Written and compiled by George Knowles
Rudolf Joseph Lorenz Steiner was a Austrian literary scholar, philosopher, theosophist and social reformer, an architect, playwright, artist and prolific lecturer on a wide range of subjects including: agriculture, the arts, education, medicine and spiritual development. He founded a ‘spiritual science’ movement called Anthroposophy, and created the first Waldorf School based on his own educational system that has since been adopted worldwide.
Born on the 25th February
1861, at Kraljeviç, Austria (now in Croatia),
from an early age Steiner showed a high level aptitude for learning.
However his father was a poor telegraph operator working for the Southern
Austria railway and could little afford him an expensive education. He later took a position as stationmaster near Vienna,
which enabled him to send his son to High
School in Wiener-Neustadt.
High School in 1879, Steiner enrolled at the
Vienna Institute of Technology to study Mathematics, Physics and Philosophy,
during which time he supported himself as a private tutor, often to his fellow
students. While there, he
became immersed in the philosophical writings
of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, and in 1882 was offered
a position as editor for a new edition of his scientific works.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
In his autobiography, Steiner tells us that when he was 21, while on his way home on the train from Vienna he met a gardener named Felix Koguzki, who gathered and sold herbs for a living. Koguzki spoke to him about the spiritual world, and of how he understood the language of plants, which told him what sicknesses they could heal. The gardener then introduced him to another traveller who Steiner identifies only as a “master”, but who had a great influence on Steiner’s later development, in particular, directing him to study the philosophy of Johann Gottlieb Fichte (a German philosopher who expounded a form of idealism).
graduation in 1883, Steiner continued working as an editor and archivist, and
throughout the 1880s worked on a complete edition of Goethe’s writings.
In 1890 he was invited to work at the prestigious Schiller-Goethe
Archives in Weimar, eastern Germany. In
the following year he received a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of
Rostock, and later published his dissertation as a book Wahrheit und
Wissenschaft (Truth and Science - 1892).
While working at the archives he also wrote his most important
philosophical work Die Philosophie der Freiheit (The Philosophy of
Freedom - 1894), an exploration of epistemology and ethics upon which humans
might become spiritually free beings.
Anna Eunike and Rudolf Steiner (approx 1900)
joined the Berlin branch of the Theosophical Society, and by 1902 was made
General Secretary of the Society in Germany.
During his numerous lectures on theology and relativism, he began to
develop his own philosophies for which he coined the term “Anthroposophy”
(meaning human wisdom) to describe his own system of “spiritual science”.
Among his early books devoted to Anthroposophy were Outline of Occult
Science (1909) and Outline of Esoteric Science (1910).
Annie Besant - Marie von Sivers
As war erupted across Europe, Steiner began to expand on his earlier anti-Semitic ideas, and the Threefold Social argued that the war showed a need for peaceful methods of conflict resolution. After the war, in 1919, he explored his educational ideas in a lecture to workers at the Waldorf-Astoria cigarette factory in Stuttgart, Germany, after which he was approached by the factory owner Emil Molt, who suggested he set up a school for the factory worker’s children modelled on his ideas. As a result, the first Waldorf School was founded and named after the factory.His ideas for social change fell mainly on deaf ears however, as the zeal for National Socialism led by Adolf Hitler began to spread throughout Germany. Indeed his ideas made him a target for extremist right-wing Nationalists, who made public threats against him and the Goetheanum. On New Year’s Eve 1922 the Goetheanum building was burned down by arsonists and all that remained was his frontispiece - a huge sculpture he had designed with the English sculptress Edith Maryon - 'The Representative of Humanity', a depiction of the spiritual forces active in the world and human beings. Undeterred, Steiner immediately began work on a second Goetheanum, but this time constructed of concrete. The new building was completed in 1928, three years after his death, and today is the main headquarters and cultural centre of Anthroposophy and its School of Spiritual Science.
Representative of Humanity
- The second Goetheanum
By the start of the 1920s Steiner had re-doubled the number of his lectures and began promoting not just his Social Reform ideas, but expanding his theories in many other areas of human endeavor. On Spirituality – his theories centred on the ‘human being’ rather than God, in that the spiritual world was accessible to a properly developed intellect. His term Anthroposophy implies “knowledge produced by the higher self in man”. According to Steiner, the innate spiritual capacity of the individual had long been suppressed by his devotion to materialism, but this can be overcome intellectually through meditation and concentration. He also believed in reincarnation, in that people are reincarnated several times before attaining complete self-consciousness.
Education - his Waldorf teaching concepts have been adopted all over the world.
The agricultural system he founded (Bio-dynamic agriculture) contributed
significantly to the development of today’s modern organic farming methods.
His work in anthroposophical
medicine has led to a wide range of complementary medications and therapies, while his
methods for teaching people with developmental disabilities are commonly used in
care homes and special needs schools. His paintings and drawings
have been exhibited in museums and galleries, and have influenced many modern
artists, and his Goetheanum buildings have inspired many of today’s leading
Toward the end of 1924 Steiner was forced to give up his lectures due to an unknown stomach illness; some even feared he had been poisoned, but no truth in this was ever found. Steiner died in Dornach on the 30th March 1925.
