Was Rudolf Steiner poisoned after all? Part 2

The post immediately before this one generated over 140 comments. I’m most grateful to everyone who contributed thoughts and I would now like to share some additional information with you, which might be overlooked if it were to be added as a comment to the previous post. So here is a new post on the same topic, which I’m calling Part 2, while the previous post is now Part 1.

As you may recall, this blog first addressed the question of Rudolf Steiner’s last illness in a posting on February 26th 2016, in which I discussed the rumour that Steiner had been poisoned at a tea party on New Year’s Day 1924. This rumour had been inadvertently started by Steiner himself, who was struck down by some kind of health emergency at the tea party and had told a young eurythmist, Ilona Schubert, who had found him alone in a corridor in a state of distress and pain, that he had been poisoned.

I had nevertheless formed the view that the causes of Steiner’s illness were not to do with a poison attack but were instead a result of three main factors: i) the arson attack which had burnt down the first Goetheanum, and which had shattered his etheric body; ii) a grave weakness in his digestion, which had been developing at least since 1923, and which meant that he found it extremely difficult to take in nourishment; and iii) according to Ita Wegman, Steiner’s “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.”

In my response to a comment by Tom Mellett, I cited statements not only by Dr Ita Wegman (Steiner’s main physician, colleague on the Vorstand and pupil), but also by Guenther Wachsmuth (Steiner’s secretary and Vorstand member) and Steiner himself, which contradicted this rumour.

It must also be acknowledged that people close to Steiner, such as his wife, Marie Steiner, and the eurythmist Ilona Schubert believed to the end of their days that he had indeed been poisoned. Marie Steiner’s poem in the ‘Afterword’ to Rudolf Steiner’s autobiography contains the line “They laid waste with poison and flame” and confirms that this was indeed her belief. Modern anthroposophical authors such as Sergei Prokofieff and Thomas Meyer are also convinced that this was the case. My own conclusion, however, was that this was unlikely and that the causes listed in the third paragraph above were the real reasons for Steiner’s illness.

That remained my position until I saw the account of a talk given at Dornach by Ehrenfried Pfeiffer, in which he had spoken of a meeting with an occultist in the USA who claimed to have been the person who had instigated the poison attack. Full details of this are in the previous post to this one. Further information from Thomas Meyer in his book Milestones then led me to conclude “that the balance of probability is that Steiner was indeed poisoned, and that this would have worsened his already shaky health and hastened the end of his life, though it was not the direct cause of his death.”

I have now come across a very interesting conversation between Wolfgang Weirauch and Emanuel Zeylmans (author of the four-volume work, Who Was Ita Wegman?). It occurs in the book, Ita Wegman and Anthroposophy published by SteinerBooks in the USA (ISBN 978-1-62148-012-9).

“WW: The rumour that Ita Wegman poisoned Rudolf Steiner keeps circulating. What is the truth of this, and where does this rumour come from?

Emanuel Zeylmans: This rumour surfaced while Steiner was still alive. I have encountered it in completely distorted forms, and the fact that it keeps surfacing is due to a psychopath who proclaims it loudly, and has also been circulating it in written form for years. The only helpful response is laughter. As you know, I grew up in a clinic where, as my father was a psychiatrist, there were many people suffering from mental illness. They, too, wrote sick fantasies like this psychopath does. One shouldn’t let oneself be taken in – just use one’s common sense instead.

WW: Was Steiner poisoned at all, or is the whole thing a fabrication?

Emanuel Zeylmans: It is pure rumour, though in fact caused by something Steiner himself said.

WW: This rumour is tenacious and seems to be circulated intentionally. A friend of mine said that a woman told him she was the young eurythmist whom Steiner had staggered up to saying he had been poisoned. (Presumably this was Ilona Schubert)

Emanuel Zeylmans: Yes, there are a whole lot of reports about this scene. While researching the Wegman book I had to investigate this carefully, and I published my research in the addendum to volume two. Ita Wegman was Rudolf Steiner’s personal doctor, of course, so I had to find out what she herself said about this. It all fell into place.

One shouldn’t forget that the possibility of a criminal attempt to poison Steiner has a colossal, sensational impact, which, once uttered, is impossible to eradicate from history again. Marie Steiner was also quite convinced that poison had played a part. Shortly before her death she said this to an Italian woman, begging her to keep absolutely silent about it, of course. This woman (…) naturally had to go and publish the news immediately. That’s how things work. It’s pure sensationalism.

I regard the whole affair as a manoeuvre aimed to distract from the real circumstances. In fact the corrupt soul substance of members poisoned Steiner. He could no longer breathe, and it became time for him to leave the earth. This is a form of poisoning which we should examine, but of course very few people want to admit such a thing. That is why they distract attention from themselves and transpose an occurrence to a lower level, speaking of physical instead of soul poisoning.”

Hmmm. Despite Zeylmans’ certainty that Steiner was not poisoned and his strange suggestion of soul poisoning, there are still some questions to which it would be very good to have answers, eg:

Why did Steiner never refute the rumour that he had been poisoned? In the three reports he wrote for the bulletin and Newsletter, he did not deal directly with the question of whether he had been poisoned (he must have been aware that this was what was being rumoured), but instead referred to his poor state of health and said that this had been caused by the unreasonable demands of the members.

It has been suggested that Steiner did not wish to let the instigator of the poison attack know that he had succeeded, and therefore gave instructions that no-one should mention it in connection with his health problems and this is why his doctors did not give it as a reason for his illness. If this is true, why did Marie Steiner not feel constrained by this prohibition?

Why was there no autopsy after Steiner’s death? Perhaps this was not a requirement in Swiss law in 1925. There was some kind of post-mortem medical examination by Drs. Wegman, Noll and Walter, at which Guenther Wachsmuth also claimed to have been present. But presumably they did not cut Steiner open to examine his internal organs.

What are we to make of the stories put about by Ehrenfried Pfeiffer and Walter Johannes Stein about the poisoner and an American connection? Were these two men fantasists? And did Guenther Wachsmuth really say that the poison “affects the ether body, and causes a crisis every Wednesday”, when in his public statements he denies that there was any poison attack?

These contradictions are both puzzling and unsatisfactory. And there, regrettably, we have to leave it, unless further evidence comes along, which seems unlikely nearly a century after Steiner’s death.

