Rudolf Steiner was born in Kraljevec in the old Austro-Hungarian Empire, now Croatia, on 27 February 1861, and he died in Dornach, near Basle Switzerland, on 30 March 1925. The gifted son of a minor railway official growing up in the small peasant villages of Lower Austria, he attended the village schools, and later the modern school in Wiener Neustadt. In the summer of 1879 at the age of eighteen, Steiner completed his studies in science and mathematics and sat the Realschule in Wiener-Neustadt, gaining his baccalaureate with honourable mention and earning a scholarship to the Technische-Hochschule in Vienna.
As a child, the spiritual world was open to him through his clairvoyant experiences.The young Rudolf was very much aware of the nature spirits and of a life behind the ordinary physical world, not perhaps unlike many other children who spend their childhoods in an unspoilt natural environment. But unlike most children, Steiner continued to be fully aware of such beings throughout his life. As a youngster, he could find no one to share his experiences and recognised that he had to keep silent about them. However, the kind of instinctive clairvoyance he possessed from early childhood could not possibly have sufficed for the spiritual work to which Steiner was to devote his life. His aim was no less to translate his spiritual vision into an exact and impersonal conceptual form capable of being transmitted to others in thoughts and images. For this, his innate clairvoyant capacities would have to be trained and developed through appropriate methods, which he was to describe later in his basic books and elaborate in thousands of lectures. Steiner’s fundamental aim was to reconcile his perception of the spiritual worlds with modern scientific principles and methods - the union of which he would eventually refer to as "spiritual science".This integration of a living spiritual perception with the rational scientific method will form the next stage of human intellectual development.
Moving to Vienna in 1879, he plunged into the rich cultural life of the city and supported himself through university and afterwards by tutoring. Drawn into literary and scholarly work, he formed a close connection with the famous Goethe scholar, Professor Karl Julius Schroer, who arranged for him to edit the scientific works of Goethe for a new complete edition. Later he was invited to Weimar to work in the Goethe-Schiller archives working further on Goethe’s natural scientific writings and also collaborating in a twelve volume edition of Schopenhauer’s works.