The New Star Wisdom and Eurythmy Part 2
In my public eurythmy classes this month, we are continuing to explore the sacred relationship between the human being (the microcosm) and the starry world (the macrocosm).
In my last blog post (The New Star Wisdom and Eurythmy), I wrote of how the planets and the constellations are the home of mighty spiritual beings, heavenly hierarchies. These ancient Beings are to be understood as more than mere “energies:” they are Consciousnesses with awarenesses and powers that extend far beyond what we as human beings can as yet attain. All that they do is in service of God the Creator.
These Beings are more than mere individuals: they express themselves in concert with other beings of the same level of consciousness to serve as the archetypes of God on all levels of existence. Their have been honored and worshipped in spiritual traditions around the world. Not until our present round of earth evolution, when spirit became solidified into matter, did the Spiritual Beings retreat behind the veil of illusion, and the starry circle of the constellations appear.
Through physical science we describe the stars as balls of burning gases. Through spiritual science, however, we can understand that these balls of heat are the manifestations of lofty beings. Perhaps we would do better to ask of them not “What are you?” but rather “Who are you?”
As we try to understand “God” with our human mind, we work our way “upwards” through the dimensions of these beings. We see sun, moon and stars: we perceive fire, and light and air: we know wisdom, will and love. Of each of these we ask, “Is this God?” Each of these is a level of Beings, a hierarchy, a consciousness of God—-and God is all of it. And more. God is Source and Goal. God is the great expanse of all, and the most infinitely small point.
And we as human beings live our lives of growing awareness in created world, woven of the concerted activities of all these beings. Through all time and space they are creating and weaving, but we, in un-enlightened states of mind, hypothesize a purely mechanical world created, perhaps, out of a cosmic accident.
Rudolf Steiner, the founder of Anthroposophy and Eurythmy, spoke of these beings on many occasions, and generally used the terminology developed by Dionysos the Areopagite, a Greek philosopher in the first Christian century. Nowhere has any modern spiritual teacher described the workings in as much loving detail as Rudolf Steiner does in the mighty fourth chapter of his book “An Outline of Esoteric Science” (1909). In some 150 pages, Rudolf Steiner describes the evolution of the universe from the beginning of time and space until the present age of the Consciousness Soul in concise but lofty terms.
In further writings, he describes the correspondences of the hierarchies to the twelve signs of the zodiac. The effects of these Hierarchies are in fact to be found everywhere, but the twelve signs represent “lenses,” focal points from which their concentrated activity radiates.
“God the Father” is the unified Being who encompasses all of Creation, the I-Am, the I-Was, the I-Will-Be. The entire circle of the zodiac is contained in his Omniscient, Omnipotent, Omnipresent Being.
The individual signs of the zodiac all mark different levels of the heavenly hierarchies. Through their working, different powers stream into creation.
ARIES ——THE SON GOD (THE CHRIST)
The Christ creates out of the heart of the One, God, out of eternity into time and space.
In our body, this is expressed in the head, whose spherical shape and starry neuron nets reflect the dome of heaven and the stars.
The voice of Aries speaks through V and W, which bear the World Word into existence.
TAURUS —–THE HOLY SPIRIT
The Holy Spirit gives us grace to awaken to our true God-nature.
Taurus gathers the forces of the head and creates the Larynx, the miraculous organ of speech.
The voice of Taurus speaks through the R, which carries Revival, Rebirth, Resurrection, Redemption.
GEMINI—– SERAPHIM, BEINGS OF HARMONY who manifest the music of the symphony of God
Gemini expresses the division of the world into manifest /un-manifest, light/dark, yin/yang, heaven/earth.
In our body, this is expressed in the bilateral symmetry of our shape below the neck, our right and left sides.
The voice of Gemini speaks through H, which vigorously breathes spirit air in and out.
CANCER—– CHERUBIM, BEINGS OF LOVE, through whose nature all of creation is thoroughly permeated with love
Cancer overcomes the duality of Gemini, reuniting the yin and yang into the circle of the TAO.
In our body, Cancer is expressed in the ribcage, which encloses the breathing lungs.
The voice of Cancer speaks through F, a forceful wind that carries the force of fire onto the flow of air.
LEO——THRONES, BEINGS OF WILL, whose sacrificial gift of will is the foundation for the entire substantial world
The Thrones willingly gave the gift of their own Being, Power and Will, and upon that foundation God’s Creation became manifest.
Leo is made manifest in the mighty human heart, which burns with the spiritual fire of creation.
The voice of Leo speaks through T and D, which connect us with spiritual Truth and Transformation.
VIRGO—–KYRIOTETES, BEINGS OF WISDOM, whose understanding illumines the world with light.
Kyriotetes internalize and thereby understand all things, granting us wisdom.
In our body, Libra is expressed in the wisdom of the organs of our inner metabolism, which absorb the created substances of the world and transform them into the molecules that we need to be human.
The voice of Virgo speaks through B and P, which embrace the inner world with safe Boundaries.
