Impulse for the Future given by Rudolf Steiner
and what became of it
An Address by Rudolf Steiner
Berlin December 15, 1911
with an introduction and epilog by Marie Steiner - 1947
New edition 1984
Rudolf Steiner Verlag, Haus
Duldeck, CH-4143 Dornach
from the German by Frank Thomas Smith
No complete stenographic record exists of this address, but only notes
made by various attendees. For the
manuscript version published by Marie Steiner in 1947 only
stenographic notes by Bertha Reebstein-Lehmann were available. For
the new printing in 1984 additions and corrections could be included
based of the notes by Meita Pyle-Waller and Elisabeth Vreede. Mieta
Pyle-Waller's notes were reviewed and corrected by Rudolf Steiner.
Introduction by Marie Steiner
the difficulties of the times
and what is left of life, it seems an urgent duty to rescue what is
possible to rescue of Dr. Steiner's impulses and words. To these also
belong many things said in intimate circles at certain decisive
moments about the future tasks and objectives of the movement he
inaugurated. Records exist, but they are neither entire or complete.
Even when gaps are apparent and many finer nuances are absent,
nevertheless one can well sense how diverse the tasks are which the
words express, and a light may be felt which must be half veiled,
because words are not sufficient.
light veil through which the impulses
which point to the future can work through. He continually placed
indications for later activity in our souls, seeds for the future
which, after the soul's sleep has been overcome can unfold with life;
through the hectic every-day life they are often spoiled, or grasped
and then swept away by the mix of events. Among the souls [people]
who could accept these seeds of the future, surely there were some
who were able to find new life because of them; but also there were
those who – like the hard ground in the Gospel parable –
could not benefit from them.
only nature, but also souls are
determined by organic laws. Some of them, upon which the spirit
falls, harden or become corrupt, others show that they are strong and
develop new forms of being. Passing through death and the submergence
in chaos with its jumbled whirlpool of rummaging forces provides the
guarantee for a later resurrection of the spiritual impact through
metamorphosing to higher forms of being. In the microcosm as in the
macrocosm, in the earthly as in planetary being, the law of
development to new forms of being rules.
follow this path and presenting and
describing it pictorially according to race and nation, the religions
have climbed to ever higher stages of knowledge, worldwide and
according to the times shining light into hidden depths. When a
certain peak had been reached and at the same time the danger of
philosophical abstraction entered, and the old images and signs were
no longer sufficient to capture the newly pulsing life, the Christian
impulse took place along with the great turning point [of history].
However, as this emerged from the catacombs into the outer world, the
danger of solidifying into dogma was present, and the vital forces
sought new ways.
found them in the secret societies,
which refused to bow down to the Church princes and Council
decisions; they were therefore persecuted as heretics. The contents
lived anew in signs and symbols protected from the outer world. They
gave art a new impulse, which at first appeared through the works of
[organic growth of the plant – integrated into
the stone. organisches Wachstum der Pflanze —
dem Steine eingegliedert - meaning unclear. Trans.]
life also flowed into the names, which
contained what the soul needed as strength in order to develop in a
healthy way before reaching independence. But the education of
humanity to independence, in which the newly awoken I-force was to
pour in, demanded first the transition through abstract
intellectualism, which separated the soul for a while from its
spiritual ur-source, so that by going through the coldness of
isolation, grasping the higher I, could find itself again in the
Steiner's life work can give answers
to this seeking and asking. He mastered today's exact science; he can
reveal to us the spirit which strives hidden behind it and was once
concealed in the old names. Through him we are able to divine the
impulsing forces behind the names. Rescue planks for the unavoidable
sinking of the ship were offered to us, but we were not mature enough
to hold and use them. The souls were not awake enough, were still
caught up in the old ideas. The attempts at social renewal were met
with the hardest opposition from the outer world. A great pain can
engulf us when we see how little we were able to take advantage of
what was offered and to be the appropriate instruments for the
fire-spirit of the helper sent in the time of need.
now in the ruins of a battered
world, we must try to bring to consciousness the preserved and not
sufficiently understood words from the remaining documents; through
individual striving raising it to the human I. Rudolf Steiner tried,
not only by means of philosophy and science, to lead us to freedom,
but also through teaching within esoteric life, so that the old
relation of dependence on the teacher would gradually develop into
the impulse for freedom and responsibility to the spirit.
which consider themselves anchored in
spirit, must pass a trial. Such a self-desired trial always calls
forth an accelerated karma; also what is gladly hidden from the self
must be revealed. On such trials often fail the attempts of spiritual
powers which are brought from the most profound cosmic ground and the
objective of which is to raise human development to a higher stage.
