30 March 2019 – On this day 94 years ago, Rudolf Steiner crossed the Threshold to become wholly spirit 25-27 February 1861 – 30 March 1925
After the burning of the 1st Goetheanum, at the Christmas Conference – after consciously taking on the karma of the Anthroposophical Society, which included the karma of every member, Rudolf Steiner’s sacrificial deed was blessed by the Spiritual world; but he began to show signs of increasing frailness & illness. Yet he continued to lecture & travel widely. He was often giving 4 lectures a day for the various courses taking place concurrently. Many of these lectures focused on practical Anthroposophy, such as education, agriculture, medicine & the Christian Community. He gave his last lecture on Michaelmas September 1924. Yet even after that, Rudolf Steiner continued to work on his autobiography during the last months of his life until he died on Holy Monday, 30 March 1925.
“March 1925 was cold and foggy. It became quite windy in the last week of the month, and then the storms began. From the South and 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 and patient that day and gave new suggestions for his care…
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. (Wegman and Nachrichtenblatt 1925)
Albert Steffen, who visited Rudolf Steiner regularly throughout his illness, recalled this time: “I visited him March 28th at 5 pm 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 and 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 and 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”
Rudolf Steiner wrote the last “Letter to the Members” the day he died! 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 the age of Technical Science hitherto, the possibility of finding a true relationship to the Ahrimanic civilisation has escaped man. He must find the strength, the inner force of knowledge, in order not to be overcome by Ahriman in this technical civilisation. He must understand Sub-Nature for what it really is. This he can only do if he rises, in spiritual knowledge, at least as far into extra-earthly Super-Nature as he has descended, in technical Sciences, into Sub-Nature…The point is that man shall find the way to bring the conditions of modern civilisation into their true relationship-to himself and to the Cosmos.”
Was he battling with those dark spirits that fateful night?
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, and made me aware that his situation could not be explained in terms of our usual notions of disease”.
It has been publicly stated that he died of stomach cancer. But one of Ita Wegman’s closest colleagues, Dr. Margarete Kirchner-Bockholt vehemently rejected this conjecture. 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 and Nachrichtenblatt 1925)
From Friedrich Rittelmeyer: “None of us had expected that Rudolf Steiner would succumb to the illness. The mortal sheath, just abandoned by the spirit setting out on its far journey, was resting on the death-bed at the foot of the Christ statue which stood there almost completed. Those who looked at the face of the dead could see what the spirit can make of the body in the life of a truly great man on earth. The sublimity and purity of his features was equal to every test and unsurpassed. Perhaps the death mask, if it is ever reproduced as a picture, will be a means of convincing many. Again and again one’s gaze turned from the forsaken earthly body to the great Christ figure which points with compelling gesture into the future. The disciple had fallen at the feet of the Master. It was as if Christ were taking the disciple to Himself with sheltering arms while He Himself went forward with unceasing step towards the future of the world. The disciple’s mission was fulfilled. The Master’s brow was radiant with the light of divine world-purposes. When, at the wish of Frau Dr. Steiner, and in the solemnly decorated hall where Dr. Steiner had given most of his great lectures, I was performing the burial service according to the ritual of The Christian Community, a drop of the sprinkled water fell in the centre of the forehead and shone there through the whole service like a sparkling diamond. The light of many candles was reflected in this glittering star – even as the revelations of light from higher worlds had been reflected in his spirit. Thus adorned, the body sank into the coffin. To me it was as if higher Spirits had indicated in an earthly picture what it had been our lot to experience. When the service was at an end, one impression lived mightily within my soul: “This work is now completed. Like a great question it stands there before mankind. If all who belong to that work dedicate their powers to it with single purpose, it will prevail!”
According to Ita Wegman’s report, Rudolf Steiner was very still sad and 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”.
