Sources of spiritual science

From Anthroposophy

This provides a non-exhaustive overview of some key names in the areas of philosophy, theosophy, mysticism, hermetics, magic, astrology, alchemy but also art, science and religion including esoteric christianity. One can include theurgy, paganism, and various branches such as enochian magic or hermetic qabalah.

Why this listing? Because ultimately they all come together and merge in the wisdom where science, art and religion meet. All these things have been split up and separated into different branches but ultimately all have the same roots.

These 100 names are mostly all pre-1900, and not members of the large wave of anthropophists than incarnated next to and after Rudolf Steiner. The well-known names are 'the tip of the iceberg' and a stream or subsegment of the population consisting of many hundred thousand souls. Hence, these 100 are to be seen in the same way as how some 40 key names were listed for the development of the foundation of mineral science in the last 400 years.


In the 1924 Karmic Relationships lectures, Rudolf Steiner makes numerous mentions of initiates inspiring incarnate individuals, eg Julian Apostate-Tycho Brahe inspiring Schelling and Froschhammer, Tolstoj inspired by same spiritual power that stood behind the Gothic initiate Ufilas, Charlemagne inspired by Titurel, Ovid inspiring Latini, etc. See also the diaries from Karl König.

The wave from 1879

Notes and observations

Regarding the period 1880-1905 one can observe that leadership of the White Lodge was looking for channels to infuse the new teachings for the age of Michael starting 1879 at the end of the period of darkness (also known as kali yuga). Especially masters Morya and Koot Hoomi came to the foreground and approached individuals such as Blavatsky, the 'two chelas' (see below), but far more storied abound (just one example being that of Vsevolod Soloyov, brother of the famous philosopher, in 1884).

  • The first major injection of the old wisdom in the new times was channeling through Helena Blavatsky. The masters concerned were Morya and Koot Hoomi). Other initiatives were the famous Mathatma letters.
    • Note: Later also Alice Bailey published information received via masters Djual Khul, and Dion Fortune from Master Rakoczi and Master Jesus. Sometimes the earthly descriptions sound a bit funny and all too human to be taken seriously, but then there is a mix with genuine elements of wisdom, maybe pointing to the difficulties in such channeling.
    • When erroneous or confusing info was spread such as the Sinnett book Esoteric Buddhism, reactions came in the form of Harrison's Transcendental universe or Rudolf Steiner who commented and positioned those sources.
  • Interestingly books popped up such as by 'two chelas' or 'three initiates'. See eg the introduction for the book of the two chelas for background.
  • Many souls incarnated that caused a wave of renewal of ancient traditions in magic or alchemy or a modern footing (eg Riedel and Dubuis), sometimes also esoteric (eg rune magic by Spiesberger).
  • Certain authors created amazing volumes of books (eg W.W. Atkinson, Sivananda Saraswati, ..), whereas other books became widespread bestsellers despite their subject matter and the fact the individuals were not publicly influential (eg Manly Hall, just as earlier Barrett).
  • Rudolf Steiner played a central role in this movement, because here the White Lodge had someone who was clairvoyant from youth but had a scholarly training foundation and scientific credentials. Initially the masters also spoke through Steiner. At times he explicitly said so in certain lectures (referring to masters Koot Hoomi, Hilarion, Morya), in other instances this left such an impression that it was reported by others (eg Vreede on the courses on spiritual hierarchies). After Blavatsky, Rudolf Steiner was able to create a stable movement and into this current many thousands of souls incarnated. The same can also be said for the larger theosophical movement worldwide that grew thanks to Annie Besant.
  • Note the true masters are usually or always operating behind the scenes and incarnate as individuals unknown to the world. This was the case for Rudolf Steiner's masters, and the principle was also explained by Daskalos (see references below) and can be read in or deduced from other sources.

1870 onwards

  • H.P. Blavatsky
    • Isis Unveiled (1875 -> 1877)
    • The Secret Doctrine (1888)
    • The esoteric character of the gospels (1887-8)

Helena Blavatsky also produced a lot of material as the editor of the magazine The Theosophist. Later prolific writers such as Arthur E. Powell (1882-1969) and Ernest Wood (1883-1965) worked under Annie Besant (and the much disputed Leadbeater) to produce more structured and readable materials, mainly based on Blavatsky's source material (potentially complemented and mixed with less trustworthy information and/or illustrations from Leadbeater and others). There are many more theosophists with excellent materials, such as a.o. Gottfried de Purucker (1874-1942) and Geoffrey Barborka (1897-1982).