Thus was it with the French Revolution and also the world wars of our
Rudolf Steiner spoke about such future
tasks to a very small circle of his students, trying to guide their
souls to the meaning of those more distant tasks which must grow from
a human will which has become free of selfishness. He repeated these
words to a larger circle on the occasion of the General Meeting on
December 15, 1911. This was not done as part of the General Meeting
itself; he clarified that it was outside the program.
began the talk in an especially solemn
and impressive manner. This is perhaps the reason for the first part
of the talk being noted down, but not in his words. He stressed that
the content of this lecture be completely independent of all those he
had previously given. It was, so to speak, a direct message from the
spiritual world. It was a call delivered to humanity – followed
by waiting to see what echo resulted.
Such a call
happens as a rule three times. If the call also remains unheard the
third time, it is taken back to the spiritual world for a long time.
This call was already sent to humanity once, unfortunately it found
no echo. This was the second time. It concerns purely spiritual
things. With every futile attempt the conditions and relations become
more difficult. “My dear friends” is how he began
according to the notes.
* * * * * * *
is incumbent upon me at this moment to
inform this larger circle of an intention from the narrower circle of
those who already know about it. But allow me to say a few words
beforehand. It should be specified that what is said now has nothing
to do with what occurred at this General Meeting or what is otherwise
related to previous actions – which however does not exclude
the possibility to consider them later should it be so
we look around in the world today we
must say to ourselves: the contemporary world is full of ideals
– and when we ask ourselves: Is the representation of these
ideals by those who believe in them and are in the service of them
sincere and honest? In many cases we will find the answer is: Yes,
that is the case. It is the case with respect to the belief and
dedication the individuals are capable of. When we then ask: How much
is generally demanded when such a representation of ideals is brought
to life, whether by an individual or a society? From an observation
of life we will find the answer to be that in most cases all is
demanded; but what is mostly demanded is that the asserted ideal
finds an absolute, unconditional recognition. And the basis for such
an assertion of the ideal is that an absolute agreement is demanded.
And usually a lack of agreement is expressed in some kind of
derogatory criticism. Those words characterize how the principle of
an association of people has occurred in a natural way during the
course of human development and the justification of such a principle
is not meant to be doubted in any way.
above all the possibility I wish to
present is this: one was always convinced that opinions were never
authoritative in respect to the realities of what went on within the
societies; whatever a person might think, in the moment he uttered
it, by the very fact of uttering it he entered into a contradiction
with the reality. Much must be said in this moment which is not in
agreement with much that is valid in the world. Thus it must be said:
the avowal to a thing may not be true when this avowal is spoken of.
I would like to give a simple example from which you can see that the
danger can exist of being untruthful simply by pronouncing it. And I
would like that this simple truth be understood as being in agreement
with Rosicrucian principles.
assume that someone expresses his
agreement using the words: “I am silent“, which cannot be
true. When someone says: “I say nothing“ and wants to
describe a present condition, what he says is not true. The
possibility exists that by verbally avowing a thing he denies it.
From this simple example: “I say nothing”, you can see
that it is applicable to innumerable instances in the world and can
happen again and again.
is the consequence of such a fact? The
consequence is that the people who want to associate in order to
represent such and such a thing find themselves in a most difficult
position if the reasons for associating are not those of the sense
world but the super-sensible world.
when we understand what we have been
able to receive from the new occultism in the course of time, then we
will perceive that it is absolutely necessary in the immediate future
to represent certain aspects of this occultism before the world.
