This is one of a series of posts discussing Rudolf Steiner’s Founding a Science of the Spirit: Fourteen Lectures Given in Stuttgart Between 22 August and 4 September 1906. Visit the tag Science of Spirit for all posts on this topic.
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It is that time of year again, late summer/early fall when the children are busily packing off to school each morning and I am once again re-immersed in the quirks of Waldorf education and Steiner’s philosophies. Calling upon god and the angels to give us strength and clear our path, I have to remind myself to breathe at the parent meeting as the teacher recites a blessing. It is meant — in my mind at least — as allegorical, god as a metaphor for the Universe, I will continue to hold to this thought.
There is the issue of Christ as a “Representative of Humanity” which is a concept I still struggle with, I understand Steiner’s point, allegorically, but the loaded language of Christ comes with Christian Science baggage. The seasonal festivals have religious language, the rapidly approaching fall equinox celebration is Michaelmas, where the Archangel Michael slays a dragon. I have issues with angels, but I think I can make an exception for one with a flaming golden sword.
A slim volume, Steiner’s Founding a Science of the Spirit: Fourteen Lectures Given in Stuttgart Between 22 August and 4 September 1906 sits on my desk. Perhaps this year I’ll manage to read it. The fourteen lectures sound like possible titles for a cross between a pseudo-scientific Netflix show and a series of TED talks, and then some of them just left me going “HUH?!”
- Life of Soul Kamaloka
- Human Tasks in the Higher Worlds
- Evolution of the Mankind up to Atlantean Times
- The Post-Atlantean Cultural Epochs
Now that I stop and think about it, is Evolution of the Mankind up to Atlantean Times really any stranger than everyone’s favorite weekly Bible Lesson Ancient and Modern Necromancy, alias Mesmerism and Hypnotism, Denounced? It was also a huge letdown, because we never actually talked about necromancy (yes, I was that child). I digress.
The first thing I noticed in looking these up is the titles vary slightly, as they were translated from Steiner’s original German into english. I am not sure I would be able to read Steiner in his original German. I struggled with Herman Hesse’s esoteric German in Siddhartha (good book, read it in the dual language edition) and I’m not sure if they even publish Steiner’s work in dual-language (so far the answer appears to be “not available at Amazon” but plenty of his other works are).
Esoteric strangeness aside, I would like to read Founding a Science of the Spirit in an attempt to better understand the underlaying foundations of the philosophies that are being used as the cornerstones of my children’s education. There are fourteen chapters, so my initial thought was I should try and read one a month, but that would make this project go on for over a year. One a week feels a bit too ambitious. One whenever I feel like it probably won’t happen, but I’m going to try anyway. So, keep an eye out for posts tagged Science of Spirit and join me as I dive headlong into the esoteric HUH?! of Rudolf Steiner.