Sunday, July 19, 2009
Dear Members and Friends of the Anthroposophical Society, General Council, Collegium, CAO and Branch Leaders,
As many of you know, the 22nd of July – this coming Wednesday
[see note below about the time] – will bring a total solar eclipse visible over many cities in China and the Far East [link: NASA details].
A wide variety of people have spoken of this event as being particularly significant for the months ahead. The blocking of the sun by the moon will cast a lunar shadow over the earth, perhaps in more ways than one when considered in light of anthroposophical insights. Even mainstream commentators have noted the potential for unusual disruption in world affairs. Therefore, I am taking this personal initiative of writing to you in order to suggest a way of meeting this event with greater consciousness, and I invite you to do the same.
Early Wednesday morning* I will gather with colleagues and friends here in New Hampshire to live with the fourth panel of the Foundation Stone given by Rudolf Steiner.
Darkness of Night
Had held its sway;
Poured into the souls of men:
Light that gave warmth
To simple shepherds’ hearts,
Light that enlightened
The wise heads of kings.
O Light Divine!
O Sun of Christ!
Warm Thou our hearts,
Enlighten Thou our heads,
That good may become
What from our hearts we would found
And from our heads direct
With single purpose.
Quoted in my winter letter in Evolving News for Members and Friends, these potent lines might be of particular help this week. How would it be if those aligned with the intentions of “Light Divine, Christ-Sun” were to speak back to the Cosmos, so to say, on the 22nd of July? If these lines were to be spoken repeatedly across North America at different times during the day, by individuals and groups, we could be assured that a moment of unified human striving would also become a reality.
When Francis Edmunds spoke to the children at our school in Great Barrington for the last time, he said that when we think of each other, we remain united even when we are not physically visible to one another. As we face the increasing challenges of our time, we need to exercise our spiritual voice more than ever. The consequence of this initiative that some of us will freely take up on Wednesday may not, in fact will not be readily visible at first. Yet the work of the School of Michael calls for a strong and active presence in our world, and we need to summon the courage to work more actively together.
I can appreciate that some may not be concerned about solar eclipses and such things, and I respect the freedom of each individual in our movement to draw his or her own conclusions. Yet I cannot but think that the efforts of those who take up this initiative on Wednesday will not be in vain. The world truly needs all those who are striving together for spiritual truth.
With warm regards,
Torin M Finser, PhD
PS Please forward this to your email list of friends and groups you feel might be interested……….before Wednesday!
* - Part of a note on
the time from Brian Gray at Rudolf Steiner College:
The time of the central solar eclipse is 2:35 AM UT (Greenwich) on July 22nd. That translates to 10:35 PM EDT, or 9:35 PM CDT, or 8:35 PM MDT, or 7:35 PM PDT on
Tuesday, July 21st. Since at totality the eclipse lasts over six minutes, five minutes earlier and up to five minutes later could be a time of great concern.
The moon's shadow on the Earth during a 2008 eclipse, as seen from the international space station:
Further links: a description of a total solar eclipse with remarkable picture of the sun's corona; Kevin Dann blog; Wikipedia article with animation.
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Traveling in France with Anthroposophy
you are traveling to France, or thinking about it, Dorian Yates' green earth
guide: traveling naturally in France is "written for the
twenty-first-century traveler with a conscience" and includes many pages of
specific interest to anthroposophists. (You can
it on Google Books.) She notes, "I have been a Waldorf school mother and a
health care practitioner utilizing some aspects of anthroposophical medicine and
I know how hard it can be to find like-minded resources when traveling." Along
with bike rentals, eco-accommodations, special diets, thermal baths, and fair
trade shopping, Dorian give an extensive health section which begins with pages
on anthroposophical medicine (including mistletoe) and continues with massage,
ayurveda, herbs, homeopathy (and Samuel Hahnemann's grave location). Organic
food is explained in the European context, and Biodynamics are explained in the
important French context of wines. Waldorf-affiliated home exchange is mentioned
among accommodation choices. Maps show walks, biking, spas, wind-energy sites,
and traditional routes to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Vivid color photos
whet the appetite to get up and go!
