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

Broken Vessels

Rudolf Steiner Archive & e.Lib Document

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

Highlight Words

Broken Vessels

On-line since: 30th June, 2013


In response to requests from doctors and medical students, Rudolf Steiner gave the first lectures outlining an “anthroposophically extended medicine” in March, 1920 — anticipating by more than sixty years the essentially postmodern idea of integrative or complementary medicine. Originally scheduled for two weeks, the initial meeting was lengthened to three, so that physicians could also make presentations on their own work. Anthroposophical medicine thus grows out of the realities of medical practice.

Steiner, by training a scientist and a Goetheanist, had always been interested in medicine and the art of healing. At different periods of his life, he had lectured and written on medical subjects and advised physicians on their work. He could do this because, besides being thoroughly versed in contemporary medical methods, he had worked through and understood the bases of traditional Western medicine exemplified by the alchemical tradition that runs from Paracelsus through Van Helmont to Hahnemann, the creator of homeopathy — the traditional medicine of the West.

This Paracelsian, alchemical tradition was close to his heart and to the heart of anthroposophy, the new science of the spirit. For this reason, together with his close associate Dr. Ita Wegman, Steiner actively encouraged the development of anthroposophically extended medicine, which now enjoys a growing worldwide reputation both for its methodology and for specific treatments such as Iscador (mistletoe) for cancer.

Throughout the four years remaining to him, Steiner continued to lecture once or twice a year to physicians and consult with those undertaking to incorporate these new ideas into their clinical practice. At the same time, clinics were created and a training program instituted. The Foundations of Anthroposophical Medicine series will include all of Steiner's medical lectures and writings.

(Titles as given are translations of the German titles as they appear in the Collected Works (GA). The titles as published in English may vary.)

  1. Spiritual Science and Medicine: First Medical Course (Twenty Lectures, Dornach, March 21 – April 9, 1920). Geisteswissenschaft und Medizin GA 312. Published as Introducing Anthroposophical Medicine (1999)
  2. Spiritual Scientific Perspectives on Therapy: Second Medical Course (Nine Lectures, Dornach, April 11 – April 18, 1921). Geisteswissenschaftliche Gesichtspunkte zur Therapie GA 313
  3. Physiology and Therapy on the Basis of Spiritual Science (Four Lectures, Dornach, October 7 – October 9, 1920); Anthroposophical Foundations for an Art of Remedies (Four Lectures, Stuttgart, October 26 – 28, 1922); On Therapy (Three Lectures, Dornach, December 31, 1923 January 2, 1924); Miscellaneous discussions, etc. Physiologisch-Therapeutisches auf Grundlage der Geisteswissenschaft. Zur Therapie und Hygiene GA 314
  4. Curative Eurythmy (Seven Lectures, Dornach, April 12 – April 18, 1921; One Lecture, Stuttgart, October 28, 1922). Heileurythmie GA 315
  5. Meditative Considerations and Directions for Deepening the Art of Healing. Meditative Betrachtungen und Anleitungen zur Vertiefung der Heilkunst GA 316
  6. Curative Education (Twelve Lectures, Dornach, June 25 – July 12, 1924). Heilpädadagogischer Kurs GA 317
  7. Broken Vessels (Eleven Lectures, Dornach, September 8 – September 18, 1924). Pastoral-Medizinischer Kurs GA 318
  8. Medicine and the Anthroposophical View of the Human Being (Eleven Lectures, various cities, 1923/24). Anthroposophische Menschenerkenntnis und Medizin GA 319. Published as The Healing Process: Spirit, Nature & Our Bodies (2000).
  9. Miscellaneous Lectures on Spiritual Science and Medicine I
  10. Miscellaneous Lectures on Spiritual Science and Medicine II
  11. Extending Medicine on the Basis of Spiritual Science (Fundamentals of Therapy). Steiner and Wegman. Grundlegendes für eine Erweiterung der Heilkunst nach geisteswissenschaftlichen Erkenntnissen GA 27

© 1980-2021 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