Therefore the attempt must be made against all the principles of
occult societies and their heretofore possible organizations with
something completely new, something born from the spirit of that new
occultism about which we have often spoken in our circle.
can only be done, however, if we turn
our view only towards something positive, only toward something which
exists in the world as a reality and which can be cultivated as such
a reality. Realities in our sense are only the things which primarily
belong to the super-sensual world. Therefore the attempt will for
once be made to realize something that comes from the super-sensible
world: an attempt not to found a community of people, but to
other opportunities I have already
emphasized the difference between founding and endowing. It was many
years ago. It was not understood then, and since then hardly anyone
has thought about this difference. Therefore the spiritual powers
which stand before you under the symbol of the Rose Cross have also
overlooked bringing this difference to the world.
renewed attempt must be now made, this
time in an energetic way, not to found but to endow a community. If
it is not successful, it will have failed for a certain amount of
I am announcing to you now that
among the appropriate persons a method of working is endowed of which
the individual, whom we have called Christian Rosenkreuz since
western pre-history, is the originator.
has been said today is preliminary. For
what has happened until now refers only to a part of the endowment,
which, if possible, should enter the world; it refers to the artistic
representation of Rosicrucian occultism.
first point I want
to make is that a method of working shall enter the world as an
endowment under the direct protectorate of that individual whom we
designate by the name which he had for the outer world during two
incarnations: Christian Rosenkreuz; and that this endowment shall be
called by the provisional name: “Gesellschaft
für theosphische Art und Kunst“
(“Society for the Theosophical Way and Art“)
named is not definitive, but a
definitive name will be introduced once the first preparations for
bringing this work into the world have been accomplished. What is
described as the “Theosophical Way” is in a beginning
stage, for the preparations must still be made in order to understand
what is meant.
what is understood with the concept of
theosophical art has already begun in many ways by the performances
in Munich and above all the meaningful beginnings in Stuttgart; and
an additional important advance for the understanding of these things
is shown by the Johannes building [in Munich].
a certain sense what has been tried
provides the required sanction. Within this working group a purely
spiritual task should develop, a task which is to result in a
spiritual method of working and in its results.
no one can be a member of this
working group who holds to a different viewpoint, but only if he has
the will to dedicate his strength to the positive aspects.
you may say that I am talking a lot
of words that are not understandable. That must be so with things
such as these – for they must be grasped directly in life. And
what must happen within this endowment is that according to purely
occult laws what is a very small circle at first is formed which sees
its duty as cooperating on this project.
very small circle has been created. It has
been created in the sense of our stream for this endowment; thus in a
certain sense a beginning has been made, to be detached from me and
to have its own substance.
this small circle that has been
sanctioned stands before you, which has received its task with its
own recognition of our spiritual stream, and thereby the sovereignty
and the independence of all spiritual striving, which is an absolute
necessity for the future to be introduced to humanity.
within the endowment I will only
serve as interpreter of the basic principles, which as such only
exist in the spiritual world – as interpreter of what is to be
said about the intentions behind the thing itself. Therefore a
curator will be named for the outer cultivation of the endowment. And
with the positions which will be created only duties are associated,
no honors, no laurels, so that it is impossible for rivalries or
other misunderstandings to occur if it is correctly
first Miss von Sivers will be recognized
by the endowment itself. This recognition is none other than what is
interpreted from out of the endowment; there are no namings, only
interpretations. It will be her task in the immediate future to do
what can be done in the sense of the endowment, to gather a
corresponding circle of members - not in the usual sense, but rather
that they come on their own.
within this branch of our
endowment a number of associate branches will be created. And as the
leading personalities of these associated branches – insofar as
these already exist – several of the proven personalities from
within our spiritual movement will be placed with the corresponding
is also an interpretation: for each of
these associate branches an archdeacon will interpret.
will have an associate branch for general
art; arch-deacon will be Miss von Eckhardstein – and that is a
specific recognition for what this personality has done in recent
years for this art.
be published: provisional Curator Miss von Sivers. Further architectural
subjects: Dr. Felix Peipers; for Music: Mr. Adolf Arenson; for
painting: Mr. Hermann Linde. The work to be done is essentially
interior. What will appear in public will be what has been done in
total freedom by these personalities.
certain coordination of the personalities
involved in this work will be necessary; this coordination will take
place in a completely different way than is the case with normal
organizations. The office of Conservator will be served by Miss
Sophie Stinde, in charge of this coordination.
way in which these personalities
coordinate requires work very soon. In order for the organization to
come into being a Keeper of the Keeper of the Seal will be necessary:
Miss Sprengel, and the Secretary will be Dr Carl Unger.
first this will be a tiny circle. Don't
think of it as something which appears immodestly in the world and
says: Here I am. Rather think of it as nothing more than a seed
around which the thing itself will develop.
will be organized so that by next
Three-Kings Day (Epiphany) a number of members of the community will
be interpreted [sic]. This means that by that time a number of
members will have been given to understand that they may participate.