LIBRA —–DYNAMEIS, BEINGS OF MOVEMENT, whose activity is motion
Dynameis allow the relationships of the create world to express their relationships through dynamic movements
In our body, this is expressed in the hips, that constantly create and enable a dynamic balance between our statice upper body and the moving lower body, our right and left sides, levity and gravity.
The voice of Libra speaks in Ts, ascending upwards like sacrificial smoke, returning from matter to source.
SCORPIO—–EXUSIAI, BEINGS OF FORM, who arrest the movement and create fixed form.
Exusiai deliver the “sting of death” to the dynamic spiritual world, creating the world of Maya In our body, this is expressed in our reproductive organs, which overcome the death of matter and carry the power of creating right into the physical world.
The voice of Scorpio speaks through S, mastering the staff and subduing the snake.
SAGITTARIUS—–ARCHAI, BEINGS OF PERSONALITY
Archai carry the individualizing power of the I-Am into the world of Time. They led us into matter at the beginning of time.
In our body, this is expressed in the power of the thighs that allow us to work in gravity and matter.
The voice of Sagittarius speaks in G and K, marking the clear contours of the created world.
CAPRICORN—–ARCHANGELS, BEINGS OF FIRE
Archangels carry the effects of our human deeds upwards, out of the world of matter, and offer it to the higher gods.
In our body, this is expressed through the knees and all joints, that enable us to overcome gravity and connect to light
The voice of Capricorn speaks through L, transforming dark into light, hate into love, death into life.
Angels have a level of consciousness a step greater than ours. They guard us and hold us from life to life.
They live in the etheric currents of life, and in our body, this is expressed in our shins .
The voice of Aquarius speaks in M, moving through warm currents of enlivened air.
PISCES—–HUMANS, THE TENTH HIERARCHY
Humans will evolve by choosing love out of their own free will
In the body, this is expressed in the hands and feet, which bear us through the world of matter
The voice of Pisces speaks through N, which enters into matter and retreats to harvest self-knowledge.
In eurythmy we can draw even closer to understanding ourselves and the hierarchies by learning how to embody them in sacred gestures and positions. Each of the signs of the zodiac comes to life through a particular eurythmy gesture and its corresponding sound. We can understand these as the imprints these great beings made on the archetypal human form as they “spoke” our being into existence.
Surely we are more than accidents of creation. We are the blessed offspring of great spiritual beings. Our errors and actions against our fellow beings and our earth cause pains that reverberate through all the octaves of creations.
Our awakening, however, will bring all of creation one step further in its evolution. I consider it to be my mandate that, at the end of time, I can give the back to the Creators a better world than I received from them, a world worthy of the gift I have been given.
And it is in that spirit that I practice and I teach eurythmy, enlivening the spaces I live in and giving my students and patients the tools to do the same. Through this, we begin to understand the deepest mysteries of creation, namely, how to understand ourselves and the universe as the holy word of creation. We enter into new paths of understanding of our connection to the forces of nature, and how to use the spiritual correspondences for health and healing. We learn to honor the temple of the body, in which we dwell for the decades of our life on earth.
In our eurythmy classes we are plunging into rich studies of these formative forces. If you would like to learn more, please contact me!
|“I was born of the shining of distant stars,
I drew their beams with me from afar…….”
The New Star Wisdom and Eurythmy
In my public eurythmy classes this month, we are exploring the relationship between the human being (the microcosm) and the starry world (the macrocosm).
Before birth and after death, we live in a body-free state, as a spiritual being amongst other beings. We dwell “in the stars,” in a condition of being that is free of matter, but still imperfect in consciousness. We return to earth again and again to grow towards freedom, towards spiritual maturity.
In the body-free state, we live amongst the planets and constellations in their body-free reality. When we are born, however, we see them as points of light and imagine them to be only balls of gas in the sky. We forget their great majesty and radiances.
Yet our understanding is incomplete if we think of the constellations and planets as only physical objects in the sky. Indeed, they are the homes of mighty spiritual beings, heavenly hierarchies, most of them more ancient and far more lofty than we. Since the beginning of time, since the most ancient of days, they have spoken and sung the Word of God into the stream of time and space, creating heaven and earth as they do so. If we wish to find our way “back home” through spiritual studies, the wisdom of the stars will illuminate our way.
In eurythmy we can draw closer to understanding the stars by learning how they “speak” through the sounds of language. The constellations, the “fixed stars,” are the architects of form. Each of the constellations sends its forces to earth through the power of one of the consonants. In nature, the working of consonants can be found in the shapes of objects: crystals and trees, butterflies and clouds. In us, the consonants have shaped the sacred forms of our body.
The planets, the “wandering stars,” are in ceaseless movement. Working through the vowels, their effects are experienced in the human being through our organs and in our personalities.
This picture from the medieval text “The Book of Hours” show how there was an understanding of our relationship to the stars even in ancient times.
Through eurythmy, our understanding goes even further.
Thus: Aries has formed the head through the power of “V.
