ASA Newsletter
A biweekly newsletter from the Anthroposophical Society in America


banner image - being more consciously human

March 14, 2021

Dear Members & Friends,

With daylight savings time we are edging toward spring, though weather is dramatic in several states this weekend. Our photos from Dwight Ebaugh reflect the seasonal transition and its energy.

Last October, Helen-Ann Ireland succeeded Dave Alsop as chair of the General Council of the Anthroposophical Society in America. In the Society’s blog she shares her background and the role of the chair, plus updates on other GC positions.

Last time we quoted from Virginia Sease in the latest newsletter from Anthroposophical Prison Outreach, which members receive with being human. Everyone can download and view it from the APO site, (under “Our Newsletter”).

tree in cloudscape


The Goetheanum Youth Section has a full event calendar. “Trust” is the theme for this year’s International Students Conference, taking place online from 31 March to 3 April. “With lectures, workshops, conversation groups and artistic activities, we strive to achieve the best possible online encounter for students and youth aged 15-23.” In North America it will be a through-the-night plus morning gathering, and for this age group, why not?

The Section co-sponsors the Worldwide Camphill Youth Gathering 2021, “Elements of Metamorphosis,” 20–23 May at Newton Dee Camphill Community, Scotland, “a collective exploration of transformative (re)thinking and (re)doing social-ecological renewal” by learning from the legacy of Camphill communities. “It’s you – your initiative, creativity and responsibility – who ignite the earth’s healing through environmental consciousness, tackling of social challenges, nurturing people’s wellbeing, as well as building inclusive communities for the future. Camphill is a worldwide network where these elements of metamorphosis have been practiced more then 80 years. Are you living in a Camphill community or interested to learn?”

Subthemes for “Elements of Metamorphosis” are an impressive list:

Social Ecology,
Community Building
Camphill heritage
Environment & Ecology
Spiritual Life
Personal Development
Thinking & Consciousness
Human Dignity
Building a New Story.

tree by water


A beautiful winter newsletter from Free Columbia leads with an edited panel discussion from last September with SUNY professor Heinz-Dieter Meyer, Waldorf art teacher Sara Parrilli, and Nathaniel Williams of Free Columbia, at an event celebrating the inauguration of the M.C. Richards program. The discussion considered M.C. Richards’ talk/essay “Wholeness in Learning: or Non-Toxic Education.” The covering email includes photos of students making shoes.

Along with art and poems, there is an interview with Craig Holdrege of the Nature Institute, and Laura Summer on “Bridging Divides, Healing Communities.” Free Columbia has been awarded a grant to offer workshops on social injustice and systemic racism to residents of Columbia County free of charge.

There are also new online art courses; people do exercises at home during the week and then in a zoom call everyone shows their work and asks and answers questions. Laura notes, “I find that seeing each other’s work is the greatest teacher. My experience is that artistic work is often transformative and stabilizing for people. Many of the participants have remarked on how this work has been a lifeline for them in these difficult times. Through this creative work a supportive transcultural community has been formed. Often in the groups, working together, we can feel inspiration and understanding flow between us.”

Meanwhile, the MC Richards Program is accepting new applications for the fall.

tree with seeds


The Economics Conference at the Goetheanum publishes a newsletter, Associate!, which devoted its January issue to youth financial literacy, which may be something older people have bypassed.

“The meaning of financial literacy as used in the context of the Economics Conference of the Goetheanum – knowledge and practice of double-entry bookkeeping, accounting, and economics to facilitate the fulfilling of one’s destiny via entrepreneurial activity – takes on particular relevance when considered both from the standpoint of the pedagogical needs of adolescents and as a tool for modern human beings to gain orientation in an increasingly disorienting and disoriented world.

“This issue of Associate! presents an informative overview of the pedagogy of adolescence as well as specific curriculum indications for teaching financial literacy. ... Educators may find in it a source of inspiration to follow through with what Rudolf Steiner said in 1919: ‘In fact, no child ought really to reach the age of 15 without being led from arithmetic to a knowledge of the rules, at least, of the forms of bookkeeping.’ We plan to circulate this special edition widely to teachers around the world.” View or download Associate! here.



