Reverse Ritual

Rudolf Steiner and Friedrich Benesch


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Perception of the idea in the reality is the true communion of the human being.


When we think of rites and rituals we usually think of something that has to do with a church. There are various rituals, however, in which we are all involved whether or not they have an outward form: pre-birth, death, and after-death, for example. There is still another ritual available to all: the path of attaining spiritual knowledge, which has been called the “reversed ritual” in anthroposophy. As Steiner describes it this ritual of knowledge is formed by “the free spiritual activity of the human being, in awareness of the God as a spirit.”

Every true ritual has the same four parts: revelation, offering, transformation (or transubstantiation), and communion. The differences between rituals have to do with the ordering of these four parts, as well as with their forms and purposes. While the sacraments proceed from revelation to offering to transubstantiation to communion, the ritual of spiritual knowledge moves from communion to transformation, then to offering and revelation. Here, Steiner’s research and lectures, and Benesch’s further elucidations, render a detailed comparison of the various ritual forms, leading us to a deep appreciation of the reversed ritual: the ritual of knowledge.

  • Part One: “The Spiritual Communion of Humanity” (5 lectures, GA 219)
  • Part Two: “Preparing for the Sixth Epoch”
  • Part Three: Commentaries by Friedrich Benesch; and Appendices with selections from Dietrich Asten, “Spiritual and Sacramental Communion,”and Athys Floride, “Human Encounters and Karma.”

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