The Esoteric School (abbreviated ES) was established by Rudolf Steiner from 1904 onwards, starting in Germany, for a narrow circle of esoteric students. Until 1907, the ES was affiliated to the Esoteric School of Theosophy in London, founded by H. P. Blavatsky in 1888. Following the occult tradition, it was still run as a secret school, the existence of which was initially known only to those who had been personally invited to attend. The tie to the London School was dissolved at the Munich Congress of the Thesosophical Society with the full consent of Annie Besant, who had taken over the leadership together with William Quan Judge after Blavatsky's death in 1891.
The Esoteric School was run in three divisions. In the first division of the Esoteric School, instructions were given for individual inner development. The second and third divisions together formed the epistemic-cultic division of the Esoteric School, where the emphasis was on ritual actions.
With the outbreak of World War I, Steiner dissolved the Esoteric School; a reconstitution did not take place until the Christmas Conference of 1923/24 in the form of the First Class of the School of Spiritual Science; the secrecy, which was no longer in keeping with the times, was completely abandoned. Here, too, a Second and Third Class were planned, but they could no longer be realised due to Rudolf Steiner's early death.