A biweekly newsletter from the Anthroposophical Society in America
banner image - being more consciously human

June 29, 2020

Dear Members & Friends,

Welcome to our second e-newsletter, “being more consciously human,” a thought based in Rudolf Steiner’s characterization of the word “anthroposophy” as “the consciousness of our humanity.”  Coming soon will be a page for comments and resources. Meanwhile, please write editor@anthroposophy.org

Social inclusion at a distance

It seems that face-to-face gatherings will be restricted for some time. The bad news is the limitation of full human contact; the good news is access to events and conversations without expensive travel and lodging. So we’re all making the best of it.

Let’s help everyone participate. Many people have no internet access or cannot manage computers; but they are perfectly comfortable on the phone. For Zoom meetings they just need to know the phone number to call, the meeting code to enter, and the fact that *6 on the phone keypad mutes and unmutes their phone.

In the spirit of “awakening to community,” anyone who gets email or online announcements could call a (typically older) friend or fellow member and share this information. Groups could take a few minutes to think of people who may not be connected, and arrange for someone to be in touch. In our experience, such a gesture would be very welcome!

Meanwhile there is a lot happening in addition to what we shared a month ago about established summer programs.

ASA annual conference Oct 9-10-11 online
A few days ago Laura Scappaticci shared “big news about our annual conference.” You can read it here. “We humbly invite you to join us October 9, 10, & 11 in our online community space for Willing The Good: Love, Action, Healing, the ASA annual conference. Speakers and workshop presenters include Thea Maria Carlson, Peter Selg, Margaret Shipman, Harrie Salman and more. Please note that the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the ASA will be held online the same week.” See the end of Laura’s letter for an original St. John’s story by Sherry Wildfeuer.
BDA and Demeter USA logos
The Biodynamic Association and Demeter USA have voted to initiate a process to bring our two organizations together into one new organization: the Biodynamic Demeter Association,” a decision inspired in part by the recent unification of Demeter International and the International Biodynamic Association. The BD Association conference will not be face-to-face this year, but hold the dates Nov 11-15 for new ways to do community. And for 2021 plan on Nov 12-14 in Westminster, CO. Read more here.
image for Whitsun festival
August 7-9, Threefold Educational Center will celebrate the 60th anniversary of Karl König’s seminal lectures with The Twelve Senses online conference. “We see the twelve senses, now more than ever before, as a path of understanding that can lead towards healing in our social life, vitality in our education and personal development, and greater diversity, effectiveness, and integration in our approach to health and healing. Free registration is required, donations will be gratefully accepted. And our fine webinar series would help you prepare.
af Klint poster

Hilma af Klint “The Spiritual & the Divine” extended through Aug 9th.

af Klint poster

From July 2nd it is paired with exhibits of
Gerard Wagner and Albert Steffen

In Hudson, NY.
Open Thu-Sun 11:30-5pm.
10 visitors at one time, wearing masks, 6 ft apart.

On June 19th (Juneteenth) Lightforms covered their front window with “Paint the World You want to Live In: curbside culture, community painting and music from the upstairs window”:

af Klint poster

Enjoy the whole process on Laura Summer’s FB page.


bud, blossom, fruit of yellow flower against stone


The human form and constitution. How is it that we have come to understand ourselves only in the context of animals? “Humans are terrestrial animals.” Perhaps a clue is the use of the word species which properly means “external appearance.” Darwin’s The Origin of Species did not approach the inner, conscious experience of humans or any other beings. Ignoring the inner life, we are left with being the “naked apes.”

Humans (Homo sapiens) are highly intelligent primates that have become the dominant species on Earth... terrestrial animals, characterized by their erect posture and bipedal locomotion; high manual dexterity and heavy tool use compared to other animals; open-ended and complex language use compared to other animal communications; larger, more complex brains than other animals; and highly advanced and organized societies. — Wikipedia: Human

This dominant “scientific” but materialistic understanding of ourselves is a strange extract of what we all actually experience. No wonder that, as Kathy Donchak’s latest email for SteinerBooks quotes Prof. E.O. Wilson (Sociobiology; On Human Nature), “Homo sapiens is the only species to suffer psychological exile.”