  • Rama Prasad: Nature's Finer Forces, The Theosophist 1887-1889, published as The Science of Breath & the Philosophy of the Tatwas in 189
    • note : Blavatksy had certain reservations Mr. Rama Prasad is not an Occultist, only an excellent Sanskrit scholar, a university graduate and a man of remarkable intelligence
  • A.P. Sinnett: Esoteric Buddhism (1883)
  • Trevor Barker: 'The Mahathma letters to A.P. Sinnett' (V1 in 1923, V2 in 1926, V3 in 1962, V4 in 1993)
  • Two chelas: 'Man: Fragments of a forgotten history' (1885)
    • note: 'Theosophy and the occult hierarchy' is article extracted from the above book
  • Franz Hartmann (1828-1912), oa: Magic: White and Black (1886)
  • C.G. Harrison: The transcendental universe (six lectures) (1894)
  • The three initiates: The Kybalion (1908)
  • Arthur Edward Waite (1857-1942)
  • William Walker Atkinson (1862-1932) - also wrote under the names of Theron Q. Dumont and Yogi Ramacharaka, wrote no less than 100 books
  • Max Heindel (1865-1919), oa: The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception (1909) and the founding of The Rosecrucian Fellowship (TRF) in Amercia
  • Paul Foster Case (1884-1954)
  • Manly P. Hall (1901-1990): 'The Secret Teachings of All Ages' (1928)
  • Karl Spiesberger (1904-1992)
  • Francis Israel Regardie (1907-1985)

also two ladies who channeled theosophy in a peculiar way; mainly in the period after Blavatsky, Besant (and Leadbeater) had died (so after 1934)

  • Dion Fortune, born Violet Mary Firth (1890-1946)
    • The Mystical Qabalah (1935)
    • The Cosmic Doctrine (1949)
  • Alice Bailey, born Alice LaTrobe Bateman (1880-1949)
    • Initiation, human and solar (1922)
    • A treatise on cosmic fire (1925)

The special category

The following are set apart because a clear link with and their explicit statements about the White Lodge. Steiner and Daskalos were explicit about their Masters.

A new science

  • Viktor Schauberger (1885-1958)
  • Edward Bach (1886-1936)
  • Walter Russell (1871-1963)

Alchemy and Astrology

  • Dane Rudhyar (1895-1985)
  • Frater Albertus (Dr. Albert Riedel) (1911–1984)
  • Jean Dubuis (1919 – 2010)

In this period also various magical and occult orders were started, such as: the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (1887-1903), Fraternitas Saturni (1926-), The Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor, Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.)


Indian sages form a category on its own and do not directly appear in this western stream. However wise men from India did influenced the western world in various ways: Tagore won the Nobel Prize literature, Yogananda became famous in the US and spread Kriya Yoga, and then there were the likes of Paul Brunton, Rene Guenon and others who studied the Indian spiritual masters and teachings.

Below just a selection of a few names from the many:

  • Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941)
  • Sri Aurobindo (1872-1950)
  • Ramani Maharshi (1879-1950)
  • Sivananda Saraswati (1887-1963) founded modern Divine Life Society in 1936 and wrote some 300 books
  • Paramahansa Yogananda (1893-1952)

In the same timeframe many other influences came from others, examples are George Gudjieff (ca 1870-1949) and Ouspensky (1878-1947).

The period 1750-1880

  • Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772)
  • Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (1729-1781)
  • Johann Kaspar Lavater (1741-1801)
  • Louis Claude de Saint-Martin (1743-1803)
    • pupil of Jacob Böhme (re 1917-01-08-GA174)
  • Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)
  • Karl von Eckartshausen (1752-1803)
    • The Cloud upon the Sanctuary
    • Magic: the principles of higher knowledge
  • William Blake (1757-1827)
  • Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller (1759-1805)
  • Johann Gottlieb Fichte (1762-1814)
  • Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831)
  • Francis Barrett (ca 1775): 'The magus' (1801)
  • Novalis - Georg Philipp Friedrich von Hardenberg (1772-1801)
  • Friedrich Schelling (1775-1854)

Transition period 1830-1880

Some clairvoyant people had already incarnated before the 'wave of 1879) and written works about theosophy or magic or the spiritual, but they have been forgotten or moved to the background since:

  • Allan Kardec or Hippolyte Rivail (1804-1869)
  • Paschal Beverly Randolph (1825-1875)
  • Lazar von Hellenbach (1827-1887)
  • Anna Kingsford (1846–1888)

Pioneers of science

  • Franz Anton Mesmer (1734-1815)
  • Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843)
  • Carl Ludwig von Reichenbach (1788-1869)
  • Albrecht von Herzeele (1821-unknow; publications upto 1883)

Preparers of a new future

  • Kasper Hauser (1812? - 1833)
  • Leo Tolstoj (1828-1910)
  • Herman Grimm (1828-1901)
  • Wladimir Solowjew (1853 - 1900)

