Dear Friend,


Our Holy Season has been warmed and planted in the hearts of our community and branch environment, now to be nourished and to grow throughout the coming year. We are grateful to all who came together to create this harmonious festive mood with devotion and love. We experienced heartfelt conversations, profound performances, thoughtful presentations, and a beautiful life of spirit shared among all who attended.

We began the season with the four Advent Sundays bringing pictures of fourfoldness from the Reverse (or Cosmic) Ritual, the elements, the human being, and the sacrifices of the Christ. We swirled our way into the season with the magic of the Advent Spiral, and offer a special thank you to Cynthia Murphy-Lang for founding this work at the branch, a blessing and welcome to her new-born granddaughter(!), and to Saeko Cohn for lifting our souls with the sounds of her lyre playing. On the following three Sundays, we continued deepening our expectation of the coming light as the darkness rose in the lengthening nights, sharing pictures of the transformation of the human being, and the coming together of the streams of the Priests and Kings, as we moved eurythmy and sang each night, "A Simple Song" by Leonard Bernstein.

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When the Holy Nights began on Christmas Eve, we entered the metamorphosing path of twelvefoldness woven through with a sevenfoldness. Each night of the Holy Nights, we took one step through the twelvefoldness—the beings of the Zodiac, the senses, the worldviews, and the virtues—as well as honored the sevenfoldness by reading a verse for the Spirit of the Day of the Week. We found the unexpected tones of harmony through the weaving together of these short presentations that enveloped each of the gatherings. A special thank you to Joshua Kelberman, who was present every single evening to open and close the Holy Nights, assisted by Vincent Roppolo and Marta Stemberger. Each night ended with all in attendance humming and singing "Silent Night". Thank you to Sylvia Mandel for her offerings of the colorful scarves that enlivened our hallway more and more as one was added each night to the zodiac glyphs, and to the Festival Group for their beautiful decorations and tree. (Special thank you to our study guides: for the virtues, Herbert Witzenmann's The Seasons of the Soul & Robert Sardello's The Power of Soul: Living the Twelve Virtues; for the worldviews, Steiner's Human and Cosmic Thought; and for the senses, Albert Soesman's The Twelve Senses.)

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On Christmas Eve, the Feast Day of Adam and Eve, Serguei Krissiouk shared a deep contemplation on "Forbearance and Unwavering Purpose" that took us to the very foundations of our will and intention. Joshua Kelberman added pictures of the eternal child who eternally lives in Paradise and in our hearts. Serguei closed the night with enchanting guitar melodies of Medieval times and one of his own work in this style.


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On Christmas Day, we began our path through the twelve, with Capricorn, Balance, Spiritism, and Courage becoming Power to Reform. Joshua shared some thoughts and experiences on this theme with the group who attended, and Serguei shared guitar melodies, all in the mood of the birth of light in the Winter's night.

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On Dec. 26th, we entered Aquarius, Smell, Pneumatism, and Discretion becoming Meditative Strength. Jonathan Hilton shared a grand picture of the Adam Cadmon, the archetype of the Human Being's "body", with a talk on "The 12 Holy Nights and the 12 Zodiac Constellations as Path to the Human Archetype".

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Dec. 27th was dedicated to Pisces, Taste, Psychism, and Magnanimity becoming Love. The Eurythmy Spring Valley Post-graduate Class performed a number of beautiful and moving pieces, including opening with an a capella chorus of Sanctus by Franz Schubert, and Marta Stemberger leading us all in a eurythmy workshop of "Silent Night". Thank you to the eurythmists Erin Erkelens, Monika Ostir, Marta Stemberger, Sarah Weber, the speaker Natasha Moss, the pianist Alessandro Simone, and the cellist Christopher Grieder.

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On Dec. 28th, we stepped into Aries, Ego-sense, Idealism, and Devotion becoming Power of Sacrifice. The St. Marks Study Group brought us into their working with a group study of a chapter of their reading in Cosmic Memory by Rudolf Steiner. Thanks especially to Albert Spekman, Santi Ortiz, and Kelly Beekman for guiding us.

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On Dec. 29th, we contemplated the insights of Taurus, Thought-sense, Rationalism, Integrity becomes Progress. Glenn Williamson intoned the story of The Incarnation of the Logos, bringing us into the heart of a Mystery Temple, with an elucidating weaving of the story of the lives and families of the two Jesus children and the harmony of Great Beings who stand within and behind these incarnations.

