Dangerous Anthroposophy

A collection of essays by Joel A. Wendt

social philosopher ... and occasional fool

cover art by Victoria Hull Temple

a brief introduction

The essays in this book are from the past, and are being published in this collection in order to represent the processes by which my thought developed over almost two decades in two related fields of interest.  Primarily I was learning to practice a new social science, and in addition I was concerned with the state of the Anthroposophical Movement and Society, for much about its nature troubled me.

The use of the term Dangerous above is discussed in the first essay, but basically what makes Anthroposophy socially Dangerous is two-fold - in point of fact the kind of Anthroposophy practiced by the Society and Movement is a two-edge sword.   One type  of danger is the truth that lives in it.  The more truth, the more socially dangerous, whether within the shared culture of humanity or within the Anthroposophical Society itself.  The other kind of danger concerns the absence of truth.

To the extent that what lives in the Anthroposophical Society and Movement is false, whether it is opinion masquerading as knowledge, or arrogance and pride, or simply mere Steinerism (a belief system, see my book American Anthroposophy), this system of falsehoods harms not only the world, but also the essential nature of Anthroposophy itself and Rudolf Steiner's true legacy.  People searching out Anthroposophy will naturally look to the Society and Movement for appreciating and understanding this New Mystery.   To the extent the Society and Movement are flawed, this will be seen by many to represent what Anthroposophy is in practice.  It shouldn't take much thought to realize that the representing of Anthroposophy in any kind of seriously flawed way will only lead to harm.

This then is the reality.   As the 21st Century unfolds, the gravest danger to the development of Anthroposophy comes from the followers of Rudolf Steiner, who collectively are members of the Anthroposophical Society and Movement.

Certain of the essays in this book are uncompromising and critical essays made by me in an attempt in the first part of the 21st Century, to wake up the membership to these problems.  Other essays are concerned with preliminary work that I did in the process of developing a new social science (again see American Anthroposophy for a more mature representation of that work).

When I first self published Dangerous Anthroposophy I mixed the critical in with the positive, and it didn't work (early critical reviews suggested serious changes), so I rethought what I was up to, and tried in American Anthroposophy to express the essential core of anthroposophical truth, with only a little mention of the many human and understandable flaws in its practice.   Since some people may want to more carefully look at these flaws (they are well worth more careful consideration), I have decided to publish this collection as a separate book from my American Anthroposophy, yet retaining the title of the original work: Dangerous Anthroposophy, for the reasons enumerated above.

While the first essay goes into more detail concerning what makes Anthroposophy dangerous, the essays following that one are laid out in the order written, so that any reader wanting to appreciate the development of my thought over the years will be able to discover the slowly unfolding nature of the various threads.

It should also be noticed, that while many of these essays were offered in various ways to the Society and Movement, they were in that context the representative of socially dangerous truths - truths many in the Society and Movement did not want to hear.   For that reason these essays were seldom published or otherwise widely distributed, except on my website, where just a few readers were then able to make their acquaintance.

All these essays then can also be read for free on that part of my website (see: http://ipwebdev.com/hermit/otlwa.html) dedicated to Anthroposophy.

table of Essays

(page numbers are approximate)

Dangerous Anthroposophy (2005) - out of time-order p. 5

the rest are more or less in the order written,

- the listed dates are approximate...

Threshold Problems in Thinking the Threefold Social Organism (1991) p. 10

Waking the Sleeping Giant: the mission of Anthroposophy in America (1995) p. 22

The Mystery of the True White Brother (1997) p. 63

Outlaw Anthroposophy - the journal (1997) p.82

On the Practice of Communicating the Ideal to the American Soul (1997) p. 96

Scenes From the Eye of the Heart (1997) p. 105

Anthroposophy in the Light of America (1997) p. 113

Pragmatic Moral Psychology (1997) p. 121

Listening to the World Song (1999) p. 132

The World in the Light of the Human I Am (1999) p. 159

The Social-Spiritual Organism of a Waldorf School Community (1999) p. 169

Initiation, Goetheanism and the New Bogeyman (2001) p. 182

Die and Become: the future of Anthroposophy in America (2001) p. 189

Concerning the Renewal of Anthroposophy (2004) p. 199

The Law and the Spirit (2004) p. 224

The Crack in the Foundation of the Castle of the Dragon (2005) p. 231

Wendt on Usher on Prokofieff on Tomberg on Steiner (2005) p. 240

An Open Letter to the Anthroposophical Society in America, and World-Wide (2005) p. 248

The Three Wishes (2005) p. 264

"The least read, most important book, Steiner ever wrote." (2005) p. 288

Waldorf Charter Schools in America: some social observations (2006) p. 297

American Culture - a first look (2006) p. 300

What is American Anthroposophy? (2006) p. 313

The Future of Anthroposophy in the 21st Century (2006) p. 331

A well intended* very flawed Book: From Gondhishapur to Silicon Valley - Spiritual Forces in the development of computers and the future of technology - written by Paul Emberson (*you know, the intentions the way to hell is paved with) (2007) p. 342

Sergei O. Prokofieff's  Anthroposophy and the Philosophy of Freedom a (sort of) book review, by Joel A. Wendt (2009) p. 362

Saving Anthroposophy: from the Anthroposophical Society and Movement (2009) p. 389


This first essay was originally written in 2005, and submitted with three other Essays sent as a group to New Review, an English anthroposophical publication. There was no response to this submission. I have slightly revised it.

Dangerous Anthroposophy

In 1997 I wrote a couple of essays and designed a small poll.   The essays were based on a many years' consideration of a certain problem that I had (and still) perceived in the Anthroposophical Society, of which by that time I had been a member for about 17 years.  This problem involved the fact that in the social operation of the Society, in its Study Groups and Branch meetings, I had observed little practical understanding of Steiner's works on objective philosophical introspection.  Reference would often be made to only one of them - The Philosophy of  Spiritual Activity (Freedom), but even that one was often portrayed as a difficult work, whose goal was only attainable for a few.

So I wrote an essay, saying in essence that the study of Rudolf Steiner's lecture cycles, in the Study Groups I had participated in, did not take account of the problem of knowledge that the works on introspection not only pointed out, but had also shown how to solve in quite practical and direct ways.  It was as if we had been given a gift that had not been understood when he lived, and so it had been set aside and is now just laying there gathering dust.

This failure to take the works on objective philosophical introspection into our souls as anthroposophists had consequences, and so I also wrote a second essay on these consequences for the Society in general.  The two essays (Rudolf Steiner's Lecture Cycles and the Problem of Cognition: musings on the epistemological swampland of the Anthroposophical Movement; and, The Anthroposophical Society: Is it a living Social Form?) plus the poll, I self published in a photo-copied journal I called: Outlaw Anthroposophy - the Journal, which can be found on my websites (1).

I had a friend take 23 copies of this work to the Ann Arbor Michigan summer conference in 1997, where they were given away for free.  As I was at that time, and still am a member of what we call the working poor, I seldom am able to attend these Conferences.  Four years later, a correspondent via e-mail, remarked to me upon reading the Journal on my website, that this must have been the material she heard referred to at that Conference as: subversive.

Now in a Society in which spiritual freedom and initiative are set forth as some of the highest principles, for just such an act of free initiative to be labeled subversive, which is after all a political term not a term based upon Spiritual Science, really says more about those who made this characterization than it does about the work itself.  The only legitimate question was: Is the material in the essays true?  To call it subversive is to be in denial of the underlying issue.  In fact that work, once on the Internet, was translated into German by Lorenzo Ravagli, and published in the Jarhbuch fur anthroposophiische Kritik 1998, at his initiative.  It was also taken up by Bob and Nancy's Waldorf website (2), where if you go to the section on Anthroposophy, it is still, after almost 9 years, prominently displayed.

Step back from this for a moment and with your imagination think back to the time when Christ walked the earth in the company of all of His disciples, both male and female.  For two and a third years the Creator of All, Himself, lived in a physical body, in order to share our fate - that is to live, to become human and then to die.  He taught during this time in such a fashion that the social order around Him could not but find Him to be dangerous and subversive, to such an extent that He was crucified.

Even Rudolf Steiner was, in the context of the wider social world in which he lived, so dangerous and subversive that an attempt seems to have been made on his life, which attempt may have ultimately killed him.  In our time, within the Anthroposophical Society and Movement, a young woman (Irina Gordienko) who published a book (Sergei O. Prokofieff: Myth and Reality) was also apparently so dangerous and subversive that her reportedly accidental death was seen by some to be murder, done so as to prevent her from standing as a living human being, within the Society, proclaiming that the current Emperor of the Vorstand has no clothes.

What is the active principle here?  What is it that is dangerous and subversive?

It is, quite simply, the truth.  The truth is always contrary to that aspect of any social community, which must deny the truth in order to make existence placid and safe for the dominance of its authority.  Until we all develop to the point that we can live with each others individual free initiative, which is a kind of social-spiritual anarchy, the social group will always try to smother that which does not conform to the group's near unconsciously created homogenized views.

This is the key - to understand how the group, to the extent that it likes to sleep and maintain its illusions, tends to homogenizes all thought content which might disturb this sleep.  The result is that after a century of work the Anthroposophical Society possesses not Spiritual Science, but something fallen, which can only be called: Steinerism.  Without the practice of the objective philosophical introspective life, there is no science, because there is no striving with the problem of knowledge. Without a scientific discipline at the heart of the social element of anthroposophical work, the unconscious tendencies in the social group will dumb down the work (homogenize it), and we end up with a blind faith in Rudolf Steiner as an authority, at the expense of trust in the spiritual reality of our own thinking (the goal of The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity).

Emerson, in his lecture: The American Scholar, hit the nail on the head: "In self trust all virtues are comprehended." [emphasis added]

This means that the worship of Steiner-thought, coupled with the abdication of the responsibility to critically evaluate the work of those being put forward, even in mere gossip, as new initiates (such as Prokofieff), ruins the life work of our Teacher.   That life work was to enable the individual human being to become their own priest-initiate in the New Thinking.  By our idolizing worship we take Spiritual Science and make it merely a belief system in Steinerism; and, by our lack of critical thinking of present day work, we then allow those truths shared with us by our Teacher, to be rearranged into something they never were (by an undisciplined associative abstract thinking, too easily warped by the double-complex).

What is worse is that we harm ourselves, as well as failing humanity, because the blind acceptance of Steiner-thought as assumed gospel truth creates a prison in the soul, which is the complete opposite of his efforts to show us a path to spiritual (inner) freedom.

Why do we tolerate this insanity?

Seven years later in the Fall of 2004, I wrote two more essays (which can be found in this book).  One was called: Concerning the Renewal of Anthroposophy: rediscovering the true meaning of the New Mysteries (3), and the other: The Law and the Spirit (4).  I then went to Detroit Michigan, to the Annual General Meeting of the Anthroposophical Society in America, where I handed out to all present copies of these essays.  This was the second national conference I had ever attended (being working poor, you don't get out much), while the first,14 years before, was a Social Science Section sponsored conference in Spring Valley, NY (5).

I stood up on the first morning in Detroit (following the previous evening's lecture, which had been firmly rooted in Steinerism), consciously trying to disrupt the very asleep flow of things, in which everyone does what everyone usually does (homogenized social processes).  Of course, I was shouted down.  As the American writer Kurt Vonnegut has written, with his wonderfully phlegmatic acceptance of all social insanity: So it goes.

Do you want a solution here?  Do you think as a writer pointing out this problem, I owe you, the reader, a duty to suggest an answer?  Okay then, go read the essay noted in footnote (3) -  Concerning the Renewal of Anthroposophy: rediscovering the true nature of the New Mysteries (included in this book), but be prepared, it is dangerous and subversive and a lot of people already don't like it, and a lot of other people are going to join in that view.  But not liking it is not the essential question.  The essential question is: What is the truth?  And preliminary to even that question is this one: How do we know what the truth is?

Part of the truth is that to really practice Anthroposophy is to be dangerous to the contemporary social milieu, not because we intend harm, but because we stand upright for the truth in an uncompromising fashion, and that this truth we stand for we have actually worked at knowing.  Nor do we sit on the fence in regard to the great issues of the day, rather we participate fully in their discussion and resolution in a way that honors the moral ground on which we stand, all without preaching - everything done as service.

We cease being mere believers in something Steiner said, and become instead practitioners of the new gnosis (6) in our own right, justified thereby in every thought and action.  The sword and shield of Michaelic Courage is not carried by those who live in the past, or who lean not on their own work, but mostly on Steiner.

If nothing is at risk, even with each other, where then is that Courage?  For the reality is that true Anthroposophy is also dangerous to ourselves - we risk being socially isolated because our actions do not meet the approval of those among us who would define the truth for all the rest.

This then is dangerous Anthroposophy.  In that it really expresses the truth, it is dangerous to the general social milieu (scientific materialism).  There is a second dangerous entity, which is Steinerism.  Steinerism is dangerous to Anthroposophy, and pointing out such truths within the Society and Movement means also to be dangerous there.  So the fundamental question remains: How do we know the truth?  "...and you will know the truth, and the truth will free you."  John 8:32

(1) http://ipwebdev.com/hermit/oajnr.html

(2) http://www.bobnancy.com/menu-steiner.html

(3) http://ipwebdev.com/hermit/concerning.html

(4) http://ipwebdev.com/hermit/lawspirit.html

(5) This is not to say I have been out of touch with the movement, but efforts at publication of my works routinely fails.  These extensive writings can be found on that section of my website devoted to anthroposophy: http://ipwebdev.com/hermit/otlwa.html, and in their descriptions will be found brief remarks showing the consistent rejection of these offerings mostly in America.  Elsewhere they receive greater welcome.

(6) See the dangerous works of Don Cruse, especially his book with Robert Zimmer: Evolution and the New Gnosis: anti-establishment essays on knowledge, science, religion and causal logic


Written in 1991, this was my first offering to the Society and Movement, and was offered to the Threefold Review, which was brand new at that time.   They choose not to publish it, although once on my website it had a different life internationally, being favorably mentioned on David Heaf's Threefolding website in the UK, and also in an essay by Terry Boardman that was published in the book: The Future is Now: Anthroposophy at the New Millennium.

           Threshold Problems in Thinking

           the Threefold Social Order

As awareness of the idea of the Threefold Social Order (as developed by Rudolf Steiner) increases, it becomes more and more necessary to not lose sight of the fact that this idea owes its existence to a particular way of thinking. The ordinary internal dialog with its cause and effect, or analytically oriented, thinking, which human beings possess as a result of their given conditions of consciousness and the type of education normally received in modern civilization - this inherited way of thinking is not the same kind of cognitive process as gave birth to Steiner's idea.

This presents us with a peculiar dilemma. Can we truly understand this idea without first reproducing the same cognitive process in our own consciousness? If we can understand it without this, can we yet work with it (the idea) well enough to apply it in practice? These are the main questions (there are others), but it will be enough at this point to at least appreciate the need for a certain type of preliminary work, a kind of philosophical (epistemological) reflection.

A short survey of what is being done already today with Steiner's idea will also help. There seem to me to be three general kinds of practices. A first type of practice is to try to incorporate at some kind of small community level, one or another partial aspect of Steiner's conception (such as community owned farms or the co-worker economic structure of Camphill villages). A second type is to recapitulate or otherwise restate, with the addition perhaps of some original work, Steiner's idea in terms of contemporary conditions (such as Hans Lauer's, Aggression and Repression: in the individual and society). A third way is to engage in considerations of whether or not and how to go about applying this idea within the circumstances of some modern political situation (such as current attempts to suggest this idea can be brought into being along with the unification of the two Germany's).

Each of these types of practices seems to me to have certain positive and negative aspects, which I will try to consider in what follows. There is as well a fourth way, which while considerably more difficult, yet seems to me to reveal unusual practical potential. I suspect, and the following will try to show, that it is the unification and integration of all four approaches which is necessary in order to both perceive and apply the threefold social idea in actual contemporary situations.

One of the problems I have with attempts to apply threefolding (another way of referring to Steiner's idea; see Rudi Lissau's, The Roots of Threefolding in Anthroposophy, Anthroposophical Review) into micro (small communities), as opposed to macro (national) circumstances, is that I know of no instance in which Steiner himself used his idea in such a way. In fact, one of his oft repeated remarks, that threefolding was not an utopia, has led me to question just what is really involved in attempts to insert single aspects of this idea into small communities.

I am, by the way, not suggesting that small community applications are incorrect, or otherwise doubtful. The problem to me is more subtle. In trying to understand what Steiner meant by saying threefolding was not utopian, I have come to the conclusion that an essential and fundamental aspect of threefolding is the fact that it comes into the world because the human soul is itself organized in a threefold way and that this organization impresses itself onto the social order so that the soul may find reflected there all that lies within it. This idea has led me to consider that there are two ways in which the threefold social order arises in the actual circumstances of life: one is through the attempts to ideally form communities according to this idea, and the other is a kind of spontaneous generation of threefold conditions out of the interactions between the soul and the social order on both micro and macro levels. (It is my further belief that the true threefolding of a nation can only occur when these two means are brought together, but this is getting ahead of myself.)

In the community in which I live, I (and others) participate in a community farm and in a therapeutic practice, whose economic structures have been influenced consciously by the threefold idea. These are examples of idealistic transformations on the micro level, and are representative, I believe, of an approach to threefolding which is utopian in nature. The problem with an utopian view is that it overlooks (or ignores) the actual social conditions. In the case of the above farm and therapeutic practice, while some people may believe we are living out of a threefold impulse, we are in reality just applying an utopian ideal in circumstances which hold together largely because of the social contract we make (i.e. the economic agreement concerning the financing of the farm and the therapeutic practice). This is not true threefolding because there is no dynamic interplay among three different social spheres of activity. To further appreciate this subtle difference let me describe another situation in the same local community.

Where I live there is a Waldorf school, and therefore a school community. This community had two affective bodies (i.e. organizational forms which carry different tasks in the life of the school: a Board of Trustees and a College of Teachers. One year a very large tuition increase was deemed necessary and out of the resulting social uproar another social form came into being (the Friends of Waldorf Education), which sought to carry the problem of the equalizing of the burdens of tuition, considering that there were many families whose economic situation could not absorb the large tuition increase. It was (and remains) my view that this change represented a spontaneous threefolding of the social community of the school. There existed in this community different impulses of soul, and these different impulses needed three forms (Trustee, Teacher and Friend) in order that the whole character of the soul, as regards this particular social structure (the school community), could find the proper means of expression.  (I later expanded upon this in much detail in the essay: The Social-Spiritual Organism of a Waldorf School Community)

Out of these experiences I have come to believe, that while Steiner did not (to my knowledge) express himself concerning micro threefolding, this nevertheless is a real possibility. Care must be taken, however, to distinguish specialized and utopian social contracts from actual dynamics in small communities where the different capacities of the soul seek to realize themselves in differentiated social forms having a functional threefold relationship.

The second way in which Steiner's idea is applied today is in the restatement of it in accord with modern conditions. A careful reading of Steiner suggests that he was well aware that the threefold social order idea would have to be reformulated not only in accord with time, but also with respect to the different characteristics of the people (or nation) for whom the idea is being developed. We have, for example, the remarkable book Aggression and Repression, by Lauer mentioned above, which places the threefold idea into the context of modern ideas of social and psychological theory of peoples.

The main problem in this area is that there is not enough of this kind of work. Lauer's book is continental in orientation (being originally written in German for a German audience). There does exist some English work, but as far as I know, no truly complete restatement for either the British or the America situations.  The main difficulty here is that there does not seem to be the realization that Steiner's expression of this material, as published around the twenties in Germany, was given in a form suitable for that time and people, but which, regardless of how ably translated, nevertheless does not direct our American consciousness to the appropriate social phenomena. A brief word about the different soul characteristics of the middle Europeans and the Americans may help.

The European has a strong tendency to be more active inwardly, to live more strongly out of ideals. Such a soul often wants to structure human society in accord with the highest ideal. Americans, on the other hand, are problem solvers. We live more in the immediate world and in the practical demands (pragmatism) which go with this kind of orientation. The form in which Steiner then gave the threefold idea, as a strong statement of an ideal structure, was especially appropriate for the soul consciousness which was to receive it. In America, however, we would need to build up the whole conception as a means to solving problems. That is, the problems would have to be identified, and then out of the inner necessity of their particular characteristics one would derive the threefold idea as the solution.

We need now to take a look at the consideration of the threefold idea as a solution to certain recognizable problems resulting from the separation of Eastern Europe out of its previous circumstances. In this regard I have to mention that Steiner spoke in an unusual way in his Oxford lectures (Threefolding as a Social Alternative). He said (here I am paraphrasing) that the time had passed for the application of the threefold social order in central Europe, but that even so, this idea could still be fruitful in Russia and America (if appropriately restated), and that for the West, time did not matter so much because much could still be done for the right ordering of the three spheres.

As much as our hopes ought to wish otherwise, let us consider for a moment just why it might be so that threefolding cannot be instituted in the reuniting of the two Germany's and perhaps in other newly freed areas of Eastern Europe. I am not arguing for this, rather I am taking Steiner's hint and assuming that it will lead me somewhere.

My first observation is that the general soul characteristics of a people may be such that one people is a better vessel for the development of Steiner's idea than some other soul configuration. Middle Europe's idealistic soul gesture may work in such a way that it takes up threefolding in an utopian manner, and that such an approach will bring it about that the application of social threefolding is imposed on a social dynamic which is not ripe for it. We know Steiner urged, especially, that it was essential to free the cultural life. I believe a careful reading of these thoughts will show that this was a condition of the moment i.e. that great good could be done there and then if this emancipation of the cultural and spiritual life was brought about. Such an idea is urged still today, yet I wonder whether it is appropriate. Further, how could we know this?

This leads toward the fourth mode or approach to threefolding which was referred to earlier. We need to remember that the threefold social order is something which already is, which already has being. The problem, as it were, is that the three spheres are not related to each other in healthy ways. Steiner's threefold social order is not an utopian scheme, it is rather a descriptive morphology of social life. He expressed it in the form he did so that it was suitable for a soul gesture which worked from the ideal. He expressed it at the time he did because: First, he was asked to contribute; and second, the social conditions following the war were chaotic, and chaos is always a precondition to incarnating new form. As more and more of the old forms poured back into the post-WWI social life, the opportunity to raise it to a higher level disappeared.

From this we are lead further. If we consider, in an imaginative way, picturing backwards into history from the present, the form and structure of the family and its sheath-like surrounding social form, the community, we will realize that present conditions are highly chaoticized. The nuclear family of modern Western civilization, and the unusually mobile and inconstant structure of modern communities (into and out of which families move like so many interchangeable parts) is an extremely less formed social life than existed two to three hundred years ago. In the inner cities of the West, with the welfared single parents, individual homeless and drug absorbed sub-cultures, the form, the structure of community and family life has completely disappeared.

This is why when Steiner lectured about Oswald Spengler and Spengler's idea about the falling apart of Western civilization, Spengler was called the "prophet of world chaos". While Steiner disagreed with most of what Spengler thought, he did not disagree with this. This is, in fact, the most important preliminary picture we can have of modern social existence, to recognize the chaotic conditions. Moreover, those forces which have led to this situation are not finished. Unless form giving impulses enter into civilization, barbarism will result.

Yet, not all potential form giving impulses will serve the spiritual needs of modern humanity. The economic life, which sits like a heavy burden on the soul/spiritual existence of Western humanity, if not tempered and restrained, will proceed in a one-sided way to provide a social form in which human kind becomes increasingly the servant of the technological element of modern life (which ought otherwise to serve him). What then of the role of threefolding, of the threefold social order? Is not this just the answer, just the appropriately healthy gentle form giving structure which would then free man to recreate his family and community life? Who can deny it? We know it is so, but is that the only question we need to ask? Obviously not. What we need first is to see deeper, always deeper into the dynamic qualities of modern social existence.

To say that the soul creates the threefold structure of social life in order to see reflected there its own nature is just the beginning of a longer journey. Each aspect of the threefold order has its own moment of historic birth and its own epoch of development. The Spiritual/cultural sphere has its origin in the dim past, and is already well developed in the time of the theocratic forms in ancient Egypt. When this older time gives over to the birth of Western civilization, to the Greek and the Roman epoch, the civic body, or civic order is added to the theocratic. A kind of functional split takes place, with the cultural side no longer totally carrying the burden of social order.

It is important to appreciate certain nuances connected with this change. On the one hand cultural life is able to direct itself more inwardly, having less need to concern itself with those functions that the civic element is now ordering. In the Greek civilization, the cultural life (science, art and religion) experiences a great unfolding, as if forces once devoted to other concerns are now available for purely cultural development. On the other hand the civic form appears at first in a two-fold way; there is the organization of the State at one pole, and the corresponding rights of the citizen at the other. This separation of the cultural and spiritual life from the civic element is not complete in the beginning. In the idea of the divine right of kings, the theocratic principle lives on. Even in the late middle ages, with the co-existence of both ecclesiastical and civil courts, the two spheres remain somewhat intertwined.

This is the crucial picture, to imagine the political-legal life as taking the whole of the period of Western civilization (up to the 17th century) to complete its separation from the cultural sphere. In this we can have a sense of the threefold social organism appearing in human civilization in a dynamic and living way, as a process of unfolding and development. Moreover, this process as it completes itself first creates two poles, the State and the People (citizens) such that a third element ultimately arises between them. Just as the threefold social order exists (in its ideal form) as a tripartite structure modeled on the human soul, with two poles and a middle element, so do each of the spheres of the social order possess tendencies which bring about their own inward threefolding. (This is a complicated problem. I have found it helpful in this regard to study Wolfgang Schad's book, Man and Mammals, as an especially good way to come to a deep appreciation of the threefold nature of man. In this book is described how it is that each of the three functional aspects of man is also itself a threefolding.)

In the process of the thinking which has led to these observations, I spent some time wondering just what was meant by that verse in the Gospel of Christ Jesus which says: "Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's and unto God what is God's.". Over time I came to realize the following. The State has no existence but what the humans, who conceive it and act it out, make it to be. Unlike sense perceptible objects, the State is a social form entirely built up out of man's ideation and deeds. The principle remains the same, even though in many instances certain individuals or groups are able to form the State according to their particular individual vision. Thus, when Christ admonishes us to "render unto Caesar", we are being directed to understand and appreciate that the State has its being and its nature from what we give to it.Where we withdraw in apathy, or otherwise seek from the State only that which benefits us, we give to the form of the State just such characteristics. For example, as much as we might think that America is what it is out of the Constitution, it is much more important how Her people behave presently. As long as most people "render" unto the State only what they must, and then only for their own purposes, the State in its being and nature can only reveal such characteristics.

But the being of God is not dependent upon man. So, what can it mean to "render unto God"? Yet, just as the State becomes according to what man renders it, so man himself becomes according to what he renders unto God. The human being who is not able to be devoted to God is unable to develop in himself certain qualities of soul that are derived from this act. These acts (rendering unto Caesar and unto God) have a reciprocal relationship. By rendering unto God, by becoming, man augments what he is able to render unto the State. By rendering unto the State, by making it more whole, by making it filled with those forces of soul which it needs in order to set free the cultural life, and to be able to set the appropriate limits on the excesses of the economic life, the State then acts in a way which increases what man is able to render unto God.

In this way we can then come to see that the threefolding of the political-legal life into the two poles, State and People and their mutually created middle (we will come to this next), as that has arisen from the dynamics of the course of Western civilization, has roots and potential even beyond what has previously been thought possible. When the founding fathers of America wrote: "We the People..." and when Lincoln spoke the words: "that a nation of the people, by the people and for the people...", and when President Kennedy said in his inaugural address: "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country", they were all connected to a mutual intuition of this dynamic relationship which inhabits the middle of the three social spheres.  (The ideas in the above two paragraphs are elaborated in much greater detail in Part One of my essay: Waking the Sleeping Giant: the Mission of Anthroposophy in America)

We now come to the summa of this small essay, to the appreciation and understanding of the birth of the middle of the middle sphere, the heart of the heart of the social organism.

The 14th to 17th century represent unique moments in the life of the social organism as that manifested itself over the course of Western civilization. It is in the 14th century that the change of consciousness begins which Owen Barfield (in Saving the Appearances: a Study in Idolatry) characterizes as the leaving behind of "original participation" (being within nature, cosmos and each other to some degree) and the birth of "onlooker consciousness" (I am a self over here, nature, cosmos and others, they are outside, over there). This onlooker separation leads to modern science on the one hand and the deep alienation of modern life on the other. It is this change of consciousness which is ultimately so destructive of the social order. As Western civilization begins to die of this process, its remaining life forces flower (the renaissance), fruit (the enlightenment and the reformation) and seed (the contraction of the whole political wisdom of Western civilization into the forming of the U.S.Constitution).

As an element of these dynamic processes a certain invention occurs which begins to introduce profound changes. This is the invention of the printing press.  Previously, communication (fructifying social intercourse) for most people had to be oral, now it could be written. While this represents a solidification of the word, a crystallization, it also is a necessary process in order that those members of a culture (or polity) who cannot have direct oral communication, may nevertheless come to a shared understanding of the world and of each other.  This means that at the same time as people are becoming more alienated, a counter-pole arises which enables people to find a unity in the shared world view.

We have here two simultaneous processes. One occurring in the outer social fabric, and being a process of disintegration. The other occurring in the soul life and being a process of individuation. These processes are again mutually supportive. Prior to the arrival of "onlooker consciousness" morality was inculcated in humanity from the outside by the coercive effect of the vital social structure. At the same time these ancient social forms now begin to dissolve and lose their ability to form man morally, the soul life acquires new capacities as man gains more self conscious individuality, ultimately to lead to an ability to form independent moral judgments. In a truly miraculous way the death of civilization is also the birth of moral freedom.

Accompanying this miracle is the development of the middle of the social order, what we recognize today as Media. Media first appears as a clear aspect of the political-legal life during the founding days of the America State (form of government). Every town has at least one printer, and thus at least one news sheet. Without these news sheets it is simply not possible for the citizens of the newly forming nation to come to a common view, to equalize their individual perspectives sufficiently. (The Federalist and anti-Federalist papers are a futile act if there is no press to publicize them.) In this way we can come to a functional understanding of Media. It is the knowledge commons (to borrow from Ivan Illich), the place where the dynamic properties of the word enable a polity to form mutual comprehension.

This is how then the dynamics of the polarity, State-People, come to form the needed middle element. Now Media, in the sense conceived here, is not a static thing, but rather an evolving and developing process. The technological achievement of the printing press is just the beginning of a whole series of inventions which ultimately produce radio, television, cable, vcr's, fax machines, computers and so forth. This series is not finished. The interconnecting of home computers reveals that the knowledge commons is about to become an "electronic commons" (Illich's initial formulation).

Consider this picture. The coming into being of print media constitutes a kind of rigidification of the dynamic qualities of the word as those facilitate mutual understanding. As Media further develops, it passes from print form to image form, i.e. television. Television, in that it provides our consciousness with images, puts to sleep that part of our cognitive process which fills out the word with our own imaginations. This further weakens political life, by disabling our thinking faculty at the moment it is most needed to be awake in order to "render" its civic responsibilities. But the technical evolution of Media is not over. Close observation reveals that advertising dominated television is losing its grip, and being replaced with cable services and the possibility of self chosen viewing, the vcr. Parallel to this is the arrival of the home computer, and the various computer networks. Electronic media is becoming less image oriented, and is now interactive; i.e. the word is again becoming significant (please remember this was originally written in 1991, where one could only guess at what was later to unfold).

In California recently, an "electronic commons" (network) was created to allow people to comment on local council meetings. It became enormously popular. So popular that "There would be a near-revolution if we thought about taking it down." (comment of the city manager).

This idea of the importance of Media is nothing new (although few know it as the central element in the threefolding of the social organism). What else have politicians, terrorists, single interest groups, businesses etc. been fighting to control and manipulate? Within Media the People come to common (equalized) self knowledge and mutual understanding. Within Media the idea of the State and of the rights and duties of citizenship come to common form. Media shines light on the activities of the State, and media personalities (with varying degrees of consciousness and moral integrity) believe they act thus for the People. However we turn our thinking, if we remain pictorially descriptive of the dynamics of social life as these actually play themselves out in the political-legal sphere we will come to the perception of the threefoldness of State-Media-People.

In this way then we can circle around to our earlier theme, i.e. a fourth way or mode of understanding and working with the threefold social idea of Rudolf Steiner. Rather then having described the methodology and the epistemological justification for this way of thinking, I have sought instead to demonstrate its efficacy. For those who wish for a name for this process of thinking and observation, (assuming they have not already intuited it) it is called Goetheanism, and can be made the object of study in Steiner's The Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe's World Conception. One can come to a deeper appreciation of this methodology by studying its application to Nature (rather then the social organism) through the study of Ernst Lehr's, Man or Matter.

We have not, of course, at all exhausted the questions which can be asked about the social organism. But by placing before our conscious understanding this evolution of Media as the central functional form in the social order, we have enabled ourselves to return more effectively to the earlier question concerning under what circumstances, and out of what perspective, may we seek to bring into more conscious existence the threefold social order. What soul characteristic (People) may be most appropriate to carry this impulse in the conditions of the present? How do we bring healing to the social order given our present understanding (i.e. is the most essential thing the separation of the cultural life, or is something else preliminary to that)? Or on a more fundamental level, how essential is it that our own thinking have certain characteristics if we wish it to be able to carry particular responsibilities?

Having raised these questions I do want to suggest answers, yet at the same time I do not want to argue them. For me, argument is not a very fruitful process, in that it tends to either derive from, or engender intensified feelings, when to my own experience the feeling life needs a certain degree of cultivated self discipline in order to support the thinking.

A depth study of Steiner and of the progress of civilization reveals that humanity is much in need of a true spiritual conception of the nature of man and his relation to outer nature and to the cosmos. As well, it appears to me, that America stands in a special place with respect to those processes which are to form a new civilization out of the present chaos. Media, if its present condition is clearly understood, is young; i.e. it is still undergoing formative developments, and functions today with a kind of moral or spiritual immaturity. In this sense Media may take one of two different courses of future development. It may become a kind of moon center, rigid, arid, not light originating, but rather only able to reflect those impulses which come to it from the outside. Or, it may become a sun center, a source of warmth and understanding, a medium of creative forces flowing into the social order and carrying both in deed and in word a true image of man as a being of soul and spirit.

I imagine then, Media becoming a sun, a true heart of the heart of the social organism, so that the common understanding of the People will find a renewed vision of the State. In Media a song can yet be heard, the song of the truly free man, the moral man. In this way the rigidification, the mechanization, the image spell-binding of the word will be overcome, and a true understanding given to Western civilization of the Idea of the Threefold Social Organism as a dynamic social form already latent in human social existence in the West.

Recall that when the civic form at the founding of the Greek civilization began to relieve the cultural life of certain responsibilities, the forces formerly devoted to this task became freed, and the cultural life flowered with great creativity. In the present moment the economic life, formerly carried more within the political, is now outside it, in fact infecting the political-legal dynamics and distorting them. There is of course no predicting how events will proceed, yet it seems clear to me that this historic moment is pregnant with certain kinds of potential. Just as there is great risk of a further fall into materialism, so as well there is much possibility for spiritual transformation. If we do not blind ourselves with a kind of threefold dogma (for example, that the first need is to free the spiritual cultural life), but instead truly perceive the actual dynamics. then as far as I am able to hold in pictorial thought, the ripe moment lies in bringing moral trans-formative forces to the thinking active within the Media, to bring a song to life just here in the heart of the heart of the social organism.


Written in 1995, this essay was offered to the News for Members (which was why it was written in five parts).  It was ignored, of course.  It has only slightly been altered and updated, albeit in significant ways.  As you read it, you might keep in mind that I was unable to interest the membership in these matters, so it became necessary to carry myself the real world deeds such an understanding requires.  It is out of this requirement then that other work was born, as well as my book for exoteric Christianity (the Way of the Fool) and my pamphlet on American politics (Uncommon Sense* the degeneration, and the redemption, of political life in America), but most especially: American Anthroposophy.

Waking the Sleeping Giant:

the mission of Anthroposophy in America


"If we want to change the materialistic America into a new America, we must know the old one, in all of its outer appearances, thoroughly, and then we must discover the deeper ideas within its essential being. Then out of a combination of the two, as a free human deed, we must discover the 'modus' of how to change the present America into the new America." Carl Stegmann, The Third Call: Apocalyptic Destiny and the Future of America in the Light of Anthroposophy.

("modus" is a creative deed, possible only for man, which changes old earthly facts into something higher; c.f. Steiner's The Philosophy of Freedom)

It is the purpose of this essay not only to suggest a particular "modus" for the transformation of America, but to show how it is the destiny of Anthroposophy to play a leading and significant role. In order to establish this possibility it is necessary first to describe in some detail certain fundamental dynamics of the Middle Sphere of the Threefold Social Organism (parts 1 and 2, of the essay), as it is these dynamics that are the essential context out of which other matters unfold. Following that, some of my researches into the Spiritual America will be developed (parts 3 and 4), after which the whole will be woven together (part 5).

I also wish at this time to express my gratitude to the many co-workers in the America Work, who over the years have been supportive of my research into the Mystery of America: Michael Byrne, Michael Franz, Arthur Lish, Mary Rubach, Stuart Weeks, and especially of late: Steve Burman and Harvey Bornfield.  But most especially I want to express my gratitude to Carl Stegmann, whose deep love and devotion to the Spiritual America was a privilege to experience.

part one

The State as a creation of the psychological (inner) environment of the individual, and the individual as a reflection of the ideal environment of the State; or, the wisdom hidden in the saying of Christ Jesus: "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are Gods." (Matthew 22:21)

These words were the response of Christ Jesus when the Pharisees tried to trick Him with the question of whether the Jews should pay taxes to the Roman Emperor. While this could be narrowly interpreted as just meaning that money, being a thing of Caesar already, should be given to Caesar, my personal experience is that long and thoughtful consideration of the teachings of Christ Jesus will always be rewarded with depths of understanding that cannot be discovered in any other way.

As to this particular saying, I had thought of it off and on for many years, as I continued to struggle for the right understanding of man's social and political existence. Just like the scientist, who after years of living with a particular riddle finds himself suddenly filled with the answer to his question, so it was only after a long preparation that it finally dawned on me what wisdom lay hidden in this simple statement.

The State (that is any type of government) has no existence but what the humans, who conceive it and act it out, make it to be.  Unlike sense perceptible objects, the State is a social form entirely, built up out of man's ideation, feelings and deeds. This principle remains the same, even though in many instances (e.g. fascism or communism) a limited number of individuals or groups are able to form the State according to their particular individual vision and actions. From this point of view, the being of the State, in such instances, includes the oppressors and the oppressed, each a component of the totality. The State lives (has its only being) in the minds, hearts and wills of its members.

The point of view being expressed here is in a very narrow sense value neutral.  We may justifiably find certain forms of government to be egregious and unconscionable, but our sense of justice does not change the fact that the being of the State, even a totalitarian state, is the summation of the deeds, feelings and ideas of its members.

This is a rather complicated relation involving both individual and group action. We normally put the question: What ought the State to be? Thus we have the various theories of government from Plato and Aristotle to Machiavelli and More to Nozick and Rawls. The thinking which asks the question, what ought the State to be, occasionally makes a contribution to the ideas a People hold of the nature of government, but I am trying here to direct our attention not to our theory of government, but to the actual conceptions, feelings and deeds connected to what a particular People's vision is of what their particular State means, and how that is then reflected in the actual nature (being) of the State in fact.

These conceptions, feelings and deeds vary from person to person, and as well change over the course of any individual life. Nor are these acts of soul likely to be the result of any particular political philosophic effort, but rather will tend to be the consequences of a combination of family, schooling, the types of groups one has associated with, and the practical experience of life and of government acquired in the course of ones life. Thus will arise an odd mixture of cliche, prejudice and truth, feelings of liking and disliking and acts of trust, mistrust, apathy and confusion, and perhaps even rebellion.

That we have names and words for these gestures of soul (such as liberal, conservative, rightist, leftist, democrat, republican, freedom, capitalist, communism, and so forth) is also not related to the point I am trying to make. Especially today, when so few have really given any thought at all to these matters, most of us use such words with so little precision that we very often use the same word to mean quite different things, in spite of perhaps belonging to the same political party and espousing and acting upon the same positions.

Nevertheless, each individual citizen will hold some idea of the State, and will act and feel according to this idea. Some will believe in freedom, but not for certain other classes of citizens. Some will believe in being law abiding, but at the same time cheat on their taxes. Some will form groups to demand that laws follow their ideas of what is right. Some will court such group's favor in order to get elected, only to do something else later. Some will do nothing, convinced that government is an oppressor, best to be avoided, and certainly not relevant to the real problems of life: getting a job, raising a family, struggling in a difficult relationship, and so forth. Some will be completely lawless, believing only in their own code, or desires, acting on impulse and taking whatever they want.

Wherever a single human being stands, having some kind of ideas and feelings regarding the State and acting out some kind of behavior in which these ideas and feelings are more or less central or irrelevant, in this place the State in miniature exists. Finally then, out of the totality of these miniature 'States' comes into being the State as a whole, a mixture of an enormous variety of ideas, feelings and deeds, acting in a complex arrangement as the various collective associations dance together in their struggle to dominate.

The point of this is to recognize that the being of the State is created by these ideas, feelings and deeds, by what is "rendered" it by its People.

Now because certain common themes will live in the ideas, feelings and deeds of a particular People, each characteristic People has an individual historic and characteristic State.  America, for example, has a kind of State which is given dominate thematic character by the ideas embodied in the Constitution, and the experiences and feelings which are derived from the land. Because we all live in the same land and because we are to a somewhat similar degree educated in the ideas of the Constitution, there tends to be a kind of order and consistency to the nature of the State throughout our history.

The State, as a social form, is not unlike a wave form created in a stream by the existence of a rock just beneath the surface. As the water flows past the rock a wave form rises up, and remains present. Even though water continually flows through it, the general shape of the form remains. If we now turn our imaginations to the creation of a social form, in this case the State, the flowing water is the People moving through time, who come into being, live out their lives, and pass away. The rock is the reality of the spirit, which in this instance is active in the commonly held ideas related to the Constitution, and the other characteristics induced in the soul by the common experience of the land. The social form - the State - arises out of the interaction between the two - the lives of the People and the presence of the relevant spiritual and soul elements, and maintains a certain continuous nature and quality, just as the wave form in the flowing stream remains the same, although the water itself (the People) continually moves through it.

At the core of this process, which is a kind of psychological process, lies that element of our inner life - in our soul life - which might be called: our feeling for what is right. This feeling for what is right exists in all Peoples, but varies in its content somewhat from People to People, and time to time. We should be noticing today [1995 ed.], for example, that in Eastern Europe, as the domination of the Marxist-Leninist rendering of the idea of the State recedes, that what these Peoples make most important will not be the same as what we would conceive as most significant. In fact, if we observe closely enough we will see a struggle to accept the democratic ideal, but reject the materialism, and the consumerism. While there are depths here we cannot in this place go into, the point must be understood that what a People render the State reflects certain cultural and ethnic characteristics of no little importance

The principle, that the State is what it is through what is rendered it, has been known intuitively to our wiser political leaders. Our constitution begins: "We the People...". Lincoln said: "...a nation of the People, by the People, and for the People...". And Kennedy said: "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country."

While this may all seem too simple, it is not, and really understanding it will make other things much clearer later on. For example, we have in recent years been more interested in this country in our rights as individuals, without any thought to there being any correlative duties. We don't like conscription (the draft), paying taxes, thinking much at all about government unless we can get something from it, or it is taking something from us. Yet, the two go hand in hand. There are no rights without duties. There is no State from which to receive rights without someone having rendered it certain duties. A great deal we take for granted was first won by blood.

When we lament today the sorry condition of our political life we need to reflect that its initial being was created out of the passionate deeds of our ancestors, whose sacrifice left behind a kind of political wealth upon which we live; until, as today, we begin to exhaust it by taking without giving (all rights and no duties). The sorry condition of our modern political life is due to the gradual depletion of its being through the absence of sufficient rendering to keep it vital and alive.

This being has a quite definite qualitative nature; that is, it is not so much what it is because so many people give it so many hours, or years (quantities of time), but because of the ideal and moral element of what they render. It is the higher or lower qualities of our human nature which become aspects of the being of the State. When a voter votes only his prejudices, not having troubled himself to really understand the needs of the whole People, and when the politician encourages through advertising and speeches the People's expression of their baser instincts, then the being of the State can only reflect such qualities. When the corporations and unions lobby only so that their self interest is gratified, then the being of the State reveals no higher qualities. Did the rich get richer and the poor get poorer under recent administrations? Without a doubt, but what else did the most powerful elites render? The phrase of the computer programmers is quite apt: "garbage in, garbage out".

This brings us, of course, to the other pole of Christ Jesus' saying, because the crux of the problem is the need for the State to receive into its being the higher elements of our nature. What then does it mean to "render unto God" and how do the two statements relate to each other as a whole?

While the being of the State can be seen to be dependent in its nature for what is rendered it, this cannot be said to be true of the being of God. It is not the being of God which becomes what is rendered it, but the being of man. The human being who "renders unto God the things that are Gods" is himself transformed by the act of devotion. Those who would doubt such a proposition simply have to look closely at history. The Founding Fathers, Abraham Lincoln, these and many more political figures, whose stature and importance to the being of our Government is unquestionable, have been able to contribute what they have in large part because of the moral nature of their character. Just as the State becomes what is rendered it. so we humans become according to whether we act so as to unfold our individual higher nature.

No one doubts today the validity of making an effort to maintain, care for and develop the physical body. Yet, the development of virtue is as much ignored as physical well being is advocated. No amount of physical fitness, however, will change the character of what is rendered the State. Only moral development, only transformation of the soul and spiritual nature of the human being can enhance the qualitative characteristics of what is rendered the State.

The statement we have been examining, the wisdom out of the Gospels of Christ Jesus, has two meanings, dependent upon which principle we emphasize. These meanings are not contradictory, but rather are complimentary. One: The State is what it is out of what is rendered it in their ideation, feelings and their deeds by its People...and...the qualitative nature of what is rendered, is higher or lower according to the development of virtue as that has proceeded in the individual.

Simultaneously (Two): Only through devotion to God (however we individually conceive Him) does the human being develop in himself those characteristics which flow from such an act...and...as a devote of God, one needs to recognize one yet remains a member of human society, which will only have as its necessary characteristics what one gives to it.

As a last point we must again notice that Christ Jesus says to render unto Caesar and unto God. Man must direct his activity both toward heaven and toward earth, in order to unfold his essential being, his i-AM. Both the State and man need to become. It is a reciprocal relationship. If the State does not become, then man's potential development is limited. If man does not become then his capacity to render unto the State, and the being of the State, is likewise limited.

As this essay concerns itself with an opportunity that Divine Circumstance presently offers to members of the anthroposophical movement in America, a peculiar problem needs to be faced. At the time of the Christmas Foundation, Rudolf Steiner stated clearly, speaking of the newly founded Society: "Politics, it does not consider its mission."

Certainly it would have been, and still would be inappropriate for the Society to organize itself in such a way that it establishes a political agenda, and lobbies, or otherwise "politics" for these issues. Nevertheless, all the members and friends remain participants in human society, contributors to the Threefold Social Organism, which for its future development depends upon fully conscious and enlightened deeds from its members. Much has been set in motion regarding the threefold social organism (as we shall see in the next part) due to the activities of the hierarchies, but the ultimate fruition of that work requires the cooperation of human kind - the will forces of human beings.

