Happy New Year of the Trees

8 February 2020 – “Speaking with the Stars”: Full February Supermoon of many names: Last Snow, Hunger, Wolf, Quickening or Brigid’s Moon tonight (exactly so at 1:33 a.m. Sunday morning CST). It’s “super” because it’s only a day & a half from perigee.

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Snow Moon all aglow
Hunger Moon watch us grow
Wolf Moon howling low
Quickening Moon help us know


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Burli Konge

After dark, look for Castor & Pollux high above Bella Luna, Procyon & then brilliant Sirius way off to the Moon’s right, & Regulus below Her

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Today is Tu B’Shvat – the “New Year for the Trees ” which occurs every year on the eve of the Full Quickening Moon, around the time of the Cross Quarter between Winter Solstice & Spring Equinox. This is when the sap begins to rise.

Kabbalists have used the tree as a metaphor to understand the relationship between the spiritual & physical worlds. Spiritual Science tells us that the human being is a reversed plant. Our head is the root. The higher spiritual realms are where these roots come from, which then ultimately manifests their influence through branches & leaves – our heart & lungs & limbs, our thinking, feeling & willing in the world.

In the 16th century, the Kabbalists compiled a Tu B’Shvat “Seder*,” similar to the Seder for Passover. It involves enjoying the fruits of the tree, & discusses philosophical & Kabbalistic concepts, like the idea that by eating with the highest intention we can repair the ‘fall’. The ‘sin’ against the Tree of Knowledge was that Adam & Eve ate its fruit before it was ripe.

Paul Rubens

So, what is it about waiting (perhaps, wading) that transforms knowledge from hurtful to healthy? Do we have faith that the spring will come & everything will grow & ripen in its season?

Through conscious eating, we have a daily opportunity to correct a part of our soul, so deep & intrinsic that it reaches back into the Garden of Eden.

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The custom on Tu B’Shvat is to eat fruits from the seven species for which the Land of Israel is praised: “…a land of wheat and barley and (grape) vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and (date) honey” (Deut. 8:8).

On Tu B’Shvat, it is also customary to eat a “new fruit” something we have not yet tasted this year.

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This festival lets us ask: Am I getting the spiritual food I need, to truly live with grace, or is my tree being blown down by the forces of information overload & rampant materialism?

Am I part of a strong community, providing a warm & nurturing environment? Or am I cast into the pale bleak anonymity of urban life & cyberspace?

Am I looking to future generations knowing that I am providing them with the proper foundations for their lives?

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The word “Shvat” is also related to the Hebrew word for a staff or rod. A staff can be used as a symbol of power; or as a cane to lean on. This is an underlying theme of the month.

So as we open our thinking, feeling & willing to align with the rising sap, in gratitude for the fruits of life; we can use this time to focus on the idea of consciously using our daily behavior as a medium for spirituality.

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*Tu B’Shvat seder

PREPARATIONS: lots of fruit, including: The seven species:

Figs, Dates, Pomegranates, Olives, Grapes(or raisins) wheat = Challah bread and        barley,  various nuts with the shells (walnuts, almonds, pistachios, coconut), and fruits with peels (oranges, pomegranates, avocado) Other fruits with edible seeds (e.g. blueberries) Other fruits with inedible pits (e.g. peaches, plums) Wine or grape juice, both white and red. Charity box


The leader asks: Why do we celebrate the New Year for the trees on Tu B’Shvat?

All say: Since the Holy Temple was destroyed, farmers could no longer bring the First Fruits (Bikkurim) as an offering. So on Tu B’Shvat we offer the “fruit of our lips,” in praise for all the fruit trees in the world.

A participant says: Tu Bishvat marks a new period for taking tithes, a portion of which is given to the poor. Therefore: “When a person is privileged to eat in the presence of Love, they must show appreciation by giving charity to the poor and feeding them, just as The Source in Her bounty feeds them.” (“Zohar” – Parshat Trumah) At this point it is appropriate to pass around a ‘pushka’ to collect tzedakah. After the seder, the money should be donated to a worthy cause.

A participant says: The Mishnah in Tractate Rosh Hashana says that Tu B’Shvat is New Year for the TREE (singular). This reference to a singular tree alludes to “The Tree” — the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden. “And The Divine said: ‘Let the earth put forth grass, herb-yielding seeds, and fruit trees bearing fruit of its kind.’ ‘Fruit tree’ means the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, which put forth blossoms and fruit. ‘Bearing fruit’ is the tzaddik, the basis of the world. ‘Of its kind’ means all the human beings who have in them the spirit of holiness, which is the blossom of that tree. This is the covenant of holiness, the covenant of peace — and the faithful enter into that kind and do not depart from it. The Tzaddik generates, and the tree conceives and brings forth fruit of its kind.” (“Zohar” – Bereishit 33a)

Meditation: “One should intend that they are eating at the celestial table, in the Garden of Eden before the Divine Presence.” (“Raishit Chochma” — Shar HaKedusha)

Take a few moments and think deeply about being in the company of The Divine… sitting at the table of The One… experiencing the sublime spiritual pleasure of a relationship with the Creator Herself.

