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A Meditation given by Rudolf Steiner

January 1st, 1924
GA 260

The Foundation Stone Meditation — given by Rudolf Steiner during the meeting for the re-founding of the Anthroposophical Society at Christmas, 1923, in Dornach, Switzerland. This English translation of Der Grundstein is by Frank Thomas Smith —

Book Cover Image

Other versions of this Meditation: German original and Español

Soul of man!

You live in the limbs

That carry you through the world of space

Into the sea of spirit-being:

Practice spirit remembrance

In the depths of soul,

Where in the reigning

Cosmic creator-being

Your own I

In God's I

Is begotten;

And you will truly live

In the cosmic human being.

For the Father Spirit of the heights reigns

Creating being in the cosmic depths:

Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones

Let resound from the heights

What in the depths its echo finds;

This speaks:

Ex deo nascimur.

The elemental spirits

In East, West, North, South hear this:

May men hear it too.


Soul of man!

You live in the heart-lung-beat

That guides you through the rhythm of times

To the sensing of your own soul's being:

Practice spirit contemplation

In equanimity of soul,

Where the surging

Cosmic creative deeds


Your own I

To the cosmic I;

And you will truly feel

In deeds of the human soul.

For the will of Christ reigns in the earthly sphere

Granting grace to souls in cosmic rhythms:

Kyriotetes, Dynamis, Exusiai

Let from the east inflame

What through the west takes form;

This speaks:

In Christo morimur.

The elemental spirits

In East, West, North, South hear this:

May men hear it too.


Soul of man!

You live in the reposing head

Which opens cosmic thoughts

from eternal founts to you:

Practice spirit-seeing

In peace of mind,

Where the eternal goals of the gods


The cosmic being's light

On your own I

For its free will;

And you will truly think

From founts of human spirit.

For the cosmic thoughts of spirit,

light imploring, reign in cosmic being;

Archai, Archangeloi, Angeloi

Let from the depths demand

What will be heard in the heights;

This speaks:

Per spiritum sanctum reviviscimus

The elemental spirits

In East, West, North, South hear this:

May men hear it too.


At the turning point of time

The cosmic spirit-light stepped

Into earthly evolution;

Night darkness

Had ended its reign;

The bright light of day

Streamed into human souls;


That warms

The poor shepherd hearts


That enlightens

The wise kings' heads.

Light divine,

Sun of Christ,


Our hearts —


Our heads,


So that good results

From what

Our hearts beget,

What we

By thinking

Forcefully will to do.

Other versions of this Meditation: German original and Español

Two versions of this meditation exist in the original German — a verbal and a printed one. The version translated here is the one recited by Rudolf Steiner on the last day (January 1, 1924) of the Christmas Conference during which the Anthroposophical Society was re-founded in Dornach, Switzerland. The other version was published in the Society's Newsletter on January 13, 1924, does not mention the spiritual hierarchies, and is entirely in German, as opposed to the Greek and Latin phrases used here. Marie Steiner explained this apparent contradiction as follows:

Günther Schubert reports: “She [Marie Steiner] spoke recently about her memory of the great difficulty Rudolf Steiner experienced in reaching the decision to publish the verses of the 1923 laying of the Foundation Stone. In the end he toned down the direct approach to the hierarchies by making the salutation more abstract. He wanted this toned-down version to be the one used exclusively within members' circles too, for he said that there was a law attached to esoteric mantrams of such a cultic nature: The force with which they return is equal to that with which they are sent out, and it is therefore necessary to ask oneself whether one will be strong enough to endure this.” (GA 260, English Ed. 1990 p. 283 – 4).

Now, 81 years later, and after both versions have been published in book form, it seems to me that this new translation should not be “toned-down”, but made available to everyone who feels strong enough to endure its power.

Frank Thomas Smith

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