“You will find meditative verses for the individual weeks of the year. You should take these meditations quite particularly into your hearts, for they contain what can make the soul alive and what really corresponds to a living relationship of the soul forces to the forces of the macrocosm.” Rudolf Steiner
Many are familiar with Rudolf Steiner’s work The Calendar of the Soul, the book of fifty-two weekly meditative verses that run from Easter to Easter. Few, however, know anything of its history. The form in which it appears today derives from the 1925 edition, which appeared only a few days after Steiner’s death. This was the first printing of the verses in their current form as a commercially available edition. Seven years earlier, in 1918, an edition with a short introduction by Steiner appeared as the thirteenth of the “Colorful Waldorf Astoria Booklets”, tiny books packaged with Waldorf Astoria cigarettes and intended for soldiers in the trenches. The project was an initiative of Emil Molt, the owner of the cigarette company, an anthroposophist, and a close friend of Rudolf Steiner. It also appeared in a series of books edited by Molt’s friend Hermann Hesse, intended for German prisoners of war. Neither edition was available to the public through bookstores.
The calendar begins with an introduction by Steiner on the nature of a calendar as a way to connect past and future as well as earth and cosmos. It is important to get a sense of the movements of the Sun and Moon in relation to the planets and fixed stars. It is also important to bring the past into the present by invoking great beings in the evolution of consciousness on their appropriate birth or death days, and to celebrate the Holy Days. Steiner designed new zodiacal images for each month, traced the phases of the moon, and specified significant people, events, and/or festivals for each day. By living into the year in this way, one is ready for the meditative year as expressed by the weekly verses of the soul calendar.