It was George De Ris who first presented the Foundation
Stone Meditation of Rudolf Steiner to me when, as a new member of the
Anthroposophical Society, I began that ‘voyage’ into
Anthroposophy. It has never ceased to be a source of healing,
strength and revelation in the crises of life. Therefore, it has been
a special joy for me to add my translation to those already existing,
in the hope that it may shed another small light on this
awe-inspiring work which will continue to reveal aspects of
itself for generations to come. May I urge readers to use the
translation only in conjunction with the original.
The original Foundation Stone was a double
pentagon-dodecahedron made of copper which was laid into the ground
for the first Goetheanum building in Dornach, Switzerland. Ten years
later, a tragic fire destroyed the nearly completed building. In
1923, at the Christmas Foundation meeting, Rudolf Steiner presented
a ‘spiritual Foundation Stone,’ the ‘Dodecahedron
of Man,’ as he called it, to the members of the newly-formed
General Anthroposophical Society, which was to initiate a new
phase in the revelation of the Mysteries of mankind. The meditation
is mantric, that is, a spiritual revelation in which sound, form and
rhythm integrate with the esoteric meaning which lies in layers of
The mantram has four major divisions, three of which are
in parallel structure, concerned with the threefold aspect of the
human being, as a being of willing, feeling and thinking. A
progression is in process. If the three divisions are placed side by
side, the lines may also be read across, and there will occur an
experience as of music, with major and minor themes, commingling
vertically and horizontally, which directions in subtle variations,
are evident throughout. Indeed, penetration into the complex
structure will reveal a pentagonal dodecahedron implicit in the
number of lines, directions indicated, etc.
Part four veers off into its own direction, yet
encompasses, concludes and unifies the whole. Much more may be
said of the intricate inner structure of the work, but the above will
indicate the potent workmanship and artistry of its author.
It is not my intention in this brief introduction to
enter into a study in depth of the far-reaching relationship of
the Foundation Stone Meditation with the Lord's Prayer,
or with the Macrocosmic Lord's Prayer given by Rudolf Steiner
on the occasion in 1913 of the laying in the ground of the Foundation
Stone for the first Goetheanum in Dornach, or with Knowledge of
Higher Worlds, The Philosophy of Freedom, The Letters to the Members,
and other works, but merely through direct concentration on the
mantram itself, to point out some of the central directions of
meaning which readers may then further pursue.
It is important to bear in mind that the meditation is
addressed, not to mankind in general, but to the human soul.
In the first verse of part one, the soul is reminded
that it has its existence within the limbs of the human being, the
instruments of will, which bear him through the world of space. It is
not physical space alone which is here referred to but space which
leads into the being of the Spirit-ocean. The limbs may here
be considered as arms, legs, and in a certain aspect, the head which
is a kind of metamorphosed limb. A dynamic of direction is implied
which makes the immediacy of the meditant's identification with the
process of the mantram possible.
The head, mirroring the vault of heaven, is directed
upward to the cosmos and thereby may connect with cosmic existence.
The arms extend to the periphery in an exchange with the world —
giving and receiving. The legs meet earth, and as they walk in the
footsteps of one's biography, they create world destiny. To be aware
of this is to begin liberation from imprisoning substance.
The soul is reminded to live in remembrance of Spirit.
This does not imply that a horizontal line of memory of past events
of earthly life be traced, but that a vertical direction should be
charted to the origin of the soul itself within the breast of the
Divine wherein it still has existence. The soul was involved in
majestic Creation, and in that process, the individual began to
evolve out of the great I AM. If the past is drawn into the
present, the present with its vast potential may be enriched,
and thereby, the future also is drawn into the point of presence.
Thus the present is redeemed from fleeting insignificance and
despair. The Self may be experienced as a participant in eternal
world-being and becoming.
In verse two of part one is revealed that He who is
referred to as ‘The Father Spirit of Heights’ descends
into the depths to bring forth creative being — as a ceramist
might bring forth and mold the amorphous clay with care and
sensibility, imbuing it with his very essence.
The Spirits of Form are exhorted to sound forth the
creative clarion call of shaping in such a way that the depths may
respond, for nothing exists in isolation and that which is formed is
created by the loving encounter with its creator. In this way,
mankind itself has its origin in the Divine Thought and is
responsively defined by that Divine.
Already the Elemental worlds of Spirit are aware of this
great truth which is heard in the East, heard in the West, heard in
the North, heard in the South. Those locations must not be conceived
of as physical geography: They have particular esoteric
significance and form a balancing cross, which image may serve as a
support for the knowledge which is to penetrate into human souls.
Through remembering their origin in Spirit, those souls will be
enhanced by the ever-waxing revelation of the truth expressed.
