Rudolf Steiner’s last illness and last verse

As far as I’m aware, the exact nature of Rudolf Steiner’s last illness has never been established. He took to his sick bed on September 28th 1924, straight after having had to cut short a lecture in Dornach because of exhaustion and physical weakness. Rather than go to his apartment in Haus Hansi, Steiner opted to be cared for in the primitively equipped studio – not much more than a wooden barracks – where he had worked with Edith Maryon on carving the statue of the Representative of Man. It was here that he had all his working papers, and his library was close at hand; but there was not much else to recommend it as a sick room. The studio had no windows, only a skylight; there was no kitchen and the boards of the wooden walls were thin and the cold of winter came through them – and he was often disturbed by the construction noise from the work on the second Goetheanum nearby. Here he was attended, mainly by Dr. Ita Wegman who stayed in a small side-room off the studio, and on occasions by Dr Ludwig Noll and others.

Steiner 1924

Dr Rudolf Steiner in 1920.

We know that his digestion was extremely delicate and had been so for some years before this. In the last months of his life, he seems to have been unable to take in anything except the smallest quantities of food. I think we can safely discount the rumour that he had been poisoned at a tea party on January 1st 1924, not least because Steiner himself tried to quash this on three occasions and the physicians attending him all said that this was not the case. I’m also inclined to discount the idea, which Marie Steiner put forward and Sergei Prokofieff subsequently developed, that Steiner had taken on the karma of the members of the Anthroposophical Society but that they had failed to respond to the opportunity given them at the Christmas Foundation Conference and had therefore somehow through the operation of an occult law brought Steiner to a premature end.

Edith Maryon, who had stood with Steiner and watched the burning of the first Goetheanum on New Year’s Eve 1922, died in 1924 after a long and painful illness. Speaking in May 1924 after her death, Steiner said this:

The seed of Miss Maryon’s illness was planted in her during the night in which the Goetheanum burned down. And from what was started with that seed during the night when the Goetheanum burned she could not be healed, not even with the most attentive and skilled care.

220px-Edith_Maryon

Edith Maryon, the English sculptor and close colleague of Rudolf Steiner

Did this also apply to Steiner himself? It seems likely. The signs of his illness had appeared some years previously and were seen by those who worked closely with him but weren’t noticed by more casual observers until the beginning of 1924, that annus mirabilis in which he achieved superhuman feats of work, despite being so ill. Many eye-witnesses attested to the phenomenon of Steiner, who looked ill and exhausted before a lecture, gaining strength and vitality as soon as he began to speak, so much so that people thought he had recovered from whatever was ailing him. Actors who have been ill before a performance often experience this phenomenon of suddenly gaining new life and energy when they go on stage – they call it “Dr Theatre”.

burning goetheanum

The smoking ruins of the first Goetheanum, thought to have been destroyed by an arsonist.

What we do know is that by the last six months of his life, Steiner had lost a lot of weight, did not have the least appetite, his physical strength was so reduced that he had to be supported when he stood up and he suffered from very painful haemorrhoids. An enlarged prostate had caused a urinary tract blockage, which must also have been very painful – particularly as I suspect he did not allow Dr Wegman to catheterise him, and so this had to wait until Dr Noll was able to visit.

But even after he had taken to his sickbed, Steiner worked incessantly. He was writing his biography, The Course of My Life, writing the Letters to Members and the Leading Thoughts, reading the daily newspapers, studying the latest scientific and literary articles, and speed-reading piles of books which his secretary, Guenther Wachsmuth, brought in for him every day. He also dealt with masses of correspondence and all the details of the construction of the second Goetheanum, as well as holding regular conferences with Albert Steffen about editorial matters for two weekly periodicals.

In the draft she prepared for a lecture about Steiner in 1931, Dr Ita Wegman, Steiner’s main physician, said the following:

Through the burning of the Goetheanum, which shattered his physical body – there was a powerful loosening of the etheric body, even a separation of the etheric from the physical – his health became ever more delicate. “In comparison to other people, I have really already died on earth,” was something he often said. “My ego and astral body direct the physical body and supplement the etheric.…”

The question that arises again and again: what are we to understand by illness of an initiate, why speak of an illness in the case of Rudolf Steiner? That is what I want to try to answer here.

Well, why did he get sick? The delicate physical body was left behind too much and for too long by the soul-spiritual which was working in its very own homeland. The physical body was left to its own weight and physical laws, so that it became weaker and the digestion failed.

wegman

Dr Ita Wegman, Steiner’s close colleague and main physician during his last illness.

Steiner seems to have believed (or at least told others) up until very close to the end, that he would prevail over the illness. He died on the morning of March 30th 1925 without having been able to resume any of the lectures or overseas visits he had planned. Two weeks or so before his death, he wrote the following verse:

 I want with cosmic spirit

To enthuse each human being

That a flame they may become

And fiery will unfold

The essence of their being.

 

The other ones, they strive

To take from cosmic waters

What will extinguish flames

And pour paralysis

Into all inner being.

 

O joy, when human being’s flame

Is blazing, even when at rest.

O bitter pain, when the human thing

Is put in bonds, when it wants to stir.

 

(Ich möchte jeden Menschen

Aus des Kosmos Geist entzünden

Daß er Flamme werde

Und feurig seines Wesens Wesen

Entfalte.

 

Die Anderen, sie möchten

Aus des Kosmos Wasser nehmen

Was die Flammen verlöscht,

Und wässrig alles Wesen

Im Innern lähmt.

 

O Freude, wenn die Menschenflamme

Lodert, auch da wo sie ruht.

O Bitternis, wenn das Menschending

Gebunden wird, da wo es regsam sein möchte.)

 

I find it intensely moving that Steiner’s last year of life was spent in working harder and harder, despite all his physical ailments, to get across to people the magnificence of what it is to be a human being and to help each person to find that spiritual flame of the true self. For those of us who love Steiner, one way we can express that is to try to help others to see the choice they have between unfolding the essence of their true being or becoming the “human thing” chained down by materialistic illusions.

Christian Morgenstern expressed it beautifully:

I have seen THE HUMAN BEING in his deepest aspect,

I know the world, down to its foundation stones.

 

Its meaning, I have learned is love alone,

And I am here to love, and ever love again.

 

I spread out my arms, as HE spread HIS,

To embrace the whole wide world as HE has done.

58 Comments

Filed under Anthroposophy, Rudolf Steiner, Rudolf Steiner poisoning

58 responses to “Rudolf Steiner’s last illness and last verse

  1. I think we can safely discount the rumour that he had been poisoned at a tea party on January 1st 1924, not least because Steiner himself tried to quash this on three occasions and the physicians attending him all said that this was not the case.

    Whoa, Jeremy! Not so fast! I will give you the benefit of the doubt here and assume that you are completely ignorant of the two corroborating eyewitness testimonies, one from Marie Steiner herself, that establish direct testimony from Rudolf Steiner that he believed someone had poisoned him during the Christmas Conference “eurythmy tea” event on January 1, 1924.

