Spiritual Tasks of the Homemaker – Part 7

In this last section on the “bodies” or realms of the home, we will look into the spirituality of the home space, and how working in the home is a transformative process. (pp. 16-20)


The most important level in the home is that of spirituality, for it completes the home organism. Every home has a certain spirituality:

A certain tone is established through one’s religion and philosophy of life. . . . How does a family live with the elements of culture? How are questions of knowledge, art, the religious life and human relationships handled?

Each member of the household has a guardian angel, who work along with deceased family members within the home, just as the elemental beings of the etheric realm do. Through working with the processes of the home, the homemaker becomes aware of these etheric and spiritual helpers, and so gains a new kind of consciousness. We can also begin to become aware of the two great powers that work in opposition to unbalance us: Lucifer and Ahriman.


Luciferic forces lead us away from the earth and incarnate consciousness, dissolving us up into the clouds and away from daily obligations into chaos.

Ahrimanic forces seek to bind us to the earth, into materialism, dogma, and sterility.

The homemaker keeps these forces in balance by developing the ego, the individuality, the true sense of humanity. Balance must also be maintained within the home itself:

chaos –> overtaxing the etheric body (which can lead to illness)
(but abundance –> inspiration)

absolutism –> soul poverty
(but emptiness –> imagination)


It can easily be thought that anthroposophists are some sort of modern-day Luddites, what with the emphasis on natural materials and the somewhat shunning attitude toward modern technology. However, Rudolf Steiner felt that the true human task was not to refuse the material world but rather to take hold of it with our human spirituality and transform it.

Three elements of the home have been greatly changed through modern technology:

Light: It used to be that light was precious; people were drawn to it. Now we obtain light through the flick of a switch, and a loveless relationship has developed.

Warmth: Until recently, warmth only entered the home by something being burned, and again people gathered around it. This too is now available with little effort and remotely; here too we have a lack of consciousness and feeling.

Power: Labor was once only provided through simple mechanical machines (such as windmills) or through human effort. Now with electricity we have numerous machines around us to do our work. As much as we cannot now do without electricity, we must also develop new ways to compensate for what has been lost. How may this be done?

We have already spoken of the home as the site of process and much non-sensible activity. Another way to look at the home is as an “alchemical laboratory”. Here we again look at the human task as that of grasping the material world and transforming it, which Rudolf Steiner identified as the modern Rosicrucian path. The homemaker seeks to enact this transformation in a balanced way without withdrawing from life; this is the spiritual path of the homemaker.


Next time we will begin to see how this spiritual path is the “point of departure for the new Mysteries.”

Manfred Schmidt-Brabant, The Spiritual Tasks of the Homemaker, Temple Lodge, 1996.

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Filed under Anthroposophy, Deep Thoughts, Homemaking

3 responses to “Spiritual Tasks of the Homemaker – Part 7

  1. Mon

    Interesting stuff.

    Yes, there is so much that we take for granted that through that we lose connection to it.

    There are people who ask me, but why would you do it the harder way? We are so accustomed to things made easier for us that we don’t realise that there’s another way to perceive how we do things. Some see it as more difficult, others, like myself, see it as more connected.

  2. Quote: “The homemaker seeks to enact this transformation in a balanced way without withdrawing from life; this is the spiritual path of the homemaker.”

    I love that line! I think that is the challenge of the modern person in general. We are surrounded by materialism. How do we live in this culture while still grasping the spiritual? I continually work for that.

    So many would like to just give up the current culture, throw it all out and become Amish or something, and I have been in that place too. But I always end up rejecting the extreme and trying to find the balance. Now I can think of that as my spiritual path.

  3. Mon: I feel that way about handwork. How much more invested with spirit and love are the things I make versus the things I buy! I think the “difficulty” of the creative process is the real beauty and one of the benefits of such work.

    Lisa Z: Not withdrawing from the world is a big challenge for Waldorf parents, I think, because it is so easy to completely spurn the wider world and culture. But that is so wrong, in my opinion! How can we do the social good of transformation if we do not engage? How can we be truly conscious in our decisions if we don’t understand the options? And honestly I believe Steiner wanted anthroposophy and Waldorf education to benefit the whole world, not just insular like-minded communities.

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