Rudolf Joseph Lorenz Steiner (25/27 February 1861 – 30 March 1925) was an Austrian philosopher, social reformer, architect, and esotericist. Steiner gained initial recognition at the end of the nineteenth century as a literary critic and published philosophical works including The Philosophy of Freedom. At the beginning of the twentieth century, he founded a spiritual movement, anthroposophy, with roots in German idealist philosophy and theosophy; other influences include Goethean science and Rosicrucianism.

In the first, more philosophically oriented phase of this movement, Steiner attempted to find a synthesis between science and spirituality; his philosophical work of these years, which he termed spiritual science, sought to apply the clarity of thinking characteristic of Western philosophy to spiritual questions, differentiating this approach from what he considered to be vaguer approaches to mysticism. In a second phase, beginning around 1907, he began working collaboratively in a variety of artistic media,

including drama, the movement arts (developing a new artistic form, eurythmy) and architecture, culminating in the building of the Goetheanum, a cultural centre to house all the arts. In the third phase of his work, beginning after World War I, Steiner worked to establish various practical endeavors, including Waldorf education, biodynamic agriculture, and anthroposophical medicine.
Steiner advocated a form of ethical individualism, to which he later brought a more explicitly spiritual approach. He based his epistemology on Johann Wolfgang Goethe's world view, in which “Thinking … is no more and no less an organ of perception than the eye or ear. Just as the eye perceives colours and the ear sounds, so thinking perceives ideas." A consistent thread that runs from his earliest philosophical phase through his later spiritual orientation is the goal of demonstrating that there are no essential limits to human knowledge.

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  • 1. [Anthroposophy] Anthroposophy, a philosophy founded by Rudolf Steiner, postulates the existence of an objective, intellectually comprehensible spiritual world accessible to direct experience through inner development. More specifically, it aims to develop faculties of perceptive imagination, inspiration and intuition through the cultivation of a form of thinking independent of sensory experience, and to present the results thus
  • 2. [Waldorf education] Waldorf (Steiner) education is a humanistic approach to pedagogy based on the educational philosophy of the Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner, the founder of anthroposophy. The first Waldorf school opened in 1919 in Stuttgart, Germany. At present there are 1,039 independent Waldorf schools, 2,001 kindergartens and 646 centers for special education, located in 60 countries. There are also Waldorf-based state schools, charter schools and academies, and homeschooling environments.
  • 3. [Anthroposophical Society] The General Anthroposophical Society is an organization dedicated to supporting the community of those interested in the form of spiritual philosophy known as anthroposophy.
  • 4. [Goetheanum] The Goetheanum, located in Dornach (near Basel), Switzerland, is the world center for the anthroposophical movement. Named after Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, the center includes two performance halls (1500 seats), gallery and lecture spaces, a library, a bookstore, and administrative spaces for the Anthroposophical Society; neighboring buildings house the Society's research and educational facilities. Conferences
  • 5. [Biodynamic agriculture] Biodynamic agriculture is a method of organic farming originally developed by Rudolf Steiner that employs what proponents describe as "a holistic understanding of agricultural processes". One of the first sustainable agriculture movements, it treats soil fertility, plant growth, and livestock care as ecologically interrelated tasks, emphasizing spiritual and mystical perspectives. Proponents of biodynamic agriculture, including Steiner, have characterized it as "spiritual science" as part of the larger anthroposophy movement.
  • 6. [Helena Blavatsky] Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (Russian: Еле́на Петро́вна Блава́тская, Ukrainian: Олена Петрівна Блаватська), born as Helena von Hahn (Russian: Елена Петровна Ган, Ukrainian: Олена Петрівна Ган; 12 August [O.S. 31 July] 1831 – 8 May 1891), was a Russian occultist.
  • 7. [Eurythmy] Eurythmy is an expressive movement art originated by Rudolf Steiner in conjunction with Marie von Sivers in the early 20th century. Primarily a performance art, it is also used in education, especially in Waldorf schools, and – as part of anthroposophic medicine – for claimed therapeutic purposes.
  • 8. [Anthroposophic medicine] Anthroposophic medicine (or anthroposophical medicine) is a form of alternative medicine that in part complements and in part replaces mainstream medicine. Founded in the 1920s by Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925) in conjunction with Ita Wegman (1876–1943), anthroposophical medicine draws on Steiner's spiritual philosophy, which he called anthroposophy.
  • 9. [Dornach] Dornach is a municipality in the district of Dorneck in the canton of Solothurn in Switzerland.