    So indeed if there were “rumours” of Steiner being poisoned, then they were instigated by Rudolf Steiner himself!

    I would also be very interested in you verifying the “3 occasions” where you say that Steiner “quashed” the rumours, since he himself is the very source of said rumours!

    In the meantime, I would like to provide you here with my own translations of the eyewitness testimonies of Marie Steiner and Ilona Schubert, a young eurythmy student. In addition, I link to the first ever official public statement made about the poisoning in 1976 by Vorstand member, Rudolf Grosse.

    I posted these accounts 7 years ago on WC

    Tom
    ——————————
    [1]The Eyewitness Account of Marie Steiner
    (first published by Lidia Gentilli in her book : “A Recollection of Marie Steiner”:
    https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/waldorf-critics/conversations/topics/10135

    [2] A second eyewitness account of Ilona Schubert, who at the time was an 18 year old eurythmy student, bringing tea, coffee, pastries and cake to the guests assembled in the auditorium.
    https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/waldorf-critics/conversations/messages/10161

    [3] The third account is not an eyewitness account, but is significant because it is the first public mention of the incident by a member of the Vorstand, Rudolf Grosse, who published it in 1976 in his book about the Christmas Conference.
    https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/waldorf-critics/conversations/messages/10168

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    • Dear Tom,
      May I refer you to Volume 1 of J E Zeylmans van Emmichoven’s magisterial 4-volume work, “Who Was Ita Wegman?”. On page 216, the author says: “For Rudolf Steiner, having to accept treatment and care was deeply repugnant. When he heard that rumours were spreading amongst the members of the Anthroposophical Society that he had fallen victim to poisoning, he himself formulated three reports on his condition for the Bulletin Board and for the Newssheet”. The author then reproduces these three reports, dated October 2nd, October 11th and October 19th 1924. They are too long for me to type out here but you can find them in the book.

      You are correct that Steiner himself, in the immediate shock of becoming very ill, said that he had been poisoned; and also that Marie Steiner and Ilona Schubert believed this until the end of their days. I suppose there is no way of ever knowing what really happened. But Zeylmans goes on to say: “The talk of poisoning, however, has not been muted, even until today. It was cheerfully spread about, by even the closest colleagues. Such rumours have always worked poisonously among the anthroposophists and continue to do so today. The “poison theory” was dealt with indisputably, once and for all, by Steiner himself, as well as by the attending physicians.”

      Zeylmans goes on to say: “Whoever wants to consider the possibility, which cannot be absolutely excluded, that an attempt to poison Steiner took place, ought to ponder the following:

      1. If indeed such an attempt took place, it did not succeed: Steiner continued his work without interruption …for nine more months. He had to interrupt his lecturing for entirely different health reasons (exhaustion, urinary tract obstruction).

      2. Various witnesses, (among them, Ita Wegman) have related that already in the years before this time, Rudolf Steiner had an overly sensitive stomach and that was why he was extremely careful about food and drink. So his words to Gottfried Houseman in 1924, that he was “suffering from stomach poisoning”, were thoroughly in accordance with the whole profile of his illness.”

      Guenther Wachsmuth, who saw Steiner every day during his last illness, has also written in his book, “The Life and Work of Rudolf Steiner”: “Although Rudolf Steiner himself corrected the errors appearing here and there during his illness, nevertheless both then and later other false assumptions were spread. Thus even a legend has surfaced, that his illness was caused by poisoning, that the illness started at the end of 1923 and other untrue surmises. For those who were close to Rudolf Steiner in his last years and also accompanied him on his trips, the first symptoms of his illness had been anxiously experienced already earlier. For the foregoing reasons, let it be said here that at his death a medical examination took place, at which three physicians were present: Dr I Wegman, Dr L. Noll and Dr H Walter. I was also present. The previously held diagnosis was confirmed, so that the assumption expressed in so many places that poisoning had occurred in no way applied. This is declared to avoid the creation of legends.”

      So Tom, I think you and Marie Steiner are partly responsible for the propagation of these legends! But they don’t appear to be true.

      Regards,

      Jeremy

      Liked by 1 person

      • Steve Hale

        Rudolf Steiner expressed in letters written to Marie Steiner in the days following the onset of his final illness, i.e., September 28, 1924, that it all could be traced back to the fire that burned down the Goetheanum. This is when his etheric body substantively went up with the flames, and he had to withdraw for a time during the fire in order to conduct an act of will to remain on earth in order to complete his full mission.

        Thus, from 1923 onward, he lived largely in his astral body, with a much diminished etheric body because of the fire. This had the effect of changing his relationship to his listening audience, wherein beforehand, he could encompass the group soul of the audience he was speaking to, and now, he could enter individual souls themselves. This is how the Being Anthroposophia was seen as a “Living Being”, and working in these souls; which served to prove what had been developing all along since the advent of the Anthroposophical Movement in 1900/1901.

        Sergei Prokofieff in the fifth supplement of his book: May Human Beings Hear It!, explains “The Tragedy of 1 January 1924” in full detail, and its underlying cause going back to the burning of the Goetheanum in the morning hours of 1 January 1923. As a Vorstand member, and recognized esoteric leader of the GAS, his book is the fully approved authority today about Steiner’s illness, and the poisoning, which did take place. Steiner refused anyone to talk about it because he didn’t want the perpetrator(s) to know that they had succeeded. As well, he fully intended to go on as normal for as long as it lasted, which alas was reduced from nine more years to just nine more months of active lecturing.

        https://books.google.com/books?id=7TJ888LyxacC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false

        Steve

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      • I’m afraid that I don’t have the same high opinion of Prokofieff that others do – in my view, he was Lucifer’s man in the Vorstand.

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      • Hello Jeremy!

        Let me state here for the record that I am in complete 100% agreement with you that Rudolf Steiner was NOT poisoned by some evil assassin. If he were poisoned in such a way, it would have been an “inside job” and the prime suspects would be Marie Steiner and Guenther Wachsmuth.

        (Alicia may remember the above WC thread from 2009 where she and Frank Thomas Smith were speculating about the detective work involved in solving such a crime of poisoning.)

        However, it is clear from these two eyewitness accounts that Rudolf Steiner BELIEVED that someone had poisoned him and possibly the other members of the Vorstand present at the tea. And it is also true, as Alicia alludes to in her comment above, that Rudolf Steiner also BELIEVED that the Goetheanum fire was arson. Yet the Basel Fire Department’s report on the arson was at best inconclusive.

        However, once again, Rudolf Steiner was the source of the arson rumor, because he simply declared it was arson – without any evidence except his own belief – to the Basel newspaper reporting on the fire.

