- Publisher: Rudolf Steiner Press
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0854400575
- ISBN-13: 978-0854400577
- Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
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Marie Steiner-von Sivers: Fellow Worker with Rudolf Steiner
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Text: English (translation)
Original Language: German --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
About the Author
Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925) was born in the small village of Kraljevec, Austro-Hungarian Empire (now in Croatia), where he grew up. As a young man, he lived in Weimar and Berlin, where he became a well-published scientific, literary, and philosophical scholar, known especially for his work with Goethe’s scientific writings. At the beginning of the twentieth century, he began to develop his early philosophical principles into an approach to systematic research into psychological and spiritual phenomena. Formally beginning his spiritual teaching career under the auspices of the Theosophical Society, Steiner came to use the term Anthroposophy (and spiritual science) for his philosophy, spiritual research, and findings. The influence of Steiner’s multifaceted genius has led to innovative and holistic approaches in medicine, various therapies, philosophy, religious renewal, Waldorf education, education for special needs, threefold economics, biodynamic agriculture, Goethean science, architecture, and the arts of drama, speech, and eurythmy. In 1924, Rudolf Steiner founded the General Anthroposophical Society, which today has branches throughout the world. He died in Dornach, Switzerland.--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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In the Introduction, Marie Steiner relates how eurythmy comes into existence through the three processes of Intuition, Inspiration, and Imagination. First her overall summary.
[page 35] So actually eurythmy came into existence when what works unconsciously in the human being to transform his capacity for movement into speech is subsequently recalled from speech and returned to the capacity for movement. Thus an element which belongs to Inspiration becomes an element belonging to Imagination.
This will not make much sense to someone new to eurythmy, and it wouldn't have to me except that I have had the opportunity to talk to Bradford Riley. When he talks, eurythmy gestures are an integral part of his speech. The gestures are a natural expression of our way of talking, but a way that has become unconscious to us today. Consider eurythmy as a way of learning consciously what we as human beings only know as unconscious, up until now. We write a poem and we feel its effect inside of us, that is Intuition at work. Then we recite the poem and Inspiration is at work inside of us. If you then allow the poem to settle into you and express itself as movement, you have Imagination at work inside you and its effect is visible as eurythmy to others. Marie Steiner explains it in detail.
[page 35, 36] Consider, dear friends, a poem living in your soul. When you have entirely identified yourself inwardly with this poem and have taken it into yourself to such an extent and so strongly that you no longer need any words but have only feelings and can experience these feelings in your soul, then you are living in Intuition. Then let us assume that you recite or declaim the poem. You endeavor, in the vowel sounds, in the harmonies, in the rhythm, in the movement of the consonants, in tempo, beat and so on, to express in speech through recitation or declamation what lies in those feelings. What you experience when doing this is Inspiration. The element of Inspiration takes what lives purely in the soul, where it is localized in the nervous system, and pushes it down into larynx, palate and so on.
Finally let this sink down into your human limbs, so that in your own creation of form through movement you express what lies in speech; then, in the poem brought into eurythmy, you have the third element, Imagination.
And, now, in a concise summary:
[page 36] In the picture of the descent of world evolution down to man you have that scale which human beings have to re-ascend, from Imagination through Inspiration to Intuition. In the poem transformed into eurythmy you have Imagination; in the recitation and declamation you have Inspiration as a picture; and in the entirely inward experience of the poem, in which there is no need to open your mouth because your experience is totally inward and you are utterly identified with it and have become one with it, in this you have Intuition.
In an earlier meeting in April, 1923, Rudolf Steiner explained that the Anthroposophical Society was not organized in any recognizable way; that it existed mainly as a movement, the Anthroposophical Movement, and that a conference was needed to give the Anthroposophical Society a genuine task, and he exhorted the members present:
[page 38] I beg you, my dear friends, not to break up today without a result. Come to the point of setting a task for the Anthroposophical Society which can win a certain degree of respect from other people.
