Given his energetic involvement in practical initiatives and extensive lecturing, Rudolf Steiner had little time to write books. Of those he did write - belonging almost entirely to the earlier years of his work - four titles form an indispensable introduction to his later teaching: Knowledge of the Higher Worlds, Occult Science, The Philosophy of Freedom and Theosophy. Theosophy focuses on a psychology based not on the usual duality of body and mind, but on the more ancient division of body, soul and spirit. Steiner describes in detail the functions and organs of these three aspects of the human being, and the objective realms to which they belong. Just as the body derives from and belongs to the material world, so do the human soul and spirit belong to their own specific realms. These are the dimensions through which all human beings travel in the life after death, and in which - after passing the 'midnight hour' - we prepare to seek our destiny, or karma, in a new life. Theosophy features one of the most comprehensive and condensed of all Steiner's accounts of these realms, and of the experiences which our immortal being undergoes in passing through them.
The book ends with a chapter on the modern 'path of knowledge', in which Steiner describes the exercises through which every person may develop the latent powers of perception which are necessary for a knowledge of metaphysical worlds.
Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925) was born in the small village of Kraljevec, Austro-Hungarian Empire (now in Croatia), where he grew up. As a young man, he lived in Weimar and Berlin, where he became a well-published scientific, literary, and philosophical scholar, known especially for his work with Goethe's scientific writings. At the beginning of the twentieth century, he began to develop his early philosophical principles into an approach to systematic research into psychological and spiritual phenomena. Formally beginning his spiritual teaching career under the auspices of the Theosophical Society, Steiner came to use the term Anthroposophy (and spiritual science) for his philosophy, spiritual research, and findings. The influence of Steiner's multifaceted genius has led to innovative and holistic approaches in medicine, various therapies, philosophy, religious renewal, Waldorf education, education for special needs, threefold economics, biodynamic agriculture, Goethean science, architecture, and the arts of drama, speech, and eurythmy. In 1924, Rudolf Steiner founded the General Anthroposophical Society, which today has branches throughout the world. He died in Dornach, Switzerland.