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 qabbalah.

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

The 100 to 150 key names listed below are mostly all pre-1900, and does not include the large wave of anthropophists that incarnated next to and after Rudolf Steiner. These well-known names are 'the tip of the iceberg' of a stream and 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 (see Mineral science#Historical development)


  • spiritual scientific research with the clairvoyant faculty of 'intuition'; see Clairvoyant research of akashic records
  • lineage:
    • "St Paul was the first to use the word Theosophy, and used it already in its current meaning as we do for spiritual science" (1905-06-19-GA090B). The term Theosophy was renewed and received a foundation with Jacob Boehme (1575 – 1624), and afterwards in the late 20th century with the founding of the Theosophical Society in 1875 by a.o. Helena Blavatsky (who wrote Isis Unveiled in 1877).
  • Inspiration:
    • In the 1924 Karmic Relationships lectures, Rudolf Steiner makes various mentions of initiates inspiring incarnate individuals:
    • Furthermore Rudolf Steiner also mentioned the following works were inspired directly by masters of the White Lodge:
      • 'The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz' (with anonymous authorship and Johann Valentin Andreae as the scribe)
      • 'Isis Unveiled' (1877) by Helena Blavatsky, inspired by Master Rosenkreutz
      • 'Light on the path' (1885) by Mabel Collins, inspired by Master Hilarion

The wave from 1879

Introductory notes

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 the masters called Morya and Koot Hoomi came to the foreground and approached individuals such as Blavatsky, the 'two chelas' (see below), but far more stories abound (just one example being that of Vsevolod Soloyov, brother of the famous philosopher, in 1884).

Note this was also the time of 'spiritism', see Hints of future etheric force technology#Aspects

  • The first major injection of the old wisdom in the new times was channeling through Helena Blavatsky, either directly or indirectly (behind the scenes, eg A.P. Sinnett, the Mathatma letters, perhaps even the 'two chelas'). The masters concerned were Morya and Koot Hoomi.
    • 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.
  • Also books by anonymous authors popped up, for example written 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 different 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 an amazing volume 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 ànd 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

  • Helena Blavatsky (1831-1891)
    • works
      • 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.
  • A later generation of theosophical writers worked to produce more structured and readable materials, mainly based on Blavatsky's source material (and some potentially inspired as well). Some of these theosophical writers worked under Annie Besant (and the much disputed Leadbeater) and possibly complemented and mixed with less trustworthy information and/or illustrations from Leadbeater and others. Several theosophists produced excellent materials, a.o.
  • James Ralston Skinner (1830-1893)
    • Blavatsky wrote in a letter: "He is the grandest man & mind (in the direction of the occult) I know of at present .. helped .. by a planetary Dhyan Chohan - the rarest thing possible, & whom I verily fear he mistakes for God instead".
    • wrote books about Egypt and Hebrew, the Pyramid, etc.
  • Anna Kingsford (1846–1888)
  • Rama Prasad: Nature's Finer Forces, The Theosophist 1887-1889, published as 'The Science of Breath & the Philosophy of the Tatwas' in 1897
    • 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 (1840-1921): Esoteric Buddhism (1883)
    • a bestseller with impact, see eg lecture dedicated to this book: 1903-11-17-GA090A)
  • 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 (1838-1912)
    • publisher of the theosophical periodicals Lotusblüten (1893-1900) and Neue Lotusblüten (1908-1914)
    • author of many spiritual scientific and theosophical books in German, oa: Magic: White and Black (1886)
    • also books on the lives of Paracelsus, Boehme, Jehoshua (Christ-Jesus)
  • C.G. Harrison: The transcendental universe (six lectures) (1894)
  • Annie Besant (1847-1933): Ancient wisdom (1897)
    • note: Rudolf Steiner referenced and commented on this book, eg in lectures of 1904-01-26-GA090A and 1904-02-02-GA090A
  • The three initiates: The Kybalion (1908)
  • Arthur Edward Waite (1857-1942)
  • James Morgan Pryse (1859-1942)
    • translation of and commentary on the gospels based on a esoteric understanding, oa The Sermon on the Mount, The Magical Message According to Iônannês, The Restored New Testament, Reincarnation in the New Testament, The Apocalypse Unsealed.
    • see profile and what is said here (see also Discussion Note [5] below)
  • 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):
  • 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.

  • Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925)
  • Beinsa Douno (1864-1944), born Peter Dounov
  • Franz Bardon (1909-1958) - an adept from the White Lodge that entered into the body of the 14-year old boy Franz Bardon in 1924
  • Stylianos Atteshlis, known as Daskalos (1912-1995)

Each of these four guides was surrounded by or followed by student-teachers following in their footsteps, examples are:

  • Beinsa Douno .. Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov (1900-1986), born Mikhail Dimitrov Ivanov
  • Franz Bardon .. Rawn Clark

And also definitely a world teacher and probably very high Individuality:

  • Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895-1986) .

A new science

  • John E.W. Keely (1837-1898)
  • Nikola Tesla (1856-1943)
  • Viktor Schauberger (1885-1958)
  • Edward Bach (1886-1936)
  • Walter Russell (1871-1963) - illumination in 1921

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.)


1 - 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, after Vivekananda travelled to the US, 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.

In a category apart, also Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895-1986) - listed above - travelled the world as a world famous teacher.

Below just a selection of a few names of the many, who became known across the world:

  • Shivapuri Baba (1826-1963)
    • see eg source A, travelled the world on foot visiting oa Mecca and Jerusalem, and had contacts with oa Tolstoj, Queen Victoria of England, John G. Bennett, etc.
  • Lahiri Mahasaya (1828-1895)
  • Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa (1836-1886)
  • Sri Yukteswar (1855-1936), who wrote 'The Holy Science' in 1894
  • Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941)
  • Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902)
  • 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), who wrote 'Autobiography of a Yogi' in 1946

And into the 21st century a.o.

  • Sri M (1949-) who wrote oa 'Apprenticed to a Himalayan Master' (2010) and 'The Journey Continues' (2017) - books referenced on this site with the abbreviations AHM and TJC .


3 - Water is flowing in many rivers, some examples of other spiritual streams - without any qualification or judgement whatsoever:

  • sufism, the mystical esoteric stream in islam
  • Baháʼu'lláh (1817-1892), Báb (1819-1850) and Abdu'l-Bahá (1844-1921)
    • re Baháʼí Faith with a spiritual cosmology and teachings about the principles of unity and religious renewal, and moral and spiritual progress
  • In the same timeframe additional influences came from (many) others, some names of other teachers as examples:
    • George Gurdjieff (ca 1870-1949) and Ouspensky (1878-1947)
    • Samael Aun Weor (1917-1977), born Victor Manuel Gomez Rodriguez

The period 1750-1880

  • William Law (1686-1761)
  • 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)

Pioneers of science

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

Preparers of a new future

  • Kasper Hauser (1812? - 1833)
  • Leo Tolstoy or Tolstoj (1828-1910)
    • The Kingdom of God Is Within You (1893)
  • Herman Grimm (1828-1901)
  • Wladimir Solovyov (1853 - 1900) (also written as Solowjew or Soloviev)
    • The meaning of love

The new age (1400 to 1750)

See also:


