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Eliant, the independent non-partisan organization that represents anthroposophical initiatives in the public sphere in Europe, held a successful conference in Brussels November 28th: Towards a healthy digital ecosystem: Values, Competences & Responsibilities.

Digital technology is becoming increasingly pervasive in everyday life and raises questions about the role of technology in business, politics and everyday life. Its implications for the healthy development of children and young people must be urgently assessed.

Europe needs citizens with motivation, tolerance, creativity, empathy and common sense – competencies that must be developed from an early age as a result of interactions between humans.

Available online is a collection of scientific references in English and German. These include:

  • “A new study shows that students learn way more effectively from print textbooks than screens”
  • 20 Theses from the perspective of Brain Research
  • The Brain — A Mediating Organ, by Thomas Fuchs
  • Screen Dependency Disorders: A New Challenge for Child Neurology
  • Tablet Totalitarianism: How an Obsession with 'Screen Time' Misses the Point
  • Too Much Facebook Causes 'Virtual Autism' Claim Experts

and much more.

photo by Ksenia Avdulova

RSF Social Finance, the leading funder of food hubs in the U.S., has loaned $1.56 million to Whitethorne LLC, a new subsidiary of the nonprofit Hawthorne Valley Association that will expand production and distribution of the Hudson Valley farm’s in-demand line of biodynamic and organic sauerkraut products.

Whitethorne will continue to sell its lacto-fermented vegetables and probiotic drinks under the Hawthorne Valley Farm brand. The handcrafted products are already available from market stands and retailers all over New York City and throughout the Northeast. The for-profit spinoff, combined with the capital infusion, will allow HVA to scale up both the kraut business and its impact.

“This is an important move for Hawthorne Valley as it will greatly enhance our ability to produce a quality product, increase our purchases from local and regional farmers, and generate additional income to support our main campus’s educational, research and cultural programs,” said Martin Ping, HVA’s executive director. “Our original 1500-square-foot production room for the kraut products was almost literally bursting at the seams.” Read more...

“Chef and farmer Eric Skokan of Black Cat Farm Table Bistro was shoveling out the duck house several years ago when he had an idea. In order to avoid triggering his gag reflex, why not create a portable shelter for the birds to move around his fields and fertilize his crops?” So opens a lengthy story in boulderweekly.com under a handsome picture of dug-up cow horns.

Jim Fullmer, executive director of Demeter Association, Inc., the only biodynamic certifier in the country is quoted: “The biodynamic system is just the original idea of an organic system. That is what it was supposed to be. Not a list of materials that are allowed or prohibited, [which] is what organic has become.”

“At Black Cat, Skokan and his wife and business partner, Jill, grow more than 250 different vegetables and raise sheep, pigs, chickens, turkeys and geese on 130 acres spread between three different plots of land in Boulder County. At the lowest point of production in March, about 65 percent of the Bistro’s menu comes directly from the farm, Skokan says. At the height in the fall, it hovers around 95-97 percent.” Sounds delicious, and good for the Earth!

Bobby Matherne's distinguished series of Digestworld book reviews, including dozens of works by Rudolf Steiner, takes a timely (Hallowe'en, All Saints Day) look at the new SteinerBooks Collected Works edition of The Connection between the Living and the Dead. Editor Christopher Bamford introduces this large topic.

In Christopher Bamford's Introduction one can find gems of insight and wisdom acting like a trailer for an upcoming blockbuster movie, a movie which will feature each of us in our time between death and a new birth. Bamford illustrates a special process happening then in which we will each receive our I-consciousness, our own individuality. He points to an earlier knowledge of this process in the Middle Ages, and calls it "the triumph of spiritual existence over bodily existence."

The lavishly illustrated review is here, the book at SteinerBooks is here.

Mary Stewart Adams has done several well-regarded webinars, one preparing for this summer's eclipse. She also just gave a pre-conference in Phoenix, Arizona, "The Deeds of Rudolf Steiner Written in the Stars," which led into the Anthroposophical Society's annual gathering.

Her home base is a "dark-sky park" in Michigan, and it, too, is recognized as outstanding. The International Dark-Sky Association reports that

Headlands International Dark Sky Park has been recognized with the 2017 International Dark Sky Place of the Year Award. ... [It] offers visitors a protected nighttime wilderness to experience first-hand the beauty and inspiration found in the natural nightscape. But Headlands really shines in its efforts to provide programs that put visitors in touch with our heritage of human inspiration cast by the stars.

Located near the northern tip of Michigan’s lower peninsula, on the shore of Lake Michigan, Headlands International Dark Sky Park safeguards the human imagination by preserving access to both the night sky and the stories it holds. “Since the most ancient ages of humanity the highest achievements in art, literature, architecture, science, poetry, and agriculture have been and continue to be inspired by our human desire to understand our place in the celestial environment,” said director Mary Stewart Adams.


"On 21 June 2017, the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs and the Committee on Culture and Education of the European Parliament adopted a joint report on "a new skills agenda for Europe." ECSWE (The European Council for Steiner Waldorf Education), together with other partners and its national members has successfully lobbied committee members to include amendments calling for an age- and development-appropriate media-pedagogy. This is an important step for the European Waldorf movement. If adopted in the plenary in September, the report will allow us to initiate a debate on how to teach digital skills in an age- and development-appropriate way." More on this story...

For the NBC Today Show, Maria Shriver recently prepared a report on the One Gun Ranch in Malibu, CA, where biodynamic agriculture is at the heart of nutrition, healing the earth, rescuing animals, and teaching kids who may not know where food comes from.

The Today Show crew responds to a report on BD by Maria Shriver (second from right)

Bobby Matherne has thoughtfully reviewed scores of volumes of Rudolf Steiner's work in his wide-ranging Cajun-based e-newsletter. This month he explores Volume 2 of the Selected Journals of Ralph Waldo Emerson, the American precursor of anthroposophy. Reading Emerson's Self-Reliance at 18, he says, "I was never the same. Everything I experienced afterward took on new meaning and importance in the light of Emerson's powerful searchlight which flooded my soul." Read the review here.

Huffpost contributor Carol Smaldino recounts a truly holistic experience of food, wine, landscape, and well-formed concepts of a biodynamic vintner near Lucca, Italy. "We were at the Tenuta di Valgiano, with Laura di Collobiano, proprietaria (owner)... Laura 'had me' at two expressions; actually it was more than that. One was the title of this piece, that 'wine is the liquid expression of the landscape.' The second, equally as important, was, 'It's not money that makes good wine. Wine is the project of a lifetime.' ... In addition, Laura spoke about the use of pesticides. She and others in the field of biodynamic farming see themselves not as 'fighters of disease but as creators of health.' It was fascinating to hear how it can be practical to be healthy, practical to cooperate with other farmers and makers of wine in an atmosphere where people are glad for the variety of products, realizing that no one person or azienda can do or make everything. And it turns out the 70% of agriculture in Lucca is in fact biodynamic, encouraging also." Read the whole article here.

The Guardian has a lengthy new article in its "sustainable business" section: "Biodynamic farming is on the rise – but how effective is this alternative agricultural practice?" It focuses on Apricot Lane Farms and opens,

When John Chester, a filmmaker from California, quit his job to become a farmer, he didn’t do it out of a desire to “feed the world”. Instead, he says: “I’m trying to feed my neighbors – and if everyone did that, we would be able to replicate this.”

The article includes extensive comments from Elizabeth Candelario, co-director of Demeter USA, the nonprofit certifier of biodynamic farms and consumer products.

Critics are heard whose point is that biodynamics was not developed using the "scientific method."

While the more spiritual and unconventional aspects of biodynamics don’t appeal to all farmers, for some, a personal connection to the land is crucial to their agricultural practice. “You may find some who practice biodynamic because it is a sound agronomic system that delivers real benefits to the farm like healthier soil, better crops, more vibrant ecology,” Candelario says. “You may also find some biodynamic farmers who would agree with all that plus they may describe their personal relationship with their farm that speaks to a deeper connection with the farm and its place in nature.”


Ibrahim Abouleish (23 March 1937 - 15 June 2017) was born in Egypt, but went to study in Austria, where he became a successful researcher. Having met anthroposophy, biodynamic farming and his wife there, his concern about his own country kept growing. He returned to Egypt and bought 70 hectares of barren desert land, which he gradually transformed into fertile fields, using biodynamic farming principles. Over the years numerous – independent and associated – farms were added, as well as production and training centres, medical institutions, a kindergarten, a school, a university, research and cultural institutions, to form what is now Sekem, the «miracle in the desert» that is known all over the world and has won many awards.