From this and other planning meetings, the agenda for the Christmas Conference emerged with the goal of uniting the mishmash of local and national societies under the umbrella of a truly international society headquartered in Dornach. Steiner opened the conference stating that the new Society will be located in Dornach, on Swiss soil, but will have no national character and will always consider itself a guest of the Swiss in the realm of ideals. Steiner had to deal the sharing the Statutes of the new Society and having each Statute ratified by those present. A first reading without comment was followed by a second reading of each Statute, with questions allowed, and a vote taken on each Statute. With deft diplomacy Steiner answered the objections raised and obtained a unanimous vote on each one. To move to the kind of Society that Steiner envisioned, he had determined after long consideration that he would have to be its Founding President, and he was so accepted as such.
[page 51] By hinting at moods of soul I am indicating what it was that moved me to take on the task of being President of the Anthroposophical Society myself. This Anthroposophical Society -- such things can often happen -- has been called by a good many names. Thus, for example, it has been called the 'International Anthroposophical Society'. Dear friends, it is to be neither international nor a national society. I beg you heartily never use the word 'international society' but always to speak simply of a 'General Anthroposophical Society' which wants to have center here at the Goetheanum in Dornach.
When I read this, it clarified for me why the name General Anthroposophical Society came into being. I found myself immediately in agreement with Steiner's averseness to the use of "international" in its name. I especially found resonance with his requirement that nothing administrative be contained in the Statutes. Oh, if only the United States of America's Constitution were designed that way!
[page 51] You will see that the Statutes are formulated in a way that excludes anything administrative, anything that could ever of own accord turn into bureaucracy. These Statutes are tuned to whatever is purely human. They are not tuned to principles or to dogmas.
Think of it: if there can be no soil in which bureaucracy can grow, then there would be no coercive bureaucracy, which has grown like rampant weeds in the USA's government exactly as specified in the Statutes of its Constitution, senselessly choking out all that is human from the government, until all that is left is noxious weeds. Rightly understood, government cannot operate in the presence of such weeds and turns into a so-called government, a coercive bureaucracy, one that necessarily harbors the seeds of its own destruction. Steiner was wiser than anyone else in his time, and knew the correct model for a true government of the Anthroposophical Society. Reading the proceedings of this Christmas Conference has given me to understand that I can join the Anthroposophical Society in complete freedom.
[page 52] Those who wish to join this Society are not expected to adhere to any principle. No religious confession, no scientific conviction, no artistic intention is set up in any dogmatic way. The only thing that is required is that those who join should feel at home in being linked to what is going on at the Goetheanum.
I began my study of Rudolf Steiner because I found small books of his in an occult bookstore. Over the course of a dozen years, I bought about ten of them, read them all, and was still wondering what he was talking about it. His books were clearly important and said important things, but the sense of what they were saying was beyond my ken at the time. Yet, I asked myself, why do I keep buying his books. You have probably guessed that these were all books containing his lectures given to members of the Anthroposophical Society who had studied Steiner's basic books and were able to make sense of his lectures. With the new presence of the internet, my first question was, "What should I be reading of Rudolf Steiner's works?" Soon I had a laundry list of his books that were not lectures, but books written by Steiner that presumed no previous training or knowledge of his work in spiritual science. They were a revelation to me. None of those books were at that occult bookstore since the owner simply ordered extra copies whenever someone in one of her study groups ordered a book from her and put them on the bookshelves. Steiner was urged not sell these books to the public, which if that advice had been heeded, I might never have come to Steiner's works at all. This is how he laid down the principle regarding lecture cycles and their sales.
[page 54] In future all the cycles, without exemption, are to be sold publicly, just like any other books. But, suppose, dear friends, there was a book about the integration of partial differential equations. For a great many people such a book is very esoteric indeed. . . . The book, however, may be sold to anybody. . . . As you can see, there is no harm in the judgment of someone who understands nothing the matter, for he is a dilettante, an amateur. In this instance life itself draws the line between the capacity to judge and the lack of capacity to judge.
