A reflection on Anthroposophic soul development  and Spiritual Science 

From Jane Bradshaw, the General Secretary of the ASinA


If you have found your way to this website, then you may distinctively have a living connection with the content that is expressed here. May your earnest research and study bear fruit for you and our community.

The development of the ‘Consciousness Soul’

Rudolf Steiner speaks of how we support the development of the ‘Consciousness Soul’ through knowledge and inner development. This is possible when human beings recognise themselves as existing beyond this physical plane. This occurs not only in warmth of feeling, but through clear thoughts that lead to activities of goodwill. As such, we take a deep interest in one another. And in awakening to our co-responsibility for the world and all living things, we see community as an organism. This is part of the developmental process in which we all take part for good or for ill. 

A fundamental impression Rudolf Steiner hopes you can glean from his lectures is one of ‘justified confidence’ in spiritual scientific research. He was at pains to draw our attention to this, that we are placed on this physical plane in order that we may learn to know it. 

I was recently listening to a series of lectures bySteiner titled ‘A Psychology of Body, Soul and Spirit.’ I was then inspired to look on Rudolf Steiner Archive to read a different English translation of the same lecture, in order to assist with my understanding of it. Sometimes, I find our English language limited in ‘depth of meaning’ on the subject of the supersensible (that which is beyond the perception of the physical senses). German was the ‘founding language’ through which Steiner brought Spiritual Science to the world. So as a non-German speaker, I find it helpful to consider different translations to bring life to his complex concepts.

On the need for a spiritual science

I would like to share with you a quote from this lecture to ponder:

‘… I am at pains to draw your attention from time to time in a matter-of-fact way to the laws of the physical plane because we are placed on this plane in order that we may learn to know it. We have a twofold duty. On the one hand, we must study the physical plane upon which the great world powers have not placed us fortuitously, and we must really identify ourselves with it by renunciative thinking. On the other hand, we have already arrived at the stage of human development at which we are aware that we can no longer cope with the physical plane without the aid of occult (spiritual) research. Science must inevitably err without occult (spiritual) science as a guide to point the lines of approach to all that can be learned through physical research. After the establishment of physical research at the turn of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, this necessarily remained the center of interest; now the time is ripe for another sort of research to intervene and indicate the lines of approach. (Steiner 4 November 1909, Berlin)

I hope that these words will spark your interest to read further (the full lecture can be found below) and lead to discussions with friends who are also seeking a deeper meaning of life.

Jane Bradshaw


Further reading

Steiner, R. (1908), ‘Consciousness and the Soul Life’, in Wisdom of Man, of the Soul, and of the Spirit, Rudolf Steiner Archive GA 115.

Brunsvold, D. (2020), The Birth of the Consciousness Soul By Rudolf Steiner. Available via Rudolf Steiner Press Audio.


Feature image credit: courtesy of Rudolf Steiner Archive