One of the inspiring teachers, researchers, and authors of recent decades is Dennis Klocek. “Over the last 50 years, Dennis has been observing, studying, experimenting, and meditating on the forces of the natural world and the role of the human in it. Using symbols, patterns, and rhythms to see past the surface into the living processes that guide life, Dennis is building bridges between the ancient alchemists and modern science and medicine.”

Dennis has now organized an online “School of Soil, Soul and Spirit” with six areas of study:

Mineral and Plant Alchemy
Body Health
Soul Health
Alchemy and Natural Sciences
and Spiritual Paths.

“In each area of study, Dennis has written a set of articles that describe the foundational principles all the other work builds from. Further essays, articles, videos, and downloadable lectures are available to understand how the principles may be applied.” For example, Body Health “deals with the production of high quality herbal ferments and extracts as a way to take a proactive role in personal health.”

Mineral and Plant Alchemy explores how “Plants lift the mineral world into the realm of life. They do that by utilizing hormones and enzymes that help minerals like potassium relate to sulfur or phosphorus.

“The minerals in plant saps are following a series of transformations known as the reactive series. Boron is highly reactive, potassium is relatively reactive and calcium is much less reactive. Plants use boron at parts per million to activate potassium or provide the energies for the potassium to interact with calcium.

“The reactive series of minerals is the basis of plant nutrition. Miraculously it is also the basis for human nutrition. It further provides a reliable basis for the formation of medicines from plants.” Principles in this section are “Gems, Light, and Cosmic Will” and “Nature: force or being?” Read more about this new school...

spillway gates

COMMUNICATIONS: “Comprehensive Health”

Sharing our experiences with anthroposophic medicine and therapies is a valuable way to spread awareness of anthroposophy itself. Communicating around such large matters can be challenging, however.

The phrase “being human” as a title for our magazine was an effort to say “anthroposophy” in the simplest, most open way possible. (Rudolf Steiner had said in 1923 that anthroposophy should be understood as “the consciousness of our humanity.”) We continue to hope that when asked, “What is this thing you’re involved in, this anthroposopohy?” you may start a reply with, “It is about being human.” No one can be completely uninterested in that, and it gives you a few seconds to think! The too-common alternative is something like, “It’s complicated.” “It is about being human” requires a follow-up, but it is easy to go further with your personal experience.

Very few people are uninterested in “health,” especially these days. So how do we communicate the virtues of anthroposophically-extended medicine? We were pleased to see in a recent Goetheanum newsletter the phrases “comprehensive health” and “strengthen health comprehensively.” That doesn’t rely on terms like holistic, nor does it put the slightly overwhelming triad of “body, soul, and spirit” in the first breath.

People have no trouble comprehending the idea of comprehensiveness. “Comprehensive health” also invites questions, or the quick first thought that “it takes standard medicine, and sees how that can be extended.” How? With insights into alternative medicines, an amazing range of artistic therapies, a close partnership of the patient with doctors and nurses and therapists, taking the whole human being into account, and engaging the healing power of our own individuality.

That can lead into related areas: the healing power of communities, healing the Earth through biodynamic agriculture, healing the “social organism” with social threefolding. And perhaps we should play a bit with the phrase “organic medicine.” It is medicine that understands the mechanical model, but keeps in mind that a living organism is much more than a machine.

A one-minute talk by Matthias Girke of the Goetheanum illustrates this nicely. Uehli Hurter follows him for a second minute with the role of individuality in human beings, leading to the farm organism by which the Earth can be healed...

bridge with semi-trailer truck

The latest print being human offers views on both covers of the wonderful exhibit at the Lightforms Gallery in Hudson, NY. A local critic gives it a glowing review. Thanks for that link to David Adams of the Visual Arts Section.

And thank you for reading and viewing, and be well in this seasonal transition!

John Beck
Editor, being human
Anthroposophical Society in America

Quick links:

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

Previous e-news are available online.

Past print issues of being human are also available online. Check the box “Show stories inside” for mobile-friendly viewing of individual articles.

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