Insights on the Eve of Rudolf Steiner’s Death

Dear friends, Today on the 29th of March 2017, the eve of the 93rd anniversary of Rudolf Steiner’s Death, I thought to share these insights given by some of his closest associates.

From “Rudolf Steiner, a Biography” by Christoph Lindenberg:

“March 1925 was cold & foggy. It became quite windy in the last week of the month, & then the storms began. From the South & the West, the rain whipped against the walls of the studio. On March 29th, Rudolf Steiner awoke in pain. “No work was done that morning. It was the 1st time. We spoke at length about the pain. There was no reason to be worried. The pains disappeared in the course of the day. He was extraordinarily still & patient that day & gave new suggestions for his care” (Wegman & Nachrichtenblatt 1925)Dr. Margarete Kirchner-Bockholt

Perhaps at this point it would be important to say a few words about Rudolf Steiner’s illness. It has been publicly stated that he died of stomach cancer. (Brugge) In light of the way his illness progressed, such an assumption is fully understandable. But one of Ita Wegman’s closet colleagues, Dr. Margarete Kirchner-Bockholt vehemently rejected this conjecture.

Dr. Ita Wegman

And Dr. Ita Wegman had reported that Rudolf Steiner’s etheric body was no longer able to work in the digestive organs in the appropriate manner. “The result was that these organs were subjected too strongly to the physical forces, which are forces of degeneration.” (Wegman & Nachrichtenblatt 1925)

In his recollections of Rudolf Steiner D.N.Dunlop recalled, “A few weeks before his final illness, during the summer conference in Torquay, I spoke to him about my concerns for his physical health. He drew me aside, vigorously but with infinite friendliness, & made me aware that his situation could not be explained in terms of our usual notions of disease”. (Meyer)

Albert Steffen

Albert Steffen, who visited Rudolf Steiner regularly throughout his illness, recalled this time: “I visited him March 28th at 5 pm  in the afternoon in his studio, where he lay in his sickbed. It was a tall room with skylights. Nothing of the earth looks in: no tree, no mountain, no house, only the light of the heavens. Sculptural & architectural models that he has made himself stand on the shelves along with some busts he has sculpted; at the foot of his bed, the noble statue of Christ, carved by his own hand, soars high above him. All around him are tables covered with books & manuscripts…Up to the last day of his life, his interest was for the entire world. In his studio, which he had not left for half the year, he had collected an entire library” (Goetheanum, 1925)

According to Ita Wegman’s report, Rudolf Steiner was very still sad & silent. She recalled, “It seemed to me as though he had a very difficult problem to solve. The forces of light in his eyes appeared weaker than usual”.

He wrote the last “Letter to the Members” that day! This last missive is like a preview of what was to come in the 21st Century. It is titled “From Nature to Sub-Nature.” In it, Rudolf Steiner characterizes the dangers of the technological age & the task that has arisen for humanity through the technological developments, which rob humans of a direct experience of nature & place themselves in its stead.

At 4 pm on MARCH 29th, the pain returned. Yet Rudolf Steiner asked again if the adjoining studio was ready for him to work on the model for the 2nd Goetheanum. Both doctors, Wegman & Noll, kept watch throughout the night”.

More tomorrow, 30 March – Rudolf Steiner’s DeathDay.

His last thoughts were of the work to which he had in love dedicated himself” ~Rudolf Steiner, from the last act of the 4th Mystery Drama.

Together we stand with his spirit

~Hazel Archer-Ginsberg

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Upcoming Events &  Festivals

ONGOING:

Community Study – 3/22/17  Wednesday at 8:00am- 9:40am  in the Library at the Chicago Waldorf School 1300 W. Loyola, Chicago

‘Anthroposophy’, which means Wisdom of the Human Being is a ‘Spiritual Science’ built on the research of Rudolf Steiner. Our current conversation explores: the riddles of existence, the truth of karma, the mystery of evil, historic connections, life after death and more.  We incorporate ‘The Calendar of the Soul’, eurythmy, focused discussion and seasonal artistic explorations in our study.

Contact Hazel Archer Ginsberg (773-549-3026)  Hazel@ReverseRitual.com

9 thoughts on “Insights on the Eve of Rudolf Steiner’s Death

  1. From the gallery of the Austrian Parliament building, at the side of his old friend and teacher, Karl Julius Schroer, Rudolf Steiner had often followed the passionate political debates in which the characteristics of the different peoples found expression.

    1. Yes, besides recognizing the adversarial forces, calling them out, this is our work.
      Thank you!

  2. Dear Hazel, this touches my heart – thank you for publishing the comments by those close to Steiner as he approached his death. But one thing I hope you can change for it is misleading: “… technological developments, which rob humans of a direct experience of nature & place themselves in its stead.” This is not what appears in this letter. The point of this last letter was for “finding a true relationship to the Ahrimanic civilization … in order not to be overcome by Ahriman.” He urges us to understand sub-nature (not to fear it) and then tells that this can happen only if one “rises, in spiritual knowledge, at least as far into extra-earthly Super-Nature as he has descended, in technical Sciences, into Sub-Nature.” The end goal is “that man shall find the way to bring the conditions of modern civilization into their true relationship – to himself and to the Cosmos.”

    1. Yes, it is very moving to imagine these moments.
      I actually thought of you friend when I came to that passage about the sub-nature 🙂
      I completely agree that our work is not to fear but to redeem.
      The line you mentioned was a direct quote from Lindenberg.
      I think he is trying to say that the human being has made the mistake of putting their own selfish lower interests, above that of seeing the divine in nature.

  3. Thank you, Hazel, for the moving insights from close associates of Rudolf Steiner, as well as for the notices of coming events. I look forward to reading more tomorrow.

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