Where do we bring into life the teaching of maya and of the light of truth? Let us bring it into life above all during this our Christmas Conference. Let us during this our Christmas Conference make the shining forth of the universal light — as it shone before the shepherds, who bore within them only the simplicity of their hearts, and before the kingly magi, who bore within them the wisdom of all the universe — let us make this flaming Christmas light, this universal light of Christmas into a symbol for what is to come to pass through our own hearts and souls!
This may not be such a typical christmas topic. But it is an important event in anthroposophical history: the christmas conference, taking place in Dornach (at the site of old Goetheanum, which had burnt down a year earlier) during christmas 1923. The words above are from Steiner’s opening lecture. On this meeting, the General Anthroposophical Society was founded, and by many anthroposophists the meeting is seen as a very important event in the movement’s history. It was a kind of reorganisation, one might say. Among other things, its statues were adopted. The School of spiritual science — and its three classes — was specifically mentioned in the statutes Steiner read to his followers on that day. Let’s look at what anthroposophist Christoph Lindenberg writes:
Die Weihnachtstagung war auf diese Weise im besonderen in zweifacher Weise vorbereitet: durch die Statuten, die das Leben der anthroposophischen Gesellschaft beschreiben sollten, und durch den Grundstein, in den die Quintessenz der Anthroposophie gefaßt und in ein imaginatives Kunstwerk gesteigert worden war. Auf diesem Grundstein sollte sich das Leben der Gesellschaft entfalten. [Lindenberg, C. Rudolf Steiner. Eine Biographie (1997), p 859.]
If you’re interested in nutty anthroposophical conspiracies around the christmas conference and its legacy, I recommend Willy Lochmann’s website (search for weihnachtstagung). The event has not been without its controversies… In fact, it — or perhaps rather the constitution of the society — has been a source of some quarrel to the present day. The ‘universal light’ didn’t quite manage to bridge over human failings and disagreements.