A participant says: humanity’s name — “Adam” — is derived from the word Earth, adama. And Eve = “a living being’. While humanity is at once the pinnacle of creation, we are also dependent on the earth for our most basic needs. The Torah, refers to the human being as a “tree of the field” (Deut. 20:19). Our sages learn from this verse a prohibition against any needless destruction. In other words, fruit trees serve as the archetype for our relationship and responsibility to our environment. It was through a mistake in eating unripe fruit that caused Adam and Eve’s exile from the Garden of Eden. Eating fruit is a metaphor for our interaction with this world. Correct usage leads to a perfected world and spiritual bliss. Misuse can lead to destruction and spiritual degradation. The seder of Tu B’Shvat is our opportunity to rectify the past iniquity and return once again to our rightful place within the Garden.

All say: Adam and Eve by eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil created consequences. To get back to wholeness we eat our fruit today with pure intentions, as if from the Tree of Life.

A participant says: In the Talmud, Rabbi Abbun said: “Each life form, especially fruit, is entrusted to a specific angel”. By saying a blessing over a fruit, we empower that angel to reproduce more of that fruit. The Talmud says that someone who eats and doesn’t say a blessing is considered a thief. Why? Because every aspect of God’s creation is inherently holy. A blessing re-infuses the world with holiness. Eating without a blessing, however, lowers the level of holiness in the world without replacing the loss — and is regarded as theft.

A participant says: The Baal Shem Tov, was once visiting the home of Rabbi Yaakov Koppel. When Rabbi Yaakov danced in front of his Shabbos table for an hour, the Baal Shem Tov asked to explain this unusual custom. Rabbi Yaakov replied: “Before I taste physical food, I absorb the food’s spiritual essence. In doing so, I become so excited that I sing and dance!”

The leader says: Everything in the physical world is a metaphor for a deeper spiritual concept.

Eating is to the body, what knowledge is to the soul. When we eat, we internalize the good part of the food — and through that we grow and develop. Similarly, when we learn a new piece of information, we must “chew it over,” digest it, and integrate it into our very being. Only then can we truly grow in wisdom and spirituality.


Now comes the part we’ve been waiting for: drinking wine and enjoying other delicacies! Wheat and barley are the first two of the seven species. “A land of wheat and barley, of vines, figs, and pomegranates, a land of olives and honey” (Deut. 8:8).

The leader says: Before saying the blessing, let us pause and reflect on our good fortune. A blessing is a “thank-you note” to our Creator. The sages say: “Who is the wealthy person? The one who is happy with what they have.” The more we appreciate our gifts, the more sincere is our thanks, and the more sublime is our pleasure. Recite the blessing on the bread: “Baruch Ata Adon-ai, Elohai-nu, Melech HaOlam ha-motzie lechem min ha-aretz.” “Blessed are you, Creator of the Universe, who fashions bread from the Earth.”

Meditation: Savor each bite of the cake or bread. Appreciate that The Divine loves us and created everything for our good.

FRUIT – On Tu B’Shvat, we eat the fruit by which The Divine praises the Earth. As the verse says: “The trees have borne their fruit, fig tree and vine have yielded their strength. Children be happy & rejoice”.

The order of eating will be: olives, dates, grapes, figs, pomegranates.

“Baruch Ata Adod-nai Elohai-nu Melech HaOlam boray pri ha-aitz.” “Blessed are you Creator of the Universe, Who creates the fruit of the tree.”

If there is a seasonal fruit at the table which you have not yet tasted this season, say the following additional blessing before eating the fruit: “Baruch Ata Ado-noi, Elohai-nu Melech HaOlam, sheh-he-che-yanu vi-kee-yimanu vi-hee-gee-yanu laz-man ha-zeh.” “Blessed are You Creator of the Universe, Who has kept us alive, sustained us, and brought us to this season.”

Take each fruit one by one, as the appropriate paragraph below is recited. Enjoy the many unique flavors and textures. Reflect on the reality that the Creator of time and space wants us to take pleasure in everything that is in the world.

