Adversity / Resilience…

Those who work with the Original indications in the Calendar of the Soul know that Rudolf Steiner lists the birth & death days, as well as other significant occurrences of various individualities, along with the dates in the calendar.  He said of this: “What is presented here can be useful to those who wish to follow the path of mankind’s spiritual development” ~Rudolf Steiner

TODAY 31 August in 1943 – Deathday of Elisabeth Vreede, a Dutch mathematician, astronomer & Anthroposophist – one of Rudolf Steiner’s closest co-workers, part of the the original Vorstand in Dornach 

Elisabeth Vreede was born in Holland, at The Hague, on 16 July 1879. She was the second child of her father, who was a lawyer, & her mother, who was devoted to charitable work. She was a sensitive person, & later on in her life she played an important part in the Anthroposophical life in Holland.

Elisabeth Vreede came into contact with Theosophy in her home growing up. She was interested early on in the starry sky, & while learning French, she read the works of Camille Flammarion, a French astronomer & author. Because of his scientific background, he approached spiritism & reincarnation from the viewpoint of the scientific method, writing, “It is by the scientific method alone that we may make progress in the search for truth. Religious belief must not take the place of impartial analysis. We must be constantly on our guard against illusions.”

At the University of Leyden she studied mathematics, astronomy, Sanskrit, & philosophy (especially Hegel). She was also actively involved in student life, founding a boat club & was a council member of the students’ union.

After receiving her diploma in 1906, she gave instruction at a higher girl’s school in mathematics until 1910. From 1910, she lived in Berlin, worked on her dissertation, & occasionally worked as a secretary for Rudolf Steiner. In April 1914, she moved to Dornach to help in the building of the first Goetheanum & was often found there carving wood.

During the War years (1916/17) Elisabeth Vreede broke off from her residence in Dornach in order to work in Berlin as a coworker of Elisabeth Rotten, a Quaker, peace activist & educational progressive, looking after prisoners of war. She was very much aware of the life & sufferings of her contemporaries.

Einige Briefe aus dem Jahr 1943, Elisabeth Vreede

Her first meeting with Rudolf Steiner took place at the Theosophical Congress in London in 1903. Vreede was leader of the mathematics & astronomy sections in the Goetheanum in Dornach from 1926 till 1935. In her capacity as leader of the Mathematical-Astronomical Section she wrote a monthly letter, then available by subscription, about both modern astronomy & classical astrology in the light of spiritual science. The letters included explanations of the fundamentals of astronomy & discussions of astrology in the modern world, with reference to such topics as the procession of the equinoxes, comets, solar & lunar eclipses, & the meaning of the Christian holidays such as Easter & Whitsun. The Letters in English translation were published in 2007 with the title Astronomy and Spiritual Science.

Cichorei | Elisabeth Vreede

Rudolf Steiner said of her: ‘this individuality does not wish to be recognized …’ Elisabeth Knottenbelt in her memoirs describes statements about her: that ‘she incarnated too early’ for the sake of serving Rudolf Steiner. “for this task [the work with Rudolf Steiner] she had assumed the sacrifice of a premature incarnation. One who, for the sake of a spiritual mission, comes in this way to earth too early must forego a lot. To a great extent one leaves one’s karmic circle of human beings behind in the spiritual word. Her life was thus really a quite lonely one, only a few persons were grouped around her without any real connection.”

After the War, Rudolf Steiner developed his idea of the threefold social order & she too had an intense interest in this initiative & work. She was the first to bring this idea of a threefold social order to England.

Around 1918, Dr. Vreede began to construct the library & archive at the Goetheanum. Using her own means, she purchased the expensive lecture transcripts as soon as they were typed from notes. In 1920 she moved to Arlesheim, Switzerland, where she had built a little house for herself. It was the second house for which Steiner had given the model in 1919.

