Theosophy: (A Timeless Classic)by Rudolf Steiner, Elizabeth Douglas Shields (Translator)
This book will give a description of some of the regions of the supersensible world. The reader who is willing to admit the existence of the sensible world only will regard this delineation as a mere unreal production of the imagination. He, however, who looks for paths that lead beyond this world of the senses will soon learn to understand that human life only gains in worth and significance through sight into another world. Such a man will not, as many fear, be estranged from the "real" world through this new power of vision. For only through it does he learn to stand fast and firm in this life. He learns to know the CAUSES of life, while without it he gropes like a blind man through their EFFECTS. Only through the understanding of the supersensible does the sensible "real" acquire meaning. One therefore becomes more, and not less, fit for life through this understanding. Only he who understands life can become a truly practical man.
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This title is the first half of what the author originally intended to be a one volume text in two parts. The second part is now published as An Outline of Esoteric Science while this first part remains with the original title, Theosophy, although the author broke away from the organized movement with this name. The book deals with the organic structure of the human being as a dual being with an inner and an outer life; as a threefold being with a body, a personal soul life and a spiritual nature that reincarnates; as a fourfold being with a membership in each one of the three visible natural kingdoms as well as in a kingdom of our own - which in turn connects us with higher kingdoms - as well as a sevenfold and a ninefold being. The etheric body, the astral body as well as other fundamental concepts of spiritual science are thoroughly examined and put in context. The chapter on reincarnation and karma is logically convincing albeit a bit abstract. Very concrete, however, is the chapter describing the human aura and its colors. The chapter describing the discipline of spiritual research is a gem and worth the struggle of a generally gnarly text. In fact, this struggle is part of the authors intentions of inviting the reader to a discipline that will lead to personal experience. A drawback is that it also can lead to mystification and followership amongst people that lack the discipline or the mental faculties to digest this kind of text. For serious students and practicioners of the spiritual sciences, however, this book, along with its companion volume Esoteric Science, is a time tested and performance proven corner stone. Recent books of similar scope are hard to find, but B. A. Brannons books are related in some ways.