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Rudolf Steiner Archive Section Name Rudolf Steiner Archive & e.Lib

The Human Soul in Relation to World Evolution

Rudolf Steiner Archive & e.Lib Document

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

Rudolf Steiner's scientifically trained clairvoyance enabled him to conduct exact and precise research into spiritual phenomena. Consider the beginning of his discussion of an “embryology” of the supersensible part of the human being known as the etheric body:

“Let us imagine ... the soul and spirit of man approaching his birth from the spiritual world. That which man draws towards himself from the general ether becomes his etheric body. He clothes himself as it were with his etheric body as he descends from the spiritual world. ... The etheric body which develops within man is a world in itself. One might say that it is a universe in the form of images. In its circumference it has something like stars (yellow stars), and in its lower part something reveals itself which is more or less an image of the earth. It even contains a kind of image of the sun and moon.

Portrait of Rudolf Steiner

“It is of extraordinary significance that we, in our descent into earthly life, draw together forces from the universal ether and thus take with us, in our ether body, a kind of image of the cosmos. If one could extract the ether body of man at the moment when he is uniting himself with the physical body, we should have a sphere which is far more beautiful than any formed by mechanical means, a sphere containing stars, zodiac, sun and moon.” (from the contents)

During the last two decades of the nineteenth century the Austrian- born Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925) became a respected and well-published scientific, literary, and philosophical scholar, particularly known for his work on Goethe's scientific writings. After the turn of the century he began to develop his earlier philosophical principles into an approach to methodical research of psychological and spiritual phenomena.

His multi-faceted genius has led to innovative and holistic approaches in medicine, science, education (Waldorf schools), special education, philosophy, religion, economics, agriculture, (Bio-Dynamic method), architecture, drama, the new art of eurythmy, and other fields. In 1924 he founded the General Anthroposophical Society, which today has branches throughout the world.

ISBN 0-88010-114-8 cloth
0-88010-113-X paper

Last Modified: 24-Apr-2021
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