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The early work of the founder of anthroposophy, Rudolf Steiner, culminated in his Philosophy of Freedom (also translated as The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity and Intuitive Thinking as a Spiritual Path). Here, Steiner developed a concept of free will based on inner experiences, especially those that occur in the creative activity of independent thought.[2]

By the beginning of the twentieth century, Steiner's interests were leading him further and further into explicitly spiritual areas of research. These studies were of interest to others who were already oriented towards spiritual ideas; among these was the Theosophical Society. Theosophy was in vogue in Esotericism in Germany and Austria during that time. From 1900 on, thanks to the positive reception given to his ideas, Steiner's involvement with the Theosophical Society confirmed and reinforced his spiritual identity as a charismatic seer; this became key to breaking the feeling of imposed silence that characterised his earlier life.[7] It was here that he was to find not only the woman who was to become his esoteric partner and second wife, Marie von Sievers (owner of the Berlin Theosophical headquarters), but the answer to the question asked in his Autobiography ' can I find the way to express in terms understandable to my contemporaries what I inwardly perceive directly as the truth?'[8]

Steiner took a leading role in the Theosophical Society's section in Germany, becoming its secretary in 1902. During the years of his leadership, membership increased dramatically, from a few individuals to sixty-nine Lodges.[9]

By 1907, a split between Steiner and the mainstream Theosophical Society had begun to become apparent. While the Society was oriented toward an Eastern and especially Indian approach, Steiner was trying to develop a path that embraced Christianity and natural science.[10] The split became irrevocable when Annie Besant, then president of the Theosophical Society, began to present the child Jiddu Krishnamurti as the reincarnated Christ. Steiner strongly objected and considered any comparison between Krishnamurti and Christ to be nonsense; many years later, Krishnamurti also repudiated the assertion. Steiner's continuing differences with Besant led him to separate from the Theosophical Society Adyar; he was followed by the great majority of the membership of the Theosophical Society's German Section, as well as members of other national sections.[9][10]

By this time, Steiner had reached considerable stature as a spiritual teacher.[11] He spoke about what he considered to be his direct experience of the Akashic Records (sometimes called the "Akasha Chronicle"), thought to be a spiritual chronicle of the history, pre-history, and future of the world and mankind. In a number of works,[12] Steiner described a path of inner development he felt would let anyone attain comparable spiritual experiences. Sound vision could be developed, in part, by practicing rigorous forms of ethical and cognitive self-discipline, concentration, and meditation; in particular, a person's moral development must precede the development of spiritual faculties.[2]

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