MAGAZINE, Lucifer, edited by Rudolf Steiner in l the service
of spiritual science, was enlarged in 1904 through the merger with
the Austrian magazine, Gnosis. Thenceforth it bore the double name,
Lucifer-Gnosis. In it were published Rudolf Steiner's articles that
later appeared as the book,
Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and Its Attainment,
which, with the books,
Occult Science, an Outline,
belongs to the basic works of the
anthroposophically oriented science of the spirit.
A continuation of these articles appeared under the title,
The Stages of Higher Knowledge.
They were intended, later on, to be
formed into a second volume in continuation of
Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and Its Attainment.
But an overabundance of work
and the heavy demands that lecturing made upon his time gradually
prevented Rudolf Steiner from devoting the necessary attention to the
magazine, although there was a steady increase in the number of its
readers. As a result, its publication had to cease, and the further
appearance of the articles on
The Stages of Higher Knowledge
had to be interrupted.
We have often been asked to make them available again through a new
edition. The present books complies with this wish. Since the text
suddenly breaks off, the book cannot claim the value of completeness.
It was, therefore, justifiable to question the advisability of a new
edition. The views presented here, but not brought to a conclusion,
have been published many times in other written works of Rudolf
Steiner in a different form and under different titles. But for the
searcher of the spirit the fact remains that the conquest of
spiritual reality is possible only by returning again and again to
the spiritual contents once worked over but never sufficiently
assimilated, and by experiencing ever anew the path that once has
shown the direction into the realm of the spirit. The soul life of
the person working meditatively must be kept so mobile that the view
afforded him by one path makes him all the more receptive to views
from other aspects.
The articles published here are of historical value. They indicate
the starting-point of Rudolf Steiner's esoteric instructions; they
show us how he has become the pioneer in this very domain in which,
through his indications, man for the first time has been allowed
freedom. With a world encompassing outlook, and a high sense of
responsibility he had to build a basis and create a spiritual
attitude through which man — by finding within himself the
solid moral support — might still in this freedom avoid falling
prey to temptation and aberration. In order to accomplish such a deed
at a decisive turning-point in history, in the midst of opposing
forces, relying solely upon one's own self, there was needed the
tremendous ethical power that permeates Rudolf Steiner's entire
life-work, its goals the welfare of mankind, the rescue of the
Western world from the threatening collapse. He laid the foundations
for his work in a way that corresponded with the demands of the age.
To achieve this required the synthesis of all knowledge.
If one takes up these articles, written at the beginning of an
astonishing life work that continued until March 30, 1925, and that,
in the first years of this century, had received an impulse willed by
destiny through its connection with theosophical groups fed from
oriental sources — the question arises: How is it to be
understood that Rudolf Steiner, who pointed the way to freedom also
in esoteric life, to full self-reliance, and who let the pupil pledge
to his own higher ego the obedience he must otherwise pledge to the
teacher — how is it to be understood that Rudolf Steiner still
urges in these articles the necessity of a strict reliance of the
student upon the teacher, making the student as it were dependent
upon the teacher?
In truth, Rudolf Steiner is only describing the pupil teacher
relationship as one of trust. From the very beginning he has avoided
and rejected the authoritative element. In ancient times, the
initiating priests took full responsibility for initiation of the
neophyte into the mysteries of spiritual existence and exerted their
will upon him. Thus the pupil was at the same time protected and
guided, and was able to escape the dangers that otherwise would have
overpowered him. His ego still hovered above his physical sheaths;
his consciousness of self had not yet awakened. To awaken it more and
more was the task of the progressing mystery training.
By drawing attention to the Cosmic Teacher, Christian initiation
lessened the dependency upon the personal teacher, without wholly
eliminating it. In the Rosicrucian training this dependency gradually
loses its personal character and transforms itself into a
relationship of trust. The teacher assists the student, shows him the
way he seeks but cannot find unaided. The teacher gives him moral
support, points out the dangers of vanity and the trickery of
deceptive images that he must learn to distinguish from true
spiritual reality. Thus the teacher is a helper ready to withdraw
when trust is lacking.
At the turning-point of history at which we stand, the teacher
working for the present had to point to the past, present, and future
of human spiritual striving and, beginning with the education of the
individual, had to erect his work so that it constituted a deed for
mankind: a newly gained element of life for posterity. Thus, Rudolf
Steiner created a science of initiation in which henceforth every
serious, morally striving human being can find the fundament that
carries him; he will be able to take hold of the elements that
sharpen his power of discrimination while new worlds open up to him.
He need not grope uncertainly, having received enough instruction to
guide him until he finds the leader in the lands of spirit.
This was not the case before Rudolf Steiner began his spiritual work.
His deed is the science of initiation. Through it is revealed what
lay hidden in the Mysteries of the ancient temples: namely, alongside
the knowledge of cosmic evolution, the knowledge of the imminent
descent of Christ, and what was sealed up in the Church: the
redeeming deed of the liberation of mankind through the Christ and
the gradual permeation of the ego of the individual with His power.
Instead of personal guidance, the requirement now is that the human
being find the way to the Ego of Mankind, to the Christ, through the
forces of the time spirit. The consciousness of the individual human
being is made mature for the acceptance of the higher ego force;
self-consciousness is raised to spirit self.
It is the work of the future. But only by standing on the ground of
the past and preparing the future can man work fruitfully for the
present. By any other course he strives in the void. Here, too, the
laws of metamorphosis govern. The future is created through
transformation of the present that is rooted in the past. New
elements appear, just as the new spring follows the winter. The power
of the sun glows through the earth; all that decays, undergoing
transformation, is kindled to new life through grace descending from
Also in the esoteric realm happenings unfold in historical
continuity, in accordance with the law of ascending evolution and the
flood tide and ebb tide of diminishing and flourishing life until the
seemingly sudden moment when the rays of grace break forth, like the
miracle of the radiant blossom in the green plant world. Yet without
this transformation from form to form carried out by wise powers, and
the constant enhancement in all domains of life, the new values, the
gifts of the spirit, the fiery tongues of the Word would not descend
upon us. Without knowledge of such happenings, the recipients of
these gifts would not be in a position to grasp what it is that wants
to take place among them. The great new power could not become
effective, the future could not be saved.
The souls striving for spiritual knowledge who approached Rudolf
Steiner were the human material willed by destiny and led to him by
the age with whom Rudolf Steiner had to work. Out of their needs and
requirements he had to form the science of initiation, based on
cognition. It was his task to tear men away from the indolence of the
age in regard to the spirit, so that they could become a bridge for
the demands of the future.
Most difficult was the awakening of a sense for inner freedom,
self-reliance, fully answerable to itself. With scrupulous regard for
this goal, Rudolf Steiner desired no other role among men than that
of instructor and, when so requested, advisor, awakener to spiritual
goals of mankind. He was able to present spiritual facts because his
thinking and beholding were permeated with life and unfolded, step by
step, with the power of an organism of nature. His spiritual work
stands before us — the restored unity of science, art and