Thus as regards anthroposophical knowledge we can at least try to draw the line morally and no longer physically. We sell the cycles to all who wish to have them but declare from the start who can be considered competent to form a valid judgment on them, a judgment by which we can set some store. And we also declare that in future we shall no longer take any account of judgments passed on the cycles by those who are amateurs. This is the only moral protection available to us.
Notice that what Steiner considers to be moral is completely devoid of coercion, a lesson all governments who wish to remain true governments and not devolve into coercive bureaucracies will overlook to their own peril. Steiner declares at the end of his closing remarks that the new General Anthroposophical Society "must become a Society of attitudes and not a Society of statutes. The Statutes are to express externally what is alive within every soul." (Page 57) Someday a government based on a set of attitudes instead of binding statutes will arise and will begin as and remain as a true government without coercion at any level.
The Foundation Stone was buried under the first Goetheanum. It was designed by Rudolf Steiner as a double dodecahedral solid: two pentagonal dodecahedrons, one large and one small attached to each other. The smaller one to represent the human being and the larger one to represent the cosmos. Although the physical foundation stone was lowered into the ground some seven years earlier, it survived the fire which burnt down the original Goetheanum (whose etheric form yet hovers over the site) and could equally well act as the Foundation Stone both for the new Goetheanum (whose future spirit hovered over the site) and the General Anthroposophical Society whose reality the Christmas Conference was bringing into existence. Let us listen to Steiner benediction of the Foundation Stone.
[page 72] When now, at this moment, we unite these three forces, the forces of the heights, the forces of the circumference, the forces of the depths, in a substance that gives form, then in the understanding of our soul we can bring face to face the universal dodecahedron with the human dodecahedron. Out of these three forces: out of the spirit of the heights, out of the force of Christ in the circumference, out of the working of the Father, the creative activity of the Father that streams out of the depths, let us at this moment give form in our souls to the dodecahedral Foundation Stone which we lower into the soil of our souls so that it may remain there a powerful sign in the strong foundations of our soul existence and so that in the future working of the Anthroposophical Society we may stand on this firm Foundation Stone.
And let us now lower the same Foundation Stone into the soil of our soul, let it grow in us as we move forward as a threefold being and lower it into the soil of our hearts.
[page 72] Let us seek in the threefold being of man, which teaches us love, which teaches us the universal Imagination, which teaches us the universal thoughts; let us seek, in this threefold being, the substance of universal love which we lay as the foundation, let us seek in this threefold being the archetype of the Imagination according to which we shape the universal love within our hearts, let us seek the power of thoughts from the heights which enable us to let shine forth in fitting manner this dodecahedral Imagination which has received its form through love! Then shall we carry away with us from here what we need.
With these words providing the frame for several recitations of the Foundation Stone Meditation in various forms (See below to read the Meditation.) the meeting began of the Secretaries of various societies. When Foundation Meeting continued on 26 December 10 am, Rudolf Steiner spoke of the openness that the new Society must ever exhibit, eschewing any tendency toward secrecy at any level, at any time. He had apparently seen those tendencies in various other societies, especially the Theosophical Society, and stated once and for all time there will be complete openness in the newly founded General Anthroposophical Society.
[page 98] But today, early on, I want to say the following: As we saw in the necessary content of the Statutes, we have to connect total openness with the Anthroposophical Society. Anything less, dear friends, is not permitted by the signs of the times. The present age can no longer tolerate any tendency towards secrecy. This presents us with a fundamental problem which we shall have to solve. . . . We must be absolutely clear about the fact that our Society, before all others, will be given the task of combining the greatest conceivable openness with true and genuine esotericism.
