The Anthroposophical Society was founded on December 28th 1912 in Cologne, German, with about 3000 members. By 1923, the international growth of of the Anthroposophical Society made restructuring necessary. This restructuring took place during the Christmas Conference in 1923.
The General Anthroposophical Society is, “an association of people whose will it is to nurture the life of the soul, both in the individual and in human society, on the basis of a true knowledge of the spiritual world.” The Society is public, without political agenda or religious affiliation. Its activity is seen today in independent national societies and initiatives throughout the world, with members from all cultures and continents.
The aim of the Society, the School of Spiritual Science and the Goetheanum is to make a spiritually based contribution to the life of humanity in the world of today and tomorrow.
This text is from a pamphlet printed by the Anthroposophical Society of Great Britain.
- TheAnthroposophical Society is a union of human beings who desire to further the life of the soul — both in the individual and in human society — on the basis of a true knowledge of the Spiritual World.
- The persons gathered at the Goetheanum, Dornach, at Christmas, 1923 — both the individuals who were present and the groups which were represented — form the foundation of the Society. They are convinced that there is in existence at the present time a real Science of the Spiritual World — discovered and elaborated for years past, and, in important particulars, already published. They hold, moreover, that the civilisation of to-day needs the cultivation of such a science. This is to be the task of the Anthroposophical Society. It will endeavour to fulfil the task by centering its activities on the spiritual science of Anthroposophy cultivated in the Goetheanum at Dornach, with all that results from it for human brotherhood, for moral and religious life, and for the artistic and cultural life in humanity. 1The Society is continuous with the Anthroposophical Society founded in 1912. With the same objects in view which were then defined, the intention is, however, to create a fresh point of departure, in keeping with the true spirit of the time.
- The persons gathered together at Dornach in founding the Anthroposophical Society recognise and support the view of those responsible at the Goetheanum (represented by the Executive formed at the Foundation Meeting) in the following particulars: — “The Anthroposophy pursued in the Goetheanum leads to results which can be of assistance to every human being — without distinction of nation, social standing or religion — acting as an incentive in spiritual life. These results can in a real sense give rise to a social life based on brotherly love. The possibility of making them one's own and founding life upon them depends on no special degree of learning or education, but alone on a free, unbiased human nature. The researches, however, which lead to them, and the power of competent judgment on the results of research, are subject to a spiritual-scientific training which must be acquired step by step. The results are in their way no less exact than those of Natural Science; and when like these they attain general recognition, they will bring about a like progress in all spheres of life — not only in the spiritual but in the practical domain.”
- The Anthroposophical Society is an entirely public organisation, and in no sense a secret society. Without distinction of nationality, social standing, religion, scientific or artistic conviction, any person feeling the existence of such an institution as the School of Spiritual Science — the Goetheanum in Dornach — to be justified, can become a member of the Society. The Anthroposophical Society is averse to any kind of sectarian tendency. Politics it does not consider to be among its tasks.
- The Anthroposophical Society looks upon the School of Spiritual Science at Dornach as the centre of its work. This School will be composed of three classes. Members of the Society will — at their request — be admitted to the School after a period of membership to be determined in each case by those responsible at the Goetheanum. They thus gain entrance to the first class of the School of Spiritual Science. Applicants will be received into the second or third class respectively when those responsible at the Goetheanum deem them ripe for admission.
- Every member of the Anthroposophical Society has the right to participate — under conditions to be announced in each case by the Executive — in all lectures, demonstrations and meetings of any kind arranged by the Society.
- The establishment of the School of Spiritual Science is, to begin with, in the hands of Rudolf Steiner, who will appoint his collaborators and his eventful successor.
- All publications of the Society will be open to the public as are those of other public societies. 2The conditions, too, whereby one enters into the training of this School, have been described in published works, and their publication will be continued. The same will apply to the publications of the School of Spiritual Science; but in regard to these works, those responsible for the School reserve the right from the outset to deny the validity of opinions unsupported by the proper qualifications, namely by the training of which the works themselves are the outcome. In this sense, and as is customary in the recognised scientific world, they will admit the validity of no judgment which is not based on the requisite preliminary studies. The publications of the School of Spiritual Science will therefore contain the following notice: — “Printed in Manuscript for the members of the School of Spiritual Science, Goetheanum, Class ... No person is held qualified to form a judgment on the contents of these works, who has not acquired — through the School itself or in an equivalent manner recognised by the School — the requisite preliminary knowledge. Other opinions will be disregarded; the authors decline to take them as a basis for discussion.”
- The object of the Anthroposophical Society will be the furtherance of spiritual research; that of the School of Spiritual Science the actual pursuit of such research. A dogmatic position in any sphere whatsoever shall be excluded from the Anthroposophical Society.
- At the beginning of each year the Anthroposophical Society shall hold an annual General Meeting, when the Executive shall submit a full report and balance-sheet. The Agenda shall be issued by the Executive together with the invitation to all members six weeks before the meeting. The Executive may summon emergency General Meetings and fix the Agenda for such Meetings. Invitations to such Meetings shall be sent to members three weeks in advance. Motions by individual members or groups of members shall be sent in a week before the date of a General Meeting.
- The members of the Society may join together in smaller or larger groups, on any geographical or other basis of activity. The seat of the Anthroposophical Society is at the Goetheanum, whence the Executive shall communicate to the members or groups of members what it considers to be the task of the Society. The Executive enters into communication with the officials elected or appointed by the several Groups. The admission of members is in the hands of the Groups; the forms of admission shall, however, be submitted to the Executive at Dornach for signature, the Executive signing them in confidence to the officials of the Groups. As a general rule every member shall join a Group. Only those who find it quite impossible to enter a Group should apply for admission at Dornach as individual members.
- The subscription shall be fixed by the several Groups; each Group shall, however, send 12s. (twelve shillings) annually per member to the headquarters of the Society at the Goetheanum.
- Each working Group formulates its own Statutes, but these must not be incompatible with the Statutes of the Anthroposophical Society.
- The organ of the Society is the “Goetheanum” Weekly, which shall for this purpose issue a Supplement containing the official communications of the Society. This enlarged edition of the “Goetheanum” will be supplied to members of the Anthroposophical Society only.
- The Foundation Executive of the Society will be as follows: —First President: Dr. Rudolf Steiner.
Second President: Albert Steffen.
Recorder: Dr. Ita Wegman.
Members of Executive: Frau Marie Steiner,
Members of Executive: Dr. Elisabeth Vreede.
Hon. Secretary and Treas: Dr. Guenther Wachsmuth.