Iwer Thor Lorenzen
Iwer Thor Lorenzen (1895-1976) is an anthroposophist whose work is little known, but who (for some) ranks amongst the most insightful contributors to Rudolf Steiner's spiritual science. He is beyond doubt someone who has gone further than most in contemplating and imagining the descriptions that Rudolf Steiner gave of the spiritual realities, and marrying and cross fertilizing them with his extensive scientific knowledge. Whereas many anthroposophists re-hash Steiner quotes and references, Lorenzen has something to add.
Lorenzen's writings are valuable for serious students of spiritual science, because they take the material offered by Rudolf Steiner and bring it into a new frame with truly new descriptions. Lorenzen writes from his own pen and does not explicitly build on excerpts and quotes from Steiner lectures – except in his two later works. He shares his insights and the fruits of lifelong study and contemplation in his own words. The earnest student of Rudolf Steiner’s work will recognise the themes and elements from the manifold lectures by Steiner, however the exposition is put forth in a new continuous line of scientific storytelling, thereby offering a unique value-add perspective. Here is someone who has assimilated and put together by contemplation what he has studied for decades, and then talks to us from that perspective of insight and received inspiration.
Although he was a humble person, he was conscious of the fact he had gone further or deeper than some or most others, as comes across from subtle and friendly wordings in the forewords of his books. There may also be some kind bitterness in the words of this kind and sensitive soul, to the lack of acceptance, actually resistance, that his writings received from the established anthroposophical community such as Dornach.
Lorenzen wrote a short biographical note, in which we can read the remarkable passage:
.. Every year during the Christmas holidays I brought the harvest of the year together. In this period of the ‘holy nights’ I found again and again a wonderful atmosphere for working. The first christmas day I started in the morning between seven and eight and only stopped for meals .. I felt as if wrapped or embedded into a world of light and a sea of thoughts, from which I created. That went on upto my birthday on 5th january. One year I wrote the last sentences on the morning of 6th of January before drinking my coffee and driving to school. As this book is not written from the intellect, it may be challenging to read, otherwise one does not enter into its substance. This is a spiritual scientific book and not one by an amateur, it will still be read in the 21st century when much, what is currently held for valuable, has become wasted.
The 25 old young Werner Schäfer went to visit him two years before his death in 1974 and wrote a short contribution in Gegenwart Nr 2/2015.
The contents of his writings demystify riddles in the work of Rudolf Steiner, that were not understood by others, also so-called authorities as Günther Wachsmuth. Lorenzen had kindly informed about their errors, with love and friendliness. But Dornach didn't want him.
Whether that made him feel sad?
"Well no .. one needs patience in these things .. the truth will someday come through by itself in some way"
Mario Zadow on biographien.kulturimpuls.org
Die Vorfahren von Iwer Thor Lorenzen, ältestes von sechs Geschwistern, waren bäuerlicher Herkunft. Er wuchs in ärmlichen Verhältnissen auf dem Lande auf, ging nach Besuch der dreiklassigen Dorfschule und der Präparanden-Anstalt Barmstedt 1912 an das Lehrerseminar Segeberg (Schleswig - Holstein), wo er 1914 das Lehrerexamen ablegte, bevor er als Freiwilliger in den Krieg zog. Während eines Einsatzes in den Dolomiten wurde er durch einen Kameraden mit der Anthroposophie bekannt, und Steiners Idee von Reinkarnation und Karma ist es dann gewesen, die ihm den Weg für eine Lebensaufgabe wies, die ihn mehr und mehr in seiner Pädagogentätigkeit begleiten sollte.
Nach dem Krieg nahm er eine Lehrerstelle in Sterup, nicht weit von seinem Geburtsort, an. Er heiratete Erna Kiewitt, das Ehepaar bekam fünf Kinder, von denen aber vier im Kindesalter starben.
