We hit the road well before dawn on Whitsunday, & made our way to Viroqua WI in the heart of the “Driftless” Region. This term, I was told, denotes the absence of ‘glacial drift’ – This distinctive terrain, branded by its steep rugged landscape, is part of the Kickapoo River Valley. A local friend mentioned that it has the largest concentration of cold water streams in the world, which comes from having been bypassed by the last continental glacier, giving the rivers time to carve deeply into the ancient bedrock creating the unique landforms characterized by limestone, dolomite, & gypsum caves, springs & crazy cool sinkholes.
This small town of less than 5000 people is an oasis of Spiritual Science. We drove straight to the Viroqua Co-op to get our bearings. Then off to “The Turning Place” an Anthroposophical library in the Pleasant Ridge Waldorf School, part of the Landmark Center, home of the Youth Initiative High School. The Central Regional Council had one of our annual retreats here when our theme was ‘Speaking with the Stars’, so the space holds fond memories for me.
Coming up the steps we literally ran into Kyle J & his beloved Ashley who drove in from Minneapolis! Those that take the time to read the comments at the bottom of these posts will often see his contributions. We have been corresponding like this for a good while, but Whitsunday 2022 was the 1st time we actually met in person. Kyle mentioned that the driftless region had come up recently in several conversations; so when he heard I was coming in, he decided to follow the synchronicities & make the trip with Ashley.
What an honor to share a Pentecost experience with all the striving souls who hold sacred space in the region – entrepreneurs, fiber artists, kindergarten teachers, eurythmists, folks working with biodynamics, 3-folding, homeopathy, bio-geometry, Waldorf Education…etc… long time anthroposophers & newbies alike, sitting in community.
We broke bread with KJ & Ashley afterwards & got a chance to really commune. They feel like family.
We settled into our cozy digs at the homestead of long time Waldorf Kindergarten teacher Shannon Landis. I stayed with Shannon back in 2009 when I 1st came to Viroqua to do a 10 day puppetry training with Suzanne Down. Every day I did my meditations in her amazing garden. One afternoon she was doing a prep stir & invited me to join her. It was my very 1st time, & I have been hooked ever since.
Then CG & I started the maiden journey of what became our many nature adventures by hiking in Sidie Hollow, recommended by the local rock shop owner.
Early each morning, after meditation, breakfast & conversation we hit the trails. Kickapoo Valley Reserve was perfect for a misty walk by the river.
After taking in the overlook at Wildcat Mountain State Park, we found Hemlock Trail (my absolute fav.) a fairy land of soft red pine nettles next to caves carved out by the Kickapoo River, winding up the mountain side.
Jacob Hundt founder of Thoreau College invited Velsum – Voices of Ancient Futurism, with singers Lucien Dante Lazar & Ultra-Violet Archer to perform as part of their capstone events, so Lucien, who was a guest teacher at the College, & Ultra-Violet were also in town.
We gathered them up after a rehearsal & drove a short distance thru the rolling hills of pastoral farm land to The Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse WI, which Angela Foster told me about years ago.
The grounds feature a half mile meditation trail that winds up a luscious hill dotted with art & sculptures representing aspects of Our Lady. To experience this with Lucien & Ultra made it even more special. On the way back we stopped in Coon Valley to explore the quaint town. We spotted fields of lovely wild flowers on the sides of the road, which Lucien & Ultra went back to harvest the next day, as thank yous for the friends that hosted them.
CG & I found the Hillboro Hill Trail right down the street from Shannon’s place. The winding topography almost got us lost. We eventually followed the laughter of the kids in a little summer camp, & made it back with tired feet.
Outside of town at the Tractor Supply I found a good pair of hiking boots. While making our way we discovered a marvelous local cheese shop – when in Wisconsin this is a must, but we are picky & only wanted raw. They came thru with amazing raw local sheep, goat & buffalo cheese.
In our wanderings we found a charity thrift shop where we got a full set of vintage dishes for $8. Yep, we hit every thrift in the area looking specifically for Gnome statuary. I love a treasure hunt. No Gnomes to be found, but I managed to come home with a few unique gifts.
Breakfast at the mountain home of Mary Christenson was a delight. So interesting to learn more about her practice of homeopathy, & the bio-geometry taught by Dr. Ibrahim Karim, which a local group has been studying together thruout this time of world crisis.
Then the night of the Velsum show was upon us. A good crowd arrived in joyful anticipation. Mary Spading & Mark Lazar made the trip from Chicago with our professional camera’s to capture the magic. Lucien & Ultra created a numinous atmosphere thru subtle colored lighting & a stage glittering with votives.
Velsum = Triumphant Wholeness – Their offering: New Nightingale, New Rose (which received its inception spark at the ‘Building the Temple of the Heart’ ASA Conference – incubated & hatched at Angelic Organics Farm)was tailored to align with what was living in that Whitsun moment. Fresh Eurythmic inspired choreography – their voices ever dynamic & power full – a glorious alchemical weaving – bending space/time into a sublime octave of eternal resonance – Opening the portal to the Spiritual World for All to enter – Removing the veil to the New Mysteries, allowing us to trust that a Christic future is possible – & is indeed ever birthing thru The Word that vibrates a Divine Essence in their Speech & Song – Inviting every soul in attendance to join in a dance with their Higher Self – Every heart pulsing with agape – Every larynx vibrating in sympathy. Many wept salutary tears of Joy – The gifts of the Holy Spirit descended, & all rose up to receive what they needed.
Everyone stayed for the Q&A after the show. It’s always interesting to hear what is living in people, what touched them. There is a longing to honor & participate in the sacred, to be cracked open by the truth of spirit radiating out to them thru these young people. And when they share their insights, the ebb & flow, the interleavening in their artistic process, to receive a glimpse of the inspirations they cultivate, feels like a benediction.
At the Ice cream social afterward, all were aglow – numerous diverse conversations & sharings flowered forth. I learned from Toby Grotz & Kate Bradley, who hosted Velsum, that they want to create a co-op to build their own power plant off the grid for the whole of Viroqua. Many young people from the College were there, imagining their next steps out in the world. Dr. Paul Grenier, a beautiful human being & amazing chiropractor, invited Ultra to come for an adjustment -So many talented folk engaging their gifts to serve community.
When we were making our way home, on one of the charming farm roads, we found our Gnome – a version of Gandalf if he was the King of the Gnomes. We were also called to find a statue of Christ with the Sacred Heart that also came home with us – the perfect ending to our Whitsun adventure.
May the Whitsun Spirit prevail for us all
RUDOLF STEINER’S CALENDAR OF THE SOUL
translated (with added titles) by Roy Sadler
After a late Easter there has to be 2 verses this week as we move from the Easter lunar calendar to the ordinary solar one.
I choose to always let v38 be the Christmas verse.
TRINITY – Corpus Christi
Lose Yourself In Light
And when I let my own will go
the coming of the summer’s warmth
will fill my soul and spirit being;
my spirit vision is commanding me
to lose myself in light and ardently
my foresight’s calling: ‘lose yourself
to find your Self’.
To summer’s heights
the sun’s majestic being rises;
it takes my human feeling far and wide
and into the sublime, the cosmic harmony
wherein a dawning vision’s intimating faintly,
‘in future you will know:
a holy being felt you now’