Taurus has formed the throat through the power of “R.”
Gemini has formed our bilateral symmetry through the “H.”
Cancer has formed our ribcage through the power of “F.”
Leo has formed the heart through the power of “T” and “D.”
Virgo has formed the digestive organs through “B” andP.”
Libra has formed the pelvis (hips) through “Ts.”
Scorpio has formed the reproductive organs through “S.”
Sagittarius has formed the thighs through “G” and “K.”
Capricorn has formed the knees and joints through “L.”
Aquarius has formed the lower legs through “M.”
Pisces has formed the feet through “N.”
Of course, merely charting these correspondences does no more than scratch the surface of our understanding. But by learning the eurythmical gesture for each constellation in eurythmy and how it evolves into the corresponding consonants, we awaken deep somatic experiences of who we are as human beings. Through this, we begin to understand the deepest mysteries of creation, namely, how to understand ourselves and the universe as the holy word of creation. We enter into new paths of understanding of our connection to the forces of nature, and how to use the spiritual correspondences for health and healing. We learn to honor the temple of the body, in which we dwell for the decades of our life on earth.
In our eurythmy classes we are plunging into rich studies of these formative forces. If you would like to learn more, please contact me!
Activate your participation in the eurythmyonline project, by posting your questions and comments on the forum page, https://eurythmyonline.com/forums/. I love hearing from you, and you can share your experiences and questions with other users.
Happy New Year to all of you!
It has been only three months since I launched this bold and inspirational site, and I have watched it grow with joy and excitement. Granted, this has not grown into a viral movement, but it is growing slowly, steadily and organically, and I am deeply touched to think of dozens of people around the world who are now able to do eurythmy in their personal lives.
Some of the feedback that pleases me the most comes from people who say that they have long wanted to do eurythmy at home after having done a workshop, but couldn’t quite remember how to do things when they got home. Now they feel empowered to do so.
Others write to tell me that they have used the eurythmy exercises to feel better, to sleep well, to ground themselves, or even to help recover from surgery! Nothing could make me happier.
More tricky have been the people who have asked me if this work can serve as a training or give them some kind of certification. To them I have had to say that that has never been my intention. There is really no substitution for having a live class or working with other people, and I simply can’t provide that experience with these online classes. I am, however, deeply happy to give you whatever tools I can so that you can do eurythmy in your own personal lives, and I hope you will find an opportunity to find a live teacher near you, travel to work with me here in California or wherever else I teach, or invite me to your community and host a workshop. I would love to come!
I recently became aware of the fact that there are quite a few more people signed up as “users” on the website than are receiving my periodic newsletters. My web technician and I realize that we didn’t interface the users with the newsletter adequately and some of you who are users aren’t being appropriately welcomed or kept in the “loop.”
With this mailing, we have now integrated all users with the newsletter. If you would NOT like to receive the newsletter, please feel free to opt out now! Just send me an email at email@example.com, and you will be off by the end of the day!
On the other hand, if you have been a user, but haven’t received the newsletters, here are your links to the articles I have written this fall: http://us8.campaign-archive2.com/home/?u=42e5166e8549c860dd9793596&id=81cf2ae355. Have a look: I have written about eurythmy trainings, about my experiences launching this website, about gratitude and sacred Christmas, and several more!
I also want to make all of you aware of our COMMUNITY PAGE. I would love to invite you to begin to use this page as a forum so you can post questions to me and each other about your experiences and what you would like to do with eurythmy. Those of you who have signed up for the whole curriculum will also have begun to use the journal pages that I include in your curriculum: these are leading questions that help you reflect on how you are growing as you do your exercises. Please feel free to expand upon these on the community page.
You may also have requests for me to create other course offerings for you. Please let me know on that page as well.
I also want you to know that I have created winter discounts on some of my favorite “special sequences.” These are the most beautiful exercise sequences that I have assembled, and I would love for as many people as possible to be able to use them in their personal lives.
And finally: if the prices I ask for these courses are too high or too low for you, please take a look at my article on the “gift economy.” I am always willing to enter courageously into the community of new and free financial exchanges with people who want to begin living in the new economy.
Now the twilight of the year
Comes, and Christmas draweth near.
See, across the Advent sky
How the clouds move slowly by.
Earth is waiting, wrapped in sleep,
Waiting in a slumber deep.
Waiting for the Christmas birth,
The birth that blesses Heaven and Earth.
As I walked on my favorite river trail this morning, the skies were gray and promising to bring rain soon. The salmon were running in the rivers, their silver tales flashing through the waters. Their spawning would be followed by their natural death, which would in turn bring food to the gulls and the vultures waiting on the shore and in the trees. And in the spring, the salmon eggs will hatch, and the river will be filled with fingerlings.
Now, in the dark and dead part of the year, the seeds of new life are being laid into the earth. All the kingdoms of nature take part in the dying and the birth, as the earth inhales her life forces and wraps herself in blankets of leaves and drifts of snow.
