11 October 2016 – Astro-Weather: Vega is the brightest star very high in the west at nightfall. Arcturus, equally bright, is getting low in the west-northwest. The brightest star in the vast expanse between them is Alphecca — the crown jewel of Corona Borealis
Mercury & Jupiter appear side by side in this morning’s twilight sky. Jupiter, which shines slightly brighter, lies to Mercury’s right.
“What is to be the starting force & impulse for events in social & ethical life must come out of the spiritual world.” ~Rudolf Steiner, New Spiritual Impulses in History” Dornach 16 December, 1917
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
1138 – A massive earthquake strikes Aleppo, Syria. The third deadliest earthquake in history with over 230,000 killed
1582 – Because of the adoption of the Gregorian calendar, this day does not exist in this year in Italy, Poland, Portugal and Spain
1634 – The Burchardi flood: killed around 15,000 in North Friesland, Denmark & Germany
1809 – Along the Natchez Trace in Tennessee, explorer Meriwether Lewis dies under mysterious circumstances at an inn called Grinder’s Stand
1890 – The Daughters of the American Revolution is founded
1906 – San Francisco public school board sparks a diplomatic crisis between the United States & Japan by ordering Japanese students to be taught in racially segregated schools
1918 – The Puerto Rico earthquake shakes the island with a maximum Mercalli intensity of IX (Violent), killing 1116 people
1958 –NASA launches the lunar probe Pioneer 1 which falls back to Earth & burns up
1962 – Second Vatican Council: Pope John XXIII convenes the first ecumenical council of the Roman Catholic Church in 92 years
1968 –NASA launches Apollo 7, the first successful manned Apollo mission, with astronauts Wally Schirra, Donn F. Eisele & Walter Cunningham aboard
1972 – A race riot occurs on the United States Navy aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk off the coast of Vietnam during Operation Linebacker
1984 – Aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger, astronaut Kathryn D. Sullivan becomes the first American woman to perform a spacewalk
2000 – NASA launches STS-92, the 100th Space Shuttle mission, using Space Shuttle Discovery
My POD (Poem Of The Day)
~Before the hawk sailed
In the space between the mountain & the moon
Before magic made the Word
Before Isis was veiled
I flourished in the mirrored sea
Waiting for this life
Representing Anthroposophy: Transforming the World. An overview of our Fall Conference & AGM, 7-9 Oct. 2016 in Spring Valley, NY.
Opening every session, Eurythmy Spring Valley brought the 250 folks who gathered for the event, The Michael Imagination from Rudolf Steiner’s Last Address, inviting us as “disciples of Spirit-Knowledge”, to Take Michael’s Wisdom into our soul’s aspiring, actively!”
In the pre-conference assembly for the School of Spiritual Science, Virgina Sease pondered with us the responsibility to build the body that holds the stream of the Being of Anthroposophy; to bring to bear the human Gemut in a ‘Festival of Knowledge’.
On Oct. 7th, after remembering those who have crossed the Threshold, we heard how things stand now with a balanced budget, and the success of the ever growing Michael Support Circle, as we asked ourselves: How do we meet the World?
Hearing a bit of the biographies of those in the General Council, it’s always interesting to see the influence of the various daughter-initiatives which brings people to Anthroposophy. Before delving into the selection process for the new General Secretary, we heard the history of Henry Monges, the 1st General Secretary for the US, and we followed the stream of continuity, that strives to be a transparent, breathable form, allowing change, initiating interaction & connection.
Torin Finser spoke of the idea of a ‘Recognition Society’, where we really meet each other, soul to soul, in a ‘School of Unselfishness’, in a ‘Fellowship of Doing’. We heard several times throughout the weekend, of the old practice of ‘sponsorship’, as a way of reaching out to, and acknowledging those who are seeking to do good work. Could this be revived in our time?
We had presentations from Groups, speaking to how they work to represent Anthroposophy in the world. The 1st to share was the NYC Branch. Their storefront bookstore brings in a lot of folks from off the street. Instead of trying to push anthroposophy, their method is to ask: What brought them in? What questions are living in them? They also co-sponsor many events with other spiritual groups, providing space to seekers from various traditions.
Dottie Zold and the young folks from the Elderberries Café in LA brought their contrasting way of working, primarily with youth and social issues.
We heard from John Beck, director of communications, whose inspired initiative is to bring Spiritual Science into the universities as part of a ‘Foundation for the Humanities’, a kind of moral science, so needed in our educational system. A good way to apply our “Identity Initiative.”
Elizabeth Roosevelt spoke to the changes within the Eastern Region, as they work to perhaps sub-divide the geographical areas to better serve.
The hard working Judith Kiely, from the Rudolf Steiner Library, gave a report. And we heard about the work of the Prison Outreach Program. After each session, our facilitated conversations were enlivening.
