The Cycle of the Year as a Breathing Process of the Earth

Lectures by Rudolf Steiner



Human beings must attain an esoteric maturity in order to think not merely abstractly, but to be able to think so concretely that they can again become festival-creating. Then it will be possible again to unite something spiritual with the cycle of sense phenomena.

– Rudolf Steiner (in The Cycle of the Year as a Breathing Process of the Earth)

In these five lectures given at Easter in 1923, Rudolf Steiner lays a foundation for celebrating the Christian festivals – Christmas, Easter, St. John’s, and Michaelmas – in a fully conscious way. He begins by describing how the festival year evolved over long ages from the cycle of inbreathing and outbreathing that the forces which are the Earth’s soul element carry out in relation to the cosmos. He reveals the deep relationship of humankind to the Earth’s seasons, to the time of the solstices and the equinoxes, and through the festivals of the seasons to the Christ Being. The esoteric realities behind the festivals are also discussed in relation to subearthly and superearthly forces, the ancient Mysteries, St. Michael’s activity, morality, and the arts.

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