The World I Love
This autumn I find myself once again in Alaska, where I teach Eurythmy to the children in the Waldorf School in Anchorage. This is a stunning country, with high mountains, an abundance of wildlife, and more open land than any other place in our country. Alaska calls to the bold, the adventurous, the pioneers who want to live in an unspoiled place and meet nature, undiluted.
Here in Anchorage, the winter is rapidly approaching. We are currently losing nearly six minutes of daylight each day in this season. When I arrived, the trees were still green and fully clad: now, the aspens stand golden on the surrounding hillsides. The bears roam the hills in Denali, stripping the bushes of their blueberries. The rutting bull moose are beating their antlers against trees, simultaneously stripping off the velvet that covers them and evoking a mighty trumpeting sound that proclaims to the other moose that they are there, they are in heat, they are looking for moose cows!
Summer this year was sweet in Anchorage. There were far more sunny days than usual, and the lack of rain made for far fewer mosquitoes. The temperature however in the upper 70’s or into the 80’s, and people could wear clothes normally worn in the “lower 48.”
There is, however, something eerily amiss with all of this. In this heat, wildfires are raging throughout Alaska (as in the lower 48), and they are even burning on the permafrost. The glaciers are melting and receding at a rate that is visible to the naked eye–yes, even to mine, an occasional visitor to the state. The rising sea levels are making dozens of small native villages along the coastline uninhabitable, with the result that they must be moved back several miles from the present short. And because of the ice melt, the Arctic Passage is now beginning to be opened up to shipping, for the first time in long ages of geological history. Nations are already poised to battle each other over “ownership” of the region, and the one-trillion-dollars worth of natural resources to be found at the pole.
I was here when President Obama visited this beautiful state last week, and am jubilant at his powerful call that we move to share this earth, this earth that we love, with the introduction of ecologically minded solutions. Some say we have already reached the tipping point: others still say there is time to act. In any case, inaction would be inexcusable.
What can you do? Get an energy audit for your home, and act on the results you see? Collaborate with your neighborhood to save resources? Today, for the first time, I am using the eurythmyonline platform to send out an urgent ecological message to our communities. Climate change is real: it’s very real. We cannot close our eyes to it. Join in, and do what you can!
In Homer, I knelt to the ground, and kissed the earth. “Thank you” I whispered, “for holding us as we walk upon you. Thank you, for your beauty, your nourishment, your steadfast support.
“And tell us, please: how can we help you?”
I have just returned from my third teaching trip to mainland China in as many years, and am full of vivid memories and impressions.
Interest in Waldorf education (and, by extension, Eurythmy) is keen in China, as evidenced by the fact that there are some 500 Waldorf kindergartens and grade school initiatives there.
My travels have taken my to four of the larger centers for Waldorf education: Chengdu, Beijing, Xi’an and Guangzhou. There I teach Foundations of Anthroposophy and Eurythmy, two themes that enliven and enrich each other richly.
This year I concentrated my work on Chengdu, which is home to the only government-recognized Waldorf school. The school there has classes from Kindergarten through 9th grade, and is striving to create the first Waldorf high school in mainland China as soon as possible. (Taiwan has had large, fully-enrolled Waldorf schools for many years already.) I taught for 9 days straight, four sessions a day. We began with considering the comparative mythologies of the East and the West through history, to prepare the foundation for the core question: what does this mean to be a human being? From there we covered the threefold and the fourfold human being, life before birth and after death, reincarnation and karma, inner work practices, angels and abortions. Every step way carefully crafted, to be certain that the students could follow the steps with me and not merely accept them as some dogmatic assertion.
There is a keen need for quality teachers from the West to bring topics in Anthroposophy, and there seem to be several hundred teachers such as myself visiting the different centers throughout the year, offering workshops and courses. We hail from the US and Canada, Germany, England, Australia and New Zealand, and probably from other countries as well. There are teachers in Waldorf education, Eurythmy, Biodynamics, drawing, painting, music, rhythmical massage, anthroposophical medicine, biography work, threefolding and administration models, drama, puppetry, and much, much more.
My experiences in China are profound. Each time I embark on a trip there, I bring with me deep questions, questions which I hope are shared by the other teachers who travel there. I wrestle with the question of how to appreciate and honor the deep wisdom traditions that live in that great culture, and how to avoid being a “cultural imperialist.” How can I be sensitive to their history, their points of view, their needs? Can I dare to speak of the “great modern spiritual path of anthroposophy” there, where the roots of Taoism are still alive, where the choice of every food and every drink, the placement of furniture in a home, are all guided by the teachings of the polarities of yin and yang?
One of the deepest tenets of anthroposophical thinking is that the each human being is striving towards spiritual awakening, a turning of individual consciousness wherein there lies the root of human freedom. In our evolution towards this freedom in the West, we struggle mightily with the sting of egotism. What does this mean for the person of the East, whose cultural imperative is so different? What does this mean for those who live in a society in which the community norms are more highly valued than individual accomplishments?