Ibrahim Abouleish was small in stature, delicate, kind, warm-hearted, attentive, sensitive but strong and determined – and he had a big soul! His vision, which he purposefully put into practice, was not restricted to physical achievements but included social forms that reflect the dignity of each individual, a future associative and sustainable economy and a deepened understanding between east and west, Islam and Christianity, made possible by anthroposophy. I bow with reverence, gratitude and love to his earthly achievements. | Gerald Häfner, Goetheanum, from Anthroposophy Worldwide 7-8/17

Matthias Girke (photo: Heike Sommer)

Matthias Girke is the newest member of the Executive Council at the Goetheanum. On April 8th, 2017, the members of the General Anthroposophical Society confirmed the proposal to include the physician and clinic co-founder from Berlin. He has been head of the Medical Section at the Goetheanum since September 2016.

As the School of Spiritual Science and headquarters of the Anthroposophical Society, the Goetheanum has been undergoing a reform process for several years. Contemporary forms for a globally active membership-society and closer ties to people active in anthroposophic institutions, companies and organizations are the main objectives for the transformation of a society founded in 1923.

Members of the executive council are re-elected every seven years; the council and the leaders of the eleven special sections of the School of Spiritual Science have formed the Goetheanum leadership for several years. And the representatives of the Anthroposophical Societies in the respective countries are increasingly involved in the decision-making processes at the Goetheanum.

An internist from Berlin, Matthias Girke's has medical competence in internal medicine, diabetology, and palliative medicine. He is also a recognized public contributor concerning Waldorf education and biodynamic agriculture. He was a co-founder and senior physician at the Havelhöhe Community Hospital in Berlin, and a long-term board member of the anthroposophic physicians and anthroposophic medicine organizations in Germany.  [From goetheanum.org]

Is the Heart Moved by the Blood, Rather Than Vice Versa?

Walter Alexander has written a concise report for Pharmacy and Therapeutics Community Online on the work of Branko Furst, MD, in The Heart and Circulation: An Integrative Model (2014). It begins with what few lay people may know: that "Attempts to replace failing hearts permanently with fully mechanical ones, after years of experimental and clinical trials, have largely been abandoned because of high patient mortality..."

In the face of the entrenched paradigm that the heart pumps the blood through the body, Dr. Furst "marshals the evidence against the standard propulsion pump model and presents an alternative that may open new avenues for understanding circulation and, ultimately, pharmacotherapy."

The article is available online and an illustrated PDF is available to download. It is written for professionals but is well worth working through.

To challenge the prevailing paradigm in any field is difficult, and in the case of heart function, with its notoriously complex dynamics, myriad of interrelated influencing factors, and vast diagnostic and therapeutic implications, it is a prodigious undertaking. Dr. Furst has provided more than 800 supporting references in his book and the journal article. It is far beyond the scope of this article to fairly represent the range of this content. However, we will attempt to review the basic argument and rationale for such a challenge and give the reader a compass for delving more deeply into the underlying research.

[Update:] The publication in a peer-reviewed journal of this article opposing the “heart-as-pump” model and crediting Rudolf Steiner with its early mention represents a breakthrough to the conventional medical community.

Please note that these items may date back several years.

If you can't go in person to the Biodynamic Association conference in Santa Fe, NM -- Tierra Viva, Farming the Living Earth -- the full conference booklet is now online at issuu.com -- sixty-eight pages of events, workshops, presenters, supporters.

There are eight conference tracks: Biodynamic Basics; Agricultural Wisdom of the Americas; Biodynamics and Healing; Biodynamic Principles and Philosophy; Biodynamic and Regenerative Practices; Community, Justice, and Economics;
Living Soil; and Living Water. Amazing!

While you're at issuu.com you can also read a biodynamics-themed issue of Lilipoh magazine from last spring, or read back issues of being human.

We’re in the run-up to the biennial convention of the Biodynamic Association: “Tierra Viva, Farming the Living Earth” at the Santa Fe, NM, Convention Center, November 16-20. “Discover how we can consciously collaborate with our planet to create healthy, living, vibrant landscapes and nourishing food.” And biodynamics continues to gain positive notice in the press worldwide.

At shape.com in the Healthy Eating section Lauren Mazzo contributes “What Are Biodynamic Foods and Why Should You Be Eating Them?” with the subheading: “Long story short: Biodynamic is the new organic, and you need to get behind it, like, yesterday.” A lengthy article based on conversation with certifying agency Demeter’s Elizabeth Candelario, the four reasons given for buying biodynamic are the quality, the nutrition, the farmers, and the planet. “Demeter has 200 certified entities in the [USA]. About 160 are farms and the rest are brands, growing by about 10 percent per year, says Candelario.”

Biodynamic vineyards are a main driver of press attention. Both Forbes magazine and the New York Times have just published laudatory reports. In Forbes, Tom Mullen based in France’s Bordeaux region explains “Why Biodynamic Wine is the Future.” In the Times, Danielle Pergament has written “The Italian Winemakers’ Cult” for the Travel section, with the subhead: “Is the best way into the world of Italian wine with farmers who say things like 'our work is to enter the rhythm of the planets’?” “Sebastian Nasello, the winemaker at Podere Le Ripi in Montalcino, explained it this way: 'Organic farming does no harm to the earth. Biodynamic farming aims to make the earth healthier.’”

The advanced student of anthroposophy faces Rudolf Steiner’s advice that alcohol has served its purpose in human evolution and becomes an obstacle to developing higher perceptual faculties. Healing the Earth one small vineyard at a time is still an inspiring picture. — John Beck

The Waldorf Educational Foundation has awarded a grant of $15,000 to the Anthroposophical Society in America that will enable the society’s national research and lending library, the Rudolf Steiner Library in Hudson, New York, to offer free one-year individual memberships to Waldorf school faculty and staff, Waldorf teacher trainees, and parents of Waldorf school students at any of the Waldorf schools and teacher training centers in the continental United States, for the period September 1, 2016, through August 31, 2017.

The Rudolf Steiner Library has 19,000 titles, with 2300 resources on Waldorf education and child development, including books, periodicals, DVDs, and audio-recordings, with multiple copies of many works available for lending. The library also has thousands of resources that support the Waldorf curriculum, including materials in the arts, history, literature and fairy tales, religion and festivals, and the sciences.

Read more about the library, and register online for your free membership by filling out the application form [ https://goo.gl/o87dLr ]
or calling the library at (518) 944-7007.

Rudolf Steiner eurythmy figure

A monthly eurythmy workshop with Linda Larson plus special events have long been a feature of the programs at Anthroposophy NYC. Marta Stemberger has been offering programs in the city along with emails, one of which shared the following description of this new art:

“As I’m talking about eurythmy at various holistic bazaars and trade fairs in New York City, many are intrigued about this movement art, and one gentleman called it ‘social yoga.’

“Yes, one can see some aspects of yoga in eurythmy, and much more. Eurythmy harmoniously blends movement meditation, social yoga, social tai chi, sacred dance, sacred geometry, esoteric astrology, spatial and kinesthetic awareness, poetry appreciation, musical sensibility, to name just a few ingredients. Rudolf Steiner, who developed eurythmy in the 1910s and 1920s, created a rich set of tools that allow us to make speech and music visible through movement.

“People also ask: ‘Why would one do this particular movement art?’ Let me share with you a short list of the benefits that I’ve personally experienced in myself and others:

  • Balance your thoughts, feelings, actions
  • Harmonize all dimensions of your earthly existence
  • Cultivate spatial and kinesthetic awareness
  • Enhance your capacity for creative problem-solving
  • Experience the soothing unity of people moving together
  • Nourish your life forces for increased well-being
  • Increase your overall grace and flow
  • Elevate your vibrations to feel peaceful
  • Relax and dissolve stress

“If you are in New York City, you can join me in eurythmy circles on a monthly and weekly basis.”

A report posted by the Stanford Graduate School of Education reviews the accomplishments of a K-8 school in Sacramento, CA, that has been working with Rudolf Steiner's educational approaches. The Alice Birney School, says the report,

a public K-8 school of choice within the Sacramento City Unified School District, provides a powerful example of an alternative educational approach within a public system. Rather than focusing on preparation for standardized tests, Waldorf students are deeply involved in a full range of expressive arts – ranging from watercolors and music to knitting and physical activity; they learn science by gardening and investigating natural phenomena, mathematics by designing and building things of practical value, history from studying biography and the human meaning of historical events, English language arts by writing their own books and extended accounts of what they are learning.  The school’s attention to comprehensive student development, including their social-emotional, physical and artistic development has profoundly shaped its graduates into young adults.

The report notes that "the terms Waldorf®, Waldorf-Inspired®, Steiner®, and Rudolf Steiner® are registered trademarks of the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America." AWSNA has licensed the Alliance for Public Waldorf Education to use the service-mark "Public Waldorf". Thanks to Janna Beckett for sharing the link. [ Read the full report. ]

What is the ongoing background of research behind the growing biodynamic agriculture movement? Along with the work of each farm and farmer, and of the Biodynamic Association, there is the activity of the Agriculture Section of Rudolf Steiner's School for Spiritual Science.

Sherry Wildfeuer, who represents this section on the School's North American Collegium, has written about what it means to be a member of this section. [ Read the article here. ]

Sign is up!

