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

August 1, 2020

Dear Members & Friends,

I hope you are well and your situation is tolerable, at the very least. It is a real test of wisdom and fortitude that we have not simply one difficult situation to face, but several. My thoughts at this moment go particularly to parents and everyone involved in schools, along with health and caregivers everywhere.

Despite challenges,  initiative keeps sprouting and blossoming everywhere. A rather spectacular new initiative is coming from our Director of Programs Laura Scappaticci and the Applied Anthroposophy Team (Linda Bergh, Chris Burke, Anne de Wild, Angela Foster, Tess Parker, Laura, and Jordan Walker). Its timely, chrysalis-themed invitation is “Emerge with us!”

This year-long online Zoom course, our first, starts next month and offers an introductory “crash course” for those new to anthroposophy. Weekly meetings follow on the four themes of Freedom in Thinking, the Power of Love, Individual Initiative, and Service to Humanity. Smaller cohorts, “Chrysalis Groups,” will be a home base throughout. A daily meditation session on the six basic exercises is included.

To this thoughtful structure just add a wonderful faculty! Rev. Patrick Kennedy, Lisa Romero, Lakshmi Prasanna MD, Chris Burke PhD, Anne de Wild, Linda Bergh, Carrie Schuchardt, Liz Beaven EdD, Megan Durney, Nathaniel Williams PhD, Onat Sanchez, Adam Blanning MD, Sherry Wildfeuer, and Alex Tuchman — are all engaged as of today!

Not only is this a unique chance to be immersed in anthroposophy, it also seems like a tonic for the rather heavy world events we are all going through. Do take a look: AppliedAnthroposophy.org

And check the end of this newsletter for reminders on some of the many special things happening in August!

Association for Anthroposophic Psychology
The Association for Anthroposophic Psychology is continuing its certificate program online, “learning to mitigate etheric exhaustion and to enhance the possibility for intimacy and relationality. As we greet one another, speak a verse, and do eurythmy, we create imaginative pictures of being together in the Camphill halls we’ve inhabited prior to the pandemic; we are using break-out rooms to allow for warm sharing and digestion of content. As we build resilience through serious inner work and cooperative practical work, our eyes are wide awake to the cultural shifts and seismic (literal and figurative) happenings on every level of human existence. AAP welcomes collaboration with our sister anthroposophic organizations! And, we are planning to launch a new 3 Year Certificate Program in 2021.”
Aristotle by Raphael
We are blessed by a number of anthroposophists who are experienced in technology. Boyd Collins writes for being human  but has many more articles online. This popular article, “Aristotle’s Solution to Digital Addiction,” goes into graphic detail as to why so many of us have become addicted to the vast array of digital tools and how little value they actually add to our lives. “I attempt to wake people up to how shrunken the human image has become through our subservience to digital media. Then I propose a practical solution to this addiction based on Aristotle’s concept of ‘leisure,’ which is an activity pursued for its own sake. It is a form of contemplation that is not justified by its practical benefits, but empowers us to assign “practical benefits” to their proper place in the hierarchy of life’s values...”
BD Association image
The Biodynamic Association, which is also online with its conference this year in November, has an engaging blog. Currently it features an opportunity to ask questions about the merger with Demeter USA, and Janet Gamble on farming as a cultural act“We are creative beings that orchestrate the complexity of our plan and then execute it daily.... We are empathizers, caring for the animals who are sacrificing their lives for ours, giving them the best life, environment, and conditions possible.” Other posts address food and social justice, a connection made with Guatemala, and a remembrance of Hugh Courtney, “a man of great feelings and high standards” who established the Josephine Porter Institute and was a force in the essential work of making the biodynamic preparations.
AnthroMed conference banner

Laura Summer and Patricia Lynch are organizing a digital art dispersal for the online meeting and conference of the ASA in October! These were popular events in Atlanta and New Orleans. Now everyone can participate online...
Read how this will work in our blog at anthroposophy.org
“At Free Columbia we believe that everyone should have the opportunity to experience original artwork in their home, regardless of how much money they have. That why we just let you take it off the wall... At the same time, we firmly believe that atists need support in order to eat and keep making art! That's why we invite you to donate and become a supporter of free culture!”


yellow flower close-up


As cosmic beings we are a bridge... Unlike minerals, plants, animals, we humans have our fourth part, our ‘I’, present in the physical world: an invisible entity of spirit or consciousness inhabiting a vessel or vehicle of soul, life, and mineral substance.