        (In fact, Jeremy, the photo you posted above of the smoldering ruins is from that very Basel newspaper article where they quote Steiner declaring it was arson. )

        Now since the Goetheanum fire is also implicated in the etiology of Steiner’s deadly illness, then here is a posting I made on WC where I translated a few passages from GA 259, which includes the official documentation of everything related to the fire.
        https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/waldorf-critics/conversations/messages/27611

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      • Jeremy,

        You might be interested in reading your favorite professional historian’s quite detailed account of the Goetheanum fire as well as the charge of arson.

        https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/waldorf-critics/conversations/messages/27598

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      • Thank you for this and your previous comment re the arson theory, Tom. You have given me another idea for a future posting, which is the inadequacy of taking a purely historical and reductionist approach to Rudolf Steiner and anthroposophy, as Staudi demonstrates time and again.

        Regards,

        Jeremy

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      • Tom: “(Alicia may remember the above WC thread from 2009 where she and Frank Thomas Smith were speculating about the detective work involved in solving such a crime of poisoning.)”

        I’m afraid I have no recollection of this. I forget almost everything. It’s a blessing.
        -alicia

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      • Hi Alicia,

        Actually you were speculating with Pete K about it, although Frank was in there trying to be his hero Hercules Poirot to solve the crime
        https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/waldorf-critics/conversations/messages/10163

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      • Steve Hale

        Jeremy wrote:

        “I’m afraid that I don’t have the same high opinion of Prokofieff that others do – in my view, he was Lucifer’s man in the Vorstand.”

        If he was “Lucifer’s man in the Vorstand”, then for some twelve years, c. 2001-2014, as a member of the Executive Council, he was still duly impressing the likes of Virginia Sease, Paul Mackay, Bodo von Plato, etc.

        What I had in mind was looking at the fifth supplement of the previously cited book. It begins on page 714, and gives a very credible account of all the factors leading to Steiner’s death. For example, immediately after the fire of 1 January 1923, Steiner began to speak about the fate and destiny of the whole anthroposophical movement, ref. GA259, and wherein he implicates arson from his main opponents in the very first two lectures. This course still remains untranslated into English, but Prokofieff refers to it here with a reference from the esoteric lecture of 27 May 1923:

        “Hiram Abiff was reborn as Lazarus and thus became the one who was the first to be initiated by Christ. With him began the stream of the centre, which stood between the Cain-stream and the Abel-stream. In the course of time, the Cain-stream found its main representatives among the F. (the
        stream of Freemasonry), whereas that of Abel found its expression
        in the stream of priesthood of the Roman Church. Both these streams of
        humanity remained sternly hostile to each other. Only once did they unite
        in concord – in their hatred against the stream of the centre. The result of this harmonious unity of both otherwise hostile directions was the destruction of the Johannes-Bau (Goetheanum).” GA265, 27 May, 1923.

        So, we have it made clear here that the Jesuits, and the Masons that constitute the western secret societies, combined one time in their otherwise antagonistic relationship to burn down the Goetheanum. Steiner also refers to Max Kully, the Catholic anthroposophy-hater nearby for several years, as a definite catalyst of the physical spark of flame into the wooden structure.

        Steve

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      • Steve, I don’t have time at the moment to go into any great detail why I think Sergei Prokofieff was Lucifer’s man in the Vorstand, but may I suggest that you try googling for “Sergei O. Prokofieff: Myth and Reality” by the late Irina Gordienko, for a different and disturbing perspective on Prokofieff. Nor do I think that his fellow members on the Vorstand found him easy to work with, particularly towards the end of his life when he was creating considerable waves and difficulties in Dornach.

        Regards,

        Jeremy

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      • Steve Hale

        Jeremy wrote:

        “So Tom, I think you and Marie Steiner are partly responsible for the propagation of these legends! But they don’t appear to be true”.

        Tom gave the very best account possible of Steiner’s poisoning on 1 January 1924, It comes from the account of Marie Steiner’s recollections here:

        MARIE STEINER: “Yes, Rudolf Steiner was poisoned on the last day of the Christmas Conference. At the reception which took place in the carpenter’s workshop. I had been sitting there in that room for a long time, while the others who were gathered around Herr Doktor came and went. I couldn’t pay attention to any one person, and I greeted the impending events with the greatest distress; because something incomprehensible, something hideous stood before my soul, and it made me think I needed to ward off something, yet I didn’t know how and what it was. I just couldn’t stand sitting there so quietly any longer, so I went back to my own room which was located in the back…

        There I was deep in conversation with Dr. Wachsmuth, when Herr Doktor suddenly came in, as green as this leaf. He leaned against the door post, looked at us frantically and said: `We’ve been poisoned!’

        I was paralyzed with shock. He asked us immediately whether we had drunk anything, and as I said no, he also noticed that Dr. Wachsmuth didn’t [drink anything either], and so he [Steiner] gave a deep sigh of relief.

        `So it’s only me! That’s good!’ he whispered and then staggered into the room. Dr. Wachsmuth immediately wanted to rush out and call a physician, but Dr. Steiner vehemently forbade him to do so. Dr. Wachsmuth finally left with the promise that absolutely no one was to learn of this event and that no physician was ever to be summoned. Herr Doktor then demanded he be given all the milk that was present and nearby and with it he administered to himself a “stomach douche.” ***

        ***[TRANSLATOR’S NOTE: Honest to God, for once, I’m not trying to be gross and juvenile here. The literal meaning of the German word –Magenspülung—is “stomach douche.” It does sound much better in French as “gastro-lavage.” Now the ladies can obviously describe the douching experience first hand, so I, being a guy this incarnation, will not even try. But for the sake of this saga, be clear on the concept that Rudolf Steiner is here gulping down milk so he can puke it up immediately and thus purge or “douche” his stomach of whatever he ingested at the eurythmy reception.]
        ——————————-

        In the meantime more milk was fetched from the Villa Hansi.

        All the existing milk was brought in, and for the rest of the evening and through the entire night he continued the purging/douching/flushing. . . .

        Indeed, even after his death I would have had the obligation to tell the [Anthroposophical] Society, yet even the insinuation, which I made in the epilogue to [Steiner’s biography] “The Course of my Life” met with resistance on the part of the Vorstand.

        … No one ever wanted to learn the truth about it. This event [i.e. Steiner’s decree of silence] was treated fearfully as if it were [Steiner’s last will and] testament. So I had to keep quiet about it.”

        Reference: Lidia Gentilli, “A Recollection of Marie Steiner”:

        Now here is something important. Milk laving is a means to vomit up poison after drinking water first. Steiner ordered both these. Schubert saw the white face and the order for water, and then Frau Steiner came in knowing that “something happened” and gathered all the milk for the douching exercise. But the poison was very caustic and caused damage to both the stomach lining, digestive tract, and the esophagus, which made the eating of small mouthfuls very painful.

        Thus, Marie’s account represents the true facts. She was duly sworn to silence as the others, for reasons now known, and then made this account for the sake of truth after the death of Rudolf Steiner.

