• Encountering Elemental Beings – Conversations with Karlik

    by  • 10 August 2017 • Anthroposophy, Non Fiction • 0 Comments

    A prolific lecturer, Rudolf Steiner discussed a wide range of topics from spirituality to agriculture. He even lectured on the significance of elemental beings such as gnomes and fairies to our world.

    Existing in many folk and spiritual traditions some people believe they can engage and communicate with elementals. Ursula Burkhard was one such person. Blind from birth, she experienced gnomes and other elementals from early childhood.

    A bestseller in 1980s Germany, this unique book charts Ursula’s remarkable experiences, particularly her relationship with Karlik, the gnome. Read on for a preview extract.


    The breakthrough began when we were reading Goethe’s Faust in the final year at school. The images and characters of the drama gripped me so strongly that I was no longer able to suppress my own inner experience. Shortly afterwards, when I was a student, I gave up any religious scruples and the guilty conscience that went with them. During lectures on early English literature, I learned about the Christianity of the Irish monks and its close connection with nature. I was able to relate to that. I felt released by these early Christian figures and the spirit of their time.

    From then on, I enjoyed family outings without restraint. While the others were taking in the beauty of the landscape with their eyes, I discovered through my inner perception beauties they never dreamt of.

    Once we were sitting in a meadow on the edge of a wood. It was in Alsace. A gnome walked slowly out from among the trees. He approached me and looked at me with astonished eyes that grew wider and wider. I looked at him with my inner eyes.

    ‘Can you see me?’ he asked.

    ‘Yes,’ I replied.

    Whereupon he shook his head, stood for a while speechless, then went thoughtfully back into the wood. I realised: gnomes too have lost their contact with us human beings. So it is reciprocal; we must get used to each other again.

    At that time it was not clear to me why we can experience an elemental being in this way, as if it is moving in space. Now however, I expect it is something like this: a gnome is experienced pictorially in a particular place because he concentrates on it. Through my inner experience of nature, the woodland gnome felt drawn to me. I saw this pictorially, as if he were approaching me. He needed to get clear in his mind what was happening between us. I experienced his paying attention to me as my being looked at. That is how pictorial experiences can be explained and, our clear thinking will dispel any notion or superstition about a material but rarefied spiritual world.


     Karlik Encounters with Elemental Beings

    More about Ursula Burkhard

    Ursula Burkhard (1930-2011) was born in Basel, Switzerland. She studied German, English and Slavic literature. She also attended teacher training college at Dornach, Switzerland before working as a teacher for blind as well as sighted children. She did radio broadcasts for Radio Basel, as well as holding numerous courses for parents and teachers. She wrote a number of children’s books about elementals and little folk.

    Encounter the world of elemental beings in this intriguing little book of Ursula Burkhard’s memoirs, in which she describes her remarkable experiences with gnomes, fairies and elves.

    Karlik is available from 17th August 2017.

    Discover more about elemental beings

    Nature Spirits of the Trees

    Verena Stael von Holstein learned to communicate with elemental beings in nature, translating their language into human terms. In this volume we hear from the nature spirits of the trees.

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