Read more and see pictures on the RSL blog.

Interim Librarian Judith Kiely writes, "Yes, our library is back. And we couldn’t have done it without the generous and capable support of all our volunteers. In the six weeks from when we moved into our new location in Hudson, NY on November 10, 2015 until the Christmas holidays, nineteen volunteers from the community worked to get the library up and running... The total hours people contributed over those 6 weeks was 120!

"Thank you to all of our volunteers: Ann Finucane, Raimond Flynn, William Furse, Branko Furst, Caroline Gordon, Karin Haldeman, Mary Haley, Mary Linda Harrington, Seth Jordan, Tom Jordan, Emma Kiely, PatRick Kiely, Martin Miller, Tommy Moore, Christina Porkert, Maggie Paholak, Tim Paholak, Nathaniel Williams, and Jen Zimberg."

Parent-Teacher Relationships in a Waldorf School. In this new webinar Torin Finser looks at "some of the larger archetypes, the larger pictures that stand behind our work as parents and teachers in a world that is, increasingly, challenging us, particularly in the realm of human relationships and world politics and social issues," along with the opportunities to rise to our higher self. - Torin chairs the education department of Antioch University Northeast and is general secretary of the Anthroposophical Society in America.
[ View online here or download to enjoy later. ]

Prince Charles
Prince Charles
Conference Logo

A well-known British farmer was asked to record a greeting for the opening of a conference in Italy sponsored by the biodynamic farming organization. The conference is "For the Economy of the Earth - Our Common Home," and the video by Prince Charles, an active farmer, is posted on the website. He said, in part:

We have to allow proper room for nature, to rediscover how to work in harmony with her, and to restore a sense of the sacred once again.

If the planet were a patient, no responsible doctor would ever have allowed it to become as sick as we have made it.

Yet, for more than half a century, industrial farming methods based on chemistry instead of biology have prevailed, upsetting the harmonious balance of nature...

Rudolf Steiner was one of the first people to recognize the interconnectedness of soil fertility and the vital health of plants, animals, and people... We can only marvel at the prescience of Rudolf Steiner's thinking...

Charles noted that his own farm is not fully biodynamic, but uses many of the BD approaches.

1974 Feldman Gallery Poster

Joseph Beuys, the artist ("social sculptor") widely appreciated both in the mainstream and among anthroposophists, died just thirty years ago. A retrospect in The Guardian asks, “Was Beuys’s art – moulded out of everyday objects from VW vans to sausages – utopian drivel or full of remarkable foresight?”

It quotes the critic John Berger: “In matters of seeing, Joseph Beuys was the great prophet of the second half of our century. Believing that everybody is potentially an artist, he took objects and arranged them in such a way that they beg the spectator to collaborate with them ... by listening to what their eyes tell them and remembering.”

And what about the social part? “The revolution is us: that’s what Beuys believed. Perhaps he remains so controversial and misunderstood because the scale of his hope for humanity is too vast, too lacking in irony to be comfortable.” [ Read the full essay here. ]

Modern Farmer has a rather wonderful story on Stephen Decater of Live Power Community Farm in California [corrected], which he and his wife Gloria started in the 1970s. It is "certified biodynamic and powered almost entirely by a team of Belgian draft horses and an array of solar panels. Each year Decater trains a crop of apprentices in the art of driving draft horses, and often hosts workshops on the subject for other farmers." Key thought: with a tractor you have brakes and a key; with draft horses, you want to know what you're doing, but it's still possible to learn. The story is beautifully illustrated. -- [ Read here. ]

Soquel community lunch

A recent "Spirituality" column at SantaCruzSentinel.com opens with a problem facing young people: "what it takes to build community. ... Today we see on a global scale the havoc, carnage and chaos caused by young people enslaved, coerced and co-opted by those whose agenda is death and destruction. May we create new ways to model, mentor and manifest communities that help our growing children choose life."

The column then turns to an alternative vision. Camphill California in nearby Soquel, CA,  "recruits young adult coworkers who volunteer to spend a year living cooperatively and working alongside adults with special needs. Ranging in age from 21- 35, coworkers live with adult residents in one of the eight houses on the Soquel campus. They learn leadership, communication and caregiving in the context of a community supported by peers and engaged in meaningful work. Work within the community also teaches specific skills. ... Individuals are encouraged to take part in artistic activities as a means of self-discovery, relationship building and engaging with the world."
 Read the full column here. 

One week remains for applications for an unusual advanced-degree program at Antioch University New England. The MEd in Foundations of Education with a Transdisciplinary Focus on Healing Education is offered in collaboration with Camphill Academy. It brings together experienced anthroposophic practitioners from various disciplines, united by the striving to work out of healing impulses in lifespan development. The program is aimed at several groups:

  • Class and subject teachers, early childhood teachers, high school teachers, extra-lesson teachers, and other therapeutic-oriented professionals
  • Adult and core group educators
  • Therapists, social therapists, and therapeutic community builders
  • Biographical counselors
  • Physicians
  • Nurses
  • Anthroposophic professionals in related fields.

Details and application are online.

The new Meristem Center for Transformative Learning [www.meristem.pro] is featured in the Sacramento (CA) Bee: "Innovative Fair Oaks school opens doors to young adults on the autism spectrum." Meristem is the first US offshoot of the UK's Ruskin Mills Trust and shares campus and core services with Rudolf Steiner College. The Bee reports that the program, designed for people age 18 to 28, opened in September with an eight-student pilot class and aims to help adults with developmental disabilities prepare for employment. The initial class will focus on agriculture, woodwork, other hands-on skills.
[ Read more here. . ]

In September friends crowd-funded a trip by four North American Youth Section members to the Goetheanum in Dornach, Switzerland. The travelers promised a video of their experience, which was shown at the fall conference in St. Louis. Music was recorded at the Youth Section hostel, as a spontaneous hootenanny, the retro film making shot on Super8 and 4k by Frank Aleph Agrama with some images by Johannes Kronenberg on Super8. Watch it on YouTube.

Michaelmas, a traditional festival on September 29th of the Archangel Michael, and the season following, is for anthroposophy a call for human beings to raise themselves to a higher level of awareness. For the fifth year Bill Trusiewicz has contributed a wide-ranging and thoughtful essay on how we can know the Archangel Michael, who is most often pictured bearing a sword. Why a sword? Bill's topic this year is “Finding, Forging, and Wielding the Sword.”  Read here. 

My son has become a human being. As much as we want them to be A students... the bottom line is that Waldorf has made my child... into a human being.

Another fine video presents a highly multi-cultural school in Nairobi, Kenya. "Where is the book in which the teacher can read what teaching is? The children themselves are this book."

Dr. Virginia Sease's recollection of Sergei Prokofieff as a member of the Goetheanum Executive Council is one of many points of interest in the latest Anthroposophy Worldwide. There are also impressions of the UK's Emerson College today, and remembrances of Nick Thomas and Wolfram Schwenk.

There is a further article on the theme of the year by Hartwig Schiller, general secretary of the Society in Germany: “The ‘I’: bridge and gateway at the same time.” A young eurythmist speaks about the experience of the staging of Faust, Part I; Gary Lamb reports on the recent US gathering on ”Authentic Assessments and Accountability in Education”; there are reflections on the recent Whitsun conference when Rudolf Steiner's ”The Twelve Moods” (sketches above) could be experienced several times with full eurythmy; and much more.

By way of the Social Science Section newsletter and John Moses in Virginia we heard about this video created by a parent at the Richmond Waldorf School. It's here on YouTube. Parents, teachers, students, alums shine in this well-made short movie. John says, “I would like to imagine that all can hold this initiative in their hearts. So much still needs to happen for this seedling to grow fully into a vibrant presence in this geographic area, welcoming the future.”

Thea Maria Carlson has been named co-director with Robert Karp of the Biodynamic Association (BDA). Founded in 1938, the BDA is considered to be the oldest sustainable agriculture organization in North America.

The BDA's website states that “Thea has been serving as Director of Programs and will now work together with Robert Karp to collaboratively lead the BDA in its next steps to promote, support and develop biodynamic agriculture in North America. Inspired by the many pioneering businesses and nonprofits profiled in Reinventing Organizations by Frederic Laloux, Thea and Robert have already begun to implement several of the 'teal' organizational management principles outlined in the book, supporting staff in taking greater responsibility and ownership for their work through self-management practices, encouraging wholeness through incorporating biography and mindfulness into meetings, and tapping into the evolutionary purpose of the organization through ongoing collaborative visioning work.”  Read more. 

Back in 1994 an exhibit called Truth and Beauty went on display at the Cathedral of St. John in New York City. It was prepared by the Phoenix Arts Group, Larry and Kathie Young, and was an extensive display of the art work, grade by grade, of Waldorf School students.