        Steve

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      • Well, Steve, I don’t think that 90 years later it’s going to be easy to discover what actually happened. I’m sure Marie Steiner believed what she said, and I’m sure Ilona Schubert reported accurately what she heard Steiner say. However, please read again my reply to Tom’s first comment, in which I set out what Steiner’s three doctors and Guenther Wachsmuth had to say after his death. Why should they still feel the necessity to say that there was no truth in the poisoning theory, if Marie Steiner felt free to say Steiner had been poisoned? Try applying Occam’s Razor – the simpler explanation is usually better. Steiner had a very sensitive digestion and on January 1st 1924, he had a very bad reaction to what he was eating and drinking, such a powerful reaction that he felt instinctively that he had been poisoned – and indeed, normal food and drink was poison to him! This is why Ita Wegman had to take such incredible trouble over his food and why a number of people provided him with special food and fruit juices that his system was able to assimilate in small amounts. I do not believe that Marie Steiner’s account represents the true facts but is instead the very understandable emotional response of a woman who was terribly worried about her husband and the constant attacks and opposition that came his way.

        Regards,

        Jeremy

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  2. Nice post, Jeremy!

    The arson theory is not very strong (i e there’s no compelling evidence for it), though undoubtedly popular. It’s a bit similar to the poison theory — becoming a part of anthroposophical lore, stronger and stronger with the years going by. And everybody has heard about what ‘happened’. Not that we can conclusively know.

    Best,
    -alicia

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    • Thanks, Alicia!

      I myself am inclined towards accepting the arson theory, for several compelling (to me) reasons. Perhaps you’ve given me the idea for another post!

      Best wishes,

      Jeremy

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      • Steve Hale

        Jeremy,

        I, as well, am inclined towards accepting both the arson and poisoning theories. First of all because Steiner himself said so. That helps make any other conjecture rather conjectural, don’t you think?

        Tom has written: “Let me state here for the record that I am in complete 100% agreement with you [Jeremy] that Rudolf Steiner was NOT poisoned by some evil assassin. If he were poisoned in such a way, it would have been an “inside job” and the prime suspects would be Marie Steiner and Guenther Wachsmuth.”

        Then, Tom conjectures about what Steiner believed at the time. Here he says:

        “However, it is clear from these two eyewitness accounts that Rudolf Steiner BELIEVED that someone had poisoned him and possibly the other members of the Vorstand present at the tea. And it is also true, as Alicia alludes to in her comment above, that Rudolf Steiner also BELIEVED that the Goetheanum fire was arson. Yet the Basel Fire Department’s report on the arson was at best inconclusive.”

        The reason that the Basel Fire Department could not determine arson as the cause was because it was burned down rather quickly as a wooden structure, leaving no evidence of causation. Yet, today we have those that want to make it an electrical malfunction. Why? Is it because Steiner ‘BELIEVED’ all kinds of nonsense that weren’t true?

        Steve

        ps – Tom and Alicia will make the case, even if they weren’t there at the time; must be the post-modernity perspective, so full of itself 😉

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  3. Gemma

    I would like to look at this post from a slightly different angle, namely that of the illnesses of initiates. It’s not as if Rudolf Steiner was immortal, was it? We all have to die at some point, some of us sooner, some of us later: whatever, it is an inevitable part of being human. Furthermore, as a Christian Initiate, Rudolf Steiner will have accepted the challenges that his life brought, and would have done so without complaint.

    One must look at the life of Rudolf Steiner in the light of his dedication to the way in which heaven and the hierarchies work, namely that there is total freedom. It is also a place where no evil can enter, in that evil is (in many respects at least) to prefer what one wants above what we are here on earth to learn. If one is to work with freedom in this way, one must accept the evil that is done to one, and do so uncomplainingly: for the evil that a person does to another will return to them by means of Karma.

    The path of the initiate is to accept their own karma, their own unique cocktail of challenges, whilst striving for that part of themselves that is not affected by karma and that they have carried from life to life. Each new incarnation will demand a totally new expression of this, and it is this which develops the qualities of the soul.

    It is this free part of one’s life that brings one joy simply by being engaged in it; thus no coercion or persuasion is needed, no material gain will be sought. Thus the act is free – the only things that can come into contact with heaven are those things that have no coercion or selfishness attached to them.

    The work of Rudolf Steiner must be seen in the light of the above, and his death. The Goetheanum was freely created and freely funded. That it was brought down by an act of selfishness – and I accede to the arson theory – means that Rudolf Steiner succumbed to an act of evil himself.

    Whatever a person dies of will be part of their life – witness the cancer that Sergei Prokofieff died from, that it was the liver should speak loudly to those with any true understanding of astrology.

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    • Caryn Louise

      Awakening to Community
      Stuttgart, January 23, 1923
      http://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/GA257/English/AP1974/19230123p01.html

      “Now that the Goetheanum is gone, everyone who loved it and had a real sense of what it signified longs to have it rebuilt in some form or other. But the very thought of rebuilding should remind us that ten years have passed since the building was begun, and that the Anthroposophical Movement is of a nature that attracts enemies. In these grief-stricken days we have been given a further taste of what enmity means. Yet, on the other hand, the catastrophe also brought to light what hosts of true friends the Goetheanum had made for the Anthroposophical Movement. For along with messages from members, so gratefully received by me — messages in which they wrote of their grief and anguish — there were many from individuals who, though they had remained outside the Society, wanted to express their fellow-feeling in the matter of our catastrophic loss. Much warmth toward our cause came to light on that occasion.

      Indeed, it was love that built the Goetheanum, and at the end, too, it stood under the sign of love. Only a boundlessly sacrificial spirit on the part of those who, when we began building in 1913, had long been devoting themselves to the movement, made the building possible. Immeasurable sacrifices were made — material, spiritual and labor sacrifices. Many friends of the Movement joined forces in Dornach and worked together in the most selfless way imaginable to bring the building into being.”

      “I cannot speak at this time of the deeper, spiritual aspects of the Goetheanum fire. I can understand someone asking questions close to his heart such as, “How could a just cosmos have failed to prevent this frightful disaster?” Nor can I deny anyone the right to ask whether the catastrophe could not have been foreseen. But these questions lead into the very depths of esoterics, and it is impossible to discuss them because there is simply no place remaining to us where they can be brought up without at once being reported to people who would forge them into weapons for use against the Anthroposophical Movement. This prevents my going into the deeper spiritual facts of the case.

      But what was cast in the mould of love has called forth bitter enmity. Our misfortune has unleashed a veritable hailstorm of ridicule, contempt and hatred, and the willful distortion of truth that has always characterized so large a part of our opposition is especially typical of the situation now, with enemies creeping out of every corner and spreading deliberate untruth about the tragedy itself. Our friends present at the scene of the fire did everything in their power to save what simply could not be saved. But ill-wishers have had the bad taste to say, for example, that the fire showed up the members for what they were, that they just hung about praying for the fire to stop of itself. This is merely a small sample of the contempt and ridicule we are being subjected to in connection with the fire.

