Anthroposophy/Waldorf

You can probably tell from my blog title, and many of my posts, that I’m interested in anthroposophy and Waldorf education. Here I’ll give a little background as to how that came about.

Many moons ago in the late 1990s, I was searching for something new to do with my life and career. I was happily married to Anthropapa, but my job was anything but fulfilling.

One day I was noodling around on the Internet, looking for something, ANYTHING, to do with myself. I suddenly had a vague memory of an old Utne Reader article about something called Waldorf education, so I searched for it.

Lo and behold, there was a Waldorf teacher training college — Rudolf Steiner College —  only a few miles away! A serendipitous or even karmic moment.

I called RSC right away and went over for a little tour. When I walked onto the campus and had a look around, I felt somehow “at home.” They offered a Foundation Year, which was essentially an introduction to anthroposophy and Waldorf education, either as preparation for the Teacher Training year or for personal development.

Anthropapa was supportive, and so I enrolled. Later that year, he became intrigued at what I was studying and experiencing, so he signed up for the next year.

We briefly considered becoming teachers, but it just wasn’t our path. Anthropapa eventually got a staff job at RSC, and I continued to take courses and contributed to the community.

We’ve been involved in anthroposophical communities since then. I find anthroposophy a fascinating way to view the world and humanity, and I feel that Waldorf education is extremely beneficial for children of our time. We’ve continued to find new ways to be involved in bringing anthroposophy to the wider world — Anthropapa in his work in higher education, and I with editing for the Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America and SteinerBooks, among other anthroposophical publishers and authors.

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19 responses to “Anthroposophy/Waldorf

  1. Wow! That was so great to read how you and DH came to Waldorf: The Utne Reader!!! I love it. I knew your brain was large! Now, everytime I go to the WECAN site, I shall think of you, furiously labouring over bad prose. (BTW, can we get some already printed Waldorf lit proofed, puh-lease. I was just reading a WONDERFUL book which referred to “muscles” that live by the sea.)

  2. Most of the prose isn’t that bad : ) I just take all of the wonderful thoughts and help the author express them more clearly. But I do wish I could pick and choose a few books to work on, just for those kind of bloopers.

  3. the ant

    You don’t touch on the root races which are central to Steiner’s theory of evolution.
    The black races are considered spiritually lower than the aryan ones.
    White humankind is the spiritual future as far as he was concerned.
    His views are extremely racist.

  4. Ant: I don’t touch on that here because I don’t think it’s that central, and I think there is massive misinterpretation of Steiner’s views. I do think that Steiner said some things that today would be considered racist. I’m certainly not convinced, however, that he meant them in a racist way. Maybe so, maybe not. Maybe those things were a function of his time and culture. I don’t think he was infallible!

    What’s important to me is what we do with anthroposophy now. Perhaps we need to reject his talk of root races as offensive and irrelevant.

    The thing to remember is that alongside Steiner’s apparently racist comments are the numerous statements he made about how thinking along the lines of races and nations belonged in the past, and that humanity needs to work on an individual level now irrespective of physical differences.

  5. the ant

    You said
    “massive misinterpretation of Steiner’s
    views. I do think that Steiner said some things that today would bec onsidered racist. I’m certainly not convinced, however, that he meant them in a racist way. Maybe so, maybe not. Maybe those things were a function of his time and culture. ”

    If I had a penny for every time I heard this….I’m afraid that is a
    classic anthro/Steiner reply.
    I’m sure there’s a little book of “Anthro Replies” somewhere!

    Here’s one- “reincarnation only means a child has a past and a future”
    Here’s some more
    ” Steiner was talking as a man of his times”

    “Steiner is difficult”

    Not considered racist- the things he said were racist.
    And the anthroposophists today spend an inordinate amount of time and energy trying to exonerate them. And denouncing erudite critics too.
    Some anthroposophists have web sites devoted to denouncing critics.
    (The site on anthroposophy you link to is run by one such man I think)

    Now- if the anthros stood up and publically denounce Steiner’s racist beliefs- I might have some sympathy. But they spend time making petty points about whether someone translated
    “of” for “to” when talking about the negro in Europe as if it makes a difference. There’s a desperation in their avid
    denouncements.

    In UK, the training does involve not telling parents, this is fact.
    I saw some other comments about anthroposophists blocking criticism on
    the internet just now.
    There is a serious problem in their unwillingness to discuss,their
    duplicity about the true nature of anthroposophy and their secrecy.

    If you can help open up the movement, listen to critics positively, discuss openly, it will be one step forward. And good for you too Kristina.

    Have to go- kids need feeding!
    Good luck, and best wishes

  6. the ant

    The fact Steiner even believed in “good races” and “bad races” even if he believed that in the end race would be superfluous, (he also believed that in the end we would reproduce through our larynx, so it all has to be taken with his madness in mind
    as far as I’m concerned) makes the statements racist.
    I would call it soft insidious racism. Just because it’s done in an atmosphere of lovely spiritual people who speak in singing voices doesn’t make the sentiment less potent.
    The root folk race beliefs are at the core of his doctrines, take them away and all tumbles around.

