[RSArchive Icon]
Rudolf Steiner Archive Section Name Rudolf Steiner Archive & e.Lib

The Presence of the Dead on the Spiritual Path

Rudolf Steiner Archive & e.Lib Document

Sketch of Rudolf Steiner lecturing at the East-West Conference in Vienna.

Highlight Words

The Presence of the Dead on the Spiritual Path

On-line since: 7th September, 2006



  1. Rudolf Steiner, A Road to Self-Knowledge & The Threshold of the Spiritual World, (London: Rudolf Steiner Press, 1975).


  1. Johann Gottlieb Fichte, 1762–1814, German philosopher.
  2. In Fichte, Die Bestimmung des Menschen (“The Vocation of Man”), vol. 3, section III, Berlin 1800.
  3. Fichte gave these lectures in Berlin in the winter of 1807/08.
  4. Fichte, “On the Publication of Same,” from the foreword to Die Anweisungen zum seligen Leben, Berlin 1806.
  5. Rudolf Steiner, “Understanding the Spiritual World (I),” lecture of April 18, 1914, Lecture One in this volume.
  6. Rudolf Steiner, Four Mystery Plays, (London: Rudolf Steiner Press, 1982). The four Mystery Dramas were premiered m Munich between 1910 an 1913 under Steiner's direction.
  7. Steiner here refers to the actress Maria von Strauch-Spettini, 1847–1904. See Hella Wiesberger's short biography of Maria von Strauch-Spettini and her letters to Marie von Sivers in Aus dem Leben von Marie Steiner-von Sivers, Dornach 1956, p. 15ff.
  8. Steiner here refers to Christian Morgenstern, May 6, 1871 – March 31, 1914. German poet, wrote lyrical verse as well as grotesque and nonsense verse. Also translated works of Ibsen, Strindberg, and Hamsun.
  9. Morgenstern, Wir fanden einen Pfad. (“We Found a Path”), first published by Piper Verlag, Munich, in autumn of 1914.
  10. This lecture was given on December 31, 1913, as part of the lecture cycle Christ and the Spiritual World: The Search for the Holy Grail (London: Rudolf Steiner Press, 1963) at which Morgenstern was present. Rudolf Steiner's comments are in Die Kunst der Rezitation und Deklamation, volume 281 in the Collected Works, (Dornach, Switzerland: Rudolf Steiner Verlag, 1967), pp. 208–210.
  11. See Steiner, Background to the Gospel of St. Mark, (London: Rudolf Steiner Press, 1968), Lecture Six, pp. 96–113.
  12. Raphael, 1483–1520, Italian painter. Leonardo da Vinci, 1452–1519, Italian painter.


  1. Work on the construction of the first Goetheanum in Dornach. Started in 1913, it was destroyed by arson on New Year's Eve 1922/23.
  2. Christian Morgenstern May 6, 1871 – March 31, 1914. See Lecture Two, note 8.
  3. Christian Morgenstern, Alles um des Menschen Willen: Briefe, (Munich, Germany: Piper, 1962), letter of January 22, 1914, to a young girl, p. 398.
  4. Morgenstern, Wir fanden einen Pfad. See Lecture Two, note 9.
  5. Zarathustra, 628–551 B.C. Persian religious leader. Buddha, Siddharta Gautama, 563–483 B.C. Founder of Buddhism. Krishna, Indian deity, appears in Bhagavad-Gita as teacher of Arjuna.
  6. Rudolf Steiner, “Homunkulus,” public lecture, Berlin, March 26, 1914, in Geisteswissenschaft als Lebensgut, vol. 63 in the Collected Works, (Dornach, Switzerland: Rudolf Steiner Verlag, 1959).


  1. See Rudolf Steiner, Die Welt des Geistes und ihr Hereinragen in das physische Dasein, Vol. 150 in the Collected Works, (Dornach, Switzerland: Rudolf Steiner Verlag, 1972), lecture of May 5, 1913. There are no transcripts of the lectures of May 4 and 9, 1913, in Paris.
  2. Rudolf Steiner, Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and Its Attainment, repr., (Hudson, NY: Anthroposophic Press 1986).
  3. Steiner here refers to the actress Maria von Strauch-Spettini, 1847–1904. See Lecture Two, note 7.
  4. Edouard Schuré, French writer. His play Children of Lucifer was performed in German in Munich on August 22, 1909, under Rudolf Steiner's direction. See Steiner The East in the Light of the West and Schuré, Children of Lucifer, both in one volume, (Blauvelt NY: Spiritual Science Library, 1986).
  5. Joan of Arc, 1412–1431, French national heroine and saint.
  6. Morgenstern, see Lecture Two, note 8.
  7. Due to complications and delays caused by World War I (1914–1918), the building neared completion only in 1920. The inauguration ceremony never took place because of the fire that destroyed the Goetheanum. A “provisional inauguration” took place on September 26, 1920, on the eve of the first event held in the building, the “first anthroposophical academic course,” which lasted from September 27 to October 16, 1920.
  8. Rudolf Steiner, Vorstufen zum Mysterium von Golgotha, Vol. 152 in the Collected Works, (Dornach, Switzerland: Rudolf Steiner Verlag, 1964), Lecture of May 27, 1914.


