Marie Steiner-von Sivers

Last updated
Marie Steiner-von Sivers 1903 Marie Steiner.jpg
Marie Steiner-von Sivers 1903

Marie Steiner-von Sivers (born Marie von Sivers [1] – 14 March 1867 27 December 1948) was the second wife of Rudolf Steiner and one of his closest colleagues. [2] [3] She made a great contribution to the development of anthroposophy, particularly in her work on the renewal of the performing arts (eurythmy, speech and drama), [2] and the editing and publishing of Rudolf Steiner's literary estate. [3]

Rudolf Steiner Austrian esotericist

Rudolf Joseph Lorenz Steiner was an Austrian philosopher, social reformer, architect, and esotericist. Steiner gained initial recognition at the end of the nineteenth century as a literary critic and published philosophical works including The Philosophy of Freedom. At the beginning of the twentieth century he founded an esoteric spiritual movement, anthroposophy, with roots in German idealist philosophy and theosophy; other influences include Goethean science and Rosicrucianism.

Anthroposophy philosophy founded by Rudolf Steiner

Anthroposophy is a philosophy founded by the 19th century esotericist Rudolf Steiner that postulates the existence of an objective, intellectually comprehensible spiritual world, accessible to human experience. Followers of anthroposophy aim to develop mental faculties of spiritual discovery through a mode of thought independent of sensory experience. They also aim to present their ideas in a manner verifiable by rational discourse and specifically seek a precision and clarity in studying the spiritual world mirroring that obtained by natural historians in investigations of the physical world.

Eurythmy expressive movement art associated with Anthroposophy

Eurythmy is an expressive movement art originated by Rudolf Steiner in conjunction with Marie von Sivers in the early 20th century. Primarily a performance art, it is also used in education, especially in Waldorf schools, and – as part of anthroposophic medicine – for claimed therapeutic purposes.

Contents

Life and work

Marie von Sivers was born to an aristocratic family in Włocławek, Poland, then part of Imperial Russia. She was well-educated and was fluent in Russian, German, English, French and Italian. She studied theater and recitation with several teachers in Europe. [3]

Włocławek Place in Kuyavian-Pomeranian, Poland

Włocławek(listen) is a city located in central Poland along the Vistula (Wisła) River and is bordered by the Gostynińsko-Włocławski Park Krajobrazowy. The population, as of December 2017, is 111,752. Located in the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship, it was the capital of Włocławek Voivodeship until 1999.

Poland Republic in Central Europe

Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 administrative subdivisions, covering an area of 312,696 square kilometres (120,733 sq mi), and has a largely temperate seasonal climate. With a population of approximately 38.5 million people, Poland is the sixth most populous member state of the European Union. Poland's capital and largest metropolis is Warsaw. Other major cities include Kraków, Łódź, Wrocław, Poznań, Gdańsk, and Szczecin.

Relationship to Rudolf Steiner

Marie von Sivers "appeared one day" at one of Rudolf Steiner's early lectures in 1900. In the autumn of 1901, she posed the question to Steiner, "Would it be possible to create a spiritual movement based on European tradition and the impetus of Christ?" Rudolf Steiner later reported: [3]

With this, I was given the opportunity to act in a way that I had only previously imagined. The question had been put to me, and now, according to spiritual laws, I could begin to answer it.

Marie von Sivers collaborated with Steiner for the rest of Steiner's life and carried his work beyond his death in 1925 until her own death in 1948. She accompanied him and helped him as secretary, translator, editor, and organizer of his lecture tours and other public activities. She assisted Steiner's work with her own resources and in 1908 founded the Philosophical-Theosophical Press (later Philosophical-Anthroposophical) to publish Steiner's work. [3]

On 24 December 1914, von Sivers married Rudolf Steiner. Anna Eunicke Steiner, Steiner's first wife, had died in 1911. [2] Beginning in 1914, Steiner drew up a succession of wills naming Marie Steiner-von Sivers as heir to his entire work and property and his successor in the leadership of the anthroposophical movement. [3]

Eurythmy and speech formation

Starting in 1912, Rudolf Steiner developed the art of eurythmy. With Marie's guidance, it developed in three directions: as a stage art, as an integral part of Waldorf pedagogy, and as a therapeutic method. [2] Under her tutelage, two schools of eurythmy were founded, in Berlin and in Dornach, Switzerland. [3]

Berlin Capital of Germany

Berlin is the capital and largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,748,148 (2018) inhabitants make it the second most populous city proper of the European Union after London. The city is one of Germany's 16 federal states. It is surrounded by the state of Brandenburg, and contiguous with its capital, Potsdam. The two cities are at the center of the Berlin-Brandenburg capital region, which is, with about six million inhabitants and an area of more than 30,000 km², Germany's third-largest metropolitan region after the Rhine-Ruhr and Rhine-Main regions.

Dornach Place in Solothurn, Switzerland

Dornach is a municipality in the district of Dorneck in the canton of Solothurn in Switzerland.

Switzerland federal republic in Central Europe

Switzerland, officially the Swiss Confederation, is a country situated in western, central, and southern Europe. It consists of 26 cantons, and the city of Bern is the seat of the federal authorities. The sovereign state is a federal republic bordered by Italy to the south, France to the west, Germany to the north, and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. Switzerland is a landlocked country geographically divided between the Alps, the Swiss Plateau and the Jura, spanning a total area of 41,285 km2 (15,940 sq mi). While the Alps occupy the greater part of the territory, the Swiss population of approximately 8.5 million people is concentrated mostly on the plateau, where the largest cities are to be found: among them are the two global cities and economic centres Zürich and Geneva.