In 1924, Steiner appointed her to head the Mathematical-Astronomical Section of the School of Spiritual Science of the recently reestablished Anthroposophical Society, & she belonged to the board of directors of the general Anthroposophical Society from 1925 to 1935.

Elisabeth Vreede - Alchetron, The Free Social Encyclopedia

In 1935 the separation within the Anthroposophical Society took place & she was expelled from the executive council & excluded along with her long-time friend & co-member, Dr. Ita Wegman from the board of directors. She was also cut off from the observatory & archives that she herself helped assemble.

The last years of her life became more lonely. She was cut off from her friends abroad by the War. The death of Ita Wegman at the beginning of March, 1943, was a great shock for her.

Astronomy and Spiritual Science: The Astronomical Letters of Elisabeth  Vreede: Vreede, Elisabeth, Koetzsch, Ronald, Riegel, Anne, Davidson,  Norman: 9780880105880: Books

Here is a quote from a letter written by her prior to her removal from the executive council: “The Being of Anthroposophy – I myself have always felt it as a spiritual being newly created by Dr. Steiner, as it were the first hierarchical Being that men have begotten, quite young and still underdeveloped, as is the case with a child—a Being that must now begin to develop further through our common work as a ‘community of knowledge’, and with the cooperation of its creator from the spiritual world. Just for this reason I find it so painful when attacks are continually made against part of the active members such as to exclude them from the work, from creating together the Being of Anthroposophy.”

Rudolf Steiner saw her in connection with the Platonic stream, & had indicated that she had incarnated earlier than planned in order to meet him on Earth.

Rudolf Steiner is reputed to have said that Dr. Vreede understood his work more deeply than anyone else.

Dr. Vreede gave a lecture on 3 January 1926, which was first publish in the Anthroposophical Movement in Vol. 6, Nos. 42 to 46, called The World of the Stars and Human Destiny. In it she addressed the appropriate use of Astrology in our time:

You will now understand to what purpose we have a horoscope, and that it is not there in the first instance for our own sake. You will understand that when a horoscope is made for a person’s satisfaction, there is always a certain amount of egoism connected with it; for he does not possess it for this purpose! And if you take the passages in our literature where Dr. Steiner speaks about Astrology (there are passages in many of the cycles and lectures) you will find how he emphasizes again and again that Astrology must be something social, which pays no attention to the individual but has social aims. In a true Astrology only what is universally human is considered and not the satisfaction of the egoism of the human being. By considering it egoistically, that deed of Michael is undone whereby other beings ought to be saved from plunging into the abyss.

When Dr. Steiner asked the position of the stars at the moment of a birth, it was always with reference to children who lacked one or other of the forces just described. It was then possible to learn from it which of these forces was not there in the right sense; thus it could be gathered what this human soul lacked before birth. And then it might be possible under certain circumstances to find a cure. Here we see how the matter is carried away from what is egoistic and into the social, when such abnormal children may in this way find a cure, which otherwise might perhaps not be possible. But in those children in whom certain forces were not brought in at birth these influences remain present. …Thus we see how Astrology can be used when it is kept in Michael’s sense, and not in the sense in which it is so often practiced today.”

In 1928 she invited Willi Sucher to come to Dornach & collaborated with him in working out the death asterograms of historical personalities, which was part of his substantial historic research, & which he further worked out in the late 30’s & 40’s, doing the charts & therapeutic research of special needs children in England & Scotland.

On the anniversary, in 1943, of Rudolf Steiner’s death, she spoke to the circle of friends & co-workers at the Ida Wegman clinic. They wanted to commemorate not just Rudolf Steiner but the many others who were leading Anthroposophists but were no longer known to most. She spoke in a devoted way about Edith Maryon, who also died in 1924, & Alice Sauerwein. She portrayed Count Keyserlingk & Louis Werbeck, Caroline von Heydebrand & Eugen Kolisko.