And thus my first lectures are always tentative and careful, as I perceive what kind of questions are living in the public who have come to learn from me. This time, however, we were able to go amazingly deeply into some of the deepest issues of life. In the course of nine days, we moved from studying the evolution of consciousness through mythology and ancient wisdom traditions, through considerations of life before birth and after death, karma and reincarnation, and even angels and abortions. Through it all, we focused on the question most fundamental to anthroposophy and Waldorf education –indeed most fundamental to life itself: “What is a human being? And what is our right relationship to the earth and the cosmos?”
I found that these conversations cut through all cultural differences, and we were able to communicate on very deep and profound levels. The modern language of anthroposophy and eurythmy, when taught well and with sensitivity, can cut across all cultural differences and help us all participate in the great turning taking place on our planet at this time.
Back in the 1970s, I traveled around the world for two years on a shoestring budget, immersing myself in the various cultures of East and West. At that time, however, it wasn’t possibly to enter mainland China. The new China is bold, bright and vigorous. Many of the cities are huge (6 cities have more than 10 million inhabitants), and the architecture is inspiring and futuristic. In contrast, the old China can still be experienced in the remote cities of the countryside, where rice is still planted by hand in a primitive agriculture. The students I teach are mostly in their 20s and 30s, the first and second generations following the Cultural Revolution. To me it seems that many of the old cultural norms for which China used to be known have been lost: the emerging middle class is tech-savvy, entrepreneurial, and motivated to make large purchased and get ahead in the material world. Yet at the same time, there is an enormous movement towards spiritual investigations, as long as they are not “religious” and are not perceived as such by the government censors. Many of the quasi-occult movements of the contemporary western world can be found in the larger cities as the emerging frontier of the next generation.
I am, therefore, constantly puzzled and intrigued by the students I work with. What paradigms are they basing their world views on? What are their innate questions? In many cases I perceive that the people I am talking to are really “world citizens,” or perhaps human beings who have not necessarily been embodied in China in a previous lifetime.
As a new China arises in these decades. I am grateful to be able to take part in the journey. I am glad to make my contributions towards laying a deep foundation for an understanding of Anthroposophy in China, and hope to help assure that the Waldorf movement and other endeavors that arise there will be able to be grounded in a sound epistemology and not spring up as purely financially lucrative business opportunities.
Easter Contemplation and Eurythmy: the Dance of the Living Word
Take time to lovingly picture the living imaginations of this Easter story.
In the Beginning, was the Creative World-Word. The Word spoke all of existence into being, and the world was born. In speaking the Word, God turned himself “inside-out.”
In the beginning, the Word was movement, was song, was meaning. The Word was dance.
Or, as Rudolf Steiner says, the “God did eurythmy and the world came into being.”
Humanity was born into the “dancing world.” In the early ages of the, when all was life and movement, we were swept up into the dance of the universe.
Our movements were in harmony with the movements of the Word.
The temple of our body was shaped by the Word, and revealed an etheric living picture of the universe that it lived in.
Our minds did not think analytically, but responded to the world around it with a consciousness of living pictures.
And in this mind, we were dreaming the great dream of existence.
When the human being chose to “fall into matter,” beginning our journey towards cosmic independence and freedom, the Word “fell into matter” with us.
Time slowed down. The matrix of space crystallized. We became able to see everything in great detail. Like children who had left their parents’ home, we set out to find ourselves. But we lost the view of the Creator.
And so it was that the Creator chose to enter right into the heart of the matrix of time and space that we live in.
Becoming small, Creator turned himself “outside-in.”
The Word became Human, and dwelt among us.
And the Word was able to keep speaking, keep creating, even in the imprisonment of the body. Even in the imprisonment of Death.
On Easter morning, the tomb of the Word was empty.
Those soldiers guarding the tomb asked “Why do you seek the Living among the Dead?”
And Mary, the archetypal soul who came to the tomb in the early morning hours, “turned herself around,” shifting her awareness from the earth level to spirit perception.
She saw the Risen Word there in the guise of a gardener, one who tends to the life forces of the earth.
“He is made one with Nature: there is heard
His voice in all her music, from the moan
Of thunder, to the song of night’s sweet bird.”
The Risen Word is with us everywhere. Wherever we practice living thinking, we can see the etheric world around us. We can see the Word speaking through the etheric forms of all of nature. We can dis-enchant the enchanted World-Word with our gaze.
And through eurythmy we can dance once again with the World-Word. For eurythmy gives us a direct experience of the living forms and forces that stem from the Word, the living shapes that created us in our etheric form.
These have been re-enlivened, rescued in the etheric world by the deed of resurrection
Eurythmy is the dance of the risen, living World-Word. I am forever grateful for this living etheric art, which brings health and healing to so many human beings.