  • Nicolas of Cusa (1401-1464)
  • Marcello Ficino (1433-1499)
    • Corpus Hermeticum (1471) - based on texts from around the 2nd century or before
    • 'Three Books on Life' (1489)
  • Giovanni Pico della Mirandola (1463-1494)
  • Johannes Trithemius (1462–1516)
    • for link with Agrippa and Paracelsus, see GA007
  • Johann Georg Faust (ca. 1480–1540)
  • Raphael (1483-1520)
  • Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa of Nettesheim (1486–1535): 'Three Books of Occult Philosophy'
  • Paracelsus (1494 -1541)
  • Michel de Nostredame or Nostradamus (1503-1566)
  • Guillaume Postel (1510-1581)
  • John Dee (1527–1609)
  • Valentin Weigel (1533-1588) - see GA007
  • Julius Sperber (approx. 1540-1616)
  • John of the Cross (Juan de Yepes) (1542–1591): 'Dark Night of the Soul'
  • Tycho Brahe (1546-1601)
  • Giordano Bruno (1548-1600)
  • Heinrich Khunrath (1560-1605)
  • Benedictus Figulus (1567-1619) - in the alchemical stream of Parecelsus
  • Robert Fludd (1574-1637): 'Utriusque Cosmi maioris salicet et minoris metaphysica' (1618)
    • pupil of Paracelsus (re 1917-01-08-GA174)
  • Jakob Boehme (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)
  • Henry Madathanas - pseudonym of unknown German author of 'The Golden Age restored' (1622), later translated into
  • Thomas Vaughan (1621-1666): 'Anthroposophia Theomagica'
  • Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677)
  • Angelus Silesius (1624 – 1677)
  • Miguel de Molinos (1628-1696) or (1640-1697)
  • Basilius Valentinus or Basil Valentine (16/17th century)
  • Anton Josef Kirchweger (-d.1746)

Middle ages period (1000-1400)

Up to the year 1000

  • Jesus ben Pandira (approx. one century BC) - see eg 1911-11-04-GA130
  • Philo of Alexandria (ca 15 BC - 50)
  • Paul of Tarsus (5-67) and Dionysus Areopagite (Master, see the White Lodge), the first to use the word 'theosophy'
  • John the Apostle (6-100) - Individuality of Christian Rosenkreutz (Master, see the White Lodge)
  • Apollonius of Tyana (15-100)



  • Origen of Alexandria (ca. 185 – ca. 253) - Individuality of Daskalos
  • Plotinus (204-270)
  • Lamblichus (ca. 245 – ca. 325)
  • Augustine (354 – 430)
  • Hypathia (ca. 360 - 415) - Individuality of Marie Steiner [KRI59]
  • Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite (ca. 500)
  • Johannes Scotus Eriugena (815–877)

Period 1000-1400

  • Bernard of Clairvaux (1090 – 1153)
  • Francis of Assisi (c.1182 - 1226)
  • John of Hauville
    • poet, mentioned in 1924-08-18-GA243
  • Albertus Magnus (1193–1280)
  • Rumi (1207-1273)
  • Brunetto Latini (c. 1220–1294) - teacher of Dante
  • Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) - Individuality of Rudolf Steiner [KRI36]
  • Ramon Llull (1235–1315)
  • Arnaldus de Villa Nova (1240-1311)
  • Pietro d'Abano (1257 - 1315)
  • Dante Alighieri (1265-1321)
  • Thomas a Kempis (1380-1471)
  • Raymond of Sabunda (or Sabunde, born Ramon Sibiuda) (ca. 1385-1436)
    • see oa 1924-01-06-GA233A, 1924-08-01-GA237
  • 'Paracelsus major' and 'Jacob Boehme major'
    • see 1924-08-18-GA243

School of Chartres

  • John of Salisbury (1120-1180)
  • Alain de Lille (or Alanus ab Insulis) (ca 1128 – 1202/1203)
  • Joachim of Fiore (1135-1202)
  • Bernardus Silvestris (1265-1321)

Christian mystics

  • Hildegard of Bingen (1098 – 1179)
  • Meister Eckhart (1260 - 1327)
  • Johannes Tauler (-1361)
  • Jan of Ruysbroeck (1293 – 1381)
  • Heinrich Suso (1295-1366)

Alchemy and Astrology

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

Previous cultural ages

  • Clemens of Alexandria (ca 301–232 BC)

Greek culture

  • Individuality of Hypathia as pupil and teacher in Orphic Mysteries, teacher of Pherecydes of Syros [KRI59]
  • Pherecydes of Syros (ca 580-520 BC, teacher of Pythagoras)
  • Heraclitus (ca 540-ca 480 BC)
  • Cratylus (contemporary of Heraclitus) [KRI
  • 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) [KRI36]
  • no timings: Orpheus

Sixth century BC

  • Lao Tzu or Laozi
  • Gautama Buddha

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 verbatim 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

See Lecture coverage section on The Michaelic stream


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.”