At the beginning of May 1943 she spoke once more on the 400th anniversary of the death of Copernicus. At the lecture it was noticed that only by exceptional exertion could she keep herself upright. Just a few days later on 6 May, she had to take to her bed. She had never been ill nor depended on people until that point. Thanks to the devoted care of Frau Schunemann, she was treated at home until her passing on 31 August 1943 in Ascona.

The stars bear for us the traces of the Deeds of the Gods which lead through the Beings of the hierarchies to the frontiers of Divinity Itself.” ~Elisabeth Vreede 

31 August 2022 – “Speaking with the Stars” – from AstrosopherJonathan Hilton:
I want to call to your awareness the steady permeation of the sphere around the Earth with small satellites which communicate with ground receivers to provide a global internet web network around our planet. The larger company creating this web of internet satellites is SpaceX, owned by Elon Musk. Starlink is the name of this particular component of the SpaceX corporation. Their goal is to create a network of up to 30,000 small satellites in low orbit around the Earth to form a complete internet web for global access on all parts of the Earth. As of July, 3,000 satellites have been put into orbit. Today is one of five launches in August of about 60 satellites per launch, adding another 300 satellites.

Astronomers are objecting to these satellites because they create light pollution in space obstructing astronomical viewing. The white lines are trails of light from 25 of 60 recently launched Starlink satellites.

The deeper issue is of course the permeation of the sphere around the Earth with 30,000 communication satellites forming this electronic web! Starlink satellites are in what is called “low orbit” which means they are as close to the Earth as possible without being in an atmospheric layer which will cause them to burn up like meteors do on entering a certain layer of our atmosphere. So they orbit at about 340 miles (550 km) altitude which is above the life ether sphere in what is called the thermosphere, which covers a long range of distance and can also be called the cosmic warmth ether layer. The lower levels of this layer are where we find the aurora events.

The question then is in what ways this web of satellites and their accompanying electro/magnetic activity affects the spiritual layers of our Earth, even the capacities for spiritual thoughts to ascend and descend from the heavens. One must not see this strictly spatially but that the spatial is an image of a consciousness which seeks to consume, so to speak, or perhaps subsume, spiritual consciousness into its realm.

So how do we respond to a technological process enveloping our Earth in a web of internet? One can only meet it by first being full awake to what is happening and second by meeting this technological consciousness with spiritual consciousness. One way to do this through astrosophy is to realize that our picture of the cosmos as a spatial realm of matter is false. Rather is the cosmos a great realm of consciousness of beings of ascending ranks, who wish to participate with humanity in its evolutionary process, as well as human beings ascending and descending from death and into birth, bringing the will of the divine into Earth existence and carrying the fruits of life into the cosmos.

The higher beings do not interfere in our freedom but do await our conscious union with them as co-creators in building the new cosmos of spiritual substance born out of our transformative working in the Earth.

When we work out of astrosophy to not picture the planets as material bodies, or “energies”, but rather as spheres of higher consciousness which we can, through a path of cognition, hear and unite ourselves with, then we break through the web of electronic ahrimanic deception into the realm of true being.

With warm greetings, Jonathan Hilton,

Rudolf Steiner’s Lectures on this day



Feast Day of Joseph of Arimathea & Nicodemus. Rudolf Steiner speaks about these individualities as initiates many times. Here are a few examples:

12 – Birthday of Caligula

1528 – Deathday of  Matthias Grünewald a German Renaissance painter of religious works who ignored Renaissance classicism to continue the style of late medieval Central European art into the 16th century. Only ten paintings—several consisting of many panels—& thirty-five drawings survive, all religious, although many others were lost at sea in the Baltic on their way to Sweden as war booty. His largest and most famous work is the Isenheim Altarpiece

1740 – Birthday of Johann Friedrich Oberlin, mystic, philanthropist, social Christian. Rudolf Steiner spoke about him in his lectures on Occult History