In terms of the preceding then, these questions need be kept in mind as we go forward: What do anthroposophists "render" unto the State? What do we give that flows from the inner development, the soul and spiritual changes Spiritual Science provides? At the center of our cosmology stands the Christ. What can we say to Him, regarding our contributions to the political life of modern humanity?

part two

At the threshold of this part of our considerations we need to notice a confusion which sometimes appears when the threefold social organism is discussed in anthroposophical circles. It is not infrequent to hear or read what seems to assume that human society does not yet exhibit the characteristics outlined by Steiner, and that somehow there is a threefold social "order" by which human society ought to be organized. Steiner was clear, however, that the threefold idea was not a utopia, but was, in fact, a descriptive morphology of human social existence. Nevertheless, in accord with the temper of the time (post WWI), and the soul life of his listeners/readers (who lived first in the ideal, before incarnating the ideal into the real), Steiner presented the threefold social idea as an ideal, in its most abstract and pure (healthy) formulation. It would have been possible to do the opposite, to draw out of the phenomena of social existence its threefold nature, although this would of course involve one in all the malformations as those exist in the contemporary conditions of the social organism.

As it will be fruitful, let us continue our examination of the Middle Sphere in this other way, as an exercise in the description of social phenomena after the methods first developed by Goethe. Because of the need to proceed briskly, we will first make very general observations, before descending to those more detailed and specific (see part three), which will in turn be of a limited number, again due to the need for brevity.

The Middle Sphere - the political-legal life - first began to appear on the stage of history at the beginning of the fourth post-Atlantean cultural epoch, the beginning of "Western" civilization as that developed in Greece and Rome. This Sphere then appeared as a separation of the idea of the State from the being of the hierarchy (such as the Pharaoh). Thus began a slow emancipation of the civil authority from the purely religious authority. Accompanying this change came the idea of the citizen, the individual member of the State. In the earlier theocracies (the Originating Sphere of the social organism - the cultural life) the individual was simply a member of a characteristic people, and his place in society largely determined by the rules established through the temples - the mysteries.

Thus, at the founding of Western civilization a kind of functional split takes place, with the cultural life no longer carrying the whole burden of providing social order.

It is important to appreciate certain nuances connected with this change. On the one hand cultural life is able to direct itself more inwardly, having less need to concern itself with those functions that the civic element is now organizing. In the Greek civilization cultural life (science, art and religion) experiences a great unfolding, as if forces once devoted to other concerns are now available for purely cultural development. Just as with the development of the human being, once a certain level has been obtained, forces devoted to one activity are now free to serve additional purposes.

On the other hand, the civic form appears at first in a two-fold way; there is the organization of the State at one pole, and the corresponding rights of the citizen at the other. This polarity bears a direct relationship to the reality expressed in part one, above, namely that the being of the State and the inner life of the individual have a interweaving and reciprocal mutual dynamic. Here we see this dynamic interplay active as a formative force in the unfolding of the social organism.

The separation of the cultural and spiritual life from the civic element is not complete in the beginning. In the idea of the divine right of kings, the theocratic principle lives on. Even in the late middle ages, with the co-existence of both ecclesiastical and civil courts, the two Spheres remain somewhat intertwined.

This is a crucial picture, to imagine the political-legal life as taking the whole of the period of Western civilization (up to the 17th century) to complete its separation from the cultural sphere. In this we can have a sense of the threefold social organism appearing in human civilization in a dynamic and living way, as a process of unfolding and development. Moreover, this process as it completes itself first creates two poles, the State on the one side, and the People (citizens) on the other.

Those familiar with polaric processes in Nature will realize that whenever two poles arise in an organism there necessarily follows the creation of a third - middle - element. Just as the threefold social organism exists as a tripartite structure arising from the needs of the threefold soul, that is with two poles and a middle element, so do each of the three individual spheres of the social organism possess tendencies which bring about their own inward threefolding. (See in this regard W. Schad's Man and Mammals, where the ninefold organization of the human being is described. As a preliminary aide, picture the human head, the upper pole, the nerve-sense pole of the human organism. It is itself threefold, with the eyes representing a purely nerve-sense function, the nose - open to the lungs, brings the rhythmic element into play, and the mouth - the initial organ of digestion - introduces the metabolic function.)

We can, as well, recall that the cultural life, during the long period of its development has produced three functionally related elements, science, art and religion. A more careful, but brief, look at these will aid our further investigations.

In the late 1950's, the English scientist/novelist C.P.Snow gave a lecture wherein he described the existence of two cultures, a scientific culture and a literary culture, which seemed to suffer from "mutual incomprehension", "hostility and dislike" and "a curious distorted image of each other". His observations were accurate, but incomplete. To science and art he would need to add religion. These three sub-spheres of the cultural-spiritual life of the social organism have over the period of Western civilization become estranged from each other. Rare is the individual who can unite in his soul life the three human capacities whose impulses underlie this division. Here clearly is one task of anthroposophical spiritual science, to help the individual weave together the capacities of reason (science), imagination (art) and devotion (religion). And, certainly human social existence is severely distorted and malformed when its individual members are thus lamed by this division within the soul.

So far we have observed that the differentiated spheres of the social organism have different epochs of birth and development. As well, we have noted that the Originating Sphere - the cultural-spiritual life - has under the influence of modern conditions become disordered to the point of a kind of cultural schizophrenia. Although this is the oldest and most mature, it at present is not a source of health for the whole social organism.

The Middle Sphere is younger, and only now is expressing its threefold nature (we will come to this next). We ought to keep in mind that in Steiner's lectures to doctors, Spiritual Science and Medicine, strengthening the middle system of the human organism is always  essential to any renewal, recovery and health. What I am suggesting by this is that, by analogy, strengthening the Middle Sphere of the social organism will be a general aid to the health of the whole system.

The Third Sphere - the economic life - is, of course, newly born, having emerged at the beginning of the fifth cultural epoch, appearing first in the impulses to colonialism and trading empires, and then overriding all the other forces of the social organism through the industrial revolution. The significance of this will be examined next, in parallel to our observations concerning the threefolding of the Middle Sphere.

The 14th to 17th centuries represent unique moments in the life and development of the social organism. It is in the 14th century that the change of consciousness begins which Owen Barfield (in Saving the Appearances: a Study in Idolatry) characterizes as the leaving behind of "original participation" (being within nature, cosmos and each other to some degree) and the birth of "onlooker consciousness" (I am a self over here, nature, cosmos and others, they are outside, over there). This "onlooker separation" leads to modern science on the one hand and the deep alienation of modern life on the other. It is this change of consciousness which is ultimately so destructive of the social order. As Western civilization begins to die of this process, its remaining life forces flower (the renaissance), fruit (the enlightenment and the reformation) and seed (the contraction of the accumulated political wisdom of Western civilization into the forming of the U.S. Constitution).

As an element of these powerful dynamic processes, which flowed out of this change of consciousness, a certain invention occurs which begins to introduce profound changes. This is the invention of the printing press. Previously, communication (words serving social intercourse) for most people had to be oral; now it could be written. While rendering the word into fixed print represents a solidification of the word- a crystallization, it also is a necessary process in order that those members of a culture (or polity) who cannot have direct oral communication, may nevertheless come to a shared understanding of the world and of each other. At the same time as people are becoming more individualized and alienated, a counter-pole arises which enables people to find a unity in the shared world view.

We have here multiple simultaneous processes. One occurring in the outer social fabric, and being a process of disintegration. Another occurring in the soul life and being a process of individuation. These two processes are mutually supportive.

Prior to the arrival of the "onlooker" consciousness morality was inculcated in humanity from the outside, for the most part, by the coercive effect of the vital social structure (in the main this refers to what R. Steiner described as the group soul). But community, family, and church -  the traditional social forms, now begin to dissolve as a result of the social consequences of the industrial revolution and the change in world view introduced by the arrival of scientific materialism. As a result, the ability of community, family and church to inspire man's morality diminishes. Simultaneously, the soul life acquires new capacities as man gains more self-conscious individuality, ultimately to lead to an ability to form independent moral judgments (the first fruits of the epoch of the consciousness soul). In a truly miraculous way the death of tradition, of civilization, is also the birth of moral freedom.

Accompanying this miracle is a further development of the middle of the social organism. In between the State at one pole, and the People at the other, arises a mediating functional organ - Media. Media first appears as a clear aspect of the political-legal life during the founding days of the American State. Every significant town has a least one printer, and thus at least one news sheet. Without these news sheets it is simply not possible for the citizens of the newly forming nation to come to a common view, to equalize (balance and mediate) their individual perspectives. (The Federalist and anti-Federalist Papers are a futile act if there is no press to publicize them.)

In this way we can come to a functional understanding of Media. It is the knowledge commons (to borrow from Ivan Illich), the place where the dynamic properties of the word enable a polity to form mutual comprehension.

This is how then the dynamics of the polarity, State-People, come to form the needed middle element. Now Media, in the sense conceived here, is not a static thing, but rather an evolving and developing process. The technological achievement of the printing press is just the beginning of a whole series of inventions which ultimately produce radio, television, cable, VCR's, DVD's, fax machines, computers and so forth. The series is not finished. The interconnecting of home computers via the Internet reveals that the knowledge commons is about to become an electronic commons (Illich's initial formulation).

Consider this picture. The coming into being of print media constitutes a kind of rigidification of the dynamic qualities of the word as those facilitate mutual understanding. As Media further develops, it passes from print form to image form, i.e. television. Television, in that it provides our consciousness with images, puts to sleep that part of our cognitive processes which fills out the word with our own imaginations. This further weakens political life (continuing the social dynamics leading to the death of Western civilization), by disabling our thinking faculty at the moment it is most needed to be awake in order to "render" its civic responsibilities.

But the technical evolution of Media is not over. Close observation reveals that advertising dominated television is losing its grip, and being replaced with cable services and the possibility of self chosen viewing, the VCR, and later the DVD. Parallel to this is the weaving of the Web, the interconnecting of individuals via the computer networks. Electronic media is being less image oriented, and is now interactive; i.e. the word is again becoming significant.

(It is essential during these descriptions not to confuse what we might wish or believe things ought to be, with what they are in fact. Following Goethe's example, we need not fear the facts. Our task rather is to raise them into pictures, and in this manner find our way into the inner dynamics of the threefold social organism.)

In California recently, an electronic Commons (network) was created to allow people to comment on local council meetings. It became enormously popular. So popular that "There would be a near-revolution if we thought about taking it down." (comment of the city manager)

This idea of the importance of Media is nothing new (although few know it as the central element in the threefolding of the social organism). What else have politicians, terrorists, single interest groups, businesses etc. been fighting to control and manipulate? What do the revolutionaries first take over, but the TV stations and the newspapers. Within Media the People come to common self knowledge and mutual understanding. Within Media the idea of the State and of the rights and duties of citizenship comes to common form. However we turn our thinking, if we remain pictorially descriptive of the dynamics of social life as these actually play themselves out in the political-legal sphere we will come to the perception of the threefoldness of State-Media-People. [The reader may here want to recall the significance of the world-wide Culture of Media as developed in detail in the earlier essay: The Meaning of ...]

We are dealing here with dynamic processes, which are occurring at multiple levels within the social organism. We have on one level the gradual incarnation of the threefold organism, a process of unfolding and development involving many epochs of human history. At another level we have observed what appears to be a dissolving process, the end of the influence of tradition on social life, a kind of death process of civilization. In particular, if we observe the conditions of social life in the so-called inner city, we find almost no traditional social order at all. Family, community, church, school - the individual is hardly affected at all by the normal sources of tradition and continuity. We are quite justified in describing this situation as an ever increasing condition of social chaos.

This is true all over the world, for we have observed part of this process in the movement from rural to urban centers, under the influence of changes in agriculture and industrialization.  First people become concentrated in centers, and then tradition and social order more and more tend to chaos.

The observation of social chaos will prove very helpful for later considerations. For the moment, however, we only need to note two particular facts. First, almost all modern human institutions exhibit phenomena reflecting the absence of the usual organizing forces of tradition, for example the Catholic Church (c.f. Malachi Martin's remarkable, The Jesuits: the Society of Jesus and the Betrayal of the Roman Catholic Church).

The second fact is more personal, and needs to be stated in the form of a question. Given that the social temper of the times mostly consists of dissolving and chaos producing forces, why does the anthroposophical movement/society seem immune? Or is it?

part three

We have so far established three major pictures regarding the threefold social organism. One describes that reciprocal relationship, between the individual's process of development and the process of development of the State, as pointed toward by the saying of Christ Jesus, to render unto Caesar and unto God. The second picture concerns the birth of a middle element within the Middle Sphere of the social organism, a natural process producing over time the functional organ Media, which, though young, will become the heart of the heart of the social organism. The third picture concerns the observation of a process which seems to be leading to the death of civilization, the gradual destruction of social order and tradition connected to family, community, church and school, producing conditions of social chaos. This last is a particularly unusual process in that with the termination of the binding ties of social tradition, as those tend to form moral impulses, this has made, not only easier, but to some degree necessary, the unfolding of the faculty of a free conscience within the human being.

It may help to recall that Christ intended this:

Matthew 10:34-40: "Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.  For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man's foes will be those in his own household.  He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more that me is not worthy of me; and he who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.  He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will find it.  He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives him who sent me"

One additional idea needs to be brought forward. In Nature, when the caterpillar spins its cocoon, the formative forces withdraw to the extent that the form caterpillar disappears, and in its place arises a homogeneous cell mass, no form, no differentiated cells, a kind of barely alive, barely functional organic chaos. Only after this stage has been reached do the formative forces again become active and create the butterfly. This process of metamorphosis is the organic mirror of the Archetypal Deed, the Death and the Resurrection of Christ Jesus, what Goethe observed in the developmental life of plants, as the process of dying and becoming. There is every reason to expect that the generation of social chaos, observable everywhere in human society in these days of the new millennium, is another mirror image of this archetypal process, a social dying and becoming.

This fact leads naturally to many questions. A few of which are: What new social forms will arise? From what sources will they come? What role can those who are awake to these facts play, so that the new civilization will be more amenable to human freedom?

With these pictures we now have a more penetrating understanding of the general social context of the time, so that it is now possible to enter more deeply into the Mystery of America, its real present condition, and its "apocalyptic destiny and future".

As a preliminary focus, as well as a bridge from the previous discussions, I would like us to examine certain details of events which occurred in America, both for their general significance for the deeper understanding of America, as well as examples confirming the pictures of the various dynamic social processes pointed out above. In this regard, everyone is aware of the unusual social events called "the Sixties". In America, this time of social upheaval only arose after certain other developments prepared the way.

Everything first of all occurred in the context of a general change of consciousness, arising especially in the young, due to the arrival of the atomic age, the cold war, and the threat of nuclear annihilation. The young men and women, who were to become the center of the happenings in the sixties, were first exposed as children to a mental environment which, while threatening the annihilation of the physical world, effectively annihilated the normal dreams the young have of the future.

Many can still remember, as I do, learning to "duck and cover", to hide under the desks in school, when the civil warning system, a great wailing siren that could be heard all over town, announced the possibility of attack. In the same context, we were shown movies about civil defense at least once a year if not more often, which included pictures of buildings torn to shreds by the enormous winds and power of the atomic blast. Everywhere outside and frequently in buildings were little signs advising that here was a shelter should one be out in the open when the bombs came. Since we needed to be prepared, our communities, our national leaders, all made certain that we understood the dangers and accepted the sacrifices the cold war effort required.

The effect of this was to cast a shadow into the soul life of whole generations, a giant shadow where there ought to be a heart filled with hope and a lively and expectant interest in the future. Unfortunately for many, it was not a question of if there would be a war, but only of when.

In the middle of the 1950's, as this shadow was laid in the consciousness of far too many, three unique American personalities began their work: Hugh Hefner, Elvis Presley, and Dr. Martin Luther King. With Hefner and the publishing of Playboy magazine, began what was to be called the "sexual revolution". With Elvis, the erotic rhythms of Black American blues was integrated with the stream of love songs which dominated white popular music; and not only did rock and roll come into being (and begin its world wide destiny as a solvent of traditional family ties), a total change in social dancing arose, drawing the consciousness of the young into the lower impulses of the limb organization. With Dr. King, a balancing higher moral element entered in, making possible the exposure, and (perhaps) resolution, of explosive social issues in a manner that was powerful, effective, and ultimately less likely to rip the social fabric.

This is not to say that these personalities caused these streams of activity, but rather they were the forerunners, the lightening rods, the seed crystals, necessary for a whole set of social changes. Up to that point America had, in this century, experienced at one remove two great wars, and more directly the great depression. The fifties were a breathing space, an interval of rest. Then in one great social spasm, the young were set free from the social and political inhibitions of the near past. The normal forces which communities applied to the behavior and morals of the young were shattered, and millions had to face questions of deep personal moral difficulty on their own (just consider the impact of the Vietnam War).

So powerful were these changes, that they reached beyond the young, infecting many of the older generations as well. It is as if someone had taken a meat cleaver and cut the last third of the century completely free of the first two thirds. The decades following the Sixties are mainly after effects. Seemingly excessive liberalism leading to seemingly excessive conservatism. But this is the effect only on the surface. Our real question needs to be what is the condition of the soul? Has a real moral freedom, a self conscious/consciousness soul development, arisen?

This is a difficult question to answer purely from an observation of social phenomena. I read as a clue to this question the popularity of a certain type of television drama, the leading examples of which are: MASH, St Elsewhere, Hill Street Blues, NYPD Blue, and Picket Fences (and since this original writing in 1995, all the later works of David E. Kelley, such as The Practice, Alie McBeal, Boston Public and Boston Legal, as well as the movies of Clint Eastwood, such as Mystic River and Million Dollar Baby). Here the artistic genius, working in the most popular dramatic forum, has invented and developed a form of drama (leavened with comedy), in which the actors (generally in ensemble form, rather then just one or two "stars") struggle with constant individual moral ambiguity, in a context without traditional or easy answers. I believe we have here a valid mirror of the modern soul life of many Americans, as revealed both by the popular nature of these dramas and as well the critical acclaim which they justly receive.

I need to suggest here two matters of caution. I would not do this had not many private conversations with those acquainted with Anthroposophy induced me to believe that this is necessary. The first is that in examining social phenomena it is crucial to carefully separate fact from interpretation in that one comes to knowledge of things through contemporary media. While media has a special potential, it has hardly realized it, and basically tends to form very limited, and unnecessarily dark, pictures of the world that are of little use if one wants to seek beneath the surface symptoms. What is received through media needs to be carefully worked over, so that general trends of contemporary thought, which are often erroneous and misleading, are first removed, and the real facts obtained.

The second caution has to do with types of knowledge that those acquainted with Anthroposophy are likely to come upon, such as the affects of television and film on the etheric body, or on human consciousness. Even though these anthroposophical facts are true, and might lead one to believe that certain experiences are unhealthy, we need to recognize what is actually happening in social life, namely that the majority live lives dominated by the experiences of television and film - to continue the example - and that it is these actual happenings that are the facts from which our symptoms need be drawn.

In the preceding, concerning the Sixties, we saw more intimately into those dynamic social processes connected to the death of tradition and its consequences, the creation of social chaos and the resulting necessity of individual moral choice. Next I would like to develop further our understanding of media and its central place in the threefold social organism. In this regard let us consider the recent events connected to the tragic bombing in Oklahoma City (and then later, in an even harsher way, 9/11).

Hardly anyone needs to be told the facts. This in itself is an aspect we need not to overlook. What occurred did not just occur to those most immediately affected, those who caused it, those who died or were injured, and their families, but due to the nature of Media we all experienced it. It became a collective experience, it became part of, and reflected in its own way, the American Soul.

In this way Oklahoma City (and 9/11) is a true Media event. We need to distinguish this from the staged media event, such as makes up most of contemporary political campaigning, and as well from the media circus, which for a better example we need look no further then the O.J Simpson trial. Without the existence of media, as a dynamic social process, none of these events, the bombing, as well as the campaigns and circuses, have the same significance in the life of a People.

With a true Media event, the central phenomena are the effects on the whole people. The purveyors of media almost play no role at all; they don't have to hype the event, or interpret it. They just show it; the event speaks for itself. Media makes it possible for large groups to have a shared experience of the event. We have to be careful not to lose sight of the fact that in such an instance it is not the event itself at all, but the shared experience which is the critical social phenomenon.

The Oklahoma City bombing (9/11 was different in this regard, and as such just as instructive in its own way) is not isolated from its consequences in the general psyche of a nation. Consider these facts. Immediately following the bombing, large numbers of experts, invited by the media to comment, assumed that the bomb was the work of middle-east terrorists. All of a sudden a mood of suspicion was woven into the American Soul, suspicion of the foreigner, particularly the middle-east type, the Arab and his strange religion, Islam. In workplaces and neighborhoods, one can only guess at the strained feelings and fitful looks that must have passed between Arab and non-Arab neighbors and co-workers. Then, in an oddly beautiful and ironic moment, the tension and suspicion is dissolved.

We can only imagine the consequences. In some cases individuals were pushed further apart, the tension and suspicion only reinforced natural ignorance and prejudice. But in others, an opportunity arose, an opportunity to step across the boundary of otherness, to meet each other at a higher level. What happened actually? Who can say precisely? Even so, we can be certain a dynamic social tension arose and was released, and one consequence of the bombing was that individuals had an opportunity to see each other in a new light, perhaps to share the moment, to express the common tragedy and sympathy, to weave a few new treads of brotherhood (with 9/11, other powers of the Earth sought to make this tension almost permanent).

A second consequence of the bombing was to raise public awareness of something only a few knew about, the existence of the militant anti-government militias. Here was a festering sore in the social body of the People. Now, exposed to the light of day, its ideas  - its theology - could be examined. A kind of cleansing occurred as the militias themselves acted so as to rid themselves of their more extreme and unstable elements.

We should also not overlook the most obvious fact, which is that because media exists, the act not only injured those in Oklahoma City, but it injured the national psyche. How could we do this to ourselves? How could Americans do this to their own children? (here too with 9/11 we run into the awful possibilities the 9/11 Truth Movement struggles with)

There is a relationship between these three consequences, between the arising of social tension and its release concerning otherness, and the exposure to light and cleansing concerning the militias, and the self examination, regret and remorse connected to the fact that Americans did this to Americans. A kind of public conscience was evoked. Not a private conscience, or even a process whereby the rights and wrongs were debated, but a mood of soul in which the community, joined together by the existence of media processes, examined itself and acted on the basis of that examination.

In forming this picture, in truly penetrating to what is happening here, it is essential to realize that the media infrastructure, the equipment, the personalities, the corporations, all this merely served as the material apparatus, by which an essentially invisible social organ functioned. Media, in the sense suggested here, is a social form, a process in the body politic. It is an organ of community feeling, an organ moderating and mediating in a public (i.e. semi-conscious, dreamlike) way the heart values of the community.

In trying to come to this understanding it will help to avoid imagining the single individual's experience, our own for example. Rather we need to try to picture the whole. For days, for weeks, the body politic goes about its ordinary business, while at the same time on most every ones mind - in most every ones soul life - the events penetrate and are digested. People, who might in normal circumstances say very little to each other, discuss what happened, express their feelings, share their thoughts.

There is a feedback loop to this, as media, needing to fill the enormous time devoted to the tragedy and its consequences, interviews "the man on the street". Not just the experts, but the ordinary citizen too is consulted.

Again, it is very important not to expect this organ to be at a stage of high development. It is young and immature. It is distorted as well by all the other imbalances in the social organism. It too is under pressure from the chaos and dissolving forces characteristic of this time of the turn of the millennium.

What lies in its future? What direction will media take? Does anything in Anthroposophy speak to these questions? What responsibilities fall to those with knowledge of these matters?

part four

In this part we will further deepen our understanding of the Mystery of America, of the spiritual America. We will do this by examining some matters which have not even been guessed at by those who previously struggled to do research in this area. I have in mind here: Carl Stegmann's The Other America; F.W. Zeylmans' America and Americanism, and Dietrich Asten's America's Way. These texts, for all their anthroposophical insight, overlooked one of the most crucial elements necessary to an understanding of the Mystery of America.

In order to truly understand America it is necessary to understand America's original peoples, the Indians. While the hereditary line of their physical bodies is that of an apparently dying (or melting into others) race - the Saturn Race, their soul and spiritual life is not. In them the American Soul first appears and in them Americans will find their true roots.

We also need to keep in mind, that while in Europe the aboriginal (tribal) peoples had all but disappeared by the year 1000, this process of social (and physical) assimilation did not really begin to happen in America until the end of the Indian Wars in the late 19th Century.

