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The Rudolf Steiner Archive

a project of Steiner Online Library, a public charity

Pastoral Medicine
GA 318

These documents treat the question of illnesses of the spirit that manifest in certain physical problems. Particularly striking is the description of the slow physical degeneration of certain mystics who despite the deterioration of their organism have real spiritual experiences. Perhaps the most significant aspect of the book is the insight it gives into how Steiner laid the foundations for an esoteric path connected with a vocation.

These eleven lectures, translated from the German by Gladys Hahn, were given in Dornach from September 8 to September 18, 1924. In the collected edition of Rudolf Steiner's works, the volume containing the German texts is entitled: Das Zusammenwirken von Ärzten und Seelsorgen: Pastoral-Medizinischer Kurs

Publisher's Foreward
Lecture I September 08, 1924
Clear separation of the priest's profession from the physician's. Historical aspects. The priest: pastoral care of the healthy and the ill; hygienic importance of fasting, etc.; healing effect of the sacraments. Relation of physician and priest to those ill in soul. Therapy working from life to consciousness; the sacraments from consciousness to life. Working together of priest and physician, each out of his own profession.
Lecture II September 09, 1924
Pathological changes in the physical body. Understanding of the human organization from sculptural, musical views and through comprehension of the Logos. Different ways that the four members of the human being relate to one another. And the consequences. Stages of spiritual experience; the Pythians; St. Theresa. Transition of such conditions to organic illness.
Lecture III September 10, 1924
Four states of spiritual experience; their anthroposophical explanation. Effect of such development on illness. St. Theresa. How karma can become entangled. How free will and responsibility can be judged.
Lecture IV September 11, 1924
Human development from birth to young adulthood. Heredity and the individuality. A child perceives spirit in his whole natural environment. Formative forces work and are then freed: memory. Intellectual forces develop. Sun forces in first seven years: etheric forces forming the body. Moon forces in second seven years: astral forces of reproduction. Sun in the child's soul-spiritual activity. Planetary forces in third seven years. Change at beginning of 20's; fourth seven years. Finally the human being deserted by cosmic forces; significance of this point of time: freedom and responsibility.
Lecture V September 12, 1924
Oddities of consciousness, of memory, speech, will; their causes. Three stages of pathological development. Inability to adjust will to the world. Memory devoid of logic. Mental handicap, idiocy, paranoia. Congenital mental retardation. Premature reception of ego organization = precociousness. Acquired idiocy. Danger of bad pedagogical systems. Froebel.
Lecture VI September 13, 1924
Illness from the point of view of karma. Belief in earlier ages: illness the result of sin. In present age: sin the result of a sick organism. Ferdinand Raimund. Earlier incarnations cause head formation; life between death and rebirth causes formation of breathing system. The handling of psychopathological cases. Healing as a divine service.
Lecture VII September 14, 1924
The difference between processes outside man and in man. Inhalation, creating the human being: activity of astral body. Exhalation, activity of etheric body. Cosmic astrality active during sleep. Nerve-sense process a finer breathing, taking place in warmth element. Light, chemism, life breathed in with warmth element, bringing about thinking, feeling, willing. Physical circulatory systems the projection of the various spiritual activities. Karma from the past, karma for the future.
Lecture VIII September 15, 1924
Forces of the universe: working of sun, moon, planets on the plants. Life of the sun in relation to the human being. Instreaming and outstreaming karma. Sun and moon in relation to each other: Administering the sacraments out of this knowledge.
Lecture IX September 16, 1924
Causes of illness originating in sleep. Search for the medicinal remedy. Somnambulism. Temple sleep. Modern physician must practice wise observation and deal directly with life. Materialism, spiritualism. Cultural pathology and therapy. Priest must speak of illness from knowledge of repeated earth-lives.
Lecture X September 17, 1924
Overcoming passive thinking by perceiving man's place in the cosmos. The human ego between a day's breathing and a platonic cosmic year. The cosmic year in relation to the breathing rhythm of a day, of a lifetime. Waking-and-sleeping. Forces of winter and summer creating the nerve-sense system and metabolic system. The world according to measure, number, weight; the irrational world. From “nomy” to “sophy.”
Lecture XI September 18, 1924
Medicine in the ancient mysteries. Its renewal in this age. Subnature, nature, supernature: Father, Christ, Spirit. Pathology of evolving humanity. The death on Golgotha: the curative process. Path of the physician; path of the priest.