‘the wide span of the soul’

Dear friends – I am leaving for my beloved Camphill Kimberton AAP retreat & will be offline until next week.

I leave you with these thoughts: In our quest to unveil the secret teachings available to us during this Easter-Tide as we ponder our way to the Ascension – making ourselves worthy of the grace of The Sophia on Pentecost, I offer up these words of power from Rudolf Steiner: 

“…If we study the things that stand side by side in the world we find in what a peculiar way the economic life, the political rights life, and the spiritual life are entangled. If we do not wish to perish because of the extreme degeneration which has come into the spiritual life and the rights life, we must turn to the Threefold Social Order, which from independent roots will build an economic life now struggling to emerge, but unable to do so unless a rights life and a spiritual life, developed in freedom, come to meet it. These things have their deep roots in the whole of humanity’s evolution and in human social life; and these roots must be sought. People must now be made to realize that way down at the bottom, on the ground I might say, crawls the economic life, managed by Anglo-American habits of thought; and that it will be able to climb up only when it works in harmony with the whole world. Otherwise the gaining of world dominion will become a fatality for it.

If the world continues in the course it has been taking under the influence of the degenerating spiritual life derived from the Orient, then this spiritual life, although at one end it was the most sublime truth, will at the other rush into the most fearful lies. Nietzsche was impelled to describe how even the Greeks had to guard themselves from the lies of life through their art. And in reality art is the divine child which keeps men from being swallowed up in lies. If this first branch of civilization is pursued only one-sidedly, then this stream empties into lies. In the last five or six years more lies have been told among civilized humanity than in any other period of world history; in public life the truth has scarcely been spoken at all; hardly a word that has passed through the world was true.

While this stream empties into lies (see drawing), the middle stream empties into self-seeking; and an economic life like the Anglo-American, which should end in world-dominion — if the effort is not made to bring about its permeation by the independent spiritual life and the independent political life, it will flow into the third of the abysses of human life, into the third of these three. The first abyss is lies, the degeneration of humanity through Ahriman; the second is self-seeking, the degeneration of humanity through Lucifer; the third is, in the physical realm, illness and death; in the cultural realm, the illness and death of culture.

The Anglo-American world may gain world dominion; but without the Threefold Social Order it will, through this dominion, pour out cultural death and cultural illness over the whole earth; for these are just as much a gift of the Azuras as lies are a gift of Ahriman, and self-seeking, of Lucifer. So the third, a frightful companion of the other two, is the scourge of the Azuric powers!

We must get the enthusiasm from these things which will fire us now really to seek ways of enlightening as many people as possible. Today the mission of those with insight is the enlightenment of humanity. We must do as much as possible to oppose to that foolishness which fancies itself to be wisdom, and which thinks it has made such marvellous progress — to oppose to that foolishness what we can gain from the practical aspect of anthroposophically-orientated spiritual science.

My dear friends, if I have been able to arouse in you in some measure the feeling that these things must be taken with profound seriousness, then I have attained a part of what I should very much like to have attained through these words.” ~Rudolf Steiner, The Mysteries of Light, of Space, and of the Earth, lecture IV, Dornach, December 15, 1919

William Blake

Yes! ‘Forewarned is forearmed’ – Here we have a powerful picture calling for us to do our part – Let us take up our responsibility now during this season of Resurrection to bring our own moral forces to bear.

Carl Deaville

“A jubilant breath pervades the prayers of Easter, expressing itself twice, as with inward necessity, in the word “rejoice”…First, the breathing soul-sphere of the whole planet rejoices, that renewed cosmic sphere of sunlit clouds, air and wind into which the earth grows in Spring; then, the inward life of man, touched by the Risen Christ, rejoices too. We recognize the wide span of the soul at Easter: it comprises the outward and the inward world, macrocosm and microcosm.” – excerpt from “The Three Years” by Emil Bock.