[1] - Various notes

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

[2] - Rudolf Steiner's comments on other works

In 1904, Steiner has just started lecturing and that year got appointed by A. Besant as the leader for Germany and Austria. In these early lectures Steiner often commented on works of Helena Blavatsky, Besant, Sinnett's Esoteric Buddhism, Mabel Collins Light on the path, etc. In these comments he did give a personal qualification as their thruthfullness or value, and this comments fully fits into that line of other comments.

Examples are lectures on

  • Sinnett's book (1903-11-17-GA090A)
  • Besant's (1904-01-26-GA090A and 1904-02-02-GA090A),
  • Blavatsky and Sinnett (1904-05-26-GA089). Also later on he commented on
  • Blavatsky's works in 1923-06-11-GA258 and 1923-06-11-GA258

Rudolf Steiner quite exceptionally referred to and sometimes spoke highly of certain works, 'validating' them in a way either explicitly or through qualitative descriptions, of their truthfullness and value.

Here are some works for which this is the case:

  • 'Isis Unveiled' (1877) by Helena Blavatsky, inspired by Master Rosenkreutz
  • 'Light on the path' (1885) by Mabel Collins, inspired by Master Hilarion
  • 'Pistis Sophia' (1896) by George R.S. Mead
Isis Unveiled (1877) - by Helena Blavatsky

This book was inspired by Christian Rosenkreutz, before Blavatsky was misguided by certain forces which caused Cosmic Doctrine and all her later work to deviate from her original mission and become much more confusing and chaotic

'Light on the path' (1885) by Mabel Collins

This is a work that was directly inspired by a Bodhisattva from the White Lodge called Master Hilarion.

See also the following note by C. Jinoradasa (SWCC)

Light on the Path as it now stands consists of three elements:

  • 1 - The oldest part, the original thirty rules? These thirty rules from far off Atlantis were later translated into archaic Sanskrit, and were then written down on ten palm leaves, having on each of the leaves three of the rules. Then one of the Masters of Wisdom, known among us as “The Venetian”, when He lived in Alexandria in the third century A.D., Transcribed them into Greek for the use of His pupils. Among these pupils was Iamblichus, known to us in His present incarnation as the Master Hilarion.
  • 2- The Venetian Master of Alexandria, in transcribing from Sanskrit into Greek, added to the rules certain introductory remarks and explanations. These form the second element of the book and are printed in the smaller Roman type.
  • Early in the year 1885, Master Hilarion caused this to be written in English through 'Mabel Collins' or 'M.C' .. it fell to her lot to be a channel for a work the Master Hilarion desired to do for the world through The Theosophical Society. Each rule with its explanations was presented, in the form of a many dimensional concept, before the mind of M.C., who, then, in full waking consciousness, but nevertheless under the Master's guidance, wrote down in English as we have them now.
  • 3 - Almost immediately after the publication, Master Hilarion once more gave to the world through M.C. some additional teaching, explanatory of what He had already given. This is the third element in the book and is printed in italics. The Master Hilarion's additions are known as the “Notes”, and for the first edition they were printed separately; in the second edition the “Notes” were printed in their appropriate places in the body of the book.


Note: There exists another work by M.C. written under the direction of the Master Hilarion, and reference is made to it by Him at the end of Part I of Light on the Path in these words: “Regard the three truths. They are equal”. These three truths are in Chapter VIII of Book II of 'The idyll of the white lotus' (1884).

Pistis Sophia (1896) - by George Mead

G.R.S. Mead (1863-1933) was very close to Blavatsky as her secretary and joint secretary of the Esoteric Section of the Theosophical Society. In the theosophical congress of 1902 seemingly Steiner met G.R.S. Mead (1863-1933) (see eg 'Rudolf Steiner Herald of a New Epoch' by Stewart Easton).

