A biweekly newsletter from the Anthroposophical Society in America
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September 26, 2020

Dear Members & Friends,

We would probably all love an old-fashioned face-to-face gathering in a couple of weeks. In the recent being human Dennis Dietzel wrote about what we’re missing when only two of our senses are meeting another person, and those two very imperfectly.

But this is what we can do these days, and luckily for our annual fall conference and members meeting (AGM), the organizing team led by Laura Scappaticci and Tess Parker know how to bring out the best of virtual meetings. The Sacred Gateway online conference from last April was a warm, inspiring event because, along with great preparation, everyone intended that. Since we humans are a bridge between the physical and spiritual worlds, we may be able to overcome other kinds of distance!

“Healing the Social Life, Preparing the Future”

 The keynote conversations this year include: “Awakening to the Other in Our Work” with Thea Maria Carlson ; “Toward the Future: The Schooling Path of a ‘Culture of Selflessness’ In Our Time,” with Peter Selg  (who this year became one of the three leaders of the General Anthroposophical Section at the Goetheanum); and “Three Paths to Community: Preparing the Future,” with Harrie SalmanFull details and registration are here.


The new Applied Anthroposophy Course is off to a great start, filled to capacity. And “Walk a Mile in my shoes,” last weekend’s Walkathon for Anthroposophical Prison Outreach, has raised more than $22,000 so far, despite the pandemic challenge. Donations are still welcome and you can see and  support any of the 41 walkers or bikers after the fact.

ALIANT Alliance
ELIANT in North America. ELIANT is the organization that works to include anthroposophical perspectives in the processes of the European Union. Frank Agrama and Dottie Zold write, “Our Elderberries / HowWeWill community is initiating a sister to ELIANT in North America: ALIANT Alliance. Dr. Michaela Gloeckler has committed to mentoring us saying ‘There is nothing more important to me right now than moving the work of ELIANT forward.’ We'd like to invite you friends to join us if you find a value in this initiative for the Americas. We have also invited other countries to join as well because the basic steps will be the same although the legalities will be different. ELIANT has laid the foundational organizing steps whereby the fruits of Rudolf Steiner's work in Medicine, Agriculture, Education and Curative Education can find a seat at the legislative tables in Europe for ‘human freedom, dignity and choice.’ With Michaelmas here we could not imagine a more important time to bring forth this initiative, as indeed we are standing at a turning point of time. Click here for Michaela’s talk on ELIANT at our How We Will: Threefolding our Cultural Revolution gathering. — May good become! Frank and Dottie, Circles Culture (email)
Jupiter, Saturn: NASA photos
Philip Thatcher on Jupiter/Saturn. In the recent print issue of being human Fred Dennehy reviewed Philip Thatcher’s volume of poems Fine Matter. In subsequent emails Philip shared a poem “Towards a USA Election” and a note: “This November USA election will take place 60 years after JFK was elected. 60 is the one time in our biographies (unless I live to be 120!) when the Jupiter (5 x 12) and Saturn (2 x 30) rhythms come into conjunction. Jupiter is the rhythm of vocation, which can change in its aspects through life, and Saturn, the rhythm when my personal path is touched by the larger rhythms of world destiny. So what is the possibility of the destiny/work of the United States taking on a truly global turn, breaking anew the pattern of falling back in isolationism? Interesting that Jupiter and Saturn have been with us in the evening sky for much of this year, close to one another and for a time in retrograde, but now turning direct once more and preparing for a conjunction in late December. On November 3rd they will be 5 degrees apart.” — Speaking of the stars, please see the calendar for “A New Astrology: Basics of Star Wisdom - ONLINE” with Brian Gray, Robert Schiappacasse, and David Tresemer.
Eurythmy continues online... Cynthia Hoven’s Eurythmy Online has been offering a by-donation series, “healing exercises to help you ground yourself, build forces of immunity, overcome stress and strengthen your spiritual practice.” There is also a home schoolers curriculum, eurythmy for health and well-being, eurythmy consultations, and the full curriculum. — Another online offering, coming from Europe, is eurythmy4you.com. Its best-seller is “activity-based stress release.” Others include "high sensitivity as potential" and “eightfold path.” Their vision statement says “Eurythmy4you develops exercise programs for body, soul and spirit. These promote your health and your inner developmen so you can better face the challenges of everyday life and the pressures of our time.”
Archangel Mikhail, detail, Andrei Rublev, Russian, 15th century

Andrei Rublev, Archangel Mikhail, detail, 15th century, Russian

St. Michel, manuscript cover, 15th Century French

Order of St. Michel, detail, 15th century, France

Raphael, Archangel Michael, detail

Archangel Michael, detail, 1518, Raphael, Italy


Late September mushrooms, southeast Massachusetts


Rudolf Steiner gave two thoughts as an expression of the spring and fall festival points, the Easter and Michaelmas points. In spring is the first, that “he (the cosmic I AM) has been laid in the grave and is risen,” and coming from this thought, for the late September season, “(the human being) is risen and can confidently be laid in the grave.”