Lorenzen wurde durch die Vermittlung von Rektor Moritz Bartsch im August 1920 Mitglied der Anthroposophischen Gesellschaft. Er nahm 1924 an der Erziehungstagung in Stuttgart teil. 1925 wurde er Lehrer in einer Sonderschule, später deren Rektor.
1949 richtete er eine neue Hilfsschule in Wandsbek am Rande Hamburgs ein, an der er bis zu seiner Pensionierung 1957 blieb.
Nach 1949 konnte Iwer Thor Lorenzen, der schon 1935-1943 ehrenamtlicher Mitarbeiter am Zoologischen Staatsinstitut in Hamburg war, 1938 mit einer Schrift über die Bienen hervortrat und bei den biologisch-dynamischen Landwirten als „Bienenmann‟ bekannt war, mit Unterstützung befreundeter Hamburger Biologen seine Forschungen intensivieren. Immer wieder legte er sich die Frage vor, ob es in der Tierwelt nicht auch Grundorgane gäbe, die sich vervielfältigen und metamorphisieren wie bei der Pflanze das Blatt.
Gerhard Hardorp schreibt über ihn: „Als Lebensaufgabe hatte sich unser Freund gestellt, wissenschaftlich aus dem Studium der Anthroposophie heraus auf biologischem Felde zu arbeiten, insbesondere die Evolution von Erde, Mensch und Tier zu durchleuchten, die Brücke zu schlagen vom naturwissenschaftlichen Welt- und Menschenbild zum geisteswissenschaftlichen nach Ursprung und Ziel. In manchen Aufsätzen und Schriften leistete er dazu bedeutsame Beiträge bis in die letzten Tage seines Lebens.‟ (1976).
Werke: (im Eigenverlag)
- Ideen zur Metamorphose und Entwicklungsgeschichte der Insekten, Hamburg 1936;
- Die geistigen Grundlagen der Bienenzucht, Hamburg ;
- Metamorphosen, Bd. I/II, Hamburg 1958;
- Grundprobleme der Evolution, Bd. I/II/III/IV, Hamburg 1958/1959 /1960/1960;
- Evolution durch Inkarnation und Metamorphose, Hamburg 1969;
- Grundzüge einer Metamorphose der Tiere, Hamburg 1973;
- zahlreiche Beiträge in G, weitere in Ai, D, LE, MaD, MdV.
- Hageman, E.: Bibliographie der Arbeiten der Schüler Dr. Steiners, o. O. 1970;
- Hardorp, G.: Iwer Thor Lorenzen, in: N 1976, Nr. 45;
- Bellmann, P. G.: Iwer Thor Lorenzen, in: MaD 1976, Nr. 118
Iwer Thor Lorenzen began his career as a teacher in 1914. Whilst serving in the First World War, he became acquainted with anthroposophy through a fellow soldier. After the war he returned to teaching, later moving into special education. He set up his own school near Hamburg in 1949, where he remained until his retirement. Having worked as a volunteer in the Zoological State Institute in Hamburg from 1935 onwards, Lorenzen was also a biologist who was revered for his love and knowledge of beekeeping, particularly amongst biodynamic farmers. He published his key work on beekeeping in 1938 and wrote another nine books as well as numerous articles on the insect and animal world, metamorphosis and evolution.