  • 10. [Ita Wegman] Ita Wegman, MD (born 22 February 1876 in Karawang, West Java; died 4 March 1943 in Arlesheim, Switzerland) is known as the co-founder of Anthroposophical Medicine with Rudolf Steiner. In 1921, she founded the first anthroposophical medical clinic in Arlesheim, now known as the Ita Wegman Clinic. She also developed a special form of massage therapy, called rhythmical massage, and other therapeutic treatments.
  • 11. [Social threefolding] Social threefolding is a sociological theory that suggests increasing the independence of society's three primary realms (economy, politics and culture) in such a way that those three realms can mutually correct each other in an ongoing process. The movement aims for democracy in political life, freedom in cultural life (art, science, religion, education, the media),
  • 12. [Theosophy] Theosophy (from Greek θεοσοφία theosophia, from θεός theos, God + σοφία sophia, wisdom; literally "God's wisdom"), refers to systems of esoteric philosophy concerning, or investigation seeking direct knowledge of, presumed mysteries of being and nature, particularly concerning the nature of divinity.
  • 13. [Marie Steiner-von Sivers] Marie Steiner-von Sivers (born Marie von Sivers – 14 March 1867 – 27 December 1948) was the second wife of Rudolf Steiner and one of his closest colleagues. She made a great contribution to the development of anthroposophy, particularly in her work on the renewal of the performing arts (eurythmy, speech and drama), and the editing and publishing of Rudolf Steiner's literary estate.
  • 14. [Charles Webster Leadbeater] Charles Webster Leadbeater (/ˈlɛdˌbɛtər/; 16 February 1854 – 1 March 1934) was an influential member of the Theosophical Society, author on occult subjects and co-initiator with J. I. Wedgwood of the Liberal Catholic Church. Originally a priest of the Church of England, his interest in spiritualism caused him to end his affiliation with Anglicanism in
  • 15. [Rosicrucianism] Rosicrucianism is a philosophical secret society said to have been founded in late medieval Germany by Christian Rosenkreuz. It holds a doctrine or theology "built on esoteric truths of the ancient past", which, "concealed from the average man, provide insight into nature, the physical universe and the spiritual realm." Rosicrucianism is symbolized by the Rosy Cross.
  • 16. [Esotericism] Esotericism (or esoterism) signifies the holding of esoteric opinions or beliefs, that is, ideas preserved or understood by a small group of those specially initiated, or of rare or unusual interest. The term derives from the Greek, either from the comparative ἐσώτερος (esôteros), "inner", or from its derived adjective ἐσωτερικός (esôterikos), "pertaining to the innermost".
  • 17. [Esoteric cosmology] Esoteric cosmology is cosmology that is an intrinsic part of an esoteric or occult system of thought. Esoteric cosmology maps out the universe with planes of existence and consciousness according to a specific worldview usually from a doctrine.
  • 18. [Emil Molt] Emil Molt (born 14 April 1876 in Schwäbisch Gmünd, Kingdom of Württemberg, died 16 June 1936 in Stuttgart) was a German businessman, social reformer and anthroposophist. He was the director of the Waldorf-Astoria-Zigarettenfabrik, and with Rudolf Steiner co-founded the first Waldorf school. Hence, Waldorf education was named after the company.
  • 19. [The Christian Community] The Christian Community (German: Die Christengemeinschaft) is a Christian denomination. It was founded in 1922 in Switzerland by a group of mainly Lutheran theologians and ministers led by Friedrich Rittelmeyer, inspired by Rudolf Steiner, the Austrian philosopher and founder of anthroposophy. Christian Community congregations exist as financially independent groups with regional and international administrative bodies overseeing their work. There are approximately 350 worldwide. The international headquarters are in Berlin, Germany.
  • 20. [Camphill Movement] The Camphill Movement is an initiative for social change inspired by anthroposophy. Camphill communities are residential "life-sharing" communities and schools for adults and children with developmental disabilities (called "learning disabilities" in the UK), mental health problems and other special needs, and they provide services and support for work, learning and daily living.
  • 21. [The Philosophy of Freedom] The Philosophy of Freedom is the fundamental philosophical work of the philosopher and esotericist Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925). It addresses the questions whether and in what sense man can be said to be free.
  • 22. [Arlesheim] Arlesheim is a municipality in the district of Arlesheim in the canton of Basel-Country in Switzerland. Its cathedral chapter seat, bishop's residence and cathedral (1681 / 1761) are listed as a heritage site of national significance.
  • 23. [Weleda] Weleda is a multinational company that produces both beauty products and naturopathic medicines. Both branches design their products based on anthroposophic principles. The company takes its name from the German form of the name of the 1st century Bructeri völva Veleda. Weleda is dedicated to use entirely 'natural' ingredients and none of their ingredients or
  • 24. [Owen Barfield] Owen Barfield (9 November 1898 – 14 December 1997) was a British philosopher, author, poet, and critic.
