Primera Clase
Primera Clase

About the First Class

The First Class of the School of Spiritual Science

Immediately after the founding of the General Anthroposophical Society during the Christmas Conference of 1923/24, Rudolf Steiner begins to build up the School of Spiritual Science and its specialized sections. As the "soul" and esoteric core of the Society and the Sections, the spiritual training path of the Class Hours is established by him.

The development path of the First Class of the School of Spiritual Science, since its foundation by Rudolf Steiner, consists of 19 class lessons transmitted by him. With the decision for membership and admission a path of knowledge is entered, which connects different ways of working: On the one hand, participation in the lessons opens the possibility of an individual development of inner spiritual training. On the other hand, it enables the formation of a supporting community of responsibility with other people towards the tasks set by time. In this way, an exchange of spiritual questions and thoughts of the individual with the life experiences and impulses of others can occur in the cooperation.

The starting point for the esoteric path of the 1st class is the realization that man as an I-being is at home in the spiritual world and in earth life at the same time in his physical form. By living through the mantric images and situations of this path of knowledge and practice in the class lessons or in meditation, he can, on the one hand, become aware of his own spiritual being and his connectedness with the cosmic-spiritual world. On the other hand, he can develop transformation impulses from this awareness and carry them into his earthly, professional and social life.

Initially by Rudolf Steiner himself, later by the Executive Council at the Goetheanum and by the university leadership, people were commissioned in countries and regions to carry out the work on the class lessons in collaboration with the members of the School of Spiritual Science. To this day, numerous university, mediator and working groups have formed around the world to communicate about questions of work within the First Class and to develop different forms of work. The coordinating work in the School of Spiritual Science is one of the tasks of the General Anthroposophical Section and is carried out in close collaboration with the Goetheanum leadership and with the mediator and university circles in the countries.


Rudolf Steiner, Die Konstitution der Allgemeinen Anthroposophischen Gesellschaft und der Freien Hochschule für Geisteswissenschaft 1923/24, Gesamtausgabe GA 260a, Dornach

Die Freie Hochschule für Geisteswissenschaft – Goetheanum – Zur Einführung und Orientierung, Dornach 2021, Verlag am Goetheanum

Peter Selg/Marc Desaules (HG.), Die Freie Hochschule für Geisteswissenschaft – Ihre Bedeutung und ihr Ziel, Verlag des Ita Wegmann Institutes 2018

Origin, Development and Current Practice

Rudolf Steiner announced the School of Spiritual Science when the General Anthroposophical Society was founded during a conference at Christmas 1923. He began establishing the School directly after the conference. He planned to organize it into three Classes and various Sections.

During the course of 1924 Rudolf Steiner gave 38 esoteric lessons (known as Class Lessons) to people who joined the First Class. Twenty-six of these lessons were in Dornach, Switzerland. The Class Lessons comprise a complete spiritual course of 19 fundamental lessons given between February 15 and August 2, 1924, several lessons given at other locations, and seven further lessons September 6 to 20, 1924, which take up the themes of the first part of the 19 lessons in a modified form. Rudolf Steiner had planned to establish a Second and Third Class but was not able to do so because of his illness and death.

Rudolf Steiner had already led an esoteric school from 1904 to the beginning of World War I. This school had three departments in accordance with esoteric tradition. The three Classes of the School of Spiritual Science represent a metamorphosis and further development of that school.

The esoteric lessons which Rudolf Steiner gave to the First Class within the General Anthroposophical Section contain meditative verses with explanations. He was very firm about restricting knowledge of the esoteric content of this “Michael School” to a group of people who fulfilled certain requirements. This group had made a commitment to follow a meditative path of development, to collaborate with each other, and to represent anthroposophical work in daily life. The lessons were taken down in shorthand with Rudolf Steiner’s permission.

After Rudolf Steiner’s death, members of the Executive Council and later also “Class Holders” designated by them, began conveying this esoteric course material to members of the First Class, using the shorthand notes as a basis. Today there are many groups of Class Holders around the world who meet to discuss questions concerning the work within the First Class and propose new Class Holders to the leadership of the General Anthroposophical Section. The Executive Council at the Goetheanum is currently responsible for the General Anthroposophical Section.The content of the First Class is conveyed either in Rudolf Steiner’s own words or in “free renderings,” where the Class Holder explains and introduces the mantras in his or her own way. In addition, conversations and any other forms of work based on participants’ individual meditative work with the mantras are organized in various ways.

During the decades following Rudolf Steiner’s death the content of the Class Lessons did not remain within the circle of people for whom they were intended and they were published in a somewhat dubious form. The Trustees of Rudolf Steiner’s Estate then published an official version of them in 1992 in collaboration with the Executive Council at the Goetheanum. Although anyone can obtain these texts today, which were not intended for individual study, the members of the First Class work with them in accordance with the prerequisites for membership in the School of Spiritual Science, by placing central emphasis on speaking and listening.