A biweekly newsletter from the Anthroposophical Society in America
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November 7, 2020

Dear Members & Friends,

Thanks to citizens of the USA who made the effort to vote, a gesture of responsibility and self-respect. Apparently, despite the health concerns, more than two-thirds of eligible voters participated, the largest percentage in more than a century.

Advance news from our program director Laura Scappaticci: we will host an online Holy Nights experience again this year, December 24 to January 5. “A Rose By Any Other Name” will be led by the Sophia Group. Registration details will be announced by December 1st. Around 900 people registered for these nightly offerings last year, and that was well before the pandemic hit.

Leaving a Legacy of Will

We recently sent out a mailing to members about the Legacy Circle and planned giving options. The Anthroposophical Society in America’s Legacy Circle is a group of devoted friends, past and present, who have made, or intend to make, a bequest or other planned gift. Legacy giving supports the work of the Society beyond a person’s current financial capacity, and the magic of this Circle is that it can only continue to grow, whichever side of the threshold you are on. It is the ultimate multi-generational conversation. To learn more, please contact Deb Abrahams-Dematte [email] or (603) 801-6584.

Writers’ Salon November 18th

Tess Parker wrote recently: “Come and share a piece of original writing, something that refreshes, challenges, or strengthens the soul... an original poem, short fiction, creative nonfiction, or essay, up to five minutes. Help weave an anthroposophical tapestry or simply connect to the events and ideas of our time.” It's free, 7:30-9:00pm ET / 4:30-6:00pm PT, and you can register here.

Charles Adrade classes
Artist and Waldorf parent Charles Andrade travels all over the world teaching the “lazure” painting technique that is a distinguishing feature of Waldorf/Steiner schools. He is offering Color, Value, Form, online classes Nov 16-20 , “centering on color as the organizing motif for creating pictorial imagery.” Also planned, classes in veil painting utilizing the Collot technique. They are for all levels and at different times “to accommodate our global community.” Request sliding scale for tuition by email. — What is lazure? Charles quotes Rudolf Steiner responding to a question from teachers in the first Waldorf school: “the children need to be surrounded by fluid, living color.” In a video on his website, lazure.com, Charles observes that a standard opaque painted wall has only one choice of each of color’s four properties: hue, value, intensity, and temperature. The translucent paints of lazure walls have flowing variety in all four properties. The twenty-minute video gives many insights into the visual-artistic work in Waldorf, and there is also  an informative interview with Charles online.
Homeopathy appeal
The Physicians’ Association for Anthroposophic Medicine has sent out an email appeal: “It only takes two minutes to leave a comment urging the FDA to recognize homeopathy as a healthy, effective form of medicine. Anthroposophic medicine uses many homeopathic remedies. You can send a comment here. Why are we trying so hard to get 100,000 people to send a comment to the FDA? Here’s a quick background. The FDA is proposing to reclassify all homeopathic medicines. This would allow them to treat all homeopathic medicines as illegal, and withdraw some, any, or all of them at any time. As a response, our friends at Americans for Homeopathy Choice submitted a petition to the FDA urging them to change direction. This petition is supported by 20 leading homeopathy organizations. Now, we're submitting comments to the FDA in support of the petition. When you leave a comment through the AFHC website, it goes directly to the FDA, as well as members of Congress and other federal officials.” There's a prefilled comment which you can edit however you like. It’s the sort of thing to do right away!

Sunbridge Institute Teachers’ Conference

“Uncovering and Dismantling Racism in the Waldorf Movement”: Sunbridge Institute's November 13-14 Teachers Conference is sold out. “We will be presenting this event again with identical content on Fri-Sat, Jan 29-30. Register here for the January date and/or add yourself to our wait list for November. Over the course of three 1 1/2 hour sessions Friday evening and Saturday, we will: Define and articulate the ways in which the Waldorf curriculum centers whiteness and sets it up as an ideal, to the detriment of all; Use the frameworks of racial identity formation and biography work to better understand how we become who we are in a racialized society and how that impacts our engagement with the children in our care; Share practical tools, resources, and success stories with the goal of dismantling racism in Waldorf schools and communities.” Facilitators: Keelah Helwig (Nov & Jan) is currently an early childhood educator and chair of the Early Childhood program at The Waldorf School of Garden City (her alma mater). Meggan Gill (Jan) is currently lead toddler teacher at City of Lakes Waldorf School. Heather Scott (Nov) is currently a high school humanities teacher at The Waldorf School of San Diego. Vicki Larson (Nov & Jan) is director of communications and marketing at Green Meadow Waldorf School since 2011 and a founding member of Sunbridge’s Diversity Scholarship Fund Committee.

Boyd Collins article

Boyd Collins, Philosopher of Technology, writes: “The universe is made of music and stories, not information. In my new Medium article ‘To See with a Thousand Eyes’ I show how the internet affects our ability to read and think deeply. In it, I explore how deep reading works to develop the breadth of our imagination and human empathy. In my opinion, these skills are becoming progressively degraded in the age of the internet as has been documented by such writers as Nicholas Carr in his book The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains. In it, I draw on anthroposophical concepts such as the role of the word in the development of human consciousness, the role of attention in the development of our identity, and how imagination is essential to our humanity. Deep reading can help free us from the algorithmic control mechanisms built into the web and restore the human imagination to its rightful place. I hope you enjoy it and I look forward to any feedback, positive or negative, that you might wish to share. Mabuhay! (To life!)” — Boyd contributed an article to our summer-fall issue of being human: “The Key to Digital Freedom: Learning to Deal with Discomfort”; the whole issue will be available to read soon at issuu.com/anthrousa


Leaves change color in autumn, US midwest


The power to help in the world clearly will involve our abilities to perceive and to think as well as the strength and conditioning of our will, the power to take action. There is a spectrum of will from faint wishes and day-dreams and inclinations to firm intentions and active commitments. 

