Spiritual Tasks of the Homemaker – Part 3

Last time we looked at how the home can be a source of cultural renewal, a “new mystery center”. But we were left with the question of how that might be achieved and what might help a homemaker in that effort. Let’s now look at pages 11-13 for the beginning of an answer.


The Life Organism of the Household

When a child learns to walk, every movement, every moment of balance and imbalance takes concentration and concerted effort. And similarly when we later learn to drive, we must continuously pay attention to both what we must do to operate the car as well as the road conditions and other drivers. But when we have mastered the skill of walking or of driving, we no longer need to pay so much attention. Our actions become in a sense automated and unconscious. It is as if all of the various actions involved have become a unity, simply “walking” and “driving”.

We can look at the household as a unity as well. Prior to the twentieth century, homemaking was done primarily through instinct and tradition. Women passed on the secrets of running a home from generation to generation, and there was not very much individual expression. Homemaking was a relatively unconscious, automated process.

Since the beginning of the twentieth century (and particularly since mid-century), individuality and emancipation have determined our lives to a larger and larger degree. How can we now regain a sense of organic unity in the home when we have lost our anchor of tradition and instinct?


Aspects of the Household

Through anthroposophy we view the human being as having four main members or bodies.* We can view social life and its smallest component, the family and home, in the same way. In relation to the home, these four members are:

  • physical: the living space and surroundings
  • etheric: the activities and processes
  • astral: the soul life and emotions
  • spiritual: religion, culture, and relationships

The homemaker must work consciously with these members and how they interrelate in order to create a truly human home

Next time we will look at these four members in more depth.


* In anthroposophy we can divide the human into three, four, seven, or up to nine members! More information on this can be found in Rudolf Steiner’s Theosophy.

Manfred Schmidt-Brabant, The Spiritual Tasks of the Homemaker, Temple Lodge, 1996.

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Filed under Anthroposophy, Books, Deep Thoughts, Homemaking

8 responses to “Spiritual Tasks of the Homemaker – Part 3

  1. I’m enjoying these posts. I read a lot but don’t know anyone at all here to chat with who is interested in Waldorf/Anthroposophy and so nothing is transferred via conversation or sharing of information to bring it into my home. I instinctually find what works for us within this, but don’t have context, I guess. 🙂

    My wordpress commenting was wonky for a bit, but I’m suddenly able to submit again. Yay!

  2. Mon

    As a holistic mother, this of course all makes sense to me. The whole unit requires our attention, otherwise gaps are left to be filled by unwanted things.

  3. I’m liking this! Thanks for doing it. It is something that I might want to consciously work on after the new year. How do I make sure that all 4 realms are present in my home? Looking forward to the next installment.

  4. Eve

    Oooh, culture as a spiritual aspect, huh? What does he mean by “culture,” then?

    Can’t wait to read more!

  5. Denise: I’m missing the ability to “chat” with like-minded people too!

    Mon: Yes, unwanted things indeed, any time we don’t fill part of our lives with our conscious intentions.

    Sarah: Sometimes I feel like this is a whole life’s work!

    Eve: In scanning through the rest of the book, it looks like you’ll have to wait until Part 10 or so for that…lots more to come.

  6. There are times when I wish I was still working in a time before this individuality occurred, farming and household tasks would be so much easier and I wouldn’t have to struggle (inner struggle more than physical) so much with the work I am doing. We talked about this in our Biodynamic training, how are task is now to purposefully find these cultural traditions and bring them in a renewed way back to humanity, all this working with the Will stuff again…
    I liked a post Eve had a week or so ago (I actually like most of her posts), what I got out of it is how the state of our bedrooms reflect the state of the relationship with our partner. I really took it to heart and realized I focus so much on the rest of the house, that our bedroom is neglected and messy- and someways it is true of our relationship, we spend all our energy on the farm and creating beauty outside the bedroom we had very little time for working on our personal issues. So we have been fixing up the space, I have banned any farming magazines or catalogs from the room and actually put some beautiful special things in the room. I feel a shift in our communication, I am much more relaxed and open and we spend more time in our room talking instead of reading.
    I must really say that our attitude in our house and towards the objects in it really reflect the “health” of our family. We have a huge house (to us anyway), but hardly any furniture or things to fill the rooms, but each thing we add I make sure it is something beautiful and natural to inspire us. My goal is not just to fill empty spaces, but to create a warm loving environment that feeds us on many levels.

  7. Lisa Anne: I know, all this hard work! It can get discouraging. That was a good post on Eve’s blog…and my bedroom is certainly having problems in terms of beauty vs. clutter right now. We have relatively few possessions, but we are also stuffed into a relatively small space, so it still ends up feeling cluttered. And we adults tend to spend our evenings in the bedroom on our computers–perhaps something we need to change.

  8. Nana

    sounds a lot like feng shui

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