49 Comments

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49 responses to “Was Rudolf Steiner poisoned after all? Part 2

  1. Demetrios Peroulas

    One thing is certain. We, anthroposophers, continue to poison the soul substance of Anthroposophia by clinging to the intellectual instinct. It has become instinct in our constitution the brain bound ahrimanic intellect that is controlling our cognitive processes. The mind soul which developed in the fourth Greco-Latin cultural epoch has become instinctive in us. Now in the age of the consciousness soul, the mind soul has become unconscious in us and everything that is unconscious is ruled by other forces. So when we enter our mind consciously we find it occupied by Ahriman. We are not the masters in our own thinking process. Ahriman is running the whole operation. He is the One who has automatic answers to our questions. He is the One who will react to the Meeting with Other People. That’s where our basic instinct to criticize and judge the Other, to work from our habits, from the knowledge that we have acquired due to the materialistic culture in which we live and see nothing new in the Event of the Meeting, comes from. We must be able to stop the intellectual machine from working and instead create a Living Spiritual Process. We must become Intellectual Mystics or else Anthroposophers – Starets. We must become healers and not helpers of the epidemic of paranoia that we here in the Christian East see very very clearly being developed in the west.
    Here is one such anthroposopher-starets, Nikolai Onufrievich Lossky:
    http://www.filosofiaesoterica.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Lossky_History-of-Russian-Philosophy_PDF_____.pdf

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    • ‘We, anthroposophers …’
      In his last lecture on the Apocalypse (1924) Steiner tackled this thought of ‘group formations’:

      “Intellectuality is breaking in now and men are becoming more and more intelligent through their own efforts, and not through inspiration. That is breaking in. But on the other hand mankind has been kept weak by influences that come from the Luciferic side. Even though the individual element is the only salutary thing for mankind in this age of the individuality, which is really a Christian age, groups will form, but these group formations must be taken away from the danger that they’re in.” GA0346/19240922

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      • Demetrios Peroulas

        “… Even those who develop today the highest intelligence, if they do not develop further during the succeeding epochs in the heart and in the moral life, will gain nothing from their shrewdness. The highest intelligence is, indeed, developed in our epoch. We have reached a climax in this. But one who has developed intelligence today and who shall neglect the succeeding possibilities of evolution, will destroy himself by his own intelligence. This will then be like an inner fire consuming him, devouring him, making him so small and feeble that he will become stupid and be able to achieve nothing – a fire that will annihilate him in the epoch wherein the moral impulses will have reached their climax. Whereas a person can be very dangerous today by means of his immoral shrewdness, he will then be without power to harm. In place of this power, however, the soul will then possess in ever increasing measure moral powers – indeed, moral powers such as a person of the present cannot in the least conceive. The highest power and morality are needed to receive the Christ Impulse into ourselves so that it becomes power and life in us. THUS WE SEE THAT SPIRITUAL SCIENCE HAS THE MISSION OF PLANTING IN THE PRESENT STAGE OF THE EVOLUTION OF HUMANITY THE SEEDS FOR ITS FUTURE EVOLUTION.” (http://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/GA130/English/AP1942/19111104p02.html).
        This, I can assure You, is happening ALREADY inside the Orthodox Christian World! It is the aim of its existence, the center of its being!
        I’m sorry to tell that, on the other hand, this is something that anthroposophy in the west more or less is terribly lacking!…

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  2. Great post and summation! What Emanuel Zeylmans says seems to make sense…

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  3. Husq

    >“They laid waste with poison and flame”<
    Ever heard of the term 'poisoned words'?
    I could imagine the verbal and writen attacks on Steiner etc could be classed as a poison?

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  4. Demetrios Peroulas

    Let me take a further step. My spiritual research brought me to the same conclusions as the ones made by the Italian Anthroposophical Friends:
    http://mystica-aeterna.com/steiner-and-the-secret-inner-circle-of-twelve/

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  5. Dear Jeremy,

    It is very interesting that Wolfgang Weirauch carried this rumour that Ita Wegman had arranged the poisoning of Rudolf Steiner. And, of course, Emanuel Zeylmans scoffs at it, while having said in his own book in volume I, concerning the poisoning:
    “It was cheerfully spread about by even his closest colleagues”. Now, how could that be possible, unless his closest colleagues were also his own saboteurs?

    TH Meyer’s book,”Milestones”, has a last chapter which has been made into a pamphlet concerning the development of anthroposophy since the death of Rudolf Steiner. Ita Wegman is noted as encouraging Steiner to renew the anthroposophical society, rather than retiring, which he was inclined to do. Thus, on November 17, 1923, during the founding of the Holland branch of the AS, and wherein the lectures, “Supersensible Man” (GA231), were given, Ita Wegman proposed that he should refound the society and take on its administrative leadership. And thus was born the CC of 1923. Meyer gives some nice and concise indications here:

    https://books.google.com/books/about/The_Development_of_Anthroposophy_since_R.html?id=GkYSBgAAQBAJ

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    • I have to say that I can find no reason at all that Ita Wegman would have seen to the poisoning of Rudolf Steiner on 1 January 1924. Why this became a rumor over the years seems very odd to me. It is much more reasonable to say that she helped in following, and maybe even recommending, the procedure for purging the poison from his system.

      This book gives about 43 pages concerning Ita Wegman’s perceived role in continuing the ‘Leading Thoughts’, as well as “First Class Lessons”, after Steiner’s death. Personally, I think she was so badly ostracized for ten years [1925-1935], by Marie Steiner, leading to her expulsion, along with Elizabeth Vreede, that she simply went into a kind of seclusion in order to continue her medical practice. After her death, a vast wealth of correspondence was found indicating a very close relationship with Rudolf Steiner. Yet, she was very shy, and not the lecturing type, like Carl Unger. His story is even more direct and profound.

      https://books.google.com/books?isbn=1906999473

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    • Meyer mentioned ’an attempt to poison’ and Steiner’s expression ‘energetic healing power’.

      In his essay he stresses the role of the German spirit and the Germanic peoples in the development of Anthroposophy, while Steiner expressively stated the significance of the ‘Middle-European culture’, which includes the Slavic peoples (Czechs, Hungarians, Slovaks, Poles):

      “In this Middle-European culture the most varied national elements have for centuries been gathered together, making it impossible to speak of a “national” culture in the same sense as in the case of the cultures of the Southern and Western peoples of Europe. Etc.” GA0287/19141019

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  6. Was this ‘soul poisoning’ (occult attack) caused by ‘unreasonable demands’ and failing understanding of the members, or by personality cult and hero worship?