Saturday, the Day Death Died
Holy Week Contemplation Nr 8
Read slowly and allow the pictures to come alive within your mind. Practice living thinking.
I have heard a beautiful story from Rudolf Steiner.
Imagine, he says, that you were looking at the Earth from the far distances of space.
Imagine that you had been doing this for long long ages of time.
For, he says, there came one moment when you could see something astonishing.
Suddenly, the earth began to glow. To shine. To radiate light out into space.
The light that it sent out was no reflected light, such as the moon sends sunlight back into space.
This light came from within the earth itself.
This, he says, is what happened at Easter.
At the moment when the blood of Christ fell from his body into the earth, the earth received a substance unlike any other, the blood of spirit-man, God-human, divine-earthly. This blood was holy wine for the earth.
Legends also tell us that when the body of Christ-Jesus was laid into the grave, earthquake tremors shook the earth. The earth opened its own body to take the body deeply into itself. This body was holy bread for the earth.
Through his sacrificial death, Christ offered Holy Communion to the earth.
The soul of Christ then entered with His body and blood deep into the earth. There the seed force of His soul burst forth from the seed with spirit light, shining in the core of the earth.
We human beings were created to be citizens of both worlds: of the heaven and of the earth. Or perhaps to say it better: when we were created, both worlds were still one. But as the earth-world became more solid and as we human beings became more enmeshed in it, the spiritual world faced the very real danger of losing the human race to materialism.
When they die, human beings who have not cultivated a relationship to the spiritual world while on the earth face the very real danger of not being able to find their way in the land of spirit. They face the danger of dying not only in body, but also in consciousness.
Our consciousness has relevance not only for ourselves, but also for the spiritual world. Dead thoughts rely heavily on material processes and the brain, but living thinking can access the spiritual world. Living thinking can build the bridge to the spirit even while we are living on earth.
But the more people turn away from the spirit, the less they can access higher world, and the fewer the forces of spirit rejuvenation the earth has access to. This sets the stage for a continuing cycle of cosmic-earthly devolution.
Christ, the creating spirit of both worlds, bridges spirit and matter. With the force of a spiritual sun, his gift of light, love and life to the world returns life forces to the earth, and shines in the spiritual world for all people, whether living in body or not.
It is said that the new Sunrise of Easter already occurred deep in the center of the earth on Holy Saturday. There the new day dawned for those human souls who had previously not been able to find their way back to spirit.
The creating Spirit-Sun united itself with the earth, offering to the earth its seed forces for the future evolution.
The death of matter has been overcome. The resurrection of the human race in the realm of the etheric forces has begun.
Can we awaken in ourselves the capacity for love and living consciousness? Can we participate in the new future?
Friday, the Day of Venus.
Not until when we can look back
with unlimited divine consciousness
on these ant-like lives we led here
and feel the kind of kindness
and fiery love only a god can send
like a thunder-bolt into the heart
of a planet teetering on the edge
of a new life will we really sense
how exhausted all the metaphors
of spring still tumble toward
some new death nature conceives
sprouting with all we must rise to
a new magic worked on matter
this time from the inside
a light certain as a flower
This poem was sent to me by one of my readers, inspired by the thoughts of Christ becoming as infinitely small as a seed, sacrificing His omnipotence to journey into the black hole of death, with and for humanity.
What could it take for a God to become so small? It is said that Christ is the only being in all of the spiritual hierarchies who became fully human. He is the only one who —shall we say?—–dared to enter the material world, plunge into the darkness of non-spirit. How can a God become human?
Was there actually a chance that He would not be strong enough? Not able to overcome Death? Can we dare to ask such a question?
The day Friday corresponds to Venus, the goddess of love. When we behold the violence, hate and true evil of the day of crucifixion, it is hard to reconcile that discrepancy. Where is Love in that Friday drama? And then our eye turns to the center point of the events, to Christ. His creating being is identical with love. In living on earth and becoming Human, He gave Himself away, in abundant, creating love. In self-sacrifice, He suffuses the spiritual human archetype , the I-AM, with the capacity to love. This is how we can answer the call of Good Friday. As Christ gave the gift of His own self in love, so the awakened human I-AM will experience that his own God-nature is Love.
When Christ was brought, bound and scorned, to the Roman palace in Jerusalem on the morning before His death, Pontius Pilate asked him “Are you a King?” His reply shakes me every time I read it. If He had claimed to be the Sun-Hero, Pilate would surely have released Him. But instead He answered, “You must say whether I am a King or not.”
Christ will never force anyone to believe in Him, to acknowledge Him, to follow His way, for if He did, He would be denying them their freedom. And this is the gift that He came to offer.
Each individual must find his or her way to the seed forces of the I-AM alone. The awakening must occur from within, in freedom. The I-AM is not a thing. It is a verb, a deed, an activity of consciousness: it is a resurrection out of the state of death that we live in even when alive. The I-Am is a living seed, planted in the human heart. It will sprout, grow and flower in the soil of love.
