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Rudolf Steiner Enters my Life

 

By Friedrich Rittelmeyer

 

Translated by D S Osmond

 

Originally published in German under the title MeineLebensbegegnungen mit Rudolf Steiner by Verlag Urachhaus in 1928. First published in English 1929, fourth edition 1963 by the Christian Community Press. Reprinted 1982 by Floris Books, Edinburgh.

 

 

This book would find its way to those who are interested in the question: What was Rudolf Steiner like as a personality? - and who would rather listen to an eye-witness than to strangers and opponents. They will be told how a man grounded in modern Protestant theology came to Rudolf Steiner, and what he experienced in connection with him. The account has its limitations: intimate and personal affairs do not belong to the realm of publicity, although it is often precisely these experiences which have brought the strongest conviction; things occult and spiritual cannot always be broadcast, albeit they may have given rise to the deepest experiences of all. Within these limitations, however, I propose to say what I feel it is in any way possible to say.

 

I did not keep written accounts of my meetings with Rudolf Steiner. There seemed to be something unnatural about going to every conversation with the conscious purpose of afterwards writing it all down. I felt that this would endanger the freedom and verve of the direct intercourse and final intimacy. And so I do not repeat Dr. Steiner's words literally, as they were actually spoken, although inverted commas have been used for the sake of distinction. I give them as they live in my memory and take responsibility for their substance and meaning, but not for their literal exactitude.

 

From first to last I did not think of myself so much as an isolated personality in the conversations I was able to have with Rudolf Steiner, I said to myself: Only a very few can have the opportunity of coming into close contact with such a man. But those few have an obligation to all mankind, both in what they ask and investigate, and in the answers and information vouchsafed to them. It seemed that Rudolf Steiner himself understood and approved of my attitude, and he told me a great deal. He knew that I should not regard it as my own possession but give it again to mankind at the right time.

 

If this book is to be what it desires to be - the story of how a man came from present-day Christianity to Rudolf Steiner - it is permissible to introduce even subordinate features and conversations which were not full of weighty substance, when they are part of the whole picture. The paths to Rudolf Steiner are manifold And associated with this book is a hope that people from quite different spheres of life - doctors, teachers, artists, politicians - will also tell how they came to Rudolf Steiner. For not until the story is enlarged and supplemented in this way can a true and complete picture of him come into being.

 

THERE are moments in a person’s life when he seems to be aware of the delicate chiming of a bell. A new hour of destiny is dawning. It is as though the gaze of higher spirits was being directed upon him. Much depends - both for himself and for others, upon the action he now takes.

 

One of these moments came at the end of the year 1910, when I received a request from a large town in the North of Germany to give a public lecture on the religious strivings of the present time. I was deeply interested in the current urge towards a revival of religion, and now, when it was a question of giving a general survey, it occurred to me that a pronounced lack of sympathy had always made me ignore a certain phenomenon of the times, namely “Theosophy”.* ……

 

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