Foundation Stone Meditation
The Foundation Stone Meditation for the new formation of the Anthroposophical Society was given by Rudolf Steiner in two different versions. The first version was recited during the 1923/24 Christmas Conference, the other was used for printing in the first newsletter "Was in der Anthroposophischen Gesellschaft vorgeht. Nachrichten für deren Mitglieder" ("What is going on in the Anthroposophical Society. News for its members") of 13 January 1924. The essential difference is that the version in the newsletter does not mention the hierarchies by name, the elementary spirits are only addressed in general terms as spirits and the Rosicrucian saying is not given in Latin but in German translation.
Marie Steiner later explained on various occasions why Rudolf Steiner gave the second version of the Foundation Stone saying for the Nachrichtenblatt. Marie Steiner's co-worker Günther Schubert recorded her communication as follows:
„She repeatedly spoke of having to think back to how difficult it was for Dr Steiner to bring himself to the decision to publish the saying of the laying of the foundation stone in 1923, and how in the version finally printed he had toned down the immediate appeal of the hierarchies towards the abstract. Dr. Steiner wanted only this weakened wording to be used in membership circles, for there was a law with such cultically formed esoteric sayings according to which the force that is sent out strikes back again with the same strength, so that one had to consider whether one would be able to endure this.“ (Lit.:GA 260, p. 300)
Version from the Christmas Conference 1923/24
|Weihnachtstagung 1923/24||Christmas Conference 1923/24|
Soul of man!
Version from the Newsletter of 13 January 1924
|Nachrichtenblatt vom 13. Januar 1924||The Foundation Stone|
The Spiritual Meaning of the Foundation Stone Meditation
The Foundation Stone saying is based on the realisation of the threefold structure of the human being and the world, as Rudolf Steiner explained during the laying of the foundation stone:
„It has been possible to perceive that threefold structure of the human being, through which the human being in his whole being according to spirit, soul and body can animate himself in a renewed form the "Know thyself", it has been possible to perceive it, this threefold structure, for decades. I myself was only able to bring it to maturity in the last decade during the warlike storms. At that time I tried to indicate how man also lives physically in his metabolic-limb system, in his heart-rhythm system, in his head-thought and perception system. And one can be convinced that the human being - by absorbing this threefoldness in the right way, as was indicated yesterday, through the living through of his heart with Anthroposophia - will then recognise, by learning to recognise feelingly and willingly, what he is actually doing by enlivening the spirits of the world through his limbs, by actively grasping the world - not by suffering, passively grasping the world, but by actively grasping the world, by fulfilling his duties, his tasks, his mission in the world - he recognises the essence of the all-pervading love of man and of the world, which is a member of the total world being. And one can hold oneself convinced that when man recognises the wonderful secret which rules between lung and heart - in which it is inwardly perceptibly expressed how the world-rhythms, which work through millennia, through eons, and awaken the world-spirits in man - one can hope that by grasping this wisely with the heart as an organ of cognition, man can then experience how the world-pictures, the God-given ones, energetically reveal the cosmos out of themselves. Just as one grasps the worldly love in the active movement, so one will grasp the archetypes of worldliness when one feels within oneself the mysterious transition between the rhythm of the world and the rhythm of the heart, and through these in turn the rhythm of the human being, which takes place mysteriously in the soul and spirit between the lungs and the heart. And when the human being will perceive in the right way what reveals itself in his main system, which rests on his shoulders, even when he walks, then he will experience, feeling himself in his main system, pouring out the warmth of the heart into his main system, the ruling, working, weaving world thoughts in his own beingness.
And thus he will grasp the threefoldness of all being - world-love, operating in human love; world-imagination, operating in human organisational form; world-thought, operating mysteriously subterraneously in human thoughts - he will grasp this threefoldness and recognise himself as an individually free human being in the operating God-work of the cosmos, as a world-man, an individual human being in the world-man, operating as an individual human being in the world-man for the world-future. Out of the signs of the present, he will renew the old word: "Know thyself!"
The Greeks were still allowed to omit the epilogue, because with them the human self had not yet become so abstract as with us, merged into the abstract I-point or at most into thinking, feeling and willing, but because with them the human nature was grasped as a whole according to spirit, soul and body. Thus the Greeks were allowed to believe that they were encountering the whole human being according to spirit, soul and body when they sounded the word, the ancient sun-word, the Apollo-word: "Know thyself!"
But we must say, if we renew this word in the right way out of the signs of the times: O human soul, know thyself in thy living weaving in spirit, soul and body. - Then we have understood that which underlies all human beings. And this world-substance, in which the spirit works and lives, which flows from the heights and reveals itself in the human head; the Christ-power, which works everywhere in the periphery, which weaves with the air, circling around the earth, which works and lives in our breathing system; and when we recognise the forces coming up in the depths from within the earth, which work in our limbs - and when we unite these three forces, the forces of the heights, the forces of the circumcircle, the forces of the depths, at this moment in a formative substance: then in our grasping of the soul we can juxtapose the world dodecahedron with the human dodecahedron. And out of these three forces: out of the spirit of the heights, out of the Christ-power of the periphery, out of the Father-effectiveness, the creative Father-activity, which flows from the depths, we want at this moment to form in our souls the dodecahedral foundation-stone, which we lower into the soil of our souls, so that it may be there as a strong sign in the strong foundations of our soul-being and so that we may be able to stand on this firm foundation-stone in the future of the work of the Anthroposophical Society.“ (Lit.:GA 260, p. 62ff)
- Bernard Lievegoed: Besinnung auf den Grundstein, Vlg. Freies Geistesleben, Stuttgart 1989
- Jörgen Smit: Geistesschulung und Lebenspraxis - die Grundstein-Meditation als Zukunftsimpuls, Vlg. am Goetheanum, Dornach 1987
- Valentin Tomberg: Die Grundsteinmeditation Rudolf Steiners, Achamoth Vlg., Schönach 1993
- Rudolf Steiner: Die Weihnachtstagung zur Begründung der Allgemeinen Anthroposophischen Gesellschaft 1923/24, GA 260 (1994), ISBN 3-7274-2602-0 English: rsarchive.org German: pdf pdf(2) html mobi epub archive.org
- Rudolf Steiner: «Eine große Verantwortung» für das Schicksal aller Menschen, Rudolf Steiner Ausgaben, Bad Liebenzell 2015
References to the work of Rudolf Steiner follow Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works (CW or GA), Rudolf Steiner Verlag, Dornach/Switzerland, unless otherwise stated.
Email: email@example.com URL: www.steinerverlag.com.
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
steinerbooks.org - 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.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Translation by Frank Thomas Smith rsarchive.org