Through this, we may hope to build a future earth worthy of being given back to the Creator who made us.
Holy Week Contemplation Nr 6
Thursday—The Abundance of the Spirit-Sun
The Creating Sun is preparing Himself to be laid in the soil of the earth. In death, Christ will carry into the earth all the seed-forces that it will ever need.
The renowned scientist of the spirit, Rudolf Steiner, tells us that between one life on earth and the next, we leave the immediate proximity of the earth and expand into the far distant spaces of the universe. We forget our earthly concerns, and we are rejuvenated by being immersed in the source of all life, in the community of cosmic beings. Then, he says, we are “told to turn around” and behold the earth from that distant perspective. The earth reveals itself to be the most perfect creation in the cosmos. God has “turned himself inside out,” and poured all of His thoughts and dreams into form and substance to make an earth. He reveals himself in color and shapes and texture and sounds. All that is, is Him.
And on this earth, the Human Body is the ultimate flower and fruit, the apex of creation. In the human body, all of the creating forces of the constellations and the planets, the handwork of the creative beings, is concentrated in microcosmic image.
We are then given an unspeakable choice. Would we choose to remain with God at the far reaches of the universe, imperfect but care-free? Or would we be willing to journey once more to the realm of earth, to clothe ourselves in flesh, in the sacred temple of the body?
Through living in the body, we leave the Creating source of the world, and live in its perfect image. Here we participate in the continuing evolution of God, by learning to become conscious of Him in his “inside-out world,” the world of matter.
We evolve through a condition of consciousness in which there is every possibility that we could lose our relationship to spirit. We have been left completely free in this world of senses to seek God or to deny Him. Only in this condition, may we can become free human beings. God does not mandate us to find him in the as we struggle towards awakening, but we may hear His hope and wish in the whispers of our heart.
What is then “death”? Is it not the stage of losing God, of turning away from Him and serving only the world of matter? And do we participate in tearing this world of the senses even further away from God by failing to dedicate ourselves to spirit in all we do?
The great mystery is that is equally true that we live in the world of death here on earth and that spirit is in fact everywhere that we look. In Christ, God Himself entered the stream of Time. As Christ, the Creator entered in the Image, living in the microsmos of the body of Jesus. Esoteric Christianity teaches that Christ himself is the Creating Spirit Sun, who lived as a human being on earth and experienced everything that we do. He saw the world through his senses, tasting and touching it, and working with matter. He experienced human relationships, and engaged with them in their joy and sorrows. And in everything that He did, Spirit touched matter.
On Thursday of Holy Week, Christ Jesus celebrated the Passover Meal with His disciples.
We can find this described in beautiful language in the Gospel of St. John, in which He speaks with great love of His connection with humanity. Then, we read, He knelt at the feet of His disciples and washed their feet. When I consider this image, I am moved at the image of the Lord kneeling in service of those whom he came to serve. Spirit bows to the world in love.
Other gospels tell us then of how Jesus picked up the bread and the wine at the table of the supper, and blessed it before sharing it with his discplies. Christ said to those sitting with them “Eat this, drink this, and do it in remembrance of me.” In this, He poured all of the life forces, then, now and into the future, into the world of matter. Christ promises that He will be in matter, working as a seed force, forever. We will walk on him with our feet, touch Him with our hands, see Him through our senses. We need only choose to perceive Him, and we awaken in our selves.
This is the human journey, through death to resurrection. We must pass through the separation from God to become self-aware, but in doing so we fall into the world of death. Christ, however, is with us in all things, in the material world as living seed force, and in our souls and living Mind. We die in Forgetting: we are resurrected in Remembering.
Thursday is the day of Jupiter. We perceive its signature in the gesture of wisdom, life and abundance. In the body it rules the liver, source of good health and vitality. In language, Jupiter speaks the sound “Oh.”
To move the sound “Oh” in eurythmy, we round our arms in a great, symmetrical circle. This roundness is buoyant and light-filled, overcoming the heaviness of gravity. But most importantly, in making the Oh, our soul needs to step outside of itself. In rounding the arms we aspire to embrace the entire world, and experience that we ourselves are but one point on the circle of community. What is important is not ourselves creating the world, but rather the center of the circle that is outside of us.
So Christ, in entering the earth, created a circle of abundance. At the Last Supper, His radiant love embraced the disciples in the archetypal “Oh.” And the circle of His never-ending love continues to expand throughout the entire earth.
Holy Week Contemplations Nr 5 Wednesday: Mercury—Standing in Balance
Holy Week marks the journey of Christ’s last week of his life on earth in the body and soul of Jesus. We could also say it marks the journey of the human being Jesus as he walked through the last week of his life on earth bearing the stupendous power of the Christ in every aspect of his being.