And even as the outer world is getting ready for the madness of pre-holiday shopping and feasting, another sacred festival is being prepared. The mid-winter festival is a festival of communion for the universe and the earth. The sacrament of birth is celebrated every year anew, in the humble place of the manger, in the listening human heart, in the deep center of the earth .
The four weeks preceding Christmas are called Advent, meaning “Coming towards.” The great Sun-Spirit of the Macrocosm “comes towards” the earth every Christmas, to be born in the Microcosm of the earth, in the microcosmic heart of the human being. And just as a mother must wait through a pregnancy until she gives gift to her child, so we must wait through the season of Advent as a kind of world-pregnancy. This is a season of waiting and envisioning, a season to prepare ourselves to connect with the spirit who wills to connect with the earth.
And in the four weeks of Advent, the four kingdoms of Nature are each blessed, one by one, as the earth inhales, the seeds are laid beneath the ground, and the Spirit draws near, approaching from the heights of heaven to the depths of earth.
This, the first week of Advent is sacred to the kingdom of the minerals. These form the foundation of all our life, forming the bedrock of the planet, the scaffolding and skeleton for our existence.
In this first week, as we learn to cultivate our inner quiet, we can take time to give thanks and gratitude to the mineral kingdom. We can honor the selfless strength of the rocks, stones, crystals, bones, seashells and more: to the light and wisdom of their shape and form.
The first light of Advent,
It is the light of stones,
Light that dwells in seashells,
In crystals and in bone.
Many people choose to create a quiet ritual for Advent season, by preparing a table with four candles to notate the four weeks of Advent. In the first week, one single candle is lit daily to signify the mineral kingdom. In the second week, a second candle is also lit, for the plant kingdom; in the third week, a third is lit for the animal kingdom; and in the fourth week, a fourth is lit for the human kingdom.
This simple ritual prepares us then for the darkness of the midnight hour, Christmas Eve, when those who understand the esoteric nature of Christmas listen at the midnight hour for the sacred marriage of heaven and earth. At Christmas, the cosmic spirit of the heights enters into the non-physical space of the human heart.
In the deep darkness of a winter night, in the dark of the cave where the child is born, the mystery of birth will be celebrated. Christmas is the season to celebrate the birth of light in the darkness, the birth of spirit being in the darkness of matter.
Consider the great vastness of the universe: the spiritual beings in the depths of space, expressing themselves through the great multitude of lights in the star-spangled sky. Consider our own solar system, where planets dance around the great sun. Consider the earth, our home, and how the life on the earth swells and subsides in accordance with her yearly journey around the sun.
Since the beginning of earth-time, human beings have marked the seasons of the year with song, dance and ritual. We experience the intimate dance of the sun and the earth as the inescapable backdrop of our lives. In response, druids and wisdom-keepers, priestesses and priests, have taught humanity to seek the blessings of the harmony between sun and earth in ancient seasonal ceremonies, marking the summer and winter solstices and the spring and fall equinoxes.
Since the birth of Jesus on earth, the Christian festivals have also been placed on this cross of the year. It can be a source of deep nourishment to uncover the deep meanings behind these mysteries.
Since the beginning of earth time, human beings have marked the seasons of the year with song, dance and ritual. The seasons each have their own power, their own gesture. Indeed, the seasons seem to show the very soul of the earth as she reveals herself in light and darkness, softness and brittleness.
And if the seasons are the soul of the earth, what is her spirit?
Esoteric Christianity reveals that the spirit of the earth is the spirit of the Sun-God Himself, come to earth so that it can in time become a new sun, a source of light for the new round of Creation.
What, then, is Christmas? In the season of mid-winter, the earth wraps herself in blankets of sleep. Leaves fall from the trees and cover her over, until the snows of winter lay themselves down. The sky bends low to the earth as the sun winds its winter course over the southern hemisphere, and the days are dark and nights are long. Plants concentrate their forces in root and seed, and animals head south or hibernate in holes and caves.
The natural world becomes still.
The name of this season is Advent, the time to celebrate what is coming near: ad-venire. Advent is the season of anticipation, of expectation. The season of Advent is the beginning of the new spiritual year for the earth, and begins with the four weeks before Christmas. In these weeks, we humans have too much to do: the world becomes loud and demanding with commercials and consumerism.
Yet in the silence of nature, another sacred year is being born. The world begins to listen with spiritual ears to the approach of the Spirit-Sun, who is reborn on earth every year. And over the course of four weeks, the kingdoms of nature will celebrate Christmas, one by one.
It is the mineral kingdom that first hears the promise. The spiritual beings that carry the consciousness of the minerals exist far above the earth. From lofty heights, they sense that the spirit light of the sun is beginning to contract and descend to the earth far below. The minerals hear this, and rejoice in the silence.
In the second week of Advent, it will be the heavenly spirits who hold the wisdom of the plants who hear the promise of Christmas, and the seeds implanted in the earth ring in response.
In the third week, the spirits of the animals, closer to the earth than the spirits of rocks and plants, sense the coming promise, and the animals kingdom is also blessed.
