'By bringing the chosen leaders, prophets or priests to confront the powers of life and death, to discover the deeper needs and potential of the human spirit, the Mysteries had kept humanity in touch with the living foundations of experience. For those who went through their processes, the attainment of wisdom was the culmination of an existential struggle...' - Dr Andrew Welburn Modern scholarship knows little of the mystery schools of antiquity, offering only hypothetical explanations and external details. In these expansive lectures based on his personal spiritual insights, Rudolf Steiner offers a vivid description of the esoteric experiences gained by people in the ancient mystery schools, from the mysteries of Artemis in Ephesus, of Hibernia, Eleusis and Samothrace, to the Middle Ages. He also discusses the conditions under which initiation can be achieved today. Following preliminary lectures on the nature and function of the soul, Steiner presents a panoramic view of human and earthly evolution, including the roles of plants and animals. He also discusses the various metals, their curative properties and their connections with the planets.