1803 – Meriwether Lewis & William Clark start their expedition to the west

1869 – Deathday of Mary Ward, Irish astronomer & entomologist, killed when she fell under the wheels of an experimental steam car built by her cousins. She was the world’s first person known to be killed by a motor vehicle

1886 – The 7.0 Charleston earthquake hits South Carolina. Sixty people were killed & damage is estimated at $5–6 million

1888 – Mary Ann Nichols is murdered. She is the first of Jack the Ripper’s confirmed victims

1895 – German Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin patents his Navigable Balloon

1897 – Thomas Edison patents the Kinetoscope, the first movie projector

1907 – The Anglo-Russian Convention between the United Kingdom & Russia. The agreement led to the formation of the Triple Entente, linking the Russian Empire, the French Third Republic, & the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Ireland – igniting the Great War.

1939 – Nazi Germany mounts a staged attack on the Gleiwitz radio station, creating an excuse to attack Poland the following day thus starting World War II in Europe

1943 – Deathday of Elisabeth Vreede, a Dutch mathematician, astronomer & Anthroposophist – one of Rudolf Steiner’s closest co-workers, part of the the original Vorstand in Dornach (see above)

1957 –Malaysia gains its independence from the United Kingdom

1980 – Flood in Ibadan after 12 hours of heavy downpour, killed over 300 people & properties worth millions destroyed

1986 – Aeroméxico Flight 498 collides with a Piper PA-28 Cherokee over Cerritos, California, killing 67 in the air & 15 on the ground

1986 – The Soviet passenger liner Admiral Nakhimov sinks in the Black Sea after colliding with the bulk carrier Pyotr Vasev, killing 423.

1987 – Thai Airways Flight 365 crashes into the ocean near Ko Phuket, Thailand, killing all 83 aboard

1997 – Deathday of Diana, Princess of Wales, her companion Dodi Fayed & driver Henri Paul die in a car crash in Paris

1999 – A LAPA Boeing 737-200 crashes during takeoff from Jorge Newbury Airport in Buenos Aires, killing 65, including two on the ground

2005 – The 2005 Al-Aaimmah bridge stampede in Baghdad kills 1,199 people

2012 – A 7.6-magnitude earthquake strikes the Philippine province of Eastern Samar

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15 thoughts on “Adversity / Resilience…

  1. “One way to do this through astrosophy is to realize that our picture of the cosmos as a spatial realm of matter is false. Rather is the cosmos a great realm of consciousness of beings of ascending ranks, who wish to participate with humanity in its evolutionary process, as well as human beings ascending and descending from death and into birth, bringing the will of the divine into Earth existence and carrying the fruits of life into the cosmos.”

    I really do resonate with this statement. I brought up lecture 6 of GA136 in a recent comment.

    This whole lecture serves to support Hilton’s view that a picture of the cosmos is not a ‘spatial realm of matter’. Rather, what we see as physical planets is a ‘notch’. The whole phenomena of our sphere, and ability to perceive the physical, is a result of the actions of rebellious hierarchies. What we are seeing with our eyes is essentially stolen light. With the rebellious hierarchies, they are essentially creating their own cosmos, albeit limited. It is going against ‘true nature’, closing off from the natural hierarchy of the spiritual world. What is even more bizarre about this, is that part of humanity is taking this step even further by creating artificial phenomena based on the actions of rebellious hierarchies, taking us even further from the source:

    We begin to see the process of the aberration of light becoming more and more exponential, parallel to Moore’s law, and the Singularity of Ray Kurzweil. The Internet ‘Cloud Ether’ is soon becoming an aberration of the actual Ether… World Wide Web. Interesting that Steiner refers to a horde of Spidery Beings filling the air and living among Man once the Moon rejoins the Earth around the 8th millennium (nano-bots? The Borg?). The closer we evolve into a collective, inspired by Christ, Philadelphia… there is an equal counterpart doing the same in a corrupt form, which just so happens to be engrained in the material.