And in the fourth week, we humans beings, in whom matter and spirit are woven into a unity of self-consciousness, sense that the purpose and promise of our earth existence is drawing physically near.
And so, in the deep darkness of a winter night, in the dark of the cave where the child is born, the mystery of birth will be celebrated. Christmas is the season to celebrate the birth of light in the darkness, the birth of spirit being in the darkness of matter.
And so we will meet every week and light a candle together, in reverence for and gratitude to the four kingdoms of nature and our journey of evolution on the earth.
be blessed with the archetypes of the coming year. From the stars high above to the rocks and crystals far below, the mineral hears the approach of the spirit sun
The Sacred Season of Preparation and Anticipation.
Even in the midst of the hectic pace of December, you can choose to walk consciously towards the depth of winter, the shortest and darkest time of the year. In this season, the
A Thanksgiving Eurythmy Prayer.
A Eurythmy movement to move alone or share with your loved ones.
For the dark earth that cradles the seed,
For the rain that brings forth the green leaves,
For the stars that give form to the flowers,
For the warm sun that ripens the fruit,
For all this goodness and beauty,
Father-mother God, we thank Thee.
This lovely table blessing lends itself beautifully to eurythmy, and can be done by beginners or experienced eurythmists. If you are inspired by the words, take a few moments to let the pictures come alive inside you. See the rich black soil moistened with rain, the seed hull softening until the tender roots and the first leaves unfold. Watch how the plant is held and supported in its life cycles through the cycles of nature. As you do so, practice concentrating your forces of attention and enlivening your thinking. Allow the experience of deep thanksgiving and gratitude flood your soul.
Would you like to try moving this in eurythmy? I will find it difficult to explain to you how to move this in language, but let’s give it a try.
The art and prayer of eurythmy entails letting the inner life of a poem become visible throughout your whole being–spirit, soul and body. As a eurythmist, you will easily feel that the living pictures of this prayer expand and contract throughout the entire poem. If you are only starting your eurythmy practice, you can move this with simple, breathing gestures. If you have already learned how to make the sounds of language come alive through gesture, you can weave the sound-gestures into your movements.
Because this is a poem about the gentle forces of a plant, you can allow your arms gestures to weave in living, etheric fields. Begin with the first four lines like this.
1: Dark earth—open. Seed–close
2: Rain—open. Green leaves—close
3: Stars—open. Flower—close
4: Warm sun—open. Fruit—close
Now go further, and use the different zones of below, middle and above to help your expression.
1. Begin with the first line: envision the dark earth and spread your arms wide below you, then picture the seed, and bring your hands together, cupped around a seed.
2. For the second line, raise your arms and spread them wide around you as you picture the blessings of rain, and then picture green leaves and stems and bring your hands together, cupped around the unfolding plant.
3. For the third line, lift your arms high to the stars, far beyond your hands, imagining the wisdom of geometric forces weaving a web around the earth. Then cup your hands around a flower, imagining its perfect miniature star shape.
4. Now imagine the deep warmth of a summer day, and spread your arms wide, and then gather that warmth and bring it to the fruit of the plant that will bear the new seeds.
Finally, after all of these polarities, the last two lines breathe differently. Now we focus on virtues of the soul instead of on nature forces. Spread your arms wide to open to goodness and beauty, and then imagine even larger universes for “Father-mother God.” Then,in this sequence, the word “we” becomes microcosmic, being personal and of this world, so bring your arms to your heart for “we.” And finally, lift your heart and arms to the heavens again for “thee.
Even such a simple exercise as this will be a great beginning for your eurythmy journey. You become enlivened in your mind, you feel the dynamics, and you move your body. You become quiet and attentive, and breathe more deeply.
Bring the verse into movement: If you would like to go even deeper with this process, you can start to move with your whole body, and walk backwards and forwards as you expand and contract. That is to say, when you walk backwards you can feel the great mysteries behind you, and when you walk forwards you find your way into the things of this sense world. It will suffice to take only one or two steps.
The dynamic power of language: You will notice that we began by experiencing the nouns. Now, to bring it even more alive eurythmically, notice the dynamic of the verbs in the poem, and how they carry the activity of the nature forces to the small plant. As you move from large to small, again and again, catch the energy of each verb in your movements. How is cradling different from ripening? As you walk forwards and backwards, use different images, different speeds and different energies to connect the universe and the plant.
Create a form for the movement: If you like, create spirals and star forms for the different lines as you move forwards and backwards
Beyond dance: making speech visible. Eurythmy actually unveils its true power once we start working with the sounds of language. If you are able to do a few sounds, begin with these:
For the dark earth that cradles the seed: D ā S (dark, cradles, seed) (S going down)
For the rain that brings forth the green leaves: R BF L (rain, brings forth, leaves)
For the stars that give form to the flowers: ST F L (stars, form, flowers) (S going up)
For the warm sun that ripens the fruit: S P F U (Sun, ripens, fruit) (S going up)
For all this goodness and beauty: Ah U U (all, goodness (down), beauty (up))
Father-Mother God, we thank Thee: Ah, ee, ee (father-mother-God, we (left arm up) Thee (right arm up))
Dear readers, please accept this bold attempt to describe for you in written text how to do a poem in eurythmy in the spirit it is intended—-as part of my commitment to find ways to empower everyone to weave eurythmy into their personal lives! Yet I promise you that the activity is hugely creative, joyful and regenerative if you join in a live class somewhere, wherever you live!
