Founded by Rudolf Steiner
Anthroposophy was founded by the philosopher and natural scientist Rudolf Steiner, together with like-minded colleagues. The research method has influenced other disciplines including education, architecture, art and medicine and its impact can still be witnessed every day at Weleda.
It's a worldwide research method, with European roots, that explores spirituality with science. It offers ways to better understand the laws of humans and how to act accordingly, giving formulas and suggested actions for various areas in life.
From scientific thinking to spiritual experience
In contrast to the thinking of the day in academic and university circles, Steiner used the word anthroposophy to refer to the investigation of the spiritual realm through scientific and spiritual experience, and it was this to which he devoted his work. Anthroposophy takes its starting point from exact scientific thinking. The precise research methods that are otherwise limited to the world of matter are then extended to the spiritual through science.
Anthroposophy can be described as follows: Humans understand the world through their senses and the processes of their minds – the knowledge of these findings is then called anthropology. Anthroposophy extended this approach to spiritual level, because humans can also perceive their environment with feelings and thoughts. Steiner called anthroposophy ‘the wisdom of man’, because in Greek anthropos means man and sophia wisdom.
Steiner went on to found the General Anthroposophical Society in 1923, whose mission remains to maintain a free cultural and intellectual life, and to promote research into the spiritual realm. For the spiritual research the School of Spiritual Science was established in Dornach, only a few kilometres away from today’s Weleda headquarters in Arlesheim.
The architecturally remarkable home of the school is called the Goetheanum. It’s a centre for anthroposophy – designed by Rudolf Steiner himself – which includes two performance halls seating 1500, a gallery, lecture rooms, a library, bookstore, and administrative spaces for the Anthroposophical Society. Conferences on themes of general interest continue to take place here several times a year.
The influence of anthroposophy on Weleda
The goal of anthroposophy is the development of the whole human being. Today it has branches in many areas including education, architecture, art, medicine and agriculture. At Steiner's instigation the Waldorf schools – also called Steiner schools and kindergartens – anthroposophic medicine, natural body care products and biodynamic farming emerged. All of these disciplines are still integral to the Weleda of today.
Whether it be in the manufacturing of our medicinal products and natural cosmetics, or in our dealings with partners, suppliers and employees, we always see humans, society and nature as a holistic whole, bound together by the relationship between our daily activities and nature.