"Anthroposophy is a path of knowledge to guide the spiritual in the human being to the spiritual in the universe. It arises in man as a need of the heart, of the life of feeling, and it can be justified only inasmuch as it can satisfy this inner need."
- Rudolf Steiner
Steiner believed that through observation, study, and meditation, we human beings can awaken to our own inner nature, to the spiritual realities of the world around us, and to an understanding of our place in the cosmos. This awakening and awareness brings with it a great reverence for all of life. Steiner termed this process "Anthropo-sophia" or "wisdom of man." He once said that Anthroposophy could be understood as "awareness of one's humanity."
Steiner also described this path of knowledge as "spiritual science" - a rigorous scientific path of inquiry into questions of an earthly and/or spiritual nature. In developing this path he acknowledged the pioneering scientific work of Johanne Wolfgang von Goethe, who founded a process of experimentation based on sense perceptible phenomena.
The insights and observations offered by Anthroposophy have proved a fertile ground for the outgrowth of new endeavours in a wide range of fields. Waldorf education, bio-dynamic gardening and farming, Camphill communities, work with curative education and community living, and Anthroposophic medicine and pharmacies, such as Weleda, are a few of the ways in which this knowledge has been applied. There are also a number of art forms that have been inspired by anthroposophy including painting, sculpture, speech, drama, singing, architecture and an entirely new form of movement art, eurythmy. In each of these forms of expression the substance and nuance of anthroposophy is brought to life.
Although Anthroposophy is not taught in Waldorf schools, its vision of the unfolding human being inspires all of Waldorf education. Steiner gave many thousands of lectures and authored numerous books. Out of that enormous gift, he wrote four books that were fundamental to the recovery of human dignity, freedom, and wisdom: Philosophy of Freedom: Intuitive Thinking as a Spiritual Path, Theosophy, An Outline of Esoteric Science, and How to Know Higher Worlds. These books offer fertile ground for anyone interested in exploring this view of humanity in a more in-depth and complete way.
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