It is our human choice to rise, given strength by the deed of the being called the Christ—entering into the deathly physical condition of this world. That strength will enable us to remain spiritual beings as we incarnate again, for in one sense to incarnate is to be laid into the grave.

To look at the spiritual aspect of any question brings us to the currently uncomfortable place of recognizing beings whose consciousness does not require a physical body. It is uncomfortable because we have now had centuries of immersion in the culture of modern science which turned away from the spiritual in order to master the physical. 

The benefits of this science have been profound. We have pulled ourselves free from the dominance of nature. We feel ourselves to be strongly individual. We have developed a strength of observation and a clarity of thinking, felt to be personal but detached, objective. To turn back now to the era before this science and bring into our consciousness the beings of cosmic creation—may be very difficult. 

If we follow the trajectory of human evolution, which is an evolution of consciousness above the plant-animal evolution modern science recognizes, it can be easier to step into questions of higher consciousness. Edgar Rice Burroughs tried to suggest a previous stage in his famous character who says “Me Tarzan.” This is a sensitive being who reacts with the grace of instinct; thoughts come to it, but it does not think for itself. 

Reasoning emerges as we feel possessions: my place, my home, my family, parents, children, spouse. We don't just accept our place, we feel our relationships. And out of that comes a personal I AM: I am somebody, I think for myself, and finally I act for myself... 

So what about the beings we have called angels? They certainly have our higher powers, but they are able to act out of a sustained devotion to us. They have an ego, no doubt, but it is not the center of their concerns. They are awake on another level. Their scope of action is beyond ours.

If humans are like actors in a play, we become totally absorbed in the play and cannot detach enough to consider our own being: to realize that we are actors. The angel provides that detachment for us, until we can think about “my I” and the role we are playing. 

What angels do for us individually, archangels do for us as groups. Language is a great uniter, and archangels are said to be creative on that level. The more diverse and complex the group, the more powerful a consciousness must be manifest by the archangel who is spiritual leader for that group. 

And Steiner relates how seven highly developed archangels take turns moving up to inspire all of humanity for several centuries at a time. In this role they are the “Zeitgeist” or spirit of the times. They are working at the higher level of beings named in Greek Archons or Archai, who work where the whole course of humanity's development unfolds... 

Micha-el is a Hebrew name meaning "who is like god?" An archangel who is currently the spirit of the times, he is the inspirer of Steiner’s research and of anthroposophy. We are now entering his season, Michaelmas.

CAO racial sensitivity training
CAO training - answering the question of “structural racism.” The Council of Anthroposophic Organizations, a committee of the Anthroposophical Society in America which brings together association and organization leaders from the movement, recently offered a two-day online training for representatives of the Society and CAO members. Day One was with Monica Walker and Jean Willoughby of REI, the Racial Equity Institute, and it dealt convincingly with the fact that negative outcomes in child welfare, health, educational achievement and special education, and economic development are not explained by other factors than race. A stream of well-prepared data showed that “In fact, racial disparity persists in every system across the country, without exception.” The second day, with Kathleen Bowen and Signe Schaefer of the Center for Biography and Social Art, helped participants ground this deeply disturbing realization in our personal lives and experiences. CAO is continuing to raise consciousness in this area.
CfA Explorations Online
Explorations Online - CfA. One of the speedy adaptations to online learning in our movement is coming from the Center for Anthroposophy in Keene, NH, well-known for its summer Renewal Courses for teachers and all of us. A new offering is already underway, Explorations Online, “a series of inspiring, low cost, and easily accessible workshops” to build “professional learning communities to serve our children.” Topics include self development, the role of parents, social and emotional needs of children, learning to see with beginner’s eyes, advocating for social justice, practical thinking and the rightful place of technology, temperaments and learning styles, and innovation, with a variety of capable guides. These live, interactive courses are not recorded. “After completing the Explorations Program, motivated participants may enroll in a Building Bridges Program designed as the first step in Waldorf Teacher Education.”
Anthroposophic Health Ass'n Resource Page
The Foundation for Health Creation (formerly Friends of PAAM) is the outreach arm of anthroposophic medicine in the US. Its focus on personal and public health reflects the basic understanding that vibrant health is both our real goal and the best form of preventive medicine. Its resource page includes newsletters as well as webinars. A free webinar is also available by way of the Academy of Integrative Health & Medicine. Supporting Child (and Adult) Anxiety in an Unpredictable Time, is offered by Adam Blanning, MD, president of the Anthroposophic Health Association, author of the book Understanding Deeper Developmental Needs: Holistic Approaches for Challenging Behaviors in Children.
Late September, wild turkeys, southeast Massachusetts

The late September photos, wild turkeys and further above, mushrooms, are from southeast Massachusetts.

Thank you for reading, for being part of this community, and for all you do in the world!

John Beck
Editor, being human

Anthroposophical Society in America

Previous e-news are available online.

Quick reminder link:

Our fall conference will be taking place wherever you are.
“Willing the Good: Love, Action, Healing”: October 9, 10, 11. Pre-conference activities and the ASA annual meeting on Friday the 9th during the day, conference opens at 4:30pm PT, 7:30pm ET.

Anthroposophical Society in America (US)
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