Sylvester Corey, of the Myrin Institute in New York, understood this fact. He produced in 1961 a small pamphlet, originally given as an address to the Waldorf School at Adelphi University, titled: American Indians and our way of life. Its thesis was quite simple. Americans are more like the Indian than they are like the European in their general soul characteristics. This in spite of the fact of being the physical descendants of Europeans (for the most part). The racial characteristics of physical bodies is one thing, the life of the soul is something entirely different.

We can appreciate this even more by noticing that for many contemporary Americans, the Indian is becoming more and more, not only a object for imitation, and an intriguing mystery, but as well a deep and remorse filled problem of conscience. No longer can Americans hide from the near genocide on which this country was founded, and it has become increasingly necessary for many to come to terms with this fact.

Consider what we know of Nature. Nothing is wasted. That which dies is dissolved and becomes the very ground out of which the vitally new grows. In a like manner, Indian culture may seem to have disappeared, but it has not completely, nor has the rest been wasted. A most intriguing reside remains, whose potential and purposes we will only be able to begin to imagine.

Contrary to European cultures, America's aboriginal peoples still exist, still seek to preserve as much as possible of their traditions. In this they are not alone. The natural and simple way of life, the daily spirituality, the love of freedom, the understanding of brotherhood, these and more virtues of the way of life of the original peoples of America are hungered for by many Americas at a deep soul level. There is a unique hidden genius here, for the social wisdom of the Indian is a great and largely unread scripture, earned and intuited through millennia of practical experience.

In this brief essay we are only able to begin to look at a couple small aspects of this social treasure, which will come to mean so much in the future. In this regard, two matters stand out as needing our attention. The first is an Indian prophecy which, while valid in its own right, is especially important for the anthroposophist, because it predicts our movement's activity in America and the role we are needed to play. The second is of like significance, in that it is a social ritual form which has much to teach us as we search for the path to the inauguration of the needed Michael Festival.

In the southwest of America, in the northeastern corner of Arizona, about 100 miles from the Grand Canyon and the Painted Desert, lives the Indian Nation known as the Hopi. Their small reservation of perhaps less then 10,000 souls is entirely surrounded by the Navajo Nation's reservation, comprising more than 150,000 individuals. Little mention is made of these people in the history of America or in the Indian Wars of the 19th century, for they are known as the Peaceful People, and did not participate as overtly as other Indian nations in the resistance to the invasion of the white race, called in the Hopi language, the Pahana.

Even so, in their oral history, and in their prophecies concerning a coming Day of Purification, the Hopi preserve a remarkable picture of the history and eventual ending of the way of life of Indian peoples.

The Hopi oral history remembers the destruction of Atlantis and the resulting migrations east and west. It tells how their leaders led them from a land being destroyed because of the deeds of evil two-hearted people. Through a reed they went up, rising through clouds (remember Atlantis was a land of mists). After this emergence, a great chief died, but his sons, two brothers, were chosen to lead them further. The younger brother was to go to the west, to a new land, and to travel as far north and south and east and west in this land as possible, leaving behind rock writings and ruins (thus, the mystery of the mound builders), because a time would come when they would forget they had once all been one.

Eventually, those lead by the younger brother would come to the place the Creator wanted them to live (three arid mesas in America's southwest). At one point the Creator said to the Hopi, after they had arrived at their destination, "...I am the first and I shall be the last." (In this regard recall Revelations 1:8 "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord...").

The elder brother was to go to the east, to the land of the rising sun and to wait there, for there would come a time when the way of life of the younger brother was being destroyed, and the elder brother was to return, to come and help and to bring the "life plan for the future".

The first sign of this coming destruction would be the appearance of a white race among them (the Hopi), who would claim the land as their own. Then will come three crises. The first two will rock the world into war (the two world wars) and the third will be the decisive one. "This third event will depend upon the Red Symbol, which will take command, setting the four forces of nature (Meha) in motion for the benefit of the Sun."...

"We know certain people are commissioned to bring about the Purification. It is the universal Plan from the beginning of creation, and we are looking up to them to bring purification to us. It is in the rock writings throughout the world, on different continents. We will come together if people all over the world know about it. So we urge you to spread this word around so people will know about it, and the appointed ones will hurry up with their task,..."...

"I am forever looking and praying eastward to the rising Sun for my true white brother to come."

The above has been necessarily abstracted from a much longer public talk given by Hopi Sun Clan Chief Dan Katchongva, Jan. 29, 1970. The full text is published in a book titled: The Return of Pahana: a Hopi Myth, by Robert Boissiere (Bear&Co, 1990). Knowledge of the Hopi Prophecy is hardly confined to America. The Voice of the Great Spirit: Prophecies of the Hopi Indians, by Rudolf Kaiser (Shambala, 1991), was originally published by the author in Europe, under the title, Der Stimme des Grossen Geistes.

I have lived with knowledge of this prophecy for over twenty-five years (35 now). Originally it was a small curiosity; I would read about it in odd places: an outdoor magazine, a '60's underground newspaper. Usually there was very little detail. Then, during the same year I met Anthroposophy, I found a small pamphlet titled: From the Beginning of Life to the Day of Purification, which was the original published version of the above noted talk by Grandfather David Katchongva (which has since gone out of print). For many years I made no connection between the two.

Finally, when I was part of the America Work, the circle of friends working with Carl Stegmann in Sacramento California, I wrote for his study letter, America in the Threefold World, a short article: Anthroposophy and the Hopi Prophecy of the True White Brother. Only two and a third pages in length, it simply asserted the general thesis, that the anthroposophical movement was the true white brother, the elder brother of the Prophecy, who was to return to aid the Hopi during the third and final crisis.

Except for meeting two or three personalities who thought that what I had suggested was true, the matter basically went to rest. About seven years later, however, I sat down to write about it again, and much to my surprise, wrote over eighty pages in ten days. This subsequently lead to a book: The Mystery of the True White Brother: an interpretation of the meaning of the Hopi Prophecy. In this book I attempted to draw detailed relations between the Prophecy and the underlying nature of Anthroposophy, while at the same time placing the whole situation in the context of the present phase of history, in particular the turn of the millennium. In consultation with a publisher, I subsequently rethought the book, and decided to rewrite it and to place the Hopi aspect into the context, and the meaning of contemporary events into the foreground. The new book, currently in progress, which can be found here on the loom, is titled: Strange Fire: the Death, and the Resurrection, of Modern Civilization. [Neither of these books was completed or published, while both can be found incomplete on my websites.]

The purpose for relating all this is twofold. First to acquaint the reader with the fact that I have lived with this riddle for many years. And second to suggest that what is said here, in this essay, concerning the Prophecy and its relation to Anthroposophy, is only a small segment of a much greater and more comprehensive study.

Let me now quote again, what I have come to see as the critical idea of the Prophecy, and then restate it in more contemporary anthroposophical terms.

"This third event will depend upon the Red Symbol, which will take command, setting the four forces of nature (Meha) in motion for the benefit of the Sun." We should perhaps note here that these words are an oral tradition and an interpretation of pictographic writings painted on rock, which the Hopi have treasured and maintained for perhaps thousands of years.

The third crisis of this century, the crisis of the turn of the millennium, will take a course dependent upon the activities of the People of the Rose-Cross (the Red Symbol). It is this symbol which the Hopi prophets (initiates) received, as part of their instructions from the Creator (the spiritual world), when they guided the Hopi from Atlantis and into the new land, the Americas.

This People (of the Rose-Cross) has the capacity to bring into play in world events the powers of the four directions, the powers which reside not only in the world in connection with the four ethers, but the reflection of those same powers in the human soul, known to us as thinking, feeling, willing, and consciousness. Remember that Rudolf Steiner not only mentions the four directions and the relevant beings in the Foundation Stone Meditation, but when the actual foundation stone was laid for the original Goetheanum he carried out a ceremony in the open air evoking these same powers, much as the Indian still does today in the Pipe Ceremony.

All of this activity is for the benefit of the Purposes of the Christ in human evolution, "for the benefit of the Sun", for to the original Hopi, at the time of the Atlantean catastrophe, the Christ was the Sun Being.

We have to imagine here the immense spiral movement through time, which is contemplated by the Prophecy, especially as understood today in anthroposophical terms. Certain peoples left Atlantis and went to the West. This stream was a physical race destined to die out, carrying spiritual traditions which also in time could pass away and be lost. Their task was to live in a spiritual way in this new land, as stewards, preserving its pristine* nature for a far future time, when the further demands of evolution would bring other peoples with other needs. These former Atlantean people were told of this destiny, and of the eventual end of their way of life. But with this went a promise. Those who went to the East, those whose task was to found all the civilizations of the early post-Atlantean epochs, would at the appointed time return. This stream of spiritual wisdom, of which Anthroposophy represents a continuation, could join the elder and the younger brothers together once more, and found a new civilization, a "life plan for the future".

*[See the book, 1491: new revelations of the Americas before Columbus, explores some rather new and unusual facts which might require a substantial reinterpretation of our pictures of the Americas and their Native Peoples.  This book was published in 2005, ten years after this essay was written.]

All that is contemplated by the Prophecy has come to pass, except one thing. The elder brother, the true white brother, the People of the Rose-Cross must in freedom accept this duty, this responsibility. There can be no compulsion, no initiate announcing that this or that must be done. No group decision either, no Vorstand, or Council. It is an individual choice.

I have made my choice. I have already set in motion those necessities leading to a personal meeting with the Hopi, at which time I expect to say, not literally in these words, but in this mood of soul: "I am of the elder brother people. I am here to offer to my brother, the Hopi, whatever aid I can give, and which you desire." (My message to the Hopi, can be found here on my website at: The Message from the True White Brother.) [This did not happen as I thought it would almost 12 years ago now.  The reasons for this are cogent, but lengthy, and will be not gone into here, but can be found somewhat expressed in the essay immediately above: The Future of Anthroposophy in the 21st Century.]

What will happen? Who can say? I do not doubt, however, that what does happen will be decided by two or more of us, in brotherhood.

We will now undertake to look at something else written in the social scriptures of America's original peoples. It will help here to look at the social activity of the Indian as a kind of speech. It is not so important to us what they thought about what they did; their cosmology was appropriate to their time and the nature of their consciousness. Rather what is important is what was done, what was willed.

The Indian in his highest cultural achievements lived a spiritual life. His whole attitude from waking to sleeping, on every day, in every season, was that behind Nature was a world of spirit and in every natural event this spirit spoke to him.

Living this way, living and willing for social good, for the well being of the group, the tribe, the nation, the whole people, this willing lead to a practical understanding of how to do that which was willed. So when we look at the social activity of the Indian we see what has been written in the script of deeds, out of their social genius - their intuitive striving for brotherhood - out of the depths of their primal version of the American Soul.

Now this activity was very much alive. It was not just something set into traditions handed down from a deep past. The Iroquois Confederacy, for example, was something added on to the life of those Nations which become associated in this way. A specific personality (Deganaweda) brought this wisdom to these nations, and convinced them to try it out. So also with what we will now look at from the wisdom of the Plains Indians. Someone came to them, someone their oral history calls Sweet Medicine, and taught them what is variously called: the Medicine Wheel Way, the Way of the Shields, the Brotherhood Way. As anthroposophists we can recognize that into these traditions flowed continuous spiritual inspiration, something we need as well if we are to keep our movement alive, healthy, and awake to the work it needs to accomplish.

In the book Seven Arrows, by Hyemeyohsts Storm (Ballantine Books, 1972), we will find the heart of this path to the spirit beautifully presented. Here can be found an aspect of the life of the Cheyenne, the Crow, and the Sioux (or as they called themselves: the Painted Arrow, the Little Black Eagle, and the Brother People) not available in the conventional histories of the time. No attempt will be made here to describe this "Way of Life of the People", this "understanding of the universe". Everyone should read about it themselves, from the source. Our concern is rather with something that happened in the life of these Peoples, as a consequence of their receiving this wisdom, something which only from our point of view reveals its significance as an inspiration for the creation of the Michael Festival.

Let us gather the needed facts. These Nations of Indians did not speak the same language, and as part of their social life - their life together - there came to be the "sign" language: Speech and communication through hand signs, sufficiently sophisticated to allow them to share questions and answers concerning the deeper elements of human existence (through the metaphorical use of nature symbols). As a result, over time, they came to share the same mystery wisdom.

Now in the course of the year the demands of life on the Great Plains necessitated certain things. In the winter, these Indians lived in small groups, perhaps just two or three families, camped in their tepees up a box canyon. Thus, spread out over large areas, each small group could find the game and fire wood needed to survive the winter. Life was lived predominately inside, with craft work, games and story telling the main activities.

As winter passed and spring arrived, these small groups began to move, to favorite hunting grounds and camping places, re-associating with others, until in the heights of summer and into the beginning of fall, large encampments came into existence, sometimes with hundreds of families and thousands of horses.

Under the influence of the teaching of the Medicine Wheel Way, individuals could go on a path of inner discovery. Those who choose to work with these teachings would then come to acquire either a painted shield (for the men) or a beaded or quilled belt (for the women) on which certain symbols would be placed. These symbols described something of who they were, the nature of their individual path, and those aspects of nature through which the spirit spoke to them in particular. Among the hundreds or thousands of individuals, who might be in a particular encampment, one would come upon those whose symbols had an affinity to ones own. Thus, one would find in the course of these annual gatherings ones spiritual brothers and sisters.

Eventually the seasons would change, late fall and winter would approach, and the various encampments would dissolve into smaller and smaller groups, to re-disperse over the Prairie. Of note here is that the smaller groups would not always be composed of the same families and individuals which wintered together the year before. One acquired new friends, marriages arose, deaths occurred, with the result that one wintered with different people, often people not even of the same Nation or language. These new associations might even include children, old enough to leave the maternal fold, who would winter with "uncles" or "grandfathers" whose relationship was not of blood, but of that spiritual affinity discovered during the summer-fall encampment.

Now these summer-fall encampments also occasionally celebrated a special ritual, the Sun Dance. We are here not concerned with the meaning of the Sun Dance (which would confront us with a whole other problem), or its details, but only with the fact that when necessary the leaders of the encampment would foster this ritual, because they knew it renewed something in the life of the people, first by giving individuals a special initiation process, which would strengthen them (and thus their contributions to the group) as well as re-inspire and rebind the group by its participation and support of the ritual.

These then are the facts of this way of life, the script or speech by activity of some of the social wisdom of these Peoples. Let us now review this activity in our imaginations, to seek what it has to say to us.

Over the course of the seasons, individuals, families and small communities traveled a path of inbreathing and outbreathing, contraction and expansion, condensation and dispersion. This grand annual rhythm brought it about that the relations and associations of disparate individuals and groups underwent growth, metamorphosis and change.

Woven into this way of life, was a common path to the spirit, which served and strengthened individuals and groups, but which was also approached in freedom. Differences of language and culture were overcome, individuals met in freedom and made new associations in freedom. Whole and part had a role; the social life itself lived, flowed, breathed, gave birth, and felt death.

Rudolf Steiner has urged the creation of a true Michael Festival, a late summer, early fall gathering. He has spoken as follows:

"This is the great and powerful picture given us in the approach of Autumn, so that from out of what happens in the cosmos we read this admonition: Nature consciousness must change in man into consciousness of self." (The Festivals and their meaning, p 338).

"...Michael rejects the inherited impulses of nationality..." (;bid.p 354)

"Because of Michael's rising from archangel to archi, spiritual deepening, which in the past was limited to certain peoples, will now be available to the whole of humanity. (ibid. p364)

"Through the Michael Impulse men will become personalities through what streams into them from above..." (ibid. p365)

What would happen were anthroposophists to found and sponsor a social festival, held annually, which brought together in America various different Peoples - people of different ways of life - to celebrate human freedom and the meeting of people across the boundaries of language, race and culture? What would happen if this were done in a way that Anthroposophy wasn't mentioned at all, purely as a service, done by those who understand that it needs to be done, and that once the people get together, they themselves will discover what needs to be done next? What if this were done in many places, not one giant overwhelming gathering, but each renewal organized in a way such that people have the opportunity to meet each other? What if each study group in America, held a small festival of this kind, gathering local people of different races, cultures and languages, into a shared celebration of their differences and their common humanity? What if these were held after high summer, as a preparation for those who might go from these gatherings to larger ones held later? What if...?


[Since my writing this, it was of course not shared among the anthroposophical community in America, which has remained turned away from the Mystery of America, and held too strongly to European spiritual traditions.  As a consequence, the spiritual inspiration connected to this need for a true Michaelic Festival in America has had to relocate, its main relocation being the inspiration that stands behind the Bioneers annual fall festival in mid-October.]

part five

It is now our task to weave together the various conceptions developed in the previous four parts, to seek for a higher point of view and a deeper meaning. Let us begin this process by looking at the title to this essay, to see what it suggests.

In the most obvious sense the title suggests that it is the mission of Anthroposophy in America to serve in some manner the awakening of the American Soul. Nothing unexpected here. Certainly most of us would agree that the awakening to a renewed spiritual life is in any event the general mission of Anthroposophy to humanity; so clearly it must be so to the American Soul. Yet a question does lurk here. The task being suggested is specific to the American Soul, so that we must ask ourselves: If we are to serve such a need, in what ways is the American Soul different or unique with respect to the general soul conditions of humanity, and how do those differences effect the completion of our task?

The founder of our movement had no doubt about these differences, nor about their profound and deep significance. These differences were the partial content of hundreds of individual lectures, and the central content of many lecture cycles. Moreover, there is a certain confusion which can arise, because Dr. Steiner sometimes spoke of distinctions between East and West, and sometimes about distinctions between East and Center and West, and no doubt meant something different by the term West in each of these two instances. In the former, central Europe was included, and in the latter, it was excluded. In addition Steiner often spoke of America as an appendage to the English, or spoke of English speaking peoples, including the Americans with the English. The point of all this is to suggest that when reading Steiner one must be careful to try to understand from which point of view he was speaking, at that particular time.

For example, he makes the following remarks while lecturing in England in 1922:

"So I believe that in the future my book [Towards Social Renewal] should be read more in the West and in Russia, but that it has no chance of becoming effective in Germany. The West, for instance, can learn much from this book, for in a non-Utopian manner it simple states how the three spheres co-exist, and should interact. For the West the moment in time does not matter, for much is still to be done for the right interaction of the three currents, the spiritual life, the economic life, and the politico-legal life."

Which West does he mean here? From the context and from the paragraph he seems to mean to exclude Germany, i.e. Central Europe, and therefore means West in the sense of England and America. It is far beyond the bounds of this essay to do a full analysis of the various indications given concerning the differences in soul characteristics between East, Center and West, and as well the material concerning the folk soul of individual peoples, as that would be relevant. However, for purposes of this essay, one fact does need to be brought forward; namely, a reasonable characterization of the differences between the soul life of the Middle European and the American, for it is the working together of these two, in anthroposophical work in America, that concerns us.

But even such a simple task requires of us more than one point of view. In The Challenge of the Times, Steiner says, "I have often brought to your attention the fact that the English-speaking peoples possess the real germinal potentiality for the development of the consciousness soul."; "...the German Middle European must be educated into the the consciousness soul..."; and, "The British folk character is power. The German folk character is the appearing, the seeming, if you will, the shaping of thoughts, that which is not in a certain sense of the solid earth. In the British folk character all is of the solid earth,..."

The A B C's of these distinctions include that the East is to develop freedom, the Center to develop equality and the West to develop brotherhood. In the East the spirit, thinking, in the Center, the soul, feeling, and In the West, the body, active willing. (Abstracted from Carl Stegmann's The Third Call.)

"...the American is much more intent upon learning something new than is the European who, in similar circumstances, has a greater tendency to defend his old points of view." (America and Americanism, F.W.Zeylmans.)

"...Americans live primarily in the outer world and concentrate on their tasks and problems. They have a spectator consciousness of the environment in which they live. They experience their identity through exposure to the outer world.

"By contrast, Central Europeans tend to development consciousness with regard to the inner life of the soul. They can be both actors in and spectators of their inner struggle. They come to consciousness of their own identity through the inner conflicts that arise out of the confrontation with the outer world and not so much out of the immediate experience of the world." (America's Way. Dietrich Asten.)

For myself, I have developed the following, which has been hinted at earlier in this essay.

The gesture of the American Soul is to see problems, to seek through the will to live on the Earth, and the intuitions of the thought life follow this will impulse. The need to accomplish the deed, brings in its train, the service of the active thinking, or any other conscious use of the inner life. The solving of the needs of the world as it is, becomes the cause by which the inner world is molded in the service of this will impulse.

The gesture of the Middle European Soul life is to live inwardly in the ideal, to will in that realm first and often to rest in the achievement of results in this realm alone. This in itself is seen as a significant accomplishment. Later an attempt may be made to conform earthly existence to this ideally realized conceptual result. The world is worked on in accord with what it ought to be as that ought is conceptualized by the inner activity.

We have only scratched the surface of a much needed deeper study, because these differences realize themselves in certain consequences for the anthroposophical work in America. Consequences which in many cases are unfortunate, because the whole question of how these very different ways of working should be united has been ignored, been left to take whatever course it would out of an unconscious interaction between the two soul gestures. (See, for more detail on these questions, on my website: On the Practicalities of Communicating the Ideal to the American Soul)

A great part of the problem, for us in American anthroposophical circles especially, is that the America Work is a neglected study. Set off to the side, seemingly not as attractive as Waldorf teaching, or Eurythmy, or other established anthroposophical disciplines, the study of the Spiritual America languishes, a building less then half built, really only a partial foundation, its construction interrupted and prolonged by the assertion that other concerns were more important. Yet the America Work is a life giving necessity, not just for the American Soul, but for the whole anthroposophical work. Consider the following:

For many years America has been a fertile ground for our brothers and sisters from Europe to come and find a place for themselves, and this co-mingling of vastly different soul forces, without any effort to work consciously with these realities, has lead to an intriguing, if not downright peculiar situation. Thus, from a certain point of view it is possible to look at anthroposophical work in America as being severely distorted by a strong Euro-centric bias. In this regard I have written elsewhere:

"The anthroposophical society is not free of the effect of the negative forces which seek to realize the complete descent of humanity, especially Western humanity, into materialism. In America, one of the manifestations of this is that the anthroposophical movement/society is lamed by an unfortunate over-adaption to the forms of soul life more properly belonging to Central Europe. This capture of the spiritual impulses proper to the American Soul is nearly complete, and is evidenced by the current emphasis on meditation practice in the courses and conferences. It is the gesture of the central European soul life to see meditation as an essential thing in itself, to see the vertical relationship between man and the spiritual world as the primary act. The American Soul is not so constituted, although by admiration and imitation it will so adapt itself. Its gesture is to need to act on the world, to live on the Earth in a right [moral] way. Meditation in this context becomes secondary, a means to an end. The American wants to meet spiritual people who are effectively active on the Earth and facing its problems. The American wants to know what can be done and what is being done to cure the ills of the social world, and to heal the living Earth from the damages being caused by mankind's selfish concept of progress.

"A related matter is the absence of a Christ centered meditation practice. Reading the literature offered by the American anthroposophical society on its meditation courses one is struck by the absence of this element. Especially at the time of the Etheric Return of the Christ, it seems odd that meditation practice is offered as a thing in itself, without being related to its fundamental spiritual content. This is understandable for the meditation practices of the East, for Tibetan or Zen Buddhism for example, with their non-theistic orientation. But for the West, meditation without a moral (Christian) mood of soul is unthinkable.

"In America there is a hunger for Christian meditative practices with depths equal to those of the Orient. Many souls, during the '60's and its aftermath, turned from their Christian roots, turned to the East, tasted those disciplines and found them wanting. Yet, when they looked at Christianity, they found fundamentalism, TV evangelism, essentially gross distortions of what they knew instinctively represented something higher. The hunger persists, but these souls cannot find their way to the Table. Something stands in the way."