Sutchie Williams

translated with added titles by Roy Sadler

Arising into senses’ all-enwoven outwardness
thought’s power sheds its separate strand;
the worlds of spirit find again
their human offspring,
whose soul must find her seed in them
but in herself the fruit.

Sunpower’s Radiance Of Thought
I can, revived within,
now feel my own wide breadth of being,
my strength of sun-empowered soul,
whose radiance of thinking solves life’s riddles
and lifts the wish-fulfilling wings
left lame by hope.

Rita De Cassia Perez

Rudolf Steiner’s Lectures on this day


485 – Death-Day of Proclus – dubbed ‘The Successor’ – a Greek Neoplatonist philosopher. He studyed mathematics & the works of Aristotle under Olympiodorus the Elder. As a gifted student, he eventually became dissatisfied with the level of philosophical instruction available in Alexandria, & went to Athens, the pre-eminent philosophical center of the day, to study at the Neoplatonic successor of the famous Academy founded 800 years earlier (in 387 BC) by Plato; there he was taught by Plutarch of Athens, Syrianus, & Asclepigenia; he succeeded Syrianus as head of the Academy, & would in turn be succeeded on his death by Marinus of Neapolis.

He lived in Athens as a vegetarian bachelor, prosperous & generous to his friends, until the end of his life. He was not appreciated by the Christian rulers; he spent time traveling & being initiated into various mystery cults. He was also instructed in the “theurgic” Neoplatonism, as derived from the Orphic & Chaldean Oracles.

His house has been discovered recently in Athens, under the pavement of Dionysiou Areopagitou Street, south of Acropolis, opposite the theater of Dionysus. He had a great devotion to the Goddess Athena, whom he believed guided him at key moments in his life. Marinus reports that when Christians removed the statue of the Goddess from the Parthenon, a beautiful woman appeared to Proclus in a dream & announced that the “Athenian Lady” wished to stay at his home. Proclus died aged 73, & was buried near Mount Lycabettus in a tomb. It is reported that he was writing 700 lines each day.

1622 – Birthday of Thomas Vaughn, a Welsh philosopher, famous for his writings in the area of natural magic, with his book Anthroposophia Theomagica, a magico-mystical work.  (Some say Rudolf Steiner got his idea for to name the AS from this treatise)

Although he did not practice medicine, Vaughan sought to apply his chemical skills to preparing medicines in the manner recommended by Paracelsus. Vaughan was also the author of tracts published under the pseudonym Eugenius Philalethes.

Vaughan was unusual amongst alchemists of the time in that he worked closely with his wife Rebecca Vaughan. He was a self-described member of the “Society of Unknown Philosophers”, & was responsible for translating into English in 1652 the Fama Fraternitatis Rosae Crucis, an anonymous Rosicrucian manifesto first published in 1614 in Kassel.

He placed himself in the tradition of the Rosicrucian reformers of education, &of Johannes Trithemius, his teacher Libanius Gallus, and Pelagius of Majorca.

1787 – Goethe’s experience of the archetypal plant in Palermo – “Goethe narrates a conversation that once ensued between Schiller and himself after they had both attended a meeting of the Society for Nature Research in Jena. Schiller was dissatisfied with the results of the meeting. He had found there a most disintegrating method for the study of Nature and he remarked that such a method could never appeal to a layman. Goethe replied that “possibly this method was cumbersome for the initiated also and that there might well exist yet another way of portraying Nature active and living, struggling from the whole into the parts, and not severed and isolated.” And then Goethe evolved the great ideas which had arisen within him concerning the nature of plants. He drew “with many characteristic strokes, a symbolic plant” before Schiller’s eyes. This symbolic plant was intended to give expression to the essential being lying in every single plant, whatever particular form it assumes. It was intended to demonstrate the successive development of the single portions of the plant, their emergence from each other and their mutual relationship. In Palermo, 17th April, 1787, Goethe wrote these words in reference to this symbolic plant form: “There must be such a thing; if not, how could I recognise this or that structure to be a plant if all were not moulded after one pattern?” Goethe had evolved in himself the conception of a plastic, ideal form that was revealed to his spirit when he surveyed the diversity of the plant forms and observed the element common to them all.” Rudolf Steiner Goethe’s Conception of the World: Chapter I: Goethe and Schiller

