A stroke of destiny

A stroke of destiny that befalls a person during life in the physical world may seem, from the point of view of that (physical) life, to contain something altogether opposed to the man’s own will. In the life between death and rebirth a force, resembling will, rules in the soul that gives to the person the tendency toward experiencing this very blow of fate. The soul sees, as it were, that an imperfection has clung to it from earlier earth-lives — an imperfection that had its origin in an ugly deed or an ugly thought. Between death and re-birth, there arises in the soul a will-like impulse to make good this imperfection. The soul, therefore, becomes imbued with the tendency to plunge into a misfortune in the coming earth-life, in order, through enduring it, to bring about equilibrium. After its birth in the physical body, the soul, when met by some hard fate, has no glimmering of the fact that in the purely spiritual life before birth, the impulse that led to this hard fate has been voluntarily accepted by it. What, therefore, seems completely unwished for from the point of view of earth-life is willed by the soul itself in the supersensible.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 9 – Theosophy: Addenda (No. 12)

Translated by Henry B. Monges and revised for this edition by Gilbert Church, Ph.D.

Previously posted on January 20, 2015

The last months in the life of Rudolf Steiner (2 – End)

On March 20, 1925 (ten days before his death) Steiner wrote to Marie:

My health is improving, only slowly. I hope that in time, I will be able to work on the building model (design for the second Goetheanum) in order to avoid delays.

On March 27, 1925 (three days before his death) Steiner wrote to J.C. Träxler, a tradesman who had taken the brother and sister of Steiner into his own house in Horn.

Dear Mr Träxler,

I was saddened to hear of my sister’s eye condition. (She had an eye disease and, around 1925, became completely blind). Unfortunately, I am so sick myself that I cannot think of visiting her, but I would not want my sister to become worried by the news of my illness. I am so very grateful to you, honourable Mr. Träxler, for taking such loving care of my brother and sister. I think that Mrs Barth, who I know well, was a good choice. (She was a distant relative who cared for Steiner’s brother and sister until the autumn of 1926).

Will you give the good woman my cordial greetings? Mrs. Barth’s fee will, as usual, be settled on my behalf by my friend Count Polzer. I must leave it to our friend, Dr. Glass, to decide whether an examination of the left eye will be necessary. He will write me with his opinion, once he has been to Horn. I will also write to him.

Thanks again,

Yours sincerely,

Rudolf Steiner

Source (German): GA 262 (letter 235, page 458) en GA 39 (letter 651, page 482)

Anonymous translator


Rudolf Steiner monument in Schweizergarten, a park in Vienna


Previously posted on July 15, 2016

The last months in the life of Rudolf Steiner (1 0f 2)

During the last six months of his life, a serious intestine illness confined Rudolf Steiner to bed. Little is known about this illness and Steiner neither talked nor wrote about it, except occasionally in letters sent to his wife Marie von Sivers.

Here are excerpts from those letters.

On October 6, 1924 he wrote to Marie:  

I had to bite the bullet myself today and sent the Berliners this telegram: “My physical condition makes it absolutely impossible to travel in the coming months. This is the reason why, much to my regret, you will not be able to count on my presence.”

You can not imagine how bitter I feel, but I foresee that nursing and absolute tranquility may alone bring some comfort in the coming weeks. Therefore, do not worry. The symptoms are not life threatening. They are however persistent and will not go away quickly. This haemorrhoid illness seems completely harmless, but to me, is the worst, because it forces me to lie down almost motionless, as I have been since you departed.

On October 11, 1924 he wrote to Marie

The daily haemorrhoid  therapies are terribly painful and far from pleasant, but have really brought about a significant improvement. It is just that things cannot be hurried.

Do not worry about me, all that can be done is being done, and the care I am receiving is second to none. It is just that the therapy is unpleasant and the treatment painful. It is never an agreeable moment when the two doctors (Ita Wegman and Ludwig Noll) must begin the haemorrhoid treatments. But all in all, things are still moving well ahead.

To be continued

Source (German): GA 262 (letter 202, page 413) en GA 262 (letter 207, page 420)

Anonymous translator


Rudolf Steiner monument in Schweizergarten, a park in Vienna


Previously posted on July 14, 2016

Maya/Real world/Mirror

Between death and a new birth, we learn to read the conditions here on earth in relationship with the spiritual world. Try to realize this, try to imagine these conditions. Then you will have to confess that it is, indeed, deeply significant to say that the world which we first learn to know through our senses and our understanding is an illusion, a Maya. As soon as we approach the real world, we find that the world that we know is related to this real world in the same way in which the reflection in the mirror is related to the living reality before the mirror, which is reflected in it.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 179 – Historical Necessity and Freewill: Lecture 4: The Rhythmical Relationship of Man with the Universe and with the World of the Dead – Dornach, December 11, 1917


With a simple example, let me make clear what one calls karma. Imagine, you work on anything from morning to night. Then you go to bed, sleep the whole night through, and get up in the morning again. If now you say to yourself, what I have worked yesterday does not concern me, I start afresh today, and then you are brainless, are you not? Nevertheless, the only possibility is that you take up in the morning again, what you have left in the evening, saying to yourself, this is my work and where I have stopped yesterday, I must resume today. What does that mean? That only means that my destiny of today is determined by my work of yesterday. Yesterday I have created my destiny of today. With it the whole concept of karma is given. Every being makes his future destiny.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 54 – The Riddles of the World and Anthroposophy: Lecture XII: Reincarnation and Karma – Berlin, 15th February 1906