We're not surprised that twenty-one years later Harlan Gilbert of the faculty of the Green Meadow Waldorf School (in Chestnut Ridge, NY) alerts us that the Best of Waldorf Art website has been developed by students at Green Meadow. Along with the main site it has a Facebook page. "If students at your schools wish to, they can submit their art via the link on the website. Do encourage them to do so! Enjoy the beauty!" How wonderful is that? Thanks students! Thanks Larry and Kathie!

The noted and highly regarded anthroposophist Sergei Olegovich Prokofieff has died July 26th in Switzerland. Author of many books of anthroposophical research and insights into the legacy of Rudolf Steiner and the spiritual situation of humanity, he was a member of the Executive Council at the Goetheanum until failing health required him to step back. He was also formerly leader of the Anthroposophical Society in Russia.

For a list of his books in English translation, see SteinerBooks and Temple Lodge publishers. A brief biography is at Wikipedia.

Services will be held in the Schreinerei, the carpentry hall of the Goetheanum, on Tuesday July 29, and at his request, instead of flowers, friends are asked to make donations to the Anthroposophical Society in Russia.

A campus view at RSC

Rudolf Steiner College issued the following press release on Wednesday, July 9:

The Board of Rudolf Steiner College is pleased to announce that the College has formally entered into an agreement with Meristem, a new nonprofit, to work together on the campus in Fair Oaks, California. Meristem will provide educational services to young adults on the autism spectrum, while new resources will be provided to the College to enhance its standing as the preeminent center for Waldorf teacher education internationally.

“This is a major step forward for Rudolf Steiner College,” said Betty Staley, Interim President of the College. “With this additional support, the College will be able to undertake many positive steps—upgrading facilities, enhancing administrative and faculty staffing, designing new educational offerings, and building the infrastructure leading to full accreditation. We are most enthused about this agreement.”

Meristem’s efforts will be closely aligned with the College. Its offerings are inspired by the work of Ruskin Mill Trust in England and The Center for Transformative Movement in the United States. The agreement is the culmination of months of discussions between the Board and leadership of Rudolf Steiner College and the Board of Meristem.

The website theconversation.com presents a clear, concise account from down under of Steiner/Waldorf education entitled "For creativity, capability and resilience, Steiner schools work." The author, an educational developer at Victoria University in Melbourne named Tao Bak, "attended a Steiner school for part of his education."

The first thing that strikes a visitor to a Steiner school is often the aesthetic quality of the surroundings and the emphasis on artistic activities. The schools are usually small, multi-age, and teachers, students and parents appear calm. Based on a holistic and integrated approach, the Steiner curriculum aims to develop the various dimensions of the growing child. This includes cognitive, emotional, ethical and spiritual aspects. ... Through its focus on capabilities, creativity and resilience, Steiner education aligns with many of the goals of 21st century education. The view of Rudolf Steiner was that the human being must be free and autonomous. The research, although limited, appears to endorse the effectiveness of Steiner education in attaining its broader goals.

[Read more...]

Beverly Amico, leader of outreach and development for the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA), is part of a conversation in the New York Times about technology in schools. As Beverly explained in the News from AWSNA email,

CNN recently sponsored a tweet chat in coordination with Screen-Free Week, which intrigued the New York Times to follow up by soliciting a variety of opinions on the subject. We are grateful that Waldorf Education was included in this discussion, and that my description of the way computer technology best serves children was part of the piece.

She opens her Times article:

Over the past several decades, and despite unremarkable results, significant financial resources have been dedicated to technology integration in classrooms. The focus has been on how best to use computers as educational tools while largely disregarding the more fundamental issue of their effects on child development.

Read Beverly's full statement here, add your comment, and navigate to others' views. (Note that nytimes.com allows free access to ten articles per month.)

Since March Marianne Schubert has been the new leader of the Visual Art Section at the Goetheanum. As an architect she is not only interested in building but also in the social life arising from the way one builds. Her wishes are for a culture of togetherness, where people develop their communal awareness for new methods of working and evaluating. [Read the article from Anthroposophy Worldwide.]

Nancy Jewel Poer shared some thoughts from her hospital room by e-mail with friends on Martin Luther King Day. We asked if we could share them further here, and she agreed. Nancy is a person of many deeds and concerns -- teacher, historian of the spirit of America, social activist, lecturer and filmmaker, advocate for conscious dying, and her website is well worth a visit. At this moment her attention was drawn to the cosmopolitan life of a Sacramento hospital, where she found herself passing along some history around Martin Luther King, Jr.'s famous speech on the Washington Mall in 1963, including the little-known role played by the great gospel singer Mahalia Jackson in his speaking forth "the dream." Read more...

Some time ago Michael Ronall shared an essay he had written for the catalog of Mercury Press, one of the fine small publishers who supplement the great work of SteinerBooks. Mercury Press is a long-sustained labor of love from co-workers of the remarkable Fellowship Community in Chestnut Ridge, NY, "an intergenerational community primarily concerned with enlivening elder care and realizing the ideas of Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner."

With medical topics at its core, Mercury Press also reaches out into education, children's books, social questions, and much more, including the four volume Who Was Ita Wegman? The current catalog includes essays from William Lindeman, Matthew Barton, Florin Lowndes, and Michael Ronall who shared his essay, "How Then Shall We Live," to promote the press' work. It opens with a famous quote from Schiller: "Do you seek the highest, the greatest? The plant can teach it to you. What the plant does without willing, do that willingly." Read it in the catalog or in our Articles section.

The Hindu reported on 12/8/2013 on an international seminar on holistic education in Coimbatore, southern India, with Waldorf educators and anthroposophic doctors. It shared the Waldorf story and perspective as brought by leader of the Medical Section at the Goetheanum Dr Michaela Glöckler. The eight-day conference was initiated by Yellow Train School whose Facebook page has photos of the event. Santhya Vikram of Yellow Train is quoted:

More and more people are disillusioned by the frenetic pace of our lives and what our young children are subjected to in the name of education. They want the schooling years that are joyful and healing in an environment of love and care.

The International Postgraduate Medical Training (IPMT) which meets around the world was also held in India, in Chennai, in late November. Its next meetings in North America are May 10-17, 2014, in Fair Oaks, CA, which includes the Anthroposophic Nursing Certification Course and Rhythmical Massage Therapy Training; and an advanced training for school doctors in Wilton, NH, June 29-July 4.

Bruno Follador

In the Biodynamics Blog Jeff Schreiber, who farms at Three Sisters Community Farm near Milwaukee, offers a stimulating report on a recent workshop with Bruno Follador and others: “More Humus, More Humanity: Insights and Practices out of Biodynamic Agriculture” at the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute in East Troy, Wisconsin. The report is interspersed with photos and telling quotations, include the painter Cézanne's assertion that "The day is coming when a single carrot, freshly observed, will set off a revolution."

And a key issue worked on was thinking: "All phenomena become merely things 'out there,' things to manipulate, exploit, and control. Here, in this worldview, is where the horrors of our world begin: soil becomes just an inert medium for root growth. Chickens: just cuts of meat. Water: just molecules. Land: just a commodity. People: just collections of genes." But a biodynamic farmer must overcome this kind of thinking to meet the truth of the compost heap at the heart of a living farm.

And so, "The revolution we so badly need... will come through free people paying ever greater attention – little by little, day by day – to the phenomena that surround them..." [Read more.]

Rudolf Steiner's pedagogical insight was that children are better not pushed into reading until the permanent teeth arrive around age seven. Formative forces at work in the bodily organism are then released for mental effort. In the UK the "Too Much, Too Soon" campaign has reached the same conclusion, and one of the signers, a Cambridge University researcher, explains that "There are several strands of evidence which all point towards the importance of play in young children’s development, and the value of an extended period of playful learning before the start of formal schooling. These arise from anthropological, psychological, neuroscientific and educational studies." David Whitebread adds, "One particular study of 3,000 children across England, funded by the Department for Education themselves, showed that an extended period of high quality, play-based pre-school education was of particular advantage to children from disadvantaged households." Read more at the Cambridge University site.

A broad campaign for healthy early childhood has been carried for some years in the USA by the Alliance for Childhood, whose co-founder Joan Almon was a co-chair of WECAN, the Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America, and a general secretary of the Anthroposophical Society in America.

Waldorf schools are so famous for their strong arts curriculum that some people mis-perceive them as schools for arts rather than for the whole human being. The awarding of a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine to Thomas C. Südhof provides a pointer to Waldorf graduates' abilities in the sciences. His laboratory studies how synapses are formed in the brain, take on specific properties, and accomplish their signaling. Südhof tells his own story online, beginning as follows:

When I was born in Göttingen in 1955, the aftermaths of the second world war were still reverberating. I was born into an anthroposophical family. My maternal grandparents had been early followers for Rudolf Steiner’s teaching, and worked for Waldorf schools when Hitler assumed power and banned the anthroposophical movement. Waldorf schools were closed, and my grandfather was conscripted to work in a chemical munitions factory ... My uncle was drafted into the army right out of school, and when I was born, he had just returned from the Soviet Union after 10 years as a prisoner of war. My parents were physicians... My father’s training led him to the United States during the time I was born; as a result, he learned of my arrival by telegram as he was learning biochemical methods in San Francisco, where in a twist of fate I now live.

