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The Rudolf Steiner Archive

a project of Steiner Online Library, a public charity

Cosmosophy II
GA 208


These lectures are volume two of the Cosmosophy lecture course and the 8th volume in a series of lecture courses Rudolf Steiner gave under the general title “Man and his relationship to the cosmos” for members of the Anthroposophical Society in 1920 and 1921, published in nine volumes in GA (German Gesamtausgabe or collected works) 201-209.

The first 11 lectures (Cosmosophy vol. 1, GA 207) have been translated by A. Wulsin and M. Kirkcaldy and published by Anthroposophic Press, New York 1985.

This volume will easily stand on its own, but readers will need to have some knowledge of Rudolf Steiner’s science of the spirit and are advised to read the basic works first, e.g. Occult Science and Philosophy of Spiritual Activity. The Cosmosophy lectures are not easy, with very close reasoning at times, and would be hard to understand without such basic knowledge.

Over the years these lectures have come to be very dear to my heart. They really demand us to become active and mobile in both heart and mind, which is something Rudolf Steiner often asked of the members of the Society. The first lecture immediately turns one inside out and upside down, as it were. I have sometimes found it useful to enter almost physically into the movements described, something that may also be helpful on other occasions when studying the works of Rudolf Steiner.

The drawings in the text have been taken from the German edition, with only the labelling put into English. They were produced for that edition by Assia Turgenieff and Hedwig Frey.

I have numbered them through, as this makes it easier to refer to them. Readers may find it helpful, if they do not have a copy of the original drawings, to remember that the images would have remained on the board for the rest of the lecture. In some text passages one gets an indication that Rudolf Steiner would point again to a drawing made earlier. It may be a good idea to make copies if one does not want to keep turning back the pages. If one did them oneself, perhaps also colouring them up, this may also contribute to better understanding. It has to be remembered that these were blackboard drawings, with white chalk also used.

The original blackboard drawings of the figures in this volume are now available in volume VIII of Rudolf Steiner, Wandtafelzeichnungen zum Vortragswerk, published by Rudolf Steiner Verlag, Dornach, Switzerland. They are in colour and add something to one’s reading, though not essential. Study groups may be able to buy them together or borrow them from a library.

These lectures were given 76 years ago and readers may find it helpful to have a little background information. Rudolf Steiner always spoke out of the situation that existed at the time.

In 1921, three years after World War I, with democracy and social ideals trying to win through in the Weimar Republic, and financial collapse just round the corner, Rudolf Steiner mainly concentrated his efforts on cultural renewal in Europe, especially in economics, education, medicine, theology, the sciences and the arts. Two publications that continue to this day first appeared in 1921, the monthly journal Die Drei in February, and the weekly paper Das Goetheanum in August. Two clinics opened that year, the Institute of Clinical Medicine in Arlesheim and another in Stuttgart. Within the Society, local groups had often slid into comfortable complacency, and Rudolf Steiner sought to shake them out of this. With anthroposophy gaining a higher profile with all this activity, opposition also grew stronger and more organized, not only in Germany but also in other countries. Apart from Germany and Switzerland, Rudolf Steiner also lectured in Amsterdam and The Hague that year, and in November and December in Oslo. More than 380 of the lectures he gave that year have been published from shorthand records in German. He would often give two, sometimes three, and occasionally even four lectures a day!

Anna R. Meuss
Surbiton, July 1997