    Marie Steiner herself only used the circumscription ‘Something … concerning which he himself said: I am poisoned ’ (GA 260a) and the standard expression ‘what gave to Socrates the poisoned cup …’ (GA 28, Conclusion), Ita Wegman also spoke of the intake of ‘food as poison’ (News Bulletin 1925/To Friends).

    These direct testimonials of the two main players, contrast the accounts of Gentilli (1947), Schubert (1970), Grosse (1976) and the alleged note of Wachsmuth/Stein (1924).

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    • “The transformed physical body treats earthly food like poison,” explains von Halle. By her own account, she even had to stop using toothpaste because the tiny amount of alcohol contained in it caused “violent symptoms of poisoning” in her organism.

      http://southerncrossreview.org/86/judith-von-halle.html

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      • Von Halle refers to Steiner’s lectures on the Phantom body. She seems to be a Christian mystic, though not a Christian alchemist-occultist in Steiner’s sense.

        “At the beginning of human evolution it was intended that the Phantom should remain untouched by the material elements that man takes for his nutrition from the animal, plant, and mineral kingdoms. Etc.” GA0131/19111012

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      • The reception of the germ of the new phantom body (as in CW 131) appears to be the reason, why Paul’s wording of ‘more than five hundred brethren at one time’(I Corinthians XV:6) suggests a link to the ‘eight hundred people gathered’ at the Christmas Conference 1923.

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    • Steiner gave an important lecture on the opponents to anthroposophy that had been steadily growing since the movement first formed in 1902. The outer opponents are easily seen for their criticism and denigration of the existence of occult knowledge and supersensible truths, but it is the inner opponents that are the real threat; those with selfish and personal aims. This lecture summarizes a great deal of what would reach a crisis point as seen with the fire, and then Steiner’s illness a year later.
      http://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/GA203/English/SN4386/19210208p01.html

      Marie Steiner’s foreword to the first publication of the CC proceedings, GA260, in 1944, clearly indicates that the members were weak and needy, and failed to be vigilant for the sake of both the Goetheanum, as well as Dr. Steiner’s personal safety on 1 January 1924. Thus, she indicates that he sacrificed his life to take on the karma of the anthroposophical movement because, “we were weighed in the balance and found wanting”.

      And this assessment seems quite honest and forthright. Her recollection to her close student of Eurythmy, Lidia Gentilli, the year before her death in 1948, would speak directly to this lack of vigilance on her own part.

      Steiner’s lecture here, from February 1921, would seem to indicate that he has already assessed the situation, and knows its eventual outcome, with the burden on his shoulders of course.

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  7. Demetrios Peroulas

    I’d like to share a precious book with all people that are students of Christ & AnthropoSophia:
    https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B9CET-Pf1zl6U0JNT1gwczNnZFk

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    • There is Bondarev again, not on topic. He is a follower of the ‘historian’ and Holocaust denier Irving, and in 1999 he was ´not expressing a final judgement on whether the holocaust happened or not. I simply don’t have such a judgement.”.
      Has he revised his opinion since?
      http://www.altanthroinfo.org/bondarevexcerpts.html
      http://danielhindes.com/blog/2006/06/04/on_willy_lochmann_and_bondarev/

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    • This is the book that G.A. Bondarev wrote about the Christmas Conference of 2002, in which he attempts to expose the fallacies of the General Anthroposophical Society in its final attempt to accept the incorporation of the AAG, which had occurred on February 8, 1925, while Rudolf Steiner lay ill, and nearly too weak to even scribble his signature on the document that would allow registration of the former Goetheanum Building Association (GBA) into the Swiss registry of newly established corporations.

      Bondarev, having been expelled as a member of the GAS in 1998, supposedly because of salacious remarks in his book, “The Crisis of Civilization”, was keen to follow the proceedings of this conference of 2002, and wherein his fellow countryman, Sergei Prokofieff, had taken on a leadership position within the Executive Council, i.e, the Vorstand.

      Ten years later, both Sergei Prokofieff and his ally, Peter Selg of the Ita Wegman faction, would both be bemoaning the crisis in the general anthroposophical society, c. 2012, in which a disintegrating society is described by each on Steiner’s death day of March 30th.

      So, your book might be precious to some, but I suspect that more adherents have found their ground with Sergei Prokofieff’s book, “May Human Beings Hear It”, written in 2002 as an historical analysis of the entire spiritual-science movement from its inception. Yet, Bondarev saw a case, and a reason for his own book, which has been largely ignored over the last few years.

      What do you think it was that he wanted to say in relation to Christ and Anthroposophia that was so important? As an outsider, now excluded by the official authorities within GAS, i.e., Georg Unger, he likely thought of himself as a “man without a country”. Yet, the Russian Folk Soul is something we know that Rudolf Steiner felt would have to begin to lead the way.

      In my opinion, both Bondarev and Prokofieff, lead the way in very impressive fashion. I know that Rudolf Steiner is very glad of these developments.

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  8. The following is in T. H. Meyer’s book, Ludwig Polzer-Hoditz…
    How much Steiner’s own health was under pressure at this time was noted by Julie Klima: ‘His whole bearing was deeply serious, almost sad. He was already seriously ill, but we did not see it, did not want to see it.’ Evidently, the new spiritual impulses which Steiner carried into the Society after the Christmas Conference were not received everywhere as they should have been. At any rate, ‘a promise’ had been made on his part to certain spiritual powers, which in his own words, was to be fulfilled ‘unswervingly’*. What was at risk since the Christmas Conference, it appears, was nothing less than this: either the members of the Society he had founded would understand the new spiritual impulses more and more and, above all, seek to take up the far-reaching revelations of karma with the necessary respect and earnestness of soul, or else, for having dared to link his own person with the Society, he, Steiner, would have to pay with his health and in the worst case even with his life…
    A short time before his death he remarked to Ita Wegman that his illness was ‘of a peripheral nature’**. That means: it was rooted in the psychological and spiritual behaviour of the members, to whom, through the founding of the Society, he had bound himself more closely than ever before.

    *(see Steiner’s lecture of 18 July 1924 in Arnhem, in GA 240).
    ** (Ita Wegman noted on the back of a notepad Steiner’s words to her in the last period of his illness that ‘his illness was peripheral’. Communication of E. Zeylmans to the author).

