THE widespread interest taken in the first volume of this series (entitled “THE WAY OF INITIATION”), and its success, have encouraged me to place before English readers, in the present volume, a translation of the articles written by Dr. Steiner as a sequel to the above series, and originally published in Lucifer Gnosis (Nos. 20–28), a theosophical magazine, published by M. Altmann, Leipzig, and edited by Dr. Rudolf Steiner. The same magazine is now bringing out a series of articles, entitled “The Theory of Cognition according to Occultism,” which, when finished, will conclude these very important communications from a source of genuine occult wisdom. When completed, I propose to publish them as a third volume of this series.
To save disappointment to some readers into whose hands this book may chance to fall, let me frankly state at the outset that neither this nor its companion volumes are intended for people who deny the possibility of attaining knowledge by other means than their physical organs of sense; the belief in, or at least the hypothetical acceptance of the reality of the unseen world and of forces not perceptible by our physical senses is therein taken for granted. For those unable to accept these premises there exists a vast literature which, if approached with an unprejudiced mind and carefully studied, will convince them of all that is here postulated.
These volumes might be called advanced text-books of occultism, and those to whom the subject is repellent had better not read them, because they are written by an occultist of a very high order for those really interested in the subject, and desirous of advancing in their self-development to a point hitherto unattainable by them, since it has not until now been deemed expedient openly to publish such far-reaching revelations of the occult. The book is intended for those only who will use every power gained for the helping of their fellow-pilgrims, and who place self-sacrifice and unselfish devotion to the best interests of mankind above all other virtues.
On the other hand, there are a large number of people, deeply interested in the subject, who were under the impression that there is only the one occultism whose home is in the East, and who now eagerly welcome a teaching, sprung from a Western source, which shows them that they need not go beyond Europe in their search either for genuine occult knowledge, or for teachers competent to instruct those willing to fulfil the conditions necessary for the safe treading of the narrow ath leading up to the feet of the One Initiator.
There are few leaders of thought at the present day who have a larger following than Dr. Steiner in the German-speaking part of Mid-Europe, and I know of no other teacher able to gather around him from 400 to 500 cultured people who will eagerly travel any distance and stay for two or three weeks wherever he may choose to lecture. During his recent courses of addresses on the Apocalypse, the The Gospel according to St. John“From Buddha to Christ,” on Cosmogony, etc. etc., held in Berlin and Bâle, in Christiania and Budapest, in Munich and Rome — to mention only a few of the cities visited by this indefatigable worker for the good of humanity — students were gathered together from all parts of Europe; from Hammerfest in the North and Palermo in the South, from Eastern Siberia, and from France and Spain.
That we are living at present in a wonderful time transition, when
“The old order changeth, yielding place to new,”
may be gathered from the fact that a very large number of those most eager to welcome these wonderful teachings are recruited from highly cultured classes, whose predecessors of but two decades ago would have scoffed at the whole subject.
In conclusion, I should like to draw attention to the close and wonderful relation which the careful student may trace between the exercises and “trials” set forth in “THE WAY OF INITIATION” and the means of vivification of the astral organs (chakras) described in this volume. After the success of the first volume, we are satisfied that there is a widespread demand in English-speaking countries for the teachings of Theosophy as enunciated by Dr. Steiner, and we shall try gradually to make accessible to English readers all the more important works of this truly great Mystic and Occultist.
For those who are fully satisfied with the exoteric teachings of the day this volume is not intended, but it is earnestly hoped that it may bring Light and Peace to serious seekers after truth.
LONDON, August 31, 1909.