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Glossary of Wiccan, Neo-Pagan and Occult Terminology

STEINER, Rudolf (1861-1925)

Austrian philosopher, scientist, artist and educator who was the originator of the social philosophy called anthroposophy.   A pseudo-Christianised version of Theosophy, this doctrine asserts that humans possess a faculty of spiritual cognition, or pure thought, that functions independently of the senses.

Anthroposophy strives for the most effective development of this faculty.   Steiner founded the Anthroposophical Society in 1912, and it now has branches through-out the world and is especially popular in Britain.

He travelled extensively in Europe, lecturing on spiritual science, the arts, social sciences, religion, education, agriculture and health.   His published over 350 works, including collections of lectures, books, articles, reviews and dramas.   His occult philosophy is outlined in key titles such as Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and Its Attainment (1904-5), and An Outline of Occult Science (1909).

His teachings inspired the development of the Waldorf School movement and of schools for handicapped or maladjusted children.   His agricultural methods for preparing soil inspired chemical-free organic farming and gardening.   He created eurythmy (expressive movement to music and speech), and his guide-lines on holistic medicine and pharmacology are still widely respected.


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One of the major problems with 'defining' Paganism and/or its beliefs and practices is that it is an 'organic' movement, in that it is undergoing constant change and re-evaluation from within, and as such any 'one-size-fits-all' approach to understanding Paganism will be found wanting.

Due to the very 'organic' nature of Paganism, and the many differing Paths and Traditions within it, in many cases no one definition may be universally accepted by all Pagans.   Therefore, where such cases of possible conflicting and/or contradictory meanings of certain terms occur I have endevoured to give not only the generally accepted meaning, but also any major 'variations' in belief and/or practice.

Christians who believe this difference in meaning of certain key terms, beliefs and practices to be unique to Paganism need to remember that such conflicts also arise within the Body of Christ - the Church.   Take for instance the differing practices amongst Christians concerning Baptism and the different attitudes towards women in the clergy.

- Jean-Luc
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