1790 – Death-Day of Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Franklin was a renowned polymath & a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, freemason, postmaster, scientist, inventor, civic activist, statesman, & diplomat. As a scientist, he was a major figure in the American Enlightenment & the history of physics for his discoveries & theories regarding electricity. As an inventor, he is known for the lightning rod, bifocals, & the Franklin stove, among other inventions. He facilitated many civic organizations, including Philadelphia’s fire department & the University of Pennsylvania, an Ivy League institution.

Benjamin Franklin, then 21, created the Junto, a group of “like minded aspiring artisans and tradesmen who hoped to improve themselves while they improved their community.” The Junto was a discussion group for issues of the day; it was modeled after English coffeehouses that Franklin knew well, & which became the center of the spread of Enlightenment ideas in Britain.

Franklin became Grand Master of the Freemasons & published the first Masonic book in the Americas, a reprint of James Anderson’s Constitutions of the Free-Masons. Franklin remained a Freemason for the rest of his life

Franklin earned the title of “The First American” for his early & indefatigable campaigning for colonial unity, initially as an author & spokesman in London for several colonies. As the first United States Ambassador to France, he exemplified the emerging American nation. Franklin was foundational in defining the American ethos as a marriage of the practical values of thrift, hard work, education, community spirit, self-governing institutions, & opposition to authoritarianism both political & religious, with the scientific & tolerant values of the Enlightenment

Franklin became a successful newspaper editor & printer in Philadelphia, the leading city in the colonies, publishing the Pennsylvania Gazette at the age of 23. He became wealthy publishing this & Poor Richard’s Almanack, which he authored under the pseudonym “Richard Saunders”. After 1767, he was associated with the Pennsylvania Chronicle, a newspaper that was known for its revolutionary sentiments & criticisms of the British policies.

He pioneered & was 1st president of The Academy & College of Philadelphia which opened in 1751 & later became the University of Pennsylvania. He organized & was the first secretary of the American Philosophical Society & was elected president in 1769. Franklin became a national hero in America as an agent for several colonies when he spearheaded an effort in London to have the Parliament of Great Britain repeal the unpopular Stamp Act. An accomplished diplomat, he was widely admired among the French as American minister to Paris & was a major figure in the development of positive Franco-American relations. His efforts proved vital for the American Revolution in securing shipments of crucial munitions from France.

He was promoted to deputy postmaster-general for the British colonies in 1753, having been Philadelphia postmaster for many years,& this enabled him to set up the first national communications network. During the Revolution, he became the first US Postmaster General. He was active in community affairs & colonial & state politics, as well as national & international affairs. From 1785 to 1788, he served as governor of Pennsylvania. He argued against slavery from an economic perspective & became one of the most prominent abolitionists.

His colorful life and legacy of scientific and political achievement, & his status as one of America’s most influential Founding Fathers have seen Franklin honored more than two centuries after his death the $100 bill.

1907 – The Ellis Island immigration center processes 11,747 people, more than on any other day.

1912 – Russian troops open fire on striking goldfield workers in northeast Siberia, killing at least 150

1961 – Bay of Pigs Invasion: A group of Cuban exiles financed & trained by the CIA lands at the Bay of Pigs in Cuba with the aim of ousting Fidel Castro.

1969 – Sirhan Sirhan is convicted of assassinating Robert F. Kennedy.


The Mystery of Ascension with Hazel Archer-Ginsberg

This course is available on Zoom. You will be emailed a Zoom link closer to the time of the class. The course will be recorded and you will receive a link to watch it. Go to the Infinity Foundation web site to enroll

Course Number 231154 / Zoom
Date: Thursday, May 11
Time 7:00 – 8:30 PM CST
Cost $33/23 payment 10 days in advance

Gerald Shepherd

When we tune into the Cycle of the Seasons, we experience that as the Earth breathes out in the Springtime, the beings of nature reach upwards towards the heights. The longing of the human soul also strives to meet this mood of ascension, which attunes all life to the cosmic expanses.

Together we will gain insights in how to rise up to our Higher Self by participating in this harmonizing spring-dialogue between the worlds.

This reconnection between heaven & earth was prefigured in the story of Jacob’s ladder from the Old Testament. Through his dream of the ‘stairway to heaven’, Jacob gave us a prophecy in the picture of a golden ladder on which choirs of Angels traverse between the ‘Above & Below’. The Mystery of the Ascension of Christ, 40 days after the Resurrection at Easter, fulfilled Jacob’s Prophecy. Christ as the Being of Love became the living bridge connecting us to the eternal.

Through this workshop we will learn how humanity will also be transfigured in the fullness of time. The company of the Angelic Hierarchies wait for us, their younger siblings, to ascend, first of all in our thinking, to meet them in fellowship, as they work all the while by our sides.

Nancy Poer

~Vitae Sophia~A Whitsun Festival of United Soul Endeavor  with Hazel Archer-Ginsberg, Velsum Voices & Eurythmy

Saturday 27 May 2023 on zoom

We are called to redeem the ether spheres to create an Ecclesia, a chalice for The Sophia. Then the spirit flame can spread out to become what Steiner called a “World Whitsun”, which began in earnest at the Christmas Conference. The Whitsun Festival highlights one of the greatest challenges of being human: placing our individual gifts, in right relationship within the social realm. This challenge is especially strong now during this ‘pandemic’. Our groups striving to know Spiritual Science must work together as a community, to have the possibility to create a new culture where a sacrament is possible in every encounter. Our individual strength is enhanced by weaving our gifts together, kindling our social world in conscious community.

Find a collection of the many RECORDINGS of Presentations, Programs & Festivals HERE

3 thoughts on “‘the wide span of the soul’

    1. Now, Steiner drew a diagram here which depicts quite accurately the situation in which the over-arching economic order coming from the west creates havoc in both the middle and eastern regions of Europe. Note that he draws it with the asuric west on the right, and the ahrimanic east on the left. This, of course, leaves the luciferic middle alone to deal with their confused legal-political-juridicial conundrum. The accompanying text is very insightful. This is from GA194, 15 December 1919.

      Some can even see the precursor to Adolf Hitler in this picture.



