Superficial Mysticism

In many circles where there is a striving toward mysticism, people feel particularly highly advanced; but it is a mysticism that leads to superficiality of the soul. With this superficiality, one does not penetrate the eternal mysteries of life. It only penetrates when one has the patience to awaken the slumbering forces of the soul or at least to let one’s thinking penetrate what the slumbering soul forces may find from stage to stage. The superficiality of the heart must be conquered. Victory over superficial mysticism can develop the ability to discover the powers of the soul, which lead in the right way from the temporary to the eternal, to the imperishable. That is what is genuinely able to work fruitfully in the most different areas of contemporary life.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 77b – Kunst und Anthroposophie/Der Goetheanum -Impuls – Dornach, August 21, 1921 (page 24-25)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger


Mysticism/sophisticated selfishness/self-deception

When what has been brought to you for some years now as Anthroposophical oriented spiritual science was initiated, many of those who were drawn to what was brought here by me as the basis of this Anthroposophical Science, said: we would rather delve into the mysticism of Meister Eckhart, in the mysticism of Johannes Tauler. After all, that is so much simpler; then one can so blissfully and snugly say: I sink into my inner self, I become aware of the higher man in me, my higher I has taken hold of the divine in me. But surely that is nothing more than a refined egotism, nothing but a retreat into the own egotistical personality, a walking away from all of mankind, an inner deceiving of the self.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 196 – Geistige und soziale Wandlungen in der Menschheitsentwickelung – Dornach, 6 February 1920 (Seite 157)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Spiritual Science/Occultism/Superstition

There is a very prevalent opinion that what spiritual research says about the reality of higher worlds is merely the result of some form of ‘inspiration,’ so-called, or of subjective, intellectual deduction, or even of pure fantasy. Indeed it is not so. Clinical research, astronomical research, for example, demands specialised and difficult work. But what is acquired inwardly in the way described, learnt as it were from man’s own being by inner experimentation in order to unfold perception of higher worlds — this is an even more difficult task, demanding greater devotion, greater care, greater exactitude and methodical perseverance.

What is here described in all seriousness as Spiritual Science is fundamentally different from current forms of Occultism, Mysticism and the like. As science stands in contrast with superstition, so does anthroposophical Spiritual Science stand in contrast with current forms of Occultism which try to acquire knowledge through mediums or by compiling external, sensational data in amateurish fashion. This particular brand of modern superstition is vanquished by nothing more decisively than by genuine spiritual research, with its absolutely scrupulous and exact methods.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 79 – On the Reality of Higher Worlds – Christiania (Oslo), November 25, 1921

Translation by D. S. Osmond