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I wish you the best of holidays.
Report from the National Biodynamic Conference in Louisville, Kentucky
“Spirit is never without matter: matter never without spirit.”
These words by Rudolf Steiner were never far from our minds at last week’s biannual National Biodynamic Conference in Louisville, KY, attended by 600-700 farmers, gardeners, physicians, microbiologists, pharmacists, ecologists, and economists. We were a mixed crowd of barefoot farmers, urban sophisticates and small-town families, gathered to address the urgent needs of our planet, our soils, our food systems and our bodies. Our focus was profound question of how to use the anthroposophically inspired insights of BD to teach us how to bring spirit and matter into right relationship. My husband and I were both presenters at the conference, offering eurythmy, lectures and workshops.
A “sister movement” to Eurythmy, Biodynamic agriculture is a way of farming that understands how to work with the dynamic interplay of spirit and matter to create truly healthy ecosystems. Biodynamics has techniques far beyond the ethos of “do-no-harm:” it actually heals and revitalizes impoverished soils and enables plants, animals and humans to thrive.
One of the fundamental understandings that inspires my work with eurythmy is the consideration of how spirit and matter are interrelated. Spirit is close to source, full of fire, consciousness and original creative intent. Matter is its image, its complement: matter is spirit that has evolved through time and space to become independent, cool and dense.
In our eurythmy practice, we learn to ground ourselves in spirit self-awareness, and work out of that mindfulness into our body to create health and well-being. Through the practices of Biodynamics, we find other techniques to bring spirit and matter into balance. For instance, BD practitioners understand how to use the rhythmic interplay of spirit and matter that are revealed in the rhythms of the seasons, of day and night, of the moon and planets. They work with the forces of light and darkness, of crystals and manures, to enhance the effects of sunlight and photosynthesis and of darkness and soil heath.
They also understand how to work with the forces of life, a field that is not yet accessible to conventional scientists. To be truly healthy, a plant must be filled with life forces, so it will have strong cells, build stems that can stand up in wind and rain, have long shelf lives and impart true vitality to animals and humans. This health is only created if the plant grows in healthy soil, rich in the microbial milieu created through the use of Biodynamic practices. Then the plant can perceive and absorb what is needs through the roots and transform light through the leaves. Soils treated with artificial chemicals and pesticides, on the other hand, create plants that are weak and sickly.
My husband is a specialist in the making and use of compost, understanding how to take decaying plant and animal waste and turn it into rich, loamy humus, augmented by the powerful biodynamic compost preparations that inoculate the piles with homeopathic herbal remedies. His compost piles remind me of a holy altar, and he works with them like a priest, at the threshold of life and death. Plants grown in his soil feel confident in their ability to pick up soil nutrients through their root hairs: they grow strong and green and vital.
This conference powerfully underscored the need for such an agriculture to address the needs of planetary ecosystems. Not only the airs and the oceans, but also the soils are collapsing: scientists are speaking of a “silent spring of the microbial world.” This collapse has a statistically direct correspondence with the rise in allergies in children and adults. What we are doing to our soils is immediately revealed in what happens in our stomach. Conventionally grown food no longer offers true nutrition: I heard in this conference that we now must eat 5 oranges to receive the same nutritive value that our grandparents could get from one orange!
It is not only bodily health that we get from food: Rudolf Steiner was once asked why is it so difficult for human beings to do their spiritual work? And his answer—almost 100 years ago—was that the food itself did not impart the strength people need for their consciousness.
My husband and I are so lucky to be able to share our life work in the parallel tasks of Eurythmy and Biodynamics. We are both stewards of the forces of life: I through the movement art of eurythmy and he through the tremendous art of service to the land in biodynamic agriculture.
It was hugely inspiring to be able to share conversations, workshops, and friendship with this fellowship of BD practitioners. Whether in poverty or wealth, in cities or on the land, they share a deep commitment to serve the planet, including its soils, its plants, its animals, and its humans, through their loving hard labor.
And I believe that through our consciousness of giving thanks when we eat, we sanctify the food and the spirit that has made it.
Please join me in giving thanks for the web of spirit and matter, the foundation of our human existence.
About Eurythmy Trainings
Thank you to everyone, around the globe, for your enthusiastic support of this website. I’ve received over a hundred messages of thanks and gratitude, and they warm my heart. I hope that slowly but surely we all together will be able to grow a new culture of eurythmy for the planet!