      Thanks Steve. I do of course agree with you in aiming to weigh every remark and consideration and in wanting to “say something which might prove useful to the topic, and its argumentation”. When, however, one sees or hears something that one knows to be either untrue or factually incorrect, one is obliged to point it out. With regard to the diagram in the lecture of 15 Dec 1919, you refer to “the asuric west…the ahrimanic east [and] the luciferic middle…” You probably weren’t implying that these directions are *always* associated with these beings. Indeed, in this lecture Steiner deals with this subject in an unusual and unexpected way, given what he says in other contexts about east, middle and west, namely, that the East is the place of Lucifer’s incarnation and was profoundly affected by it, and that the West is the place of Ahriman’s incarnation and has been/is being/will be profoundly by it.
      Then there’s the question of north and south, the spaces of hard winters and warm summers, the spaces of contraction and expansion respectively. Take, for example, the invasions of the European mainland in the 8th/9th centuries by the Vikings from the North and the Muslims from the South, and the efforts of the Merovingian/Carolingian Franks and the other European statelets to deal with these two challenges. The ahrimanic economic and, I would argue, also asuric (entirely destructive) impulse came down from the North, reaching westwards around Britain and Ireland and penetrating the Med via the Straits of Gibraltar, while also reaching the Med via the rivers of ‘Russia’, the Black Sea and Constantinople: the Vikings thus encountered the Muslims in both West and East. This Nordic impulse is that of the ego in both a good and bad sense. From the South an ahrimanic impulse of a different kind – non-destructive – had emerged from the South long before, from Egypt. Steiner links this in the lecture Steve cites with the state-building and civilisational principles of the Mysteries of (physical) Space i.e. of physical bodies which entered European culture via the Roman Empire and the Roman Church. But in the Muslim invasions of Europe in the 8th/9th centuries, and later with the Ottomans, we see a *luciferic* impulse moving north across the Mediterranean. In what sense is this ‘luciferic’? Because it emphasises the principle of Oneness and uniformity in the realm of thinking: submission to Allah as expressed in the Koran. By contrast, the Vikings were moved by the ahrimanic impulses of Plurality and atomistic egoism in the realm of will: “I go where I want and I take what I want”.
      In the ‘middle’ between these two impulses was the nascent Christian culture of Europe underlying which was Greco-Roman habits and practices as continued by the Roman Catholic Church, and also Celtic paganism and Celtic Christianity, as well as even more ancient, pre-Celtic neolithic traits. This nascent Christian culture led in the 9th century by the Franks on the Continent and the Anglo-saxon kingdoms in England was also influenced by the etheric Mysteries of the Far West, of Ireland, and by contact with the Orthodox world of eastern Europe and the Byzantine world. From this direction came the astral forces of the Mysteries of Light, or Spirit. From the North, the self-assertion of the ego (light and dark), forged in a world of hard elements; from the South, the outwardly enforced unity of thought and the unity of the physical social space; from the West, the intangible breath of the etheric, which was contained in the Celtic culture of druids, abbots, saints and Arthur; and from the East, the light of spirit that can bring catharsis to the astral feelings, and which would later appear in the Grail Legends. The east/west/middle picture can always be complemented by that of the north and south.


      Steve Hale
      January 5, 2019 at 7:01 am

      “With regard to the diagram in the lecture of 15 Dec 1919, you refer to “the asuric west…the ahrimanic east [and] the luciferic middle…” You probably weren’t implying that these directions are *always* associated with these beings”.

      I think that Steiner is more than implying here that in the aftermath of the Versailles Treaty, c. 28 June 1919, that the West has the power of the Azuras in hand in such a way as to cancel out Christ in the Middle, and replace with Lucifer. This then has the effect of bringing Ahriman over to the East.

      In January 2017, this diagram was used in order to express some ideas about Threefolding in response to a guest post by Michael Spence. Possibly, the comments might still be useful, but I see in Steiner’s diagram, then and now, the forecasting of a new paradigm, which certainly still exists today.

  1. From Steiner’s companion volume, The Mission of Archai Michael, we have a complementary about the importance of Threefoldness, according to the Triad:

    “Let us now consider the beings directly above our human stage whom we call the Angeloi, the Angels. If we merely wish to show an analogy we may say: these beings, although their form is entirely different from the human, and although they are invisible to physical human senses, are at the evolutionary stage of Jupiter.

    Let us now turn to the Archangeloi, the Archangels. They are at the evolutionary stage which mankind will have reached upon Venus. And if we turn to the Archai, the time spirits, to the beings who especially influence our earthly evolution, we find that they have already attained the evolution of Vulcan.

    Now the significant question arises: If we turn to the beings still higher in rank, to the hierarchy of the so-called Spirits of Form, on what stage do we find them? We must answer: They have already passed beyond the stages which we human beings conceive of as our evolutionary stages of the future. They have already passed beyond the Vulcan evolution. If we consider our own evolution as consisting of seven stages, which suffices for our present considerations, we must say that the Spirits of Form have reached the eighth stage. We human beings are at the fourth stage of evolution; if we consider the eighth stage we find the Form Spirits.

    Now we must not conceive of these successive stages of evolution as existing side by side, but we must conceive of them as interpenetrating one another. Just as the atmosphere surrounds and permeates the earth, so this eighth sphere of evolution to which the Form Spirits belong permeates the sphere in which we human beings live. Let us now carefully consider these two stages of evolution.”


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