being human online - december 2017

being human online - december 24, 2017 - john beck, editor

Gratitude in a Fraught Year

Our summer-fall issue is now available to all in PDF format online, while the next print issue goes into layout for delivery in February. An editor's gratitude is profound for the quality of writers, artists, thinkers, and social and cultural activists in our movement. Along with news of the ASA, the issue now online includes

  • The cover, "Only a collection of DNA?" and gallery by Lois Schroff, artist, author, and teacher
  • Rudolf Steiner: Towards an Architecture of Social Transformation, by John Bloom
  • Colorado’s Angelica Village, by Renata Heberton
  • A Call to Garden, by Sally Voris
  • A Psychology of Soul and Spirit: An Anthroposophic Psychology, by David Tresemer, PhD, plus a remarkable book chapter on "Pathos and Spiritus"
  • The Formation of MysTech, by Andrew Linnell, part of a growing engagement by anthroposophists with the challenges of technology
  • Being Human and the Life Cycle of the Plant, by Tom Altgelt with his beautiful illustrations
  • Biography Work: Bringing Social Artistry to Life, by Patricia Rubano
  • “What Society do we want, and how do we get there?” by Martin Large
  • Professor Fritz Carl August Koelln: “Each day anew” -- a loving memoir by Neill Reilly
  • Anthroposophy, Quantum Physics, & Holistic Medicine’s Epistemology Crisis, a review by Walter Alexander of the important new volume Anthroposophy and Science
  • Sex Education and the Spirit by Lisa Romero, reviewed by Daniel Mackenzie
  • No Shore Too Far, by Jonathan Stedall
  • News for members & friends
  • and remembrances of Uwe Stave, MD, Rev. Richard Dancey, Patricia Thornburgh Zay Livingston, and DoloresRose Dauenhauer.
As we faced such questions as renewed nuclear violence, extreme weather, the subversion of democracy, sexual misconduct, and the misallocation of social resources (not a complete list), it was very satisfying to be able to share the timely and inspiring work above.

While we can only afford two print issues each year, I am also grateful for the hard work of 2015 when the Anthroposophical Society in America tightened its belt and established a sustainable operating budget. Members and friends closed the loop of income and expenditures by renewing membership contributions more promptly and by supporting our end of year appeal very generously. I hope you can do so again this year.

Your thoughts are always welcome.

John Beck, editor

Deepening the Experience of Christmas

Rudolf Steiner's significance as a "spiritual researcher" is naturally immense in the area of religion. As with everything else, his core concern is the future of the human being: our evolution from primal past into hard to comprehend futures. So he explained the seasonal cycles of the year as a tempering process and gave the fifty-two verses of the Calendar of the Soul to help us enter consciously into this process. Religions become part of an evolutionary unity. And the traditional "twelve nights of Christmas" is rediscovered as a moment for stepping out of calendar time into a higher wakefulness to meet the year ahead. For anthroposophy these are now known as the "holy nights," and they can be a powerful deepening of the vast commercial-religious event of December 25th.

We had hoped to collect the dozens of offerings of this season, but are having to settle for offering one item and how to search for more. To enter into group activities, check with local branches and groups of the Anthroposophical Society. Many if not most will be working with these twelve days in some fashion. To follow activities online search for

"holy nights" anthroposophy

on Facebook or Google; include the quotation marks in the search to avoid extraneous suggestions.

On Facebook Robin Mitchell (and perhaps many others) have posted Steiner's Christmas tree symbols. For non-FB users I'm "reposting" that here:

The seven planetary symbols - Saturn, Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter and Venus - represent the stages of planetary evolution of mankind as described in Rudolf Steiner's "Occult Science". They are arranged in an ascending spiral around the perimeter of the tree.

The other symbols are arranged in the form of a cross:

The Square at the lower end of the cross is the symbol for the fourfold nature of man: Physical Body, Etheric Body, Astral Body, and Ego. The Triangle above the square symbolizes the higher being of man: Spirit Self, Life Spirit, and Spirit Man.

The ancient Egyptian symbol of the Tarok at the crossing represents the reading in the "Book of Life". This understanding of the stream of world events, from the beginning to the end, is symbolized by the Alpha and Omega at the outer reaches of the cross.

The Tao is the symbol of the "I am" that speaks to us through the lapping and surging of the waves, in the whistling and rushing of the wind, in the rumbling of the thunder: The worship of all that is sacred in nature.

The Pentagram at the top of the tree is the star of mankind developing itself. It is the star that all wise men and women follow as did the priest-sages in ancient times.