    I’m glad you’re open to discussing it, because within the camphill and school where we were, any discussion was frozen.

    Steiner was no doubt an amazing man, the mere fact he could invent all this stuff ( and I don’t believe the akashic record means he had an amazing mind. But that’s where it was, in
    his mind.

    If anthroposophists really believed all the stuff about moon man, a jelly like pre human who had a cosmic umbilical cord, and floated around sucking milk from the environment, who
    then joined with the humans from the sun to form humans on the legendary island of Atlantis then they are in the same box as scientologists.
    Mad as a box of frogs.

    But Steiner was very clear about the mission of this epoch,” to popularise occult truth”
    He said it was the task to bind together humanity through the unifying bonds of spiritual wisdom,

    “So you see, the Spiritual Movement has a quite definite goal, namely, to mould future humanity in advance.”

    And he was clear that if man wasn’t aware of all the nuances involved, it was irrelevant.

    Now, I can see that some people may find this an exciting and wonderful task. That’s fine, let them get on with it.

    But please don’t con parents into allowing their children to be drawn into it by duplicitous means.

    If you want references to the quotes, I’ll send them.

    I’ve read an enormous amount of Rudi recently, but I can easily find them if you want.

  7. Sheesh, almost everyone was racist back in the 19th century, even Abraham Lincoln. And for all the other strange ideas, well, part of looking at past thinkers is to recognize that good ideas always come alongside poor ones, and everyone is plain wrong some of the time!

    I just ordered a number of Steiner books from the library dealing with philosophy, including ones on Goethe and Nietszsche. There was one on the arts on spiritualism in the modern age. My research is really going to look at the way in which western enlightenment thought grabbed on to materialism and mechanical processes, perhaps warping our way of understanding and acting in the world. The arts may be a key way out, and the Romantic movement of the 19th century could have key insights. Chris Hedges wrote a book on war, “War is a Force That Gives us Meaning” where he concludes that the way society can move forward is to get meaning from love. Yet, in academia, that sounds really weird or silly. Hedges, as a war reporter, can’t be dismissed as naive though. Do we keep a whole section of human existence outside our academic efforts to understand war, politics, consumerism, etc.? Is that part of our problem? Anyway, I look forward to reading Steiner and seeing a different perspective, from an earlier era.

  8. Utne reader is exactly how I found Waldorf Education too!

  9. Deacon

    I think if you give allow for the argument that almost everyone was racist at the time, would then give you releif on almost any argument of good or bad and holds nobody ever accountable becuase the argument spins out of control and all limits of time and space (geographical local) have no relevance. You can choose to disregard what is true and stated but what is true and stated is fact. I question them on a their other statemens that basically our learning and education should be directly credited to satan, and that it was lucifer that made the races. Then you want to tie it to the Bible in some way. The races and tongues of these races as we know from the Bible came from God’s taking down the tower of babel. We also learn from the Bible that all true wisdom comes from God, not satan or lucifer. The thought that tempting is what brought it about is laughable also. It was tempting that brought about the first sin, and continues to proliferate sin today.

  10. Heather

    I’m interested very much in this dialogue about anthroposophy.

  11. Alan Lindgren

    Clever people either easily fall prey to falsehoods (comments) that are vindictive of truth, or they spew out falsehoods that are vindictive of truth.

    Rudolf Steiner was a profound seer and thinker–the greatest thinker of all time. (Valentine Tomberg). He was also deeply ethical. His philosophy is “an ethical monism of thought.” (Read Steiner’s “Philosophy of Freedom” or “Philosophy of Thinking” (“Die Philosophie der Freiheit”)) In this work that is the foundation of Anthroposophy and all of the spiritual scientific research that he did, Steiner describes thinking as “the warm dipping down of light into the phenomena of the world.”

    When reading his statements on the four root races, it is important to take several things into consideration. Firstly, the black race was humanity in Lemurian times. (Lemuria preceded Atlantis and was destroyed by God by fire.) This was “the childhood of humanity.” In this sense, all children are black as this race of will and color belongs to childhood in a special way. This corresponds to the continent of Africa: childhood.

    The yellow race was humanity in Atlantean times. (Atlantis was the continent where the Atlantic Ocean is today. Hence, the name of this ocean.) Atlantis was destroyed by God by water. This is recorded in all the traditions of the ancient peoples as the Great Flood. (For example the Chinese, the Ancient Greeks and the Hebrews with Noah and the Ark). The Antlanteans correspond in special way to youth as this was the youth stage of human life. In this sense, all youth are of the yellow race. This is Asia: youth.