From “The Life and Work of Rudolf Steiner’ by Guenther Wachsmuth: “Even the last weeks in March 1925, during which he had to endure unspeakable suffering, were devoted in the most intense concentration to spiritual research, creative work, & bestowal…
…the beginning of his shared anthroposophical work with Marie von Sivers stood before his inner eye. It had not been easy for Marie Steiner to live with the increasing intense collaboration between Rudolf Steiner & Ita Wegman over the course of the last few years. Ita Wegman was so entirely different than she was. Now she was forced to deny herself the opportunity to care for the person she loved the most. Trouble with her legs inhibited her from doing this. That they had spoken about this with each other is evident from a letter he wrote her in Berlin on his official birthday:
“I write you these lines at about the same time that you would usually be sitting at my side. Thinking about how beautiful it is to listen to you speck about your activities & to speak with you about various aspects of your work moves me deeply. And when I know that you have now & again been able to read my Autobiography the description of our shared work, I feel deeply how closely connected we are. That destiny has brought other people close to me is simply the way destiny works. And my sickness has shown just how incisive this destiny can be. But you found the way to understanding; this is a blessing for me. To feel the unity of feeling & thinking in discernment is something I can do only with you. That I was not able to show you the last pages of the Steffen article before it went to the printer was a hardship for me. Then for myself, I find inner competence only in your judgement. Through you art is raised into the realms of the hierarchies. I gaze with wonder upon everything you achieve & with such devotion. In my thoughts I am with you” ~Rudolf Steiner to Marie Steiner
Shielded under the devoted care of Dr. Ita Wegman, he still communicated many a spiritual message received, & he had us to report to him what was occurring on the hill of Dornach. He loved the living noise of hammering & scaffold-building which penetrated from the building place of the Goetheanum into the quiet of his sickroom, announcing the building in the process of coming into being. He was united through his council & help with this work to his last breath & beyond death.
The last moments in his earthly life were free from all struggle with the physical entity, free from all uncertainty such as characterizes the death of so many human beings; his countenance spoke of peace, grace, inner certitude, spiritual vision. He folded his hands over his breast; his eyes were shiningly & strongly directed into worlds with which in vision he was united. As he drew his last breath, he himself closed his eyes; but this filled the room not with the experience of an end, but with that of a most sublime spiritual action. An exalted, transfigured wakefulness spoke out of his countenance, out of the praying strength of the hands. As the great artists of the Middle Ages gave to the pictures of the knights resting upon the sarcophagus the expression indicating that their closed eyes were still beholding, their resting form was still able to stride forward, so did the figure here resting speak of a super-terrestrial wakefulness, of a striding forward into the spheres of the spirit.
The forward striding figure of the Christ statue, pointing into the expanses of the universe, which he himself had created & at whose feet he now lay, spoke for the eye of those left behind on earth what was taking place for the spirit of a great human being who had dedicated his life to the annunciation of the Christ. Even in dying, Rudolf Steiner bestowed upon humanity the most sublime gift of consolation: the certitude that death is a waking entrance into worlds of life & action.
From Ita Wegman Nachrichtenblatt 1925: “At 3 am, I noticed a slight change in his breathing. I approached his bed; he was awake. He looked at me & asked whether I was tired. This question touched me. His pulse was not as strong as it had been, but much faster. I called Dr. Noll in order to speak with him about what ought to be done. Herr Steiner was not astonished to see him there in the middle of the night & greeted him amiably. “I don’t feel too bad” he said “I just can’t sleep.” We turned the light out again. At 4 am, he called me because the pain had reappeared. He said, “As soon as the day comes, we want to continue the treatment that I suggested”…Naturally, we didn’t wait for the day to come but did what was necessary. But then the situation changed quickly – his pulse grew weaker, his breathing more rapid. And we had to experience how his life was gradually extinguished…He went as though it were the obvious thing to do. It seemed to me as though the dice had been thrown for a last decision. When they fell, there was no struggle, no attempt to remain upon the earth any longer. He gazed calmly into the space before him for a time, said a couple of tender words to me, consciously closed his eyes & folded his hands”
“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.
Again from “The Life and Work of Rudolf Steiner’ by Guenther Wachsmuth: In the lofty darkened space of the studio stood the bier of him who had completed this earthly life, surrounded by a sea of flowers, by the light of candles, the death watch by his side day & night. Many hundreds of persons came in soundless silence for the last visit, went back into life comforted, trusting, having received in their affliction assurance of the virtuousness of the Spirit, of rebirth. On the 3rd day the body was brought into the great workshop, to lie in state finally in the lecture hall, at the place from which he had for decades proclaimed the knowledge of the spirit. At the request of Frau Marie Steiner, Fredrich Rittelmeyer conducted the funeral service which was the gift of Rudolf Steiner to the Christian Community.