Rudolf Steiner’s picture of the human shows a four-dimensional being (physical, etheric, astral, ego) we can actually experience all around us. This is a being woven into the world of nature and engaged with higher worlds of consciousness or spirit. 

We see our own four aspects in nature: the physical (minerals, crystalline forms), the living (plants, forming and growing), the conscious (animals, moving, acting and reacting), and ourselves: the self-aware and creative individual. From this we can start to imagine our deeper relationship to nature.

We can see a “four-fold human” in our lives: the corpse we leave behind, the coma or dreamless sleep, the dream state, and the awake and reasoning daytime life.

The concept of our four-dimensioned nature compares helpfully with Abraham Maslow’s “hierarchy of needs”: its physical needs and safety, living and health needs, feeling and relationship needs, and the goal of self-actualization

Steiner’s guidance opens up life patterns, educational needs, health and healing, memory, suffering, sleeping, near-death experiences and reincarnation.

The distinctly human element is always the ego, self, individuality, or ‘I’—and that is a huge topic for another time.

Steiner School of Speech Arts
Though the homepage does not yet reflect it, the Steiner School of Speech Arts at Threefold will resume in September. Programs include a foundation year, four year training in speech arts, and weekend workshops. “Our curriculum offers an inspiring journey through the multilayered elements of speech. Building on the foundation year program, we transform our relationship with the spoken word and become conscious of how the human voice is an instrument of creative power.” Email Barbara Renold for details.
Questions of Courage youth gathering
“A youth gathering in the heartland” will begin in Chicago August 20 @ Elderberries Biodynamic Outpost and Threefold Cultural Hub (map). Aug 21-22 moves just north to Wisconsin to link up with Farmer John and Haidy @ Angelic Organics Biodynamic Farm, and Dana and Phil Burns at Healing Traditions and Alizur farm, with a return to Chicago Aug 23. Get in touch here with organizers Abigail Dancey, Frank Aleph Agrama, and Stefan Ambrose.
photo of Craig Holdrege of the Nature Institute
“Sciences & Technology at the Threshold” is the subtitle for this amazing event, “broadcasting LIVE online Aug 13-16.” “MysTech is dedicated to driving positive change for our future by steering the role that technology will play in society and human evolution in the light of spiritual science.” It is extremely important that the anthroposophical movement can present such an extensive conference at this moment of challenge; do look over the list of presenters.

A Prayer is inspired from a text by Rudolf Steiner, from his conferences in Berlin in 1910 called “The essence of prayer” (CW/GA59). “This film was shot in the neigborhood I grew up in, in the seaside of Punta Ballena, Uruguay.” — A film by Horacio Reyes Páez on Vimeo.

A final note on recruitment for initiatives. The extreme dislocations of this moment are certainly affecting anthroposophical organizations. Our attention was drawn to this by a communication from Cadmus Lifesharing Association in the Berkshires of Massachusetts. Their recent volunteers have come from Germany, Russia, and Spain, but these connections may be blocked for the near future. 

Recruitment of a new farmer for an established biodynamic farm and CSA may also be a large challenge. The thirty-year-old Community Farm of Ann Arbor in southeastern Michigan has been looking for someone to take on this big and many-faceted responsibility.

There are position listings at AWSNA and the Alliance for Public Waldorf Education and the Camphill Association and the Biodynamic Association , and you can check with local initiatives if you are looking for a highly fulfilling new direction in life.

Thank you for reading, and for being part of our community. Your thoughts and suggestions are always welcome.

John Beck
Editor, being human

Anthroposophical Society in America

Anthroposophical Society in America (US)
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