    Our current epoch is the post-Atlantean. It’s age is middle life when the human being already senses s/he is “getting old”. Here we have the white race or the Europeans. When any human being is in midlife, in this sense s/he is in the white race stage of life. God promised Noah he would never again destroy sinning humanity. Our present epoch will be destroyed by the war of all against all. This will be in about 5,000 years, although no one knows the precise year. Then peace shall reign forevermore. As Novalis writes in his fairytale: “The only memory that there was once war on earth shall be a chess set.”

    The fourth root race is the red race or the native Americans. They correspond to old age and dying. The red man was old and dying even before the Europeans came to America and often perpetrated horrible things on this old and wise people.

    When we are old and dying, we are all red men and women. When we are middle-aged, we are all white men. When we are youths, we are all yellow people. When we are children, we are all black. This is meant in the historical sense over very long periods of time, but also in each one of our lives, should we live into old age. Then we die as human beings and are born as spirits.

    The second consideration is that in one incarnation (earth-life), a person will be of a specific ethnic group–or, often today, a combination or mixture. Say, I am a black man in this life. In my past life, I may have been a European woman. In my next incarnation, I may be an Asian woman. Many Americans have Native American blood flowing in their veins. So although there are relatively few pure Native Americans, the Red Man lives throughout America.

    Let me give an example. I attended a Waldorf School as a child and youth. (Highland Hall in Northridge, California) There was a girl in my class by the name of Xxxxxx. Her father was a Jewish lawyer. Her Mother was a pure Native American woman. It was very sad for Xxxxxx, because her parents were divorced. But Xxxxxx had the most beautiful complexion because of her parents.

    In Hawaii the children are among the most beautiful in the world, because they are a mixture of many races and ethnic groups.

    Finally, Rudolf Steiner made a statement that is central for all of his work and that demonstrates his cosmopolitanism. This is: “Christ came for all humankind.”

    It may be of interest that Steiner tutored the boys of a Jewish family when he was in his twenties. One of these boys suffered from severe headaches and could not attend school. But Steiner was convinced that the boy was not developmentally disabled. In order to “teach” this boy, Steiner had to spend several hours to prepare each lesson, which had to last no more than a half hour, because it was a great strain on the lad to think. Steiner would get down on the floor with the boy to instruct him.

    Through his intensive work with the boy, he was able to catch up with his age group and excell far above the others.

    The other boys had no handicaps, so the tutoring was more straightforward.

    During their summer vacations out in nature, Steiner played with the boys, something he never did when he was a child. so he always said that he got to play just as much as other children as he made up for it playing with these Jewish boys.

    Rudolf Steiner followed the life of the boy whom he had helped so much. He became a medic and fell in World War I.

    • Alan Lindgren

      A beautiful aspect of the work of Anthroposophy (Of R.S. and the other towering thinkers, teachers and leaders of humankind) is that it addresses all kinds of human beings and at every level. By this is meant the seven destinies (the planetary types), as well as gender, temperament, nationality/ethnic and individual differences.

      However, there is one thing which every student or would-be student of R.S. and the other greats must approach, work on or be already capable of. This is thinking.

      Thinking isn’t something we are simply born with, although we all know the ‘being Intelligence’ is the common property of everyman today. True thinking is autonomous, which means sense-free/brain-free. Its organ is non-sensory: the awakened soul. The awakened soul is conscious, enabling the person to think autonomously. Such thinkers are gifted and have genuine knowledge. This is because knowledge results from clear and unbiased thinking, which autonomy is.

      Most people today are brimming over with their own biases, viewpoints, perspectives, opinions, beliefs and standards. This isn’t a bad thing; in some instances it is wise and clever and talented, so put to good use it can do much good. But it must remain extremely limited, for the very reason it arises from the limitations of the still-dreaming (unawakened) soul which is bound to the brain and the senses.

      But knowledge of spiritual things is only possible when the sensory organs do not limit the observer (perceiver and thinker), that is s/he sees/hears/smells/tastes/touches and thinks using higher organs of perception. Then, and for the first time, the person gains true knowledge. Then–finally–all those lofty, out-of-reach anthroposophical and mystical ideas and experiences are seen to be entirely reasonable, normal and plain. Indeed, they are the only ideas which make sense at all. The other, formerly ‘accessible’ thoughts appear in their true light as the limited, limiting, vague, general, fastidious, nitpicking and otherwise scope-small and misunderstood notions that populated one’s mind and interests, and that populate most minds and interests today.

      But Rudolf Steiner and the other greats did and do not address only those really modern-day souls who are awakened, though they have a special place in Anthroposophy. It is very important for each one of us to come to terms with the living, autonomous, Christ-thoughts a-fire like the yellow, orange and red autumn leaves! If we cannot yet know them, then we can follow them in our thinking, and this process helps us along our path, destiny and individual it is and should be.

