A biweekly newsletter from the Anthroposophical Society in America
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April 25, 2021

Dear Members & Friends,

May is a splendid month for new programs. Last time we mentioned the Sophia Community Circle, starting May 5th and working toward a conference in April 2022. The program team has now announced a second, year-long monthly program with Mary Stewart Adams: “The New Images of the Zodiac in the Cycle of the Year.” This series will unfold on the third Mondays of each month at 7pm ET starting May 17th.

The third new program in May is a half-day conference May 22nd, “Supporting the Elementals” with Bastiaan Baan, Janey Newton, and Lisa Romero. It will take place from 11:30am to 3:30pm ET. The announcement was emailed and links are in our blog.

Photographically, we are staying in southern California again this time. The red flowers below are themselves the very essence of “announcement”!

trumpet-like red blossoms


We were pleased to discover the website of the World Social Initiative Forum, where an ecological fourth leg has been added to the familiar threefold social table, so to speak.

“In 2000, Truus Geraets of the USA and Ute Craemer of Brazil initiated the World Social Initiative Forum (WSIF) as a network of support for anthroposophical and spiritually-minded social organizations and individual workers. This self-sustaining network would empower each member in their work of addressing issues such as marginalization, poverty, and other forms of social injustice. In 2015, the co-founders handed the project over to the Section for Social Sciences at the Goetheanum, where it has continued under the leadership of Joan Sleigh.”

The website presents the WSIF Vision, Mission and Goals with a satisfying simplicity and clarity and always a fourth dimension of care for the living Earth

Given an understanding of the human being as a spiritual, physical, and social being, each individual creates with others, in shared destiny, a world in which every person:
— can freely unfold individual potential;
— can connect with others based on equality, empathy, and trust;
— can contribute to a sustainable economy in service of the needs of others;
— can care for the earth as a living organism.

By 2050, the World Social Initiative Forum is a trusted and integral global agent in social awareness and self-transformation within the four spheres of social practice:

In alignment with its Vision-Mission, UN Sustainable Development Goals, and the School of Spiritual Science, the World Social Initiative Forum aims to contribute an anthroposophical perspective to consciousness development and societal change.

After decades of work in Europe, Africa, and the USA as a curative educator, eurythmist, author, and social activist, Truus Geraets retired a few years ago to her native Netherlands. More about her here. — About Ute Craemer you can read a recent interview here.

fronds at the tope of a palm tree


Our event calendar has been loaded up significantly with summer programs. Take a look for the AWSNA-Alliance-WECAN joint conference and offerings from the Center for Anthroposophy in NH, BACWTT in the Bay Area, WISC in LA/San Diego, Sunbridge Institute, Sophia’ Hearth, West Coast Institute, Great Lakes Waldorf Institute, Gradalis Teacher Education, Sound Circle Center, and much more. Things are mostly still online, with its advantage in cost and flexibility, with numerous smart and thoughtful ways to make it serve us well until the glorious multi-sensory human proximity returns.

A few notes that are not (yet) on the calendar. The M.C. Richards Program, a one year, full-time course in “transdisciplinary learning” that was launched last year, is accepting applications for their 2021-22 cohort. The flavor of the enterprise may come through the labels for the three trimesters (Grounding, Breathing, Individuality and Wholeness) and the topic areas: Coming Home, Taking Appearances Seriously, Technology as Mirror, The Languages of Nature, Speech and Drama as Living Arts, Between Light and Darkness, Impressionism and Place. “Ceramics and Sculpture, Leatherwork and Fabric arts will also make up part of the year, among other courses and opportunities.” Click here for more information.

Another offering not in the calendar follows on the Sacred Gateway work that ASA has offered since 2018. Jolie Hanna Luba, a psychologist and Waldorf educator for over 20 years, is offering “Opening the Door between Life and Death” on May 8th, 9:30am–1:00pm Eastern Time US and is presented by the Association of Holistic Biography in India. Details here. — And in the same topic area, our recent online course “Die and Become” is now available in the store. In this four-part series Jolie was joined by Linda Bergh.