    Barfield was born in London. He was educated at Highgate School and Wadham College, Oxford and in 1920 received a first class degree in English language and literature. After finishing his B. Litt., which became his third book Poetic
  • 25. [Annie Besant] Annie Besant (1 October 1847 – 20 September 1933) was a prominent British socialist, theosophist, women's rights activist, writer and orator and supporter of Irish and Indian self-rule.
  • 26. [Jiddu Krishnamurti] Jiddu Krishnamurti (12 May 1895 – 17 February 1986) was a speaker and writer on philosophical and spiritual subjects. In his early life he was groomed to be the new World Teacher but later rejected this mantle and disbanded the organisation behind it. His subject matter included psychological revolution, the nature of mind, meditation, inquiry,
  • 27. [Friedrich Rittelmeyer] Friedrich Rittelmeyer (5 October 1872, Dillingen an der Donau, Bavarian Swabia – 23 March 1938 in Hamburg) was a Protestant German minister, theologian and co-founder and driving force of The Christian Community.
  • 28. [Edith Maryon] Edith Louisa Maryon (London, 9 February 1872 – 2 May 1924 in Dornach, Switzerland) was an English sculptor. Along with Ita Wegman, she belonged to the innermost circle of founders of anthroposophy and those around Rudolf Steiner.
  • 29. [Guardian of the Threshold] The Guardian of the Threshold is a menacing figure that is described by a number of esoteric teachers. The term "Guardian of the Threshold", often called "dweller on the threshold" indicates a spectral image which is supposed to manifest itself as soon as "the student of the spirit ascends upon the path into the higher
  • 30. [Goethean science] Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, although primarily known as a literary figure, did research in morphology, anatomy, and optics, and also developed a phenomenological approach to science and to knowledge in general.
    In 1998, David Seamon and Arthur Zajonc wrote Goethe's way of science: a phenomenology of nature
  • 31. [Etheric plane] The etheric plane (see also Etheric body) is a term introduced into Theosophy by Charles Webster Leadbeater and Annie Besant to represent the subtle part of the lower plane of existence. It represents the fourth [higher] subplane of the physical plane (a hyperplane), the lower three being the states of solid, liquid, and gaseous matter. The idea was later used by authors such as Alice Bailey, Rudolf Steiner, Walter John Kilner and others.
  • 32. [GLS Bank] The GLS Bank (full name GLS Gemeinschaftsbank eG) is a German ethical bank that was founded in 1974 as an anthroposophical initiative by Wilhelm Ernst Barkhoff and Gisela Reuther. It was the first bank in Germany that operated with an ethical philosophy. According to GLS Bank, its focus is on cultural, social and ecological initiatives,
  • 33. [Theosophical Society Adyar] The Theosophy Society - Adyar is the name of a section of the Theosophical Society founded by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky and others in 1875. Its headquarters moved with Blavatsky and president Henry Steel Olcott to Adyar, an area of Chennai in 1883. The designation 'Adyar' is added to make it clear that this is the
  • 34. [Sergei O. Prokofieff] Sergei O. Prokofieff (16 January 1954 – 26 July 2014) was born in Moscow, where he studied fine arts and painting at the Moscow School of Art. He encountered anthroposophy in his youth, and soon made the decision to devote his life to it. He wrote his first book, Rudolf Steiner and the Founding of
  • 35. [Vladimir Solovyov (philosopher)] Vladimir Sergeyevich Solovyov (Russian: Влади́мир Серге́евич Соловьёв; January 28 [O.S. January 16] 1853 – August 13 [O.S. July 31] 1900) was a Russian philosopher, theologian, poet, pamphleteer and literary critic, who played a significant role in the development of Russian philosophy and poetry at the end of the 19th century and in the spiritual renaissance of the early 20th century.
  • 36. [Arthur Schopenhauer] Arthur Schopenhauer (German: [ˈaʁtʊʁ ˈʃɔpənˌhaʊ̯ɐ]; 22 February 1788 – 21 September 1860) was a German philosopher best known for his book, The World as Will and Representation (German: Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung), in which he claimed that our world is driven by a continually dissatisfied will, continually seeking satisfaction. Influenced by Eastern philosophy,
  • 37. [John Henry Mackay] John Henry Mackay (6 February 1864 – 16 May 1933) was an individualist anarchist, thinker and writer. Born in Scotland and raised in Germany, Mackay was the author of Die Anarchisten (The Anarchists, 1891) and Der Freiheitsucher (The Searcher for Freedom, 1921). Mackay was published in the United States in his friend Benjamin Tucker's magazine, Liberty. He was a noted homosexual.