      Anthroposophy, we should ever keep in mind, is a thinking path. Rudolf Steiner had no tolerance for blind followers. He valued all those human beings–at whatever place they may be along their life-journey or destiny–who seek to think the thoughts, and not blindly believe something because he said it. If something seems strange or hard to believe, he suggested to set it aside for the time being and to take it up again at a more fortuitous time, and to keep an open mind. Steiner himself had a wide-open but disciplined and clear mind, and he accepted only what met the scrutiny of his careful evaluation and study of the ideas in and of themselves. This includes various viewpoi0nts and perspectives, because different people see things differently, of course. But it was plain to him which thoughts were not understood by their thinker, and those which were, because he had an advanced capacity to see, not only spiritual beings, objects and forces, but all thoughts (which are spiritual) as well.

      This capacity is latent in each human being, and thinking the thoughts of the great thinkers and educators is the best preparation for it. It can also be beneficial and even necessary to take up a meditation (Steiner gave many to individuals who came to him for help) and to practice it once at the same time each day until it leads the meditator to the Christ-Altar.

      Likewise other practices which Anthroposophy has to offer human beings today: eurythmy and curative eurythmy, speech formation (creative speech), clay sculpture, watercolor also veil painting, singing (the School for Uncovering the Voice), organic architecture, bio-dynamic gardening and farming, Waldorf education and Camphill, anthroposophically-extended medicine and other practices and movements. We should also keep in mind branch work, threshold work with the dead, and anthroposophical conferences and lectures.

      Thus we have the legacy of the intellectual work and cultural impulses of R.S., and of those who came after him, including the current giants and their helpers today–and tomorrow.

  12. Alan Lindgren

    Thinking and Rudolf Steiner Today

    Thinking is to the modern-day human being what faith was to the man and woman of the Dark and the Middle Age. It is, in a certain sense, our task today, to think autonomously, that is sense-free and brain-free. Rudolf Steiner’s work is all autonomous, and those who wish to understand his thoughts must gain this autonomy. Likewise with the other great thinkers, educators and leaders of humankind–for example Manfred Schmidt-Brabant.

    If one cannot think autonomously, there can be no true understanding. So nearly all of the anthroposophists and all of the professed anthroposophists (who are not true anthroposophists) do not understand the work of Rudolf Steiner–at least on the level of thinking, which was his challenge to us all.

    Understanding a thought is not the same as the interpretation of a text. It is, rather, penetrating, also crystal clear. All those who think autonomously have the same understanding of a thought, because it stands on its own, independent of the thinker or non-thinker.

    An idea is objective and remains untouched and unaltered by opinion, interpretation, viewpoint, conception–even perspective. This is not to say there are not interpretations and perspectives, rather that such interpretations and perspectives apply, not to the ideas, but to another realm, namely varied personal, subjective standpoints.

    Thinking is not only objective. Its objectivity consists in detached viewing during the thinking process. Its subjective side is that the thinker is doing the thinking, so s/he is producing the thoughts. Thus we have thought production and thought perception.

    (For a detailed analysis of (autonomous) thinking, see Rudolf Steiner’s Erkenntnistheorie einer Goetheschen Weltanschauung mit besonderer Ruecksicht auf Schiller (Theory of Knoweldge or Goethe’s Worldview).

    Robert Frost said something to this point: People have got to think. Thinking isn’t to agree or disagree. That’s voting.

    Wherever discussion about the work of Rudolf Steiner is afoot, one can be sure this is owing to the misconception of thinking that arises from inability and confusion. Only (autonomous) thinking can know something, whether it is sense-bound and brain-bound thoughts, or the living, Christ-, autonomous thoughts.

    Knowledge is our own, personal experience. If I have not experienced something, how may I then know it? One can experience, and thus know, the thoughts. But for knowledge, the personal aspect of experience is not enough. To this, personal side must come disciplined viewing or detachment for impersonal/impartial vision. Thus, I have an experience. While I am having the experience, I see it before me as something independent of me. Now I know it. This is true of sensory experience and for supersensory experience as well.

    Thus, if I am a Mother, I know what it means to be a Mother. If I have played with children, I know what is is to play with children. If I am a teacher or tutor, then I know what it is to be a teacher or tutor. If I am a writer or editor, then I know how to write and edit. If I have run a business, then I know what it is to run a business. If I have been a nurse or taken care of the ill, those who have been in accidents and who are dying, then I know what this is. (My Mother is a retired nurse–an RN. She has cared for so many people of all ages, and spent countless hours with those who were dying and on death’s bed, both on duty and off. She also has a natural connection with the so-called dead, not consciously as do I, but in a real and fully authentic way, owing to her innate heart qualities, including with my father, her husband Arne.)

    All of this is real knowledge. It may not be penetrating or conscious knowledge, but it is fully legitimate.

    Neither need one be a great initiate to think. All that is requisite is the soul’s awakening.

    Let me close this with the following picture:

    A blind man cannot see, you see.

    A deaf man cannot hear, you know.

    A mute man cannot speak, you say.

    A man without a mind cannot think–do you understand?