So that for the beginning the most ample freedom in this direction
must be assured in that the will to be a member should not come from
anyone except the one who desires to be a member. And the fact that
he is a member is brought about by his being recognized as a member.
This will only be for the time between now and the next Three Kings'
Day, January 6, 1912.
we have before us something which
because of its peculiarity reveals itself as something which flows
from the spiritual world. Furthermore it will present itself as
flowing from the spiritual world in that the membership will be
always and exclusively concerned with spiritual interests and the
recognition of spiritual interests – with the exclusion of
announcement constitutes a deviation
from older occult principles, and this deviation consists in the fact
of the announcement itself. Therewith no use is made of that
assertion of the man who says: I say nothing.
initiative will be
announced; and in full consciousness that it will be announced, this
should be the result. But as soon as someone indicates that he
somehow does not agree with what is announced today, then he should
of course not be expected to adhere to such a way of working. For
nothing but complete free will for such a way of working is
applicable. You will see though, if something like this should come
into being – if our time with its peculiarities allows that it
come into being – then really through recognition of the
spiritual world work can be done, the principle that not only all
nature and all history, but everything done in the world, all human
deeds are based on the spiritual, super-sensible world.
will see that it is impossible for
someone to belong to such a community if he is not really in
agreement with it. If you think that what I am saying is somewhat
curious, then please understand it thus: that it happens in full
consciousness that what is therewith preserved is everything which
belongs to the eternal laws of being. And what also belongs is that
the principles of becoming are taken into consideration.
this moment one can sin against the
spirit of what is to happen if he goes out into the world and says:
this or that has been founded. Not only has nothing been founded, but
the fact is also that to give a definition to what is to be done will
never be possible – for everything is to be in continual
becoming. And what is to happen because of what has been said today
cannot be described. It is based on what happens, not on words, but
on persons, and not even on persons, but on what the persons will
will be in a living
stream, a living becoming, and everything that is said about it will
be untrue at the same moment. Thus also today the principle is none
other than the first principle: Recognition of the
spiritual world as the basic reality. All other principles
are to be formed as the thing develops. As a tree in the next instant
is no longer what it was, but has added something new, so should this
be like a living tree. Never should what it is to become be
compromised in any way by what it is.
if someone wanted to define
outside in the world as a founding what has been described here as a
beginning, then he would commit the same untruth as someone who says:
I say nothing. Whoever uses in this way this or that word in order to
characterize the matter, he says something incorrect. Therefore at
the beginning it is a question of the people who want something like
this coming together. Then the matter will progress. And it will
profoundly differentiate itself from what the Theosophical Society
is. For not one attribute described here today can pertain to the
had to say these things for the simple
reason that the matters which the endowment deals with are also
publicly connected to the Theosophical Society. Because through this
endowment – in the sense of intentions the contents of which do
not lie in the physical world and have nothing to do with Ahriman
– a spiritually ideal counterbalance to everything connected to
a founding in the outer world must be created. Only in the context
can a connection be seen with what already exists, that this branch
of our endowment, the branch for Theosophical Art, should create a
counterweight for what is connected to the Ahrimanic. It may be hoped
that an excellent model will be created by the existence of this
branch of our endowment. And the other branch will do its duty in the
figures as art in the movement for spiritual science must flow into
our culture from the spiritual world. Spiritual life must be the
basis for everything we do. It will be impossible to confound this
ideal spiritual movement with any other, which also calls itself
“Theosophical Movement” and will wish to participate.
(Rudolf Steiner may be
referring here to the strong differences which occurred during this
time, the end of 1911, because Rudolf Steiner refused to allow the
members of the order founded by Annie Besant, “The Star of the
East“ to attend events of the German Section [of the
Theosophical Society] led by him.)
Wherever we may be, the spiritual moment
is our foundation. The example of the festival in Munich, the
building in Stuttgart – at the limits of possibility at first,
but it was everywhere attempted that the spirit be the most
important, was the conditio sine qua non
(— gaps in all three manuscripts).
