Origins of the School of Spiritual Science
Plans for the School of Spiritual Science were announced by Rudolf Steiner at the Christmas Conference in 1923/24, when he established the General Anthroposophical Society.
Immediately after the conference he began to build the First Class and more specialised fields of work called Sections. He planned to organise it into three Classes and various Sections. Read a more in-depth of the origins of the School
A meditative path of schooling
The First Class is a path of schooling which provides a progressive meditative experience of spirituality in the world and within the human being. It is a schooling of the Archangel Michael, the reigning spirit of our times, which Rudolf Steiner brought into the world. Michael is a higher being who inspires cosmopolitanism and a world consciousness. At a time when human beings are becoming more individualised and egocentric, and our world more and more chaotic, the teachings of Michael provide a sure, steady, conscious pathway to bring our own spirit into harmony with World Spirit.
Michael inspires a World Consciousness. Therefore thinking, as a Michaelic person, has always to do with endeavouring to implant something of the spiritual into the wider cultural-scientific and social economic life of our time.
The path of the First Class is one of responsibility. If one feels strongly the desire to pursue this path, joining the School is appropriate. Membership of the School must never be considered out of curiosity.
‘Know your Self!’
As a member of the Anthroposophical Society, one gets to know the content of Anthroposophy in the form of ideas. These ideas lead us to an awareness of the Spiritual World that lies behind the physical world and behind the human being. This knowledge can lead us to such questions as “Who am I”, “What is the purpose of my life”, “How do I make sense of what is going on around me?” and “How can I integrate these Anthroposophical ideas into my life and work?”
These questions can spur one on to take a further step – a wish to experience what this spiritual world is and find out how to reach this world. One can then join the School of Spiritual Science – a Schooling to reach the spirit and form a link between oneself here on earth and the essence behind this which lies in the Spiritual World. The School of Spiritual Science is where one experiences the way to build a bridge between the exoteric, physical knowledge we live with on earth and the esoteric, living knowledge of the spiritual world.
Membership of the School is, therefore, a response to an inner impulse to pursue and study spiritual science on a deeper level: a willingness to follow a meditative path and to know and change oneself, not just on an individual level but in the wider community context, to benefit humanity and the spiritual world. One also works collaboratively with others, as colleagues, in a local First Class Group and one’s will impulse becomes strengthened to represent Anthroposophy through the way one lives one’s life and the way one works in the world.
Those wishing to further their contemplative life through the First Class lessons wish to do so in order to work with and help all those around them, in both inner contemplative and everyday outer work.
Literature and research
To read more about the current research being conducted through the School of Spiritual Science and the specialist sections, go to the centre of the School’s worldwide activity at the Goetheanum.
This article was compiled by the members of the Facilitation Group for Class Holder work in Australia, August 2021.