For external nature, nature is first, then comes ‘knowledge’; for spiritual nature, knowledge — that is, an experience like a ‘knowledge’ — leads the way as a preparation; the ‘sight’ comes after. [….]
Obviously — there should be no need to mention this — we do not ‘make’ the spiritual experience when we comprehend it in this way spiritually-scientifically; but we become aware within ourselves of what is always within us. But as in the knowledge of nature, experience and knowledge spring from sight or contemplation, in spiritual science the sight or contemplation of the spiritual world must spring, if human culture is to go on, from a knowledge of the spiritual processes.
Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 64 – The Human Soul in Life and Death – Berlin, November 26, 1914