The next morning the coffin was carried away for cremation. When it was passing by the newly erected structure of the new Goetheanum, the workers at the building stood still on the scaffolding & greeted the master builder & friend. At the cremation ritual, Albert Steffen united us with our beloved teacher in a picture of his being which only the artist could draw in such shining perfection. He spoke of “the friend of God and leader of humanity”. And what has come into being in us earthly persons through the leadership & schooling of Rudolf Steiner as a certitude, what we are called upon to do in his spirit, he summarized in the following words:
“He has again showed the world to us in such a way that we know it has come forth out of god. He has died in such a way that we feel: Christ lives in this death. May his immortal Spirit be resurrected in our deeds. We will, as well as we can, make them holy.”~ Albert Steffen
“To create centres
of peace & love in which the Christ can resurrect.”
~written on the urn that holds the ashes of Rudolf Steiner
What a blessing to receive the teachings of this great initiate. May we continue our connection with him in the spiritual worlds & ever enliven our Michaelic work with The Christ & the Being of Anthroposophia, as we consciously take up the work of creating these “centres of peace & love” in which those, like Rudolf Steiner who hold the Christ, can resurrect.”
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
1963 – Death Day of George Adams – born in Poland to a Jewish family as George Kaufmann, he went on to receive an honors degree in Chemistry from Cambridge University. In 1914 he encountered Rudolf Steiner’s “Occult Science” & become a member of the Emerson Group in London in 1916.
Preoccupied with problems of social reform, he rejected all manner of violence, remaining a conscientious objector throughout the First World War – a “militant revolutionary” as he described himself. He was imprisoned after refusing to serve with other conscientious objectors in the Non-Combatant Corps & was only released in 1919, after a hunger strike. During his time as conscientious objector he had come to know Mary Fox, a Quaker & in 1920 they married.
His interest in Steiner’s ideas on social reform & his intention to translate the book The Threefold Social Order (GA 23) caused him to visit Steiner together with Ethel Bowen Wedgwood in Dornach, Switzerland. Steiner advised him to become involved in some form of social work, something Adams could readily accept amid the social collapse in Central & Eastern Europe following the war. He went on several journeys to Poland as part of the English / American Quaker organization.
In 1920 he took part in the inauguration of the first Goetheanum building. On his return to England, he cooperated with some friends on spreading the ideas of Social three folding as well as the anthroposophical ideas of Steiner. His wife Mary Adams began her work as librarian & translator for the Anthroposophical Society in London that she was to carry for many years. In addition, Adams was the free verbal translator of around 110 lectures of Steiner into English. He went on to translate many of Steiner’s written works, often with his wife Mary.
He was often in Dornach during these times & experienced the burning of the first Goetheanum on New Year’s Eve 1922/23, he was also part of the Christmas Foundation meeting of the General Anthroposophical Society in 1923/24. In 1924 he became one of the Goetheanum-Speakers authorized by Steiner.
While working as a free co-worker of the Anthroposophical Society in Britain as lecturer & workshop holder after 1925, Adams turned again to the study of the natural sciences & mathematics, concentrating particularly on projective geometry while working with Elisabeth Vreede, leader of the Section for Mathematics & Astronomy at the Goetheanum. At the beginning of the 1930s, Adams published a series of articles & essays about projective, synthetic geometry & its relationship to physics, to Goethe’s theory of metamorphosis & to anthroposophical spiritual science, particularly the pioneering work “Of Etheric Space” in the magazine Natura of the Goetheanum’s Medical Section. Here for the first time is mentioned the concept of “counter-space”, as Steiner indicated in the third of his courses on the Natural Sciences (GA 323), explained by means of non-Euclidean geometry. Some years later Louis Locher was to discover the same thing independently of Adams. From that time on the conceptual development of the idea of counter-space in its relation to normal spatial thinking became the focal point of Adams’ further scientific research. In 1933 the comprehensive work Space & the Light of the Creation – Synthetic Geometry in the light of Spiritual Science appeared, which was an overview of the spiritual scientific meaning of synthetic geometry.
When Elisabeth Vreede & Ita Wegman were dismissed from the executive of the General Anthroposophical Society in Dornach, a number of other prominent members of the German, Dutch &British Societies were expelled, including Adams. This brought to an end his cooperation with the Mathematical -Astronomical Section. When the Chairman of the Anthroposophical Society in Great Britain, D. N. Dunlop, died in May 1935, Adams took over as general secretary. In this task, Olive Whicher became his closest co-worker,& he introduced her to projective geometry.
At the outbreak of the Second World War, Adams volunteered as interpreter in a prisoner of war camp. His close ties to Germany were soon the subject of investigation & he was dismissed after six months. He changed his name at this point from George Kaufmann to George Adams, taking the maiden name of his mother. In the following years Adams was one of the monitors of the Polish broadcasting corporation in the service of the BBC & he learnt several additional Slavic languages. Much of his free time was spent in the British Library studying the development of modern mathematical sciences to augment them with his thoughts about counter-space.