    A man who cannot do these things cannot know.

    But a man with eyes can see. And a man with ears can hear. And a man with lips can speak. And a man with a mind can think. And a man with these organs of perception can know.

    So it is with spiritual things.

  13. Alan Lindgren

    As you probably have gathered, I have a longtime background in Anthroposophy, as well as in the Christian Community, as a child, youth and adult both. My experiences in the Waldorf School (Highland Hall in Northridge, California, October 1973 through my graduation from high school in 1980, except for the autumn semester of my senior year in 1979 – Green Meadow Waldorf School in Spring Valley, NY), at three Waldorf students’ conferences, visiting dozens of Waldorf Schools in Europe on a trip there in 1980, working on a bio-dynamic farm in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany in 1982, studying Rudolf Steiner’s Theosophie (Theosophy), eurythmy, speech formation, watercolor painting, clay sculpture and Bothmer gymnatics, and many Morgenkurse (morning courses), given mainly by Christian Community priests, at the Freies Jugendseminar Stuttgart in Stuttgart, Germany 1984-1985, three visits to the Goetheanium in Dornach, Switzerland, and reading much anthroposophical literature by the thinking greats as an adult, has given me the foundation and the experience for true knowledge.

    But I am by vocation a poet, and a non-fiction w0riter, playwright and writer of fiction as well, and the author of 44 books-to-date. Although I enjoy working in many writing genre, my great love is my vocation: poetry.

    Here is a recent poem of Christmas I’d like to share with you:

    Advent, or Chanticleer

    Advent, more than hope of birth
    Prepares for me my heart like Earth
    Receive the Child of Spirit as
    The Christ in Bethlehem born was

    With Angelus Silesius
    We know if many, numerous
    Births of Christ in Bethlehem
    Not in our hearts, it were in vain

    In my heart will Christ Christmas
    Be born anew, the radiant Light
    A miracle again shall pass
    And Christ shine warmly in my sight

    For what is sight but Sun in us
    But in our hearts the radiance
    Of Sun, the inner birth of Christ?
    And this is Holy Nights of bliss

    A joy like reverence and all
    The angels join in songs of praise
    We hear their voices earthwards call
    The animals in dreams like rays

    Of Sun in inner hearts of men
    Like shepherds we find Christ again
    From fields of love of Bethlehem
    We gather ’round the Child when

    The news to us is brought by God
    Our flocks in stillness rest in sleep
    We heed the call the newborn Word
    Arise from dreams of heavens deep

    We go to Him, we feel but cheer
    Immerse our souls with smiles here
    We find the little baby there
    Within our hearts of chanticleer.

    Alan Lindgren
    Santa Monica, California
    December 12, 2012

  14. Alan Lindgren

    Here is one final (Christmas) poem:

    Birth

    Summer was an ideal I knew
    In the heavens I laughed in blue
    But my eyes returned to earth
    Green kept giving summer birth

    Age is autumn, winter’s death
    Summer is the living breath
    Spring is rebirth or the smile
    Raphael is painting while

    Roses blossom on the cross
    Crucified above the moss
    Is the Christ in sacrifice
    Life of heaven, death the price

    Winter is the inner birth
    Children understand the earth
    Memories of Christmas are
    Simple as a shining star

    Bethlehem, now come to me
    Bring me one small Christmas tree
    I will decorate the green
    With the light my eyes have seen

    Poverty is like a child
    Who needs wealth when mercy mild
    Is the love of Mary for
    Jesu ope the heav’nly door

    Now we enter mysteries
    In the night where elegies
    Cease, and magic ever new
    Births eternally our view.

    Alan Lindgren
    Santa Monica, California
    August 15, 2011

    To obtain my books, or for further contact, you can reach me at:

    Alan Lindgren
    4144 LaFayette Place
    Culver City, CA 90232-2818
    alan-alanlindgren@hotmail.com

  15. Alan Lindgren

    It’s Christmas Eve, and I’m alone at home with the cat. Outside it’s dark. The stars are bright. The air is fresh and cold. The mood in the air and in the house is filled with expectancy. Like each Christmas Eve, it feels like Christmas Eve. In the stillness I await midnight.

    I composed this poem about an hour ago. (It’s now roughly nine o’clock in the evening in Los Angeles.)

    Christmas Eve and the Meaning of All Humankind

    Do you know on Christmas Eve
    When with the Earth our hearts believe
    The Child, the Light, the Christ so soon
    Again be born beneath the Moon?

