Rudolf Steiner gave the lectures revised for this volume, he was
still connected with the Theosophical Society and therefore used the
terms theosophy and theosophical when speaking of his
own independent spiritual research. After his break with the Theosophical
Society in 1912/13, Steiner used the term anthroposophy for
this research and its results. For purposes of clarification the latter
term has been added in square brackets each time the term
theosophy is used in this book.
- Rudolf Steiner,
Theosophy: An Introduction to the Knowledge of the World and the Destination of Man,
repr., (Hudson, NY: Anthroposophic Press, 1988) and
An Outline of Occult Science,
3rd ed., repr., (Hudson, NY: Anthroposophic Press, 1989).
For a further description of the essential differences between human
beings and animals, see Wolfgang Schad,
Man and Mammals,
(Garden City, NY: Waldorf Press, 1977) and Rudolf Steiner,
Study of Man,
(London: Rudolf Steiner Press, 1966).
Steiner describes the aura in
The physical body is the corporeal aspect of the human being, related
to the mineral kingdom. The etheric body, or body of formative forces
through which life unfolds, is related to the plant kingdom. The astral
body bears desires, pleasure and pain, and the qualitative world of
emotions, and is related to the animal kingdom. See
For a description of earth evolution, see
Occult Science, chap. 2.
Socrates, 470–399 B.C., Greek philosopher and teacher. Plato,
427–347 B.C., Greek philosopher, the most famous student of
Menes, c.3400 B.C., Egyptian king. First king of the first
For a description of the planetary stages, see Steiner,
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzche, 1844–1900, elaborated his idea of
the “superhuman” in the character of Zarathustra in his
Thus Spake Zarathustra
(1883). He portrays a future wherein humanity attains dominance and the
realization of its earthly purpose through the free exercise of creative
power. Nietzche believed that modern spirituality is a symptom of
decadence, and that the “superhuman” would triumph over
declining Western culture.
See note 3, Lecture One.
For a description of earth evolution during the post-Atlantean epochs, see
The Vedas are the most ancient of Hindu sacred texts. Steiner speaks
of them in
The Bhagavad Gita and the Epistles of St. Paul
Steiner Press, 1945) and
The East in the Light of the West
(Blauvelt, NY: Rudolf Steiner Publications, 1986) 161ff.
The Akashic Chronicle refers to a pictorial record of every thought,
feeling, and deed occurring since the world began. Accessible to psychic
Kadmos, founder of the ancient Greek city of Thebes and its first ruler.
Kekrops, legendary king of Athens. Pelops, son of Tantalus. King in
Elis, father of Atreus and Thyestes. Theseus, king of Athens. Conquered
Johannes Kepler, 1571–1630, German astronomer, physicist, and
Steiner here refers to a passage in Kepler's foreword to the fifth volume
of his work
(1619), which reads as follows:
“Yes, I am the one; I have stolen the golden vessels of the Egyptians
to build a shrine to my God out of them far beyond the boundaries of
Egypt. If you can forgive me, I will be glad; if you will be angry with
me, I will bear your anger. Here I cast the die and write this book
for today's readers as well as for those of the future — what does
it matter? Even if it has to wait a hundred years for its reader: God
Himself has waited for six thousand years for him who looks at His creation
Scholastic thought was dominant in medieval Christian Europe from the
9th–17th centuries. Steiner describes the characteristics of
Eleven European Mystics,
(Blauvelt, NY: Rudolf Steiner Publications,
1971), 168–174. Also
The Redemption of Thinking,
(Hudson, NY: Anthroposophic Press, 1983).
Zarathustra, 660?–583? B.C., Persian religious leader, also known
Brahman, Hindu Godhead or Absolute; the creator god of the Hindu sacred
triad (with Vishnu the preserver and Shiva the destroyer).
The Rose Cross is the emblem of the Rosicrucians. Tradition associates the
rose with Persia, the cross is the symbol of Christianity. Historically,
the Rosicrucian Order is thought to have been founded as a secret society
c.1430 by Christian Rosenkreutz. Commonly associated with healing,
occultism, alchemy; Steiner counters the “... materialistic
caricature of Rosicrucianism ... presented today. The task of the
Rosicrucians was to formulate a science by means of which they would be
able to let their (universal) wisdom flow gradually into the world.”
(Spring Valley, NY: Anthroposophic Press, 1978), 6.
See also George Adams,
The Mysteries of the Rose-Cross,
(Sussex, England: New Knowledge Books, 1955).
Gnosticism arose in the Hellenistic era. Gnostics believed that
salvation is attained through knowledge rather than through faith
Arius, c.250–336, Greek ecclesiastic at Alexandria. Taught
Neoplatonic doctrine that God is alone, unknowable, and separate from
every created being, that Christ is a created being and not God in the
fullest sense but a secondary deity, and that in the incarnation the
Logos assumed a body but not a human soul. Growing dispute over his
teaching led Emperor Constantine to call the Council of Nicaea (325)
where Arianism was declared heresy. Saint Athanasius, c.293–373,
Greek theologian and prelate in Egypt. Lifelong opponent of Arianism.
Attended Council of Nicaea (325) as deacon. Bishop of Alexandria.
Advocated homoousian doctrine. Often exiled because of his opposition
to Arianism. Wrote doctrinal works. Not author of Athanasian creed,
which originated later (5th or 6th century).
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1749–1832, leading German poet and
(1808–32), a drama in verse, is Goethe's
masterpiece. The lines referred to are in Part Two, Scene 2.
Nathan and Solomon were both sons of King David, the second king of
Israel. The Gospel of St. Luke cites Nathan as a forefather of Mary
(Luke 3:31); St. Matthew traces Joseph's lineage to Solomon (Matthew
1:16). For a detailed account of the two Jesus children, see Rudolf
From Jesus to Christ,
(London Rudolf Steiner Press,
1973), lecture 8.
The Zoroaster mentioned here by Steiner lived in very ancient times,
according to the Greeks — already 5000 years before the Trojan war.
He is not identical with the Zoroaster or Zarathustra mentioned in ordinary
Buddha, Indian religious leader, founder of Buddhism. Historical name
Siddhartha Gautama, c.563–483 B.C. Some Eastern religions believe
him one of the last incarnations of the Godhead. Son of a royal family,
he renounced luxury and became an ascetic. Bodhisattva, a being that
compassionately refrains from entering Nirvana for the salvation of
Steiner describes the human being as comprised of four
“bodies”: physical, etheric, astral, and ego. The astral
body bears the inner world of desires, pleasure and pain, and the
qualitative world of emotions. See
Nicolaus Copernicus, 1473–1543, Polish astronomer. Made astronomical
observations of orbits of sun, moon, planets. Gradually abandoned accepted
Ptolemaic system of astronomy and worked out heliocentric system in
which the earth rotates daily on its axis and, with other planets, revolves
around the sun.
Giordano Bruno, 1548–1600, Italian philosopher. Arrested by the
Inquisition and burned at the stake. A critic of Aristotelian logic
and champion of Copernican cosmology, which he extended with the notion
of the infinite universe.
See Lecture Two, note 2.
Nicholas Cusanus, 1401–1464, German prelate and philosopher. Bishop
and later created cardinal. Wrote treatises for church councils as well
as works on mathematics and philosophy. Anticipated Copernicus by his
belief in the earth's rotation and revolution around the sun.
Galileo Galilei, 1564–1642, Italian mathematician, astronomer, and
physicist. First to use telescope to study the skies. Tried by the
Inquisition for supporting the Copernican system.