The new age (1400 to 1750)

  • Marcello Ficino (1433-1499)
    • Corpus Hermeticum (1471) - based on texts from around the 2nd century or before
    • 'Three Books on Life' (1489)
  • Johannes Trithemius (1462–1516)
  • Johann Georg Faust (ca. 1480–1540)
  • Raphael (1483-1520)
  • Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa (1486–1535): 'Three Books of Occult Philosophy'
  • Paracelsus (1494 -1541)
  • Michel de Nostredame or Nostradamus (1503-1566)
  • John Dee (1527–1609)
  • John of the Cross (Juan de Yepes) (1542–1591): 'Dark Night of the Soul'
  • Tycho Brahe (1546-1601)
  • Giordano Bruno (1548-1600)
  • Robert Fludd (1574-1637): 'Utriusque Cosmi maioris salicet et minoris metaphysica' (1618)
    • pupil of Paracelsus (re 1917-01-08-GA174)
  • Jakob Böhme (1575-1624)
  • Jan Baptist van Helmont (1577–1644)
  • Arthur Dee (1579–1651)
  • Johann Valentin Andreae (1586-1654): 'Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz anno 1459' (1616)
  • Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677)
  • Angelus Silesius (1624 – 1677)
  • Basilius Valentinus or Basil Valentine (16/17th century)
  • Anton Josef Kirchweger (-d.1746)

Middle ages period (1000-1400)

Up to the year 1000

  • Philo of Alexandria (ca 15 BE - 50)
  • Paul of Tarsus (5-67) and Dionysus Areopagite (Master, see the White Lodge)
  • John the Apostle (6-100) - Individuality of Christian Rosenkreutz (Master, see the White Lodge)
  • Apollonius of Tyana (15-100)
  • Plotinus (204-270)
  • Augustine (354 – 430)
  • Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite (c. 500)
  • Johannes Scotus Eriugena (815–877)

Period 1000-1400

  • Bernard of Clairvaux (1090 – 1153)
  • Francis of Assisi (c.1182 - 1226)
  • Albertus Magnus (1193–1280)
  • Rumi (1207-1273)
  • Brunetto Latini (c. 1220–1294)
  • Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) - Individuality of Rudolf Steiner
  • Ramon Llull (1235–1315)
  • Dante Alighieri (1265-1321)

School of Chartres

  • John of Salisbury (1120-1180)
  • Alain de Lille (or Alanus ab Insulis) ( c. 1128 – 1202/1203)
  • Bernardus Silvestris (1265-1321)

Christian mystics

  • Hildegard of Bingen (1098 – 1179)
  • Meister Eckhart (1260 - 1327)
  • Johannes Tauler (-1361)
  • John of Ruysbroeck (1293 – 1381)

Alchemy and Astrology

  • Ibn ʿArabi (1165-1240)
  • Pietro d'Abano (1257-1316)
  • Nicolas Flamel (1330-1418)

Previous cultural ages

Greek culture

  • Pherecydes of Syros (ca 580-520 BC, teacher of Pythagoras)
  • Heraclitus (ca 540-ca 480 BC)
  • Pythagoras (570-495 BC)
  • Parmenides (515-450 BC)
  • Empedocles (490-430 BC)
  • Socrates (470-399 BC)
  • Plato (ca 428-348 BC)
  • Aristotle (384-322 BC)

Ancient history of myths and legends

Ancient cultures such as the Egyptian, Persian, Indian, and the same timeframes in Europe, were characterized by a different type of consciousness, different ways of knowledge management prevailed, languages were symbolic. Knowledge was transferred verbaim along a lineage of teachers and disciples, and not put into writing in the way we do today. Wisdom was conveyed in stories that were passed on through generations.

Today we know these stories as myths, legends, sagas and fairy tales. They are a reflection of ancient traditions and relate to what we can find in contemporary modern spiritual science. Rudolf Steiner spend many dozens of lectures reframing this heritage into the spiritual scientific framework of evolution, see also: Ancient history of myths and legends


Lecture coverage and references

For people who are not clairvoyant, it is also a matter of believing information they are told by spiritual investigators. In 1909-06-04-GA109 this question is addressed.

.. I want to speak of a matter of exceptional importance. Why is it that we must concern ourselves with ideas and theories of spiritual science before we can ourselves actually experience anything in the spiritual world? Many people will say, “The results of clairvoyant investigation are made known to us, but I myself cannot yet see into the spiritual world. Would it not be wiser if, instead of the results of investigation being communicated to us, I were told how I can myself develop clairvoyance? Each individual would then be able to undertake the further development himself.”


  • The choice was made on this website to not use information from C.W. Leadbeater, Alice Bailey or Dion Fortune, except explicitly mentioned.

Related pages

References and further reading