A biweekly newsletter from the Anthroposophical Society in America
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December 5, 2020

Dear Members & Friends,

For many Christmas has become the gateway to “winter blues” and seasonal depression, and the heavy weight of the pandemic will make it only more ambiguous this year. One of anthroposophy’s most precious contributions to many lives is a real deepening of the the experience of Christmas. It is both raised to a more planetary, cosmic level, and it segues nicely from the gifting moment into two weeks of reflection on life, and thought for the year ahead. This is what a real “new year’s resolution” process looks like!  Many wonderful resources are available, and several are described below, beginning with our own new “Holy Nights Seed” offering.

This is also the time when the not-for-profit part of our economy has its funding topped off, including our work at the Anthroposophical Society in America. We are grateful for the way people are stepping up to join our (volunteer) General Council and Leadership Team in helping with the end-of-year appeal

From this writer’s thirty-year perspective, anthroposophy in the USA is very active at all levels, including where only a small handful gather in nature’s reality. In this time of radical challenges anthroposophy is likely to mean even more, and to be even more accessible in every part of the country. So thank you for your commitment and support!

Pine tips
On Christmas Eve of 1920 Rudolf Steiner said, “The light of Christmas should shine as a light of peace, a light that brings peace outside only because first of all it sheds an inner peace into the hearts of human beings.” Last year for the first time the ASA offered a live-streamed program for the twelve “holy nights” of Christmas. This year to help enkindle our inner peace we are holding a daytime “seed gathering” called A Rose by Any Other Name. It will be hosted by the Sophia Group (which is working toward a divine feminine conference in 2022). The Seed offerings will be one half hour daily at 12:00 noon Eastern, 9:00am Pacific, December 24 through January 5th (no meeting Dec 31st). Register here, then follow the Zoom registration link included in your confirmation email. Meanwhile, follow this link for a bulletin board for other Holy Nights events and activities.
Holy Nights Journals
For seasonal inspiration you can also check our online store for two webinars from 2017, Lynn Jericho’s free Inner Advent and another providing guidance and resources for creating your own Holy Nights Journal from Mary Stewart Adams & Patricia DeLisa. —*— We have also been pointed to a new Holy Nights Journal 2020-2021 from Alan Thewless, “with special consideration for the new Saturn – Jupiter Cycle,” in print or a single-use electronic version. “Attentiveness to the life of the cosmos can be a significant support and a valuable resource on our human pathway... With this in mind, and working with the spirit of the time, the present volume, with its star pictures, commentaries and personal journaling is an offering towards the years ahead.” Alan has been a student of astrosophy, the new star wisdom, for over thirty years.
Pine tips

Dennis Klocek

Every Friday night on Zoom from Colorado comes the Front Range Anthroposophical Café. Among the recent offerings Dennis Klocek spoke on “The School of Michael: Soul Health in an Age of Falsehood.” “Dennis introduced us to the development of morphological consciousness as a remedy for the astral storms created when we are surrounded by lying that creates doubt and anxiety. Illness has its entry through uncertainty of the soul. Learning how to gain what Rudolf Steiner articulated as the twelve points of view stretches our mind and soul in order to encompass each perspective. When we do, we become a true human, an ‘I’ capable of relating to the way things are structured in the divine world. That is what the Archangel Michael is trying to teach us.” Dennis Klocek is an artist, scientist, teacher, researcher, gardener, and alchemist. He is a co-founder of Coros Institute and much of his work may be found at DennisKlocek.com. View the recording free, either from the Café website, or with registration at WiseCosmos.org.

Goetheanum Meeting

The Goetheanum’s newsletter in English has a report by Sebastian Jüngel on the recent general meeting. “Around 140 members took part in person...spread across five rooms... 1600 members from around the world had registered to follow the livestream. The AGM confirmed the appointment of Ueli Hurter as a member of the Executive Council. Ueli Hurter is a Swiss farmer and entrepreneur and the co-leader of the Section for Agriculture at the Goetheanum. The meeting said goodbye to Joan Sleigh who was not standing for a second term because she is returning to South Africa; she will, however, continue to take on tasks on behalf of the Goetheanum. The plan of the treasurer, Justus Wittich, to eliminate the structural deficit over three years has not been realized, although he submitted balanced budgets for each year. In 2019 for instance, this was made possible by selling a property. ... Looking ahead to the finances of the Corona year, Justus Wittich made it clear that both the earlier closure of the Goetheanum and the current restriction of audience numbers for events have caused, and will continue to cause, a considerable loss of income.”


pine bark and leafless bushes


Rudolf Steiner spoke to largely Christian and Jewish audiences; initially most of them also had some exposure to Hindu and Buddhist wisdom through Theosophy. Rather than the more recent “comparative studies” approach which tries to match up elements in the world’s religions, Steiner advised that, seen in their actual places and times, the religions are a great unity. His book Christianity as Mystical Fact restores the connection back to the pre-Christian “pagan” mysteries; that and his many lectures disclosed the evolutionary significance of the great religious traditions.