Steiner refers to the Pistis Sophia also in 1916-01-02-GA165 (with an fragment that he puts in context), reference in 1915-12-29-GA165, and in GA211 (where he makes the link with the spiritual breathing process). Sease and Schmidt-Brabant, in 'Paths of the Christian Mysteries' expand on the importance of the Pistis Sophia for Steiner.

The title 'Pistis Sophia' refers to a Gnostic text discovered in 1773.

[3] - The 20 year period period 1877-1897

1/ Projecting ourselves back in time to the period before Rudolf Steiner started teaching, we can list some milestones publications from the list above in chronological order, to get a feel for how the major influences came about. Below are some of the most influential books. The goal is not to be exhaustive, just to link some key books against the timeline. Note: Hartmann is added as a key theosophical author but not known in the English speaking world. Kingsford, Harrison are part of the Christian esoteric stream, to complement the 'eastern theosophical' stream. Also shown are main books by Leo Tolstoj, Vladimir Solovyov and Rudolf Steiner in this time period.

One can feel oneself into the fact that in this timeframe, souls had been incarnating who were longing for spiritual science, and the below presents a first 'wave', whereby some books became quite influential or even bestsellers.

2/ Another way to look at this is that 1879 is when Rudolf Steiner was born, so this happened while he was growing up. Steiner's comprehensive lecturing in the period 1904-1924 presents a second wave (resulting also in several hundred volumes of the later published Rudolf Steiner's Gesamtaubsgabe (GA)). This perspective is important because one thus positions 1877-1879 as one major wave, the period 1904-1924 can be regarded a second one, but it does not stop there. In the 20th century, this continued with ao the work of Franz Bardon on self-initiation, and the teachings of Beinsa Douno and Daskalos.

However, rather than expecting more teachers to come and hold our hand, it becomes ever more important for mankind and human individuals on Earth to pick up and create their own from what was brought and taught. This is related to the aspects of human responsability (see Meaning of Free Man Creator) and the future Father impulse. One may expect more human initiates to appear 'amongst us' that act as an inspiration point and guidance for others.

3/ Some key books (14 in list below currently):

  • 1877
    • Isis unveiled (Blavatsky)
  • 1882
    • The perfect way (Anna Kingsford) - published 1882 New York, 1888 in London
  • 1883
    • Esoteric buddhism (Sinnett)
  • 1885:
    • Light on the path (Mabel Collins)
    • Man: Fragments of forgotten history ('two chelas')
  • 1886:
    • Magic: white and black (Franz Hartmann)
  • 1888
    • The secret doctrine (Blavatsky)
  • 1893:
    • The kingdom of God is within you is (Tolstoj)
  • 1894:
    • The transcendental universe (Harrison)
    • The meaning of love (Solovyov)
    • Philosophy of freedom (Steiner)
  • 1896:
    • Pistis Sophia (George Mead)
  • 1897
    • Ancient wisdom (Besant)
    • Nature's finer forces - The science of breath (Rama Prasad)

[4] - The secret document of which there are only two copies

Rudolf Steiner often refers to a document of which a copy exists, but highly guarded in secrecy, in the Vatican. The only other copy is with the Count of St. Germain, the Individuality of Christian Rosenkreuz.

Steiner references descriptions from this source (for an example eg Fall and redemption - original sin and grace#1904-05-23-GA093), and one can take it to be a unique source of ancient wisdom and knowledge on Earth, just as the Book of Dzyan is another (and of course the Bible is as well, with eg the Book of Genesis).

Helena Blavatsky

in Secret Doctrine (1888)

Now the Vatican MSS. [editor: manuscripts] of the Kabala - a single copy of which (in Europe) is said to have been in the possession of Count St. Germain - contains the most complete exposition of the doctrine, including the peculiar version accepted by the Luciferians and other Gnostics; and in that parchment the Seven Suns of Life are given in the order they are found in the Saptasurya.

in 'The esoteric character of the gospels.'