These things could be said, and from a certain point of view they are true, but there are other aspects to these questions. This co-mingling of American and Central European soul forces was a necessity, no less than the historical and psychological necessity which drove the Europeans (on their path to becoming Americans) to the near genocide of the Indian. Even so, there is a higher point of view, from which we may solve the dilemma. Valentin Tomberg, in his remarkable Studies on the Foundation Stone, had this to say concerning the incarnation of spiritual impulses:

"The three Hierarchies of the cosmic Spirits of Light bring the fire, the movement and the form of the life-giving Light Of Christ into the life of Earth*. (*We are here speaking of the working of the Cosmic stream; the corresponding current of the spiritual Earth-organism has a different direction). Moreover they bring it - as a cosmic current - in the horizontal direction which is from sunrise to sunset. This horizontal cosmic current expresses simultaneously the graduated working of the three Hierarchies of the Spirits of Light. For the activity of the Spirits of Wisdom preponderates in the East, - there the current has the quality of pure spiritual Fire drawing near the Earth. Then, as the current flows further toward the West, the Spirits of Movement begin to participate in it, making it spiritual light that moves our moral feeling; while in the West - through the preponderance of the Spirits of Form - it becomes definite spiritual missions, tasks and aims to be achieved on Earth. In the West the current reaches its destination; through the spiritual forces of the West it can become a reality helping to mold the destiny of the Earth, it here receives a form corresponding to the destiny of Earth."

Now we certainly have the expectation that Anthroposophy will spread over the Earth. But if we look at the facts, at what has happened so far, we can see that by far the strongest movement is from Center to West, from Europe through England to America. In fact if we go into the background of Steiner's work, we will remember that it was first associated with the Theosophical Society. Thus we can see that the whole impulse for the renewal of spiritual life, amidst the materialism of Western civilization, begins with first a turning toward the East. Out of the East something comes, the Bhagavad Gita is translated into European languages for the first time, and the spiritual fire of the Orient kindles an interest in the souls of Central Europeans. I think we can behold an important truth here, if, consistent with Tomberg's beautiful picture, we see that the whole spiritual revival in the world, of which Anthroposophy is only a part, is effected and directed by the flow of the work of the Spirits of Light moving from sunrise to sunset, from East to West.

Further, in accord with this picture we can see in the founding years of the Anthroposophical Society the work of the Spirits of Movement, stirring the feeling life, the soul life of the Central European, inspiring the imagination, giving birth to all that we now experience in the once-called daughter movements (see Steiner's Lectures from the 1907 Munich Conference, during which he began to emancipate the Anthroposophical Movement from the Theosophical Society, through a major conference on the Arts - The Rosicrucian Unity of Science, Religion and Art: occult Images, Seals and Pillars: The Theosophical Congress of Whitsun 1907). But now another phase begins, timing itself with the turn of the millennium and all that great struggle which this implies. Here then, the Spirits of Form, take the next step, finishing the incarnation of this new spiritual impulse on the Earth, giving it the form corresponding to the destiny of the Earth.

In this sense then we can see the movement of Europeans to America, to carry forward the anthroposophical impulse, is quite in accord with the work of the Hierarchies. Our work is, as it were, swept along by the cosmic current responsible for its being, nature and form.

Moreover, if we add to this our previous observations concerning the introduction of social chaos and the loss of tradition, we can see that the American having been torn lose from his past, will have had of necessity to enter into a kind of cocoon phase. The soul does not immediately move from the old to the new, but transitions, sheds slowly the past, passes through stages of formlessness first, before emerging out of its chrysalis into its new way of being. From this point of view the predominance of the European approach to Anthroposophy, which has held sway in American circles, has played a needed role, surrounding and protecting the American Soul as it learns to find its way on the new path to the spirit. But now something else must happen. The America Soul, as that expresses itself in anthroposophical work, is now to come into its own. It has an original relationship to Anthroposophia, it has its own unique gifts to bring to fruition; gifts, which if we accept the picture Tomberg has given us, represent those soul forces which will transform the anthroposophical movement further, into that form corresponding to the destiny of the Earth.

We need to be careful here not to consider the task of the Central European Soul to be higher or lower or any such type of distinction with respect to its relationship to Anthroposophy. This impulse, the anthroposophical impulse, through the forces of the Central European Soul was given life, vitality - that which flowers in the Arts. Through the forces of the American Soul it is to be given form, to be made Earthly. Here, where the upward streaming Earth forces are so strong, Anthroposophy becomes something through the will, something more than it has been to date. Something that it cannot become solely through the rhythmic life, or the life of feeling. Both kinds of soul forces are needed.

This need not change our more conventional image of Dornach as the center of the anthroposophical society/movement. [At the time I wrote this over 10 years ago I did not yet realize how completely the Michaelic stream of Cosmic Wisdom had been turned into mere intellectualism in the Center.] The center of the feeling life of the human organism, the heart of the human being, its role is central. It balances, mediates, and guides. It pulses in accord with its own nature and, as well, in accord with that which flows through it, the blood (the living spirit), an organ in its own right. So it is with Dornach. Dornach is [an understandable romantic idea, which I have since abandoned, especially after reading Gordienko's book (several times) on Prokofieff, meeting him personally, and observing the worship - excessive sympathies - with which he is adored.] (now was) the heart of our movement. But just as with the new born human infant, which is born with the nerve-sense pole (head) well developed, and the rhythmic system, moderately developed, and the limb system young and undeveloped, so does Anthroposophy incarnate, developing each system in order; the will organism last, only after birth.

To those who are yet unclear on this, who wonder what happened in the East, we need to see that the originating activity has taken place above the Earth in the Cosmos. Perhaps the souls of the East participated in this activity in their sleep life. From East to West then, from Cosmic birth, through life filled becoming, to Earthly form, the anthroposophical impulse moves carried along from sunrise to sunset by the Spirits of Light, bringing "the life-giving Light of Christ into the life of the Earth."

Remember what the Hopi Sun Clan Chief said: "I am forever looking eastward, to the rising sun, for my true white brother to come..."

In this regard then, let us now look at the anthroposophical impulse as that appears ready to take on the essence of its earthly form under the influence of the social genius of the American Soul. For those who might be expecting this essay to describe such form, let me say that such an act would be premature. The idea here is that we can expect the American Soul, as it matures under the influence of the new path to the spirit, to engage in activities which give rise to form, form which we cannot anticipate because of the way the America Soul works: Intuitions follow the impulses of the will.

The gesture of the American Soul is to see problems to be solved, and the modern world is certainly full of such problems. But where do we begin?

Reason it this way. America has a special relation to the modern world. American materialism and American culture is everywhere imitated and exported. This transmission of a way of life, this movement of the materialistic and commercial impulses, which flows out of America and into the world, there becomes an influence in the culture and life of other peoples. If we look with our imaginations at this activity in its totality, as a community gesture of the soul life of Americans, we can see it as a kind of song, a tone setting act in the dance of life over the whole world, a leading voice in the World Song. If that song emanating from America undergoes a change, that change as well will be noticed, exported and imitated. In a way then, American culture, in the widest sense, is a lever by which to move the whole world. The question then becomes, by what means do we change the song of American culture?

It would certainly be an impossible task if we had to approach such a problem from the beginning. But Divine Circumstance is wiser then we can imagine, and if we perceive closely and clearly enough the various matters so far developed in this essay, matters of social fact, we will see that a special seed, planted near a century ago, is about to flower. Everything is properly in place, everything is precisely and subtly balanced. We need only awake [something that as of 2007 has not yet happened, unfortunately] to the task, choose in freedom to act, and the needed deeds can be done. Even the individual personalities are in the proper places. Did not Dr. Steiner tell us of those who would return, and those who would be incarnated at the turn of the millennium, at the time of great battle with the Dragon? The Stage has been set in accord with the Designs of the Master Playwright Himself.

Let us review what has been so far developed in this essay in the light of this understanding of the Drama now to unfold.

The human being stands in the world in the center of two relationships. One is the vertical relation, between himself and the divine world of the spirit. Toward this world the human being has the possibility of "rendering" those sacrifices which lead to the transformation of his own nature. By giving up who we are now, we become as the good Gods wish for us to become.

The second relation is a horizontal one. The human being stands in relation to the social world, toward which he again may sacrifice, may "render", because the nature of the social world, the being of that social world only has those qualities which flow from such a sacrifice. The social world becomes as humanity gives to it to become.

The union of these two relations, the vertical and the horizontal is the Image of the Cross, and the human being, by sacrificing in these two directions, becomes himself a Cross-Bearer.

Through the centuries, both of these directions of action have undergone transformations consistent with the evolution of the human being and, as well, the evolution of the world of spirit. As part of this unfolding and development, the social world has complexified, becoming threefold (tending toward ninefoldness), until, at this very moment in time, its central organ, the heart of the heart of the social world (the Culture of Media), has been born and achieved sufficient maturity to begin to play its role as the sounding drum of the shared conscience of the human community.

All of these developments take place at an unusual moment, the turn of the millennium. This moment has a special character, in that with the death of tradition the historic forms of social life have become formless, chaotic. But this formlessness is not purposelessness. On the contrary, the chaos is a natural prelude to the incarnation of new social forms, and, as well, the necessary precondition for the development of moral freedom. In addition, if we understand the form giving principle in general in Nature, we are aware that it organizes matter through sound in a most general sense. In this way we can see that what is to sound in the world as a social impulse will participate in the creation of new social form out of the present chaos.

In all the world there exist yet only a few human beings who can understand that these realities have come to be and what they mean, what they portend for the future of humanity. And, this understanding would not be possible if a whole century had not been given over to the gradual enlightened preparation of these few human beings, through the work of Anthroposophy. And, not only have these few human beings developed sufficiently in their cognition to perceive the great Drama, but this preparation of souls is a continuous, ongoing, accelerating, widening process. A song is being sung, and a few are hearing it, and learning to sing along with it, to share in freedom its creation and consecration. And, most especially, these few are learning how to teach others to listen, and to sing.

In America, where the voice for brotherhood is stirring, the appointed ones mostly sleep to the ancient spiritual song, which still rings forth over the Earth here. These "appointed ones" [the true white brother - the anthroposophists] yet know little or nothing of the original peoples, or of the deep social wisdom that these peoples are ready to bequeath to the future. But that is changing, another voice takes up the song of the ancients, the Prophecy long held dear and consecrated through centuries of faithful ceremonial life.

A special time is at hand, this song tells. A great spiral dance through time has been accomplished, and those who once were brothers, but became strangers to each other, these now can be reunited. The path to the spirit of the ancients is dying, is now in its very last days. But the new path has come (the life plan for the future), borne on the long winds of time, borne by those who many times have danced on the great spiral. Out of this new Way, comes a new Song, and new singers, singing the song of life for the future, for "the Day of Purification" [the Epoch of the Consciousness Soul].

What will happen when these two voices join together, when those who yet sing the song of the honored ancients, join in community to sing together with those who bear the new song? This will not go unnoticed, although nothing overt need be done other than join the two songs together. As these voices meet and search for common ground a tone will be set, a tone which will catch the ear of many who are yearning just to hear again this sacred sound. This tone is unique, for it carries within it awareness of the special qualities of the time; and, as this tone reverberates in the land it will by its nature, as easily as flowers open to the light of the Sun, set in motion in a new way, in an almost imperceptible way, the sounding drum of the social world.

Thus, through the joining of these songs, the sounding drum will beat a new and subtle rhythm, and the sleeping giant will stir, hearing finally the call to brotherhood, which has for so long been merely a dream. Then, when the giant stirs, and begins to find his true nature, the whole world will notice, and hear the new song, and a light will dawn for many as they ask: Whence comes this song, this new Way to the Spirit, that bears in its wake such ripe fruit?

This then is the theme song of the Great Drama of the Turn of the Millennium, written carefully in the very stuff of the social world, in the simple facts of the time. There are many parts in this Play, enough for all human beings.

The thesis of this essay is, in part, that America can be turned from its materialistic course by free deeds undertaken by members of the anthroposophical movement. Yet, the subtitle suggests that this is not the mission of the anthroposophical movement, but rather the mission of Anthroposophy. There is a point to this.

"Anthroposophy is a path of knowledge, to guide the Spiritual in the human being to the Spiritual In the universe." Rudolf Steiner, first leading thought, from Anthroposophical Leading Thoughts.

When I first studied the leading thoughts in an anthroposophical study group, the leader, a Central European, explained that the word cognition was a better word than knowledge, i.e the sentence should read: "...path of cognition...". His reasoning was that what was meant was that Anthroposophy was a path of active conscious thinking [Emerson's active soul], and that sometimes people became confused and seemed to see Anthroposophy as a path involving the acquisition of information and facts (knowledge), and therefore primarily of study. Subsequently I began to perceive that there were different styles of approach, and that one could discern to some degree which approach individual members of the movement/society favored.

This is not to say one or the other is better; each, I think, is appropriate to the individual, and each may have a role to play. The point is that it is the mission of the active conscious thinking to wake the sleeping giant. With active conscious thinking living spiritual forces enter into the life of the Earth. So when I suggest that Anthroposophy is to play a role in the return of the elder brother, in the reuniting in the individual soul of the meaning-significance of the two brothers and what that means in terms of the Hopi Prophecy, I have in mind more then just a meeting of people. Those who wish to put themselves forward as representatives of the true white brother need to be striving for Anthroposophy, for active conscious thinking.

It is these living spiritual forces which then become the source of the new song, forces which are not solely from the Hierarchies, but which flow primarily from human activity.

The American Soul is deep. Its roots lie hidden in the heritage of ancient aboriginal peoples. Its flowering cannot yet be seen or even imagined, for this Soul is newly born and has yet much to learn and experience. The Mystery of America is a Mystery of the Sacred Union in the souls of individuals of the new Sun Mysteries of the New Thinking and the Ancient Saturn Mysteries of community life (a necessary foundation for a true Reverse Cultus). Rudolf Steiner sets us forth on the right path when he says:

Eternal becoming in thinking / Every step a deepening / Overcoming the surface / Penetrating the depths.

to which I add:

We dream America / We sing Her shadow and Her light / We dream America / And America dreams us.


This ideas in this essay have a long history, in fact being a part of the previous one.   In this version it was intended for a more general audience.    If I was to rewrite it today, I would alter certain aspects.  It was written in 1997.

The Mystery* of the True White Brother

an interpretation of the meaning of the Hopi Prophecy

by a member of the Elder Brother People

* sacred rite of initiation

[all quoted material in the main body is taken from the original talk given in January of 1970, by Hopi Sun Clan Chief, Dan Katchongva, and then originally published in 1972 under the title: "From the Beginning of Time to the Day of Purification". The full text of this talk may be accessed at The Hopi Prophecy , or found reprinted in its entirety in the second chapter of Robert Boissiere's book: "The Return of Pahana, a Hopi Myth"]

Some readers of this material may find certain references to the far past, a bit much to take, and wonder, as well, what rational justification could be given for certain points of view expressed there. The author's views on these understandable questions will be found at the end of this message.

The Hopi Prophecy

(in brief)

The essential core of the Hopi Prophecy, such as is available to the general public, is completely embeded in their complex oral history. While this history and the Prophecy are, for the most part, treated the same in various sources, many details, some of more than a little significance, are different in different sources. In general, however, the talk noted above, "From the Beginning of Time,..." is accepted by many as the most complete and authoritative version of both the history and the Prophecy.

This history begins with stories that are not dissimilar to those which appear in Genesis. First the People (the Hopi) find themsevles living in paradise. Then, after a failure to live up to the instructions of the Creator, the People's life changes and toil, suffering and death ensue. As time goes on, problems, which naturally flow from the fact that human beings are capable of great evil, manifest themselves.

Following this, the history recalls that the place the Hopi's ancestors had been living in was about to be destroyed due to the activity of evil two-hearted people. Then, after the beginning of the migrations of those who fled from this destruction, one of the principle leaders died. His two sons were then deemed capable of carrying on this Chief's mission. After some discussion the "Younger" Brother led some of the people into a new land. These people, after many years of travel, eventually settled in the Southwest of America, and the present day Hopi are their descendants.

The "Elder" Brother's task was to go to the East and to wait, for there would eventually come a time when the Younger Brother's way of life was about to be destroyed. When this time came the Elder Brother was to return and to save the remaining true Hopi from this destruction; and, at the same time, to inaugurate a new phase in the cycle of time - a phase called in the Prophecy: the "Day of Purification".

The Hopi Prophecy is not always clear. The terms Elder Brother and True White Brother seem interchangeable. One fact does seem certain, namely, the expectation that when the Elder Brother returns, he/she/they will be members of the white race.

Some statements in the Prophecy are highly symbolic, and therefore potentially very ambiguous. For example: "This third event will depend upon the Red Symbol, which will take command, setting the four forces of nature (Meha) in motion for the benefit of the Sun.''

When the True White Brother does appear, the Hopi expect to be able to recognize them. Not all the Hopi agree on the criteria, however. This recognition may depend upon how the True White Brother looks, what they do when they arrive, and whether or not they possess the other half of the "stone tablet(s)''. These tablets had the Creator's instructions on them. "The older brother was to take one of the stone tablets with him to the rising Sun and bring it back with him..."

Those who currently write or speak about the Prophecy, including modern Hopi Elders, almost universally seem to fail to recognize that the Elder Brother People will have their own point of view about what the Prophecy means. The way the Prophecy has been habitually discussed, is almost as if the True White Brother will appear spontaneously without any past, and as if they had been waiting in some kind of hidden stasis over the long centuries.

The reality is, of course, just as those who were lead by the Younger Brother have a history which eventually becomes the story of the present day Hopi, so also will the Elder Brother People have a past, a context, that arises from what has happened to them over this great period of time.

The following is, therefore, a statement about what the Hopi Prophecy means from the point of view of a member of the Elder Brother People, the True White Brother. It should be understood, however, that what is stated below is a simplification of a much wiser and more complicated world view, involving as it does an attempt to encompass the meaning of the whole of human history and evolution.

The Understanding of the Elder Brother People

(not so brief)

In the deep past of the evolution of the human race there existed a civilization on a land mass in the middle of that area of the Earth we call the Atlantic Ocean. This fact has been remembered in modern times as the legend of Atlantis. The reader of this text is advised not to be disturbed by a reference to what seems to many to be a fantasy. Many a significant truth is recorded in the myths and legends of humanity. It is only a modern cultural bias which believes that in all cases we know better than the ancients.

For example, we know today that Stonehenge is, at the very least, a remarkable astronomically oriented structure. We would do well not to assume that we have uncovered all its mysteries or even begun to truly understand the world view, and state of consciousness, of those who built it. What truths did they know? What ideals lived in their hearts? How did they move those stones? The deep past is full of mystery and we should not presume to limit its nature by our beliefs, prejudices and biases.

As is recalled in Hopi oral history, this land, and the civilization it nurtured, had to be destroyed so that humanity could progress in accord with the designs of the Gods. Just before that destruction occurred, a warning was given to certain priests (what the Hopi today sometimes call "Chiefs'') in various places on Atlantis where there existed mystery centers, places of learning and spiritual initiation. This was done so that specific groups of people, who possessed special qualities of consciousness, could survive the destruction and subsequently found the various post-atlantean civilizations.

In the resulting migrations, some peoples went to the West, into the Americas, and some to the East, into Europe and beyond. This is remembered in the Hopi oral history in the story of the two brothers, the Elder and the Younger.

The nature of the consciousness of these two groups was different, as what was intended for them required different qualities of soul and spirit. Those groups who went to the West, into the Americas, were intended to possess a form of consciousness which eventually centered itself in that orientation that finds in the processes and activities of Nature an expression of the world of the spirit. Thus, the people lead by the Younger Brother were to become the stewards these new lands, to hold them for a future time, when people of different needs and forms of consciousness would come to live there.

Out of these underlying impulses was born the various Nations of Indians, whose cosmology was centered in Nature and which related itself to the Four Directions, and the activity of the Great Spirit.

Not all the decadent (evil, two-hearted) spiritual impulses of Atlantis disappeared with its destruction. Certain types of knowledge, known in the atlantean mystery centers, and which today we would call sorcery because of their fascination with power, survived. It is this negative influence which we also find living in some of the South America civilizations and religious practices. Carlos Castenada's "Yaqui Way of knowledge" is a modern version of this dangerously one-sided view of spiritual life and knowledge.

Hidden beneath the surface of this long epoch of human history and prehistory, from the time of Atlantis to and through the creation of the subsequent civilizations that arose in Asia, and then later in Europe, was a general change in the consciousness of humanity. At the start of this period the human being was awake, although in a dreamy kind of way, to the spiritual life which surrounded and permeated him (thus, the Australian aboriginies concept of the "dreamtime'').

As this evolution of consciousness progressed, the original instinctive knowledge and direct experience of the reality of spiritual beings and causes was slowly lost to the general populace. Ultimately, it came to be that only in the mystery centers could individuals be brought into authentic contact with the world of the spirit through various processes of initiation.

It was the task of those who lead the migrations to the East, which the Hopi Prophecy remembers as the Elder Brother, to oversee the founding of the various post-atlantean civilizations, and in particular to create the centers of spiritual wisdom in which knowledge of how to contact the world of the spirit could be maintained. This was done so that even though for the ordinary human being a kind of darkness descended, civilizations could still be influenced and guided through direct spiritual contact with the Gods.

It is the descent of this darkness which is referred to in the ancient Indian (Asian) cosmology with its concept of the various ages ending with the so-called Dark Age, or Kali Yuga. It is from this past time of general spiritual knowledge that we receive the legends of the elemental spirits, the gnomes, undines, slyphs and fairies. All the great myths, from the Nordic to the ancient Greek, are memories of human understanding of spiritual realities from the time when direct spiritual contact existed, whether in the general populace or only in the mystery centers.

In the final stages of the age of darkness, even the mystery centers disappeared. In Western civilization this arose through those processes connected to the arrival of Christianity and the resultant destruction of the so-called pagan or goddess religions.

Those lead by the Elder Brother were to have a different kind of consciousness from those lead by the Younger Brother. We can see this most concretely when we notice that those, who went from Atlantis to the East, formed civilizations with a strong tendency toward ever increasing material progress, ultimately leading to the age of science and industry. While in the Americas, on the other hand, the tradition of intimacy with Nature maintained itself quiet strongly. Thus, one group (the Elder Brother's Peoples) eventually came to approach the natural world as something to own and to manipulate, while the other group (the Younger Brother's Peoples) continued to feel themselves as a part of Nature; that is, up until that crisis point, the conquest of the Americas, when these two completely different orientations toward the natural world began to encounter and to come into conflict with each other.

It is the meaning and significance of this crisis point that is the core element of the Hopi Prophecy.

The priests (Chiefs), which lead the migrations to the West, were still, for a while, initiates in the mysteries. From the resulting experiences of the spiritual world they obtained that knowledge which was to become the prophetic oral tradition of the Hopi People. Thus, in the imagery of the Hopi Prophecy is given one understanding of this anticipated encounter between the two modes of consciousness.

Let us review a few of these facts point by point. The Hopi were told that at a certain point in time there would appear among them a white race, which would claim the land as their own. This has come to pass.

The Hopi were told that the arrival of these people would precipitate a crisis in their way of life leading to its possible complete destruction. This has come to pass.

The Hopi were told that as this crisis matured the whole world would be affected, resulting in two great wars. This has come to pass.

The Hopi also were told that during this crisis someone or some group known as either the Elder Brother, or the True White Brother, could appear from the East, could save the true Hopi, and could inaugurate the "Day of Purification". This group was also to have the "life plan for the future". Further, in the most definitive statement of the Prophecy, we find this terminology: "This third event [following the two wars] will depend upon the Red Symbol, which will take command, setting the four forces of nature (Meha) in motion for the benefit of the Sun."

It is in the solving of this riddle, the meaning of the above quoted statement and in the understanding ot how this event is actually occurring in the modern world, that the significance of the Hopi Prophecy's imagery of the missing or broken "stone tablet" comes into play.

The point of view of the Hopi, the Younger Brother People, is only one part of the meaning of the Prophecy. The other part, the missing part, is the understanding of the Prophecy that is known to the Elder Brother People. Only through bringing together both views and integrating them will the truth come to be perceived.

Let us modify slightly the imagery we have already developed. The Younger Brother could be seen as the representative of that view of the world which sees itself as the "shepherd" of Nature, a nature which includes the human being within its circle. The Hopi understand that their ceremonial life is essential to maintain the world in balance.