Fred Dennehy shared insights into ‘The Art of the Mysteries: Esoteric Meaning in Sophocles and Shakespeare’, to prep us for the artistic presentations in the Development of Consciousness through Drama -scenes from Odeipus Rex, and A Mid-Summer Night’s Dream in eurythmy. Stunning!
The next morning, Virginia Sease spoke to, ‘Why Anthroposophy needs America’. She referenced a lecture Rudolf Steiner gave to the workers that said: ‘Americans would develop a materialistic caricature of anthroposophy instinctive to a spiritual comprehension of the outer world’. We heard of the ‘shining time of America’, in the Age of Aquarius, 4400 AD. We were reminded of the contributions of individualities like Ralph Waldo Emerson, who didn’t call themselves anthroposophists, but who worked none the less in the school of Michael. We looked at the polarity to this school that wants to literally freeze the body (cryogenics) and cultivate the geographic double that seeks to harden the intellect and will, but can’t take hold of the heart or feeling realm. The Native Americans knew this.
Virginia reminded us that 10 years after the laying of the Foundation Stone in 1913, Steiner spoke for the 1st time about the need to experience anthroposophy with the heart, with a ‘living beingness’ that connects us to the essence of Anthroposophia, who came in with Michael to share a universal task, from 2 different perspectives, knocking on our hearts door, that we may live the call from the Foundation Stone Meditation to: Practice SPIRIT-RECALLING, Practice SPIRIT-MINDFULNESS, Practice SPIRIT-BEHOLDING – That we may develop our relationship to the Christ Being. That we may truly embody: ‘Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness’.
As the sharing from groups continued, we heard from the Berkshire-Taconic Branch, and the Threefold Branch in Spring Valley, about their insights and challenges in representing anthroposophy in their communities. What came through most clearly is the fact that these successful branches consciously work to be inclusive with all the Steiner initiatives, going so far as to have ‘wandering conversations’ that visit the various sites in their area. Also strong – cultivating the desire to connect with the suggested themes of the year from the Goetheanum.
Herbert Hagens brought his wisdom and humor to our understanding of the adversarial powers in ‘Through Light and darkness’ setting the stage for scenes from Steiner’s 2nd Mystery Drama, presented by Barbara Renold’s troupe.
On Sunday we learned about the Collegium of the School of Spiritual Science formed in 1986, working with the section leaders as well as holding the General Section, now referred to as the Universal Human Section.
The Council of Anthroposophical Organizations shared their very important work of connecting the various initiatives, a glorious list of cooperation.
We thanked Marion Leon for her amazing contributions, and heard the remarkable history of Virginia Sease’s years with the Society, as we then welcomed Joan Sleigh.
Torin Finser as the ‘Ferryman’ literally passed the oar to John Bloom, our new General Secretary, who asked: “Can we be an invitation? He spoke of the need to tap, beyond the members, an ‘inverse endowment’, a spiritual endowment, that fosters a radical interest in the other, a regenerative social 3-folding where we are all endowment managers to this legacy. We must take the risk to transform ourselves and the world, awakening to our task as Americans, adding to the evolution of human consciousness. A dance between the “I” and the world. John emphasized that whenever we have a crisis it is an opportunity to be more fully human, to build community, to be more active. He stressed that sustainability calls for us to ask the Percival question, and to be of service. He noted how working for the RSF enabled him to free up his time so that he can serve – one of the goals of social 3-folding.
Joan Sleigh, the 1st mother to be a representative on the Vorstand, envisions English, as well as other international languages having more of a presence in Dornach. She will labor to network, bringing collaboration, inclusiveness, and the acceptance of others, into what she sees as her role of ‘servant leadership’. She shared a picture given to her by Torin Finser, of the horizontal & the vertical – a cross – that brings into balance our individuality from the cosmos, with the cosmopolitan consciousness of the ‘One World’ or ‘as Wendell Berry says: ‘Only World’- the penetration of the genius of the land, extending beyond ourselves to ‘Guard the solitude of the other’ and yet to recognize the need to see, hear and tend to the other, bringing the cosmos, the environment & the earth into play, so that we can influence and challenge the world with anthroposophical ideas.
There were various breakout groups & night-time camp fires. Throughout the conference we were graced with the presence of two Native American Elders. And the enlivening power of the youth, who are looking to be more visible in the society. They seek more intergenerational conversations. They want to ask – what they call ‘uncomfortable questions’, like: Where is the moral-social responsibility in our society? Can we be more inclusive of race and more conscious of elitism? Are we truly an open society? Can there be a representative from the youth section on the General Council?
The weekend ended with an offering of The Foundation Stone Mediation by Eurythmy Spring Valley that was profound, and left us with an afterimage of courage, hope and beauty, in our collective striving.
Festivals Coordinator & Council Member of The Rudolf Steiner Branch, Chicago, and the Central Regional Council of The Anthroposophical Society
Reverse Ritual – Understanding Anthroposophy Through the Rhythms of the Year