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    • I have seen this suggested by several authors but I do not believe it – it is the kind of “glamour” with which some anthroposophists like to surround Steiner. He was a very sick human being, with much of his illness brought on by his own choices. To blame the members, as Steiner seemed to do in his last days, really won’t wash.

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  9. I agree, but the problem is trying to ascertain what he did or didn’t say… frankly, the whole issue is a complete mess which is a pity and doesn’t do anthroposophy any favours…

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    • I would encourage the reading of the introduction to this book, Rudolf Steiner and the Founding of the New Mysteries, by Sergei Prokofieff, pgs. 1-18.

      https://books.google.com/books/about/Rudolf_Steiner_and_the_Founding_of_the_N.html?id=84425u8svkIC

      Herein, he describes how he came to meet the work of Rudolf Steiner when as a fourteen-year old boy he was sent to the home of Max Voloshin in the Crimea, and first found the books of Rudolf Steiner. Max Voloshin had worked on the Goethenaum building in 1914, and was a relative of Margarete Voloshin, who was Steiner’s personal secretary.

      Well, Prokofieff comes to the same conclusion as Steiner did about taking on the karma of the anthroposophical movement. This is worth reading, please.

      Now, to say that Steiner blamed members for his condition is, indeed, something he never indicated, at least in the final letters, GA262, which I pore over continuously in the search for whatever clues we can get. These letters are not like what Steiner gave in the lectures on “Awakening to Community”, GA257. Now, there he was being rather critical to the members, but not harsh, and not blaming at all. He only wanted people to see the cause.

      With his final illness, he wanted warmth and comfort most of all. He had no time to blame, but to love all he had come to set forth.

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  10. Please excuse me, but David Irving was a Holocaust researcher, and not a denier. He actually says this in his own testimony in the trial with Deborah Lipstadt, who had libeled him with the accusation that he was a denier of the Holocaust.

    The same situation applies with Gennadi Bondarev, who wrote a book that served to get him expelled from the GAS in 1998. Yet, did the GAS ever specifically outline the offending passages in the book? No.

    This is because his kind of questioning was completely legitimate, and entirely within the spirit of the philosophy of freedom as it pertains to spiritual activity. The real reason that he was expelled from the GAS is that his book, “The Crisis of Civilization”, contained several appendices in which he was very critical of the administration of the GAS, and especially toward Manfred Schmidt-Brabant, the president at the time.

    For example, Bondarev was critical about the rather secretive ceremony in which Steiner’s ashes, along with his followers, were removed from the cryptorium, and buried on the grounds of the 2nd Goetheanum in November 1992. He was very critical of this and other perceived offenses, which were documented in his book.

    Thus, Bondarev was only conveniently expelled because of charges of anti-semitism and holocaust denial when in actuality it was his critical remarks concerning the extant GAS in these appendices to his book that were perceived as offensive. Anybody that reads German can see it for themselves, and also why he wrote the book on the CC of 2002.

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    • That’s bizarre. Wiki/David_Irving:
      Irving’s reputation as an historian was discredited when, in the course of an unsuccessful libel case [2000] he filed against the American historian Deborah Lipstadt and Penguin Books, he was shown to have deliberately misrepresented historical evidence to promote Holocaust denial … Over the years, Irving’s stance on the Holocaust changed significantly. From 1988, he started to espouse Holocaust denial openly; …

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    • wooffles

      In the last thread, Steve endorsed the Deborah Lipstadt movie that portray’s Irving’s failed attempt to sue Lipstadt for libel calling him a Holocaust denier. Steve wrote that “All Lipstadt really had to do was let Irving slay himself with his own evidence.” In this thread, Irving has become a “Holocaust researcher” again rather than a Holocaust denier.

      Steve, do you have the slightest shred of evidence that Bondarev was not expelled for the reasons given for his expulsion? I’ve read Crisis of Civilization. I have no problem calling it anti-Semitic.

      For what it is worth, in the Bondarev book that Demetrious links to above, there is a fierce attack on page 12 on the “shameful undertaking” of the Dutch Anthropsophical Society to charge Rudolf Steiner with “racism”

      What that “shameful undertaking” consisted of, for anyone who might have forgotten, was a report that concluded that a grand total of sixteen statements by Rudolf Steiner would be considered discriminatory by today’s standards and that, knowing what we know today, Steiner underestimated the danger of anti-Semitism. It denied that there was any systematic racism in Steiner or that he was himself anti-Semitic. But that is enough to constitute “charging” Steiner with racism, in Bondarev’s eyes, which suggests where he is coming from. http://www.thebee.se/comments/Holland/Dutch-FinalPressSummary.htm

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      • Fascinating though this may be, I do not want this post to be hijacked by a discussion about Bondarev, holocaust denial and goodness knows what else – so I’m calling a halt to this thread right here.

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      • wooffles

        That is a prudent decision, Jeremy.

        The posting-relevant observation that I took from this thread, however, is that it is very hard to discuss Steiner’s poisoning or lack thereof without going off on what look like wild tangents because of the place that the poisoning plays within larger debates in the anthroposophical movement today. I had no idea of the extent of that until you raised the topic in these two posts.

        Needless to say, feel free to deep six this comment.

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      • I think it can be shown that within the larger context of the anthroposophical movement that Steiner founded at the outset of the 20th century, it was agreed by the occult powers to allow the completely free dissemination of spiritual facts and truth for a specific period of time. And that is why a kind of compromise was struck when Marie von Sivers encouraged Steiner to speak openly about a western-oriented form of esotericism that would be spread throughout much of Europe using the oral tradition seen with his vast lecturing commitment. Lecture two of GA254 covers this founding in detail.

        Yet, a time would come wherein the occult powers working behind the scenes would call a halt to this pure spiritual activity, and take control again. Threats to Rudolf Steiner’s life began shortly after his return to England in April 1922. Then, the fire at the end of the year, and then the onset of a serious illness at the conclusion of the CC of 1923. These are all indicative that he was being told that his time was up; the compromise struck on November 17, 1901, at the so-called “Chrysanthemum Tea” had run its course.

        Yet, he was determined to challenge its enforcement by going on as long as possible with the newly refounded society. He saw his destiny as clearly taking him to 1933, when he would be 72 years old [a platonic lifetime], and with the beginning of the Second Coming of Christ. So, his death was clearly premature, as the occult forces were determined NOT to have these eight important years take place. 1933 would be the year that other events, fully supported by the occult powers, would begin without any reference to Christ.