The Elder Brother could be seen as the representative of that view of the world that sees itself as the "shepherd" of human consciousness. When the modern work of the Elder Brother is clearly understood, it will be seen to have as its purpose the true comprehension of the present and future potential of human inner life, the life of soul and spirit.

At this point we are near to entering more concretely into an understanding of who the Elder Brother People are. There remains, however, one more preliminary matter.

We have already seen that the Elder Brother's mission was to oversee the post-atlantean civilizations of Asia and Europe during the period of time when human consciousness lost its natural contact with the spiritual world, and entered into a kind of inner darkness. In the last days of this epoch, the Elder Brother work centered itself in various mystery centers. Then, when those events leading to the founding of Christianity occurred, it became necessary for even these mystery centers to cease existence.

Thus it was that initiation wisdom disappeared into the shadows, as is so beautifully described in Marion Zimmer Bradley's novel: ''The Mists of Avalon".

However, with the dawn of Christianity began something else. It is no accident that one of the early tasks of the youthful Christ religion was the suppression and elimination of the older mysteries. Remember please that the dominate theme of Earth existence for the human being, following the Atlantean catastrophe, was the development of certain forms of consciousness. Thus, in accord with the intentions of the Gods, the descent of humanity into a period of spiritual darkness is an absolute necessity for the evolution of human freedom; and this is meant not just to be political liberty, but true inner freedom, freedom of thought, freedom of the spirit.

Only a darkened consciousness can choose freely to seek again a knowledge of the world of the spirit. Only in the stark aloneness of the enclosed self can arise the will to go beyond the mists and once again into the light.

Thus it came about that, during that period when the ideologies of the Roman Church dominated the thought life Western Civilization, mystery knowledge disappeared, and only in the rumored warrens of alchemical and rosicrucian circles, or in the beautiful saga of Parzival and the search for the Holy Grail, was the way of initiation remembered.

But, like everything else ("and this to shall pass''), the, at one time necessary, control of Catholicism over Western minds began to wane. Science arose, and, with that excess which everything youthful engenders, all ideas of spirit became for many mere systems of belief or superstition. Yet, a science empty of the spirit is poor food for the hungry soul, and thus, in spite of the apparent command of the direction of our civilization by scientific materialism, people began to seek again for meaning and transcendence, even to the point of trying to resurrect all the old gods.

From this hunger then, begins that search for the spirit which first appeared at the transition from the nineteenth to the twentieth centuries, beginning with theosophy, spiritism and Gurdjieff work, then later Indian Yoga adepts, Tibetan Buddhist Llamas, and Zen Masters, until in America, especially, the Goddess Herself resurfaces in the company of a renewed interest in shamanism.

The question could be put this way: Among all this richness of tradition, which spiritual "stream" is the one that bears the responsibility for the evolution of consciousness which is the hallmark of the mission of the Elder Brother People?

The answer to this question is not simple. For example, we have hardly examined the realities of Christianity, such as they relate to the matters under discussion. Much that claims to be Christian today is not. Some churches do not even really believe in the Christ, because the idea they hold of God is no different from that which the Jews held concerning Jehovah. For such "theologies", even though they mouth the words, it is as if the Christ events never occurred. Other churches only consider Jesus the man. For these, there is no understanding any longer of the cosmic elements of spiritual life. For them Christianity is only a wise philosophy.

But, as we noted, when Christianity appeared in the world it eclipsed the older mysteries. Just as these older paths had to pass away so that the darkening of human consciousness as regards the spiritual world could be complete, so Christianity came, destined to be the religion of the future, the religion whose yet to be discovered depths contain the seeds for the maturation of the human spirit in complete freedom.

However, if we look at what exists today, such a Christianity is hardly apparent. The current leadership of the Roman Church still seeks to determine exclusively the question of what is moral. The fundamentalist and evangelical protestant churches play dangerous games in the political realm. While at the same time, the ''religion", which is science, professes to answer all the deep questions of the human soul in terms completely without spirit.

It is no wonder then that the Hopi. Prophecy calls the age we now enter the "Day of Purification".

Among the many spiritual voices active in modern life are two personalities whose work stands head and shoulders above all the others. In saying this, I am not attempting to diminish other visions, for many of the active traditions are deep and rich in their wise understanding. Rather, I am attempting to point toward work which belongs more than any other to the realities and characteristics of the modern age. It is more a matter of what most meets the needs of modern humanity, then any other criteria.

In the 1960's in America, when a certain intensity of spiritual renewal rose to the surface, an idea floated around concerning the possibility of the reuniting of science and religion. This was to be one consequence of the arrival of the so-called age of Aquarius. In this hope was expressed a sense of the great inner disunity underlying modern culture. What was reason in the soul, which appeared most strongly in the methods of science. could not be integrated with the soul's capacity for devotion, for religious life, for the seeking of the spirit. While even deeper, hidden in even this desire for the unification of reason and devotion, was the sense of the loss of the imagination, that aspect of the soul which appears most strongly in art.

Reason, imagination and devotion, the three corner stones of soul life. Nowhere in modern life were these found in a clear unity.

In answer to this need to heal modern consciousness and soul life there arose the work of two personalities. From the side of the ideals of science, reaching toward the realm of religion, comes the work of Rudolf Steiner, the founder of Anthroposophy (sometimes called Spiritual Science). From his genius has come Waldorf Schools, biodynamic agriculture and much else which has yet to be appreciated by the wider culture.

From the side of the ideals of religion, reaching toward the realm of science, comes the work of Valentin Tomberg. His anonymously written, "Meditations on the Tarot: a journey into Christian Hermeticism", stuns each reader who honestly encounters it, with its depth and breadth of understanding, in particular the illumination it brings to the deeper inner meaning of the three vows: chastity, poverty and obedience.

Both personalities are from the East, from the rising sun, and are European: Steiner from Central Europe and Tomberg from European Russia ("I am forever looking to the rising sun, for my True White Brother to come", Dan Katchongva, Hopi Sun Clan Chief). What marks them especially is that they are, unquestionably, true initiates. That relationship with the spiritual world, formerly cultivated in the mystery centers, and which then disappeared during the domination of European thought by the Roman Church, comes again to bring its gifts to bear on the problems and needs of modern humanity. Amidst the dust and debris of modern culture, the Elder Brother returns.

Now work such as this influences others. This is its real power. Around Steiner and around Tomberg others gather. The work multiplies, grows and develops. It "streams" into modern life, giving birth to much that has yet to be noticed in the main centers of human learning, the great universities of Western Civilization.

As this resurrected initiation wisdom is communicated, certain themes dominate. How to achieve initiation in modern times, as a free individual, is taught. The confusing relations between initiation wisdom and Christianity are resolved. That the core of this modern path of initiation follows the Seven Stages of Christ's Passion is explained. How to develop science so that it finds the spirit in Nature is elaborated. The fruit of initiation wisdom is poured out over education, medicine, art, social science, psychology, and much else besides.

The result is, that hidden among the seemingly spiritually empty way of life of the white race, that had rolled so imperiously over American aboriginal cultures, is the spiritually full work of the "True" White Brother, the Elder Brother of the Hopi Prophecy.

Even so, a most serious question does remain. The true Hopi wait expectantly. Someone is supposed to come personally to them bringing this knowledge, this "life plan for the future". But more importantly, of what value is that to which the true Hopi held so dear, their ceremonies and their simple way of life. Is this new wisdom supposed to just replace all that the Hopi are and have been? Or, is there some special meaning latent in these traditions, justifying their preservation? For according to Hopi oral history, when they arrived in the Southwest, near where they now reside, it was the Great Spirit Himself who was there waiting for them and set them on their course, saying to them: "All I have is my planting stick and my corn. If you are willing to live as I do, and follow my instructions, the life plan which I shall give to you, you may live here with me, and take care of the land."

Recall the imagery we used earlier. The Younger Brother People were the "shepherds" of Nature, the caretakers of the land. Their piece of the "stone tablet'' is the practical knowledge of the simple way of life. The Elder Brother People were the "shepherds'' of human consciousness, the caretakers of the inner life of humanity. Their piece of the "stone tablet" is the knowledge of the way of initiation, of how to have an awake and conscious relation to the world of the spirit.

We ought to, in fact, expand our imagery of the Younger Brother People. In truth they are not just the Hopi, but all the original peoples of the Americas and elsewhere, throughout the modern world. Further, they are not just the wise caretakers of the surrounding circle of Nature, but they are also the holders of a deep understanding of community, the practical workings of the circle of individuals who combine to make up a People. In a very true sense we could say that the American Indian possesses (along with all still surviving aboriginal cultures) , as living tradition, the "pattern" for the integration of human community with the natural world.

We should also expand our imagery of the Elder Brother. With the splitting of the two "streams", the Younger Brother going one way and the Elder another, the "pattern" of integration was separated out from the "pattern" of initiation. With the result that the once instinctive unity with the world was sacrificed to the needs for the development of new forms of inner life. The civilizations founded by the Elder Brother constantly fell into opposition with the ways of Nature, even while maintaining "intercourse" with the world of the spirit.

We need, as well, to understand where to fit in the older, more mature, initiation paths, for example, the striving for enlightenment typified by Tibetan and Zen Buddhism. Recall that in the deep past, the Elder Brother stream was responsible for the founding of the European and Asia cultures, so that those initiation wisdoms are, in effect, the progeny of prior work of the Elder Prother.

The world is a very complicated place. Serving the spiritual needs of billions of individuals, who are each fundamentally unique, requires a great variety of Paths and Ways. If we will just notice it, in fact, in America at present it is the current Elder Brother work which is presently still hidden. Far more individuals are aware of the older traditions.

One way of picturing the reality is to conceive of the work of the Elder Brother, over the long epochs following the destruction of Atlantis, as having been the planting and nurturing to healthy life of a variety of spiritual ways. With the passage of time these paths mature, differentiate and grow. They develop their own needs, as do the cultures in which they live.

Members of the modern stream of the work of the Elder Brother, while predominately Christian, because they have been awakened to its hidden depths, nevertheless are well aware of the need to come into contact with these other paths, such as (continuing the example) Buddhism. Books have been written dealing in detail with the relevant questions, and where communities of different orientation exist side by side, dialogues have been initiated and do progress. The necessary work goes slowly forward.

We can now, perhaps, better understand the coming direct meeting of the Younger and Elder Brothers. The "pattern" of integration and the "pattern" of initiation are to be reunited. The broken "stone tablets" are to be rejoined. When in the near future, members of the Elder Brother People come to the Hopi mesas, and ask the Younger Brother for permission to live there, to come "home" to Nature, then the "pattern" of integration, symbolized by the Circle, and the "pattern" of initiation, symbolized by the Cross, will begin to be reunited, as has been consciously and unconsciously hungered for by many through all the long ages since the time of their separation.

There yet remains one last element - the elaboration of a preliminary understanding of the Prophecy's key statement: "This third event will depend upon the Red Symbol, which will take command, setting the four forces of nature (Meha) in motion for the benefit of the Sun.

Just as Tibetan and Zen Buddhism represent deep paths of enlightenment (initiation) , so Christianity has its corresponding Way. However, when Christianity first appeared in the world, the needs of the moment required that the exoteric wisdom had to be separated from the esoteric. Thus, for most of Christian history the teachings given to Paul dominated, and the teachings given to John remained hidden.

With the return of the Way of John to modern life, as expressed in a living way in the work and lives of the two initiates Steiner and Tomberg, there came to expression what could be called: the Christian-Rosicrucian path of initiation, the Seven Stages of the Passion of Christ.

A major meditation exercise, taught to students on this path, is the Rose-Cross meditation, This is a complicated exercise, which is well elaborated in Steiner s book: ''Occult Science". It involves, in its initial stages, the careful building up, inwardly through the forces of the imagination, of an image of a rose-cross, a black cross on which are placed, in a certain pattern, seven red roses. I will refrain here from giving more details, since any one who may wish to do the exercise needs to trouble themselves to learn its dynamics directly from the above source (see also "Meditations..." Arcanum XIV, Temperance).

For our purposes the import of the above facts is to give a content to the term: "the Red Symbol". It is the People of the Rose-Cross, the People following the most modern path of initiation, whose task it is to "take command".

Now one of the main elements of the work of Steiner and his students is that struggle which reaches from the scientific impulse in the soul outward toward the religious. Steiner's Anthroposophy (also called "Spiritual Science") includes, as a major component, the foundations for the scientific understanding of the so-called life force, or, what is more properly called the ethereal realm.

These forces, which work into the Earthly realm from the Cosmic Periphery, and which are the polar opposite of the forces of gravity, are, like gravity, invisible. Yet, without a knowledge of the ethereal formative forces, humanity will never come to understand the true dynamics of organic life processes and much else besides.

The American Indian, with his cosmology of integration within the circle of Nature, paid homage to these forces from the cosmic periphery, and those spiritual beings connected to their creation, in all those ceremonies and ideas by which the "powers" of the Four Directions were acknowledged.

Thus, when the Hopi Prophecy speaks of the People of the Rose-Cross taking command of the four forces of nature, it is making us aware that this "third event'' will involve the elaboration of a genuine science of the ethereal realm.

We need now to recall that when the Younger Brother migrations began, it involved, among other elements, the fleeing of the destruction of Atlantis under the guidance of atlantean initiates. In these circles of initiation was a certain kind of direct knowledge of the Gods, of the great Cosmic Beings upon which Creation rests.

As part of this knowledge was an awareness that the Creator Being Himself had an abode in that realm of the spiritual world which was called the Sun Sphere. Thus, the Hopi Prophecy sees the work of the People of the Rose-Cross, in their elaboration of a science of the ethereal, as being for the benefit of this High Individuality.

Later initiation wisdom realized that this same Being eventually descended into incarnation as a human being, to suffer and to die, in the individuality of Christ Jesus. All the deep mysteries of Christianity are completely true, although far from being well understood or applied.

An element of these mysteries, which is necessary for our understanding, is connected to the statement of Saint Paul: ''Not I, but Christ in me." Just as some of the deep wisdoms of the far East have an understanding that each human being has a Buddha nature, so the modern initiation wisdom of the West recognizes that each human being also posseses a ''Christ Impulse".

Those, who are familiar with the esoteric doctrine "as above, so below", will understand that the human being is a microcosm, an "image and likeness" of God, the Macrocosm. Now the macrocosm is simultaneously a unity and a multiplicity. It is an aspect of this mystery which is elaborated in the Christian understanding of the Trinity, the Mystery of the Three in One: God the Father, God the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Thus, in accord with the rule "as above, so below''' the Cosmic Sun, the Christ, has a corresponding "seed" in human nature, the Christ Impulse. Further, just as the knowledge of the ethereal realm comes to expression out of a "scientific" endeavor under the stewardship of Rudolf Steiner, so does knowledge of the Christ Impulse come to expression out of a "religious" endeavor under the stewardship of Valentin Tomberg.

Now we can better understand the statement in the Prophecy. The People of the Rose-Cross are to elaborate the introduction of the science of the ethereal into human evolution for the benefit of the Sun, of the Christ, in both His Cosmic aspect, and as well His "seed", which appears in the individual human being as the Christ Impulse. "The stone tablets will be the final acknowledgement of their true identity and brotherhood. Their mother is Sun Clan. They are the children of the Sun."

This process, this work of the Elder Brother, and the People who ally themselves with this stream of spiritual wisdom, as it plays itself out in human history, will awaken in the human being direct knowledge of the life of the soul and the spirit, which had previously disappeared during the descent of the dark age. Now, just as physical existence has undergone an "evolution", so also the life of soul and spirit evolves. Mystery knowledge, which was at one time appropriate in prior ages, is no longer valid. The dynamics of human inner life have become different. Consciousness itself has evolved. For this reason, the attempt to reanimate older traditions is, very often, to direct the soul towards its past instead of toward its future.

As these dynamics play themselves out in human civilization, in human political and social life, such as in the tension between old and new spiritual knowledge and the tension between science, religion and art, both individual human beings and communities will experience crises. This great struggle, between the light and the dark of the human soul, is already upon us. But as modern initiation knowledge more and more comes to the fore, humanity's ability to sleep, before these great issues of the day, will cease.

Thus we have the Hopi concept: the "Day of Purification'', to describe the age we now enter.

It remains then to close this message with a brief elaboration of some of the deeper aspects of the symbolism of the Cross and its relation to the Circle.

The individual human being stands at the crosspoint of two fundamental relationships. 0ne relationship is the vertical one, between the individual human spirit and the spiritual world, the world of great and small invisible Beings .

The other relationship is the horizontal one, between the individual and all other individuals in the earthly social realm. It is this relationship we experience most strongly in our daily lives, whether it involves the intimate members of our families, the circle of friends and acquaintances and bosses and co-workers, or lastly the strangers who we encounter in passing through the busy intensity of our 1ives.

Both the vertical and the horizontal relationships force us to face moral dilemmas. We can choose the path of the "seed", of the Christ Impulse, and accept suffering and sacrifice as our gift to these relationships, or we can choose sleep. to give over the conduct of our 1ives to our unredeemed lower nature.

Now, normally the Cross, the symbol of these vertical and horizontal relationships, is seen by itself. In that we suffer and sacrifice in these relationships we become individual cross-bearers. But when we join this symbol to the Circle, other elements can begin to be acknowledged.

The World is a whole. Nature, humanity, spiritual beings, all are connected, joined. When the Cross is inside the Circle, joined to it, then we can see that the various impulses turn just where the ends of the Cross meet the inner edge of the Circle. This shows that our vertical relationship reaches around into our horizontal, and our horizontal into the vertical. The Circle, the symbol of Community and the Unity of nature, humanity and the world of the spirit, this Circle unites individual cross-bearers with each other.

We all bear crosses. Human beings, Nature beings, Cosmic beings. Our greatest strength, in all the trials we are to face during the Day of Purification, is to be found in our working together: The Way of Initiation and the Way of Integration, the "stone tablets", rejoined.

The principle danger to this reunification, which is happening in many places, not iust the lands of the Hopi, this danger is that we will go into the future seeking to reanimate the past, whether it is by occupying ourselves with an older initiation system, or in believing that we can heal the illnesses of the natural world, and of our communities, by going back to nature, or by holding on to tradition.

Everything dies. The future is always born out of processes of destruction. The dark age is necessary before there can be attempts to found an age of light. The rejoining of the pattern of integration and the pattern of initiation is meant to produce something new.

Knowledge of the ethereal realm, or to put it another way, etheric consciousness, will change the way we see our interrelationship to the world of Nature and the Cosmos. In the same way, knowledge of the Christ Impulse will change how we understand human nature and the nature of Cosmic Beings.

For example, the Hopi tradition, along with many other traditions, has tended to see history and evolution as cyclical, as containing patterns which constantly repeat. The reality is, however, that these processes are spiral in nature. Yes, there is a circle like process of return, but that return is intended always to occur at a higher stage of development.

In a concrete sense this means that what is crucial to maintain out of the pattern of integration, is not a specific way of simple living, and a specific system of ceremonial life. But rather, that the life of a community integrated with the surrounding world is most healthy when it is simple and when it is filled with ritual. These "qualities" of the Circle are then most supportive of inner growth.

Likewise, inner growth is sterile if it is not productive in the world. If all that inner growth does is separate us one from the other, or from the world of nature as if that was no concern of ours, then this inner growth is limited. The ''qualities'' of the Cross are only fruitful if they engender sacrifice directed at the redemption of the social and natural worlds.

Thus, the reunification of the Cross and the Circle is not a return to a prior condition, but rather a gateway to a future possibility. It is not what the Elder and Younger Brothers were once upon a time, but what it is that they can be together in the present and beyond. At least for some time to come, each day is potentially a day of purification.

We have one last small act; to touch the core of the ''Mystery" of the True White Brother. This is not, as pointed out initially, a mystery in the sense of a puzzle or a riddle but rather a mystery in the more archaic sense, something whose contemplation belongs usually only in the kiva or in the private time of prayer and meditation.

Just briefly was mentioned above the modern path of initiation, called at one point the Way of John, and at another the Christian-Rosicrucian Path of the Seven Stages of the Passion of Christ. The first act on this path is expressed in the Gospel of John in the story of Christ's washing the feet of the disciples. Here the God-Man taught by His Own Deed that act which is the true foundation of all spiritual development: the practice of humility.

The true Hopi will have no trouble understanding the "washing of the feet", because, as their oral history remembers, it is precisely due to their humility that they received their name.

It is in this mood of soul that the two patterns must begin their process of reunification. There can be no higher or lower knowledge, no better or more perfect way of life, no individual or group to be in charge, no one to lead and no one to follow.

Only those who meet in the spirit of genuine service to the other, and to that which they hold Higher, by whatever name, only these can begin the work.

- comments on method -

Some readers will understandably wish to know how such facts, as alleged above, are to become known; and, by what method and with what justification does the author of these words assert their truthfulness.

Two pages, elsewhere on this part of the loom, contain writings of the author about these matters in some detail, although not specifically as justification for the above material. These are: The Quiet Suffering of Nature and Pragmatic Moral Psychology.

In the first, an attempt is made to show by what method the being and consciousness of nature could be rediscovered by modern thinkers. In the second, the practical problem of the necessary moral preparation for authentic spiritual communion is introduced.

Even so, the author of the above must confess that faith has yet played a part in the Message of the Elder Brother People. Practitioners of authentic spiritual communion, whose skills for exceed the author's, have been relied upon, and for this reason, the author does not expect the reader to be bound by the same impulse. Nevertheless, the reader is asked to test the fundamental hypothesis of spiritual science through entering practically into that which is outlined in The Quiet Suffering of Nature, and as well the fundamental impulse of faith through entering practically (again) into what is outlined in Pragmatic Moral Psychology.

Were the reader to dismiss the above thesis (the Message) out of hand, without personally verifing the efficacy of the method, would violate the fundamental principle of truth used in our time, namely, that principle of science which requires that one who asserts a truth must provide the key to their method of knowledge and that one who wishes to dispute such a truth must test the hypothesis according to its stated methodology.

So much for the problem of method.

A much deeper, but slightly different, discussion will be found in the original book, which I wrote on this matter in the early '90's: The Mystery of the True White Brother: an interpretation of the meaning of the Hopi Prophecy.


This journal was distributed free (about 25 copies) in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in early August, 1997, at the major summer USA anthroposophical conference. There were some unusual reactions, as the material was not without bite.


 Vol. I, Issue no. I, summer 1997

another declaration of independence:

spiritual science with passion - light and heat

Cover artwork: Victoria Hull.

Articles and journal conception: Joel A. Wendt.


The Study of Rudolf Steiner's Lecture Cycles, and the Problem of Cognition - musings on the epistomological swampland of the Anthroposophical Movement

The Anthroposophical Society: Is it a living social form?

The First Readers Poll: 25 questions you've been dying to answer about your relationship to the Anthroposophical Society.

The Study of Rudolf Steiner's Lecture Cycles,

and the Problem of Cognition*

- musings on the epistomological swampland of the

Anthroposophical Movement -

*Cognition - the German word erkennen, and its relatives, seems to have no specific English equivilant. One German speaker advised me it means "active thinking", and another spoke of it as having to do with the "relationship" of the knower to the inner nature of the object of knowledge. My own sense of this problem is that its real solution will only be found as a matter of inner experience. Erkennen can't be understood as a matter of definition or translation, but only by my direct experience of my own thinking activity.


Rudolf Steiner's Philosophy of Spiritual Activity begins with an examination of the problem of freedom: Can we choose what we desire? He solved this problem by suggesting that we can in fact choose the impelling motive, the moral ground from which our actions (both inner and outer) proceed. From this he moved to the problem of percept and concept: What is the relationship between our thinking activity and our experiences?

This second question was also approached in Steiner's The Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe's World Conception. I find his expression there the more beautiful; namely, that the sense percept is incomplete without the act of cognition. Thinking is the final act in the process by which Nature is created.

When I think about this truth, I am always reminded, with wonder, of the verse in Genesis about God's having given to humanity the power to name the "beasts of the field and the birds of the air". World Reality needs the human being's cognitive activity to compete Itself.

