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Broken Vessels - 11 lectures by Rudolf Steiner (previously published as 'Pastoral Medicine')Broken Vessels
The Spiritual Structure of Human Frailty
11 lectures by Rudolf Steiner
'Foundations of Anthroposophical Medicine' series

Previously published as Pastoral Medicine

Today a great deal is written about holistic medicine as an approach to healing that integrates body, mind, and spirit. In Broken Vessels, a lecture course given to a mixed audience of doctors and priests, Rudolf Steiner renews the ancient tradition of "pastoral medicine," which involves the working together of trained physicians with those having the care of the patient’s soul and spirit. He shows that healing is not possible unless it takes into account the invisible as well as the visible dimensions that make up a human being. Until we begin to understand these dimensions of ourselves as clear and concrete knowledge, real health cannot truly be attained.

To understand psychological abnormalities with appropriate spiritual concepts, Steiner describes in this book the inner make-up of both healthy and unhealthy psychological states that escape ordinary perception. Addressing topics ranging from sleepwalking to psychosis to the visions of St. Teresa of Avila, he suggests how to approach the extraordinary relationships of our inner vehicles or ‘bodies’ which express themselves as psychological disturbances with what he calls "pastoral medicine"—a truly holistic approach to healing that can bring body, soul and spirit into a more harmonious and wholesome relationship.

"Rudolf Steiner reveals something about the invisible structure of health and illness as they are seen with the second sight of spiritual research.... His comments about the opening to spiritual worlds that can accompany severe mental retardation or illness foreshadow some of the most important alternative psychiatry of our own times. He anticipates elements in the work of R. D. Laing, the Windhorse movement of Podvall, and also the new practice of ‘facilitated communication’ whereby some autistic patients have been aided in expressing a full and conscious inner life to which their bizarre outward behavior gives no clue."
                                                       —from the foreword by Michael Lipson, Ph.D.

Anthroposophic Press
11 lectures, Dornach 8-18 Sept. 1924
176pp; paperback
ISBN: 9780880105033


Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925) called his spiritual philosophy 'anthroposophy', which he defined as 'the consciousness of one's humanity', and the disciplined methods of studying this he termed ‘spiritual science’.  As a highly developed clairvoyant and spiritual initiate, he spoke from his direct cognition of the spiritual world. However, he did not see his work as religious or sectarian, but rather sought to found a universal 'science of the spirit'.

His many published works (written books and lectures) - which include his research into the spiritual nature of the human being, the evolution of the world and humanity, and methods of personal development - invite readers to develop their own spiritual faculties.  He also provided indications for the renewal of many human activities, including education - both general and special - agriculture, medicine, economics, architecture, science, philosophy, religion and the arts. He wrote some 30 books and delivered over 6000 lectures across Europe, and in 1924 founded the General Anthroposophical Society which today has branches throughout the world.


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