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  11. One also has to weigh the life-long medical confidentiality observed by Wegman concerning Steiner’s illness, which didn’t hold for the eurythmists, scientists and painters present at the rout-party. All the others could break the silence about a possible poisoning; Wegman could only speak in general terms of exhaustion, pain and food intoxication (in the Nachrichtenblatt 1925).

    The failing understanding of the members concerned the two karmic streams, which would only unite at the end of the century, as intended by Steiner (Van Manen, Twin Roads, 2014, p.195).

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    • “The failing understanding of the members concerned the two karmic streams, which would only unite at the end of the century….”

      Steiner gives clear indication that the future of anthroposophy is saved from annihilation at the end of the twentieth century, and that he and the other stalwart members will return to participate in the Christ Event of the new millennium; along with the Chartrains, who have been prevented from incarnating since the School of Chartres in the late 11th and 12th centuries. Interestingly, if we consider that these teachers of the School of Chartres were unable to incarnate because of the move from Platonism toward a scholastical aristotelianism that would serve Christianity, it would certainly appear that the timing of their incarnation in the late twentieth century is most challenging; for with the ideals to be found in Platonism and Aristotelianism, which certainly comes to fruition as Anthroposophical Spiritual Science, one can also clearly see an inverse development taking place on the part of most others. Thus it can be said that we live in anti-platonic and anti-aristotelian times. And I am sure this is why the Chartrains are here now.

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      • In the fourth volume of the KR, Steiner describes a certain inseparable relationship that developed between Alexander the Great and Aristotle. And he says that this relationship continues on in the life between death and rebirth. Most noticeably mentioned is the great Supersensible Council of 869, consisting of Alexander, Aristotle, Haroun al Raschid, his Counsellor, and the Knights of the Round Table; the actual Knights themselves, who have since become the mythological figures of the Arthurian legend. The goal of this council in the supersensible regions was to directly counteract the influences of the 8th Ecumenical Council of the Roman church, which as we know, acted to implement the first installment of a so-called ‘negative trinity’ by dismissing the existence of the Spirit as part of the previously held threefold trichotomy – body, soul, spirit; thus leaving body and soul as the only working principles herein.

        It is important here to address Aristotle, and the actual life of Aristotle after leaving Plato. We are certainly familiar with the fact that Aristotle was a student of Plato’s Academy for twenty years.

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  12. Micah Edelstein

    I too live with the question about the cause of Steiner’s death. In Peter Selg’s book “The Michael School”, Mr Selg references letter correspondences between Steiner and Ita Wegman, found in the Ita Wegman archive, which Mr Selg oversees and references in many of his publications. In the correspondences, Steiner states that if the content of the first class lessons, which he had recently brought into earthly existence for the first time, was not taken up as it need to be into the hearts of the members, he would get sick in 2 months from sheer exhaustion of carrying it alone.

    To understand this in the proper context, for context is the difference between an Ahrimanic, or a Luciferic interpretation, it is helpful to point out that anthroposophy was only beginning to be understood by members during Steiner’s life. Anthroposophy had not become part of everyday life for many people. We know there was an experimental Waldorf school, started by Emil Molt- the reincarnated Charlemagne- biodynamic farming was just beginning, as was a medical clinic, and a community for spiritual renewal. Anthroposophy was still an impulse waiting to be fully taken up by Michaelic souls who, Steiner knew, already had a strong Karmic connection with it. I have no doubts, Steiner was always speaking to the presence of Michael in the members: he was aware that the content of his lectures, the being of Anthroposophia, had already been experienced by members as a spiritual reality in the occult school of Michael during the 15th-19th centuries. One can easily imagine how Steiner must have been looking for the reincarnated members of the Michaelic school during all of his lectures, hoping the content of his lectures was awakening them to their important destinies.

    When Steiner delivered the first class lessons for the first time, there must have been enough Michael souls in the membership, who had awoken to the reality of what Anthroposophy was, for it to have been even possible. But when we read that it was not taken up by members, as Steiner needed it to be in order to continue with it, a different picture emerges. We see that had there been Anthroposophists like there are today, enthusiastic, committed and connected through their heart organ to the mantric content of the first class lessons, Steiner would also have been enlivened by the first class lessons. Instead, the opposite seems to be the case-members were unable to grasp the content through their heart region and Steiner became ill from exhaustion. This is not so different from the spiritual science of the 3 year incarnation of the christ being in the body of Jesus of Nazareth, as explained in the Fifth Gospel. There is a lawful relationship between spirit and the physical bodies’ ability to contain it.

    Steiner was a high level initiate. From his many lectures and books it is possible, when viewed through the heart, for everyone to see the level of consciousness he possessed. It was a consciousness based not in wisdom, or power but in the wisdom and power of love. Love as a supreme goal is present through all the content of Anthroposophy. Steiner was nourished by the spiritual content he shared, and depleted by spiritually material events and forces he had to confront in the membership and which Anthroposophy so badly needed to overcome.
    When I read about rumours that Ita Wegman conspired against Steiner, what stands out is the obvious truth of the matter, that we are free to form ideas and opinions but in forming our ideas and opinions we also reveal our level of commitment to love, truth, and understanding.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think it is very important to have these comments, along with all the others on this voluminous thread, because it proves that we study our history because we care about it. Now, whether there were opponents from the inside of anthroposophy who actually sought to undermine and defeat his work is a valid point of contention. Steiner himself said in his lectures on the history of the anthroposophical movement, GA258, that when the construction of the building began is when members started to make demands for themselves, e.g., personal interviews, special lecture-courses, etc. By 1917, it had become intolerable, and so the personal interviews were halted for several years.

      By 1924, the candle was burning at both ends. Steiner was simply left to cram as much as possible in a few months. The failure of the members can’t be taken too hard. His collapse meant that he was reduced to a reclining position.

      Then, his health began to fail, and he realized that his successor needed to be brought forth from Stuttgart. This is given in a very directive letter from Rudolf Steiner to Marie Steiner just before his death. She ignored it.

      Now, does that make her an opponent of her husband, and an enemy of Ita Wegman? Some of the history points in this direction.

      Like

    • Ottmar

      “Emil Molt- the reincarnated Charlemagne- ” I ve never heard that before. Can you give a reference or is it your “idea”?

