Written in 1912 (CW 16)
In A Path to Self-knowledge, eight meditations take the reader on a journey through human experience. Beginning with ordinary experience, Steiner offers ways to imagine and understand the physical body, the elemental (or etheric) body, the elemental world, the Guardian of the Threshold, the astral body, the “I”-body (or thought body), the nature of experience in suprasensory worlds, and ways of perceiving previous earthly lives.
In this volume, Steiner speaks directly from his experiences of cognitive research and exploration. Each meditation and aphorism arise from his spiritual research and demonstrates how such spiritual research should be approached. The “content” is Steiner’s own, but readers can discover their own way. Steiner’s method of awareness—his path of attention to one’s own experience—is universal and truly human.
A Path to Self-knowledge is, in a sense, a sequel and complement to Rudolf Steiner’s classic of inner development, How to Know Higher Worlds. It lays out in a way that is accessible to anyone on a to knowledge of the world of spirit.
The Chadwick Library Edition represents an endeavor to republish—mostly in new or thoroughly revised English translations—several written works of Rudolf Steiner. The edition is named for the late horticulturist Alan Chadwick, whose life and work has served as inspiration to the small group from which the idea originated. Our extensive experience with special bindings led to the selection—for this “trade edition” of 750 books—of a leather spine binding, cloth sides, and a light slipcase. For the hand-numbered edition (100 books), the binding is full leather with a hand-gilt top of the pages in a fine, stiff, cloth-covered slipcase. The leather is blue calfskin, and the title stamping on the spines is in genuine gold leaf. All of this is being carried out by hand at one of the finest binders, Ruggero Rigoldi.
This volume is a translation of «Ein Weg zur Selbsterkenntnis des Menschen: In acht Meditationen» (GA 16).
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.
Thomas O’Keefe discovered Anthroposophy while studying philosophy at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 2007. He founded the newsletter Deepening Anthroposophy in 2012, has been a student at the Seminary of the Christian Community in North America, has done editing and translating work for SteinerBooks, Temple Lodge Publishing, Wynstones Press, Occident Verlag, and Inner Work Books, and has been a coworker at the Ita Wegman Institute for Basic Research into Anthroposophy in Arlesheim, Switzerland. He currently works as the editorial director of Chadwick Library Edition, a project that aims to publish new or revised translations of twelve of Rudolf Steiner’s core written works in special hardcover editions.
Julia Selg studied history, art history, and Slavistics in Bochum, Berlin, and Marburg, Germany, and wrote her PhD thesis on the Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky. She is a coworker at the Ita Wegman Institute for Basic Research into Anthroposophy in Arlesheim, Switzerland, doing translations (from English, French, Polish, and Russian) and editing. She is also involved with the current research project Anthroposophical Physicians and Therapists during the Nazi Period. Her publications through the Institute include Andrej Tarkovskij und die Gegenwart der Alten Meister. Kunst und Kultus im Film “Nostalghia” (2009) and Hans Memlings Johannes-Altar als therapeuthisches Kunstwerk. Das Bild in Ita Wegmans Sprechzimmer (coauthored with Christiaan Struelens, 2020). She lives with her husband Peter Selg and their children near Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany.