Fire & Ice

Kristena West

Dear Friends –

Today, 13 February 2020, God willing & the snow doesn’t cause delays, I am going to The First Class Intensive Weekend at the Threefold Center in Spring Valley New York – so I wanted to make my V-Day post today in honor of the anniversary of Rev. Richard Dancey’s Valentine’s death day.

And so it is, that now it’s three years since Richard Dancey died, & Valentine’s Day has taken on a much deeper dimension. He comes up in my thoughts at all the obvious times, when I’m at the Christian Community where his picture graces the sacristy, & many times when I am writing my blog. He always encouraged me to write & inspired me so much over the years with his amazing storytelling.

This morning when I woke, this picture of “The Path of Shambhala” by Nicholas Roerich was in my mind’s eye.

Shambhala =”the golden place of peace/tranquility/happiness/just-so”.

In Tibetan Buddhist & Hindu traditions, Shambhala is a mythical kingdom hidden in the Hollow Earth.

Hindu texts such as the Vishnu Purana mention Shambhala as the birthplace of Kalki, the final incarnation of Vishnu who will usher in a new Golden Age (Satya Yuga)

The Kalachakra, a Buddhist text, prophesies that when the world declines into war & greed, & all is seems lost, the 25th Kalki king, Lord Maitreya, will emerge from Shambhala with a huge army to vanquish “Dark Forces” & usher in a worldwide Golden Age. Using calculations from the Kalachakra Tantra, scholars put this date at 2424 AD.

The legends, teachings & restorative practices associated with Shambhala are older than any of these organized religions. Shambhala may very well have been an indigenous belief system, of ‘sun worshipers’ yet to come, with amazing healing abilities, wisdom & long life.

The idea of Shambhala is said to have “outer”, “inner”, &”alternative” meanings. As the 14th Dalai Lama noted during his 1985 Kalachakra initiation, Shambhala is not an ordinary country:

“Although those with special affiliation may actually be able to go there through their karmic connection, nevertheless it is not a physical place that we can actually find. We can only say that it is a pure land, a pure land in the human realm. And unless one has the merit & the actual karmic association, one cannot actually arrive there”.

During the late-19th century, Theosophical Society co-founder HP Blavatsky alluded to the Shambhala myth, giving it currency for Western occult enthusiasts. Madame Blavatsky, who claimed to be in contact with a Great White Lodge of Himalayan Adepts, mentions Shambhala in several places.

Later esoteric writers further emphasized & elaborated on the concept of a secret land inhabited by a hidden mystic brotherhood whose members labor for the good of humanity.

Alice A. Bailey claims Shamballa is an extra-dimensional or spiritual reality on the etheric plane, a spiritual centre where the governing deity of Earth, Sanat Kumara, dwells as the highest Avatar of the Planetary Logos of Earth, & is said to be an expression of the Will of God.

Nicholas and Helena Roerich led a 1924-1928 expedition aimed at Shambhala.

French Buddhist Alexandra David-Néel associated Shambhala with Balkh in present day Afghanistan, also offering the Persian Sham-i-Bala, “elevated candle” as an etymology of its name.

In a similar vein, the Gurdjieffian J. G. Bennett published speculation that Shambalha was Shams-i-Balkh, a Bactrian sun temple.

And of course our beloved Dr. Steiner spoke about Shamballa many times, especially in regards “The Reappearance of the Christ in the Etheric”

But none of all that really mattered when Richard Dancey stood in the Upper room at the Rudolf Steiner Branch & told us the legend of Shambhala on Easter 4 years ago .

And now Today I relive the tale of this mythical place that he told us that bright Easter afternoon, & the feeling it invoked in me resonates still – fuel for the journey into this inner realm that lives within each of us – A spiritual reality illuminated by his enthusiasm & magical ability to carry us all along in the telling. I will continue to follow this journey with you Richard, knowing you are living into this future reality in the spiritual world today, paving the way for us all.