He also worked to develop our sense of an all-embracing spiritual ecology in which the course of the year is a profound and persistent experiential education for human consciousness. Religions have taken note of this in their seasonal festivals. And of course the contrast of northern and southern hemispheres, of temperate and tropic zones and regional climates, ultimately asks us simply to wake up to the world process around us, including of course the stars overhead!

The current time of year involves in Christian terms Advent, Christmas, The Twelve Holy Nights, and Epiphany, the Feast of Lights, which is also Three Kings’ Day. “Advent” is of course the same word as adventure. It means “the future coming toward us” and, once we rouse ourselves, our own venturing out to meet that future. The Advent Garden for children and sometimes adults lets us take our unlit candle along a dark spiral to a central light, from which, with a now-lighted candle, we circle out a second spiral, choosing where to place our light.

Christmas is that central place where a life in this world is lighted. And the course of the year is the spiral by means of which we are always coming back to be reborn in the physical cold and dark, igniting the world’s gifts now inside us.

For the Holy Nights Steiner pointed to an old Norse poem about one Olaf who fell asleep in church for twelve days and wandered in higher worlds. It is an opening in the year’s course to the world of the spirit. Today we may use this time to return, so to speak, to the cosmic department store those thoughts and feelings and behaviors which once seemed like wonderful gifts, but which are now clearly too small for us.

At the end, Epiphany, wise gifts are brought for the child (a world to learn from?), and for the adult illumination can restore awareness of our metaphysical, spiritual, cosmic origins. January 6th, a month from now, we may imagine that the sun has penetrated once again through the darkness of earthly matter, and given the seed its cue that the light has started to return.

Pine tips

Great Conjunction

The “great conjunction” of Jupiter and Saturn this year at the Winter Solstice is a truly rare event. Mary Stewart Adams is doing a webinar for the Goetheanum Section for Mathematics and Astronomy. Jonathan Hilton has a new presentation “Advent and the Stars” where he writes: “The last Advent Sunday will be December 20th, taking us to solstice as well as the exact conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter, whose preparation has been the active theme and challenge of all of 2020.” He goes on, “We then have the ‘gap’ of 4 days until Christmas Eve on December 24th... Precision is a function of machines, not of life. So, for example, in the cycle of the year, the festivals do not fall exactly on the astronomical solstices/equinoxes, but there is a gap of a few days. Likewise, though calculation is an important tool in star knowledge, when one enters into the realities, one continually encounters inexactitude. For example, the geometric forms created by the planets’ geocentric orbits never come back to close off into an exact form but leave a bit of a gap before starting the new form. ... So, these gaps are to be celebrated because they represent the breathing life element, even the spiritual element, that continually prevents the mechanization of the cosmos.”

Community Farm of Ann Arbor

The sense of our intimate involvement in the cosmos comes together most strongly in Rudolf Steiner’s description of a “farm organism” as developed in biodynamic agriculture. Here the soil is the physical body, the plants the formative life forces, the animals the ‘astral’ body of feeling and sensing, and the human being, the farmer, is the observing and guiding ego, as well as a linchpin for the surrounding cycles of community life. The departure of a farmer is a profound challenge for a BD farm, and the arrival of a new farmer is something of a rebirth. So we read with satisfaction, “Drum Roll, trumpet flourish, music of the spheres. We have a new farmer to take the Farm into the next generation!!! We welcome Dan Gannon to the Community Farm of Ann Arbor! He comes to us from Sacramento, CA where he worked and studied at Rudolf Steiner College, and had his own CSA (community-supported agriculture program) for five years. He has a passion for biodynamic practices, healthy food, and the value of community. Both visionary and practical, he has a seven-year plan to lead our farm back into being a flourishing center of nourishment for body and spirit. All are welcome to help manifest this vision!”
December behind Rudolf Steiner House

Next time our photos will move southwest, to sunnier climes! Here is the Rudolf Steiner House back yard, dusted with snow, to match the front view at the top.

Thank you for reading, and kind thoughts to you and yours! 

John Beck
Editor, being human

Anthroposophical Society in America

Previous e-news are available online.

Quick reminder links:

Register at anthroposophy.org/holynights for
the Holy Nights Seeds offering.

At anthroposophy.org/appeal is our year-end appeal.
Thank you for your help!

Check our event calendar for seasonal offerings
(and submit your own events).

Anthroposophical Society in America (US)
1923 Geddes Avenue, Ann Arbor, MI 48104 USA
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