Anthroposophy is a path of knowledge, to guide the Spiritual in the human being to the Spiritual in the universe.

Rudolf Steiner, Anthroposophical Leading Thoughts (GA 26), 1973, London, Rudolf Steiner Press, p. 13.

History of anthroposophy in the 20th century

Early Years 1902-1912

Turn of the century in Berlin. Rudolf Steiner works as an author, lecturer and editor in various circles. He is looking for society structures and forms of collaboration that correspond to the spirit of the new century. The increasingly pressing “social question” cannot be resolved by conventions. It calls for spiritual individualism. Rudolf Steiner had formulated the basic idea for this in his Philosophy of Freedom, which appeared in 1894.

Rudolf Steiner gives a memorial lecture in the Theosophical Library on the occasion of Friedrich Nietzsche’s death. After a further lecture on Goethe, he is invited to give an entire lecture cycle on “Mysticism at the Dawn of the Modern Age” in winter 1900/01. In winter 1901/1902 he speaks there on “Christianity as a Mystical Fact.” Both lecture cycles are published as books.

The newly forming German Section of the Theosophical Society is seeking a General Secretary. Rudolf Steiner is chosen. He agrees to accept the post under the condition that he can act on the basis of his own research and that Marie von Sivers (later his wife) works with him. Among the 120 or so participants Rudolf Steiner finds people interested in his aim of shaping culture and society through developing the spiritual individuality in human beings.

Rudolf Steiner founded the monthly publication Luzifer (Light Bearer) in 1903 in order to have a periodical independent of theosophical dogma. A series of articles on “How Does One Attain Knowledge of the Higher Worlds?” first appeared here.

Rudolf Steiner and Marie von Sivers develop the Theosophical Society in the German-speaking region. Rudolf Steiner also begins lively lecture activity on a wide range of topics around Europe.

Rudolf Steiner organizes an international theosophical conference in Munich. He employs artistic elements that give an intimation of the Goetheanum he will build later.

Marie von Sivers founds a publishing company (first called Philosophisch-Theosophische Verlag and from 1913 Philosophisch-Anthroposophischer Verlag) and publishes fundamental works on anthroposophy, such as:

  • 1904 Theosophy. An introduction to supersensible world knowledge and the purpose of humanity
  • 1909 An Outline of Esoteric Science
  • 1911 Spiritual Guidance of the Individual and Humanity

Marie von Sivers (1867-1948)

„Marie von Sivers was the individual who through her entire being brought the possibility of keeping any sectarian character out of what arose through us, giving it a character that places it into spiritual and cultural life that is universal.“ (Rudolf Steiner: An Autobiography, Rudolf Steiner Publications 1977, GA 28)