I ... graduated from the Hannover Waldorf school in 1975. I had been interested in many different subjects as a student, any subject except sports. I did not know what to do with my life after school, except that I was determined not to serve in the military. More by default than by vocation, I thus decided to enter medical school, which kept all avenues open for a possible career in science or as a practitioner of something useful – being a physician...



The Telegraph reports on the support given to Steiner/Waldorf schools, and to parents' right to choose alternative schools in the UK, by parent Tilda Swinton, the well-known actress. "She said the Steiner education system, in which she placed her twin son Xavier and daughter Honor, encourages pupils to become 'a fully functional person.' Speaking at an open day for the Moray Steiner School and Brumduan Upper School, attended by her 15 year-old children, Swinton said promoting the schools is her only current project, adding that there was 'a misunderstanding' about Steiner education as people think it's 'flaky' or 'woolly.' She said: 'When I went into the Steiner school for the first time, I was struck not only by the trusting and familial atmosphere for younger children, but mainly by older children, because I had never walked into a school before where teenagers had been so welcoming and self-possessed and kind.' She said the Steiner education system, in which she placed her twin son Xavier and daughter Honor, encourages pupils to become 'a fully functional person.'" Read more online.

Michael by Edward Burne-Jones

For Michaelmas (September 29th), Bill Trusiewicz adds a third installment on the topic, "Archangel Michael, the Fiery Thought-King of the Universe: How Can We Know Him?" This part has the further title, "Spiritualizing the Knowledge of Space."

We will explore the statement from Rudolf Steiner’s last address quoted earlier, concerning the “great crisis” that humankind would pass through after the end of the twentieth century. Steiner said that it would be necessary that “the Michael Power and the Michael Will penetrate the whole of life.” He said that these “are none other than the Christ Power and the Christ Will.” We will explore how it is that through the Michael Power, humanity in our time can and must transform our predisposition to view all things in a materialistic way, due to our peculiar knowledge of space. We will address the question of how Michael can help us to spiritualize our knowledge of space and thus “penetrate the whole of life” to meet the challenges of our time.

There are a number of celebrations on September 20 and 21 of the laying of the foundation stone for the first Goetheanum a hundred years ago. Rick Ruffin of the SE Pennsylvania Branch has kindly shared a paper written by Alan Thewless, which was presented to the local Tycho Brahe Star Group.

Wherever you are, the members of the Eurythmy Association of North America are suggesting that you do "Halleluiah" in eurythmy. To co-ordinate with the beginning of the session at the second Goetheanum in Dornach that opens with the Prologue from the Gospel of John, the times would be 5:30 pm (Dornach), 8:30 am Pacific; 9:30 am Mountain; 10:30 am Central; 11:30 am, Eastern; 12:30 pm Rio de Janeiro; 4:30 pm London, etc.


Here is the information on the Dornach event, and here is information on the Ann Arbor talk by Douglas Miller. Here is the Frank Chester event in Silicon Valley and here is the celebration at Rudolf Steiner College. Here is the 9/21 Interactive Study at the Washington DC Waldorf School.

The state of Oregon is friendly territory for biodynamics. For one thing, the Demeter USA organization, which certifies biodynamic farms and products, is there. Seattle Times travel writer Brian J. Cantwell recently visited four vineyards southwest of Portland, asking first to see the cow horns (yes, cows have horns, used in quite a remarkable way in making BD preparations). He picked up a common-sense take on BD from the young saleswoman in a jam store ("at least the biodynamic folks are out there looking at their vines, while some winery owners aren’t even in the same state!"). And he ended feeling he had the "secret handshake": it's the biodiversity! [Read the article.]

Marjatta van Boeschoten

The Anthroposophical Society in Great Britain elected new leadership just a few months ago, and the July-August edition of Anthroposophy Worldwide includes an interview with Marjatta van Boeschoten, the new General Secretary. She grew up in the context of anthroposophy and Camphill and  has worked professionally outside the movement, as a lawyer and then in organizational development. "Rudolf Steiner spoke of a Society where those who are seeking can find, and I hope that we will succeed in opening our doors to these people, whether or not they wish to become members." [AWW, see p.4]

One of the crucial issues for the USA (and the world) is the proper place of business corporations in our political decision-making and our culture. The governance structure of this democratic republic is something very great in world history; but the wealth and power of America are also very great, and influence over our government can be a reliable source of wealth. Recently the US Supreme Court reaffirmed that corporations have the rights of human individuals under the constitution, and that their spending to influence political decisions is a matter of free speech. Most Americans believe that this is wrong, but few of us have any depth of understanding of the history and issues involved. Abraham Entin, a long-time social activist and anthroposophist, has been working to educate his fellow citizens in the area. His essay, "Corporate Personhood -- A Christian Perspective," asks what makes us human, and then what kind of being is a corporation. Only in the human being does the miracle of free choices and conscience appear. To protect that he argues that the power of corporations must be limited by constitutional amendment. [Read the essay]

Marian Leon, the Anthroposophical Society in America's Administrative Director, is featured along with the society and its work on the cover of the Crazy Wisdom Community Journal, a substantial and long-running publication based in Ann Arbor and serving Southeastern Michigan. Inside a six-page article pictures the society's beautiful national office at Rudolf Steiner House.

The journal is one of the services of the Crazy Wisdom Bookstore and Tearoom, the center in this lively university city for spirituality, alternative health, progressive living and social consciousness. The bookstore hosted a series of talks in 2011, Rudolf Steiner's 150th year, on related initiatives, and Ann Arbor features a strong Waldorf School, the Rudolf Steiner Health Center, a biodynamic Community Farm, and the Great Lakes Branch of the society. Each issue of the CW journal presents a cover story on an influential local leader. [Read the article here...]

In his latest E-News, Mark McAlister, administrator for the Anthroposophical Society of Canada, writes about learning anthroposophy from non-anthroposophists. As some ironic types like to say, "What a concept!" But seriously, Mark writes:

"It’s been said that Alcoholics Anonymous makes it a principle to venerate newcomers. Their questions are sharp and immediate, and they prevent the organization from becoming complacent and irrelevant. Is there a lesson here for the Anthroposophical Society? What would happen if we paid more attention to the questions and concerns of newcomers?

"With this in mind, I decided to participate in the Cambridge Music Conference in Vancouver last November. Elizabeth Carmack (an anthroposophist) was the driving force behind the conference, but the vast majority of the presenters and participants had no direct connection with Anthroposophy. What brought them together was a deep concern for the plight and trauma of people in the justice system (including both perpetrators and survivors of violent crime), and a quest for real and sustainable healing. Nigel Osbourne (a composer from UK) was a particularly inspiring example. Working with children in war zones, he has shown how the elements of music can reach to the deepest levels of the human being and bring hope where otherwise there would only be despair. I did not feel that he was lacking anthroposophy; he was revealing it to me.

"One can have similar experiences in meetings of the biodynamic movement.  I have met a number of young farmers in recent years..." [Keep reading...]

1969, from Apollo 11

April 22, 1970 was the first "Earth Day." John Beck pulls together a few of the connections, notably between eurythmist and biodynamic farmer (and translator and teacher and mentor) Marjorie Spock (1904-2008) and Rachel Carson (1907-1964), the author of Silent Spring. That book, like Uncle Tom's Cabin over a century before, created a revolution in attitudes about our relationship with and responsibility toward our planet. Rudolf Steiner's anthroposophy enlarges and deepens the background of environmentalism while providing tools like Goethean science and biodynamic agriculture to understand the Earth and heal it. [Read more...]

A bonus comes in the form of a poem by Daisy Aldan, "Earth is a Being Who Deserves to Be Loved." If this was not written with Earth Day in mind, it should have been. It was published in The Threefold Review and later in Threshold from Anthroposophy NYC. Its central lines present an unforgettable global image of Earth that joins with Rachel Carson's vision of a spring without birdsong:

Multiple is she in anger and reverence,
passion and prayer. Even in catastrophe

and tempest, confounding harmonies enlighten.
She is haloed with many balancing haloes,

each day crowned with a corona of caroling
as bird-note meets bird-note at dawn moving westward.

[Read the whole poem...]

Last week the Associated Press featured the Rudolf Steiner Fellowship Community in Chestnut Ridge, NY, under the headline "For the aging, a commune-like alternative in NY." Appearing on websites and newspaper pages across the country, the story is a friendly and accurate description of the life and intentions behind this remarkable community focused on the needs of the aging. "Commune-like" is the lead phrase, but later the thought emerges that this is how life in a large family used to be, with people of all ages present and engaged, and the elders both giving and getting help freely according to ability and need.

