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The Rudolf Steiner Archive

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The Occult Movement in the Nineteenth Century
GA 254

Ways of thinking and the corresponding spiritual and social structures in any period of time are not accidental but are brought about by certain groups of human beings working systematically for good or evil. Steiner gives an account of the activity of these groups working behind the scenes in the 19th century and points out their effects even in our time.

These ten lectures are part of the lecture series entitled, Occult Movements of the 19th Century, and published in German as, Die Okkulte Bewegung Im Neunzehnten Jahrhundert und Ihre Beziehung zur Weltkultur. Bedeutzames aus dem aeusseren Geistesleben um Mitte des neunzehnten Jahrhunderts. (Formerly GA 164.2). Translated by D. S. Osmond

Lecture One October 10, 1915
Seership and Thinking. Symbolism of the schools of Initiation. The opposition between esotericists and exotericists about the publicising of esoteric knowledge. Compromise achieved through the introduction of mediumship and spiritualism. Failure of the attempt. Spiritual Science and the principle followed by the exotericists from the middle of the nineteenth century.
Lecture Two October 11, 1915
Mediumistic methods of investigation in the Theosophical Society. The path of knowledge in Spiritual Science. Aims of certain secret Orders. The fiasco of Spiritualism. The unique personality of H. P. Blavatsky. The founding of the Theosophical Society. Antecedents of the founding of the German Section of the Theosophical Society and the development of the spiritual-scientific Movement.
Lecture Three October 16, 1915
Materialism of the nineteenth century. Reflexion about thinking indispensable for recognition of the barrenness of the materialistic picture of the world. The true origin of atomism.
Lecture Four October 17, 1915
The attempt made by the occultists to avert the lapse into materialism. Materialism in the world of thought during the nineteenth century. The fallacies of mediumship. Distortion of the teaching concerning the Eighth Sphere through Sinnett and Blavatsky and the backgrounds of this distortion.

Lecture Five October 18, 1915
The Eighth Sphere. The influence of the Spirits of Form and the battle waged by Lucifer and Ahriman. The activity of esotericists connected with the High Church party in Christianity. On the "mineralisation" of the Moon. Complexity of the subject of the Eighth Sphere.
Lecture Six October 19, 1915
The dangers of aberration along the path into the spiritual worlds. Clairvoyance in ancient and modern times. The revitalisation of the etheric body in connection with the new revelation of Christ. Ancient knowledge still present in the era of emergent materialism, for example in Heinroth and Goethe (Makaria in Wilhelm Meister).
Lecture Seven October 22, 1915
Investigation of the life between death and a new birth. The transformation of unused physical forces into spiritual forces after death. In the Kamaloka period after death man lives through in backward order the experiences undergone during sleep. The boundaries set up by science and religion in order to hinder penetration into the spiritual worlds.
Lecture Eight October 23, 1915
The purpose of the use of symbols in the so-called secret Societies or Orders. The problem of the publicising of knowledge hitherto kept secret. The transformation of forces in world-history, exemplified by Dante's Divine Comedy and the story of Father Antonius. Forces inimical to nature and to man behind natural phenomena and the experiences of souls.
Lecture Nine October 24, 1915
Investigation of the mineral world is important for man's earthly evolution. Duality in the world of sense; threefoldness in the super-sensible world. Ahrimanic intelligence and Luciferic will. The dangers of objective Occultism (Scylla) and subjective Mysticism (Charybdis) can be avoided through the study of Spiritual Science.
Lecture Ten October 25, 1915
Human consciousness between objective and subjective reality, between the Ahrimanic and Luciferic world. Aberrations of consciousness and their correction. The Tantalus myth. The guiding principles of Spiritual Science.