7 lectures, 6 addresses; various cities, Jan. 1, 1912 – Dec. 31, 1914 (CW158)
The heart of this volume comprises Rudolf Steiner’s commentary on the elemental forces responsible for our earthly nature as human beings—forces that influence us through our membership of a national or geographical group. When such elemental forces are not recognized and understood, he states, they cause conflict and chaos. However, Steiner indicates an important accompanying task that calls on all of us to develop individuality, emancipating ourselves from the earthly influences underlying national and racial groups.
These great themes are framed by Rudolf Steiner’s pioneering research into the two major Northern folk poems—Kalevala and The Dream Song of Olaf Åsteson. The former tells of the elemental spirits who created the conditions for our earthly incarnation, whereas the Dream Song has to do with the drama of excarnation—the journey of the human soul after death. Linking these vast motifs is Steiner’s unique description of the mission and tasks of the Russian people and the contrast of their destiny to the North American people (who, he says, are "dominating the Earth for a brief period of increasing splendor").
Steiner explains how elemental beings, responsible for the balance of land and sea, have created conditions whereby various peoples are enabled to develop their gifts and fulfill their destinies. Thus, he speaks of Finland as the ancient conscience of Europe, Russia as the future bearer of the Christ-imbued Spirit Self, and the differing but complementary environments of Germany and Britain. Strikingly, he states, "No souls on Earth love one another more than those living in Central Europe and those living in the British Isles."
Steiner also speaks of the necessary work of the luciferic and ahrimanic beings that collaborate to enable the solid spatial forms of our physical bodies. Likewise, they influence our etheric and astral bodies, facilitating thinking, feeling, and volition to be imbued with life and consciousness.
This book is a translation from German of Der Zusammenhang des Menschen mit der elementarischen Welt. Kalewala - Olaf Åsteson - Das russische Volkstum - Die Welt als Ergebnis von Gleichgewichtswirkungen (GA 158).
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.
Simon Blaxland de Lange has for many years worked as an educator for people with special needs. He is also a prolific writer and translator and an amateur musician and gardener. Blaxland de Lange helped establish Pericles Translations and Research, Pericles Training and Work (for adults with special needs), and the Pericles Theatre Company. Together with Dr Vivian Law, he cofounded the Humanities Research Group in 1997 and the British group of the Humanities Section of the School of Spiritual Science in 1998. He met Owen Barfield in 1979, and has been a student of his work for the past thirty years.