The rebellion of the lower dhyani was the work of Lucifer, the intervention of the spirits who free the human being is known as `Lucifer's secret'. In all esoteric schools, Lucifer was venerated as much as all the other dhyanic spirits. Lucifer was called on whenever people needed guidance to find the way to the spirit in full clarity of perceptive understanding. In the early Christian mystery centres, Lucifer's Mystery was still understood and also put down in writing in those early days. This book is most carefully guarded in the Roman Catholic Church, for good reason, for the Church has declared Lucifer to be the enemy of humanity, though the truth is that he made the automated human being into a free spirit. The book is kept at the Vatican; the Count of St Germain has a copy.


What the Whitsuntide Festival symbolises, the underlying principle from which it receives its deep inner meaning, is preserved in a single manuscript copy which is to be found in the Vatican Library, where it is guarded with the greatest care. To be sure, no mention is made of Whitsuntide in this manuscript, but it certainly tells of that for which Whitsuntide is only the outer symbol.

Hardly anyone has seen this manuscript, unless he has been initiated into the deepest secrets of the Catholic Church, or has been able to read it in the astral light.

One copy is possessed by a personality who has been very much misunderstood in the world, but who is beginning to interest today's historians. I could equally well have said ‘was possessed’ instead of ‘is possessed’, but it would thereby cause a lack of clarity.

Therefore I say again: a copy is in the possession of the Count of St. Germain, who is the only existing source of information about it.


[5] - Various notes

James Morgan Pryse (1859-1942)
  • translation of and commentary on the gospels based on a esoteric understanding, oa The Sermon on the Mount, The Magical Message According to Iônannês, The Restored New Testament, Reincarnation in the New Testament, The Apocalypse Unsealed.
  • see profile and what is said here:
    • "James M. Pryse who first instructed me in magic, conjuring up pictures in the astral light, and holding them before my inner eyes so that I could see initiation scenes, the evolution of the astral from the physical, the movement of cells and forces in the body. A good deal of what he wrote in the interpretation of the Apocalypse he showed me in the "glass". He was one of the few members of the Theosophical Society who knew things for himself and had a good deal of occult power. He was really rather a mysterious person whose talk and writing had personal knowledge behind it. He, Judge, H.P.B., Subba Row,Damodar, and Jasper Niemand were the only members of T.S. who had their own sources of knowledge, as far as I can know. Most of the others wrote either out of intuition or retold what they had read: though Pryse said Archibald Keightley; who rarely wrote, knew a good deal.
Archibald and Bertram Keightley

There is Archibald Keightley (1859-1930) and his uncle Bertram Keightley (1860-1944).

Rudolf Steiner also mentions Keightley in 1916-03-28-GA167 "In 1909 in Budapest, Mrs. Besant's intentions was to make Krishnamurti the carrier of the Christ and I would be the reincarnated St. John, the Evangelist in order to get my recognition. Actually I would not go along with that sort of thing. There were many other Theosophists against all this, in fact the International Society of Honest People was formed, really noble people and among them was Keightley who was used earlier by Mrs. Besant to correct the mistakes in her books. This International Society asked me to become its president."

He also mentions in his biography GA028: "[In] London .. I .. became acquainted with important leaders of the Theosophical Society .. [and] had the privilege of staying at the home of Mr. Bertram Keightley, one of these leaders. We became great friends. .. The most interesting conversations imaginable took place at the home of Mr. Keightley in regard to the forms of spiritual knowledge alive within the Theosophical Society. Especially intimate were these conversations with Bertram Keightley himself. H. P. Blavatsky seemed to live again in these conversations."

Related pages

References and further reading

  • 'Man: Fragments of Forgotten History', by 'two chelas' (1885)
  • 'Transcendental Universe' (1894) - six lectures by C.G. Harrison given in 1893
  • 'Nature's Finer Forces - The Science of Breath', by Rama Prasad (1897, published in The Theosophist 1887-1889)

On the internet