How could this Creating Spirit and this earth-man merge into one? How could God become so small, and the human being become so pure a vessel that they could become one perfect union?
How can I work on my own self so that I, too, can become a vessel for creation, for God?
Wednesday stands at the midpoint of Holy Week, the fulcrum in the unfolding drama. Midpoints always imply a crisis, a point of balance and a turning point. Here we move from what has been towards what will become.
In the story of Holy Week in the Bible, Wednesday presents us with two powerful archetypal figures in Jesus’ circles. One is Mary Magdalene, who kneels at his feet with a bottle of precious ointment and anoints him with the devotional power of her overwhelming love. The other is Judas Iscariot, the disciple who betrayed Jesus. It is said that he had been hoping that Christ would reveal himself to the world as a fully public savior and bring political and social peace to the world. He grew impatient with Mary’s deed, and fled to Jesus’ enemies. For the price of 30 pieces of silver, he revealed to them where Jesus could be found, and led them to him the following night.
In the crisis of Wednesday, these archetypes can speak deeply to our souls. Don’t we all bear within ourselves two souls: the idealist and the pragmatist, the generous and the greedy, the pure and the impure? How can we balance the polarities in our being? How can we create the active center point in ourselves that can endure the tension between extremes?
The planet Mercury rules Wednesday, and speaks through the vowel sound I (ee). In the eurythmy gesture for I (ee), we can experience the archetype of the Divine Ego, of the I-Am, as it strives towards self- actualization. I invite you to move this gesture with your own body. (You can find more about the sounds in my book, Eurythmy Movements and Meditations)
This I (ee) is spirit self is the Ego, the I-Am, and its invisible fuel is the essence of spirit-being. So, too, in the course of each human life, we can evolve past the immature experience of defining ourselves by what we are not, and begin to define ourselves from within. The Ego, the I-Am of the human being is the eternal flame that burns in the inner core of our being. It is never in a stagnant condition. In constant self-creating, it lives in the dynamic relationship between being and non-being, interior and exterior, right and left, up and down, heaven and earth. As if on a tightrope, the I-Am seeks and creates balance between polarities. It creates itself anew whenever it awakens into self-consciousness. The sound I (ee) rings forth from the soul when it manifests its own light-being in spirit filled self-manifestation.
Begin by imagining yourself clothed in radiant yellow-orange. Feel your heart, the center of your being. A stream of light radiates outward from this center with energetic red brilliance, expanding outwards through the upper arm into the space above you. Balance this outgoing energy with a blue counterweight in your other arm. The lower arm grounds you, helps you feel the earnest necessities of life. Feel the dynamic tension of the forces of the two. The awakened human begin can balance heaven and earth, spirit and matter,
light and dark. As you practice this gesture in eurythmy, learn about your own soul. Do you tend more towards the light or towards the darkness? Can you be both practical and enlightened.? Can you bear responsibility and align yourself with high spiritual striving?
Who are you? Who are you becoming?
This is the gesture of the awakened heart, a heart that allows itself to learn through constantly practicing awareness of the I-Am. This is the prototypal gesture of Christ, imprinted into human beings for the first time through one human being, and vouchsafed for all humanity as our future birthright. Walking the path through matter, we awaken through balancing heaven and earth.
Holy Week Contemplation Nr 4
Tuesday: Speaking Truth to Power
Read slowly, and allow the words to come alive within you.
As Holy Week unfolds, we meet the power of Mars on Tuesday. Mars has long been associated with masculine, self-assertive actions, with power.
What are the true sources of Power? And what power has been vouchsafed to human beings?
We can imagine the tremendous forces of the natural world: volcanic eruptions, tectonic shifts, hurricanes, tornadoes. Far greater are the forces of the cosmos, where stars are born and explode, or collapse into black holes.
We might well believe that these are mere mechanical process, because they can be explained through physical laws. But if we long to go deeper, then we may ask: “What being or beings are moving behind the phenomena we perceive?” Without denying the validity of scientific explanations, can we explore Consciousnesses that are active behind the phenomena of the world? Are they the source of the power that we now perceive enchanted into forms and mechanics?
The spiritual science of Rudolf Steiner urges us to consider ranks and ranks of beings, each of whom have different levels of consciousness. We human beings are but beginners on the journey of our acquisition of consciousness, and we rely on our modest physical senses to reveal to us the ways of the physical world we live in. But higher ranks of beings have more subtle and more expansive consciousness and abilities. Their very being IS source of love, of will and intention, of wisdom and movement and form. Their deeds and thoughts are the powerful sources of all aspects of our world.
We live in a living world, yet as long as we remain passive in our knowledge, we believe our world is dead. These are the great mysteries I seek to understand at Easter. Christ the Creating Spirit was born as the Son of God, and lived as a human being on earth. His level of consciousness contains and encompasses that of all other ranks of beings. Entering into embodiment into this world of substance, He consciously sacrificed His original power. He became infinitesimally small, infinitely human. This was the greatest test of Spirit Consciousness: would the power of Love and Being be extinguished, or would it be able to overcome Death?
