The development of eurythmy begins with its founder, Dr. Rudolf Steiner, (1861-1925), one of the great figures of the 20th century. He is probably best known as the founder of the Waldorf school movement and of Biodynamics, the first formal organic agriculture method.
What distinguishes his work and research is his commitment to a rigorous and inspired study of how to understand the interface of Spirit and Matter, overcoming dualistic thinking by developing a true perception of the fundamental identity of both, which appear to be separate to human beings precisely because of our human object-consciousness. By understanding how the formative force fields of conscious spirit underlie all dimensions of reality we live in –in spirit, soul and matter—he was able to show how we can apply this understanding to create a world that is healthy, ensouled, filled with love and aligned with spirit. *Learn More
Steiner’s early teachings include a profound study of the scientific phenomenological studies of J.W. von Goethe, which led to the epistemological masterpiece “The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity.”
After crafting this basic book that shows how to work with clear thinking, Rudolf Steiner felt ready to teach individual students how they could work with their own self-development and meditative work. He knew that if they applied their own conscious activity to their development, they would never blindly turn to him as a guru. In his teachings, he directed people not to strive in their meditations for states of blissful non-attachment, but instead to work through the paths of reverence, devotion, the ability to strengthen one’s own thinking and will forces, the cultivation of virtues of equanimity, positivity and more. The goal of our work, as students of the spirit in our contemporary life, is to be able to work on the earth in ways that truly further the development of all human, natural and cosmic evolution. In Steiner’s work, we find everywhere his understanding that every atom on the planet must be spiritualized through our works before our work on this plane is finished.
Rudolf Steiner also conducted his own rigorous research into spiritual dimensions, and wrote and lectured widely on themes such as the evolution of consciousness, the history of art (both contemporary and ancient), literature, cosmology, esoteric Christianity, the Bhagavad Gita, the wisdom of eastern spiritual paths, life between death and rebirth and much more. Reading his works is demanding, because he deliberately wanted his readers to exert themselves in the effort to think difficult thoughts and strengthen their faculty of consciousness. They are, however, understandable and ultimately rewarding and clear.
Rudolf Steiner also dedicated much of his effort to contributing to the arts, recognizing that it is through the arts that the human being realizes his God-given ability to be a creative spirit. Steiner’s most noticeable artistic contributions were in architecture. He also wrote four plays (known as “mystery drama,” for they portray events that happen in the spiritual and the physical realms simultaneously), and gave suggestions for speech (elocution), music, poetry and sculpture.
And it was in this spirit that Rudolf Steiner developed eurythmy, a movement art that makes visible in gesture how the spirit lives in language and word, and how these are made visible in human gesture.
As a true Renaissance man whose studies encompassed spanned extraordinary breadths, his works and teachings give clear indications and also inspired suggestions for how to work with clear and grounded spiritual consciousness in everyday life. At the end of his life, he turned his attention towards giving clear indications for how to spiritually transform culture in such diverse fields as education, medicine, pharmaceutical products, theology, special education, and agriculture.
The life work of Rudolf Steiner is called spiritual science, or Anthroposophy, which means wisdom of the human being. It was his deepest belief that human beings have now come of age. The spiritual world has gifted us with bodies, minds, and hearts and placed us in a world capable of richly feeding and pleasing us. Now the task has been given us to create a future worthy of the One who has created it.