      Like

  13. Might we miss the obvious… one too many in Rudolf Steiner’s marriage? Seems odd that Marie was receiving letters instead of being by his side and nursing him in his final days… neither she nor Wegman were initiates so I imagine they suffered the same human foibles and frailties as the rest of us; fear, bitterness and resentment…

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    • Marie Steiner received letters because she was away from Dornach on two occasions after her husband’s point of exhaustion caused this to be his last, and very abbreviated lecture:
      http://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/InEJRN_index.html

      Thus, three days after Steiner’s final address, given on 28 September, 1924, Marie Steiner commenced a eurythmy tour that covered several cities from 1 October to 17 November, and then her return to Dornach. In similar fashion, beginning on 23 February 1925, and continuing until her return on 2 April, Marie was away on a eurythmy tour.

      So, she was very aware of the onset of his illness, and its deteriorating condition. She was also made very aware of the slow treatment being received toward recovery. Steiner was hopeful right up to the very last letter.

      Yet, it was he who made her go when she would have rather stayed and care for him. He made her responsible for the continuation of activities in his absence. Thus, he acknowledged her efforts profusely in these letters, while also conveying to her the kind attention he was receiving.

      So, your assertion of, “one too many in the marriage”?, is the only ‘obvious’ malfactor. Once the facts are known, then the veil is lifted, and we see here what was really going on.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Amelia Rubirosa

    I also think that Rudolf Steiner was poisoned by an occult order to stop the (apparently) steady influx of spiritual knowledge into the world. It was indeed stopped. But then he came back by incorporating into the body of Franz Bardon, this time, not as an initiate-seer but a magician, to combat evil forces not through knowledge but through transcendental power. Dr. Steiner’s “How to Know the Higher Worlds” is a prelude to Frabato’s “Path of the Adept.”

    I know, this may sound silly, but I know this to be factual. I believe I have encountered Dr. Steiner in the supersensible worlds when I was in an out-of-body state (not lucid dreaming) as a very radiant lion in the periphery of the Earth. I didn’t know him back then (2009), but after that experience, I was led away from my previous spiritual practices into anthroposophia. Then I began to understand it was him (or his spiritual being).

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    • In Rudolf Steiner’s lectures on the “Karma of the Anthroposophical Movement”, given in July 1924, he informs that he had conducted an initiation at the Christmas Conference. This initiation was contained within the Foundation Stone Mediation, and carried out for eight consecutive days. It was designed to plant the dodecahedron formation [a cosmic symbol] into the hearts of those 800 faithful followers who heard it each morning.

      Then later, he reveals that it meant that they and he would reincarnate quickly before the end of the century in order to save anthroposophy from the forces that would take it over and seek to destroy it after his death. So, his quick reincarnation is for the purpose of salvaging the anthroposophical movement for the future. As well, the experience of the Second Advent of Christ as an etheric body presentation has been made available as part of this initiation.

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    • “Dr. Steiner’s “How to Know the Higher Worlds” is a prelude to Frabato’s “Path of the Adept.”

      It has also been accused that Steiner’s “Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and Its Attainment” was a replication of the Loyola exercises that created the Jesuit Society of world servers of the Catholic church, and based on the rather extreme development of the will forces. Who can deny that both systems work in their particular direction; Steiner with the Christ-centered Rosicrucians, and Loyola with the Jesus-centered advocates of the “simple man of Nazareth”.

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      • Amelia Rubirosa

        Well, I can only wish the best of luck to these calumniators. They can only point out the similarities in the methodology of Dr. Steiner’s book (How to know the higher worlds) with other systems, and from there make the most far-fetched, ridiculous judgments. But these mudslinging will not stand the (logical) integrity of the work and its foundation, which is the Philosophy of Freedom. They are simply gusts trying to displace a/the mountain of Truth. And I am not even being creative on the metaphor.

        I would very much like to say the same of Bardon’s book (Path of the adept), although I admit that the foundations of the work are not fully impervious to the attacks of malicious persons: (a) who are trying to lead other seekers away from **an** authentic spiritual path (Hermetic) so they alone can work out their development clandestinely and become authority figures of some secret order with Oriental affiliations; or (b) who are simply fanatics of another school who are so mentally slaved that they quite willingly refuse to admit the (logical) integrity of the book’s methodology. Because, truly and really, anyone who has the goodwill to conceptualize its methodology can identify the very logical development within and across the steps.

        And finally, there will be those who will attack this “logic” that I am talking about here and will say, “oh no! Logic only works on the ‘lowest’, ‘physical’ ‘planes’ and in the ‘superior’ ‘planes’ there is another instrument of knowledge!” And if asked what is this “another instrument” the reply would most probably be a mishmash of nebulous metaphysical injunctions/instructions culled from equally nebulous sources! By sources, I mean, these discarnate contacts/entities/ghosts — basically, I believe, these are so, and also that these are elemental creations of certain groups of people who desire certain types of mentality to be realized/worked out physically. These contacts are **actually**, **simply** obsessing certain people with exceptional psychic endowments — these certain people who should have practiced religion and develop into authentic mystics, with the power to bestow real spiritual comfort, instead of becoming spokespersons of personalities who are truly gifted with occult power, but not with a natural charisma!

        I can just imagine the disdain of these behind-the-scenes occultists at the exposure of Anthroposophical writings to the public and, as a final nose-thumping to these conservatives, that of the “Path of the adept” which is **the** Hermetic initiation of the purest type. Hermetic — Hermes — Thot — Thought — Understandable! Without Symbols! – And, in this way, the very manner that Dr. Steiner presented Anthroposophia is characteristically Hermetic. If his Individuality was not the one that incorporated in Franz Bardon when he was a teen-ager (Bardon, b.1909, Steiner d.1925), I believe, they belong to one Brotherhood, Whose Aims anyone can deduce for himself from the very knowledge they shared! (Which, I might say, truly, really, universally humanity embracing.)

        (By the way, I have a degree in mathematics, which is a pure mental training. And I am quite aware of the flow of platitudes arising out of my soul for Dr. Steiner and Franz Bardon. I am consciously controlling it even now.)

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  15. Amelia Rubirosa

    Re: the occultists. I believe that there are many kinds of such gifted individuals, and I only have a meager intui-tion about the goals of those groups through the symptoms that become pronounced in the general flow of hu-man life. The only thing I know is a fact is that these people are not working on an initiative that is of purely human derivation/construction. (Well, nothing really is “of purely/singularly human construction” — as we are links in a great chain of being, as it were.) And the thing is, I think, one of the most powerful of these groups are inspired by **an-other** spiritual hierarchy that aims to drive a large part humanity into a somnambulic state in order to funnel spiritual forces for the construction of a truly artificial spiritual ‘world’ — not the cosmic/natural one de-scribed in Anthroposophia, but an **artificial** construction — that the people will actually pass through in post-mortem states! — — — This is very silly, I know. Don’t believe it yet. I just hope there are others who at least have a feeling of this very horrible thought.