The Alkion Center, part of the Hawthorne Valley family of initiatives, has a week of courses June 20-25 “required for our year-round students, but open to the public on a full or partial day basis.” A wonderful variety of arts are represented.

thick base of a palm tree


Hawthorne Valley is a remarkable achievement, a family of initiatives that have enriched a whole region and far beyond. It is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2021, and it is worth reading a bit about the history. We’ll quote just the first paragraphs:

“When the founders started Hawthorne Valley 50 years ago, they did so with a hope—a hope that this new project would turn into a place that would allow people, young and old, to reconnect with the natural world. 

“Henry and Christy Barnes, Fentress and Hede Gardner, Karl and Arvia Ege, Jeanne and Brownell Bergen, Harry and Almuth Kretz, and Thorn Zay were amongst a group of educators, gardeners, and artisans with various backgrounds who had been brought together by a shared appreciation for and dedication to the work of Rudolf Steiner through Waldorf Education and Biodynamic Agriculture. They had a vision which grew as they watched over half of American small farms close their doors from the 1940s to the 70s. Equally as concerning to them in their work as educators was seeing more and more children lose touch with the natural world as technology became a mainstay in people’s homes.”

Imagine if America’s countryside had developed more along the lines of Hawthorne Valley! You can read more here, but also take a look at the initiatives if you don’t already know them:

* Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School
* Hawthorne Valley Farm & Farmer Training
* Hawthorne Valley Farm Store
* Children’s Programming
* Alkion Center for Waldorf Teacher Education
* Center for Social Research
* Farmscape Ecology Program
* Walking the Dog Theater
* Adonis Press

And Hawthorne Valley has a new podcast, Roots to Renewal. Episode One is “A Conversation with Frances Moore Lappé about the Power of Hope” — her  Diet for a Small Planet is also 50 years old in 2021. Episode Two is “A Conversation with Environmental Activist Bill McKibben on Climate and Citizenship.” Executive Director Martin Ping is host for both podcasts.

spring flowers of a succulent


We’ve mentioned in brief the Portland (Oregon) Branch’s decision to seek its own space, which it needed even in the midst of the pandemic to house a large gift collection of books. The search for the space and for help making it ready was successful, and the housewarming was yesterday. In the same time period the branch website ran into problems, and it, too, has now been beautifully renovated.

Take a look. Along with calendar, local initiatives, study groups, and use of the new space, there is even a title lookup for the book collection. Portland has had a wonderful anthroposophical life for many, many years, and we congratulate them on their new physical and virtual homes!

cactus buds and flowers


The Central Regional Council has been offering very significant online work for several years. People are welcome to join at any time. The current work is “The Karma Project” and its next meeting by Zoom is May 5th at 7:15pm Central Time US. You can view the invitation here with links to the current study and to the online meeting.

The invitation includes a remarkable passage from the 1910 lecture by Rudolf Steiner that will be the focus for the upcoming meeting:

“This is the other aspect of the karma of higher beings -- that we develop a power of love which is not confined to humanity alone but which penetrates right into the cosmos. We shall be able to channel this love into beings higher than ourselves, and they will accept this as our offering. It will be a soul sacrifice. This sacrifice in soul will rise up to those who once poured their gifts upon us like the smoke of incense rising up to the spirits in times when human beings still possessed the gifts of the spirit. In those days they were only able to send up the symbolic smoke of sacrifice to the gods. In times to come they will send up streams of love to the spirits and out of this offering of love higher forces will pour down to humankind, which will work, with ever-increasing power, in our physical world, directed by the spiritual world. These will be magical forces in the true sense.”

As we struggle with so many challenges and uncertainties on the Earth these days, it is astonishing to conceive that human beings can begin to play a sublimely positive role in the cosmos. And this sort of elevation of our perspectives is already a partial remedy for those developments which would drag our attention downward.

Helen Keller quote from a wall in San Francisco

Our last photo is of a building wall in San Francisco where a statement by Helen Keller is inscribed. If the photo is not appearing, the words are: “The best and most beautiful things in this world cannot be seen or even heard, but must be felt with the heart.”

Thank you for reading and viewing, and may we all be wakeful and be well!

John Beck
Editor, being human

Anthroposophical Society in America

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