    A War of All Against All can only happen in a climate where Personal (Ego) Intelligence dominates. Pan-Intelligence transcends the individual personality, much aligned with what Vreed illustrates in regards to Horoscopes. But unfortunately, most Horoscopes deal with the individual (Ego). This is a crucial distinction, for in the future – as Steiner has pointed out – we will only be able to know ourselves through the people around us (I am paraphrasing here, but it is something like that… as in, everything becomes externalised, which also goes hand in hand with two ‘new’ races in the future: Good and Evil. Whereas now, you cannot see it manifested outwardly, but it will become more and more noticeable in the future).

    1. I think much on this idea of Space (7) & Time (12) as well as the way the collective often takes spiritual concepts & either trivializes or demonizes them.
      Your example of the Cloud is well taken.
      The fact that the Name Isis has become synonymous with terrorism – And now NASA has named their new moon project Artemis…sets my teeth on edge & my heart ache…

      The task we are facing in this time of the consciousness soul is how to become individuated but not to the point of egoism & social exclusion – We must do our own personal development so as to serve…That then makes us worthy to co-create a new Christ-centered Social sphere…

      1. Exactly. Either trivialising or demonising spiritual concepts. Great way to put it. This is why the Parsifal/Amfortas mystery is important and relevant to our age. It takes the utmost self honest assessment, earnestness, good faith, moral aptitude, courage, etc… to face this issue. There really is no short answer to it, but to – as you say – really work work on our own personal development. Otherwise, we skip a step and try to do good by helping others before we actually help ourselves… and in a practical sense, we kind of fail short to help others as well – for it serves more the Ego and form of escapism of sorts. Self-abolition.

        The abolition of self is really quite deadly, and we see this in public opinion. Eric Hoffer wrote extensively on this, even though he wasn’t an anthroposophist – from what I know. It is relevant because many would opt out to abolish themselves completely and rather identify with the collective, but more accurately, a collective group on the material plane. This is the complete opposite direction true Inner Freedom, which can be a painful and lonely path to go down (although necessary).

        1. What you are bringing up helps us to see that it’s always about balance, patience & lonely often painfully hard work.
          Can’t say I know much about Eric Hoffer or this term Aelf-abolition…

          1. I got the term mixed up. It is ‘self-sacrifice’, as he uses it. Here is an example:
            “To ripen a person for self-sacrifice he must be stripped of his individual identity and distinctness. He must cease to be George, Hans, Ivan, or Tadao—a human atom with an existence bounded by birth and death. The most drastic way to achieve this end is by the complete assimilation of the individual into a collective body. The fully assimilated individual does not see himself and others as human beings. When asked who he is, his automatic response is that he is a German, a Russian, a Japanese, a Christian, a Moslem, a member of a certain tribe or family. He has no purpose, worth and destiny apart from his collective body; and as long as that body lives he cannot really die.” – Eric Hoffer, The True Believer (p65)

            He obviously does not promote such a thing, but this does show how difficult life can be… and many would chose a route of self-sacrifice (self-destruction) where their individuality is essentially gone. Nihilism, I suppose? It is a yearning for community, unity… but it is purely on the material plane. In contrast, without sacrificing one’s self, one can take that pain, that feeling of frustration and separation, as use it as motivation to find unity on a spiritual level, which essentially is the search for truth… not a ‘checking out’.

            1. It’s like what we were talking about before – it seems Hoffer has taken a sacred spiritual concept & made it into a destructive force. The ideal of self-sacrifice is shown to us thru the life of Christ, or Someone like Steiner or Christian Rosenkreutz – or the picture of a mother doing anything to protect their child – not a self-annihilation in a kind of throw back Nationalism…

              1. Yes, truly it is the opposite kind of sacrifice! However, Hoffer was inquiring into the social phenomena, not promoting it. “A mass movement attracts and holds a following not because it can satisfy the desire for self-advancement, but because it can satisfy the passion for self-renunciation.”
                He saw the motives of self sacrifice in the masses as something akin to self-annihlation. He was pointing out symptoms, and I think this is important. People who who physically die being clung to materiality, cut off from the spiritual, later in the spiritual world become destructive influences. I am loosely summarizing this, but I believe this is stated in Fall of Spirits of Darkness.

