As a spiritual teacher, Rudolf Steiner wrote many inspired and beautifully crafted verses. Often they were given in relation to specific situations or in response to individual requests; sometimes they were offered to assist generally in the process of meditation. Regardless of their source, they are uniformly powerful in their ability to connect the meditating individual with spiritual archetypes. Thus, the meditations provide valuable tools for developing experience and knowledge of subtle dimensions of reality.
Matthew Barton translated and selected Steiner’s verses, arranging them with sensitivity by theme. In this collection to promote harmony and healing, Rudolf Steiner helps us discover a renewed sense of our true place in the world. The verses show how we can come to know ourselves by looking outward toward the substances and processes at work in the cosmos and, by contrast, to know the world by looking into the microcosmic depths of our human self.
By integrating spirit and matter within, we can heal the divisions in our relationships with others. For people today, who have become increasingly divorced from a living relationship with nature, these verses help to unfold a world of interconnections.
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.
Matthew Barton is a translator, editor, teacher, and poet, and taught kindergarten for many years at the Bristol Waldorf School. His first collection of poems was Learning To Row (1999). He has won numerous prizes for his work, including an Arts Council Writer's Award and a Hawthornden Fellowship.