What is Anthroposophy?
The man behind Anthroposophy was the Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925). Steiner at young age became interested in the spiritual movement in Europe at that time, especially Theosophy and the mystic ideas of Goethe. In the beginning of the 20th century, Steiner got more and more into Theosophy, much thanks to his friendship with the Russian actress Marie Von Sievers, a devoted Theosophist, and in 1902 he became general secretary of the German Theosophical division.
Theosophy was based on Hinduism, Buddhism and European occultism, but Steiner's teachings were closer to Christianity and the Rosicrucian orden. In 1906 he started a loge (Mysteria Mystica Aeterna) of O.T.O (Ordo Templi Orientis). Other famous sect leaders who started as followers of O.T.O were the Satanist Aleister Crowley and L. Ron Hubbard, creator of Scientology. Because of Steiner's approaching to O.T.O and Annie Bessant's, the leader of the theosophical movement, activities in India (she discovered Jiddu Krishnamurti.) the theosophical organization split up and Steiner started his own cult, Anthroposophy.
Steiner has written many books about Atlantis and Lemuria. He claimed to have received information about these myths through his clairvoyant ability. According to Steiner the population on Atlantis could not speak, but thought in pictures and communicated through telepathy. The most developed individuals gathered in Central Asia under a great leader. Anthroposophy claims that the Aryan race comes from that group, and that racial intermixing is bad:
Anthroposophy is mainly based on theosophy and goes back to gnosticism and eastern "wisdom". The connection with gnosticism makes it hostile to earthy pleasures. The human being consists of three entities: The body, the soul and the spirit. If the soul is too closely bound to earthy pleasures it will be reincarnated in a new body and will not be able to reach the higher worlds where it will eventually be aligned with the spirit. Hence it is important for an Anthroposophist not to be too engaged in pleasures such as rock music, parties, etc, but instead to live an ascetical spiritual life.
Furthermore the Anthroposophical movement is an enemy of allopathic (i.e. "regular") medicine, advocates homeopathy and is partly based on Paracelsus' (1493-1541) theories that a plant treats diseases in organs which look similar to parts of the plant. For example do the leaves of the flower Euphrasia officinalis look much like eyes, and the plant has therefore been used in traditional medicine for eye-diseases. Scientifically unsound theories such as this still survives in Anthroposophy. Other theories which are strong in anthroposophy include the idea that "astral forces" in plants affect the body. Cancer is supposedly cured by properly prepared mistletoe which absorbs etheric forces and strengthens the astral body. Another way to treat cancer as well as other diseases is"eurytmia", a kind of pantominic dance. Diabetes is supposedly cured by strengthening the ego:
"In diabetes mellitus the case is as follows: the ego-organization, as it submerges in the astral and etheric realm, is so weakened that it can no longer effectively accomplish its action upon the sugar-substance. The sugar then undergoes the processes in the astral and etheric realms which should take place in the ego-organization ...From all this we see that a real healing process for diabetes mellitus can only be initiated if we are in a position to strengthen the ego-organization of the patient." -- Rudolf Steiner (Fundamentals of Therapy, 1924, chapter VIII)
In Sweden, anthroposophists are most famous for their biodynamic farming, which is not equivalent with ecological farming. Instead, Biodynamic farming is much the same as anthroposophical medicine. The earth is seen as an organism that breathes twice a day, and has a living soil. The soil is being made more dynamic by adding homeopathic-like preparations to it. The farming is run by a complicated system based on eterian and astral forces and their effects on minerals, plants and animals. I may add more about biodynamics when I have read an article in Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 7:173-187, 1994
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Last update: January 28, 2001