Blessings dear friend

May my heart-love reach to soul-love.
May my love’s warmth shine to spirit-light.
Thus, I draw near to you.
Thinking spiritual thoughts WITH you,
Feeling cosmic love IN you,
Willing in spirit THROUGH you –
Weaving with you
One in experience

~Rudolf Steiner

Image result for fire & ice painting

~Walk willingly between fire & ice…
Where the shadows of forever
& the light of Now
Clutch & release the world…
The empty filling & the full emptying…
So live with the certainty
That your Yin loves your Yang
Over & over, in to the out…
& dance the joy of movement ever changing…

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The Truth about Valentines’ Day
~According to hag

The eve of the ides of February is the time when St. Valentine’s Day is celebrated. Have you ever wondered where this hearts & flowers frivolity came from? Well it wasn’t always about chocolates & sappy hallmark cards. Let’s look back to the origins of this Holiday & set the record straight. For one thing, Valentinus was a very common Roman name meaning strong, effective fertility. Please excuse me if I must commit a little history here, but basically the church fathers were trying to replace a very potent ancient Roman festival called Lupercalia with a Christian martyr named Valentinus, to usurp the power of this rite of great antiquity. Now don’t get me wrong, frivolity has its place, & so it was in the festival of Lupercalia, a ritual of purification & fertility, sacred to the Wolf-Goddess Rumina. Maybe you’ve heard of Her, the She-Wolf & founder of Rome?

Image result for lupercalia wolf

The festival of Lupercalia was celebrated on the ides of February (the 15th)…& name ‘February’ comes from the Latin word ‘februare’, meaning tools of purification.

The rite began in the cave of the She-Wolf, where legend has it, the founders of the city, Romulus & Remus, were suckled by the Wolf-Goddess. As fate would have it a sacred fig tree (symbol of the feminine sex) grew outside the cave & vestals would come, with cakes made from the corn of last year’s grain harvest, laying them beneath the fig tree as offerings.

Meanwhile Rumina’s priests would preside over the sacrifice of a goat. Now this was a pretty big deal since this was the only time of year a goat was used as a sacrifice. It was an offering given to the guardian angels associated with the crops, & the ancestral guardians, as well as the guardians of the city & community. The priests would  mark their foreheads with its blood, which was then ritualistically wiped clean with a ‘Februare’ or tool of purification, which was, in this case, wool, dipped in the milk of the goat. The priests would then dress themselves in the skin of the sacrificial animal, & using strips of the hide they would fashion a scourge, another tool of purification. They would then jog around in their little loincloths, running up & down Rome’s seven hills, wielding their strips of hide, ‘purifying’ anything & anybody in their path.

Women seeking pregnancy & easy childbirth lined the streets, extending hands, or baring their bodies, to afford a better target, to be briefly & symbolically ‘purified’ as they passed by.

Fertility, of course, is worthless without sex, so as time passed, sex became the festival’s primary focus for the average Roman citizen, & the occasion took on a character much like carnival.

When the church tried to ban it, the people needless to say, stubbornly resisted. Hence the substitute of St. Valentine’s Day emerged, with its more innocent version of love.

And let’s face it folks, the real Cupid was not the cute little cherub he is today, but rather, a very randy Roman God responsible for a more tangible fertility.

So all the frivolous frivolity aside, let’s take ourselves back to the days when the Wolf Goddess Rumina, was at the heart of this time of celebration, as we purify & purge all of our afflictions & ills before we begin to plant the new seeds of creativity. For by the ancient calendars, Winter is ended by the ides of February, & Spring, a season of new beginnings, has arrived.

So on Valentine’s Day, let’s remember the potent powers of the Wolf, asking Her to spare the herds, taking only what She must, to keep us free & fertile & abundant, like the crops – as fruitful, & as wild as we want to be.

Peace & Blessed Bee…



KNOW THYSELF – Karma and Anthroposophic Psychology — an Easter-Tide Retreat 9 -12 April 2020,

Registration is now open for the Easter-Tide Retreat: “Karma and Anthroposophic Psychology“, presented by the Central Regional Council and the Association for Anthroposophic PsychologyView this email in your browser

Karma and Anthroposophic Psychology — an Easter-Tide Retreat

Maundy Thursday 9 April 2020 Noon through Easter Sunday at 3 pm
Rudolf Steiner Branch 4249 N. Lincoln Ave. Chicago, IL

AAP:James A. Dyson, M.D., Roberta Nelson, Ph.D., and David Tresemer, Ph.D. with Susan Overhauser, Ph.D.

