"The perception and understanding of nature spirits, or elemental beings, is essentially connected with a task that one can call "cosmic," an evolutionary task that only human beings can accomplish because of their special position within the cosmos. That is why the question about elemental beings is intimately bound up with the whole cosmos and its evolution, as expressed in the traditions of Christianity." (from the introduction)
Based on knowledge attained through his highly developed clairvoyance, Rudolf Steiner contends that folk traditions regarding nature spirits are based on spiritual reality. He describes how people possessed a natural spiritual vision in ancient times, enabling them to commune with nature spirits. These entities—also called elemental beings—became immortalized as fairies and gnomes in myth, legend and children's stories.
Today, says Steiner, the instinctive understanding that humanity once had for these elemental beings should be transformed into clear scientific knowledge. He even asserts that humanity will not be able to reconnect with the spiritual world if it cannot develop a new relationship to the elementals. The nature spirits themselves want to be of great assistance to us, acting as "emissaries of higher divine spiritual beings."
1. Elemental Beings of Earth and Water (Helsinki, April 3, 1912)
2. Elemental Beings and the Spirits of the Cosmos (Helsinki, April 4, 1912)
3. Redemption of the Elementals by the Human Being (Düsseldorf, April 12, 1908)
4. Gnomes, Undines, Sylphs, and Salamanders (Berlin, May 16, 1908)
5. Phantoms, Spectres, and Demons (Berlin, June 4, 1908)
6. Elemental Spirits of Birth and Death (Dornach, October 6, 1917)
7. Truth, Beauty, Goodness, and the Elemental Beings (Dornach, December 16, 1922)
8. Elemental Spirits and the Plant World (Dornach, November 2, 1923)
9. Elemental Spirits and the Animal Kingdom (Dornach, November 3, 1923)
10. Ahrimanic Elemental Beings (Torquay, August 19, 1924)
11. The Elemental World and the Future of Humankind (Dornach, May 28, 1922)
12. Perception of the elemental World (Munich, August 26, 1913)