    The Sun of hearts shall shine within
    Shedding light the world of men
    As we await with animals
    The Saviour’s birth this festival

    On Christmas night at midnight hour
    The inner light begins to flower
    In souls of men bright joy appears
    In radiance this light so clear

    We are like children small this night
    Expecting we this Babe of light
    Whose birth surrounds us with delight
    Like smiling faces radiant bright

    Into the darkness brighter grows
    The Light the world renews and knows
    For at this time the Mystery
    Of birth appears for us to see

    Once a newborn infant-child
    Held by Mary, Mother mild
    Now fills our hearts and thoughts with cheer
    We love the Christmas time of year

    Come, Saviour, Jesu Christ to me
    Be my miracle I see
    Your magic in the air reveal
    You are the love and joy I feel

    Christmas night is holy for
    Within our poverty is more
    With less we have abundance’ store
    With little find the Christmas door

    We open secretly and share
    Our hearts awake the Christ to bear
    That Christmas new becomes in us
    Reality like Candlemas

    And many lights begin to shine
    O’er all the world the stars divine
    Like Bethlehem in quiet lie
    In stillness God and angels nigh

    Descends the Child, a miracle
    Is born in us the beautiful
    Love of God in Christ we find
    The meaning of all humankind.

    Alan Lindgren
    Culver City, California
    Christmas Eve
    December 24, 2011

  16. Alan Lindgren

    Qualities and Knowledge

    The special quality or qualities of some one or something constitute what can be known thereof. For example, it is a quality of water that it is a liquid. While water vapor is vaporous (gaseous or aeroform) and ice is solid, water is fluid. Another quality of water is its wetness. Water is wet. More significant is the following quality or nature of water: it seeks to form a sphere. This can be observed in raindrops, dewdrops and, looking out
    over the ocean at the horizon in the distance, in the curvature of the earth.

    The quality/ies of a thing or being are always observable in clear perceptions and the accompanying thoughts that correspond to and identify the object, processes, source and other aspects of the thing, person or entelechy in question. These perceptions and thoughts can be sense-bound, in which case physical reality is the arena of observation,
    but also autonomous or sense-free where non-physical, living and spiritual things, beings and dimensions are under study. Thus, although the mode of observation involves different perceptive organs and kinds of thinking, both aim at a shared goal: knowledge, which is gained by means of phenomenological scientific study. In this science, which Goethe first applied, the student or teacher begins and remains with the phenomenon
    being studied throughout. Hence, it is the only healthy science, because the observer concerns himself/herself solely with reality.

    Those who do not like reality exhibit various manifestations of illness. Therefore any science, which deviates from reality, which departs from the phenomena, leads to illness. Furthermore, the results of such a science are impractical and unhealthy. They are unreliable and are often utterly erroneous. Such people are invariably intelligent, but their work, their science and its results, are not founded in reality, rather in the hypothetical-theoretical constructs of an unhealthy and impractical mind. These theories endure but briefly, only to be replaced several years later by newer ones that, like their predecessors, claim to truth, while they are untrue. The direction of theoretical science is backwards: first come up with a theory, second go about trying to prove it.

    In healthy, Goethean science the phenomenon is observed with elements and under conditions that allow the scientist to carry out the same experiment repeatedly and with the same result. This is for the sake of clear and exact observation, whereby true knowledge of the phenomenon is attained.

    Nothing is proven; no law, natural or divine, can be proven, but the law has been observed at work in the same manner under the same circumstances time after time after time. This is conclusive. Because the scientist or observer is united in spirit with the spirit of the phenomenon throughout the experiment or experience, true or healthy science is a communion experience.
    ***********************************************************************************************
    There is one reality that every one who experiences it knows, consciously or not, because it is undeniable. This is the reality of pain. Therefore the experience of pain is the healthiest fact. It is of deepest significance that reality cannot be changed or altered in the slightest by anything or any one. It can be either not known, misunderstood or misnamed, or experienced ever more and more closely and deeply, correctly named and thereby known.

    Real reality isn’t only the laws, beings, forces and objects of the universe suitable for scientific study. It is in the deepest sense everything that is in the domain of healthy human experience. We can know only that which we experience personally. Thus the meaning and purpose of human life is the experience of reality, our immersion in it. This is communion with the Christ-being, sacramental and spiritual.
    ***********************************************************************************************
    We know that water is a true element, one of nature. All living things on earth owe their life to water and the sun. Already in minerals, knowledge becomes more differentiated and specialized. Water is water. When it evaporates or is frozen, it becomes something else from water: vaporous water vapor or solid ice, as we have described. But there are different kinds of minerals. Although all minerals are solid and hard, each mineral has its own specific hardness.

    There is a scale of hardness for minerals that refers to this fact, from 1 to 10, with the diamond the hardest at 10, down to gypsum the least hard at 1. Because nothing is harder than a diamond, only a diamond can cut a diamond. The stone alabaster is condensed gypsum.

    Other qualities of minerals include texture (which can refer to composition, such as with granite, or not, such as with quartz or mica), opacity/translucence, coloration and, more significant than all other qualities, weightiness or weight. It is a property of the mineral that it is heavy. This easily distinguishes it from the plant. A lot of plant substance is
    necessary to weigh the same as a small amount of mineral substance.