Work and writings
Original works in German
- Ideen zur metamorphose und entwicklungsgeschichte der insekten (1936)
- Grundzuge einer metamorphose der Tieren
- published separately, and later part 1 of Book 1
- Book 1 - Metamorphosen (1958)
- the book consists of three parts, was written and published in two parts before, later bundled in one book
- Book 2 - Grundprobleme der Evolution (1958-60)
- written and published in four parts 1958/1959/1960/1960, later bundled in one book
- Book 3 - Evolution durch Inkarnation und Metamorphose (1969) 3 parts
- Book 4 - Elemente, Äther und Ätherleiber (im Lichte der von Rudolf Steiner begründeten Geisteswissenschaft) (2015)
- Book 5 - Metamorphosis Animals (1973)
- Book 6 - Das Ich-Prinzip in Mensch, Erde und Kosmos (Beitrage zur Hierarchien- und Logoslehre unter Zugrundelegung der Forschungsergebnisse Rudolf Steiners) (probably 1976)
- unpublished typoscript (see letters), now translated and ready for publishing
- In August 1976, after the death of Iwer Thor Lorenzen on 27-July, his brother Hermann writes a letter to Paul Gerhard Bellman (1924-2011) with whom Lorenzen had a very good connection for over 20 years. He writes that his brother’s testament states that this work which is filed in a very specific place should be sent to Bellman after his death. He specifically says that ‘The I-principle’ should be published by Bellman if that would not be the case before his death.
- Many years and letters pass by, and seven years later the discussion is still ongoing, and a letter from 26 July-1983 by Hans Heinze explains to the brother Hermann Lorenzen why years went by: a.o. because the typoscript contains quotes from Steiner lectures without references, and not correctly wordly quoted, etc.
- Irrespective of what happened, in Thomas Meyer's note he refers to Bellman still raising the issue of Lorenzen's unpublished work several times in the months before his death.
- In 2018
- the author of this site contacted both Hans Christian Zehnter at the Rudolf Steiner Archiv, as well as Thomas Meyer, as both seemingly had the latest copy of the typoscript, which had been worked on for many years. The first did search but was not able to find it back, the latter did not answer despite several follow up messages.
- Hence in 2018 the FMC initiative went ahead and translated the copy of the original unedited typoscript that was available, just as Lorenzen had left it on his desk. The work presented some major challenges as it was a collated with fragments of texts, some of which Lorenzen published earlier in various magazines.
- The English translation is available and ready for publishing (since end 2018).
Ready for publishing - translated works in English
A study volume with the title 'Aspects of Evolution' is ready for publishing (see also SoSoG G00.011).
It includes all Lorenzen's writings on Evolution from Books 1,2,3, as well as the complete books 4 and 6 (see above).
Published in English
- The Spiritual Foundations of Beekeeping (2017, original in DE in 1938)
- The honey bee has lived in close association with human beings for millennia. Tragically, however, humanity’s once intimate connection with this unique creature has been harmed by our increasingly utilitarian and exploitative dealings with the natural world. We are now in urgent need of re-establishing a deeper relationship, not just for the sake of the bees themselves but for the whole of nature – and of course for ourselves. Lorenzen – a true master beekeeper – provides numerous insights to enable a more fruitful engagement with the living world. Offering an enrichment of the knowledge and practice of beekeeping, he discusses the origins of the honey bee, its relationship to the floral kingdom, the digestion of the bee, the treatment of bee diseases as well as appropriate beekeeping techniques. He also develops subtle spiritual concepts such as the idea of the bee colony as an ‘individuality’ and ‘group-soul’, providing new depth and wisdom to our understanding of how bees live and work.
- Bees and the Ancient Mysteries (2018, extract from book)
- In an extraordinary exposition, Lorenzen―an expert beekeeper and student of contemporary spiritual science – describes the Logos mysteries, based at the ancient temple of Artemis in Ephesus, where priestesses were known as “Melissas” (honeybees), while the sacrificial priests were called “Essenes” (bee kings). These cultic mysteries, he says, bore remarkable parallels to the workings of a bee colony―specifically in the relationship between the queen and worker bees to the bees’ spiritual group soul. Lorenzen commences his unique study with a discussion of flowers and insects, exploring their common origins. He then describes the beginnings of the honeybee, its connection with the fig wasp and the subsequent controlled transformation of the latter that took place in prehistoric mystery centers. Breeding the honeybee from the fig wasp―a sacred deed performed at consecrated sanctuaries―was part of the Fig-tree mysteries. The initiates behind this task developed the ability to commune with the bees’ group soul and to work consciously on the mutual development of the hive and humanity.