Knowledge of the Higher Worlds

How Is It Attained? (CW 10)

Knowledge of the Higher Worlds
Rudolf Steiner By (author)
Thomas O'Keefe Translated by
Clifford Venho Translated by
Julia Selg Translated by
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Chadwick Library Edition

Limited ***

5.5 X 8.5 in
268 pg

BODY, MIND & SPIRIT / Mindfulness & Meditation
BODY, MIND & SPIRIT / Occultism


Written work originally published in 1904 (CW 10)

“Readers who do not intend to follow the path mapped out here will nevertheless find much that is useful for their inner life: for example, pre­cepts for the conduct of life, indications clarify­ing this or that perplexing question, and so forth. And many people who, in the course of life-experience, have been through a great deal and have in many respects undergone an initi­ation through life itself, will find a certain satis­faction in seeing things clarified that they have already sensed to be true—things they already knew, without perhaps having brought this knowledge to a clear enough conception.” —Rudolf Steiner (preface)

Rudolf Steiner's foundational handbook for spiritual and personal development has grown more modern with time, though his methods remain clearly distinguishable from many current paths of inner work. First, Steiner's method is based on the clarity of thought normally associated with scientific research. Instead of denying clear thinking, his aim is to extend it beyond its present limitations. Second, Steiner recognizes—as do all genuine paths—that the way to spiritual experience is arduous and dangerous and calls for self-control in thought, word, and action. The human being comprises a unity, and we cannot develop knowledge without a corresponding development of feeling and will.

Steiner predicted that humanity would begin to experience a longing for forms of experience that transcended intellectual, materialistic thinking. More than a hundred years after the first publication of this book, countless means are offered for achieving transcendental experience, including Eastern meditation practices, channeling, remote viewing, and astral projection. Moreover, there has been a huge increase in the number of people who report various suprasensory perceptions, such as near-death experiences and meetings with angels. In this context, Steiner's key spiritual guidebook is needed more than ever, given its unique, precise instructions for inner training, its protective exercises, and its indications for staying grounded and centered. Knowledge of the Higher Worlds begins with the preconditions for personal development and guides the reader through the stages of initiation, its practical aspects, and its effects.

This key work of anthroposophic inner development is among Rudolf Steiner's most important works.

The Chadwick Library Edition is 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 will be carried out by hand at one of the finest binders, Ruggero Rigoldi.

C O N T E N T S:

Preface to the Edition of May 1918
Preface to the Fifth Edition
Preface to the Third Edition

1. Knowledge of the Higher Worlds: How Is It Attained?
2. The Stages of Initiation
3. Initiation
4. Practical Considerations
5. The Conditions of Esoteric Schooling
6. Some Effects of Initiation
7. Changes in the Dream Life of the Esoteric Student
8. Attaining Continuity of Consciousness
9. The Splitting of the Personality during Spiritual Schooling
10. The Guardian of the Threshold
11. Life and Death: The Greater Guardian of the Threshold

Afterword (1918)
Note on the Chapter Divisions
Citation Notes

Knowledge of the Higher Worlds is a translation from German of the written work Wie erlangt man Erkenntnisse der höheren Welten? (GA 10).


“A true classic of spiritual literature. It is one of the best ways I know for opening up one’s life to the spiritual realms in a manner that is balanced, integrated, and loving. It is the product of a great soul who pointed out new routes into the interior.”David Spangler, author of Blessing: The Art and the Practice

“It is not only a personal guide to the spirit, but also a path through self-knowledge to compassionate action in the world.”Arthur Zajonc, author of Catching the Light: The Entwined History of Light and Mind

Author Bio

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.

Clifford Venho is a poet, translator, author, editor, and movement artist. He was born in New York City and studied English and creative writing at the State University of New York at New Paltz. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in The Dewdrop, Modern Literature, Chronogram Magazine and La Piccioletta Barca, among others. His translation of Novalis' Hymns to the Night was published by Mercury Press (2015). He is also a translator at Chadwick Library Edition, focusing on the translation of works by Austrian philosopher and spiritual thinker Rudolf Steiner. His essays on Shakespeare, the art of eurythmy and Rudolf Steiner have appeared or are forthcoming in The Decadent Review and Being Human. He teaches courses in eurythmy and poetry at Eurythmy Spring Valley, New York.

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.