CRC:Marianne Fieber, Alberto Loya, Hazel Archer-Ginsberg, David Howerton, Lisa Dalton

Eurythmist: Mary Ruud


  • Art-Acts
  • Star Wisdom
  • The Karma Exercises
  • Experiential PAGEANT on Holy Saturday: ‘Know Thyself’
  • Easter Sunrise Songtrail
  • Optional service at the Christian Community
  • Communal meals and time for Conversation


  • ‘Living into Karma through the Senses’
  • ‘How to find the Self in a Sea of Karma’
  • ‘Unfolding the Enigma of the Saturn Path’
  • ‘The Gesture of Karma’
  • ‘Christ as Lord of Karma — how do I access this in terms of my personal psychology?’

(Program subject to change)

$140 Conference fee includes 1 meal a day and artistic supplies

Click here for program information and to register

If you have questions, please contact Alberto Loya


The Sacred Gateway: Conscious Living, Conscious Dying, and the Journey Beyond 2020

04/16/2020 – 2:00 PM – 04/19/2020 -1:00 PM PT


April 16 – 19, 2020
Detroit Waldorf School, Detroit, MI

  • Bring a new consciousness to your own life and death
  • Support those who are crossing and who have crossed over 
  • Expand your practice and knowledge of working with the dying

Through interactive workshops, triad sharing, keynote discussions with Rev. Patrick Kennedy, Sandra LaGrega and Jennifer Fox, Dr. Melinda Toney, and Hazel Archer-Ginsberg,  and more, as well as experiential and artistic activities, we will consciously explore the spiritual and practical aspect of human life and death. 

Conference Fees:

  • $280 Supporter Level
  • $195 Standard ASA Member Rate
  • $215 Non-Member Rate 
  • $60 Youth Rate (Age 35 and under)

Limited scholarships available. Click here to apply.

Click Here to Join the ASA!

Conference Schedule 
(Note: Workshops Subject to Additions/Minor Changes)

Pre-conference Activities: 

Thursday, April 16  

2 pm Tour of Brightmoor Maker’s Space  

4 pm  Screening of short film The Art of Natural Death Care  Detroit Waldorf School Auditorium- By Donation  

7pm Screening of a Will For The Woods Detroit Waldorf School Auditorium- Open to the public!  $10 Suggested Donation 

Friday, April 17

10:00-1:00p Registration Opens 
10:00-12:00p Choose from two pre-conference activities at the Detroit Waldorf School 

  • Exploring the Beauty of home funerals and green burial: Photo essay and Q&A with Merilynne Rush, MS, End-of-Life Doula Trainer and Home Funeral Guide (Open to the public. Donation accepted at the door) 
  • The Story of Detroit: A Walking Songtrail (Meet in the school playground. Approx. two mile walk)

12:00p Bag Lunch (For Purchase) 
1:00p  Conference Opening 
1:45-3:00p  Keynote Discussion with Rev. Patrick Kennedy: Befriending Death 
3:00-3:30p Break
3:30-5:00p  Three-Day Themed Workshops (Chosen on site. Choose one theme and attend Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) ALL WORKSHOPS CHOSEN ON SITE  
Fuller descriptions coming soon! 

  • From Loss to Connection Through the Arts: Reading, Writing and Drawing with Marianne Dietzel and Maureen Flannery
    Together we will invite our loved ones across the threshold to join us in experiencing practices thet connect and heal. We will read to the dead, write prose and poetry, and draw from gestures of nature.

5:30-6:30 Choose: Eurythmy (Movement), Singing, or Poetry 
6:30 Evening Appetizer Reception (Included in registration fee) 
7:30-9:00 Evening Performance 

Saturday April 18 – All workshops chosen on site/Saturday Lunch and Dinner for purchase 

8:00 Coffee/Tea/Breakfast Snacks (Included in Regisration Fee) 
8:30-9:15 Choose: Eurythmy (Movement), Singing, or Poetry 
9:30-11:00 Three-Day Themed Workshops   
11:00-11:30 Break
11:30-12:30 Vigil Room Experience  
12:30 – 2:00  Lunch and Table Conversations 

2:15 – 3:45 Topic Workshops
    Workshop Choices Coming Soon! 