  • 38. [Joseph Beuys] Joseph Beuys (German pronunciation: [ˈjoːzɛf ˈbɔʏs]; 12 May 1921 – 23 January 1986) was a German Fluxus, happening and performance artist as well as a sculptor, installation artist, graphic artist, art theorist and pedagogue of art.
  • 39. [Organic farming] Organic farming is a form of agriculture that relies on techniques such as crop rotation, green manure, compost, and biological pest control. Depending on whose definition is used, organic farming uses fertilizers and pesticides (which include herbicides, insecticides and fungicides) if they are considered natural (such as bone meal from animals or pyrethrin from flowers),
  • 40. [Édouard Schuré] Eduard (Édouard) Schuré (January 21, 1841 in Strasbourg – April 7, 1929 in Paris) was a French philosopher, poet, playwright, novelist, music critic, and publicist of esoteric literature.
  • 41. [Hermann Hesse] Hermann Hesse (German: [ˈhɛɐ̯man ˈhɛsə]; 2 July 1877 – 9 August 1962) was a German poet, novelist, and painter. His best-known works include Steppenwolf, Siddhartha, and The Glass Bead Game, each of which explores an individual's search for authenticity, self-knowledge and spirituality. In 1946, he received the Nobel Prize in Literature.
  • 42. [Franz Brentano] Franz Clemens Honoratus Hermann Brentano (January 16, 1838 – March 17, 1917) was an influential German philosopher and psychologist whose influence was felt by other such luminaries as Sigmund Freud, Edmund Husserl, Kazimierz Twardowski and Alexius Meinong, who followed and adapted his views.
  • 43. [Geisteswissenschaft] Geisteswissenschaften (German pronunciation: [ˈɡaɪstəsˌvɪsənʃaftən], "spirit" + "science") is a set of human sciences such as philosophy, history, philology, social sciences, and sometimes even theology and jurisprudence, that are traditional in German universities. Most of its subject matter would come under the much larger humanities faculty in the typical English-speaking university, but it does not contain the arts.
  • 44. [Richard Tarnas] Richard Theodore Tarnas (born February 21, 1950) is a cultural historian known for his books The Passion of the Western Mind: Understanding the Ideas That Have Shaped Our World View and Cosmos and Psyche: Intimations of a New World View. Tarnas is professor of philosophy and psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies, and is the founding director of its graduate program in Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness.
  • 45. [Ernst Haeckel] Ernst Heinrich Philipp August Haeckel (February 16, 1834 – August 9, 1919) was a German biologist, naturalist, philosopher, physician, professor, and artist who discovered, described and named thousands of new species, mapped a genealogical tree relating all life forms, and coined many terms in biology, including anthropogeny, ecology, phylum, phylogeny, stem cell, and the kingdom
  • 46. [Andrei Bely] Boris Nikolaevich Bugaev (Russian: Бори́с Никола́евич Буга́ев, IPA: [bɐˈrʲis nʲɪkɐˈlajɪvʲɪt͡ɕ bʊˈɡajɪf] ( )), better known by the pen name Andrei Bely (Russian: Андре́й Бе́лый, IPA: [ɐnˈdrʲej ˈbʲelɨj] ( ); 26 October [O.S. 14 October] 1880 – 8 January 1934), was a Russian novelist, poet, theorist, and literary critic. His novel Petersburg was regarded by Vladimir Nabokov as one of the four greatest novels of the 20th century.
  • 47. [Robert A. McDermott] Robert McDermott is professor of Philosophy and Religion at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. He received his Ph.D. in 1969 in philosophy from Boston University and is president emeritus of the California Institute of Integral Studies. He has taught at Manhattanville College (1964-71) and is professor emeritus and former chair of
  • 48. [The Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily] The Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily (German title: Märchen or Das Märchen) is a fairy tale by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe published in 1795 in Friedrich Schiller's German magazine Die Horen (The Horae). It concludes Goethe's novella rondo Conversations of German Emigrants (1795). Das Märchen is regarded as the founding example of the genre
  • 49. [William Irwin Thompson] William Irwin Thompson (born July 1938) is known primarily as a social philosopher and cultural critic, but he has also been writing and publishing poetry throughout his career and received the Oslo International Poetry Festival Award in 1986. He describes his writing and speaking style as "mind-jazz on ancient texts". He is the founder of the Lindisfarne Association.
  • 50. [Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling] Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling (27 January 1775 – 20 August 1854), later von Schelling, was a German philosopher. Standard histories of philosophy make him the midpoint in the development of German idealism, situating him between Johann Gottlieb Fichte, his mentor in his early years, and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, his former university roommate, early friend, and later rival. Interpreting Schelling's philosophy is regarded as difficult because of its apparently ever-changing nature.
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