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.