A few of you who have written have asked if this curriculum can be the equivalent of a partial eurythmy training. The short answer is: no. This website is created to give you the inspiration and the possibility of creating your own eurythmy practice— Eurythmy as a Personal Practice. My students and my patients have been telling me for many years that their eurythmy practice makes such a difference in their lives. This was the inspiration for me to look for a way to make it possible for people around the world to do eurythmy at home, even if they never meet a eurythmy teacher. I also want to make it possible for people who have taken a few classes to be able to remember what they have done in class. A eurythmy training, however, is a completely different level of work and commitment. A eurythmy training asks everything of its students, and changes their lives completely. A classical eurythmy training takes a minimum of four years. That is: four years of a full-time training, five days a week, 5-8 hours a day, 9-10 months a year. A eurythmy training is rigorous as a training in a musical conservatory, as an art degree, as a pre-med major.
If you did a full-time training, you would typically have one hour-long (or more) class on speech eurythmy and one hour-long (or more) class on tone eurythmy each day. You would also have equally long practice periods for each of them, each day. In addition, you would have classes to work on rod exercises and moving forms. And then an earnest student will continue the practice at home, working for an hour or two in the evening as well.
Then again, you would have classes on all the adjunct subjects. You would have classes in the humanity’s, inspired by Rudolf Steiner’s work, including the Nature of the Human Being, the Evolution of Consciousness, and Philosophy of Freedom. You would also have anatomy and physiology, studying how the human body works and how it moves. You would have wonderful opportunities to immerse yourself in the artistic history of humanity, including studies of sculpture and painting from the ancient history to the present day. You would have classes in painting, speech and articulation, drama, singing, poetics and music theory. All these are the basis of a very solid and well-rounded liberal arts education.
But the most important work is done in the eurythmy classes themselves. They begin with the basic warm-up exercises that I have gathered in this online curriculum here. Of course, the work is much more intense when done in a group than when done alone, because students learn to work not only with the personal etheric but with the shared etheric field of everyone working together.
By the end of the first year, you would have worked so intensely that your physical body would be able to move with fluid grace. The rod exercises, three-fold walking, contraction/expansion, and spatial exercises will have already begun to work into your whole constitution so you no longer move your body mechanically, but begin to move in etheric fields. You would have learned all the vowels and all the consonants, and begun to move your first poems with your classmates. You would also learn the gestures for the tones of the musical scales and been able to do simple pieces by Mozart or Haydn or other early composers.
In the subsequent years, you would move increasingly complex poems. You would learn to move poems from different periods: ballads, lyrical, romantic, epic poems. You would eventually learn to move fairy tales and stories. You would learn to move together with your classmates in complex forms, to move in close relationships in duos and trios. In tone eurythmy you would learn gestures for all the whole-tones and half-tones of the musical scales, and could show any scale in movement. You would learn the gestures for musical intervals. You could show all the dynamics of music, and make any piece of music visible. You would progress from simple 16- or 32-bar pieces of music to elaborate symphonies. With luck, you would even work with a chamber orchestra, learning to move with your classmates to an ensemble of different instruments. And you would discover a composition from a master composer to do as your graduation solo.
In your growth, you would not only become more graceful. Year by year, you would find your consciousness growing. You would find yourself becoming sensitive to every sound and color. You would learn to open your inner soul to be able to listen deeply to the world and to express it authentically through gestures. You would learn to think with your body as much as through your head. The changes you would go through in a eurythmy training are more profound than a lay person can imagine.
And you would also struggle! As you and your classmates work so closely together, you affect each other like sandpaper, struggling, sometimes resenting, sometimes back-biting, but ultimately helping each other—usually unconsciously—to let go of bad habits of thinking and feeling, and learning to become less judgmental, more forgiving. In a eurythmy training, nothing can be hidden! Everything becomes visible, everything counts. In the end, a group of eurythmists must learn to move together with the mutual support of a flock of birds or a school of fish.
A eurythmist emerges from the four-year training a changed person. The training gives them the foundation to become a performing artist. Most importantly, it develops a profound artistic sensitivity, which serves as the absolutely essential basis for later becoming a eurythmy therapist or teacher.
And so I welcome you to enjoy this website to the fullest, and use it to enter the stream of eurythmy movement. Share some of your enthusiasm with your friends, and invite them to sign up as well and learn some exercises (not merely by copying you, but by listening to the guided words of my lessons). Seek out live classes wherever you can! And then, if you discover that you would like to go deeper with the study of eurythmy, find your way to one of the dozen or so eurythmy trainings in the world! It is an unforgettable journey.
Thank you for joining the Eurythmyonline Community!
Eurythmyonline.com was launched only two weeks ago. It has been a very busy period for me, as I have balanced the emails and the inquiries and tried to get the word about the site out to as many people as possible. I’m thrilled that over 750 people have looked at the site in these weeks, and they have spent an average of over 6 minutes on the site! Over 400 of you have tried the freebie lessons that I have offered.