    The qualities of minerals are all entirely physical. Indeed the mineral is physical and that alone. Hence it is known by physical traits, including composition and measurable characteristics. These characteristics are known as properties. We think of hardness and weight, noted above. However, quartz and such crystals as geodes and amethyst develop
    in an intermediary to the plant in a kind of mineral ‘growth’. Six-ness is another quality of quartz, which means its crystals are six-sided. This can be observed in all quartz.
    ***********************************************************************************************
    In the plant it is a higher member that is essential, which its physical substances only serve. This is the etheric body of the plant with its etheric forces. Plants are living. Hence they are subject to the three etheric laws of reproduction, heredity and growth as are all living things, as well as physical laws, such as gravity, because its visible form consists in
    physical elements and substances.

    The ripe fruit falls to the ground. But owing to its etheric body, which is primary in the plant, it has levitational forces that counteract the effects of gravity at work in its physical body. The plant is rooted in the earth. Seeking the light, it grows upwards toward the sun.

    The plant grows between earth and sun. Its sexual organs face the sun. Its ‘nervous’ or root system goes downwards, into the earth. In the human being, this is reversed. Our sexual organs face downwards. The crown of our nervous system, the human brain, is nearest the sun, above. We are inverted plants. We humans are also between earth and sun.

    Many plant qualities are generic, such as beginning in a seed, developing leaf upon leaf, budding, blossoming, pollination, and ending in a fruit, which contains the seed/s for the next generation. Here we bear witness to the laws of growth, reproduction and heredity.

    But the plant is all leaf, as Goethe teaches, the leaf in metamorphosis. Knowledge of any plant species requires an organic study of the leaves of the plant in its leaf-sequence. From such a study, the inner gesture of the plant can be experienced.

    To know a plant it is necessary to perceive its etheric body, because the plant is life. The archetypal plant, from which all individual plants develop, must also be beholden. This archetypal plant does not appear on earth in any plant species; it is invisible to the physical eye, but it is real and perceptible, as real as the physical plant and far more significant. Because the plant is in a continual process of development in metamorphosis—over time and in space—its invisible pattern is a living one by which earthly plants develop. This living pattern is the archetypal plant. Because there are few plant genera, there are very few plant egos. They are all in the center of the earth. (Rudolf Steiner)

    Other essential plant qualities include color, particularly in the blossom where the flower’s identity is openly revealed (we think, for example, of the daffodil), but also the many greens to be found in nature throughout the plant kingdom in the leaves or vegetation. The qualities of plants are
    always in union with the earth (germination), air (sprouting), sunlight (leaf/petal and growth) and sun (ripening). We have already mentioned water as essential.

    The Moon is also important for plant growth. All living things are under the influence of the Moon. We note this in reproduction, heredity and growth, which are in the domain of the Moon beings. Physically, this is a water connection as water is the element of life. The Moon exerts a power on the earth, particularly on all fluidic bodies. This is in the moonbeams themselves.

    Many qualities of plants, general and specific both, seen in the many species, are determined by environmental circumstances. We think of regional-geographical and climatic factors, including equatorial, tropical, temperate and arctic (from equator to pole), and coastal, island, volcanic, desert, swamp, rainforest, mountain, steppe, canyon, forest, plain, valley, meadow and tundra, according to water, sun and earth conditions and movements. In union with the geography, these conditions are seen in vegetative growth or stunting (sizedevelopment), variety and pollinators (including wind, bird feces, bee and butterfly). This latter aspect points to other factors in the environment in the wildlife, ecosystems, and the
    migrations of birds (flora, fauna, birds and insects).

    The soil is also very important in all plant life, seen in the minerals and in geology. Here we have rocky, sandy and clay soils, in general terms.
    ***********************************************************************************************
    With the animal kingdom there is even greater diversity in the sense of different kinds. All animals of a given species share a group soul or ego. Hence, in addition to the commonalities of movement by volition—swimming (water), going (land) or flying (air)—and general animal sounds, which are revelatory of the souls of the animals, evolution, in the light of sacrifice for our becoming more perfectly human, is found in the one-sidedness, caricature and sadness of eye of the animal. Each animal species
    developed only so far, while individual human soul-spirits will realize their destiny or potential where karma is shaped and formed: on earth.

    Where in the human being we are interested in the individual, seen in the biography, with animals the individual has nothing further to teach us than regarding its species. A lion interests me insofar it is lion, a crow or cardinal insofar it is crow or cardinal. A chimpanzee will teach me everything I can know about all chimpanzees.

    But I will learn from one child, woman or man, of himself alone. I will learn his name, his life, his personal and impersonal experiences. I want to know him. Christian Morgenstern (1871-1914) teaches each one of us is our own species. We descend from ourselves, over the course of many lifetimes, quite literally. The two human, spiritual laws are reincarnation and karma.