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"Watching Whales Watching Us"
Christian Sweningsen drew our attention to a
remarkable long article in the New York Times by this name. Don't let the
initial painful account of the damage we are doing to the sea mammals turn you
away; after the first page another story begins to unfold: of whale
communications, of their interest in human beings, of their unusual biology: "[A
2006] study revealed brain structures surprisingly similar to our own. Some, in
fact, contained large concentrations of spindle cells — often referred to as the
cells that make us human because of their link to higher cognitive functions
like self-awareness, a sense of compassion and linguistic expression — with the
added kick that whales evolved these same highly specialized neurons as many as
15 million years before we humans did, a stunning instance of a phenomenon
biologists refer to as parallel evolution."
The author notes that "somehow the more we learn about whales, the more we’re
coming to appreciate the sublimely discomfiting reality that a kind of parallel
'us' has long been out there roaming the oceans' depths, succumbing to our
assaults." And he finds scientists--at least one--who does not simply dismiss
his question about "some element of knowing forgiveness behind [the whales']
Somehow this led to an article by
the tireless and free-spirited reviewer and explicator of Rudolf Steiner's
communication, and how visual images are perhaps shared among sea mammals by
means of sounds and hearings. One may take Bobby's insights in light of
Steiner's observation that the essential nature of the idea is a figure. Which
leads, perhaps to thoughts of eurythmy, and just how large a step in human
expression and communications may lie along the lines of that art form.
And all these thoughts lead to another question...
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Steiner's Research into How We Know
What struck your editor as an important piece of research and writing came
early this year, before the first issue of the new quarterly. Written by
Pennsylvanian Scott Hicks, a member of the Anthroposophical Society and the
School for Spiritual Science, it explores the relationship of the work of Franz
Brentano, a charismatic professor of philosophy at the University of Vienna, and
two of his pupils, Rudolf Steiner and Edmund Husserl.
we know what we know" is referred to by philosophers and academics as
epistemology or cognitive studies. Brentano was one of the first to look at the
inner happenings of human consciousness as phenomena, and his two
above-mentioned students went on to explore and analyze their own thought events
and processes in very powerful ways. But Steiner's anthroposophy is still only
modestly known, and actually avoided in the academic world because of its
radical approach and vast scope, while Husserl's work, if not widely embraced,
is well-known in universities as "phenomenology" and was taken up quite
seriously in their own ways by his own students including Heidegger and Sartre.
Scott Hicks quite modestly acknowledges, most of the way through his paper,
that he is not writing about things of which he has no experience. And he is
able to lay out key aspects of Husserl's work, and point how Rudolf Steiner went
there, and farther. There is only one problem: when it comes to anthroposophy
combined with serious academic philosophy, how many people can "go there"? And
if very few could read it with comprehension, how can we give a third of an
issue of our quarterly to publishing it?
A challenge. This paper sits at the branching point where one man,
Husserl, went on to academic understanding, and another, Steiner, went on to
change many aspects of culture but not the universities--so far. It's important
to our culture that we see what is going on at this divide. So with Scott's
agreement, I am
posting his article at our
page, and asking those who are willing to try, to download it, read it, work
with it--he does explain the terms and works with them quite clearly--and
get back to
us about it.
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Foundation year in Asheville, NC?
The Anthroposophical Group in Asheville, North Carolina, hopes to start a
Foundation Studies program this Fall. If interested, please contact
as soon as possible.
Child's Reincarnation Memories
Marke Levene shared
this link to the Cleveland Fox TV station: a powerful video report on a
child's extraordinary reincarnation nightmares and memories, now published
as a book called Soul Survivor.
"Biodynamic gardeners and teachers seek opportunity...
...to continue a lifetime of work in conscious agriculture." A message
passed along July 8th from Barbara M. V. Scott and Woody Wodraska. "We carry
with us a large collection of heirloom seeds which we have grown out for 20
years, as part of our own spiritual work. We need congenial housing and
opportunity for right livelihood. Barbara is a lifelong gardener and healer,
a gifted, intuitive teacher and land-listener. Woody’s writings receive wide
favorable comment and he has co-created gardens in many different settings.
Read our biographies at:
A little musical explanation and illustration can wake up our ears quite
four-minute bit from NPR does that for the opening of Appalachian
Spring, Aaron Copland's ballet which seemed to give voice to the USA's own
sound. Perhaps someone can add some further anthroposophical insights--and
to us about that, too!
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