"'It's a great place to live, and I think there's probably no better place in the world to die,' says Joanne Karp, an 81-year-old resident who was supposed to be in her room recovering from eye surgery but instead was down the hall at the piano, accompanying three kids learning to play the recorder." "Larry Fox, 74, a psychologist, treats patients at the Fellowship's medical office and said, 'Where could I be at my age and be so happy to get up in the morning and look forward to the day?'"

Read the full article here at ABC News. And the community's own website has a lot more to share:  www.fellowshipcommunity.org

Three recent postings in our articles section are worth a look. John Miller reviews Partnerships of Hope, an account by Christopher Schaefer of the challenges and successes of building a Waldorf school community. Leah Walker writes about the "threshold work" which is so important to the "biography and social art" inspired by anthroposophy. And Chris Schaefer praises the Doris Kearns Goodwin biography of Lincoln, on which the recent Steven Spielberg movie was partly based, for its illumination of karmic relationships. Read on...

Former Waldorf teacher turned business consultant Jeff Kofsky traces the human path in Victor Hugo's masterpiece Les Misérables, a mainstay of the musical theater and most recently a movie. "What in this story has inspired such hope in the victory of the human spirit?"

In the Philippines Nicanor Perlas continues to develop collaborative cultural-social events and projects that combine business, government, and civil society with individual creativity and social responsibility. The Liwanag World Festival on Creativity and Sustainability (Jan 29-Feb 2, 2013) will feature outstanding Philippine speakers from all walks of life along with global guests including Barbara Marx Hubbard, Bruce Cryer, and Seth Jordan of Think OutWord.

One of the best pieces of news of 2011, the 150th anniversary year of Rudolf Steiner's birth, was that a distinguished documentary filmmaker intended Steiner for his next subject. Jonathan Stedall's The Challenge of Rudolf Steiner has not only met and surpassed any reasonable expectations, it is becoming a small library of thoughtful interviews. Where is it all headed and how to help is reported in an article by the filmmaker.

Robert Burnside reflects on the killings of children in Connecticut, and knife attackes on them in Henan Province, China, on the same day. Alongside necessary efforts at protection, what are we to understand from such events? Read here...

Nice to see a good picture of a couple of farmers out in the field. Nice twist when they are second and third in line to the British throne. The MailOnline reports (8Dec2012) under the line "We are aMOOsed!" that "Prince Charles triggers surge in 'cosmic farming' where cattle are allowed to develop their personalities (and crops are planted according to moon phases)."

"When the Prince of Wales embraced ‘biodynamic’ farming and admitted planting seeds according to phases of the moon, many thought he was probably showing lunar tendencies himself. But rather than ploughing a lonely furrow, it seems the Prince has inspired a new generation of ‘cosmic’ farmers, who grow fruit and vegetables according to signs of the zodiac and encourage their cows and sheep to develop a personality."

"Clarence House declined to comment on biodynamics but said: ‘The Prince has been pioneering agriculture techniques for over 30 years and continues to do so.’" And it's nice to see Prince William out there with dad and the cosmic herd.

[Update: Isthmus has added a report on the conference: "There was a presence, energy if you will, which I immediately tapped into. ... I will likely not be stocking up on cow horns anytime soon. But I did take home a revived sense of meaning in the mysteries around us."]

The just-ended Sacred Agriculture conference of the Biodynamic Association not only drew an overflow crowd, it garnered a lot of local Wisconsin media attention. The Wisconsin State Journal takes up the question of the conference name; two words rarely used together, 'sacred' and 'agriculture.' WUWM, Milwaukee Public Radio, did a five minute feature on "Demystifying a Farming Philosophy - Biodynamics" (audio and text); “'As Robert [Karp of the BDA] started speaking it reminded me of dozens of conversations with my grandmother; planting by the moon and how everything in nature works together; and how if your spirit ain’t right, your garden doesn’t grow,' [urban gardener Venice] Williams says."

Madison.com gave the conference extended notice in its events pages, and Madison alternative weekly Isthmus gave a strong plug in its advance story, which opened: "For those who have ever sensed the pulse of the Earth, or felt a sense of awe even in their own backyard, consider the 2012 North American Biodynamic Conference..." Further on it noted that "the conference will include voices from organics, permaculture and the arts. In fact, an evening will be devoted to music, poetry and storytellers because, Karp says, 'We recognize farming in the end is an art, and we need to draw from the arts.'"

Minnesota Public Radio reported recently (text and video) on one woman's choice of passing. "Like a growing number of baby boomers in Minnesota, Anne rejected traditional rituals like embalming and a mortuary service in favor of a more personalized experience: the home vigil. ...Anne approached Marianne Dietzel and Linda Bergh for help in planning what would happen when she died. The two women began working together after their daughters, who were best friends, were killed in a car accident in 1996. Dietzel and Bergh now help others cope with grief. They also help people plan how they want to die and how they want to be mourned through their group, the Minnesota Threshold Network. Anne enrolled in the group's death and dying class." Her daughter, initially uncomfortable with the process, concluded that "It really also continued her legacy, continued the type of person that she was in terms of how she liked to do things her own way. It seemed very natural, it seemed like her. The whole process seemed like her." Full story...

Mark Finser, Chair of RSF Social Finance and of New Resource Bank, spoke recently about "trust" and "confidence" at a TEDxPresidio event in San Francisco. Complex, opaque, anonymous, and oriented to short-term results -- what's to trust in our present financial system? In this 11-minute video, Mark talks about his original impulse in finance and the work of alternative institutions to build trust and confidence. View it here...

Is there such a thing as spirit humor? Penelope Baring asks that question in connection with the literary fiction of M.A. Kirkwood, and concludes that "she gives us a pretty good demonstration of it in her new work, Claire Ange, due out this fall." An engaging conversation follows between Penelope and the author, on humor, the late teenage years, New Orleans, and stories about our inner lives. Read more...

by M. Woloschina

A year ago, in Part I of "Archangel Michael: The Fiery Thought King of the Universe: How Can We Know Him," Bill Trusiewicz examined various aspects of the archangelic being who according to Rudolf Steiner is the Spirit of our Time (or Zeitgeist).

In Part II Bill continues with the question: why is it in our time that Archangel Michael remains silent?  We will be inquiring into what we might call the word-less aspect of the activity of the being of Michael.

In the latest Anthroposophy Worldwide, Virginia Sease introduces Joan Sleigh. At the 2013 AGM the Executive Council at the Goetheanum will suggest her as a new member of the Council. Joan Sleigh grew up in a Camphill community in South Africa with English as her first language. The mother of four studied Waldorf Education in Germany and has taught in schools as well as in teacher training. More...

Nathaniel Williams and John Scott Legg report that the Berkshire-Taconic Branch now has a website; it's linked from "Groups and Branches" on this page. Included is a calendar and download copies of the branch's excellent newsletter Chanticleer, edited by John Scott, which has stories and art of more than local interest.
"Local" in this case is the area from the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts and the town of Great Barrington, into the Taconic and upper Hudson region of New York state. Along with Waldorf schools in Harlemville and Great Barrington, there is the Hawthorne Valley Farm and Association, the Society's Rudolf Steiner Library, the oldest and largest Camphill community in North America at Copake, NY, Camphill Triform in Hudson, the new elder community Camphill Ghent, and too many notable artistic, therapeutic, social. and educational initiatives to list! Take a look at berkshiretaconicbranch.org.

Educator, author and filmmaker Nancy Jewel Poer, family physician Dr. Kelly Sutton, and biodynamic farmer Harald Hoven are speaking out for California Proposition 37. Earlier this year they collected signatures for the what successfully became ballot initiative Prop 37, by which California voters can require that food products including GMOs (genetically modified organisms) will be labeled as such. "This will be voted on by the people and will be one of the greatest stands this country has ever taken for our right to choose healthy food. It will be brutally opposed by the bio tech industry which has pledged millions to defeat it, for it threatens the foundations of their power over what we eat." Read more...

In 1984 Ralph White was founding program director of the NY Open Center, one of the world's leading holistic and world culture centers. In that first year he met the work of Rudolf Steiner and has been engaged ever since. Currently he is presenting "The Beautiful Wisdom of Rudolf Steiner: Philosopher, Seer, Educator, Scientist, and Artists" in three Tuesday evenings at the Open Center in Manhattan. Steiner, he writes, "was perhaps the most remarkable spiritual figure of the Twentieth Century. Yet his profound wisdom concerning the deepest mysteries of human existence remains surprisingly little-known in America. In 6,000 lectures and over 25 books, he gave the modern world the most beautiful, moving and inspiring picture of the human condition. His insights into reincarnation and karma, the journey of the soul after death, the nature of the angelic realms, the evolution of consciousness, the significance of the ancient mysteries, and the intense spiritual challenges of the present time, provide a contemporary esoteric path rich in meditation practice and highly relevant to the present moment."

On his "Centre for Social Poetry" blog John Stubley writes about the traumatic crime in Aurora, Colorado, and its context: Overcoming Evil on the Screen, in the World, in Ourselves.