    With animals, things look different entirely. That’s a calico cat. There’s a cocker spaniel puppy. I like the colorful plumage of peacocks. See that funny squirrel? That wild rabbit is brown and longhaired. I saw a black bear cub at Yosemite National Park. She has three goldfish in her aquarium. Look! A flock of geese is flying overhead. I spotted a deer deep
    in the forest this morning. I heard the song of a beautiful nightingale last night. Those pigs are well taken care of. They’re pink. I love black thoroughbred racehorses. Jersey cows give good milk. Shetland ponies are small. That’s a funny nanny goat. Don’t be fooled. Mockingbirds have many calls. He caught a rainbow trout. My neighbor saw a mountain lion last week. He came down from the hills.

    It is also beneficial to study comparative anatomy, for example between a human baby and a baby gorilla, to recognize the fundamental differences, not only in the parts, but also in the whole. These skeletol differences are very striking.

    Of especial interest to the student is human embryology. In the Mother’s womb, from conception to birth, the embryo-fetus-child goes through four clearly visible stages of development: mineral, plant, animal and human stages. The developing human being, in utero, passes through the first three stages: mineral-like, plant-like and animal-like, before attaining to its human nature, where the mineral, plant and animal are left behind.
    Much more could be said regarding the qualities of the animal in its manifold forms.

    Where we can rightfully speak of the Plant, singular, in a sense we must say many animals (as in a zoo), because they are so diversified in kind and character.
    **********************************************************************************************
    Now we come to the highest of all quality-natures in the earthly realm: the spiritual sun essence that is prepared for, received and refined in human hearts and souls, over many earth-lives, in struggles that cause and suffer karma where it appears in: 1.) key relationships, 2.) true vocation, and 3.) the suffering and pain of illnesses, accidents and deaths, in real terms.

    Thus in the human being, there is nothing exterior in the quality of each one. It is entirely within. It was always within. It is eternal in our being in our souls in us. It is inseparable from our destiny because it is our soul-spirit part. Within each one of us, in our destiny, indwells the Christ. Through our individual karma and inner battles this essence is distilled, as it were, in true freedom, where it will shine and sound.

    Where in the Plant the qualities are generic, in animals groups or kinds, in human beings we are individual and singular, each with our own quality, although we belong to one of the seven destinies that are the planetary types.

    While we cannot determine our destiny, which God has prepared for us for His great Good World Plan, we can chose to affirm it, to elect to travel the journey, and therein lies our freedom: in inner work for the realization of our spiritual potential aided by the great Christ-being within and help in relation to our surroundings for our healing, including waking experiences, food and other substances, water, rest and sleep. This extends to past and future earth-lives and the periods in the spiritual world (= heaven) between death and rebirth.

    Then our particular quality finds expression, each in our own biography, both before and after the ‘second birth’, which is the birth of the ‘I AM’ in our own I, discernable by those gifted to see and hear this special quality, singular and genuine, according to our inner source or wellspring in us. This is a drop of the sun essence in Christ in our hearts, radiant-good, radiant-warm and moral-clear.

    Our singularity and genuineness results from the one and genuine Christ, with whom we each must find our own, personal relationship. Because we experience Christ when He is present within our own souls, we are also each one single.

    In closing, it should be said that all self-knowledge is made possible by Christ-knowledge. This is implicit in what is written above in the experience of the ‘I AM” in one’s own I. Only the ego or I has the capacity to know Christ. Christ’s only true name is ‘I AM’. However, attaining self-knowledge is actually a process, which transpires within, in the individual undergoing inner development. This development is accompanied by the Christ, the ‘I AM’, within.

    Alan Lindgren
    Santa Monica, California
    January 18-19, 2012
    Revised Culver City, California
    January 20, 2012

  17. Alan Lindgren

    Bride

    Freedom is a blossom’s love,
    Petals pink and snow-pure dove,
    At the sunset hour, we pray,
    Bring fulfillment of the day.

    I have spoken, walked and thought;
    I have murmured what I sought;
    I have struggled; I have brought
    All the things my God me taught.

    I am little as a boy
    Without play and without toy;
    I remind myself that joy
    Will my heart the good employ.

    Freedom is my heart’s clear light
    Found in vision in my sight;
    See, I wander through the night
    With the Lord of mercy bright.

    All my efforts shall become
    Transformations in the Sun
    Up until in union,
    With the Christ, the holy Son.

    Christmas is in simple verse;
    Summer is the universe;
    Easter is renewal’s light;
    Autumn resurrects thoughts bright.

    Sun-Christ spirit, see above
    Clear and reverent light’s love
    Spreading understanding wide
    For the people, for the Bride.

    Who this Bride of Christ? we ask;
    She, the Soul of Man to task,
    Will attain to purity
    With the angels loftily.

    Alan Lindgren
    Santa Monica, California
    January 19, 2012

  18. Alan, thank you for your comments. Perhaps these more lengthy comments would be better on a blog of your own? This blog is dormant, as you can see from the lack of posts over the last few years.

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