First published on the 11th February 2011 © George Knowles
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Sabbats and Rituals:
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Animals in Witchcraft (The Witches Familiar) / Antelope / Bats / Crow / Fox / Frog and Toads / Goat / Honeybee / Kangaroo / Lion / Owl / Phoenix / Rabbits and Hares / Raven / Robin Redbreast / Sheep / Spider / Squirrel / Swans / Unicorn / Wild Boar / Wolf / Serpent / Pig / Stag / Horse / Mouse / Cat
In Worship of Trees - Myths, Lore and the Celtic Tree Calendar. For descriptions and correspondences of the thirteen sacred trees of Wicca/Witchcraft see the following: Birch / Rowan / Ash / Alder / Willow / Hawthorn / Oak / Holly / Hazel / Vine / Ivy / Reed / Elder. Also see: The Willow Tree (Folk Music)
Rocks and Stones:
Articles contributed by Patricia Jean Martin: / Apophyllite / Amber / Amethyst / Aquamarine / Aragonite / Aventurine / Black Tourmaline / Bloodstone / Calcite / Carnelian / Celestite / Citrine / Chrysanthemum Stone / Diamond / Emerald / Fluorite / Garnet / Hematite / Herkimer Diamond / Labradorite / Lapis Lazuli / Malachite / Moonstone / Obsidian / Opal / Pyrite / Quartz (Rock Crystal) / Rose Quartz / Ruby / Selenite / Seraphinite / Silver and Gold / Smoky Quartz / Sodalite / Sunstone / Thunderegg / Tree Agate / Zebra Marble
Articles and Stories about Witchcraft:
Murder by Witchcraft / The Fairy Witch of Clonmel / A Battleship, U-boat, and a Witch / The Troll-Tear (A story for Children) / Goody Hawkins - The Wise Goodwife / The Story of Jack-O-Lantern / The Murder of the Hammersmith Ghost / Josephine Gray (The Infamous Black Widow) / The Two Brothers - Light and Dark
Old Masters of Academia:
(Ancient, Past and Present)
(Departed Pagan Pioneers, Founders, Elders and Others)
Abramelin the Mage / Agrippa / Aidan A. Kelly / Albertus Magnus “Albert the Great” / Aleister Crowley “The Great Beast” / Alex Sanders "the King of the Witches” / Alison Harlow / Amber K / Anna Franklin / Anodea Judith / Anton Szandor LaVey / Arnold Crowther / Arthur Edward Waite / Austin Osman Spare / Biddy Early / Bridget Cleary / Carl Llewellyn Weschcke / Cecil Hugh Williamson / Charles Godfrey Leland / Charles Walton / Christina Oakley Harrington / Damh the Bard (Dave Smith) / Dion Fortune / Dolores Aschroft-Nowicki / Dorothy Morrison / Doreen Valiente / Edward Fitch / Eleanor Ray Bone “Matriarch of British Witchcraft” / Dr. John Dee and Edward Kelly / Dr. Leo Louis Martello / Eliphas Levi / Ernest Thompson Seton / Ernest Westlake and the Order of Woodcraft Chivalry / Fiona Horne / Friedrich von Spee / Francis Barrett / Gerald B. Gardner / Gavin and Yvonne Frost and the School and Church of Wicca / Gwydion Pendderwen / Hans Holzer / Helen Duncan / Herman Slater "Horrible Herman" / Israel Regardie / James "Cunning" Murrell / Janet Farrar & Gavin Bone / Jessie Wicker Bell “Lady Sheba” / John Belham-Payne / John George Hohman / John Gerard / John Gordon Hargrave (the White Fox) / John Michael Greer / John Score / Johannes Junius the Burgomaster of Bamberg / Joseph John Campbell / Karl von Eckartshausen / Laurie Cabot "the Official Witch of Salem" / Lewis Spence / Margaret Alice Murray / Margot Adler / Marie Laveau the " Voodoo Queen of New Orleans" / Marion Weinstein / Matthew Hopkins “The Witch-Finder General” / Max Ehrmann and the Desiderata / Monique Wilson the “Queen of the Witches” / Montague Summers / Nicholas Culpeper / Nicholas Remy / M. R. Sellers / Mrs. Grieve "A Modern Herbal" / Oberon and Morning Glory Zell-Ravenheart / Old Dorothy Clutterbuck / Old George Pickingill / Paddy Slade / Pamela Colman-Smith / Paracelsus / Patricia Crowther / Patricia Monaghan / Patricia “Trish” Telesco / Philip Emmons Isaac Bonewits / Philip Heselton / Raymond Buckland / Reginald Scot / Robert Cochrane / Robert ‘von Ranke’ Graves and "The White Goddess" /Rudolf Steiner / Rosaleen Norton “The Witch of Kings Cross” / Ross Nichols and The Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids / Sabrina - The Ink Witch / Scott Cunningham / Selena Fox / Silver Ravenwolf / Sir Francis Dashwood / Sir James George Frazer / S.L. MacGregor Mathers and the “Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn” / Starhawk / Stewart Farrar / Sybil Leek / Ted Andrews / The Mather Family - includes: Richard Mather, Increase Mather, Cotton Mather / Thomas Ady / Vera Chapman / Victor Henry Anderson / Vivianne Crowley / Walter Brown Gibson / William Butler Yeats / Zsuzsanna Budapest
Many of the above biographies are brief and far from complete. If you know about any of these individuals and can help with aditional information, please cantact me privately at my email address below. Many thanks for reading :-)
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