Our August conference approaches with its focus on moving "from association to collaboration." In a blog post at global public relations organization Ketchum last December (republished here), member Robert Burnside (who is Ketchum's Chief Learning Officer) considered some recent studies of today's technology-based social networks.

The famous "six degrees of separation" between any two people on Earth is, for 700+ million Facebook users, less that five degrees, "friend" to "friend." And we seem to affect and be affected by our connections' connections even when we don't know them.

If you've been reading Steiner's "The Work of the Angel in Our Astral Body," this is an interesting contemporary counterpoint.

Sacramento-based Reg Down grew up, was educated, and has taught across much of the globe. Nancy Parsons, who with husband Bob has done so much for Waldorf education by translations and on the internet, reviews his "deeply serious fairy tale for grown ups" The Fetching of Spring and finds it "joyful, heartbreaking, action packed, contemplative, funny, whimsical, uplifting." [Read more...]

A second, revised and updated edition of Reg’s Color and Gesture has also recently been published. Therese Schroeder-Sheker, who is widely known for her work with music for the dying, calls the book "a series of meditative essays and illustrated explorations on the formative and transformative power of color and gesture, sound and music, body and soul from the perspective of a practicing eurythmist... a life-work, penned by someone who is an artist and philosopher, and who has taken the art of pedagogy seriously." [Read more...]

Born July 3, 1912, in Colorado, John Gardner is being remembered as person of strength of character, insight, and eloquence; a champion of the Transcendentalist stream in American life and thought; a pioneer of Waldorf education in America; a mentor and friend. Click here for a new article including photos, reminiscences, biography, and selections from his work.

Noted Israeli philosopher and anthroposophist Dr. Yeshayahu Ben-Aharon will be sharing his recent work and perspectives on the 21st century in two-and-a-half day events in June in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and July in Seattle, Washington. "The World Today and How To Be In It -- An Anthroposophic Perspective" is the title for the NC event June 22-24. In Seattle July 6-8 the topic is "The Christ Event of the 21st Century - Singularity & Immortality." These events follow expanded online offerings at www.event-studies.org, a hopeful new book The Event in Science, History, Philosophy and Art, and lecture tours in Scandinavia, Austria, and the UK.

The topics of these workshops continue lines of inquiry presented in the Anthroposophical Society's being human magazine for Fall 2011, with the first publication of a 2007 lecture by Dr. Ben-Aharon on "Anthroposophy & Contemporary Philosophy in Dialogue: Observations on the Spiritualization of Thinking" (PDF). In the Winter 2011 issue came Andrew Linnell's "The Destiny of Humanity with Machines" (PDF), and in the Spring 2012 issue Prof. Fred Amrine's "Gilles Deleuze's Philosophy of Freedom" (PDF).

Another major newspaper has a big story on Steiner/Waldorf education. Education editor Jeevan Vasagar of the UK's Guardian reports at length on expansion of government-supported "academies" of this type. The story is colored somewhat by a recent to-do over alternative medicine, and by admiring comments on Steiner schools by Conservative politicians. Conclusion: "Any unconventional approach to education will be polarising. It's clear from the number of fee-paying Steiner schools that there are many who favour this style of education for their child. But it's not just a matter of attractive wooden furnishings and organic food – Steiner schools offer a radically different take on the world."

At the suggestion of Eurythmy Ireland, people around the world will be saying "Hallelujah" on May 27th in eurythmy, Rudolf Steiner's art of "visible speech." This is the 100th anniversary of this first word-form given by Steiner to his first student in eurythmy, Lori Smits, and the idea is that, ideally, all will perform the gestures at the same time. That's noon in Ireland, 1300 in Dornach, at 3:00am in Anchorage, 4am in Los Angeles, 5am in Boulder, 6am in Chicago, and 7am in New York. If you haven't seen "Hallelujah" in eurythmy, Gail Langstroth's beautiful video (pictured) is one of several on YouTube. Steiner suggested that this word could be understood as a cleansing of the soul to receive the spirit.

Nancy Jewel Poer was just helping to host a youth gathering with Edgard Gouveia Junior at White Feather Ranch. Before that was the wonderful film, "The Most Excellent Dying of Theodore Jack Heckelman" in which her brother shared with his community his very consciousness process of living out the end of life. -- Now Nancy has written to "share a culminating effort from my many years of teaching the spiritual mission of America, just now working with the 8th grade class of 2012 at Cedar Springs Waldorf School" -- on "The Great Peacemaker," her new play on the Iroquois nations. "A wonderful full circle with some exciting young actors taking part... a wonderful story... I have a written version if there is interest." Which there should be! Contact Nancy via her website.

A paper by Steve Usher in last December's Jupiter, the journal of the Mathematics and Astronomy Section at the Goetheanum, continues his exploration of the question of a culmination of the anthroposophical movement at the end of the 20th century. The twenty page paper also explores the question of the "cosmic intelligence" and challenges of the 21st century. Read more...

In connection with this Easter day and season, we have three sharings. From long-time Waldorf teacher Paul Gierlach we have "Easter Thoughts," a new posting in our Articles section. He begins, "I am always amazed that an individual life can be led based on the needs of others, both in small and large ways." Do read more...

We're also happy to share a guide to Rudolf Steiner's Soul Calendar--the timing of the verses for those following them weekly through the year. The Calendar was given in 1912 and requires some adaptation each year to the changing calendar. This guide is from Herbert O. Hagens of Princeton, NJ, and is also printed in the Spring being human which will be in the mail to members next week. The summer issue will have additional features on this remarkable "calendar of the soul."

Finally, we have posted the "Theme of the Year" from the Goetheanum, written this year by Paul Mackay: "The Identity of the Anthroposophical Society." This Theme is offered to be worked with internationally, beginning at Easter time.

If you are not familiar with Rudolf Steiner's "Soul Calendar," here with its cosmic picture of human experience at this springtime of year is the opening verse, for Easter:

When out of world-wide spaces
The sun speaks to the human mind,
And gladness from the depths of soul
Becomes, in seeing, one with light,
Then rising from the sheath of self,
Thoughts soar to distances of space
And dimly bind
The human being to the spirit’s life.

Our friends at SteinerBooks have posted a free up-to-date 28-page list of the collected works of Rudolf Steiner. "All of the works of Rudolf Steiner that have been published in German are listed by volume number, with both the original German titles and the English titles in italics of the books available in English. Books not available in English have approximate literal translations of the German titles in Roman type." SteinerBooks' Collected Works project is a very important effort to bring out volumes corresponding to the German GA listing with up-to-date notes and introductions and supporting material.

Highlighs of this March 24 conference on "being human 2012" are online. The general conference site is www.beinghuman2012.org. Sponsors included CIIS, the California Institute for Integral StudiesMind & Life InstituteKQED; and science 2.0.

India's The Hindu reports on how Holland-based educator Miriam Haenan blends Western education and Indian philosophy to make learning a holistic experience. “'In this method of teaching you try to bring heaven and earth together in whatever you do.' While Miriam's own three children were growing up, she trained in Waldorf education. 'My children are my biggest gurus in the path of child development,' she smiles." Read more...

Wisconsin resident Lori Barian, editor of the Central Region's The Correspondence, has been keeping us informed about the Food Freedom movement in which the first biodynamic farm in the US, the Zinniker's farm, played a key role beginning in 2010. Another Wisconsin farmer, Vernon Hershberger, is putting himself on the line and in court now. A new video gives a sense of this struggle where health, nutrition, rights, community, and economics intersect.

This fine ten-minute video commissioned over a year ago by the Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship (similar in the UK and Ireland to AWSNA in North America) has now been published on YouTube. (How is it that British accents for the most part still seem authoritative to American ears?)

Update: The UK's The Telegraph has now printed a substantial obituary of Maria Thun.

Biodynamics pioneer Maria Thun died on February 9th shortly before her ninetieth birthday. Her research since the 1950s and her calendars and books have been a tremendous resource to the movement. We first heard of her passing by way of a blog in the Guardian - "our lunar-growing guru" - just another life she had touched! Floris Books has a proper short biography, and SteinerBooks has her titles available in the US. Sherry Wildfeuer's introduction to the 2012 Stella Natura calendar is here, and you can support the BD Association by buying her book Gardening for Life here.

As the noted historian Carroll Quigley observed, people trying to help our social system evolve are too often ignorant of economics. We're grateful to Paul O'Leary for sharing a paper, "The Federal Reserve System, Fiat Money, and Fractional Reserve Banking," which is not too long or too short, and includes at the end a glossary of some key terms. Paul begins with a quote from Thomas Jefferson:

“I sincerely believe . . . that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies; and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale.”
 Thomas Jefferson1 Third President of the United States (1801 - 1809)

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In May Rudolf Steiner College will present a conference, "Psychosophy and a New Mythological Consciousness," with presenters Robert Sardello, William Bento, Dennis Klocek, Orland Bishop, Cheryl Sanders-Sardello, David Tresemer, Brian Gray, and Gillian Schoemaker. "The fear of not knowing our future creates a haze that prevents an apprehension of 'what-is-coming-to-be.' New dimensions of consciousness—intelligence of the heart, a new form of empathy, and the capacity to be within creative imagination—are already present for everyone. These new aspects of our being are forming a mythological consciousness." William Bento has shared some musings on the theme.