      I have been warning for years that we will have to reckon with a constantly growing opposition, and that it is our foremost duty to be aware of this and to be properly vigilant. It was always painful to have to hear people say that our enemies in this or that quarter seemed to be quieting down. This sort of thing is due to people’s willingness to entertain illusions, unfortunately all too prevalent among us. Let us hope that the terrible misfortune we have had to face will at least have the effect of curing members of their illusions and convincing them of the need to concentrate all the forces of their hearts and minds on advancing the Anthroposophical Movement. For now that the wish to build another Goetheanum is being expressed, we need to be particularly conscious of the fact that without a strong, energetic Anthroposophical Society in the background it would be senseless to rebuild. Rebuilding makes sense only if a self-aware, strong Anthroposophical Society, thoroughly conscious of what its responsibilities are, stands behind it.

      We cannot afford to forget what the bases of such a strong Anthroposophical Society are. Let us, therefore, go on, on this solemn occasion, to consider the way a strong Anthroposophical Society, aware of its responsibilities, should be conceived in the situation we are presently facing.”

      Like

  4. Jeremy,

    I would like to offer you my translation of Steiner’s last verse which expresses the seething passion that he was feeling at the end of his life. The English version you post here is so god-awful and pedantic, that it makes Ahriman proud of its lukewarm insipidness.

    Tom

    ==================

    Truth Wrought Words, GA 40, #165

    (translated by Tom Mellett)

    I would like to fire up
    every single person with the spirit of the cosmos
    So they will become flames themselves
    And create the essence
    of their being out of passion.

    Others, they just want
    to draw water from the cosmos,
    to extinguish the flames,
    thus water down and cripple
    every being’s inner life.

    O what joy when these human flames
    are blazing, even where they slumber!
    O what bitterness when that human thing
    is all bound up where it seeks to be free!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Steve Hale

      Tom, in translating Steiner’s final verses, it is worth noting the part that you and the other critics take special pleasure in (even as you remain serious):

      Others, they just want
      to draw water from the cosmos,
      to extinguish the flames,
      thus water down and cripple
      every being’s inner life.

      Doesn’t that just say it all with you opponents?

      Steve

      Like

    • Thank you, Tom, I like your translation very much. The one I quoted in the post comes from an address by Dr Ernst Katz, but I don’t know whether it is his own translation: http://www.rsarchive.org/RelAuthors/KatzErnst/AGM_Address.php

      Regards,

      Jeremy

      Like

    • It’s a very nice translation, Tom. It has a poetry and rhythm to it that the other (indeed more pedantic and coldly ahrimanic…) lacks.

      -alicia

      Like

      • Thank you, Jeremy and Alicia. I’m glad you like it. I’ve always felt that so much of Steiner is “lost in translation,” not really in content, though, but in style. And that is especially true in all his verses and meditations but much less so in his lectures and books. Steiner is not a lyric poet or an epic one, but his focus and directness of expression I recognized as “pedagogical poetry.” He teaches through the verses, and once I caught on to his relentless focused style, then the English words would easily flow forth.

        I learned this early on, ca. 1977, when I became appalled at the English versions of the Calendar of the Soul I would read. So I translated all 52 verses by 1983 and they were even set to choral music and performed in 1992. They are still online in the cyber “vault” from my old Steiner98 mailing list.
        http://antroposofi.org/TomMellett/

        Like

  5. Thank you so much for this ring of truth.

    Like

  6. Steve Hale

    Dear Jeremy,

    In applying Occam’s Razor to the situation of the poisoning, we should definitely look at exactly what was said in the recounting of Marie Steiner to Lidia Gentilli in the book “A Recollection of Marie Steiner”, which was published in 1947. But first, and the simplest point to be made at the outset is that Rudolf Steiner was the founder of Anthroposophical Medicine, and would know the difference between an attack of indigestion and the ingestion of a poison.

    Also, this book goes on to say that Frau Steiner wanted to have it revealed that her husband was poisoned after his death, but this was adamantly refused by the Society members, who refused to face the truth, and thus she was forced to remain silent until near the end of her life, except for what is briefly said in the epilogue of Steiner’s autobiography.

    Now, here is where it can be proven that Steiner was poisoned on 1 January 1924. It is all contained here in this quotation from the book:

    “There I [MS] was deep in conversation with Dr. Wachsmuth, when Herr Doktor suddenly came in, as green as this leaf. He leaned against the door post, looked at us frantically and said: `We’ve been poisoned!’
    I was paralyzed with shock. He asked us immediately whether we had drunk anything, and as I said no, he also noticed that Dr. Wachsmuth didn’t [drink anything either], and so he [Steiner] gave a deep sigh of relief.
    `So it’s only me! That’s good!’ he whispered and then staggered into the room.”

    Steiner’s concern for the others and relief that they hadn’t drank anything is the proof that he alone was the victim of a poison which was specifically intended for him. All denials by the doctors and Wachsmuth were based on the decision to keep the poisoning secret. Marie Steiner was bound by this as well.

    Steve

    Like

    • Dear Steve,

      I think that you and I will have to agree to disagree on this issue.

      Regards,

      Jeremy

      Like

      • Jeremy,

        I’m quite puzzled why you, as a declared anthroposophist, are “copping out” of this conversation with Steve? Surely you are aware of Rudolf Steiner’s statement that agreement or disagreement with an issue has nothing to do with the reality of the issue, because agreement and disagreement are mere expressions of subjective personal beliefs or faith that are projected upon the objective facts of the situation.

        Let me drill down to the anthroposophical nitty gritty of the situation. The discomfort you feel, Jeremy traces right back to the Great Schism that occurred immediately after Steiner’s death between the Marie Steiner faction and the Ita Wegman faction, which, of course includes your hero, Herr Dr. van Emmichoven because he was expelled from the Society in 1935 along with Ita Wegman.

        So then I ask you, Jeremy: how do you then evaluate Marie Steiner from her report of the poisoning? Is she telling the truth? You don’t think so. Therefore, is she lying? I don’t think so. Is she deluded? Much more plausible. But if she is deluded, then she is clearly presenting symptoms of PPD = Paranoid Personality Disorder.

        As an example, here is a description of one of the 5 subtypes of PPD that fits Marie quite well
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paranoid_personality_disorder

        Insular Paranoid Personality type:
        “Reclusive, self-sequestered, hermitical; self-protectively secluded from omnipresent threats and destructive forces; hyper-vigilant and defensive against imagined dangers.”

        Tom

        Like

      • Dear Tom,

        I think that Steve is the Lucifer and you are the Ahriman of the anthropopper blog, whereas I am more the point of balance 🙂

        Regards,

        Jeremy

        Liked by 1 person

      • If this is an open dialogue format, and within the context of the topic, then we can agree/disagree and still communicate a great deal of useful information I hope. For example, here is an anthrowiki article on the poison thesis, with a quick English translation following:

        http://anthrowiki.at/Vergiftungsthese

        https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=de&u=http://anthrowiki.at/Vergiftungsthese&prev=search

        Yesterday, I also read somewhere that Walter Stein’s journal has an entry from October 1924 in which Guenther Wachsmuth admits the poisoning and intends to write about it some day when he writes Steiner’s biography.