Participants take turns saying the following paragraphs:

Olives: “The Divine called your name ‘a green olive tree, nice and beautiful fruit.'” (Jeremiah 11:16)

“Your children shall be like olive plants around your table.” (Psalms 123:3)

The Sages taught: “Just as olive oil brings light into the world, so do the people bring light into the world.” (Midrash — Shir HaShirim Raba 1:2) & so may it be

Dates: “The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree” (Psalms 92:13). The righteous are fruitful and sweet, just like a date palm. “Your stature is like a palm tree” (Song of Songs 7:8). “No part of the palm tree is wasted. The dates are for eating; the Lulav branches are for waving in praise on Sukkot; the dried thatch is for roofing; the fibers are for ropes; the leaves are for sieves; and the trunk is for house beams. So too, every one us is needed

Grapes: “Just as a vine has large and small clusters and the large ones hang lower, so too the people: Whoever labors in Torah and is greater in Torah, seems lower than his fellow [due to his humility].” (Midrash – Vayikra Raba 36:2)

Figs: Rabbi Yochanan said: “What is the meaning of ‘He who tends a fig tree will eat its fruit’? (Proverbs 27:18) Why is the Torah compared to a fruit tree? Figs on a tree do not ripen all at once, but a little each day. Therefore, the longer one searches in the tree, the more figs he finds. So too with Torah: The more one studies, the more knowledge and wisdom one finds.” (Talmud – Eruvin 54a)

Pomegranates: “Let us get up early to the vineyards. Let us see if the vine has flowered, if the grape blossoms have opened, if the pomegranates have budded. There I will give you my love.”

“If the pomegranates have budded.” These are the little children who are like the many seeds of a pomegranate.” (Midrash – Shir HaShirim Rabba 6:11)

For discussion: Rami Bar Yechezkel once came to Bnei Brak and saw goats grazing under a fig tree. Honey was dripping from the figs and milk from the goats — and they became intermingled. He said: “Behold, a land flowing with milk and honey!” (Talmud – Ketubot 111b) Share a story or experience where life flowed with the sweetness of milk & honey.

WINE: At the Tu B’Shvat seder, it is traditional to drink four cups of wine, similar to the Passover Seder.

      First Cup – pure white

      Second Cup – pale pink (white with a drop of red wine)

      Third Cup – darker pink (with more red added)

      Fourth Cup – almost totally red (with only a drop of white)

A participant says: White wine represents nature in potential. Red wine represents nature in full bloom. On this day, we begin to leave the winter behind and move into a period of renewal and the fullness of life. It is stated in the Zohar: “Wine has two colors — white and red. White is from the right side [of kindness]; red from the left side [of strength and judgment].”

As we progress from white to red, we move from potential to actuality. We are able to appreciate The Divine discernment as well as kindness. We see The Divine design and goodness in the world with increasing clarity.

A participant says: “Wine rejoices the heart of man.” This refers to the wine of Torah. Yayin (Hebrew for wine) equals 70, the numerical value of Sod, meaning “secret.” [Wine represents the hidden aspects of the Torah.] (“Zohar” — Parshat Pinchas).

A participant says: The Talmudic section dealing with agriculture is called “trust in The Divine.” When a farmer plants a seed, trust in The Divine gives him the strength to survive the winter. On Tu B’Shvat we begin  to see that trust rewarded. Similarly, when we plant a seed for personal growth, it requires trust and patience to survive the ‘cold,’ before we see the fruits of our labor.

We will now drink four cups of wine (or grape juice) in conjunction with four different categories of fruit. Each of these pairs correspond to each of the four spiritual realms (from lowest to highest):

      action — asiah

      formation — yetzirah

      creation — briah

      emanation of pure Spirit — atzilut

Each level becomes more spiritual and connected to the Creator. As we eat, we elevate the fruits — and ourselves — through the various levels, rising higher and higher.

A participant says: The Almighty said: “Although wine can be a source of trouble in this world, in the future I shall make it only a source of joy, as it says: ‘And it shall come to pass on that day, that the mountains will drip with sweet wine’ (Yoel 3:18).” (Midrash – Vayikra Raba 12:5)

Pour the first cup of wine (all white):

All say the following blessing, and then drink from the wine

“Baruch Ata Adon-ai Elohai-nu Melech HaOlam boray pri ha-gafen.” “Blessed are Creator of the Universe who creates the fruit of the vine.”

Slow down and really enjoy the taste of the wine. The most prestigious universities offer courses in wine tasting. There’s a lot to appreciate in life. Be a connoisseur!