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On Dec. 30th, we spoke of Gemini, Language-sense, Mathematism, and Perseverance becoming Faithfulness. Joshua Kelberman read from the Gospel of John in Greek and English to bring to life the Language-sense and the meditation as suggested by the virtue study. Synchronistically, the Barfield group has been studying the Gospel of John lectures by Steiner and presented from their work over the year. Thank you to Joyce Reilly, Santi Ortiz, Walter Alexander, Paul Lynch, Joanna Bergman, and Fred Dennehy.

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Dec. 31st was given to Cancer, Hearing, Materialism, and Selflessness becoming Catharsis. Simone Coonrod and Joshua Kelberman led us through a ritual of “Fire and Earth Burning Dead Branches, Planting Seeds of Hope for the Coming Year". Participants were offered a chance to let go of 2018 and create hope for 2019 in an experience of inner deepening and transformation.

New Year's Eve into New Year’s Day was spent with Marta Stemberger leading The Transformation Game, a journey through spiritual awakening, at a small sleep-over party (inspired by Simone Coonrod) that carried our branch through the turning-point of 2018 to 2019!


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On Jan. 1st, 2019, we looked at Leo, Warmth, Sensationalism, and Compassion becoming Spiritual Activity (Freedom). The Speakers' Group representative, Sylvia Mandel, shared on the group's work with Art History lectures by Steiner, looking at the developing consciousness of the "I" through artwork. The Foundation Studies Group shared their ongoing work over their first three years with questions they live with, and a study of the Lesser and Greater Guardians of the Threshold from How to Know Higher Worlds by Steiner. Thank you to Dennis Block, Joshua Kelberman, and Mai for sharing from their group.

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Jan. 2nd we spent with Virgo, Sight, Phenomenalism, and Courtesy becoming Tactfulness of Heart. Walter Alexander shared from his forth-coming book Hearts and Minds, with insightful views of the challenges of our current mainstream worldviews on consciousness, biology, evolution, medicine, and physics, and some hopeful research that is moving us from a mechanical model to a living, holistic experience.

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On Jan. 3rd, we honored Libra, Touch, Realism, and Contentment becoming Equanimity, with David T. Anderson's mammoth views on the twelve Zodiac beings, offering to humanity the twelve shaping consonants, the stages of plant development, and the worldviews. He grounded these mighty pictures with the view of the human being standing on the Earth as the stars pass overhead, and a view of ancient Palestine and the chakras.

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Jan. 4th was dedicated to Scorpio, Life-sense, Dynamism, and Humility becoming Insight. Linda Larson led the group in a reading of The Dreamsong of Olaf Åsteson, followed by group eurythmy movement to a form given by Steiner for this poem. Linda's sharing of the history of the Dreamsong deepened our experience of an ancient memory of initiation felt over the Holy Nights in Scandinavia.

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On Jan 5th, we concluded the Holy Nights with Sagittarius, Movement, Monadism, and Control of Speech becoming Feeling for Truth. Brigida Baldzun lead us in eurythmy movement with the polarity of "radiating" and "streaming" cosmic forces. The group found new meaning in straight lines, curved, and mixed, as well as in exploring the life of movement in the vowels and a few consonants.

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Our Holy Season culminated on Jan. 6th, the Epiphany. Hopes written on golden stars by the participants of the Advent Spiral were burned on our roof before our gathering began. Joshua Kelberman opened the evening with a reading from Steiner's Pre-Earthly Deeds of Christ, looking to the future development of the Power of Memory as a vision of the "I" of the World that will awaken true knowledge in Humanity. Then, Vincent Roppolo and Joshua Kelberman performed a moving drama of The Christmas Truce of 1919, pieced together from actual writings of the soldiers who lived this miraculous experience, and woven together with music and gesture. Jonathan Hilton closed the evening with a future vision of the solar system, a lemniscate weaving of Earth and Sun, that Steiner communicated in his lecture series Astronomy and its Relationship to the Natural Sciences. With new pictures of the seasonal year, festivals, and path of the planetary system within the Zodiac, we were invited to begin the work to transform the picture of the cosmos through our own awareness and developing consciousness.

We are blessed with such a world of deep and rich offerings during this Holy Season at the Branch, and appreciate everyone who came to share in-person or sent their love from afar. We sincerely dedicate our work together to the spirit of the New York City Branch of the Anthroposophical Society in America and the spiritual world.

May our year be full of growth, togetherness, and creativity!

With love and gratitude,
ASNYC Festival Group