Then followed the first reading of statutes, then the second reading with question and answers and voting on each statute (each of which passed unanimously). Paragraph 2 of the Statutes says in part that the cultivation of a science of the spiritual world will be the task of the Society. "It will endeavor to fulfill this task by making the anthroposophical spiritual science cultivated at the Goetheanum in Dornach the center of its activities . . ." (Page 122) which brought a question from Herr Van Leer: "The Goetheanum is mentioned here; but we have no Goetheanum." Steiner answers:
[page 125] We are not of the opinion that we have no Goetheanum. My dear Herr van Leer, we are of the opinion that we have no building, but that as soon as possible we shall have one. We are of the opinion that Goetheanum continues to exist. For this very reason, and also out of the deep needs of our heart, it was necessary last year, while the flames were still burning, to continue with the work here on the very next day, without, as Herr Steffen said, having slept. For we had to prove to the world that we stand here as a Goetheanum in the soul, as a Goetheanum of the soul, which of course must receive an external building as soon as possible. . . . what we see with our physical eyes therefore does not prevent us from saying 'at the Goetheanum' . . . The Goetheanum does stand before our spiritual eyes!
And by 1928, a short four years later, a magnificent concrete Goetheanum was opened for use, a Goetheanum of the soul then and now present to both our spiritual eyes and physical eyes. It was points like this that Steiner made in response to questions that makes the proceedings of the Christmas Conference so valuable. Mr. Collison added an important comment which helped lubricate the process of getting through the Statutes.
[page 142] MR COLLISON: Please pardon me, as a very old member, for saying a few words about the Statutes. We have now come to point 4. I believe that it cannot be our intention to improve on these Statutes. Dr Steiner has put so much effort into them and they are truly all-embracing. It seems to me that any debate on the various points should serve the purpose solely of asking any questions there might be about the meaning or the extent of any of them. [Lengthy applause.]
To forestall any questions about how the Classes should be laid out or, God forbid, administered, Steiner gave a lengthy exposition on the subject which anyone who works in modern-day academia or governmental organization should find some resonance with. He sarcastically refers to the Classes as Sections to help make his point. His metaphor of "Cloud-cuckoo-land" for "abstract thinking" is marvelous. He wanted instead an emphasis on being with activities already underway to form the Classes. A living process instead of a fairyland process.
[page 144, 145] What is usually the consequence of such a way of thinking? It is a structure that lies in the realm of Cloud-cuckoo-land. And on the top of that, this structure has to be administered! So then you start hunting for suitable people, you look around all over the place for people who have to fit into the first, the second, the third Section, and finally they are somehow juggled in by means of some sort of election or something. Usually what then becomes apparent is that they settle as though into a chrysalis in their particular department in the scheme; they creep into their chrysalis, but no butterfly emerges. So let us not proceed in an abstract way.
His characterization of a bureaucrat as someone who builds a chrysalis around oneself out of which no butterfly ever emerges is an apt metaphor for the modern bureaucrat. His metaphor for the need for money was equally ingenious.
 For just as human beings cannot live on air alone, so is it also not possible to exist with the Anthroposophical Movement if our idealism does not occasionally reach for our wallet.
Later when no one wishes to ask questions about Paragraph 6 of the Statutes, Steiner says, "Mr. Collison really is a magician!" When he was later asked if the national economy course constituted a cycle (of lectures), Steiner replied in part, "In one way I am quite grateful to you for giving me the opportunity to speak about this rather vexed question." A vexing question has the nature of what I call an "unanswered question,"(1) that is, a question which one does not immediately dispense with off-hand by some glib response, but which one allows to continue to vex, to trouble, to remain unanswered in one's mind, and, perhaps as Steiner did, to share with other people who could also ponder the question and help come up with an answer. Again a masterful handling of the question by Steiner.
This Paragraph of the Statutes is magnificent and should be tattooed on every would-be anthroposophist's mind.
[page 156, 157] Paragraph 9. The purpose of the Anthroposophical Society will be the furtherance of spiritual science research; that of the School of Spiritual Science will be this research itself. A dogmatic stand in any field whatsoever is to be excluded from the Anthroposophical Society.
In case there were nascent bureaucrats in his audience, Steiner immediately added this caveat in his comments about Paragraph 9, "And it has to be stressed that anything dogmatic is excluded from the administration of the Anthroposophical Society." Any person or organization which criticizes the Steiner or Waldorf Schools today for teaching some religious dogma is simply displaying their own ignorance of the founding principles of the Anthroposophical Society.