After the war, he was given a scholarship by the British Anthroposophical Society at Rudolf Steiner House in order to investigate with Whicher the geometric principles underlying the world of plants. It had been unclear where the corresponding projective counterpart of the infinite plane of Euclidean space, the infinite midpoint of the non-Euclidean space (was to be found in the plant world. In 1947, Adams expressed the idea that such a midpoint did not just exist, but that there was one to be found in every bud. This idea was connected with that of the lemniscatory correlation between space & counter- In 1949 and 1952, two books appeared with the titles: The Living Plant & the Science of Physical & Ethereal Space & The Plant between Sun & Earth.
In 1947, at the request of his friends Fried Geuter & Michael Wilson of Sunfield Homes in Clent near Birmingham, Whicher & he moved to Clent, where they founded the Goethean Science Foundation with Wilson to undertake scientific research. The peaceful countryside & a secure financial base provided an ideal environment for the work that followed.
Shortly before this, in 1946, Adams had made contact with the Goetheanum & its Mathematical-Astronomical Section under the provisional guidance of Louis Locher. He wished, despite their differences, to work together on common issues. He again participated actively in many conferences & discussions at the Goetheanum & in Germany. He also took up contact again with Georg Unger, who went on to found the Mathematisch-Physicalisches Institut in 1956, where Adams reported regularly on his work. Unger visited Clent for common research gatherings. In 1935, Olive Whicher joined Adams in London & worked with him in research into mathematics & physics until his death in 1963. He discovered how to describe Steiner’s findings about negative space in geometric terms, & was particularly adept with projective geometry & the application of path curves. He translated & published numerous books, lectures, & articles.
So interesting to think that this great human being has the same Death Day as Rudolf Steiner! As does Dorothy S. Osmond, another translator of Anthroposophical literature, who died in 1978; & Norbert Glas, Anthroposophical doctor who died in 1986.
6-7 April 2019
ANTHROPOSOPHICAL SOCIETY: WHAT AILS THEE! with APO founder Fred Janney from Ann Arbor
Sat. 6 April, 7 pm – 9 pm –& Sun. 7 April, 1 pm – 4 pm
Saturday 6 April, 2019, 7:00-9:00 p.m: Personality and spiritual biographies of the original Vorstand members and group healing meditation.
Sunday 7 April, 2019, Identifying your spiritual stream and recognizing its opposite stream with directions for bringing cohesion and direction for members on both sides of the threshold.
Contribution $25-$50 or pay what you can afford, ALL proceeds donated to APO.
2019 marks the reinstatement of Ita Wegman and Elisabeth Vreede back into the General Anthroposophical Society after 84 years. This 12×7 combination is a very important number combination in microcosmic and macrocosmic dynamics. Their return from banishment is only a first step in healing the karma of our organization and embracing the ongoing leadership of Rudolf Steiner into the future. Long standing and exacerbating problems have ensued since the ouster of these two leading lights chosen esoterically by Rudolf Steiner.
It is essential and imperative in our time to reconcile and forge harmony with these and other members on both sides of the threshold so that anthroposophy can flourish.
Sergei Prokofieff through his research tells us that all the original Executive Council members were chosen representatives and archetypes of the different and divergent karmic streams that came together under the direction of Rudolf Steiner for the esoteric tasks required well into the future.
The birth and development of the New Mysteries that was initiated at the Christmas Conference at the end of 1923 called on the free and active participation of these individuals.
On many occasions Rudolf Steiner called on each member of the Anthroposophical Society to uncover and research the spirituals stream for which he/she came to earth. Then, in order to heal the individual and group karma of the General Anthroposophical Society, members were urged to reach out to members of conflicting spiritual streams, so as to find ways to harmonize the conflicts.
In our time, these steps in self and social development are essential as we seek future work together for the development of humanity.
References: May Human Beings Hear It (2004) by Sergei Prokofieff. Chapter Five: The Esoteric Archetype of the Original Council.
https://www.rudolfsteiner.org/articles. Anthroposophical Society: What Ails Thee (2017) by Fred Janney
Fred Janney in 1999 joined with six other members of the Anthroposophical Society from around the country to start what soon became known as Anthroposophical Prison Outreach. We are celebrating twenty years of service to incarcerated individuals based on the good will and donations of our member.