Biography work

From Anthroposophy

Biography work is a retrospective process that consists in looking at one's life and how it has unfolded on various fronts, and trying to discern meaning and patterns into it. This implies taking a step back and contemplating the highs and lows that one has lived, to gain a deeper understanding of one's life lessons and journey.

The process may include elements such as:

  • karmic study work, as per karma exercises described by Rudolf Steiner in the Karmic Relationship lectures
    • relationships, both new people that enter one's life, and others that move to the background or dissappear
    • life hardships such as illness and losses
  • astrological and astrosophical work, a.i. the study of one's natal birth chart (incl elements, progressions)
    • if done for another person and not oneself, this may include the person's death chart


  • The personalities covered by Rudolf Steiner in the Karmic Relationship lectures have been subject of biographical case studies, see Karma research case studies and the references to a.o. Wolfgang Schuchhardt and Norbert Glas.

Inspirational quotes


The unexamined life is not worth living


FMC00.237 depicts Life Chart diagram diagram by George O'Neill based on Steiner's lecture of 1924-08-16-GA311 (by Florin Lowndes, see publication under references for an excellent book). This diagram is often used and appears in many books for personal biography work.


Lecture coverage and references

Rudolf Steiner lectures from the book 'Biography':






1918-01-08, 1918-01-11 and 1918-01-12

1921-06-17 and 1921-06-18



Related pages

References and further reading

  • Herbert Hahn:
    • Der Lebenslauf als Kunstwerk. Rhythmen, Leitmotive, Gesetze in gegenübergestellten Biographien (1966)
    • Das Erwachen des Geigers und andere Erzählungen von Schicksalsruf, Krankheit und Genesung (1930, 1990)
  • Barbara Nordmeyer: Lebenkrisen und ihre Bewältigung (1975)
  • George and Gisela O'Neil: 'The human life' (1990, third printing 1998)
  • Gudrun Burkhard:
    • Taking charge - your life patterns and their meaning (1997 in EN, third printing 2011; first published in German in 1992 as 'Das Leben in die Hand nehmen')
    • Biographical work - The anthroposophical basis (2007 in EN, fifth printing 2014; first published in Portuguese in 2002 as 'Bases Antroposoficas da Metodologia Biografica')
  • Mechtild Oltmann-Wendenburg: 'Sternstunden der Biographie (1998)
  • Henning Köhler:
    • Das biographische Urphänomen. Vom Geheimnis des menschlichen Lebenslaufes (1998)
    • Der menschliche Lebenslauf als Kunstwerk (2011)
    • Individuelle Entfaltung – was heißt das eigentlich? Über das Ich-Rätsel in der Biografie (2018)
  • Signe Eklund Schaefer: 'Why on Earth?: Biography and the Practice of Human Becoming' (2013)
  • Albrecht Klaus: Levenssinn im Lebenslauf - Biografiearbeit als Begenung mit sich und Anderen (2016)
  • Rudolf Steiner: Biography - enlightening the path of human life (compiled and edited by Erhard Fucke) (2009 in EN, first published in German in 1996 as 'Vom Lebenslauf des Menschen')


see also: Man's life development#References and further reading

Specific examples

  • Fred Poeppig: 'Abenteuer meines Lebens: Versuch einer Lebensrückschau aus karmischer Sicht' (1975)
  • Herbert Hahn: 'Der Weg, der mich führte. Lebenserinnerungen.' (1969)
  • see the many biographies on the Indivividualities mentioned in the Karmic Relationship courses, see Karma research case studies