No one can become insane by being occupied with religious ideas

Spiritual science more than any other science is in a position to say something about so-called spiritual or mental illness. The name is actually misleading; one cannot speak of the spirit being ill. Furthermore, there is widespread confusion among lay people as well as professionals, mainly because of the way such illnesses are presented in popular literature. The descriptions are thought of as the reality. Megalomania, persecution-mania, religious-mania are spoken of, but these terms only point to symptoms. 

No one can become insane by being occupied with religious ideas. Yet the most curious statements are put forward, for example that the discord between old and modern world conceptions was the cause of Friedrich Hölderlin’s illness. [Friedrich Hölderlin (1770–1843) was among the greatest of German lyric poets.] The illness from which he suffered would still have overtaken Hölderlin even if he had not been a poet; though in that case he would have expressed himself differently.

When a deeply religious person becomes mentally ill, his religious ideas become distorted. Had he been steeped in materialistic ideas, then they would have become distorted. The cause of mental illness is deeply rooted in human nature where it must be sought.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 55 – Supersensible Knowledge – Lecture VIII: Insanity in the Light of Spiritual Science – Berlin, 31st January 1907

Translated by Rita Stebbing

2009_0818fujiweb20134 2

Art of Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on 31 December 2018


Spiritual Science and Medicine

More and more people will not only have to gain theoretical insights into spiritual science, they will also have to find the strong inner strength to introduce spiritual science into the individual branches of life. This can be demonstrated in many different areas of life. And again one can say that the real facts are masked here. Because apparently one can object to everything that is said here about spiritual science. 

Let’s take an area of life that is most likely, one might say, appreciated by mankind for the simple reason that it is very close to external salvation. You see, spiritual science could be tremendously beneficial if people allowed themselves to see that the medical schools, medicine, pharmacology could be influenced a little by this spiritual science. 

For more and more modern scientific developments have led to medicine itself assuming a materialistic character. Certainly, through this materialistic character, it has also achieved very beneficial things, and one only needs to point out the extraordinarily great advances that have been made in the field of surgery in order to find some justification when it is said again and again, what I also say: that one must admire the more recent advances in natural science. 

But there are other aspects of medical knowledge and medical art that are no less important, which suffer enormously from the materialistic trend, and which can only face a blessed future if spiritual-scientific knowledge is introduced into the relevant investigations.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 168 – Die Verbindung zwischen Lebenden und Toten / Die Lebenslüge der heutigen Kulturmenschheit – St. Gallen, 26 October 1916 (page 163-164)

Translated by Google


Art of Arild Rosenkrantz

The relationship between the upbringing of the child and health later in life

For the reasons mentioned, I would like to call the education of the child until the change of teeth “formative education,” because everything is directed toward forming the child’s body, soul, and spirit for all of earthly life. One only has to look carefully at this process of formation. I have quoted the example of an angry father. In the gesture of a passionate temperament, the child perceives inherent moral or immoral qualities. These affect the child so that they enter the physical constitution. It may happen that a fifty-year-old person begins to develop cataracts in the eyes and needs an operation. 

These things are accepted and seen only from the present medical perspective. It looks as if there is a cataract, and this is the way to treat it, and there the matter ends; the preceding course of life is not considered. If one were ready to do that, it would be found that a cataract can often be traced back to the inner shocks experienced by the young child of an angry father.In such cases, what is at work in the moral and religious sphere of the environment spreads its influence into the bodily realm, right down to the vascular system, eventually leading to health or illness. 

This often surfaces only later in life, and the doctor then makes a diagnosis based on current circumstances. In reality, we are led back to the fact that, for example, gout or rheumatism at the age of fifty or sixty can be linked to an attitude of carelessness, untidiness, or disharmony that ruled the environment of such a patient during childhood. These circumstances were absorbed by the child and entered the organic sphere.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 394a – WALDORF EDUCATION AND ANTHROPOSOPHY II – XII. Educational Issues II – London, 30 August 1924


Full Moon of Aquarius – Art of Carol Herzer

All night long the astral body and ego work at repairing the disorganized and exhausted forces of our bodies

During the day man is continually making use of his physical and etheric bodies. The life we lead from morning till evening exhausts these bodies, and what we feel as fatigue is nothing more than the expression of the fact that indirectly through the astral body all kinds of perceptions have been taking place in us as well as impulses of joy, of sorrow, and of pain; all these have been playing through us. This wears out our physical and etheric bodies, and in the evening we are tired because all day long we have been destroying them.

When at night we leave these bodies on the bed the astral body and ego are not inactive; all night long they send their forces into the physical and etheric bodies; they work at repairing the disorganized and exhausted forces of these bodies; this they could not do if, on their withdrawal, they were not taken up into a higher kingdom. Above the human kingdom a spiritual kingdom is outspread, the kingdom of the Angels, Archangels, and other beings. It is as if ozone streamed from the Spiritual Beings that then surround us, and from whom we are separated during the day, because with our perceptions we are enclosed within the shell of our bodies. At night we plunge into this spiritual ozone; from it our astral body absorbs forces which it then pours into the physical and etheric bodies to repair them. Today man is unconscious of this, but at the time when he still possessed dim clairvoyant consciousness he saw how his astral body and ego left the other members and was absorbed into the divine spiritual world.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 105 – UNIVERSE, EARTH AND MAN – Lecture IX – Stuttgart, 13 August 1908


Art of Hans Georg Leiendecker

Cultivation of creative fantasy brings serenity of soul, inner harmony, and contentment

For a sound emotional life, we have the fine word ingenuity. * [Sinnigkeit, the gift or capacity of inventive or creative fantasy.] Being creatively fanciful means that something ingenious occurs to one. Children ought to play in such a way that the fantasy is stimulated, that the spontaneous activity of their souls is stimulated, so that they have to reflect about their play. They ought not to arrange building blocks according to patterns: this merely develops pedantry, not creative fantasy. We are developing creative fantasy when we let children do all sorts of things in sand, when we take them into the woods and let them form little baskets out of burs, and then stimulate them to make other things of burs stuck together. Things which cause a certain inventive talent to expand nourish creative fantasy. Strange as it may seem, such cultivation of creative fantasy brings serenity of soul, inner harmony, and contentment.

Moreover, when we go for a walk with a child, it is good to leave him free to do whatever he will, provided he does not behave too badly. And, when the child does anything, we should show our pleasure, our participation and interest; we should not be unresponsive or lacking in interest in what the child produces out of his own inner nature. Even when instructing a child, we should connect what we teach him with the forms and processes of nature. When children reach an older stage, we should not then occupy them with riddles or puzzles taken from newspapers; this leads only to pedantry. On the contrary, observation of nature offers us the opposite of what is afforded by the press for the cultivation of the emotional life. A serene heart, a harmonious life of feeling, determines not only mental health but also bodily health, even though long stretches of time may intervene between cause and effect.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 130 – ESOTERIC CHRISTIANITY AND THE MISSION OF CHRISTIAN ROSENKREUTZ – VI. Jeshu ben Pandira II – Leipzig, 5 November 1911


Moon Cycles – Art of Carol Herzer