  1. At the beginning of this lecture, Rudolf Steiner apologized for giving the lecture in German rather than French. His comments were not recorded.
  2. Nicolaus Copernicus, 1473–1543, Polish astronomer. Made astronomical observations of orbits of sun, moon, and planets. Gradually abandoned accepted Ptolemaic system of astronomy and worked out heliocentric system.

    Galileo Galilei, 1564–1642, Italian astronomer and physicist. Advocated Copernican system. Instrumental in laying foundations of modern science.

    Giordano Bruno, 1548–1600, Italian philosopher. A critic of Aristotelian logic and defender of Copernican cosmology, which he extended with notion of infinite universe. Arrested and burned at the stake by the Inquisition.
  3. Rudolf Steiner, Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and Its Attainment, repr., (Hudson, NY: Anthroposophic Press, 1986).
  4. Steiner here refers to his investigation of events in the fourth century on the basis of spiritual science. He presented his insights in a lecture on May 9, 1914 (“Words of Remembrance for Oda Waller”) in Unsere Toten, vol. 261 in the Collected Works, (Dornach, Switzerland: Rudolf Steiner Verlag, 1963); lecture on May 26, 1914 (Chapter Four, in this volume); lecture of March 23, 1921, in Naturbeobachtung, Mathematik, wissenschaftliches Experiment und Erkenntnisergebnisse vom Gesichtpunkt der Anthroposophie, vol. 324 in the Collected Works, (Dornach, Switzerland: Rudolf Steiner Verlag, 1972). He also mentioned these investigations and their results in his lecture on August 31, 1923, in The Evolution of Consciousness, (London: Pharos Books, 1979); and in his lecture on April 5, 1924, in Karmic Relationships, vol. 5, (London: Rudolf Steiner Press, 1966).
  5. Steiner here refers to Oda Waller, sister of Mieta Pyle-Waller (who took the role of Johannes Thomasius in the Mystery Drama performances in Munich). See also his lecture of May 9, 1914, in Unsere Toten. Oda Waller died in March 1913.


  1. Lecture of April 16, 1914, entitled “Wie findet die Menschenseele ihre wahre Wesenheit?” (“How Can the Human Soul Find Its True Essence?”).
  2. Hermes, the ancient Greek herald and messenger of the gods. See also Lecture Three, note 5.
  3. Max Müller, 1823–1900, German orientalist, linguist, and religious scholar, professor of philology at Oxford. Literally: “A change is to take place, a transformation of such magnitude that even if angels came down and announce it, we would understand it as little as an infant would understand what we told it about the world in our language,” in Leben und Religion (“Life and Religion”), Stuttgart, n.y.


  1. PeterRosegger, 1843–1918, Austrian poet and novelist. Hans Brandstetter, 1854–1925, Austrian sculptor. Robert Hamerling, pseudonym of Rupert Hammerling 1830–1889, Austrian poet. Best known for his epics Ahasverus in Rom 1865 and Homunculus (1888).
  2. “An B(ertha),” Hamerling's last poem; written in the Stiftin House on June 18, 1889, three weeks before his death. In Letzte Grüsse aus Stiftinghaus, in Hamerlings Sämtliche Werke (Hamerling's Collected Works), Leipzig 1893, 16 volumes, edited by Michael Rabenlechner, vol. 15, p. 90.
  3. “The Pessimist” in Letzte Grüsse aus Stiftinghaus, p. 91. Translator's note. The final syllable of the German word “Pessimist” (mist) means “dung” in English.
  4. Letter of June 11, 1888, in Peter Rosegger, Persönliche Erinnerungen an Robert Hamerling, Vienna 1891, p. 177.
  5. Hamerling's philosophical work, published in 1891.
  6. The Waldviertel is a region in northwestern Lower Austria.
  7. Robert Hamerling, “Die schönste Gegend der Erde,” vol. 16 in his Collected Works, p. 134, and “Stationen meiner Lebenspilgerschaft,” same volume, p. 17.
  8. Jakob Böhme, 1575–1624. German mystic. He was first a shoemaker, then had a mystical experience in 1600.
  9. Hamerling, “Stationen meiner Lebenspilgerschaft,” p. 17.
  10. “Stationen meiner Lebenspilgerschaft”, p. 45.
  11. “People still have the bad habit of asking me what I want to become — well, a human being!” from “Lehrjahre der Liebe,” in Tagebuchblätter und Briefe (Diaries and Letters), entry of April 13, 1851. Volume 14 in Hamerling's Collected Works.
  12. Literally: “The Greeks called the universe ‘beauty’ (cosmos).” In Atomtstik des Willens, Hamburg 1891, vol. 11, p. 226.
  13. In Letzte Grüsse aus Stiftinghaus, vol. 15 in Hamerling's Collected Works, pp. 34–35.

© 2021 Steiner Online Library. All rights reserved.

Steiner Online Library is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, EIN 85-2621701. Donations are tax-deductible.

Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Cookie Policy | Contact Us