What then is Death? There are many layers of death. One is the death that we experience at the end of life. Another consists of the small deaths we go through every day, in our body, in our thoughts and feelings as we evolve.
And yet I believe the actual death consists of our descent into matter. We have died to the spiritual world through being born into the world of maya. We are developing our capacity to be conscious through being taught by the senses. Yet this is but an intermediary level. When we grasp the force of Seed of Spirit that has been given to us, we will be able to be alive, to think living thoughts and have living consciousness by dint of practicing our awareness, constantly.
Power? Power surrounds us on all sides. Cosmic power created the world, and its effects are found in all things. Humanity lives in this world of power, and has seized power and is learning to wield it. Humanity’s capacity to use power has evolved over long ages, and can be seen as a motive force behind all of human history. Power can be used wisely, kindly, lovingly, or it can be horribly abused. When humans misuse power in their treatment of other people, the results include control, murder, enslavement, wars and torture. When humans misuse power in their treatment of the natural world, the results are the fearsome destruction of forests, oceans, ecosystems, and now of food systems, seed crops, genetic integrity.
On Tuesday of the first Holy Week, Christ Jesus openly challenged the power wielders in his world. He spoke words of Truth to the false priests, the money changers, the hypocrites and the fundamentalists. I imagine the force of His spirit-force charging the words that He spoke, as He lay clear to them how they were misusing power. In the face of the absolute moral power that Christ wielded, there is no place to hide. Human beings must judge themselves when they realize the cosmic consequences of their own misdeeds.
The power of Speech:
Tuesday is the day of Mars, and every Tuesday we meet its challenge. Mars rules not only power but also Speech. It is said that the World was originally spoken into being by the Creator, and that Christ is that very Creating Word. By becoming fully human Christ gave the power of the living Word to humanity. In the fullness of time, conscious human beings will be able to unite with Christ is such a living way that our Word also will be capable of cosmic Creating.
On the journey towards such a foretold future, human beings will hopefully seek to permeate all power with love, and wisdom. The first step towards this consists in learning to perceive the Created World with living thinking that can perceive the moral laws made the world. We can internalize this morality by uniting ourselves with Christ, with Him who made Himself small so that we can be re-born in spirit.
Holy Week Contemplation #3
The Seven Days of Holy Week. Monday, the Day of Reflection
How did the days of the week receive their names? As manifest in the laws of musical harmonies, the laws of the chemical period table, the story of Creation as told in the Book of Genesis, time, space and evolution unfold in a seven-fold pattern. This seven-fold pattern resounds in the seven primary planets in our solar system, in the seven primary organs in the human body, and in the seven-year cycles we honor in child development. These all follow the archetype of what is known as the seven stages of Cosmic Evolution. The ancient teachers commemorated these stages by allowing our earth-time to be measured in seven-day weeks, punctuating the flow of time with rhythmical, cyclical procession.
The seven stages of Cosmic Evolution correspond to the seven major planets, and each of these is recognized in the names of the days of the week. All unknowingly, we commemorate this evolutionary cycle in a microcosmic way every week.
SATURDAY is dedicated to Saturn, the outermost of the major planet. It commemorates the beginning and the end of all things
SUNDAY is dedicated to the Sun, the radiant living source of life, love and light.
MONDAY is the day of the Moon, whose serves exists in reflecting the light of the sun.
TUESDAY is the day of the red planet Mars, which has long been associated with masculine, self-assertive and even aggressive actions.
WEDNESDAY is the day of the planet Mercury, whose short and agile orbits around the sun cause it to be seen only rarely, peeking out sometimes in the evening and sometimes in the morning, but always close to the sun.
THURSDAY is the day of Jupiter, understood of old to be the home of the great and generous god Jupiter, or Thor.
FRIDAY is dedicated to Venus, the bright morning or evening star associated with the forces of kindness, love and peace.
The story of Holy Week begins on a Sunday. On Palm Sunday we considered the Lord entering Jerusalem on the back of a donkey, praised by the people who lined the streets. The jubilant crowds saw in Christ-Jesus the hoped-for hero who would solve all their political and social problems. Yet this was not the task of the Christ. In esoteric language we can understand that the people were imagining that salvation would come to them from without. They had not yet understood that humanity was finally ready for a new step in evolution. THE OLD CREATION WOULD NOW COME TO AN END, SO THAT THE NEW CREATION COULD BEGIN.
Christ was not interested in solving the social problems as a hero or authority. Everything that He did was born directly out of the Source of all being. He bore within himself the intention to take all the power of Creation with him right through the most condensed, the most concentrated, the most tragic human experience, even through death—–so that He could wrest from it the power of life and rebirth. His intention was to give to humanity everything that we need to take our next evolutionary step. When we follow His intentions, we can begin to cultivate new levels of consciousness in ourselves. With our minds, our heart, our bodies we can now become the Seeds of a New Earth.