    Like

    • There were occultists who actually saw in Rudolf Steiner the means to gather spiritual-scientific knowledge for their own use. So, they invested in his occult investigations for a period of time, c. 1900-1925, with the caveat that it all be taken down in notes and professional stenography. Of course, Steiner was very aware of this stipulation, and that he had agreed to a kind of “compromise” that would allow free transmission of spiritual truths for a specified period of time. This fact permeates the recent threads on “the so-called poisoning”, and so I won’t elaborate again.

      It was in the lecture-course, GA254, given in early October 1915, that Rudolf Steiner outlined the aims of the occult movement, and how his involvement came into effect. Of particular note in this course is the description of “The Eighth Sphere”, which would seem to be what you are calling, “an artificial construction”. This is true, in terms of what represents the ultimate aim of the occult powers; their “brass ring”, so to speak. It is to build-up and then launch this *artificial* construction right into the midst of the seven sacred spheres, and thus plant a mechanical device into the universe.

      With regard to your belief that RS incorporated into FB after his (RS) death, which is compelling to consider, let me say that his etheric forces were so depleted that he needed the immediate help and nursing of the College of Twelve, much as occurred with the original birth of Christian Rosenkreutz in the 13th century. This was so that he could be quickly restored in order for the later incarnation, which is now taking place.

      Many of those who were with Rudolf Steiner when he lived, and were dedicated in hearing those Foundation Stone Verses spoken over those eight days from 25 December 1923 – 1 January 1924, are reincarnated now. Some were born in order to further the cause right in the midst of the GAS, which had taken over just after the death of Rudolf Steiner. Since around 1990, they have become the present “presence”. I am talking about people like Judith von Halle, Sergei Prokofieff, Peter Selg, Gennadi Bondarev, Herbert Wimbauer, etc. These are those who quickly reincarnated in order to further the cause close to Dornach-central.

      The rest of us live, as well, right out here in the periphery of the world. We serve the anthroposophical movement in our own personal ways. Take the moderator of this blog, for example, who espouses biodynamic gardening, and his colleagues over the years at Emerson College, and those that teach in Waldorf Schools. Where did they come from in order to have such an incentive to keep alive what other forces would have put to death by now?

      Steve

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      • Amelia Rubirosa

        I am really happy to see that certain people are active within the Anthroposophical movement. I don’t think my physical constitution is made for it (I am a Hermetic), but I know for certain that I am in an everlasting friendship with this spiritual Impulse. My encounter with the celestial lion only pointed the way (as it seems), but reading and understanding the Philosophy of Freedom won my affection completely — This book appears to trace a path (in a way very similar to higher mathematics) to the very threshold of the spiritual ‘world’, and you know mathematics, when it declares a thing, you will lose the capacity to doubt, whether you like it or not!

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      • I am liking having this conversation. Thank you. The disciple Thomas had an experience that made it impossible for him to doubt any further. It was as precise as math. Original Hermeticism concerns what Poimandres taught and captured in the Corpus Hermeticum. Yet, it all was changed when the first teachers of earth evolution went to the moon, and became the moon-dwellers.

        Thus, the original hermetic philosophy is something that can no longer be attained. It has been replaced by the revised plan of earth evolution, or “Logos”, which mandated that Poimandres and his cohort go to the moon and officiate the process of kama loca, which the soul first transcends after death.

        Then, just before being born into our next incarnation, these moon-dwellers aid in the selection of the hereditary parentage. So, Hermeticism has changed quite significantly from the first teachers, who taught when Man was to be the Lord of the Earth, both male and female, and living in a fine physical phantom body.

        We were once the Fourth Hierarchy, and taught by Poimandres and His Cohort, but then a sacrifice was made, and we took a step down into the human kingdom. This coincides with the events first occurring in Genesis, chapter 2, when the “Lord God” forms ‘man from the dust of the ground, and breathes life into his nostrils’.

        Modern hermeticists consider this the act of the so-called “demiurge”, who brought mankind down from his once supreme position. Yet, it was a necessary act. Remember, Jahve made a sacrifice, as the seventh Elohim of the Sun, to go to the moon.

        Spiritual Science makes this all clear, and why advocates of Franz Bardon should study how the original hermetic philosophy was revised and prepared for Christianity.

        Looking forward to more kindness and considerations, if allowed. Thanks.

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  16. Amelia Rubirosa

    I should have been clearer when I wrote “I am a Hermetic” 🙂 I am working along the path described by Franz Bardon in “Initiation Into Hermetics,” which says nothing more concerning cosmology than, basically, being a result of manifold “activities” of the electric and magnetic fluids, and the principle of analogy. Hermetics, i.e., the one described by Bardon, has no place for demiurgic beings that **bar** man’s ascent to true Divinity, even in his second work on evocation — even if it does seem so at first glance. (I am not working evocation, I don’t even think I’ll advance to it in this life.) But, in Hermetics, these beings are only planetary spirits, which are even helpful to man’s spiritual development. I think Dr. Steiner described the process in “How to Know the Higher Worlds” — but he did not discuss anything more than a (kind of) inspirational interaction with planetary beings. I also think that Hermetics is different from the original Hermeticism you are referring to, which is permeated with Gnostic cosmology, or is really Gnosticism in a different guise, which I also think is an incorrect (even dangerous) conception now. I do believe in the unique **Incarnation** of Christ in Jesus — now this is a matter of faith, but based on knowledge pointed to by Dr. Steiner in Christianity as a Mystical Fact. If this had triumphed we would be like Christian-Buddhists today, who will do everything to leave Earth, to be with the ‘purely spiritual’ Christ in the divine worlds. But the Incarnation can be intellectually traced as a physical, historical fact — and this knowledge alone makes the Earth a place of divine beauty, or at least, it can be made so **now**, by purely human efforts. One such effort, I firmly believe, is through the operations of magic, which is a province of Hermetics. Anthroposophia is spiritual science, Hermetics is spiritual engineering.

    I know it might seem that I am espousing a type of Hermetics that is simply a glamorized brand of eclecticism. But, foundational step in Hermetics is the observation of thinking (and of individual character), which is also the foundational step in anthroposophical method of development (both in the Philosophy of Freedom and How to Know the Higher Worlds), and proceeds with character development. It is simply inevitable (at least to me) that they will lead to parallel conclusions, at the least.