3:45-4:15 Break

4:15-5:45 Story Space: Death & Healing 

5:45-7:00 Dinner With Your Dinner Table Groups 

7:30-9:00 Evening Performance with Sarah Putnam: Little Gidding by TS Elliot followed by Memento Mori Ritual  

Sunday, April 19 – All workshops chosen on site

8:00 Coffee/Tea/Breakfast Snacks (Included in Registration Fee) 

8:30-9:15 Choose: Eurythmy (Movement), Singing, or Poetry 

9:30 – 11:00 Three Day Themed Workshops 

11:30-1:00 Green Burial Ceremony and Closing 

Full conference: 
$280 Supporter (This level provides scholarships for other attendees!)
$195 Standard ASA Member Rate/$215 Non-Member Rate/$60 Youth 

Please Note: Cancellation fee of $35 before April 9. No refunds after April 10. 

**Scholarship applications open. Click here to complete your application by March 30!** 
We will get back to you by either March 15th or 30th, depending upon your application date. 

Transportation and Lodging 

The nearest aiport is the Detroit Metro airport, which is 30 minutes away. Please take Uber/Lyft/Taxi to our site. 
Click here for a general transportation FAQ.

Rooms reserved at the following: 

Comfort Inn Detroit at 1999 E Jefferson Ave has a block of rooms available for us. Please go to this link for the $124.00 nightly rate. Breakfast is included, as well as shuttle rides to and from the Detroit Waldorf School. You can also call 313-567-8888 and say that you are with the Sacred Gateway group. 

Want to share a ride or room? You can post your request or respond to requests at our shared room/ride board here. 

Festivals for the Dead. Then & Now. Renew, or Create Your Own Tradition.

with Hazel Archer-Ginsberg – Founder of Reverse Ritual Understanding Anthroposophy through the Rhythms of the Year. Essayist, Lecturer, Poet, Trans-denominational Minister, ‘Anthroposopher’, working as the Festivals Coordinator & Council Member of the Chicago Rudolf Steiner Branch, The Traveling Speakers Program, & the Central Regional Council of the Anthroposophical Society.


~Vitae Sophia~ A Whitsun Festival of United Soul Endeavor

Northeastern Tour May 2020

For more info. Contact Deb Abrahams-Dematte

Eurythmy: AUM = A – I stand for myself, U- I stand for humanity, M – I stand for Life

Social Sculpture: Steiner’s ‘Blue Dot Exercise’- Through Art, the bridge between science & spirit, we warm the ‘I’, to open the heart, in support of healthy community.

What are my gifts-What are my tools? How can I place them in right relationship within the social realm? How can I hone them to strengthen and enhance the world?

Enter the Labyrinth of Vitae Sophia – Human hearts, once warmed, can rise up to meet the source of wisdom, like flowers turning toward the sun.  

Living into the Foundation Stone of Love  – How can we take our individual Inner Whitsun & expand it, into what Steiner calls the “World Festival of Knowledge” a path leading from ‘Sprit Recollection’, to ‘Sprit Sensing’, to ‘Sprit Beholding’?

Hazel Archer-Ginsberg – Founder of Reverse Ritual Understanding Anthroposophy through the Rhythms of the Year. Essayist, Lecturer, Poet, Trans-denominational Minister, ‘Anthroposopher’, working as the Festivals Coordinator & Council Member of the Chicago Rudolf Steiner Branch, The Traveling Speakers Program, & the Central Regional Council of the Anthroposophical Society.

Whitsun 2020 Vitae Sophia

as part of the tour 

3 June 2020 – a Round Table Discussion 7 pm – 9 pm on ‘The Sophia’ with John Bloom, Joan Sleigh, Hazel Archer-Ginsberg & Carrie Schuchardt  at The House of Peace in Ipswich, MA. 

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