The most heartwarming response I have received so far is from a physician working in Lebanon, who writes how grateful she is for this work. She has shared the Peace Exercise (freebie #1) with her friends and colleagues there, and says it is so important there because life is so chaotic and complicated. In my heart I feel that such a response confirms for me the great importance of the whole project! Were it not for this website, these people would never have the possibility of experiencing what eurythmy can offer the world.
Most of the responses to the site have been very positive. People have been grateful for the material, and encouraging to me for the vision I had to create this new initiative. There has also been a lot of praise for the design and layout, and I continue to be really grateful for my designer and my programmer, two wonderful helpers!
I have also had a very interesting time communicating with my friends in China. I have travelled there twice in the past two years to teach eurythmy and to lecture, and many people are interested in learning more about eurythmy. However, they do not always have unrestricted access to international websites, and I am getting mixed information from the users there about how much they are able to see. My team and I will have to determine whether to tell our friends there how to use a “proxy server” to get into the site, or whether we will decide to make a concerted effort to build a specific site for our Chinese friends.
Meanwhile, if you have been one of my visitors, I would love to hear from you. Have you found the exercises inspiring and clear? What can we do better?
On another note, I have been busy teaching classes to the Teacher Education students at Rudolf Steiner College this month, seeing clients in my private practice, working with school children and offering a public workshop on Spiritual Perspective on Life Before Birth and Life After Death.
I would like to share a favorite poem from the class, celebrating the sacredness of the human body that we in-dwell for the decades of our life on earth.
I was born of the shining of distant stars,
I drew their beams with me from afar.
I was born of the radiant sun,
Of the light of the world ere the earth begun.
Born I was of the silver eye,
Of the guardian moon keeping watch on high.
Born of the wild wing roaming free,
Born of the flame’s intensity.
Born of the waves that lap the shore,
And the rock that hides the glistening ore.
Born I was from out of the whole,
I bear the world within my soul.
It seems like only yesterday that I thought it would be madness to ever consider creating an online eurythmy website.
Why? Eurythmy is all about living, moving presence. And that simply isn’t communicable through the computer. For all their bells and whistles, their fabulous color effects and images, and their capacity to transmit gazillion-bytes of information faster than the speed of thought, computers only give the appearance of reality. Computers live on the surface of things: they perpetuate the world of maya. They cannot give us the true experience of being in the warm presence of another person.
Eurythmy, on the other hand, opens the door for each of us to celebrate communion with our own spirit-selves, and with the world-spirit that has created all. And every instance of eurythmy must be permeated with presence: with your presence, with spirit presence.
When I teach live classes, one of my most important responsibilities is that I am fully present throughout the lesson to witness the best and highest in each one of my students. In honoring the fact that each person is a child of God, an active spirit presence awakening to their infinite spirit potential, I am inwardly attentive, patient, supportive and generous. And through this act of witnessing, I see that everyone is beautiful when they do eurythmy.
And so: when I decided to create EurythmyOnline.com, I had some tough questions to face.
Would it be possible to create recordings that were so carefully crafted that I and my students would be able to overcome the electronic media? Searching for a solution, I carefully instruct people to watch the videos only as long as they need to, to internalize the material I am teaching and then to turn off the recordings and work in silence. In that silence, I know that they can awaken to their own experience of spirit presence.
And then I had to decide: what sequence of instruction should I offer? Should I require that students all start at the very beginning exercises (weight and light, contraction-expansion, threefold walking) before proceeding to learn how to do the sounds of language? Or should I allow people to enter the curriculum at their own level, and choose for themselves where to begin? I took many month of design for me to come to my present solution, in which I encourage people to do the whole curriculum, but also break the content down into modules so people can take smaller chunks if they prefer.
And then came the question of money, for eurythmy is actually priceless. And, because it is my ardent wish that everyone should be able to do eurythmy, how could I charge anything for it? On the other hand, I have had real costs in building this website and in sustaining it. And through paying money for the lessons, students allow me to continue to live and teach and serve spirit in all the ways that life asks of me.
I know that I will be asked: Why did I do it? And I will answer: Because the “Spirit of Eurythmy” is longing to be relevant, to bring its refreshing liveliness to our age.
Why? because I am aware of the millions of people in the world who will never have a chance to meet a eurythmist in person, but who may have heard of eurythmy, in real life or through their Waldorf connections or even in their dreams, and who want to learn about it and try it.
Why? Because I know that if we as eurythmists don’t find a way to step into the culture of electronic media, we will become increasingly invisible and, unfortunately, irrelevant.
It is my real hope that this work will help eurythmy to grow in the world. I hope more people will come to know about it. I hope that my subscribers will invite me to come to visit them in their home communities so I can offer live workshops, and take their work to the next level. I hope they will come to visit me, wherever I travel and give classes, so they can see how much energy and joy arises in group classes. And I hope that they will use my list of eurythmy teachers to seek out the eurythmy workshops closest to them, wherever they live.
And so I ask of you, my friends and website visitors, to look kindly on my attempt, knowing that I have done my conscientious best to offer the gift of my life’s work!