In part two, the human soul is again addressed. It is
reminded that not only does it have its existence in the limbs, but
also in the pulsating of heart and lungs, the middle region. In this
rhythmic beat and flow — diastole/systole,
inbreathing/outbreathing, expansion/ contraction, the soul may grow
conscious of Time — not merely chronological time, but the
eternal rhythms of life and death. Meditation will reveal the soul's
relationship to all cosmic being: the rotation of the planets
and the fixed stars, day and night, the seasonal cycles, the
passing years, the great epochs. It will breathe with oceans, winds,
tempests, and will know itself as a being of feeling which
makes of it an individual.
“Meditate on Spirit,” urges the mantram, in
conscious equanimity, and through deeds rising out of the
heart's unsullied feeling, the union of the higher self with the I of
evolving worlds will be revealed. Then will be overcome the
tendencies to lose oneself in the flood of excessive sentimentality
or to rigidity in the ice-cold regions of repression: in composure
born of right meditation, with a sense of measure, creative
deeds of love in community with free individuals will become
possible. This community entered reality when the Christ
united Himself with earthly destiny, and He now moves horizontally
within the earth-sphere bestowing grace so that human beings may rise
The Spirits of Light are beseeched to allow that which
the East has to offer — spiritual insight — to ignite the
defining capacity of the West, thereby creating a harmonious Middle.
Through the sacrifice of the Christ — His union with earthly
being — the twin evils of death — dissolution and
rigidification — were transformed. Death becomes Life.
Already the beings of the world of Spirit in East, West,
North, South, know this, and now it is time for human beings to grasp
it. Through the free act of meditation, consciousness will dawn
and as that dawn breaks, despair and death may be consumed.
“And death shall have no dominion,” as John
Donne wrote, “for the Christ Light overcomes death.”
Thus, “Death itself shall die.”
In verse one, part three, the soul is addressed for the
third time, and is reminded that not only does it realize existence
in the limbs and in the throb of heart and lungs (will and feeling),
but also in the realm of thinking, the calm reposing head.
In exercising control over all haphazard meandering, the
soul may attune itself to the reception of universal thinking
which makes human being possible. As the Great Poem, Cosmic Thought
graces mankind. Through expanding Vision (in the larger sense of that
word) to encompass spiritual reality, the growth of moral and
creative intuition becomes possible. The soul recognizes itself
present in that reality as the physical body is present in the world
The charting and defining aims of the Divine and
the individual's own part in that process, clarify themselves.
Light from universal thinking pours in to stir the will forces which
are needed for evolving acts of destiny. Freedom from compulsive
action, and deeds of love emerge through ennobled thinking. This may
be designated as union with the Holy Spirit. Past, present and
future become that pinpoint of conscious being. Illusion gives way to
truth as what is perceived in all worlds unites with primal reality
by means of thinking. The universal thought is ever present, awaiting
the encounter with the vision of the human being which alone may
individualize its essence.
The very Spirits of the Soul are petitioned to
formulate in the depths the question which will draw forth an
answer from the heights, for only the right question can
accomplish this. Parsifal could become the Grail King only when he
had learned to ask the appropriate question out of the depths
Then the Heights will answer, and they will say: The
soul may awake to know the universal thoughts of Spirit.
In Elemental worlds of Spirit this is known: in East,
West, North and South. Through enlarging Vision to encompass
spiritual being, mankind will grow in spiritual stature, and earthly
existence itself thereby will be ennobled.
In part four, a new rhythm and impulse spiral in as
revelation of how all that has been declared has been made possible.
We are told that,
“At the turning point of time,” that is, at
that crucial point of midnight in humanity's evolution, that time
when all ends and all may begin — the Christ Being entered
earthly existence. Utter debasement was rampant and the corrupt
soul of mankind stood on the brink of annihilation. But that fall
had run its course and there was a breakthrough from spiritual
worlds: Daybreak! “The day breaks and the shadows flee away
This day-Light began to stream into human hearts, for
the Sun-Spirit came not for an elite but for all humanity —
for simple shepherds whose hearts held innocent love, as well as for
great rulers — Kings with golden wisdom. Now all might meet in
equality around the Cradle of the Child — the I AM who
brought redemption, renewal and the seed of freedom and
The mantram addresses this Majesty directly:
“Christ-Sun”/Son, imploring Him to lead present humanity
to flower from that seed of awakening planted at that turning
point of time.
“Bring love into our hearts, wisdom into our
heads,” so that through our hearts' warmth, we may be receptive
to those living thoughts which will stream into our will, enabling us
to carve out our destiny and that of the world in harmony, in
dignity, in truth and beauty.
Indeed, this might become reality if all mankind took
into its heart and consciousness the Foundation Stone Meditation, for
it is a healing source of strength and inspiration, a path which
leads to a transubstantiation.
Rudolf Steiner placed this mantra as a seed in fertile
soil of hearts:
May human beings tend it!