        Well, he wrote the biography in 1953, but decided against revealing the poisoning at that time. This fact has been previously reported. As stated earlier, Prokofieff’s book from 2002 has a fully documented supplemental chapter, no.5, of some thirty pages, which treats of the whole issue of Steiner’s illness, which started with the fire, and the Jesuit-Mason conspiracy behind it, and then the appearance change seen throughout 1923, and then the poisoning of 1 January 1924.

        So, of course, Steiner’s health was affected after the fire. This is seen in photographs from 1923, in which he grows more thin in the face, wrinkled and stringy gray- haired. Even the dating of these photographs are out-of-sequence in certain respects, likely to hide evidence of the illness.

        At any rate, agreeing to disagree is very stimulating.

        Regards,

        Steve

        Like

      • Now I could be quite glib and say that you are indulging in your messianic complex to be Christ Jesus, but actually, your position is more like that of Pontius Pilate.

        Like

      • I wash my hands of you, Tom 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • You are correct about Ahriman and Lucifer, though.

        Lately, I’ve been billing myself on Steiner Facebook as AAA= Ahriman’s Advocate for Anthroposophy. While Steve & Caryn Louise (as well as Gemma) are LAA= Lucifer’s Advocate for Anthroposophy.

        (Much more dynamic than the Roman Catholic Church where there is only one devil and therefore only one Devil’s Advocate.)

        Liked by 1 person

      • Gemma

        Tom Mellett,

        While Steve & Caryn Louise (as well as Gemma) are LAA= Lucifer’s Advocate for Anthroposophy.

        There is one clear way to avoid such supposition, and that is to take a specific example of that person’s writing. Then, look not to the content but the manner of what was written. This will tell you if it is Ahriman or Lucifer; it will also tell you if they were conscious of what they were doing. It is by doing this that one can side-step one’s own illusions, the first part of which is to recognize that they are in illusions in the first place.

        By the way, determining if they are conscious of their motives is far easier when one is face to face. For if they are not conscious of the reason they say something, their gestures will always belie their words. It is in working with and coming to understand the threefold manner in which people belie their words that allows one to perceive the motive behind something that is written.

        As ever, real life trumps book learning. As ever, the work must start with oneself, and work against being self-protectively secluded from omnipresent threats and destructive forces.

        I will add, in an attemt to steer this thread back to the topic of the post, that if the ability to perceive motive will help when dealing with reports from witnesses, not all of whom will be fully conscious of what they do.

        Like

  7. Jeremy,

    Because you represent the Ita Wegman faction of anthroposophy in opposition to Steven Hale representing the Marie Steiner faction, then I would like to ask your opinion about Anthroposophy’s own “Stigmata Girl,” Judith von Halle. Why Judith? Because so many of her followers believe her to be the reincarnation of Edith Maryon, whom you reference in this blog post. (Indeed, some other followers of JvH believe her to be the reincarnation of Ita Wegman. See link below.)

    Now whether Judith is really Edith (hey, their names rhyme!) is not the issue. The reason I bring it up is that it vividly portrays the present day manifestation of the still unresolved conflict that broke the Society apart at Steiner’s death. And several people on both sides of the conflict even claim that Sergei Prokofiev’s affliction with cancer and early death were actually caused by his monomaniacal vendetta against Judith von Halle in the last 3 years of his life.

    I would like to introduce you, Jeremy, to the present day conflict through an article I translated in 2012 which appeared in the Dornach local newspaper. Remember, this is NOT an anthroposophical publication and yet they even mention the reincarnation stories.

    All Hell Breaks Loose in Dornach!
    Con artist or clairvoyant? Since Eastertide 2004, Judith von Halle purportedly bears the wounds of Christ, still doesn’t eat anything and goes on spiritual time travels. Among anthroposophists, she has ignited a controversy that could split the movement.
    http://southerncrossreview.org/86/judith-von-halle.html

    “Her disciples whisper that von Halle is supposedly the reincarnation of Doctor Ita Wegman, one of the founders of anthroposophy. Others connect her to the sculptor Edith Maryon, who also belonged to the inner circle of Rudolf Steiner.”

    Here is a translation by Frank Thomas Smith and myself of an open letter to Sergei Prokofiev signed by 37 prominent European Anthroposophists who are protesting Sergei’s attacks on Judith
    http://southerncrossreview.org/89/jvh-open.html

    April 8, 2013
    Dear Mr. Prokofieff,

    Your book, Time Travels – A Counter-Image of Anthroposophical Spiritual Research (Verlag am Goetheanum, 2013), provides us with a clear justification to address this open letter to you. We do this because the book is not only a renewed and ruthless attack on Ms. Judith von Halle – against both her person and her writings – but above all because the depictions in your book are neither anthroposophical nor spiritual-scientific, nor can they be upheld in any way as objective, besides which you have so far rejected any discussion in this matter. . . .

    Like

    • Now, Tom, why are you always trying to drag me into a fight? You tried it with Helen Saunders of Stop Steiner in Stroud, but no-one there rose to your bait; you tried it with Dan Dugan but he did not deign to respond; and now you are assigning me to factions within anthroposophy, when I belong to no faction, and have no intention of taking sides. I might also observe that Judith von Halle has nothing to do with the topic of this post, so it’s unlikely that I will be letting through any further comments about her.

      Regards,

      Jeremy

      Like

      • OK, Jeremy, you don’t belong to a faction. And neither does Steve. Like a good Nominalist, I need to do some tactful re-phrasing.

        But surely you and Steve belong to one or another anthroposophical “stream,” don’t you?– whether Aristotelean or Platonic?

        And according to Rudolf Steiner’s indications in the 8 volumes of the KR lectures all given in 1924 after the alleged poisoning incident, he was quite clear that these two streams of souls — that were formerly “leap-frogging” over each other in recent past lives on earth, would all begin to incarnate together for the first time starting in his time an beyond into the 20th Century.

        Now doesn’t it stand to reason that there would be a lot of “old karmic scores” to settle when many of these souls from different streams would confront each other in the flesh for the first time?

        Like

    • Stephen Hale

      Tom, you are correct in your re-thinking about these factions. For me to be a fan of MS would truly be delusional, as I opt for the truth, the facts, and what the given testimony reveals to the best of our evidence. She admits there was a poisoning of Dr. Steiner on the afternoon of 1 January 1924, at the rout that took place after the completion of the Christmas Conference. Of course, only in a little book of “recollections” written and self-published in 1947 by one of her students of eurythmy, Lidia Gentilli Baratto, is it made known. MS died in 1948.

      Your assertion of delusion and possible “false belief” on the part of Marie Steiner is actually corroborated by another memoir-account of one of the others who were there and wrote of it, although I don’t remember which one. She writes that MS appeared uncharacteristically nervous and apprehensive, as if something was going to happen. Marie was usually very calm and sedate, which was a quality that Rudolf Steiner made the bed-rock of his own fundamental being.