The leader says: We now eat fruits with inedible shells or peels. For example: nuts, pomegranate, oranges, avocado. The edible part of the fruit corresponds to perfection and purity, while the inedible is connected to deficiency and impurity. This is parallel to the realm of action (asiah), the lowest of the spiritual worlds — a world which is enveloped by materialism, just as the fruit is enveloped in its peel/shell.

A participant says: Rabbi Tarfon compared people to a pile of walnuts. If one walnut is removed, each and every nut in the pile is shaken and disturbed. So too, when a single person is in distress, every other person is shaken. (Midrash – Shir HaShirim Raba 6:11)

A participant says: “As it is the virtue of a nut to be closed in from all sides, so too the Heavenly Chariot which goes out of the Garden of Eden is hidden on all sides. And just as the four sections of a walnut are untied at one side and separated on the other, so are all parts of the Heavenly Chariot united in perfect union — and yet each part fulfills a specific purpose.” (“Zohar” – Shmot 15b)

Meditation: As you toss away the peels and shells, see one of your bad character traits (anger, impatience, etc.) being tossed away. In your mind’s eye, picture the bad trait as the shell. Then, as you toss it away, feel the trait leaving you. That’s not the real you. The real you is the fruit… delicious and nourishing. See the trait going into the compost to release that energy & create a fertile loom for your true fruit.

CUPS 2, 3,4 – Drink the second cup — pale pink (white with a drop of red).

The leader says: We now eat fruits with inedible pits. For example: dates, olives, peaches, plums, cherries. This stage is comparable to the realm of formation (yetzirah). The edible parts of the fruit represent holiness. Pits represent impurities which have penetrated the holiness. As the color of the wine begins to gets darker, we can start to see potential turn into reality. The inedible part has now moved from the outside to the inside of the fruit. This is an advancement toward purity. In addition, the inedible part is no longer waste; it is a seed with potential to grow.

Meditation: Imagine one of your bad traits as this seed. Really see it. Then, see that trait growing and developing into something great. This trait no longer holds you back, but propels you forward. Many great people have turned their faults into assets. You too can become great.

Drink the third cup of wine (dark pink).

The leader says: Now we eat fruits that are completely edible: blueberries. This is the realm of creation (briah), the highest level in the created world. (The three lower worlds — asiyah, yetzirah, and briah — are referred to as ma’aseh bereishit, “the act of creation.”)

Meditation: Things are coming close to their full potential. Even the seeds are now edible. They not only have future potential, but are also delicious and ready to eat right now. Think about an area of life you would like to improve. Picture your ideal self. Realize the real you. Now, for the rest of Tu B’Shvat, actually be that person. Act as if you’re already there. The experience can be transformational.

Drink the fourth cup (red with a drop of white).

The leader says: We now taste the fruit on the table with the best fragrance. This is comparable to the realm of pure Spirit (atzilut). This level is called the ma’aseh merkava, “the act of the Chariot.” The prophet Ezekiel saw a Chariot in his vision relating to the mysteries of creation.

A participant says: In Leviticus 23:40, the Etrog is described as pri aitz hadar — “fruit of the majestic tree.” The Etrog is the most spiritual of all trees, as it’s fruit and bark both have fine taste and smell.

On Tu B’Shvat, it is fitting to pray for a beautiful Etrog during the coming Sukkot.

A participant says: The sense of smell is the purest and most elevated. It is through the nose that The Creator invested Adam with a soul, as it says, “The Divine breathed into man’s nostrils a breath of life” (Genesis 2:7). Since there is no perceptible physical matter to smell, it is the most spiritual of the five senses. Burning the fragrant incense was designated as the holiest act of the Jewish year — performed by the Kohen Gadol in the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur.

CONCLUSION – The leader says: Eating 12 different fruits is significant, since this corresponds to the 12 different arrangements of the four-letter ineffable Name of The Divine. Upon eating the 12th fruit, we recite the verse: “And they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, nor shall they learn war any more. But they shall sit each person under his fig tree, and none shall make them afraid, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken” (Micah 4:3-4)

After-blessing: After enjoying all the wonderful pleasures that The Divine has given us, we complete the process with a meaningful, heartfelt thanks to the Creator.

Let’s all go around a say what we are grateful for.

A participant says: “Rabbi Abba taught: There is no greater indication of the impending redemption than that which the verse (Ezekiel 36:8) states: “And you, mountains, you shall give forth your branches and you shall bear your fruit for all people, & love will come.” (Talmud – Sanhedrin 98a)

Conclusion: And so with that we come to the end of the Tu B’Shvat seder. We have only touched the surface of the true meaning of the holiday and of the significance of trees and fruit in The Divine creation. That is the beauty of the wheel of the year. Each turn of the wheel we celebrate the same holidays, yet each year we grow and develop many new insights.

