“Anthroposophy is a path of knowledge, to guide the Spiritual in the human being to the Spiritual in the universe.”-Rudolf Steiner
What then is Anthroposophy? A religion, a cult, a set of rules or dogmas, a movement?
None of these encompasses the reality. In fact, Anthroposophy is hard to categorise – it does not fit in any given frame and it is alive.
Rudolf Steiner, who gave it this name, said if he could he would give it a different name every day.
It is possibly best to describe what people involved in Anthroposophy have done and why they have done it
in order to understand its uniqueness.
One thing is obvious:
Anthroposophists often like to do things differently, not because of any principle of their choosing but because they think about things more deeply than a ‘business as usual’ approach often allows.
To do this you need conscious freedom and it is no surprise that Steiner’s seminal work is the “Philosophy of Freedom”.
Not an easy book to read, yet a deep exploration of how we think by observing the act of thinking itself.
Observation is a typical tool of science and science is what Rudolf Steiner had studied.
He insisted that the scientific method has to be applied to research in all fields – even the spiritual field of experiences. That was new and still is for many who believe that spiritual things require mysticism and a non-thinking approach.
The object of Steiner’s science of the spiritual is in essence man himself because everything in the universe can be found represented in the human being. Hence Anthroposophy, from the Greek Anthroposophia – the knowledge of the nature of man. Man here seen in his fullness, as a thinking, feeling and willing entity, not as any of these faculties in isolation. And man consisting not only of body and soul – which is generally accepted – but also of spirit, out of which his aspiration to work on his and mankind’s further evolution is ignited.
Coming back to freedom.
How do we gain it? The answer is difficult and simple at the same time. By knowing oneself we learn to recognise what is the source of everything, what helps us, what hinders us and tries to derail us, what is morally sound and what has to be done to go forward.
Anthroposophy is therefore experienced very individually. It is not limited by dogmas or creeds, it is inclusive and not exclusive. In a way it is the most natural and universal path we can take if we are honest with our selves. We start from the knowledge of our selves and travel to an understanding of the universe as a whole, we observe our own evolution as a human being and grasp the laws of the wider evolution as well.
And how do we know if that which we do is right or wrong?
Steiner calls it ethical individualism and we know if we have acted ethically when we experience the results of our deeds and can see that they are balanced.
The list of fields where Anthroposophy becomes visible and can be experienced is long, impressive and still growing.
Here in Australia we are a bit behind Europe, where the starting point for all these practical endeavours was the end of WWI and its shattering effects. The first Steiner school in Australia was founded in Sydney in the fifties. Now there are more than 45. Australia has a strong section of Biodynamic Agriculture, the products of which are sometimes better known under the brand name of Demeter.
Anthroposophy is a flowing, growing and living being because at its centre are humans who carry it and apply it and expand it based on their own experiences. It is little wonder that the issue of Karma is alive in it, understood as the overlap of sequential lives not as a tool of punishment.
When you join the Anthroposophical Society, you agree to pay a yearly contribution to support the work of Anthroposophy both in Australia and in Dornach (near Basel, Switzerland). You can apply after about two years to become a member of the School of Spiritual Science if you wish to take up more responsibility for Anthroposophy in your own life. Otherwise you can join any of the discussion groups, courses, workshops, lectures and artistic events – or better still you can help with organising them yourself. Being active is part of being an Anthroposophist. And if you like a quiet time, over 300 books by Rudolf Steiner have been published, many of them available in English translation. Other Anthroposophical authors have contributed thousands of books in every imaginable field of human experience.
The Anthroposophical Society is active in 78 countries of the world, but its centre is Dornach. Here in Australia we have branches all over the country.
Anyone who wants to familiarise themselves with the Anthroposophical Society can contact a local group or any of the following members of the Committee of the Anthroposophical Society in Australia:
- 0403 171 651
- 0487 434 532
- 02 6633 7045
- 0432 944 508
(Above contacts updated: 6/10/14)
This web site is intended to be another means whereby Anthroposophy and work arising out of Anthroposophy (see articles on various views of what Anthroposophy is about) can be communicated, disseminated and discussed. It is hoped that this will in some way help reduce the isolation of distance if we can share what’s going on with each other.
It is intended that articles and reports on activities will be placed up on this site if they are sent in a soft copy format. Discussions and views can be shared and built upon on the messageboard.
This site is also a portal to Australian branches of the Anthroposophical Society. It may take some time for all the branches to update some sections of the site, so please be patient and check back often.
If you have any content for these areas please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have content for specific branch, please contact them directly.
More details of each Branch’s activities can be found under Branch News.