The laying of the Foundation Stone, lectures and addresses, discussion of the Statutes, Dornach, Dec. 24, 1923 – Jan. 1, 1924 (CW 260)
“This anthroposophic movement is not an earthly service. This anthroposophic movement in its entirety, in all its details, is a service of the gods, a divine service.” —Rudolf Steiner
During Christmastime 1923, one year after the fiery destruction of the first Goetheanum, in a wooden carpentry shop overlooking the charred ruins Rudolf Steiner established the General Anthroposophical Society, to which he joined his destiny. This volume documents that occasion. Readers will find the complete proceedings of the conference, as well as Steiner’s in-depth description of the structure and organization of the new Society. Discussions of the statutes are also recorded in detail.
The laying of the Foundation Stone into the hearts of the members is at the center of this book. The foundation Stone Verse (or mantra) is reproduced in the different forms in which Steiner gave it each day of the conference along with his commentary on its different rhythms.
Also included is Rudolf Steiner’s lecture on plans for the second Goetheanum, illuminating the spiritual significance of its architecture, as well as his talk on the burning of the temple at Ephesus. This edition features a foreword and conclusion by Marie Steiner. The text is complemented by a list and biographical data of the members mentioned and reproductions of handwritten notes and blackboard sketches.
This volume is a translation from German of Die Weihnachtstagung zur Begründung der Allgemeinen Anthroposophischen Gesellschaft (GA 260).
Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925) was born in the small village of Kraljevec, Austro-Hungarian Empire (now in Croatia), where he grew up (see right). As a young man, he lived in Weimar and Berlin, where he became a well-published scientific, literary, and philosophical scholar, known especially for his work with Goethe’s scientific writings. At the beginning of the twentieth century, he began to develop his early philosophical principles into an approach to systematic research into psychological and spiritual phenomena. Formally beginning his spiritual teaching career under the auspices of the Theosophical Society, Steiner came to use the term Anthroposophy (and spiritual science) for his philosophy, spiritual research, and findings. The influence of Steiner’s multifaceted genius has led to innovative and holistic approaches in medicine, various therapies, philosophy, religious renewal, Waldorf education, education for special needs, threefold economics, biodynamic agriculture, Goethean science, architecture, and the arts of drama, speech, and eurythmy. In 1924, Rudolf Steiner founded the General Anthroposophical Society, which today has branches throughout the world. He died in Dornach, Switzerland.
Marie Steiner-von Sivers (1867–1948) was born in Wlotzlawek, in Russian Poland and grew up in St. Petersburg. She trained as an actor, but left the stage when she met Theosophy through Edouard Schuré, whose works she translated. In 1900, she met Rudolf Steiner, whom she later married and worked alongside in the development of Anthroposophy. She died in Beatenberg, Switzerland.
Virginia Sease was born in Pennsylvania and earned her doctorate in German from the University of Southern California. She taught in a university and a waldorf school in Los Angeles and has been a member of the Executive Council of the Goetheanum since 1984. She directs the English language Anthroposophical Studies Program at the Goetheanum.
Michael Henry Wilson (1901–1985) was born in Birmingham, UK, into a Quaker family. His mother, Theodora Wilson, met Rudolf Steiner and visited the first Goetheanum in Dornach, Switzerland. For several years he was a professional violinist and conductor. A meeting with the German curative educator, Fried Geuter, in 1929 led him to leave his successful musical career and to study at the Goetheanum and become fluent in German. Later he was a founder and director of the first curative home in the UK. He translated several of Rudolf Steiner’s works, including his highly acclaimed edition of The Philosophy of Freedom, and researched and lectured on Goethe's theory of color. Michael Wilson lectured at Emerson College for many years after its move to Forest Row and remained connected with it until his death. He was devoted to his wife Betty and their three children, Diana, Robin, and Christopher.