    Everything from Dr. Steiner is beautiful in my judgement. Now, this would seem “very one-sided” or “imbalanced” for those who have skipped his Philosophy of Freedom, and allowed themselves to be amazed with all the transcendental conclusions he talked about, but the beauty is simply factual to those who struggled to follow the trail of thoughts of that book (which will induce, at least to me, strange intuition talking inside the head, dreams of seeing inside the body, blah blah blah.)

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  17. Amelia Rubirosa

    I apologize if I dragged us far from the topic. But, let me turn the direction back to it, by summing up what I succinctly desire to express:

    Anthroposophia, indeed, faces many oppositions, originating from actual, particular persons, or group of persons, with considerable occult power to redirect parts of earthly evolution towards an abnormal course. (I know this as fact, due to first-hand experience of the reality of so-called occult powers — If I can do a thing, others can do it as well, and there must be still others who are seasoned pros. It’s simple inductive reasoning.)

    And that Anthroposophia can make use of all the help that small kindred bodies (like Hermetics) can offer in true friendship.

    I thank you for the time, my friend. I’m now retiring into my hermitage. 🙂

    Like

  18. Jeremy,

    Inspired by Steve Hale’s call in the William thread to reminisce about the year coming to an end, and also noting that both the poisoning incident and the Goetheanum Fire took place during the Holy Nights, I would like to summarize the 3 posts you made this year dealing with the alleged poisoning of Rudolf Steiner.

    If you were to take all 3 “chapters” —- along with all the comments for each, and bind them up into a book, whether paper or electronic, then I have a title to propose for the small tome.

    As you will see, my title is directly inspired by the title of one of Owen Barfield’s major works.

    SAVING THE POISONING APPEARANCES:
    A STUDY IN STEINER IDOLATRY

    Happy New Year!

    Just Tommy

    Like

    • Steve Hale

      Tom, what you seem to fail to understand is that it is not a matter of ‘Steiner idolatry’ in engaging in this study, but rather, getting to the historical facts of what actually occurred with the fire that destroyed the Goetheanum, and then the sudden onset of illness a year later. A life foreshortened by some nine years, at least, is the outcome. This blog looks at these events, and other historical developments in the life of Rudolf Steiner in order to show the world that we take our movement seriously, and want to continue its forward progress into perpetuity. One of the great achievements, likely most worthy, is the continuation of spiritual-scientific research in today’s age, some 92 years after Steiner’s death. As such, we would like to clarify many things considered dead and ossified due to certain prevailing opinions about the present-day GAS, which truly needs the leadership of a successor.

      The veil is being pierced into the supersensible, as we speak. It is an undeniable field of investigation, and first reveals of all the lies that this world is being inflicted with. Take Syria, for example, as the latest ‘hot-spot’ of human conflict and suffering. Two thousand years ago, Saul became Paul because he was going there, to Damascus, in order to round up all Christians and put them in jail. You see, Syria had become the first truly Christian nation, and Saul would have none of it. So, he garnered letters from the High Priest of the Sanhedrin there in Jerusalem to all the synagogues in Damascus giving authority to arrest Christians.

      How far did he get? So, why do you resist like the old Saul? Is it because you didn’t get something promised at some point in time, and now turn adversary? Worth considering, if you’re willing to be honest. The ears are waiting.

      Steve

      Like

  19. marki

    There is a statement somewhere about bowel illnesses/looseness/incontinence, where it allows one to remain with the living longer after death,…seems significant,..?

    Like

  20. What Ita Wegman says, according to some comments, about Steiner’s death, namely that part of the cause was that his physical body was left without enough spiritual sustenance because he had to be too much in the spiritual world, seems to contradict Steiner himself.

    According to Steiner, as I recall, when the soul (or astral body) and the ego are partly out of the physical body during sleep, that is not harmful for the body, but rejuvenating. Part of Steiner’s thinking on this was that the soul and the ego, as they are far less rhythmic than the physical body and the formative-forces body (or etheric body), tend to break down and destroy the physical and etheric bodies during the day. During the day, the random and arbitrary desires of the soul and the mind’s chaotic thoughts frequently administer little shocks and disruptions to the smooth flow of natural body rhythms. Whereas during sleep, the partial departure of the soul and ego from the physical body allows the rhythms of physical and etheric to develop relatively undisturbed and to be healed by the spiritual world. So, precisely opposite to what I have heard here of Wegman’s view, I would think that perhaps Steiner was not in a position to abandon his body *enough*. When he got sick, it was because he had to be too much in the physical world taking care of it, he had to be too long awake every day, often going with hardly any sleep, and his physical body therefore could not get enough rest from his soul and ego, which were faced with endless and chaotic demands and perturbations from others and from the world. Do we not read that in part of 1924 he was giving three or four lectures a day and often sleeping a mere two hours a night because long lines of people waited to see him and he refused to turn them away? Robert McDermott in The Essential Steiner (an earlier edition, at any rate) wrote that Steiner “worked himself to death.”

    Maybe Steiner was also poisoned. But it has long been a bit of a question for me: Was Steiner right to work himself so hard in 1924? I don’t know. His creative powers were so great that had he lived another three years, never mind a decade, I doubt his truly remarkable genius could have been overlooked by the world to such an extent. Maybe that was why he had to die when he did. He was approaching a spiritual version of what technology followers, speaking of the ever more rapid advance of technology, sometimes refer to as the approaching “singularity”. Perhaps given another three years, his unbelievable versatility, the number of different brilliant practical initiatives renewing areas of civilizational endeavor, and the massive scope of his work, would all have developed to a point that they would have become an undeniable question and stimulus and initiation for a large part of the world. Perhaps the world was not ready for more than he had already given, and that’s why he died “early”?

    Another suggestion I do not find that convincing is the claim that Steiner’s “etheric” or formative-forces body was shattered by the tragedy of the burning of the Goetheanum. My sense is that Steiner’s soul was sturdier than that, indeed fairly invulnerable to disappointment over outer setbacks, no matter how large. I have trouble believing he could have accomplished all he did if external losses could destroy his health. Of course it’s possible that the burning of the Goetheanum had a deeply deleterious effect on his physical body as if he were like a parent of a certain kind who at a vulnerable moment had lost a most beloved child. Perhaps.

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