As Christ walked through the last week of His life on earth, his deeds imprinted new archetypes onto the signatures of the seven planetary powers.
If we choose to, we can make a yearly practice of honoring the days of Holy Week through cultivating a new and conscious relationship to the planets.
On Palm Sunday, we could honor the life-giving forces of the Sun, from which still stream the light and life and love of the world we live in.
Today, on Monday, we meet a new archetype. The Moon represents above all the gesture of reflecting the light of the Sun. Moon consciousness does not yet access pure Source, but lives only out of Maya. Moon consciousness is content with images instead of reality, with information instead of wisdom, with brain thinking instead of heart thinking. In this sense, Moon consciousness is dream consciousness, but not in a modern or positive sense. It may rise from body instincts, from subliminal messages, or even from eternal authorities whose sources we cannot trace.
Human consciousness has grown from the soil of Moon consciousness. We had to begin our process of cognition by through dreams, through instincts, through associative thinking.
Now, however, the new mind is awakening. Now hearts will learn to think. Now we will begin to understand the sources of things, not only the surfaces of things. Clear, illumined Sun-thinking is born out of resurrection powers. Humanity is now ready to develop the new thinking, the new mind. This thinking lives in a state of consciousness that will not die. This consciousness lives in the sources of eternal life.
On the evening of Palm Sunday, Christ withdrew with his twelve disciples into the quiet of their inner room. No more would He be heralded as the long-awaited hero. On Monday, he began his task of showing to humanity the futility of lazy thinking, of mediumship, of dogma, of external authority, of power. Step by step in this week we are called to discover in ourselves the workings of our shadow mind, so that we can lay it aside and recognize the new, germinating capacities within that enable us to step into eternal life.
Holy Week Contemplation #2
Palm Sunday—A Ecstasy of Spring
(Number 2 of a series of daily posts for Holy Week. Take your time and let the words come alive in you.)
Nothing is so beautiful as spring—
When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush;
Thrush’s eggs look little low heavens, and thrush
Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring
The ear, it strikes like lightnings to hear him sing:
The glassy pear tree leaves and blooms, they brush
The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush
With richness: the racing lambs too have fair their fling.
What is all this juice and all this joy?
A strain of the earth’s sweet being in the beginning,
In Eden garden. – Have, get, before it cloy,
Before it cloud, Christ, lord, and sour with sinning.
Innocent mind and Mayday in girl and boy,
Most, O maid’s child, thy choice, and worthy the winning.
Every spring, nature re-enacts this first celebration of existence with the exuberance of spring, as life unfurls in dizzying colors and fragrances and shapes.
Each year I return at this season to this sonnet by Gerard Manley Hopkins, as my senses are re-enlivened and I am drawn out of my winter introspection into the festival of nature. With the eyes of the poet, I see the grasses, the thrushes, the blooming trees and the blue of the sky. I hear the birds above and the lambs on our farm. With the heart of a eurythmist, I savor the dance of sound, the repeating consonants and the rhyming vowels so powerfully woven in the alliteration of sounds.
In this poem, I can imagine the first day of Creation. God (the unlimited source of all) could no longer contain the abundance of love, and overflowed with an outpouring of living ideas and thoughts, some as big as universes and some as intimate as molecules. God created us, too, on this first day, as creatures equipped to receive all this beauty, all this world, all this love.
This is the glory of Palm Sunday, a celebration of all that we have been given for our joy and well-being. Palm Sunday celebrates Christ as the Son of God, the Sun God, the spirit of the Sun who walked on earth as a human being. Songs of praise surrounded Him as he rode into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey those many years ago.
As we considered yesterday, every birth inevitably contains the coffin of a future death. The poet writes that the Garden of Eden will soon come to an end, but we are urged to “have, get, before it cloy, before it cloud, Christ, Lord, and sour with sinning.”
Where will we find the forces of resurrection?
In the journey from Palm Sunday through Holy Week to Easter, Christ, the child of the Maid, did not turn away from death. He too walked into the world of the senses. The Lord of Life continued on his sober, conscious journey, so that He could plant the seed of spirit-future into the center of the earth, into the hearts of human beings. In the days of the week to come, He will enter ever more fully into kingdom of death, until He can completely experience the human condition of separation from source. He will feel on the cross entirely forsaken by his Creator.
Palm Sunday is the last Sunday of the “old mysteries.” We must acknowledge that only if we can re-discover the living forces of creation that lie behind the world of the senses can we unite with the forces of life and rebirth.
And on Easter Sunday, through connecting with the very source of life, Christ will illumine for us the path of resurrection.
For, in the words of the poet, this earth is indeed “worthy of winning.”
Seed thoughts for an Esoteric Christianity
Read slowly, and let the pictures come to life within you…….