The rest of the evening is spent singing and dancing. Next year in a whole & peaceful World!

Blessed Be…


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 aloyavaca@peoplepc.com


Karma and Anthroposophic Psychology –  An Easter-Tide Retreat 

April 9 – 12, 2020 – 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

A popular view of karma is cause and effect or tit-for-tat. Karma, however, is so much more complex, interesting, and important. The soul work of karma has to do with the unfolding of our individuality through the elements, through the ethers, and very much through relationships.

Rudolf Steiner named his core mission as bringing karma and reincarnation to the West; his teachings deserve interpretation and practical enlivening. The Central Regional Council has been exploring this theme for many months. Anthroposophic Psychology gives a unique contribution to the soul work of karma. For this conference the CRC is partnering with the Association for Anthroposophic Psychology (AAP of North America) to present ideas and experiences concerning karma—and how it impacts upon personal psychology.

Conference Fees (includes 1 meal per day & art supplies):

  • $190 Supporter Level
  • $140 Standard Rate
  • $60 Youth Rate (Age 35 and under)

Limited scholarships available. Click here to apply.

Tentative Schedule (subject to change)

Thursday April 9

Noon: Registration & Group Lunch (provided)

2:00-3:15Welcome and ArtActs (Interactive Artistic Activity)

3:30-5:30Star Wisdom and Karma – David Tresemer, Ph.D.

5:30-7:00 Dinner (on your own)

7:00-9:00 (Evening Presentation) “The Karma Exercises” – Susan Overhauser, Ph.D.

Friday April 10

9-10:15 ArtActs

10:30-12:30Living into Karma—through the Senses —James A. Dyson, MD.

12:30-2:00 Lunch (on your own)

2:00-3:15 ArtActs

3:30-5:30How to Find the Self in a Sea of Karma – Roberta Nelson, Ph.D. This is part 1 of a deep inquiry into finding one’s self.

5:30-7:00 Group Dinner (provided)

7:00-9:00Unfolding the Enigma of the Saturn path — James A. Dyson, MD.

Saturday April 11

 9-10:15 ArtActs

10:30-12:30How to Find the Self in a Sea of Karma – Roberta Nelson, Ph.D. This is part 2 of a deep inquiry into finding one’s self.

12:30-2:00 Lunch (on your own)

2:00-3:15 ArtActs

3:30-5:30The Gesture of Karma – David Tresemer, Ph.D. Guest to this presentation will be Lisa Loving Dalton.

 5:30-7:00 Group Dinner (provided)

 7:00-9:00 PAGEANT: ‘Know Thyself’ by Hazel Archer-Ginsberg, the CRC, and consultant Margot Hodgson, LPC

Sunday April 12

Easter SunriseSongtrail at the Lake with Marianne Fieber

At the Christian Community 2135 W. Wilson Ave · Chicago, Il 60625

9:30 Children’s Stories

10:00 Children’s Service

10:30 Adult Easter Service

11:30 Potluck Feast

12:30LEADING THOUGHTS: Christ as Lord of Karma—how do I access this in terms of my personal psychology? – James Dyson, MD.

1:30Gatheringexperiences and reflections.

2:30CRC business


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


  • James A. Dyson, MD, Senior Faculty, Assoc. for Anthroposophic Psychology (AAP), North America; Faculty Member, English International Training in Anthroposophic Medicine
  • Roberta Nelson, Ph.D., licensed addiction and clinical counselor; Faculty Chair for Assoc. for Anthroposophic Psychology (AAP), North America. Contributor to The Counselor … as if Soul and Spirit Matter.
  • Susan Overhauser, Ph.D., licensed psychologist, California; Associate Presenter for Assoc. for Anthroposophic Psychology (AAP), North America.
  • David Tresemer, Ph.D., President, Assoc. for Anthroposophic Psychology. Editor and contributor, The Counselor … as if Soul and Spirit Matter; editor, Slow Counseling; column in Lilipoh for the last seven years. Author of Star Wisdom & Rudolf Steiner.

About AAP: The foundation course in the Association for Anthroposophic Psychology (AAP) is a three-year (three times a year) training, starting up again in April 2021. See www.AnthroposophicPsychology.org

P.O. Box 2180, Boulder, Colorado 80306

E: Admin@AnthroposophicPsychology.org

Web: AnthroposophicPsychology.org


  • 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)

$125 Conference fee includes 1 meal a day

For more information and to register, contact Alberto Loya aloyavaca@peoplepc.com


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 deb@anthroposophy.org

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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