Those who are already somewhat familiar with what this is all about
will understand me. These words are spoken less for their content
than that the guidelines be indicated.
the next Three Kings Day passed and no
further nominations had been made known, one of the people who had
heard his address asked Dr. Steiner when that would happen, he
replied: the fact that it didn't happened could be considered an
answer. The year 1912/1913 was overburdened with the dispute with
Annie Besant, her proclamation of the new messiah and her “Star
of the East” being active also in Germany. The President [A.
Besant] received from the adherents of the western spiritual movement
inaugurated by Rudolf Steiner a demand for a precise statement about
the agreements reached in Munich and Budapest, instead of her
evasiveness, her hide-and-seek games and behind-the-scenes acting.
These were the same people who together with members from many
provinces founded the “Bund”, which was followed in 1913
by the founding of the Anthroposophical Society after the expulsion
of the German section by the President of the Theosophical Society.
Meanwhile work was undertaken in various areas through the nomination
of the intimate circle: the
[St. John Building Society],
in the completion of Society's house in Stuttgart, the so-called
“Art-and-People's-rooms” in Munich and Berlin, one of
Miss von Eckardsteins initiatives. The most spiritually outstanding
publication was the
Calendar of the Soul,
a result of Dr Steiner's
cooperation with Miss von Eckardstein; here the wonderfully
transparent nuances of speech allow spirit and soul to interact and
become one with nature. Various other things sought a peaceful
unfolding in the future. But the World War started and its associated
commotions, which deeply affected the living conditions and relations
between the members from various nations in Dornach. We tried to
overcome such blood [national] ties, but every now and again
commotion and disruption occurred. The most irritating crisis for
Dornach was in the summer of 1915. A Dr. Gösch, a typical
representative of psychoanalysis, stepped front and center. He
convinced himself that the Keeper of the Seal had opened his eyes
about promises that Dr. Steiner gave and didn't comply with. He
published this according to psychoanalytical methodology in a
brochure. At the same time he wrote a letter to Dr. Steiner in which
he described his theories based on the “revelations” made
to him by the Keeper of the Seal. The Keeper of the Seal could not
have understood the task given her by this name other than in a most
personal sense. She felt herself to be the inspiration for the
spiritual teaching given to humanity by Dr. Steiner. And as she also
played the role of Theodora in Rudolf Steiner's Mystery Dramas in
Munich, she took all this as evidence of a symbolic promise of
marriage, for the fulfillment of which she had waited “seven
years”. The many complaining letters revolving around this
point gave Dr. Gösch the opportunity for a psychological
interpretation in Freudian sense for the illumination of her case. He
had been for a long time himself in Freudian treatment for a nervous
disorder, which had deeply infected his person. His open letter of
complaint provided the opportunity for strictly carried out actions
by which the membership was to obtain clarity about the case.
Descriptions about the case exist and constituted the basis for the
special number of the magazine
[and] the book published in Stuttgart:
Anthroposophie und Psychoanalyse.
Here is only mentioned what has to do directly with the case Sprengel
– alias Proserpina – alias Theodora – alias Keeper
of the Seal, and what she experienced in such a mystical, personal
way as megalomania. Of course symptoms existed of her conceit even
before the war. Because of this unfortunate megalomania, the
possibility of further nominations to the existing circle of eight
personalities failed – caused by egoistical conceit on one hand
and the absurdity of false mysticism on the other. The Keeper of the
Seal “sprang” the seal in the most common human sense.
The necessity of women being active participants in the cultural
tasks of the future is non-negotiable and will be accomplished
despite failures in individual cases. - That's what happened in the
case of the Keeper of the Seal.
