effects. Set-backs as part of a cure. Lead to induce decomposition.
Lead and radium. A hydrocephalic man whom Steiner knew as a child
described. The girl seen previously and her clinical history. Arsenic
baths to help astral harmonise with physical and etheric. Mustard and
horse-radish compresses recommended. Child to be broken of habit of
excitability. Man has developed as far as the ego, but beings of
spirit-self are also to be reckoned with, e.g. the Genius of
language. Teacher must attend to speech and gesture.
||July 05, 1924|
Cases from Lauenstein. Boy of sixteen able to do a subtraction
sum but very slow. Reluctance to move his limbs noticed. Head forces
not in proper contact with limbs. Should be made aware of skilfulness
in hands and legs. Medically, lead may help. Younger children of
similar character should touch their feet with their heads. Quick but
deep observation to be cultivated by teacher. Epileptic boy of
fifteen who had been castrated. Difficult puberty expected. Need to
interest him in the world, as is practise of Waldorf Schools at this
age. School attainments reported nil. He should paint and express in
colour his inner troubles. Medical treatment algae and belladonna.
Peculiar relation of algae and mushrooms to air and water. A girl of
fifteen described of whom Steiner had said she must have had a bad
disturbance in her astral body at three or four (afterwards
confirmed). Over-enjoyment of food leads to protruding lips. Loving
devotion can help to discover disturbances like these without
clairvoyance. Danger of vanity in discovering new faculties. Youth
Movement of great significance but marred by lack of devotion to
small details. Need for true confidence. A meditation for night and
day. Enthusiasm in experience of truth required. Curative Eurythmy
and nicotiana juice recommended for girl above. Albinism in two
Lauenstein children. Their horoscopes show a special relation of
Uranus and Neptune. In albinism organisation resists iron and drives
sulphur to periphery with effect on hair and eyes. Is albinism
inherited? Geology of locality to be studied. The Saal region
||July 06, 1924|
Girl of ten suffering from loss of memory. Adenoids due to excess of
etheric in region of bladder. Defective astral lies behind both
symptoms. Strong impressions needed. Child remembers simple folk
melodies. Poems with refrain recommended. Medical treatment and
curative Eurythmy prescribed. Kleptomaniac boy of sixteen to
receive same treatment as previous boy of this type. Fidgety backward
boy who has not learned to speak. He has never learned to imitate.
Tone Eurythmy recommended and repetition of strongly rhythmical
sentences forwards and backwards. Also curative speech Eurythmy and
medicines. Use of hot and cold baths. Boy who sees colours
everywhere. Ego always pushing at astral from within. Try to change
his handwriting and work on his boastfulness. Albinos.
Horoscopes characterised. Strong predestination of the will.
Nerves and senses unable to endure strong impressions. Medical
treatment with radiation of iron. Two questions: Is the mood of
those attending the lectures good? Is there a connection between
Lauenstein and the Trüper Homes in Hanover? Goethe's Theory of
Metamorphosis and Steiner's discovery in a notebook in Weimar.
Meditation of point and circle (already given) fundamental to grasp
of metamorphosis. Historical antecedents in Jena. Hildebrand
reappears on earth as Ernst Haeckel. The latter's speech at Jena on
his sixtieth birthday. His humour and influence.
||July 07, 1924|
Man today understands human being less than Goethe understood the
plant. Goethe's interest in malformation in plants, the study of
which can lead to observation of archetypal plant. Spirituality lives
in human malformations. Earlier education balanced Luciferic and
Ahrimanic aberrations. The virtue of mother's milk. In embryo
the good mother forces live in metabolism and have ego content. Later
they move higher, retaining astral content. In head they would have
only etheric and physical content. Plant becomes more spiritual in
ascending from root to flower. Man is plant reversed. Mother's milk
related to blossom in plants. Making a map of illness. Old belief
that every animal represents an illness. Meditation for the teacher.
The right feeling for the ego the youngest principle. Need to
integrate all work within the form of the Anthroposophical Society.