Karmic Relationships -
12 lectures by Rudolf Steiner
Relationships - Volume 1,
Rudolf Steiner introduces some of the fundamental principles by
which cause and effect occurs, first in the mineral, plant and
animal kingdoms, and finally in the human kingdom itself,
introducing the principle of causation in one lifetime being rooted
in the deeds and events of a previous lifetime – i.e. karma or human
He proceeds from there to show that
karma has a variety of sub-elements which variously affect our
etheric body (our health and sense of well-being), our astral body
(the nature of our sympathies and antipathies), and our egohood
(events and experiences which meet us in life). He describes how
each of these realms of cause and effect are orchestrated by
ourselves in collaboration with the three major hierarchies of
spiritual beings with whom we engage and relate during the long
period between our death and subsequent rebirth.
He further describes how not only in our deeds, but in our attitudes, outlook and interests we generate
consequences which work on into subsequent lifetimes. It is a very
different matter whether we pursue our activities out of duty or
out of love, whether we take an active interest in nature or beauty,
or just pass it by with only the merest acknowledgement. Such
attitudes have a capacity of generating effects long into the future
and even of determining the health and sense of well-being we
experience in a subsequent lifetime.
Once a general foundation is
established understanding of the dynamics of karma, Steiner examines
the karmic development of specific personalities whom he selected as
representative of European culture in the 19th Century
with its genius and its strong materialistic bent. These are
aestheticist and philosopher, Friedrich Theodor Vischer,
composer Franz Schubert and scientific historian and
philosopher, Eugen Dühring.
After describing each of them in terms of their current biographies
and personal characteristics, he follows them backwards to earlier
incarnations where we can see how these characteristics are
metamorphosed traits of earlier lifetimes where they are expressed
under quite different cultural circumstances.
A variety of other individuals are
karmically traced and through this a historical phenomena is brought
to light which is hidden from ordinary historical perspective: how
the particular genius that is found in early post-Christian Arabian
culture dies out in the culture itself, only to re-emerge through
its re-incarnating leading personalities as the sources European
materialism of the 19th Century.
Some of the personalities whom Steiner
karmically traces in this first volume are Count Bacon of Verulam,
Garibaldi, American president Woodrow Wilson, Ernst
Haeckel, Lord Byron, Nietzsche, Charles Darwin;
and there are others.
This is probably one of the best and
truest introductions to the complex nature of karma that can be
found in the public arena of occult knowledge today.
Trans. G. Adams, rvd. M. Cotterell, C.
Davy and D. S. Osmond
12 lectures, Dornach 16 Feb – 23 Mar 1924, GA235
Rudolf Steiner Press
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'.
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