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

Rudolf Steiner Archive & e.Lib Document

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

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Guidance in Esoteric Training [Prefatory Note]

Rudolf Steiner Archive Document

Rudolf Steiner Archive Books Document: An electronic Library (e.Lib) and Archive site for the collected works (over 6000) of the Austrian born philosopher Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925).



The contents of this book are selected from the matter of Rudolf Steiner's 
Esoteric School. The School remained in existence for ten years from 
1904 to 1914, when the outbreak of the First World War prevented its 
continuance. During that period Rudolf Steiner was still within the 
Theosophical Society, and he used the words `theosophy' and 
`theosophical', though always (as he tells us in his Autobiography) in the 
direction in which his anthroposophical spiritual science had from the 
first been pointing. After the lapse of a further ten years, when he went on 
to found the General Anthroposophical Society and himself became its 
President, his esoteric guidance of those members who sought it was 
continued on a somewhat different footing, in closer association with the 
organization and direction of the Society.

The institution of the Esoteric School in 1904 had been quickly followed 
by publishing descriptions of the path which pupils should follow, in the 
book Theosophy, in the series of Essays, Knowledge of the Higher 
Worlds. How is it achieved? (first published in book form in 1909), and 
also in Occult Science: an Outline, which appeared early in 1910. A 
description of the basic conditions for inner development, particularly of 
the `subsidiary exercises', is also to be found in these books, and after 
their publication Rudolf Steiner sometimes alluded to such exercises by 
reference to them. In Chapter V of Occult Science: an Outline 
(`Knowledge of Higher Worlds. Concerning Initiation') he lays down as 
follows the necessary precondition for all the exercises.

We can however understand from this how necessary it is that man 
should not demand entry into the spiritual world until he has learned and 
understood certain essential truths of that world by the simple exercise of 
his everyday intelligence, developed in the physical world. If spiritual 
development follows the right and normal path, then before he aspires to 
enter the supersensible world the pupil will already have mastered with 
his ordinary intelligence the whole of the earlier contents of this book.

In 1947, thirty-three years after the First World War had interrupted the 
Esoteric School and two years after the end of the Second, Marie Steiner, 
in response to requests from members of the Anthroposophical Society, 
set about publishing the most important of the Contents of the Esoteric 
School. Numerous works on oriental training methods (Yoga etc.) were 
making their appearance, and it was her object to set against these 
something from the European discipline of Rudolf Steiner. `By making 
available', she wrote in a letter, `examples of Rudolf Steiner's careful, 
personally-delivered advice, I wished to ensure that something could 
come forth from that Rosicrucian stream which is more in tune with the 
present age than decadent Indian and Tibetan methods.'

Three separate series of selections in English translation, entitled From 
the Contents of the Esoteric School, have previously appeared in 1948, 
1949 and 1954. The following includes a revised translation of all that 
they contain together with some additional material not previously 
published in English.




Last Modified: 05-Jun-2020
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