Our feeling life is the mediator here, as is also shown in our physiology, where the calm contemplation of the brain and nervous system, and the active work of the arms and legs and metabolism, are mediated by the rhythmic life of the blood circulation and breathing. Rudolf Steiner spent many years researching this “somatic psychology.”

The feeling life belongs to the “astral body,” and Steiner’s book Theosophy gives its foundation as an interplay of two forces. Sympathy expresses feeling-with or -toward and letting affinity have effect, while antipathy expresses feeling-against or -away from, and the assertion of separate identity.

We take part in a soul world of seven regions in which the lower three involve antipathy as well as sympathy; these have a formal correspondence to solid, liquid, and gaseous states in the physical world. When sympathy works with strong antipathy it creates a region of "burning desires," of sensual urges and self-serving instincts. A balance of sympathy and antipathy creates a region of fluid receptiveness to sensations. When sympathy prevails there is an outreaching interest which is made personal by the remaining antipathy.

In the central region antipathy ceases to be a factor, and we experience greater or lesser degrees of pleasure, like warmth or its absence, and our sympathy begins to involve itself in our surroundings. Our “comfort” reflects the mix of pleasure and displeasure. Obviously this parallels the conscious ego-development of our present evolutionary stage.

And three higher regions reflect intensified sympathy. Here is where our helping activity comes fully into its own. The three stages might be shorthanded as shedding light, sharing health, and giving life.

It is a joyful contemplation to discover these higher activities already at work in the world, and it is a powerful motivation to imagine their further course.

A new website, TheLiteraryArts.com, has just appeared as a meeting place for Friends and Members of the Section for Literary Arts & Humanities who participate in local Section meetings in Fair Oaks, California. Quoting Novalis, the home page announces: “Friends, the soil is poor. We must scatter abundant seed to ensure even a middling harvest.” — “The local Fair Oaks group of friends and members of the Section for Literary Arts & Humanities has met regularly and continuously for ten years in Fair Oaks. This local group was started by Bruce Donehower and Jane and Terry Hipolito. For the first several years, the local group in Fair Oaks met every ten weeks or so, but over the years, meetings increased. Currently we meet weekly on Zoom.” Bruce Donehower has been writing up extensive and engaging meeting notes on explorations of Novalis and Keats and Blake, and the website now shares these reports from March of this year to Oct 24.

From Dr. Ross Rentea at the Lili Kolisko Institute: “Our recent Kolisko Annual Conference consisted of four webinars and discussion time related to the Being of John the Baptist, Rudolf Steiner's ‘Last Address,’ and corresponding medical remedies. You can still access the webinars through the Kolisko website...” — The four webinars: 1) The significance of John the Baptist today. The Essential Importance of Rudolf Steiner’s “Last Address” for Today’s Anthroposophical Work. 2) St. John the Baptist and the Alchemy of Anthroposophical Medicine. 3) Rudolf Steiner Meditations for Caregivers. 4) Beyond the Masks in Viral Infections: anthroposophical viewpoints. — “All who have registered for the presentations will be able to attend a live zoom-like discussion session, date to be announced in the very near future, where the material can be deepened; so if you have not registered yet please do so soon.”

Lightforms Art Center in Hudson, NY, is open for regular business now, Thu-Sun 11:30 - 5pm, no appointments necessary, masks required. Oct 9 - Jan 3, 2021, there are two exhibits. Judy Pfaff is an award-winning installation-art pioneer. “I had been making very sad work for me—not that I’m usually an optimistic person. But [a series of] deaths were really difficult. ... I said, ‘I cannot stay upset any longer.’ So ... I just willed being more optimistic. Mourning too long, indulgent with sadness—I’m not good at that. This was a workaday way of getting out of that.” — Place as Portal. “We are embedded in landscape. The spirit of place, or genius loci can be palpable in each landscape if we open ourselves to it. On the one hand this show is about finding and expressing the spirit that lives in landscape or a small place within it. ... Artists in this show have endeavored to deeply immerse themselves into the landscape and try to find the spirit within it and bring it to expression through light, texture and color. Details here.

“Fear of Rest” — We received a note from eurythmist Veronica Reif with an article from The Sun magazine that “stirred and moved me deeply... a healing guide...” — “Fear of Rest” is from Sabbath: Restoring the Sacred Rhythm of Rest, by Wayne Muller; an excerpt: “Emptiness is the pregnant void out of which all creation springs. But many of us fear emptiness. When we first glimpse emptiness, we taste the death in it. It feels like an abyss, a sheer drop into eternity, a dangerous negation of all that is alive, visible, safe, and good. We prefer to remain in the realm of form, surrounded by things we can see and touch, things we imagine are subject to our control. I stumbled on emptiness one winter in Massachusetts...” This is from the May 2020 issue of The Sun, and at the moment you can go to the Issues page, find this May 2020 issue (the cover is pictured above), click on ORDER, and after giving your email, receive a free PDF of the issue.

Autumn: “Season of mists, and mellow fruitfulness,” the poet Keats called it; “Close bosom friend of the maturing sun...” Autumn varies a lot by location, of course. The photos this time in southeast Michigan reflect my experience that hereabouts autumn is the season of leaves. No more practical green anonymity! Inspired by their gentle departed blossom cousins, the leaves do their bowing out in a storm of beauty.

Thank you for reading and best wishes as the fruits of your endeavors ripen!

John Beck
Editor, being human

Anthroposophical Society in America

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