The reader may have perhaps noticed that I referred above to the "sense" percept. What about the supersensible "percept"? What about those experiences which are apparently internal, which are in my soul, and for which I have many concepts (e.g. feelings)? Are those not a kind of "percept" as well. And, more significantly, what about those experiences (percepts) which are spiritual in nature; not just congnitions about objects of the sense world or within my own soul, but what about congnitions concerning invisible, supersensible Beings and their activities?

In a footnote, written forty years later, in the same text, Steiner writes:

"Therefore, what is said in this writing about the essential nature of knowledge holds good also for the knowledge of the spiritual worlds, with which my later writings are concerned. The sense-world in its manifestation to human perception is not reality. It possesses its reality in connection with that which reveals itself in man in the form of thought concerning this sense-world. Thoughts belong to the reality of the sensibly perceived; only, that which is present in the sense-existence as thought manifests itself, not externally in this existence, but inwardly in man. But thought and sense-perception are a single essence. While man enters the world in sense-perception, he separates thought from reality; but the thought merely manifests itself in another place within the mind. The separation between percept and thought possesses no significance for the objective world; it occurs only because man takes up a position in the midst of existence. It is to him that this appearance thus occurs, as if thought and percept were twofold. Nor is it otherwise in the case of spiritual perception. When this occurs by reason of processes in the soul which I have described in my more recent book Knowledge of the Higher World and Its Attainment, this then forms likewise one aspect of (spiritual) existence; and the corresponding thoughts of the spiritual form the other aspect. A difference occurs only to this extent, that sense-perception reaches its consummation through thought in reality, as it were, in an upper direction at the beginning of the spiritual; whereas spiritual perception is experienced in its true being from this beginning downward. The fact that the experience of sense-perception occurs through the senses formed by Nature, and that of the perception of the spiritual through spiritual organs of perception, first formed in a psychic manner, does not constitute a distinction in principle."

Nothing could be clearer, could it? Let me draw from this paragraph, written in 1924, what I believe is relevant to our discussion:

The same dynamic, between experience and thought, in terms of a science of knowledge, exists for both the sense world and the spiritual world. In the case of the former, the sense world, the nature object (the experience) is not the reality, as this reality is only found in the thought brought about by human cognition. This apparent division between thought and experience arises only because the human being is present; in reality they are united.

In the case of the latter, the spiritual world, the same is true, with these two differences. In spiritual perception the reality (the unity of thought and experience) is apprehended from the beginning; and, psychic organs need to be first developed in order for spiritual perception to take place.

What has this to do with our theme? Throughout the world, where anthroposophy is practiced, groups of anthroposophists engage in the common and collective study of the works of Rudolf Steiner. These works are of two kinds: works actually written to be read (e.g. Occult Science); and lectures, only spoken, whose transcriptions were never read or revised by the speaker (e.g. World History in the Light of Anthroposophy).

When I read a text, any text, not just something by Steiner, what is happening? What is the nature of my experience? What light can a science of knowledge shed on this experience? What is percept and what is concept?

I begin with the most obvious fundamentals, because it is essential not to wonder off at the very beginning by letting in any assumptions. I look at a text, and discover on a page a series of symbols - written language. Right away, just in the act of reading, I interpret meaning. This meaning is not inherent in these symbols, but is supplied entirely by my own thinking and imagination, and colored by my own life experience, prejudices and assumptions.

I have not entered into the author's mind. I do not see what he/she saw, nor do I know what she/he thought. I only know my interpretation.

This is a different experience from just looking at the book, at the sense experience. I know what a book is, what language and printing are and what a page is. These are sense objects. The ideas conveyed by the symbol system of the text are generated by me in a largely unconscious internal process seeking to reconstruct the imaginations and the thoughts of the author.

Let us consider something more familiar as an example. We read a novel. Later we see a film constructed by some others who have read and interpreted the novel. Often we do not agree with their interpretation. It has conflicted with our own personal envisioning.

Now let us consider something more familiar. We are in a study group, struggling (sometimes) to come to an consensus interpretation of a Steiner text. We do not always agree here as well. Are there differences between a novel, or a work of non-fiction, and a Steiner text on supersensible realities? Yes, many differences.

In a work of fiction the author is presuming he/she is creating something in my imagination. The whole art of the act of writing fiction is to give fuel to that process, to enable it. Yet, there are limits, and the limits are as much or more in the reader than in the author. Some characters need my sympathy, others my antipathy. Some situations require of me a similar experience in order to properly interpret the scene and its dynamics. Further, the author has the whole of the novel to create character, setting and the tension of the plot as its inhabitants move through it.

Moreover, the more I believe it, the stronger the feelings evoked in my soul. Where the author uses facts to create a scene I must consent to them. Where she/he uses insight into human nature to develop a character, I must buy into it. I participate at all levels in this creation in my imagination.

Even my motives in reading become a factor. One kind of novel lets me escape the drabness of my own life; another shows me a soul life and a world I would never otherwise know. The one fills my time, but leaves little trace. The other lifts (or drops) my heart and gives me the gift of an experience I can receive in no other way.

In the case of a non-fiction work, there is less appeal to the imagination (although such processes are still possibly active). Instead, my critical judgment is evoked; or not, if I do not properly participate. If I am a "true believer" the thoughts I am lead to will be accepted without doubt, assumed true, and therein after made a part of my world view. If I am more "objective" I will take the author's word with a grain of salt, withhold judgment and make some independent effort to verify.

In each case the work has stimulated inner activity on my part, but the images and the way I accept or reject them remains my own act. The author leads me to a world of thoughts, not unlike a traveler leading a newcomer to a place previously explored. Except, this is not the sense world, with its independent given, but rather the world of thoughts and ideas, which, we (as anthroposophists) have been told, are mere shadows of the world of spirit.

In the case of a novel, there remains only my imaginative attempt to follow the author's lead. I have been given an experience of which it is not necessary to examine the truth, as much as consent to it (the truths of literature often depend upon our reconfirming them within our own experience). In the case of a work of non-fiction, its truth is verifiable should I be willing to make the effort. In a work of the imagination there are no percepts to go with the concepts. In the case of a work of non-fiction, there are assumed to be percepts, if I were to trouble myself to seek them out.

In the case of the Steiner text, the percepts are beyond the threshold (supposedly), which places them at even a further distance then the usual non-fiction text. Not only that, but I don't even have this-world experiences that can be used by way of analogy. Whatever a Steiner text says, I remain within my self created images of what it means. I dare not confuse those weak and impotent images for the true percepts, the Presence, which is said to lie across the threshold. The map is not the territory.

Steiner was not unaware of these problems. Each lecture cycle reminds us that this transcribed work has not been corrected by the speaker. Again and again he enjoins us to not take his word for granted, but to exercise our own common sense and to verify everything, whenever possible, through our own efforts. He understands he is creating pictures (imaginations) of the spiritual world, but he insists we seek for objectivity, and in The Philosophy of Freedom he specifically warns against becoming captured by the concept - becoming so attached to an idea that we lose completely our objectivity. He has even said (The Boundaries of Natural Science) that the world would be better off with materialists who thought, than with anthroposophists who didn't.

Having now seemed to have tied myself up within my own soul, let us examine this from another direction. Let us grant for the moment that Steiner is accurately relating his experiences of the spiritual world, within those limits of language to which he so often referred. What has to have been sublime experiences, awesome in their subtlety and humbling reality, has been reduced by the initiate to abstract concepts - to the ordinary language of our age. Steiner has cognized for us - has given birth to the names of - beings and events we ourselves are unlikely to meet in our own lives. Carried upward by the language and the imaginative pictures, we are graced with thought-concepts for which we have not the related experience - percepts.

If thoughts are the shadows of things unseen, then at the least, with a Steiner text, we have shadows from objects (beings/events) with a deeper penetration of the truths of the invisible world. Steiner has told us that, armed with these concepts, our experiences in the life between death and a new birth will be different then it would be absent these ideas coming into our souls.

Granting a best result from this experience of these ideas (whose meaning and imaginative picturing remains products of my own activity) the best that is possible is the arising in my soul of a set of concepts in harmony with spiritual reality. Even so, I remain divorced from the actual perception of that reality by the laws of the threshold.

What then is the nature of my knowledge of the spiritual world? In terms of a science of knowing, what lives in my soul as a result of having traveled the thought-trails created by the spiritual researcher? Am I justified in saying to someone else, for example, that the Earth had three previous incarnations? Do I possess such factual knowledge? I don't think that I can do such a thing. Whatever I do know, it is not that; and, if it is not that, then what do I know?

I can say something on the order of..."Ruldof Steiner said...". But what could that mean to someone else? Further, in calling upon authority I am violating Steiner's own admonitions regarding this kind of knowledge - it is not to be based upon authority. In fact, the whole philosophic basis of anthroposophy turns me ever and again back upon myself as cognizer.

The question remains: Having ingested Steiner lecture cycles and texts, what do I in fact know about the spiritual world?

Up to this point I have specifically left aside what arises when one begins to undertake self development. Certainly this kind of work results in greater self knowledge, and, if I have been fortunate, there will begin to be various kinds of experiences of the threshold. We certainly do learn things on the anthroposophical path and this knowledge is of another order than that which we acquire/create in the reading of Steiner texts. What I have made my own, in this way, I can speak of as knowledge. The rest remains an interpretation, lacking direct experience, of someone else's reports from a far country.

Personally, I am unable to justify, to my conscience, failing to make a clear distinction between these two kinds of experiences: one direct and personal, the other indirect and interpretive. The first is knowledge, the second, because of the manner of its arising in my soul, cannot make the same claim.

What then happens in a study group when a Steiner text is read and discussed?

Here, I can only speak from experience, and give testimony that conversations with others have indicated that these experiences are not uncommon. Critical judgment is basically suspended and an assumption is lived out, that not only has Steiner given us the truth, but that as against all other authorities his view is the most perfect. Moreover, social pressure exists within these groups, especially upon the newcomer, to consent to these abuses of the ideals of a true science of knowledge.

In fact, a good portion of the dialogues I have been exposed to have contained, as a major theme, the never disputed proposition that Steiner has done a "great deed", always gives the perfect example or metaphor, never makes a mistake of fact, and is frequently spoken of in such glowing terms that one is tempted to pray to him as a minor deity.

There is no excuse for such behavior existing in anthroposophical groups. After over one hundred years of knowledge of the two main philosophical works noted at the beginning of this essay, the fact that study groups cannot carry out conversations, with the relevant philosophic self-discipline, means that not even the most basic fundamentals of anthroposophy have become understood.

Anthroposophy is not a content. Being anthroposophical is not about knowing about reincarnation and karma, or about the hierarchies, or the Saturn, Sun and Moon incarnations of the Earth. Being anthroposophical is about the method by which we form cognitions - the nature of the processes by which we "erkennen". Anthroposophy is not a what, it is a how.

"Anthroposophy is a path of knowledge, to guide the Spiritual in the human being to the Spiritual in the universe." Rudolf Steiner, First Leading Thought. The word knowledge in this quotation is a translation from the German term: erkennen. This term is where we began this work, many thoughts ago; concluding then that knowledge of its meaning could only come from the experience of one's own soul life. To understand erkennen, one must catch one's self in the act of doing it.

Study groups generate and pass on, in their living and becoming, various practices and understandings. What lives in the present has roots in the past. That study groups lack a practical grasp of epistomological fundamentals, and even more saddening, that they also lack secure knowledge and practice of the reverse cultus (a theme too complex for this small essay), means only one thing: Within the most fundamental and common structure of the anthroposophical movement - the study group, anthroposophy does not exist.

New members imitate what they see, and rightly assume that what they see is anthroposophy. Critics judge us for what they see, and also rightly assume the same. At the turn of the millennium, just who are we fooling? My experience is that we are only truly fooling ourselves.


Addendum: It may occur to the reader to wonder what do Waldorf teachers, or anthroposophical doctors do, for example, who study anthroposophy and make use of the many indications that Steiner has given. What is the nature of their knowledge?

Again, it depends upon the individual soul relationship to the concepts, the degree to which that individual soul is awake inwardly, and the nature of that soul's practice of epistomological discipline. In both the above cases, as well as other callings of a like nature, the soul can make a clear distinction between what Steiner has directed it to pay attention to and the actual phenomena of experience.

For example, the doctor is encouraged to see behind the various degrees of health and illness, which each patient brings to him or her, the activity of the subtle bodies, i.e., the etheric, the astral and the warmth or ego body. The experience generated by treating the patients with these ideas in mind creates the constant possibility of confirming the given indications. The same is true of the teacher, who will see, in the phenomena presented by the children, evidence confirming all that material about development and so forth which has been previously studied. As well, each discipline is directed to be awake to the intuitions formed inwardly in response to these sense phenomena; intuitions which are themselves an inward experience-phenomena, towards which one can have an objective and free relationship (i.e. philosophically disciplined).

This is also true for those of us who do not answer a professional anthroposophical calling. We know children, we follow the health and illness cycles within ourselves and within our families, and there is no reason not to make practical use of all the indications Steiner has provided over the many years of his life's work. But to do this in a truly anthroposophical way, we need to be awake to what is knowledge, and what, in reality, is an act of faith.

An act of faith is not a bad thing. All that Spiritual Science really calls for is for us to know the difference between the two and when we act on the basis of one, and not the other.

Science orients itself in the world through the application of doubt, even Spiritual Science. Science says, this is what I know objectively, and this is how I came to know it. Religion orients itself in the world through the application of faith. "Blessed are they who have not seen, and yet have believed." John 20:29.

The healthy soul can (and should) contain both impulses, and be awake to and know the differences. They are not a contradiction, but rather complete and compliment each other. In fact, we could say that the art (imaginative core) of soul life is to integrate and unite the impulses toward science (reason) and religion (devotion).

The Anthroposophical Society:

is it a living social form?


Does it make any sense at all to talk about a social form, such as the Anthroposophical Society, as if it was living? What could that possibly mean? What qualities would a living social form need to have? What happens when one dies? How would one know this has happened? What is the role of the consciousness of the members of such a social form in the answering of such questions?

What is the proper model for a living social organism? The threefold social order, the human organism or some other pattern? What could be learned by looking to Goethe, either as an example, or a model? Rudolf Steiner held up the poet as the Ur-human being and he placed enthusiasm as an essential human quality: What can these ideas tell us?

Where is there a definition of life which would include social forms? Can any rational relationship be made between truly organic forms, and social organizations? Is it possible there is some other idea which belongs to social forms, but which has an order beyond the idea of life?

Another problem, one which is very central to the whole question, is: What does one do with the once-called daughter movements? Or in a broader vein: What do we include within the Society, in making the judgment as to whether it is living? Do we include or limit ourselves to any or all of the following: study groups, branch meetings, annual general meetings - local and national, Waldorf School communities, bio-dynamic farm communities, the Christian Community, Eurthmy performances or schools, the activities of regional or national councils, the activities of the Vorstand, the activities of the sections of the School of Spiritual Science, Camphill Villages and their relatives, and so forth. Where does the Society end and the Movement begin? Is there is a difference?

There would seem, at first blush, to be two general approaches to answering these questions. One approach would be Goethean, and would involve, first of all, intuiting a method of investigation appropriate to the phenomenal nature of the object of study. A second approach could be polar-Goethean (as described by Lawrence Edwards in his: Field of Forms), that is to work wholly with the ideal-abstract relationships.

Utilizing the first method, we could begin by inwardly beholding the "history" of the Anthroposophical Society from the Christmas Foundation meeting onward into the present. But how do we make the appropriate imaginations of those events? With the second method, we might assume, that following the Foundation meeting, the Society was in fact a living organism. From this we would have to assess what the later splitting processes (the breaking off of many of the national societies from the General Anthroposophical Society in the 1930's) meant to this living quality, and then what the reconfiguration in the 1950's and '60's meant as well.

Another method would be to form some kind of abstract idea of a living social form, and then look at the modern conditions of the Society to see if it met these criteria. In addition, one could poll the membership, to see what the nature of their perception of these questions was.

So many questions, so many ways to travel. For the purposes of at least having a starting point, let us begin with a small observation of this last - thoughts of a few of the membership on this subject.

In May of 1997, in Sebastabol California, the Western Regional Council of the Anthroposophical Society in America met with a local group of members and friends for a weekend conference called "Spiritual Geography". Late on the Saturday, after many presentations on the theme, the Council met with those in attendance to discuss whatever was felt to be of importance.

After some "light" conversation, this writer spoke up and made the observation "...that from his point of view the Society was dead, and had been dead since, at least, before World War II. While there were many vital individual initiatives, these were simply growing in the ground made fertile by the rotting corpse...". After this the conversation grew more animated, and members of the Council later reported, during that period when the conversation spilled over into the dinner hour, that this was a common theme (the absence of 'livingness") heard by them in their travels.

During the conversation, one individual put it this way, with a great deal of feeling (I will paraphrase): "When I come to the Society I get much for my head, but nothing for my heart!" There were a number of variations on this theme - a common general sense of something being absent, and very much desired. Could this be life?

Perhaps this is our true guide, rather then all the earlier questions. We look at the present, and try to find signs of life - of something that has vital qualities. For example, what do we know about Nature, its vitality? It is attractive - we are drawn toward it. How go our meetings, in truth. Are they well attended? Do all members come, knowing something is going on there that is so essential to them they could not think of missing it?

How about a more subjective point of view? Do you feel needed, as if you would be missed if you did not come? Did you get a call after the last time you didn't go to a Society branch meeting, wondering if you were all right? Certainly all the Waldorf teachers can not carry on their work without attending branch meetings and drawing vital spiritual energy from the Presence which is evoked there. This is no doubt true for those anthroposophists in the Christian Community as well.

By the way, I am not being sarcastic. How can we call what goes on in branch meetings, which are the core meetings of a local anthroposophical community (see Statute 11: "As a general rule every member should join a Group."), living, when no one suffers who does not attend and we do not suffer when they are absent? Where is the feeling-tension that is the sign of all highly developed life.

As I struggled in the considerations of this essay, although I felt a certainty that (except in very rare localized cases) there was no life in the Anthroposophical Society, I had a difficulty forming a cognition as to where to go from there. Finally, in a study group meeting, where I was suffering through trying to communicate my conviction that the life of the group would be enhanced if people gave out of their own soul life, rather than concentrating on interpretations of Steiner texts (see above essay), the whole dilemma fell into place and I understood what was going on.

In the groups, and especially in the branch and other meeting-forums of the formal Anthroposophical Society, life does not exist because we are constantly killing it. Death forces are constantly flowing from our own souls into our group activities, disabling the natural life that would arise if we were to truly understand how we were called upon to conduct ourselves.

What are these death forces? How do they arise, and how may we act so as to no longer be killing the very vital elan' for which we are yearning?

These death forces arise whenever we do not rely upon our own knowledge and understanding - on what lives in us and we have made our own, and instead defer to some imagined truth which we attribute to Rudolf Steiner. It is the constantly evoked egregore of Steiner that kills the life in our groups and Society meetings. We manufacture a ghost, a shade, of Steiner, and place this shadow as the superior ideal before which our own soul understandings must give way. Who can compete with such a idol? In the deification and assumed perfection of the great initiate and the great deed, we erect a false god, whom we have come to worship and so violate the fundamental spiritual principle of the First Commandment: Thou wilt have no other Gods before me.

Let us consider this one more time. It is very crucial to understanding where Anthroposophy is today, and how it might proceed into the future in a more healthy and social way.

When a circle gathers, having as its intention to be anthroposophical, what is present? The primary element is the spirit and soul natures of the participants. Whatever happens in that circle is dominated by those presences. Granting, without assuming its truth, that various spiritual beings may be attracted to, and interested in, this activity, the intentions and practices of the human participants remains the determining factor.

Within the participants themselves - as individuals, it is the I, the ego, which is the essential reality. What the soul manifests, the I, or spirit, engenders. When you have a collection of egos, a group, what the group does collectively can vary considerably according to how the individual egos conduct themselves with respect to each other. Everyone is familiar with the both the positive and negative activities that can occur in groups, according to the moral qualities the ego practices in terms of listening, or not; dominating conversation, or not; and so forth.

Out of these activities the life of the group is formed and maintained.

Within anthroposophical groups something rather unusual is added, both consciously and unconsciously. Each individual brings, within their own soul life, some form of relationship to Rudolf Steiner. In addition, through those social collective processes, which groups engage in as a matter of course, the group will also form a certain relationship to Steiner. But the question needs to be asked: which Steiner? Steiner as a spiritual reality, as an ego presence himself (assuming he is still dis-incarnate), or an image of Steiner, both collective and individual, which has no relationship to Steiner as a reality, but derives its nature solely from unconscious and semi-conscious assumptions as to his nature, being, meaning and intentions.

This falsified image, self generated by the group and its separate individuals, is the egregore - a spiritual entity created by human activity, and which maintains its being through the gift of our worship and adoration, the feelings we create when we venerate this falsified image.

This being has no interest in us, as individuals or as a group. Its dynamics are entirely pathological; it acts only so as to continue its existence as a psychic parasite. All that is life in the group will eventually be absorbed by this egregore. Unless we awake to its presence, and its manifestations, and discipline our selves and our groups so that it is no longer fed.

The esoteric student is compelled, if he/she wishes to advance upon the spiritual path, to reflect frequently upon the past; and to be thorough and objective in looking at the failings and the weaknesses tolerated and given into. This is not done so as to indulge in self recriminations, but rather to learn, to grow, and to feel appropriate shame and remorse at one's misdeeds. These are the seeds and nutrients needed for further growth and development.

How can an esoteric Society not practice the same disciplines in its collective soul life?

The question was put to me in the meeting referred to above: "Okay, so the Society is dead, how to we resurrect it?"

First, admit there is no life. This ought to be done officially, although I do not expect the formal leadership to have the necessary courage. But, at least, in those groups were this essay has meant something, it would first be appropriate to speak and think together upon the fact of the absence of dynamic life within the group.

Please do not arbitrarily agree with me. Know it for yourselves, above all else. Then, if that comes about, and is in a mutually cognized form, then discuss how to practice the necessary group and individual disciplines which would enable individuals to speak more from their own experiences and that which they have made their own, and less and less in deference to the thoughts and ideas we imagine can be attributed to Rudolf Steiner.

In the beginning, I would suggest that people study Steiner at home, but do not bring the texts to the meeting. In fact, don't bring Steiner in any sense to the meetings. The temptation to quote or speak of an idea as coming from the "authority" needs to be resisted, and ultimately eliminated. I suspect individual groups will develop individual ways of helping each other end the habit of mutual worship of the idol, and learn to appreciate what is really living in each other's hearts as fellow human beings. Life is engendered in the group through admitting into the circle the heart felt concerns of each individual, irrespective of their familiarity with Steiner or Anthroposophy. The neophyte has as much to contribute to the life of the group as the long time practitioner.


The "first reader's poll" can be found on my website at http://ipwebdev.com/hermit/oajnr.html, and is not included here.




On the Practicalities of Communicating

the Ideal to the American Soul

There seems to be a growing awareness of the unconsciously participated relationship, in the American Anthroposophical Society, between the forces of the Central European Soul and the American Soul. These two Soul orientations exist side by side within the Anthroposophical Movement in America, but almost never is the nature of their mutual interaction discussed or written about in a practical fashion. It may now be appropriate to suggest some pragmatic considerations about how and why that working together could and should be carried out more consciously.

In what follows, it is the author's intention only to open a dialogue. No attempt is being made here to come to any final conclusions. The author considers these matters to be of utmost importance for the furtherance of anthroposophical work in America, especially considering the demands of the Age of the Consciousness Soul, and for that reason only wishes to begin a conversation, not to start an argument.


In another context (Waking the Sleeping Giant: the Mission of Anthroposophy in America, self published 1995) I have written about the differences between these two soul gestures as follows:

"The gesture of the American Soul is to see problems, to seek through the will to live on the Earth, and the intuitions of the thought life follow this will impulse. The need to accomplish the deed, brings in its train, the service of the active thinking, or any other conscious use of the inner life. The solving of the needs of the world as it is, becomes the cause by which the inner world is molded in the service of this will impulse.

