Theosophy by Rudolf Steiner (1904)

Published by Anthroposophical Press in 1994

Book Review by Bobby Matherne, ©1995


In his Foreword to this 1994 edition, Michael Holdrege points out that this book must be worked through "each page and even each single sentence the hard way." I'm not sure I would have done so if I'd encountered this book twenty years ago when I first began my search for understanding. The years I've spent studying Carlos Castenada' Don Juan stories, Hazrat Inayat Khan's Sufism, Fritz Perls' Gestalt Therapy, Alex Keller's Metaphysics, Alfred Korzybski's General Semantics, Andrew Galambos' Volitional Science, Carl Jung's Typology, the Baltimore Catechism, Tom Kuhn's Scientific Revolutions, and Physics for my Bachelor's Degree made it possible for me to read this book slowly and thoughtfully, rather than skimming it and tossing it aside as irrelevant occultist tripe. What I brought to this book was as important to my understanding of it as what this book brought to me.

All the fields of endeavor I mentioned above (and others) Rudolf Steiner covers in this one encyclopedic volume. Castenada could have written his Don Juan stories after encountering the truths contained in this book instead of Don Juan. When talking about the "second type of soul formation" on page 104, Steiner could be creating the basis for Fritz Perls' Gestalt Therapy; in the third type, Carl Rogers's therapy.

What Steiner does for metaphysics is to describe the organs and senses of perception of the metaphysical realm. He calls them "supersensible" organs to distinguish them from the normal senses of the physical world. Always he maintains a superb rational position in his descriptions, such as when he says, "Imagining the spirit in a false form is superstition . . ." and "The very objection that we may be mistaken is in itself destructive disbelief and demonstrates a lack of trust in the power of truth."

Ever again in this book Steiner demonstrates by his insights that the power of truth lies in our ability to inform the truth in ourselves by informing our thought, unbiasedly and receptively, in the object of our study. One can readily see that a skeptical mind will never reach such a conclusion on its own accord.

For me this book generated many poem, several songs, and an understanding of the body, soul, and spirit, my "fiddlers three," that make me a "merry old soul." May you find yourself with this book and be informed in the process.