Marie von Sivers, who had been trained in recitation and elocution, and made a study of purely artistic speaking. She gave introductory poetry recitals at Steiner's lectures and assisted him in the development of the four Mystery Dramas (1910-1913). [3] With her help, Steiner conducted several speech and drama courses with the aim of raising these forms to the level of true art. [2]

See also

Related Research Articles

Anthroposophical Society

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." As an organization, it is dedicated to supporting the community of those interested in the inner path of schooling known as anthroposophy, developed by Rudolf Steiner.

Goetheanum world center for the anthroposophical movement, including performance halls, in Dornach, Switzerland

The Goetheanum, located in Dornach, in the canton of Solothurn, Switzerland, is the world center for the anthroposophical movement. The building was designed by Rudolf Steiner and named after Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. It includes two performance halls, gallery and lecture spaces, a library, a bookstore, and administrative spaces for the Anthroposophical Society; neighboring buildings house the society's research and educational facilities. Conferences focusing on themes of general interest or directed toward teachers, farmers, doctors, therapists, and other professionals are held at the center throughout the year.

Sergei Olegovich Prokofieff was a Russian anthroposophist. He was the grandson of the composer Sergei Prokofiev and his first wife Lina Prokofiev, and the son of Oleg Prokofiev and his first wife Sofia Korovina. Born in Moscow, he studied fine arts and painting at the Moscow School of Art. He encountered anthroposophy in his youth, and soon made the decision to devote his life to it.

Rudolf Steiner and the Theosophical Society

The relationship between Rudolf Steiner and the Theosophical Society, co-founded in 1875 by H.P. Blavatsky with Henry Steel Olcott and others, was a complex and changing one.

Édouard Schuré French philosopher, writer, poet, playwright, music critic, Anthroposophist and Theosophist

Eduard (Édouard) Schuré was a French philosopher, poet, playwright, novelist, music critic, and publicist of esoteric literature.

Eugen Kolisko was an Austrian-German physician and educator who was born in Vienna. He studied medicine at the University of Vienna, and in 1917 became a lecturer of medical chemistry. He was the son of pathologist Alexander Kolisko (1857-1918).

Elisabeth Vreede was a Dutch mathematician, astronomer and Anthroposophist.

Marjorie Spock was an environmentalist, author and poet, best known for her influence on Rachel Carson when the latter was writing Silent Spring. Spock was also a noted Waldorf teacher, eurythmist, biodynamic gardener and anthroposophist.

Edith Maryon British artist

Louisa Edith Church Maryon, better known as Edith Maryon, was an English sculptor. Along with Ita Wegman, she belonged to the innermost circle of founders of anthroposophy and those around Rudolf Steiner.

Oskar Schmiedel was a pharmacist, anthroposophist, therapist, Goethean scientist and theosophist.

The American Eurythmy School is a four-year eurythmy training in Weed, California, near Mount Shasta. It was founded in 1984 by Karen Sherman McPherson, who studied under Ilona Schubert in the 1970s in Dornach, Switzerland, and is the second largest four-year eurythmy training in North America. The first graduation from the four-year program was held in 1990. There are many graduates of the School teaching in Waldorf schools and performing in the United States.

Peter Selg was born in 1963 in Stuttgart and studied medicine in Witten-Herdecke, Zurich, and Berlin. Until 2000, he worked as the head physician of the juvenile psychiatry department of Herdecke hospital in Germany. Dr. Selg is now director of the Ita Wegman Institute for Basic Research into Anthroposophy and professor of medicine at the Alanus University of Arts and Social Sciences (Germany). He lectures extensively and is the author of numerous books.

Violetta Elsa Plincke was a Waldorf teacher and lecturer on education who contributed much to the establishment of Steiner education in Britain.

Else Klink was director of the Eurythmeum Stuttgart, the first training centre for Eurythmy founded by Marie Steiner in 1923, from 1935 until 1991. In 1945 she established the Eurythmeum Stage Group, which she also led until 1991. Her work contributed centrally to establishing Eurythmy as a performing art within the culture of Europe and internationally.

Rudolf Steiner wrote four plays that follow the initiation journeys of a group of fictional characters through a series of lives. These plays were intended to be modern mystery plays. Steiner outlined the plot of a fifth play to be set at the Castalian spring at Delphi, but due to the outbreak of First World War, this remained an unfulfilled project.

Johannes Tautz (30 September 1914 in Koblenz am Rhein to 13 March 2008 in Dortmund, was a Historian, Religious scholar, Anthroposophist, Author and Waldorf teacher. He concerned himself with a better understanding of National Socialism and with questions of education in the twentieth century.

Frederick William Zeylmans van Emmichoven, was a Dutch psychiatrist and anthroposophist. From 1923 until his death in 1961 he was chairman of the Dutch Anthroposophical Society. He was a familiar figure in public life and had a considerable influence on the anthroposophic movement, particularly through his numerous lectures and his work as an author, which included the first biography of Rudolf Steiner.

References

  1. Some sources cite birthname as Marie Sievers or Marie von Sievers
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 Johannes Hemleben, Rudolf Steiner: A documentary biography, Henry Goulden Ltd, 1975; ISBN   0-904822-02-8, pp. 110-113 (German edition: Rowohlt Verlag, 1990, ISBN   3-499-50079-5)
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Lía Tummer, Rudolf Steiner and Anthroposophy for Beginners, Writers and Readers Publishing, 2001, ISBN   0-86316-286-X, pp. 55-62; pp. 99-100; pp. 115-119.

Biographical resources