Given his energetic involvement in practical initiatives and extensive lecturing, Rudolf Steiner had very little time to write. Of the books he found time to write, four titles are considered indispensable introductions to his teaching as a whole: How to Know Higher Worlds; An Outline of Esoteric Science; Intuitive Thinking As a Spiritual Path; and Theosophy. With the exception of his Anthroposophical Leading Thoughts and Autobiography, Steiner's writings belong to his earliest work.
In this classic translation of Theosophy, Steiner brings us a psychology based not on the conventional duality of body and mind, but on the more ancient division of body, soul, and spirit. Steiner offers a detailed description of the functions and organs of the three aspects of the human being, as well as the objective realms to which they belong. Just as the physical body originates in and belongs to the material world, so too do the human soul and spirit belong to their specific realms. These are the dimensions through which all human beings travel in the life after death, and in which-after passing the "midnight hour"-we begin to seek our karma and destiny in a new life. Theosophy features one of the most comprehensive and condensed of all Steiner's accounts of these realms, as well as the events our immortal being experiences in passing through them.
The book ends with a chapter on the modern "path of knowledge," in which Steiner describes exercises by means of which everyone can develop the latent powers of perception needed to know the higher worlds.
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About the Author
Steiner advocated a form of ethical individualism, to which he later brought a more explicitly spiritual component. He derived his epistemology from Johann Wolfgang Goethe's world view, where "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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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.