                This is also aligned with Hamerling’s thoughts, that we are heading towards an era of Homunculous. And we know what that implies.

              2. ahh, yes, I see. I can relate this to the phenomenon of how the ‘covid crisis’ induced folks to say that if you don’t wear a mask or get vaccinated you are selfish – not willing to ‘sacrifice for the social good’. This makes sense since as you say deep down we all truly do have a ‘passion for self-renunciation’, unfortunately this is a blind materialistic way of proving it.

    2. In the spiritual sense, what is ‘past’ has not really passed away but is still there. In physical life men have this conception in regard to Space only. If you stand in front of a tree, then go away and look back at it later on, the tree has not disappeared; it is still there. In the spiritual world it is so in regard to Time. If you experience something at one moment, it has passed away the next so far as physical consciousness is concerned; spiritually conceived, it has not passed away. You can look back at it just as you looked back at the tree. Richard Wagner showed that he had knowledge of this, in the remarkable words: “ Time here becomes Space ”. It is an occult fact that in the spiritual world there are distances which do not come to expression on the physical plane. That an event is past means simply that it is farther away from us. I want you to bear this in mind.
      Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 182 – The Dead Are With Us – Nuremburg, February 10, 1918

      1. So in the case of a ‘tree’, as the example you use, when you mean it ‘has not passed’ are you referring to ‘memory’ or the impression of the tree itself? It is interesting you mention Wagner, for music is one of those mediums where it comes and goes. But, the memory of it can last. This is part of the reason why I quit performing music for a living; I certainly wished that much of the popular music I had to perform six nights a week stayed in the past… but it would always pop up and follow me everywhere I go, constantly – again, even though the actual ‘time’ it took for the song to be played may have last only five minutes, the impression last for hours, or even days… weeks. I don’t know if that is relevant to what you are saying, I am still trying to grasp it. I will certainly have to read the lecture.

        1. The analogy of the tree is meant to illustrate the idea that just because we aren’t standing in front of the tree in that moment doesn’t mean it doesn’t still exist in Time & Space…
          Interesting to hear you relate your experience around being a musician for hire & how that can kill the soul…Since those pop songs became like an earworm that enslaved you.

  2. Elisabeth Vreede never received a PhD degree. See:
    Colloquium Astronomy and Anthroposophy, Mathematisch-Astronomische Sektion, Goetheanum, Dornach,
    Switzerland: 20 June, 2020.
    Elizabeth Vreede and the Cloak of Invisibility (‘Tarnkappe’)
    Dr John Paull

  3. Thank you Hazel for so much important information, and thank you Jonathan Hilton for keeping us aware of what’s happening in the heavenly realms. It seems rather telling that the woman who understood Steiner’s work better than everyone else would be expelled from the Society, and even from the archives she helped establish. I don’t know the details (thankfully, it’d probably be depressing), but it seems to be the way it goes in this world – if you’re not doing anything that truly matters, you’re not being criticized. If you don’t mind being hated and scorned by others, do something of significance.

    In regards to horoscopes, I’m in complete agreement with Vreede. When I help others to know themselves better through their horoscope, I always give the disclaimer that it has value only for that purpose – to Know Thyself. This can include the dangers of egoism, as you point out. Steiner says the ego was given to us as a force for good, but that it must be kept under our control. Jonathan’s words about remembering that the planets are shadows of a deeper reality is so important for us to understand. It’s also a subject where keeping a sense of balance is crucial – remembering that while they have a physical presence, each planet represents a plane of consciousness. A perfect example of this is when Steiner said that in future we would have a Venus and a Jupiter consciousness – yet these are actual physical planets, just like our Earth.

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