The Way of Initiation

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The Way of Initiation

By Rudolf Steiner


    [1] Translated by kind permission of the author from the introduction to Le Mystère Chrétien et les Mystères Antiques. Traduit de l'allemand par Edouard Schuré, Librairie académique, Perrin & Co., 1908, Paris.

    [2] A speech delivered in Paris, 28th August 1878. See also Haeckel's History of Natural Creation, 13th lecture.

    [3] This is how Dr. Steiner himself describes the famous German naturalist: "Haeckel's personality is captivating. It is the most complete contrast to the tone of his writings. If Haeckel had but made a slight study of the philosophy of which he speaks, not even as a dilettante, but like a child, he would have drawn the most lofty spiritual conclusions from his phylogenetic studies. Haeckel's doctrine is grand, but Haeckel himself is the worst of commentators on his doctrine. It is not by showing our contemporaries the weak points in Haeckel's doctrine that we can promote intellectual progress, but by pointing out to them the grandeur of his phylogenetic thought." Steiner has developed these ideas in two works: Welt und Lebensanschauungen im 19ten Jahrhundert (Theories of the Universe and of Life in the Nineteenth Century), and Haeckel und seine Gegner (Haeckel and his Opponents).

    [4] Die Mystik, im Aufgange des neuzeitlichen Geisteslebens (1901); Das Christentum als mystische Tatsache (1902); Theosophie (1904). He is now preparing an important book, which will no doubt be his chief work, and which is to be called Geheimwissenschaft (Occult Science).

    [5] Translated from Lusifer-Gnosis (May to Dec. 1904), a theosophical magazine, published by M. Altmann, Leipzig, and edited by Dr. Rudolph Steiner (17 Motzstrasse, Berlin, W.). This translation appeared first in the Theosophist (October 1907-June 1908), a magazine of Brotherhood, of Comparative Religion, Philosophy and Science, and of Occultism. Edited by Annie Besant, President of the Theosophical Society, Adyar, Madras.

    [6] In the last chapter of the book entitled Theosophie (Berlin, C. A. Schwetschke und Sohn), Dr. Rudolf Steiner fully describes this "Path of Knowledge;" here it is only intended to give some practical details.

    [7] It should be remarked that artistic perception, when coupled with a quiet introspective nature, forms the best foundation for the development of occult faculties. It pierces through the superficial aspect of things and in so doing touches their secrets.

    [8] Only to him, who listens disinterestedly, comes the ability to perceive really from within, silently, and without emotion arising from personal opinion or personal taste,—to such only can the Great Souls, who are known in Occultism as the Masters speak. As long as our opinions and feelings are in a state of vehement opposition to the communications from the Masters, They remain silent.

    [9] The fact here mentioned, in its bearing on the contemplation of crystals, is in many ways distorted by those who have only heard of it in an outward (exoteric) manner, and in this way such practises as crystal-gazing have their origin. Misrepresentations of such a kind are the outcome of misunderstanding. They have been described in many books, but they never form the subject of genuine (esoteric) teaching.

  [10] Anyone who might object that a microscopical examination would reveal the difference between the two would only show that he has failed to grasp the intention of the experiment. The intention is not to investigate the physical structure of the object, but to use it as a means for the development of psychic force.



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