In these unique lectures, given to members of his Esoteric School (1904-1914), Rudolf Steiner illumines the hidden content of the pictorial language of myths, sagas, and legends. Pictures, he explains, are the true origin of all things—the primeval spiritual causes. In the ancient past, people assimilated these pictures through myths and legends. However, to work in a healthy way with pictures or symbols today it is necessary first to become acquainted with their esoteric essence and to understand them.
At the time of these lectures, Steiner was planning to inaugurate the second section or class of the Esoteric School, which would deal directly with a renewal—based on his spiritual research—of ritual and symbolism. He gave these lectures as a necessary preparation to clarify the history and nature of the ritual traditions. Thus, he principally discusses Freemasonry and its background, but also the Rosicrucians, Manicheism, the Druids, the Prometheus Saga, the Lost Temple, Cain and Able, and much more.
This series of lectures provides real insight into the esoteric language that Steiner used, particularly during the earlier years of his teaching.
Preliminary Remarks by the Editor
1. Whitsuntide—Festival of the Liberation of the Human Spirit
2. The Contrast between Cain and Abel
3. The Mysteries of the Druids and the "Drottes"
4. The Prometheus Saga
5. The Mystery Known to Rosicrucians
7. The Essence and Task of Freemasonry from the point of view of Spiritual Science, I
8. The Essence and Task of Freemasonry from the point of view of Spiritual Science, II
9. The Essence and Task of Freemasonry from the point of view of Spiritual Science, III
10. Evolution and Involution as They Are Interpreted by Occult Societies
11. Concerning the Lost Temple and How It Is to be Restored, I
12. Concerning the Lost Temple and How It Is to be Restored, II
13. Concerning the Lost Temple and How It Is to be Restored, III
14. Concerning the Lost Temple and How It Is to be Restored, IV
15. Atoms and the Logos in the Light of Occultism
16. The Relationship of Occultism to the Theosophical Movement
17. Freemasonry and Human Evolution, I
18. Freemasonry and Human Evolution, II
19. The Relationship between Occult Knowledge and Everyday Life
20. The Royal Art in a New Form
Goethe and His Connection with Rosicrucianism
Notebook Entries in Connection with Lectures in Berlin
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.