      So, we have an objective account now, wherein Marie’s own self-revealed feelings of a foreboding that “something was going to happen” is met with another eyewitness report which remembers her uncharacteristic demeanor on that afternoon. Does this mean she knew something? We will never know because 90 years have past, although there is much to contend and contest with regarding her conduct in the rather immediate aftermath of Rudolf Steiner’s death, and for about twenty more years. Only around 1945, with the end of WWII, did she finally relent and allow the banished English and Dutch members to re-apply for membership.

      And please remember, in November of the year in which the ‘purge’ of these rightful members of the GAS took place, which has never been adequately explained to this very day, the letter to Adolf Hitler was written and signed by Marie Steiner-von Sivers, Guenther Wachsmuth, and Albert Steffen, dated 17 November 1935.

      Also withheld from the Members and others of the Anthroposophical Movement for some twenty years, were the proceedings of the Christmas Conference of 1923/1924, GA260, which wasn’t published for the first time until 1944. Yet, many had clamored for them, and the full verses of the Foundation Stone Meditation for all of those 20 years.

      So, I am by far no supporter of any Marie Steiner faction, and much more likely to theorize about a compromise actually made with the left-wing and right-wing factions of the occult movement on 17 November 1901, when a special tea party was arranged around golden baskets of Chrysanthemums, and Marie von Sivers asked Rudolf Steiner about starting a spiritual-scientific movement. The conditions formed the compromise with the aforesaid left and right-wing factions.

      Steve

      Like

  8. Caryn Louise

    Hello Tom 🙂

    There was a little girl,
    Who had a little curl,
    Right in the middle of her forehead.
    When she was good,
    She was very good indeed,
    But when she was bad she was horrid.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh, Caryn Louise, that is the most delightful expression of Neo-Manichaeism that anyone has ever sent me! And even addressed to my quite shy little girlie etheric body (Thomasina) who is now all atingle with coy gratitude that you acknowledged her good and wicked ways.

    Like

    • Tom, extending this Neo-Manichean allusion a little further, we have an additional allegory to consider:

      Little Miss Muffet
      Sat on a tuffet,
      Eating her curds and whey;
      Along came a spider
      Who sat down beside her
      And frightened Miss Muffet away

      Now, in doing a comparison of the two verses, it seems we can find the element of conscience, in which the fearful Little Miss Muffet, obviously an archetype of an earlier age, evolves into a “little girl”, who willingly takes on the spider, and even has the aplomb to feel bad about it.

      This is called progress in the neo-Manichean sense of an organized, systematic and functional spiritual evolution.

      Steve

      Like

  10. Gemma, you wrote:

    “Whatever a person dies of will be part of their life – witness the cancer that Sergei Prokofieff died from, that it was the liver should speak loudly to those with any true understanding of astrology.”

    This is the first I have heard that SOP died of cancer, and of the liver. What does this mean here? Are you casting aspersions against him? This man has been treated very unjustly. I have been reading his “Rudolf Steiner and the Founding of the New Mysteries”, and was so impressed with it that I bought his very last book, “And the Earth Becomes a Sun”, which is about the Mystery of the Resurrection. I think it will prove to be a classic, and make his legacy.

    What does the astrology tell you about him?

    Steve

    Like

    • Gemma

      I was casting no aspersions. If you had read my earlier comment, you may have realized that we all need to die at some point. What is more, it will lie within us today in one form or another; seen or unseen.

      As to Prokofieff being treated unjustly, look not to the unjustness, but at the manner of that unjustness: that will tell you if the person being unjust was being truthful (or not). That is to say, imagining Prokofieff did things for a certain reason, rather than Prokofieff’s own, or speaking of harsh truths that may sometimes have the quality of unjustness.

      As to Prokofieff’s legacy, I trust that he gained more from writing the books than he did from the praise of those who read them. Perhaps, like Rudolf Steiner giving lectures, he wrote a book with a certain purpose, for a certain select group of readers. After all, if one looks at the lectures of Rudolf Steiner carefully, one can trace a carefully laid thread that he laid, which whilst not interfering with the general content of the lecture he was giving, spoke directly of something to those who he knew had the ears to hear. All the others will have heard the words, but will have lacked the ability to perceive the true meaning.

      This is Rudolf Steiner’s true legacy. Whilst he may have achieved much more had he lived a little longer, that which he left was a thorough testament to a life lived to the utmost. All I can say about his death is that I am glad that his life preceded it; that is speculation enough for me.

      Like

      • Thanks Gemma, and I do read your posts with interest, and try not to miss anything. I agree that we all have to die some day, and with Sergei Prokofieff it was one of a candle burning out sooner than later. He was only 59 years old, and thought it was his mission to help fulfill the lost karma in the life of Rudolf Steiner. This type of strong belief and its relevant action over several years, and even a Saturn Revolution, can likely cause the liver failure due to extreme over-extenuation of the thinking apparatus itself, don’t you think? At any rate, his work will serve to be his fulfillment of his own quest in support. I have the same goal, and admire a work so well accomplished. You’d have to read it to actually know.

        Like

      • Gemma

        Isn’t it the case that every human – in that we are all unique, even from incarnation to incarnation – can help support or encourage any other in their karma? In this respect, all those who truly work with Rudolf Steiner’s legacy must accept one or more of the challenges he set us; I see Sergei Prokofieff as being no different. He took up the challenge that his own karma allowed.

        My own karma has allowed me to work with several of Rudolf Steiner’s verses (albeit not the one published here). Having done so for several years has given me the opportunity to really appreciate some of their more subtle aspects, the kind of thing that leads to a realization that one did not have before.

        As to Prokofieff’s books, I have read several, albeit, not for a good few years.

        Like

  11. Dear Jeremy,

    You know that any disagreement between us could only be minor in detail. We are anthroposophists, and unabashed about it. I say this because many here come in and go out and espouse this and that, and yet, only seem to represent an alloyed representation. Thus, they adhere to a weakened-down and so-called, “mixed-metals” composition.

    Thus, please don’t allow yourself to be steered by the likes of Tom and Alicia, who would have you buying stones of zircon disguised as the precious plates of the Caliph himself, Haroun ar-Raschid of the Bagdad Empire, c. 800 AD. While Raschid did indeed reincarnate as Francis Bacon, and was the true heir to the throne of Queen Elizabeth I, we will always have to contend with these later alloys, which seem to want to interfere in a domain in which they really don’t belong, but feel a karmic need to be within. And this is the mystery of Karma.

    Steiner was stopped, whether by way of poison or other circumstance, in 1925. This was the end-point in the compromise struck in 1901, which allowed that esoteric knowledge was to be made public in the first quarter of the 20th century. This is why we have the same duty to proceed in the first quarter of the 21st century.

    Steve

    Like

    • Thanks for your message, Steve. Actually, I’m disappointed that the comments on this post have tended to be about Steiner’s last illness, rather than Steiner’s last verse, which was what I had hoped was the more important part of the post. How can we help people to avoid being gradually but inexorably turned into the “human thing”, in Steiner’s chilling phrase? That seems to me to be the relevant role for anthroposophy right now. I’m going to write more about this in my next post.

