GA 26

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Anthroposophical Leading Thoughts: Anthroposophy as a Path of Knowledge - The Michael Mystery

Anthroposophische Leitsätze (1924/1925) - Der Erkenntnisweg der Anthroposophie: Das Michael-Mysterium

„In future there will be found in these columns something in the nature of anthroposophical ‘Leading Thoughts’ or principles. These may be taken to contain advice on the direction which members can give to the lectures and discussions in the several Groups. It is but a stimulus and suggestion which the Goetheanum would like to give to the whole Society. The independence of individual leading members in their work is in no way to be interfered with. We shall develop healthily if the Society gives free play to what leading members have to offer in all the different Groups. This will enrich and make manifold the life of the Society.

But it should also be possible for a unity of consciousness to arise in the whole Society — which will happen if the initiative and ideas that emerge at different places become known everywhere. Thus in these columns we shall sum up in short paragraphs the descriptions and lines of thought given by me in my lectures to the Society at the Goetheanum. I imagine that those who lecture or conduct the discussions in the Groups will be able to take what is here given as guiding lines, with which they may freely connect what they have to say. This will contribute to the unity and organic wholeness of the work of the Society without there being any question of constraint.

The plan will become fruitful for the whole Society if it meets with a true response — if the leading members will inform the Executive at the Goetheanum too of the content and nature of their own lectures and suggestions. Then only shall we grow, from a chaos of separate Groups, into a Society with a real spiritual content.

The Leading Thoughts here given are meant to open up subjects for study and discussion. Points of contact with them will be found in countless places in the anthroposophical books and lecture-courses, so that the subjects thus opened up can be enlarged upon and the discussions in the Groups centred around them.

When new ideas emerge among leading members in the several Groups, these too can be brought into connection with the suggestions we shall send out from the Goetheanum. We would thus provide an open framework for all the spiritual activity in the Society.

Spiritual activity can of course only thrive by free unfoldment on the part of the active individuals — and we must never sin against this truth. But there is no need to do so when one group or member within the Society acts in proper harmony with the other. If such co-operation were impossible, the attachment of individuals or groups to the Society would always remain a purely external thing — where it should in fact be felt as an inner reality.

It cannot be allowed that the existence of the Anthroposophical Society is merely made use of by this or that individual as an opportunity to say what he personally wishes to say with this or that intention. The Society must rather be the place where true Anthroposophy is cultivated. Anything that is not Anthroposophy can, after all, be pursued outside it. The Society is not there for extraneous objects.“ (Lit.:GA 26, p. 11)


After the Christmas Conference to found the General Anthroposophical Society (1923) Rudolf Steiner wrote a series of 185 "Anthroposophical Leading Thoughts" and regular letters "To the Members", which were printed weekly in the newsletter "What is going on in the Anthroposophical Society", until his death in March 1925. The present edition contains all the Guiding Principles and the associated letters "To the Members" (the so-called "Michael Letters"). Other letters not directly related to the Guiding Principles have been included in the volume "The Constitution of the General Anthroposophical Society" (GA 260a).



References to the work of Rudolf Steiner follow Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works (CW or GA), Rudolf Steiner Verlag, Dornach/Switzerland, unless otherwise stated.
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Index to the Complete Works of Rudolf Steiner - Aelzina Books
A complete list by Volume Number and a full list of known English translations you may also find at Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works
Rudolf Steiner Archive - The largest online collection of Rudolf Steiner's books, lectures and articles in English (by Steiner Online Library).
Rudolf Steiner Audio - Recorded and Read by Dale Brunsvold - Anthroposophic Press Inc. (USA)
Rudolf Steiner Handbook - Christian Karl's proven standard work for orientation in Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works for free download as PDF.