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The Collected Works of Rudolf Steiner Series 144

The Mysteries of Initiation

From Isis to the Holy Grail (CW 144)

Rudolf Steiner
Introduction by Robert A. McDermott
Translated by Charles Davy
February 2022
More details
  • Publisher
    Rudolf Steiner Press
  • ISBN 9781855845916
  • Language English
  • Pages 120 pp.
  • Size 6" x 9.25"

4 lectures, Berlin, Feb. 3–7. 1913 (CW 144)

In this concise study, Rudolf Steiner sketches the evolution of the mysteries, from ancient Persia through Egypt and Greece to the present Christian era. He traces the line of initiates from the Egyptian divinities Isis and Osiris to Moses and to King Arthur’s Round Table and the Holy Grail in the twelfth century.

Steiner focuses on the process of initiation in historical terms—how initiation worked in ancient Egypt and during the late Middle Ages. However, his inspirational presentation leads to this question: How can we advance to initiation today? He underscores the potential for achieving enlightenment today without an incarnated teacher and explains the four stages of the process toward initiation. He also highlights the need for strenuous efforts to overcome the subtle powers of evil (Lucifer and Ahriman) through selfless effort.

These four lectures form an important landmark in Rudolf Steiner’s biography—the first delivered on February 3, 1913, the very day that the Anthroposophical Society was founded.

First published in English as The Mysteries of the East and of Christianity and unavailable for many years, this revised edition features appendices, an index, and an introduction by Robert McDermott.

The Mysteries of Initiation is a translation from German of Die Mysterien des Morgenlandes und des Christentums (GA 144). A previous edition of this translation was published in 1972 as The Mysteries of the East and of Christianity.

Rudolf Steiner

Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925) was born in the small village of Kraljevec, Austro-Hungarian Empire (now in Croatia), where he grew up. As a young man, he lived in Weimar and Berlin, where he became a well-published scientific, literary, and philosophical scholar, known especially for his work with Goethe’s scientific writings. At the beginning of the twentieth century, he began to develop his early philosophical principles into an approach to systematic research into psychological and spiritual phenomena. Formally beginning his spiritual teaching career under the auspices of the Theosophical Society, Steiner came to use the term Anthroposophy (and spiritual science) for his philosophy, spiritual research, and findings. The influence of Steiner’s multifaceted genius has led to innovative and holistic approaches in medicine, various therapies, philosophy, religious renewal, Waldorf education, education for special needs, threefold economics, biodynamic agriculture, Goethean science, architecture, and the arts of drama, speech, and eurythmy. In 1924, Rudolf Steiner founded the General Anthroposophical Society, which today has branches throughout the world. He died in Dornach, Switzerland.