And Rudolf Steiner mentions various stages in the journey of becoming of this ‘I’, of its being more and more present and engaged in the material world. His insights are spread across books and lectures and cities and years. He is aware of how a birth happens in individual consciousness, how tremendous a deed this is. Recognition, realization — words like these point to sacred steps in a “knowledge drama” of human becoming. And what if we get different parts of the puzzle? Well, our process of sharing our recognitions is equally important, like conversations of stars.

Certain things become clear in anthroposophy that would be great discoveries in narrow academic fields. The idea that humanity and its civilizations evolve—that is now halfway grasped in universities. How this also meshes with individual development is not clear yet.

Egypt of the time of Moses was a great civilization on the old model: circular, cyclical. Moses awakens in an encounter with a spiritual being manifesting as a “burning bush” who directs him to take the lowly Hebrew people out into solitude, into the wilderness.

A god’s name expresses its power, and this god’s name is “I am that I am.” Its power is to be an individual. The exodus from Egypt begins the journey of the ‘I’ on the face of the Earth. The first goal is for an individual, an ‘I’-bearer, to appear who is strong enough to receive into itself the cosmic ‘I’, the source of our humanness, through whom our power of development will be renewed.

Eighteen centuries later, after the ancient mystery civilizations have given way to kingdoms, and kingdoms to new forms of “self-rule”and self-determination, a thinker in the young USA, Emerson, will write an essay “Self Reliance” at the heart of which he asserts simply that “I actually am.”

A century later, some decades after Rudolf Steiner, Abraham Maslow will describe a process of “self-actualization” and a hierarchy of needs which must be met to support the presence of a mature and generative self.

And so here we are, at the point of real maturation and ripening of that ego/self/“I” which makes us human. And as we ripen well, it reveals itself as a point of future co-creation in the cosmos.

The Goetheanum English channel on YouTube
The Goetheanum has jumped into video with an English channel on YouTube (there are also German, French, Spanish, and Italian channels). Eight videos are online now, all under thirteen minutes. Joan Sleigh on “Three questions from the coronavirus” concerning work, environment, freedom. Lockdown, is it care or control? Poised between a past we cannot return to - and a future that isn't formed yet? How do we want to form it? From the Social Science Section: Gerald Haefner on the death of George Floyd, is it just an American matter? From the Medical Section: Georg Soldner: “Trust and relationships are sources of health”; Matthias Girke: “What can strengthen the immune system?” From the Agriculture Section Ueli Hurter on “Our new relationship to animals” and “The corona pandemic affects us humans, not nature”; Jasmin Peschke on “Healthy food for healthy individuals”; and Lin Bautze on “Living Farms.”
Time to Grow in Nature
From Antioch University New England, with its strong Waldorf-inclusive education programs, we received an email and flyer on “Outdoor Learning Opportunities - Maine NH VT... Let's take learning outdoors! Outdoor and nature-based learning can protect against virus transmission, provide positive academic outcomes, and offer proven mental health benefits. Read our position statement...” And that reminded us of Meg Pelose’s “Time to Grow in Nature,” about her Salamander Nature Awareness School, in our last print being human. “With a masters in electrical engineering and having worked for Hewlett-Packard in the cellular industry, I believe children need to fully experience childhood with less technology in order to thrive. So I began working on creating my own forest preschool and attended Antioch University’s Nature Based Early Childhood Education training and Forest Kindergarten Teachers’ conferences.”.
photo of Craig Holdrege of the Nature Institute
The Fellowship Community, “an intergenerational community centered around the care of the elderly and well-rounded hard work,” is offering a Skills Immersion Program from Sept 15 through next July 31.  It is aimed at young adults “searching for alternative ways forward in these uncharted times,” and offers learning to live in community, care for elders, produce biodynamic food - seed to table, manage a cow herd - pasture to cheese, bake homemade bread and desserts, manage land & forests, mill and chop firewood, plus craft workshops: pottery, metal shop, candle making, weavery, wood-working, and printing press. Application deadline is August 15th. — And yes, the Fellowship is rebuilding after its fire and loss of Pine Lodge.


purple flowers with bee

The next print issue of being human will be at the post office soon, free to all members. The cover, by Laura Summer, is full of deep meaning about the original creation of the human being, and its predominant and uplifting color might be called “paradise blue.” If you’ve been thinking about membership, you’re very welcome to join, and $5 or $10 per month is any easy way to contribute.

Thank you for reading, and for being part of this community!

John Beck
Editor, being human

Anthroposophical Society in America

Previous e-news are available online.

Quick reminder links:

August 7-9, Threefold Educational Center: The Twelve Senses online conference. Free registration is required.

MysTech Conference: “Sciences & Technology at the Threshold broadcasting LIVE online Aug 13-16.” Details here..

Anthroposophical Society in America (US)
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