The Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily

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9780880105705: The Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily

The Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily is one of the most important stories of the Anthroposophic and Rosicrucian streams. It is a timeless, allegorical tale of initiation and had a profound impact on Rudolf Steiner and on the formulation of his teachings. He called the fairy tale a kind of "secret revelation," an "apocalypse." As the authors point out in The Time Is At Hand! Goethe’s fairy tale begins with a specific image: a river separating two lands that contrast to each other, as do the sensory world and the spiritual world. The story ends with a bridge, created through sacrifice, that spans the river between the two lands.

Indeed, Rudolf Steiner was so deeply impressed by Goethe’s fairy tale, that he used it as the model for his own first mystery drama, The Portal of Initiation. It is said that, prior to its first performance, he told friends, "I know how long and deeply you have loved Goethe’s fairy tale, and today I am happy to tell you that you will see it performed on stage."

The twelve paintings in this book represent the soul experiences of the "Youth" in the fairy tale. These images are the fruit of an intense collaboration between the artist Hermann Linde and Rudolf Steiner, who commissioned the work. Steiner visited Linde’s studio every day and gave him detailed indications for the treatment of the various motifs. The result is this beautifully illustrated, full-color book.

This is a fairy tale for meditation—and for building bridges of the soul and spirit.

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About the Author:

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832) is a giant of German and world literature. Indeed, he coined the term Weltliteratur and spoke Greek, Latin, French, English, and Italian. In addition to its profound quality, the volume of work during his eighty-two-year lifetime is impressive. Among other works, Goethe wrote a worldwide, bestselling novel, The Sorrows of Young Werther (Die Leiden des Jungen Werthers, 1774), volumes of poetry, and several dramas, including his masterwork Faust—a massive two-volume work that was not entirely finished by the time of the poet's death. Goethe also engaged in painting and science, from which came his Theory of Color ("Farbenlehre") among other scientific works—a collected edition that Rudolf Steiner edited and introduced as a young man.

Hermann Linde (1863–1923) was a classically trained painter. As early as 1904, he developed a relationship with Rudolf Steiner, who encouraged him to create a form of artistic expression for those on a spiritual path. Inspired by his experiences with Steiner’s ideas, Linde dedicated his artistic work to Anthroposophy. He participated in the creation of the stage sets for Steiner’s first mystery drama, The Portal of Initiation, performed in Munich in 1910. Later, during World War I, he helped paint the cupolas in the First Goetheanum.

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Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
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