Inspired thinker, educator, mystic, contemplative, reluctant guru, clairvoyant... ...the many facets of this man make it hard for the uninitiated to get a single, straight-forward answer to this question, when they start asking it. Sun at Midnight lets Rudolf Steiner's life and teachings answer the question for themselves, in a clear and straightforward manner, without undue and unnecessary interpretation and the bias it can introduce. Ahern's open-minded and balanced approach to the subject has allowed him to create the definitive work on the man and the movement he founded, in what has long been the only truly neutral voice on this often controversial subject.
Waldorf/Steiner Schools, Biodynamic Agriculture, Camphill Communities for the disabled, the Christian Community churches, Astrosophy, Eurythmy, Speech Formation, the Threefold Commonwealth, Triodos Bank, Spiritual Science, the First Class -- these seemingly widely varying movements founded by Rudolf Steiner are held together at their deepest core level by a coherent and comprehensive world-view, which Rudolf Steiner called Anthroposophy. While each of the sub-movements arising from these beliefs is delved into within the book, its great achievement is to explain this underlying system of belief, and its relation to each of the ways in which those beliefs are manifested in the institutions Rudolf Steiner founded.
The source-spring of everything from Gnostic Christianity to Freemasonry, Kabbalism, Hermetic magic, astrology and alchemy, and even the modern neopagan religions such as Wicca and New Reformed Druidry, the Western Esoteric Tradition is a set of religiospiritual belief systems which have grown out of a common root, within the context of Europe and the Mediterranean region (including the Fertile Crescent and Asia Minor), and independent of the religious and spiritual traditions of India, and Asia. Most of what is considered to be "the occult", or the initiatory spiritual teachings known to Western thinkers for the past ___ millenia, have stemmed from this tradition of thought and belief.
The two fundamental influences on the movement were the innovative thinking of Rudolf Steiner, and the background vocabulary of ideas and concepts in which his mind was trained, and from which he arose to prominence as a spiritual leader before founding a movement of his own. That background was the Western Esoteric Tradition, many of whose most prominent institutions of the time were graced by Rudolf Steiner's leadership before he took the step into independence. Others numbered their leaders among his colleagues and intimate acquaintances, and the teachers or philosophers who were formative influences upon Steiner's world-view as he sought to put his own inner vision into words, in order to fulfil his driving need to communicate his revelation to others.
The world in which we live has been shaped by many forces, both in the natural world, and in the social world of human beliefs. One under-recognised force in bringing our modern world into being is laid out here, for the reader's easy understanding. From alternative education, to the additive/chemical-free food movement, from socially responsible financial institutions to 'curative education' as an empowering element in the lives of the disabled, the continuing thread of Rudolf Steiner's social institutions, and the underlying movement he founded, has helped create generation after generation of social awareness of 'the road less travelled'. Like the Established Churches of many nations, and social institutions such as Communism and the Free Market economy, you don't have to agree with his teachings to see the influence exerted on society by Steiner, his teachings, and the Western Esoteric Tradition from which they derive. To better understand those influences is to better understand society -- and to better understand the individuals within it.