Arthur Zajonc, professor of Physics at Amherst College and a former general secretary of the Anthroposophical Society in America, has been appointed president of the Mind and Life Institute, a Boulder, CO-based nonprofit organization dedicated to building a scientific understanding of the mind through the investigation of contemplative practices in order to reduce suffering and promote well being.

Prof. Zajonc has been visiting professor and research scientist at the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris, the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics, and a Fulbright professor at the University of Innsbruck in Austria. His research has included studies in electron-atom physics, parity violation in atoms, quantum optics, the experimental foundations of quantum physics, and the relationship between science, the humanities, and the contemplative traditions. He is author or editor of eight books including: Catching the LightThe Quantum ChallengeMeditation as Contemplative Inquiry: When Knowing Becomes Love, and with Parker Palmer, The Heart of Higher Education: A Call to Renewal.

Prof. Zajonc commented, "For over 20 years the work of the Mind & Life Institute has enriched our understanding of the mind by bringing together the remarkable achievements of modern research in neuroscience with the equally profound traditions of contemplative inquiry. Together they have the possibility not only of illuminating the nature of mind, but also of addressing many of the sources of suffering that are rooted there. "
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The Biodynamic Association's "Biodynamics Blog" has become an important intersection for all kinds of food movement, conservation, and of course biodynamic agriculture news. The latest post cover the state of the struggle to have GMO (genetically modified organism) foodstuffs labeled as GMO, with links to an article by Robert Karp and a video pitch for labeling. Other recent entries address saving farmland and wild space, the challenge of counting US CSA organizations (community supported agriculture), and the raw milk war. Sign up for notice of new posts.

RSF Social Finance has launched an Impact Map to share the work of the social enterprises they support."Since 1984, RSF has made over $230 million in loans and $100 million in grants, placing us in the top tier of social finance organizations worldwide. But when we evaluate success, we think beyond dollars. Explore this map to see a snapshot of the types of organizations we support and the people and places affected by our investments."

Just choose an impact area, scroll the thumbnails below it, and view photos, videos, news and blogs. Only a handful of enterprises are shown in each area so far, but the depth on each is impressive and more will be added. Click here to view the RSF Impact Map...

Mary Lee Plumb-Mentjes of Anchorage, Alaska, reports on a 2011 visit to Irkutsk, Yekaterinburg, and Kirov, Russia, meeting with Waldorf teachers."I was impressed most by our times around the Waldorf kindergarten tables with the teachers, helpers and parents all tightly squeezed around, sharing tea and cookies, intent on discussion of challenges, singing and laughing. I’ve been in Waldorf circles for many years and only in the early pioneer days of initiatives do I remember the same ability of a group to have a single focus shared together. Those we visited in Russia were not in what we would consider their 'pioneer days'; they had been at it generally since 1989 and the days of glasnost and perestroika. Part of their warm, social strength comes from the challenges they face. " Read more...

Media coverage continues around Silicon Valley school

Matt Richtel's piece on Silicon Valley parents sending their kids to a technology-deferred Waldorf school continues to reverberate. Our News page ("beta"--just being previewed) links to that article and a number since, at myFoxNY, the Montreal Gazette, and the Colorado Springs Independent. And the San Francisco CBS station followed some weeks ago with a very thoughtful video report

Then NBC Nightly News aired a national report on this irresistible topic: high-powered techie parents who think a "low-tech" Waldorf education will prepare their children better for life. A further web-only feature may follow automatically, or click here. ADDITION: CBS Morning News has also covered the story nationally now; click here. Closing thought: the school of the future may be the school of the past.

Two recurrent negative themes: this approach is "old fashioned" (one student observes that it's actually the education of the future); and it costs a lot (the CBS piece points out that assistance is available). But all in all, a continuing surprised and friendly look at Steiner education. Hats off to the Waldorf School of the Peninsula, teachers, parents, students, for their open, sincere, and convincing representation of their values.

On November 14th Cornelius Pietzner, long-time Camphill leader in North America and for a decade treasurer at the Goetheanum, launched Alterra Impact Finance GmbH. As described on its website, Alterra is 'a Swiss-based investment manager for a Luxembourg SICAV-SIF social impact investment fund. It focuses investments on the basic necessities for a human being—health, housing and food, in addition to responsible consumer goods  which are supportive of the environment.' Alterra hosted its Fund Launch at its office on Bleicherweg, Zurich with guest keynote speaker Jacob von Uexkull, Founder of the Right Livelihood Award ( known as the “Alternative Nobel Prize”) and the World Future Council. There was also a project presentation featuring Vita Terra (Switzerland) and Beni Ghreb, active in bio-dynamic agriculture in southwest Tunisia.

A new book by Nicanor Perlas, "alternative Nobel Prize" winner, Philippine presidential candidate, biodynamic farmer and a leading exponent of social ideas globally, is receiving much attention in the Philippine media. Subtitled "Sow Courage, Reap a New World," it describes the MISSION movement founded in the Philippines in 2010.

"It illlustrates how personal mastery can empower individuals to act from their highest potential and creativity when helping to rebuild societies. Bestselling author Neale Donald Walsch, in his latest book, Storm Before The Calm cited Perlas and MISSION as doing cutting edge societal threefolding work that is essential to the 'creation of humanity’s New Cultural Story.' With this citation, MISSION is introduced worldwide to over a million people who are expected to read Walsch's book."

The book's website is here.

Brian Gray, program director of the "Foundations in Anthroposophy" program at Rudolf Steiner College, talks about the "foundation year" concept, how it's evolving at RSC, Rudolf Steiner's basic books, and five key attributes of anthroposophy. Click here for the full text. An excerpt of this interview was published in the fall being human.

Youth section members have created Occupy The Future, a site for participation and information related to the "Occupy Wall Street" and sympathetic demonstrations around the world. Participants in the fall conference have visited the large and peaceful two-block encampment in Portland, Oregon. One recently retired couple traveling the country joined the campers.

The Rudolf Steiner School in NYC has  posted a great video "Fall Fair 2011: Winter Awake."

Paul Dolan & friend

For almost a year wonderful events have been taking place across the country and the world for Rudolf Steiner's 150th birthday year. Probably the largest event was convened by RSF Social Finance, "Celebrating Rudolf Steiner" at the Golden Gate Club in San Francisco, with 550 people attending across a day of notable speakers and a sort of Steiner Fair. (Here's a recap.)

Now four of the talks are available online from the Reimagine Money blog:

  • What’s So Special About Biodynamics? with Paul Dolan, Paul Dolan Vineyards
  • Steiner’s Influence Today with Robert McDermott, California Institute of Integral Studies
  • Threefold Principles  with Jeffrey Westman, Social Entrepreneur, John Bloom & Mark Finser, RSF Social Finance
  • Transforming the Way the World Works With Money with Don Shaffer, Jeffrey Westman, Michael Davis, and Scott Leonard of Indigenous Designs

You'll miss the fog, the baloons, the great company -- but do tune in!

Warming the Space Between Us

Sun, Jul 15 2018 7:00 PM to Fri, Jul 20 2018 3:30 AM
Location: Duncan, BC, CANADA

How to get the most out of the Teacher-Parent Relationship [more]

Watercolor Painting for Waldorf Teachers

Sun, Jul 15 2018 8:45 AM to Fri, Jul 20 2018 1:00 PM
Location: Harlemville/Ghent, NY

Lesson preparation for Waldorf teachers, with Gail McManus [more]

Grades 5-8 Class Teaching Deepening Conferences

Sat, Jul 14 2018 6:00 PM to Wed, Jul 18 2018 1:30 PM
Location: Portland, OR

Renewal Conferences for Every Grade [more]

Becoming Human: Questions for co-creating the future

Sat, Jul 14 2018 to Wed, Jul 18 2018
Location: Dornach, SWITZERLAND

International youth summer conference at the Goetheanum [more]

Anthroposophic Psychology Seminar #2 Sacred Wound

Wed, Jul 11 2018 2:30 AM
Location: Phoenixville, PA

James Dyson, Roberta Nelson, and David Tresemer will connect mainstream understanding of the primal wound to... [more]

Goetheanum from the Air

Das Goetheanum from Roger Maeder on Vimeo.

The Goetheanum in Dornach, Switzerland, ten kilometers southeast of Basel, is the home of the General Anthroposophical Society and School for Spiritual Science. Designed by Rudolf Steiner, it opened in 1928. This new four-and-a-half minute video views it from the air. Start the video, then click on the four-arrow icon to view full-screen.