Preface by the Editor of the German Edition (1939)
These Essays of Dr. Rudolf Steiner which first appeared in 1904 are now published in book form after thirty-five years. They were written for the periodical Lucifer Gnosis, which appeared at first as a monthly and then at longer intervals. This explains the occasional repetition of what has been said previously. But, after all, repetitions are especially useful in the study of the science of the spirit. However, some may find it confusing that beside the new terminology coined for the Occident one is also mentioned which has been taken from oriental esoterica. The latter had become popular in Europe around the turn of the century through the literature of the Theosophical Society. The exotic names had stayed in people's memories, but the finer nuances which the Oriental associates with them remained closed to the European. The adaptation of our language, which is fitted for sensory perception, to a more delicate spiritual conceptualization and to a concrete picturing of even the extrasensory was something at which Dr. Steiner worked unceasingly. In the description of the activity of the Hierarchies he uses the Christian terminology customary for this purpose.
What is here presented in form of a brief survey, finds its continuation in the books Theosophie and Geheimwissenschaft im Umriss.
The periodical Lucifer Gnosis could not be continued because of the excessive demands made by lecturing activities and other occupations. Apart from the results of spiritual scientific research, it contained many essays in which Dr. Steiner comes to grips with the scientific thinking of the present. Since writings like these concerning the Akasha Chronicle cannot fail to appear as wild phantasy to most unprepared readers of today, two essays from this periodical which touch upon the epistemological problems of the present, precede and follow them. The sober logic of these two essays should furnish proof that the investigator of supersensible worlds is also able to survey problems of the present in a calm and objective manner.
The periodical was also devoted to the answering of questions posed by its readers. From this section we include some points relating to Atlantean humanity and to mystery science. However, the one who wishes to obtain a clear idea of the manner in which a reading of the Akasha Chronicle becomes possible, must devote himself intensively to the study of Anthroposophy.
Apart from the above-mentioned books we indicate for those who are advanced in the study of the science of the spirit, the esoteric reflections on Okkultes Lesen und Okkultes Hören (Occult Reading and Occult Hearing), and the third volume of the series Geistige Wesen und Ihre Wirkungen (Spiritual Beings and Their Effects) which has just appeared and should be of special interest today: Gcschichtliche Notwendigkeit und Freiheit, Schicksalseinwirkungen aus der Welt der Toten (Historical Necessity and Freedom, Fateful Influences from the World of the Dead).
Marie Steiner (1867–1948)