Steiner expressed himself in the following way about this affair in
an address during the so-called crisis in 1915:
was announced in autumn that because
certain impossible symptoms had become apparent in our Society it was
necessary to found a certain smaller society whereby I had attempted
to attribute certain titles to a number of close associates who have
been a long time in the Society in that I required of them that they
would act independently in the sense of these titles. I said at that
time: If something happens, the members will be informed by Three
Kings Day. Nothing was informed and it is therefore obvious that the
Society for the Theosophical Way and Art does not exist. It is
self-evident because nobody informed anything. It is self-evident
that the information would have been sent if the thing had been
realized. The manner in which it was conceived in a certain case made
it impossible. It was an attempt.“
(lecture of August 1915 in Dornach –
circle of nominees, as an internal
matter, was shattered; outside the war raged; in Dornach the
practical work continued no less intensively despite the external
circumstances. Due to the recall to the fronts of so many artists and
helpers, the burden of work fell heavily on the women. Few men were
able to remain, Hermann Linde for one. From early morning on clanged
the hammering and chiseling from wood which grew up out of the cement
foundation to the curved domes. The outer and inner walls bore the
organically moving forms, warmed and waved by the human hands
grooving them. In the interior space the columns rose with their
bases, capitals and architraves, until they reached the place where
both domes merged into each other – a symbol of the soul's
experience of how the cosmos separates and unites simultaneously.
painters and their helpers were gathered
around Hermann Linde. Dr. Steiner had drafted the motives for the
painting of the domes, copies of which are preserved in Alinari's
reproductions (Rudolf Steiner's drafts of the great dome in the first
Goetheanum – realized by Alinari, Florence.) With diligence and
zeal new priming methods were tried through which the effect of
vegetable colors unfolded in glowing brilliance; plants were rubbed
zealously by a group of helpers, from which the new colors for the
dome paints derived. Weekly eurythmy performances provided the
opportunity for the development of personal fantasy and to practice
with the outlines Dr. Steiner had prepared.
Germany a most capable replacement was
soon found for the “sprung” Keeper of the Seal in the
person of Miss Berta Meyer. During the months of the war years we
spent in Germany, she often came from Bremen to Berlin to perfect her
knowledge of jewelry art by means of Dr. Steiner's suggestions. A
happy opportunity for new motivation was the return of a member from
the orient with a collection of precious stones. Stones were selected
whose inner substance and brilliance were especially appropriate. It
was a peculiar experience to feel the cool ripple of the stones on
one's hand and their penetration in one's etheric body. This grasp in
the coolness of the stone kingdom and the almost exciting affecting
glow of melting metal in fire, especially gold, brought the elements
of nature's force clearly to consciousness. Dr. Steiner's drawing for
the Mystery Dramas' seals provided the basis for the spiritual
studies of this predestined [new] Keeper of the Seal, who left us so
many excellent artistic works.
(Kleinodienkunst. Die Dramasiegel.
Nach himweisen und Entwerfen von Rudolf Steiner mitgeteilt und
aussgearbeitet durch Beerta Meyer-Jabobs.)
Death tore her from us at the very moment that a place for her work,
a Jewelry art school, could have been arranged in Dornach. The form
forces of eurythmy, carried by etheric impulses and the musical art
seeking new ways, which by experiencing the sharps and flats, over
the fifth, to grasp the force of their origin in tone, to which they
thanked their being, were also rehearsed with these seals. Thus
feeling the way to lost words.
new architectural style created by Dr.
Steiner, which incorporated the plant movements and did not shut
itself off from the outer world, but opened to the world, was also
faithfully used in the glass windows
Rudolf Steiners, Assja Turgenierff)
Floods of light had to stream into the space; differentiated according to
the rainbow, but retaining the basic tones brought the hovering and
weaving light colorings into the room. The delicateness of the
nuances were intensified by the different thickness of the glass
which acquired the motive during the grinding and etching; its
spiritual content related to the path of initiation of humanity into
the future. Whereas the motive of the larger and smaller domes
followed the macrocosmic and microcosmic evolution of humanity
leading to the fulfillment of his I.
new art of black-white line drawing
given by Dr. Steiner developed alongside the creative colors
(Die schöpferische Kraft der
Farbe, Hilde Boos-Hamburger).
And all these, artistically created from the most varied elements,
were brought to life in the art of the spoken word – speech
– which divines the original forces
of the lost “Word” and to a certain extent grasps it.
Through the little that was achieved by hard work it was possible to
partly fulfill what Dr. Steiner referred to as the mission of the
spiritual movement inaugurated by him: to allow the forgotten
spiritual stream around Goethe and Schiller to flow again into
have lived in the plenitude of his
impulses. He was torn from us by death in 1925. He had to pay with
death for the immeasurable richness of his gifts. We were enlivened
and carried by his encouraging spiritual force.
* * * * * *