Every birth bears within itself the coffin of a future death. And every death bears within itself the promise of new life. This great cosmic truth —the cycling of birth, growth and flowering, fruiting and seed formation, dying and disappearing—this is the ever-present backdrop of our lives on earth, as we seek to understand the meaning of existence.
This is the season of budding, of exuberant life, of joy and new beginnings. Here in California, everything is already intoxicatingly green and rich with the colors and fragrances of new life, the thrill of bird song and the wild croaking of night-time frogs. And even those of you who live in those places that have been buried under the deep snows of winter can feel the promise of new life.
Spring is the season to celebrate new life and birth. Our hearts swell with gratitude and hope in the season of new beginnings.
For every spring is a birth won out of the darkness of seeds, the still time in the womb. Only a few months ago, the plants withered and faded, and their life withdrew back into the dark of the earth, the hardness of the wood. Yet even in their dying, they created the hope of new life by creating the seeds that would sprout in the fullness of time.
What metaphor is nature speaking to us? What we behold in the magnificence of Mother Nature, God’s most generous creation, is replayed on another level in the human being. In the microsmic journey of humanity, the birth and death of the Creating-Spirit in Christ pre-figures the personal journey of separation, self-realization, and unlimited Divine Consciousness that every single human being can grow towards in the fullness of time.
As human beings, we are part of nature, yet we are also separate from it. For when, as we are told in the book of Genesis, God “blew the breath of spirit into the human being,” we became individualized. This inaugurated the great cycle of devolution, or involution, in which creation grew richer and more radiant, yet also, more distance from the creative source, and ultimately subject to death.
The seeds for new life on the earth are created by the plant world. Where are the seeds of new life for the human being?
Our bodies are of nature, and we live our lives in nature, but our consciousness is of spirit. Cosmic, or esoteric, Christianity leads us to contemplate Christ as the great creating God, the Sun-Spirit. At the great “turning point of time,” Christ united His unlimited self with the human race through his life in the earth-man Jesus. The human spirit was given the unimaginable gift of becoming bearers of Seed-forces. He planted into humanity the possibility that every one of us can, in time, become Creators in Spirit even as we were created in the beginning. Christ-Jesus became the prototype of what we, as human, are capable of becoming. He was the first God-Man, the New Adam.
Yet to bring this gift to humanity, Christ had to unite Himself with every bit of the human experience. He had to unite himself even with the forces of Death, so that through him even Death could die. This was the only way that he could bring Resurrection to humanity.
By actively participating in the journey through the seasons, we can invite the cycles of nature to inspire us to understand our place in creation.
On this weekend we stand at the doorway to what is known as “Holy Week,” the week before Easter. In an esoteric Christian tradition, we can deepen ourselves every day this week in contemplations of birth, glory, pain and betrayal, suffering and death, and, ultimately, resurrection. These, the backdrop of our personal lives, of the life of our planet, of the evolution of the cosmos are the inescapable questions of existence.
I warmly invite you to travel through this week with me. Each day I will send to you a short essay to inspire your microcosmic journey through the macrocosmic story of the death and resurrection of a God, and the gifts of the seed-forces for a new universe, laid in the heart of the human race.
World Eurythmy Day March 8
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Join thousands of people worldwide on March 8
One of my great teachers, Rene Querido, one told a story that I have never forgotten. One night nearly a hundred years ago, she said, Rudolf Steiner was riding on a train through the darkened countryside and looked out the windows into the black night. In the distance he saw the small lights of a village. He turned to his companion and said, “Somebody is meditating there.” He could see in the quality of the space around that town that spiritual work was being done there.
Any spiritual work we do CAN change the world, if done with focus and commitment. As challenging as these times are that we live in, we are not powerless. Indeed, our truest power comes through living out of our core self, the sacred, consecrated I-AM that we human beings are developing at this time. This I-AM is born in Love, connects with Love, heals with Love.
In our sacred art of eurythmy, we can lovingly MOVE our meditations, intensifying their effect on the space we move in. Eurythmy is a not only a spiritual practice done for our own health and well-being: eurythmy is a practice that changes the spaces that we live in. It is my experience that other sacred beings, angelic presences of love, enter the space in which we do eurythmy, magnifying our healing prayers and carrying them into the world.
For this reason, I want to invite you to join an annual world-wide movement on March 8 to do the sacred eurythmy “Halleluiah” prayer. Do it at any time of the day you like, or join others at 12:00pm UTC +1.
People from these countries have already signaled their intent to join: Holland, Germany, Chili, Dominican Republic, Italy, Thailand, California, Sweden, Norway, Australia, Egypt, Argentina, Brazil, Belgium, South Africa, Canada, Russia, Switzerland.
To support this project, I will be offering my Halleluiah video at NO COST on March 6, 7 and 8. If you would like to experience the eurythmyonline.com curriculum, sign in and see how beautifully it works.