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In these unique lectures, given to members of his Esoteric School (1904-14), Rudolf Steiner's main intention is to throw light on the hidden content of the picture-language of myths, sagas and legends. Pictures, he explains, are the real origin of all things - the primeval spiritual causes. In the ancient past people assimilated these pictures through myths and legends. In order to work in a healthy way with pictures or symbols today, however, it is necessary that one should first become acquainted with their esoteric content - to understand them. At the time of these lectures Steiner was planning to inaugurate the second section of the Esoteric School, which was to deal in a direct way with a renewal - out of his own spiritual research - of ritual and symbolism. He gave these lectures as a necessary preparation, to clarify the history and nature of the cultic tradition. He thus discusses principally Freemasonry and its background, but also the Rosicrucians, Manichaeism, the Druids, the Prometheus Saga, the Lost Temple, Cain and Abel - and much else besides. Book jacket.