Steiner points out later in response to questions that "pedantic statutes can be the source of much that has to be settled by tact." He certainly gives masterful examples of handling issues by tact during the second reading of the Statutes, but feels a need to be more explicit.
[page 174] I am altogether of the opinion that in the management of a society not much can be achieved by a pedantic head. It may have its place elsewhere, certainly, but in the management of a society such as the one to be founded here a pedantic head is quite harmful. What we need are sensitive fingertips. The more we can manage the Society through our sensitive fingertips the better things will be.
Later Steiner adds "We need courtesy." Having resigned from an organization recently due to its lack of courtesy, I agree wholeheartedly with Steiner's exhortation below.
[page 229] We shall urgently have to make it our task that courtesy is not the least of the unwritten paragraphs of our Statutes.
On the evening of December 31, 1923, Steiner's lecture dealt with "The Envy of the Gods -- the Envy of Human Beings." It was one year ago to the day that he had given a lecture in the original Goetheanum and several hours later he had been roused from his bed to learn that the magnificent wooden structure was completely engulfed in flames. In a previous lifetime Steiner and Ita Wegman may have been high priests together in the great Temple to Diana in Ephesus(2). This temple was later set fire to by an arsonist named Herostratos. In the chill of the New Year's morning of 1923, Steiner and Wegman they stood together to watch a temple they had created burn to the ground, likely by another arsonist. It was the burning of the Goetheanum that led Wegman to ask Steiner about their previous lifetimes together, and during his answers, he revealed their presence at Ephesus, among other lifetimes. About the phrase "envy of the gods" Steiner tells us:
 Such words are always seen when one looks in spirit towards the deed of Herostratos, the burning of the temple at Ephesus. In the flames the ancient words stand out: The envy of the gods.
Next he gives us a definition of what the word "god" means:
[page 233] In those olden times the word 'god' was used to describe anything that lived as a supersensible being without ever needing to appear on earth in a physical body.
Perhaps the destruction of the Tower of Babel as mentioned in the Bible illustrates an example of the envy of the gods for the towering accomplishment of human beings. Steiner is careful to note that the divine and good spiritual beings responsible for our human development cannot become envious. He directs us to the ahrimanic and luciferic spirits who are envious of our approach to the good gods.
[page 233] But those divine spiritual beings who are so closely linked with mankind that the human being in his inmost nature has come into existence through them and has been sent by them on his journey through the ages, those beings we sense in the majesty and in the minutest appearances of outer nature, those divine spiritual beings cannot become envious. Yet in olden times the envy of the gods denoted something very real. Following the human race in its development up to about the time of Ephesus we find that indeed the more advanced human individuals had taken for themselves much of what the good gods had been glad to give them in the Mysteries. It is quite right to say that an intimate relationship exists between the good human hearts and the good gods, a relationship made ever more close in the Mysteries. Thus the realization came about in the souls of certain other luciferic and ahrimanic godly beings that human beings were being drawn ever closer to the good gods. And thus arose the envy of the gods towards man. Again and again we hear in history that a human being striving for the spirit, if he meets with a tragic destiny, is described as having been a victim of the envy of the gods.
The Foundation Stone has been laid, the Statutes have been read, discussed, and approved, and the General Anthroposophical Society has been founded by Rudolf Steiner who promised us that a new Goetheanum, even greater than the first one in many ways, would be built upon the Bloody Hill in Dornach. That Hill, which was first consecrated by the blood of the soldiers of the Swiss Confederacy, whose blood was spilled there in that successful battle to retain their freedom and independence forever, was later sanctified by the bonfire that engulfed the magnificent wooden temple designed by the mind of Rudolf Steiner and carved and painted by his own hands. Two great sacrifices took place on that Hill and now a great temple of Spiritual Science holds its doors open to humankind who might else sleepwalk through the world using ideas for earthly objects but for the Goetheanum and the spiritual realities it brings forth through its architecture, its paintings, its windows, its great performances, and its many people who carry on today the society founded by Rudolf Steiner nearly a century ago.
Read the rest of this review and its footnotes in DIGESTWORLD No. 13a by Bobby Matherne.