      Regards,

      Jeremy

      Like

      • Jeremy, if we take Steiner’s last address on September 28, 1924, it says a great deal about what we must do. Here it is:

        Springing from Powers of the Sun,
        Radiant Spirit-powers, blessing all Worlds!
        For Michael’s garment of rays
        Ye are predestined by Thought Divine.

        He, the Christ-messenger, revealeth in you —
        Bearing mankind aloft — the sacred Will of Worlds.
        Ye, the radiant Beings of Aether-Worlds,
        Bear the Christ-Word to Man.

        Thus shall the Heralds of Christ appear
        To the thirstily waiting souls,
        To whom your Word of Light shines forth
        In cosmic age of Spirit-Man.

        Ye, the disciples of Spirit-Knowledge,
        Take Michael’s Wisdom beckoning,
        Take the Word of Love of the Will of Worlds
        Into your soul’s aspiring, a c t i v e l y !

        http://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/InEJRN_index.html

        So, even with these words, and the one’s that Tom ennobled so well as the final verses, we all commiserate about the loss of a life that had at least nine more years to live in order to further the initiatives of the CC of 1923. Thus, the final illness is very much the issue, and the loss, even as the final verses, so well given with Tom’s greater fire in the rendition, denote.

        Thus, more is in the offing, and thankfully for your writing about it.

        Steve

        Like

      • Steve Hale

        “The problem is one of exhaustion. On the one hand these theologians [members of the Christian Community} are really deeply satisfying because of their serious work, but on the other, working with them is so exhausting because they need so much and have such difficulty in achieving their ideals. Certainly, at the end of the Apocalypse course [GA 346], all my strength in a certain direction was exhausted – to reach that spiritual level required a lot of strength – and I should not have had to suffer the onslaught of individual vists from these needy theologians.”

        Letter to Marie Steiner on Eurthmy tour, 2 October 1924, GA262

        ‘I want with cosmic spirit to enthuse each human being that they may become a flame and with fiery will unfold the essence of their being. O joy, when human being’s flame is blazing, even when at rest.’

        ‘The other ones, they strive to take from cosmic waters what will extinguish flames And pour paralysis into all inner being. O bitter pain, when the human thing is put in bonds, when it wants to stir.’

        Steve

        Like

  12. Gemma

    Well now, I was reading a lecture today with my morning cuppa, and I came across this passage:

    It is not exaggerated to say that there exists the most profound and thoroughgoing wish to deprive us of the Waldorf School and this building. And if we pay no attention to this; if we do not even develop in us a feeling concerning the ways and means of this opposition, then we remain sleeping souls. Then we do not take hold with inner alertness of what is trying to pour forth out of anthroposophical spiritual science.

    Dornach, April 17th 1921; Gesamt Ausgabe 204. [My own emphasis].

    Now whilst this concerns the destruction of the Goetheanum, there is, nevertheless a direct link to Jeremy Smith’s wish that we speak of the verse that Rudolf Steiner created.

    Because in our day and age, the power of Ahriman has been augmented and amplified by human weakness. If any of you should meditate on the verses Rudolf Steiner gave us – any of them – what will become clear is that human power is actually the result of human weakness. What is more, one will understand why this is. Thus one is able to express one’s own thoughts using more than by just repeating the terminology. Put another way, one will have taken the first steps in developing heart thinking.

    What is more, one will be able to discern those who only use words.

    My point is that in meditating on the verses, including the one Jeremy Smith gave us here, and one does so for a sufficient length of time, something develops that lies beyond the imagery Rudolf Steiner wished to convey. One will become aware of something that one wasn’t able to perceive before, a nuance – and nuance is all it will be, a mere inkling or just the trace of an idea.

    Materialists will say that this is subjective, worthless and unscientific; but this is only them stating that they are unwilling to explore their own souls in order that they may determine their own subjective likes and dislikes – and in doing so, unveil their own place in the world we live in.

    For it is through practicing the verses that one has one skein of understanding of how other people think and what motivates them. It is in doing this that one can achieve the work that Rudolf Steiner challenged us with in the above lecture.

    How many of those present actually took up this challenge and practiced the things Rudolf Steiner had given them? They had a year and seven months to achieve this, before the building was destroyed by its enemies.

    Put better, they had had ten years since the founding of Anthroposophy to achieve this work in themselves. How many of them were prepared on the nights of December 1922 to deal with their enemies and the way their enemies thought? Furthermore, if one is working out of the truths spoken by anthroposophy, one cannot speak to such people wielding barbed clubs. Nor can one use their language, for they will only rebuke you. The task is far more subtle, far more demanding.

    Now I repeat: how many of you are engaged with the verses, and what have you learned in doing so?

    Jeremy Smith has taken the time to give all of us the inspiration – and Tom Mellett has added his fire to boot.

    Like

  13. Thank you Jeremy, for a very good post; I agree about the arson, too.
    And ‘Lucifer’s man in the Vorstand’ was my exact feeling on first seeing Prokofieff too. 🙂 The greatest enemies of the AS since Steiner’s death came from within the society, not without, in my observation.

    Like

    • Thanks, teleile! I remember reading somewhere (perhaps someone can help us to track this down) that Steiner had said that in his next incarnation he might have to work against what the Anthroposophical Society would become. But that’s not to say that there aren’t some wonderful people in the society now, including some very impressive individuals in the Vorstand.
      Best wishes,
      Jeremy

      Like

  14. morik

    1. we still dont seem to know what caused the burning down of the Goetheanum
    2. has anyone considered a link with the unfortunate things that happened 7 years before with the expelling of ms Sprengel who went straight over to work with Reuss?

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    • The Goetheanum was burned down by an arsonist.
      Well, Steiner had many enemies, quite apart from women scorned and negative occultists! But he had the means to protect himself to a certain extent.
      If you read what he said to others – and Steiner certainly knew not to utter a lie – then it’s clear that his etheric energy was not attached enough to the physical body, in the last period of his life, to be able to fully heal it as usual. He was further depleted by all the personal meetings with people wanting his help.

      Although this is interesting, there are more pressing matters today than exactly what caused Steiner’s death; and we can’t go back and change it! 🙂

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  15. Morik

    @teleile
    I agree.

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  16. Victor Toso

    I was once told by an Anthroposophical M.D. that if anyone asked me (at the time I was doing intro to anthroposohy talks) that if anyone asked me what Steiner died of, I could tell them “prostatitis”. Of course this doesn’t speak to all the esoteric controversies but it would settle the question of whether or not he was poisoned.

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    • Hello Victor – thanks for your comment. I’m surprised that your anthroposophical doctor suggested that Steiner’s prostatitis could have been a cause of his death, as I’ve never heard of anyone dying of this, although it is of course a painful condition and can become acute.
      Best wishes,
      Jeremy

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