"The gesture of the Middle European Soul life is to live inwardly in the ideal, to will in that realm first and often to rest in the achievement of results in this realm alone. This in itself is seen as a significant accomplishment. Later, an attempt may be made to conform earthly existence to appropriate elements of this ideally realized inner world. The outer world is then worked on in accord with what it ought to be, as that ought is conceptualized by the inner activity."

This hardly exhausts what could be said. For example, Valentin Tomberg, in his Early Writings, suggests that in lecturing to the American, one would have to speak about what had been done, about accomplished deeds. The Rudolf Steiner library in New York, on its list of Steiner references to America, at one time quoted Steiner as saying that Americans "come to anthroposophy naturally". In Steiner's, Challenge of the Times, he refers to the English speaking peoples as instinctively in the consciousness soul in their political life. There are many mysteries here - regarding the soul life of Americans and its relationship to other soul configurations, and I have often wondered why these remain so superficially explored within the circles of anthroposophical work in America.

As an American, who has read a number of writings of middle Europeans, and heard an equal number of lectures grounded in the same soul forces, I would not have any difficulty saying that the Central European Soul gesture is capable of creating the most beautiful and thoughtful word pictures. There is expressed out of this Soul an extraordinary capacity for presenting, in speech and writing, deep and penetrating pictures, not only of the natural world but of the ideal world as well.

Nevertheless, there is a subtle but significant difficulty with this.

As an American, when I experience these writings and lectures, in far to many instances my soul is made to turn away from the earthly world. If I give over the attention of my soul to such presentations, I am pulled up off the earth into a realm of ideas which seems luciferic, relative to its usual orientation. When the presentation is over, and my soul returns to its normal relationship to earthly existence, the after echo of the beautiful word pictures is unable to sink into my will. I've had a wonderful experience but I cannot translate it into deeds.

Further, I am tempted (in the absence of a conscious understanding of these facts and processes) to assume that this practice, the creation of beautiful word pictures, is an example of how one is anthroposophical, i.e. that the practice of anthroposophy is well represented by the ability to create these highly abstract, ideal, word pictures.

The truth is otherwise. As an American, I cannot unmake my soul, any more than I can unmake my temperament. To the extent that I assume that the ideal practice of anthroposophy is to follow, or to try to imitate the gesture of the Central European Soul, I lose my relationship to my own soul forces and to the Earth. This is true (that I am ill advised to imitate it) both, for the Central European Soul's speaking and writing, as well as its orientation for the practice of meditation. When such meditation practices are recommended to the American Soul, this latter soul is directed away from its own nature.

Some of the woeful conditions of the anthroposophical movement in America are due to this infection within the American Soul, i.e. the cooperated (both Souls are complicit in the unconsciousness of their relationship) imposition of forms of activity not suitable for it. Because the co-working of these two soul gestures has been allowed to proceed unconsciously, for many many years, the America Soul is unable to be fully present within anthroposophical work in America. The American Soul presently lives more strongly in the imitation of its Central European example, then it lives in its own forces.

What can be done?

Let us consider this problem as something which could be suitably discussed using the analogy of music - we are looking at different instruments and the problem of harmonizing their play. The two soul gestures are two kinds of instruments that can be played in an individual way, or together, and in this play they may consider the same theme or music or meaning.

There are very many questions. If the activity takes place in America, who chooses the music; that is, which soul's will originates the initiative the leads to the activity? If a Central European comes to America and inaugurates an initiative, will that result in the same kind of harmony, as if the originating will impulse came from the American Soul, and as part of its activity invited the Central European to participate in the mutual play?

What is the significance of various anthroposophical institutions in America having been lead for many years by Central Europeans? Can such soul forces actually bring their ideal impulse into the realm of the Earth here? Might not the earth forces here, the upward flowing forces from out of the center of the earth, push such impulses up into the luciferic, ungrounding them? What is the effect of these earth forces on the double of the Central European?

To perhaps better appreciate the importance of these questions, we would do well to imagine the reverse - that the American went to Europe and behaved the same way there that the Central European Soul has so often behaved here. In suggesting this imagination, I do not mean for just a passing moment; but instead to seriously enter into a contemplation of what such behavior would mean and how it would be received in Central Europe were the same activities, which have been carried out here, were to be carried out there

Out of the contemplation of these questions I have reached the broad, and admittedly over-general, conclusion, that only the American Soul should inaugurate impulses and lead institutions in America. Otherwise a disharmony will arise right in the very beginning. I believe such dis-harmonies have been the normal consequence for all those years that the relationship of these two soul gestures has remained unconscious.

How can these two gestures work in harmony? The first element required is, I believe, for those, who come to America from another folk, to approach their working here in a particular way, that is to realize that they stand before a Mystery. To assume, for example, as has no doubt often been done, that one has knowledge of anthroposophy which one could teach, is to confuse two very different qualities.

Deep self knowledge does not necessarily prepare one for entering into the soul life of another human being, particularly if that person or group is from a significantly different folk. Anthroposophy is grown from inner work, and one, who is not conversant with the soul workings of another people, should not presume to teach that people how their own soul functions, or how it will best take up its own development.

Rudolf Steiner more nearly represented the universally human then most men or women of this century, but that quality is not conferred through the mere study of anthroposophy. It is as difficult to obtain as it is to reach the level of Steiner's researches into the supersensible. For us, more ordinary seekers, we need to first plumb the hidden depths of our own folk soul, before moving beyond it into the universally human.

Nor should we confuse this problem with the impulse to nationalism. Nationalism places one or more idealized image of a particular folk in a position of relative greater importance. The idea of the nation, or the place, or the culture is idolized. To enter more deeply into my soul, recognizing its particular folk characteristics, is simply to practice self knowledge, exactly as esotericism requires. Just as self knowledge requires that I appreciate my temperament and all that that implies, so does the path of self knowledge require that I bring to consciousness those characteristics of my soul life that I share in common with the folk of whom I am a member.

This does not mean that the Central European Soul has nothing to say or do in America. The question is more subtle. Initiatives belong to the folk of the place. Only such impulses connected to place will be grounded in the soul climate living there. But that does not mean, those gifts belonging to another folk have no role to play. However, they must have the self disciplined patience to wait to be included, much the way a guest in one's home, does not suddenly take over the running of the kitchen; and, even if asked, they must appreciate their limitations, and be awake to when they need to consult with their hosts as to what should be done next.

To the extent that these gifts of another folk are granted in the service of the folk of the place, the harmonizing process can begin. In this way nothing foreign is imposed from the outside. But we cannot serve out of our own initiative. Only the stranger-other can guide us to his or her true needs.

Can such service be performed in leading one or another anthroposophical institution, even if asked? The history of the Movement in America is full of such examples: Central Europeans have been given the task of running many activities here.

Certainly what's done is done. Has there been a price? If I constantly give over my own thinking to another individual to perform, I will never develop my own judgment. The cost of the mutually unconscious presumption, that the gesture of the Central European Soul could suitably lead institutions in America, has been a corresponding lack of development of those American souls who might have carried these tasks themselves; as well as, the failure to discover those modes of practice and objectives of work which would be indigenous to the American Soul.

It is this last which has become the most tragic consequence. By and large anthroposophical work in America is imitative of that work originally began in the once-called daughter movements in Europe, e.g. Waldorf Schools, bio-dynamics, and so forth. Only in the striving for a renewed star wisdom (astrosophy) and its reaching for a new cosmogony, does an impulse belonging to the unique relationship, which the American Soul has to Anthroposophia, come to a more visible expression. Almost all the impulses belonging to the great spiritual awakening in America, which occurred in the sixties and seventies, have been left outside the anthroposophical movement here. As I said to one enlightened European friend in the eighties: "When I go to an anthroposophical meeting, I must check my American Soul at the door.".

This is not to suggest, by the way, that there is no American Work going on, for that is certainly not the case. Rather what has happened, is that this work is marginalized and presumed inferior in import, when the opposite is true. The true practice of anthroposophy ought to bring to the fore these latent gifts of each unique people and make the development of these talents the central mission of anthroposophical work within each folk who take it up. I can find nothing in Rudolf Steiner's work suggesting that each folk should become the spiritual clones of Central European cultural life.

When this absent development is added to the impulse to imitate the foreign soul gesture in speaking and writing, by assuming it represents true anthroposophical practice, then these two, in combination, lame the anthroposophical impulse in America, and drive out the deeper potential gifts of the America Soul.

Even though these facts may make some individuals uncomfortable, they must nevertheless be directly faced, otherwise their continuance will be fatal for anthroposophy in America, and prevent the American Soul's natural genius from coming to serve the world-wide anthroposophical impulse.

Moreover, it is not as if we did something wrong! We acted unconsciously, with those natural results that come from unconsciousness. Now it is time to reflect and to wake up. We are, after all, in the age of the Consciousness Soul, and we have no reason for expecting any other kind of process: Sleep, leading to pain, leading to an awakening.


Considering the future and what might be done, I can only offer a few small suggestions. Everyone really has to work out these things for, and among, themselves.

Is it possible for the Central European Soul to present word pictures that can be taken up by the will of the American Soul? I think so, but to make such an encounter work would require some effort and awakening.

Let's deal with a practical example. In a fairly recent issue of the Newsletter there is a very beautiful ideal contemplation, written by Friedemann Schwarzkopf, called, Spiritual Communion. This is a wonderful example of all that one can wish for out of the Central European Soul.

It is very difficult to read, however. In a way the problem is a matter of spiritual breath, of soul respiration. My American soul has hard time maintaining its contact with this ideal realm continuously. Because I am more naturally related to the earthly and the concrete, to live in the ideal, requires of my soul a kind of holding of its breath. It can be done, yet I question if it ought to be done. In order to actually bring it into myself, in a healthy way, I need to take the ideal in small amounts and then withdraw.

I rise up, I behold, I withdraw, then I assimilate and make concrete. The four stages of breathing - movement, pause, movement, pause. Because the writing itself remains constantly in contact with the ideal it can't support my natural rhythm. Suppose the writing followed this rhythmical form, which corresponds to my soul life: That is, it begins in the concrete and rises up into the ideal, pauses and contemplates, then withdraws and descends again into the concrete and comes to rest there, before repeating itself.

In this way I am aided in my struggle to come to terms with what has been written. With this help, what lives in the writer/speaker's soul approaches me as I am, and I can reach up to meet it, taking it in deeply, the way one takes in deeply a breath of fresh air, or gets carried to places in the soul unreachable without the inspiration of the symphony. The theme, the meaning, has been written for me.

If I were to write or speak to the Central European Soul, would not the same process work, if only I invert the rhythm? I need to begin in the ideal, then move to the concrete, the earthly, pausing there to unveil my understanding of its nature. Then rising again, I return to the ideal, creating a space of rest, so that what I have pointed to in the concrete can be taken in, savored and digested.

What about meditation practice? Without doubt the American Soul should practice meditation, but we should not assume that is sufficient. Certain alchemical transformations of the American Soul can only occur in connection with its activity in the outer world. These same transformations would be accomplished by the Central European Soul by its working on itself during meditation.

The American Soul is lead by the call its will feels to respond to the needs of the world. Transformation requires action, requires giving heed to this call, following it. Following this will impulse the American Soul awakens. Only following this will can soul phenomena arise of which the American Soul needs to become conscious. These soul phenomena are not present in the absence of this striving willing. They cannot be found in contemplation or meditation.

Rather than an emphasis on meditation practice, inner development in the American Soul can best be fostered by working to take that small step implied by the idea that Americans are natural anthroposophists and that English speaking people are instinctively within the consciousness soul in their political life (see references above). This step is made by realizing that not meditation is called for, but rather the metamorphosis of thinking, especially as regards that thinking which the concrete needs of the Earth call forth in the service of the willed response of the America Soul to those needs.

In support of the reader's exploration of these matters I can only give what has evolved out of my own practice, which I have come to call: sacramental thinking. In this style of thinking are two aspects: first the objective, as called forth by the willed response to the needs of the Earth, which determines what I need to think about; followed by, second, the process, by which I carry out this thinking in a fully conscious (consciousness soul) way.

In what follows are only the barest indications. The reader very much needs to experience their own activity and its consequences, forming their own conclusions as to which objectives and what processes are most suitable for them.

a) Preparation: these are exercises, such as those practices in control of thoughts, developing inner quite (meditation practice plays a role here) and so forth. Its like the stretching one must do before beginning serious physical exercise.

           b) Sacrifice of thoughts: letting go preconceptions; overcoming habitual patterns. Nothing will prevent new thoughts from arising, as easily as already believing one knows the answer.

           c) Refining the question: the moral atmosphere, why do we want to know; fact gathering and picture forming. It is an artistic activity. What moral color do I paint my soul, what factual materials do I gather as I prepare to form an image - i.e. think in all that that act can imply.

           d) Offering the question: acknowledging Presence, and not needing an answer. Tomberg urges us to learn to think on our knees.

           e) Thinking as a spiritual Eucharist: receiving and grace. We do not think alone. It thinks in and with me (Steiner).

           f) Attitude: sobriety and play.


In writing this essay it has not been my intention to criticize the quite complicated history of the interaction in America of these two soul gestures. Rather, it is my desire that we no longer sleep in the face of these realities, and, further, that over time a healthy dialogue manifest itself between the Central European and the America (as well as other folk gestures as well) concerning the differences in orientation and how they may be brought into harmony with each other.

Rudolf Steiner has advised us that much that can be done, in the world, will depend upon the East, the Center and the West learning to work together, recognizing their individual genius and capacities, and finding out how to bring them into harmony in mutually supportive activity. In the above, which I conceive of only as the bare beginning of a much overdue co-operative reflection on the co-working of the various soul gestures, nothing yet has been said concerning that near-divine music which is sure to result when that Soul instrument, which lives in the East, can enter into this mutual play as well.


 scenes from the eye of the heart - a meditation on:

- Dan Dugan, PLANS, Waldorf Education,

and the battle for the future of the soul -

Morning (or night), the alarm clock goes off (or the cock crows, or the cell doors unlatch) and the peace and rest of sleep depart. Another day (or nighttime period of wakefullness) is born.

With morning, each person (or self, or I, or human being) confronts again the individual pattern and texture of their life. No two of these lives are alike in the meaning of their wholeness, although they often bear superficial similarities.

For example, many women bear children. All human beings are born and then die. More men die in war as combatants, than do women. All human beings have thoughts and feelings, an invisible inner life known intimately, as to its specific content, only to each individual.


Two people watch, while a third person opens the hood of a car. Only the third person is an experienced mechanic, the two observers being a parent (owner of the car) and a child (happily late for school, because the car broke down).

All three look under the hood. Only the mechanic understands (sees with his mind) what is seen visually, even though all three have a common sense experience - see the same external materiality.

The parent sees (understands) a terrifying mystery, which has left him/her feeling helpless, late for school and for work. The child sees a wondrous mystery; and, if left to her/his own instincts, might well drown the mechanic in a thousand questions. The mechanic sees work, income, a puzzle to be solved. If the parent is poor, or a late payer, there is an additional unspoken context.


There is a name, famous, if you will: Jesus Christ. To some he is a myth, to others a personal god, to others still a prophet, and to not a few, an irrelevancy.


What is the point of the above capsule meditations?

It is this: While to be human involves much shared and common experience, each individual life is unique, both inwardly and outwardly, in its ideal content, its emotional texture, and its moral purposes.


One characteristic that is shared by human beings is to over generalize. Whites do this. Blacks do that. Science knows this. Christians don't know that. Anthroposophists believe this. Waldorf critics think that.

Whenever a noun is made plural and a general class created (tree becomes trees becomes forest), the individual and the specific is lost sight of. What is true about a forest, may not be true of pine trees. What is true about an oak, may not be true of the woodland ecology. I, as an individual, who is also a member of the class - anthroposophist, may share many characteristics of others who would give themselves the same name. At the same time, I share characteristics with those who are not anthroposophists and many characteristics with Waldorf critics.


As an individual moves through physical space, they each carry with them attitudes, ways of understanding, emotional habits, behavior patterns and points of view, whose total mixture is unique to them. It is as if each person were surrounded by a individually created living crystal egg through which they experience the world.

When two people meet, social conventions of time and place (work, home, school, saloon etc.) allow for interaction; that is: conversation, verbal and non-verbal (gesture, touch, eye contact and so forth). This interaction occurs in spite of enormous differences in nature, background and experience. It is almost a miracle, that we can communicate (although very frequently we do not, and instead misunderstand, confuse, and misread).

Depending upon the degree of familiarity, the more complex inner truths of each individual often do not meet. Even long time friends, or partners, will come upon unexpected matters, and much is often secret and private (and this accepted as needing to be this way).


Members of the same family, community, culture, language group, nationality, race, religion, philosophy, or discipline will share some specifics of inner life in common.. This common experience can become a source of emotional bonding across other barriers of difference.

Two anthroposophists, who both love the same book (for example, Steiner's Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe's World Conception) will have much to share; as will two Waldorf critics, whose act of questioning their school's unusual philosophy was met with rejection and denial.


The totality of our individual ideal context, emotional texture and moral purposes will be shared with no one; but often great parts will be shared with a few, and small segments with many.

Associations of common content and purpose arise from encounters between individuals with similar experiences.


Sometimes interactions between individuals and/or groups of dissonant interests arises. These easily become acrimonious, and historically often end in violence.

Wars are fought over ideas, emotional slights, pieces of property and often simply the desire to dominate, one individual or group over the other.


In these wars, whether they are merely emotionally violent, or physically as well, human beings often justify their self interest by claiming a higher moral ground. One or the other claims to know "the truth", or be "right", or to be correcting a "wrong". In contrast, the other is declared deceitful, wrong, incorrect, manipulative, or otherwise dehumanized.

Both sides pretend there is some factual place to stand, which permits the egotistical statement: "I know better than you.". Even history, which seems to decide, after the fact, the right side of some disputes, is often revised and a view once held is later changed.

This dissonant encounter between individuals and groups can lead one to wonder whether there actually always exists an objective place from which to say: "This one is right, and this one is wrong.". Or, is there something else involved altogether?


As someone who has spent most of my life living with the above riddle, I would like now to share how I view this situation of individual and group point of view, both common and dissonant. I am not making an argument, but simply unfolding the conceptual frame of reference in which I view this general fact (a fact mirrored in the particular instance of the Waldorf critics list, PLANS, and the Waldorf School movement).


At a certain point in my life I began to realize that these clashes of points of view existed within the general context of history, and that certain elements of them were in movement. This fact can be thought, if this general condition was inwardly beheld - thought about pictorially - over time).

Ideas have historical development - birth, life and death - to be brief. This "history of ideas" allows for a maturation of the ideas themselves. The clashing (dissonant interactions of individual believers and groups) serves often as a refinement process - a fact most notable in modern science, but which also occures in other spheres. Of course, some ideas are refined at such a slow rate of change (particularly religions ideas), that they can seem constant over several centuries.

Beneath the surface of these changes in the "history of ideas", was another element of the clashing, which was not fixed, but also in movement.

Human nature changes over time, and individual human beings grow inwardly within their own lifetime. That field which studies the former, the evolution of consciousness, understands this as a general trend (see O. Barfield, Saving the Appearances: a study in Idolatry; and, G. Richter, Art and Human Consciousness).

Thus, we have two elements in movement: ideas and human consciousness. This last (human consciousness), in ways both general and individual.


Clashing (human interactive dissonance) refines ideas and changes the people who clash.

From this point of view, the interaction between Waldorf (as a community) and its critics and skeptics, is a valid organic and moral social process. This is how traditions and schools of thought arise, become a dominant paradigm and then are succeeded by another complex of beliefs and knowledge. For example, in an individual life, this process manifests in ways like the below:

If Dan Dugan contributes by being true to himself, even if he falls into zealotry or veneality or succumbs to prejudice, these flaws are personal to him and for which correction will naturally arise from the wider aspects of the social and moral system within which he acts;

If Joel Wendt contributes by being true to himself, even if he falls into dogmatism, emotional prejudging, or misrepresentation of facts, the same dynamics provides a corrective.


These correctives of the self are personal and individual, and do not apply to any general class. How Dan or Joel (to continue the example) relate to the way the world responds, to what they put out into it, is basically their own business. There are no outside absolute standards beyond what each, in his or her own freedom, chooses to measure themselves by. It is through such self chosen processes that individual human growth occures.

Over time, such individual changes as these become merged into streams of alterations within the wider social and historical courses of development. Gross historical change, such as the coming into being of the New World, following the rediscovery of the Americas, carries along the individuals who act upon such a stream and are likewise acted upon by it.


A question could be asked: What ideas are being refined through the clash involving Waldorf and its critics?

This again is individual. Whether skepics and critics learn something from anthroposophists, or vice versa, depends upon individual choices.

I would hope, revealing here a personal bias, that dogmatic anthroposophy would retreat and that certain institutions which promote it would reform themselves.

In an effort to make a contribution to such a process (the correction of matters within the anthroposophical movement) I will close this with a brief meditation on:

active cognition as an organ of perception

(Those of the critics and skeptics persuasion should realize that were I to attempt to write the following for their community - an unlikely act, by the way - I would not do it in the fashion below, which assumes certain common points of understanding as already tends to exist within the anthroposophical community.)

In America, it is my view, that something, much easier to come to and understand as a practical inner art, has been misrepresented and made to appear farther out of reach then it is in fact. This confusion has arisen because the principle teachers (European anthroposophists) lacked both the capacity to understand the folk character of those they presumed to teach, and how the content they wished to teach should be placed before that folk.

This more general confusion then has strongly infected, in particular, Waldorf teacher training and, as a result, has engendered the response of the critics and skeptics in America, who, upon meeting Waldorf, should have encountered something familiar and inviting and instead met something dogmatic and sectarian.


The core teaching of anthroposophy is the art of conscious refinement and evolution of individual insight. Its basics are the central soul development of this epoch (the age of the consciousness soul).

It is not necessary to approach this abstractly, as an ideal to be striven for (the method of the central European folk), because in America this soul condition is a natural birthright. It is, in the main, already present, and really only needs to be looked at and given its true name. The American already does it, albeit instinctively.

What is called for is simply to point a finger and say: "See what you are doing naturally. Now do it on purpose."

Moreover, this instinctive consciousness soul act is so present, one can easily point again and again to its product within American culture (for example: Amory Lovins, Theodore Rozsak, the television writer David Kelly). It involves the degree of self awareness of congitive processes, and the moral character that informs them. Just as the presence of a magnetic field organizes a undifferentiated mass of iron filings, so also do soul qualities reveal themselves in the product produced by that soul.

The problem has arisen because anthroposophy is taught as if it were a given point of view (set of concepts) and not as an already existing semi-conscious activity (way of thinking), needing an awakening

Those who are heavily influenced by the former then look within their own soul at memory (Rudolf Steiner says) for answers to questions, rather than to their own insight (active cognition)..

This not only makes one a dogmatist and sectarian, but it also lames the individual insight by making it perceive itself as lower (less enlightened) than the teacher - the great initiate.

Conscious active cognition (insight) has to be used (exercised) in order to develop. It is first a skill, then a craft, and finally an art.

It can be described this way: The spirit (ego) beholds the world as a mixed sea of experiences, in which the meanings of the experiences are given by the act of the ordering of the concepts. Using the will (limb) power of the soul, the spirit draws forth the light of its own insight as the concepts which it then shines on the mixed sea of experience, in giving them their meaning. (The mixed sea of experience includes what is experienced through the senses and what is perceived inwardly, within the soul, by the active cognizing of the spirit.)

If the spirit draws a concept from memory, it will not cast this light, but instead a shadow, which takes the mixed sea of experience and places in front of it an obscuring cloud.

Experience is then seen in terms of the cloud's shadow and not in the light which arises when the spirit forms concepts from its own insight directly.


This is true as regards all knowledge mediated through an external source (from something other than one's own insight, whether from a scientist, a spiritual researcher, priests, parents, spouses, etc.) Only primary knowledge (from one's own insight) casts light. Secondary knowledge (imagined interpretations of another's meanings) only casts shadows.

In regard to the title of this paper, especially the term battle: It is my view that, unless the words soul and spirit are returned to common social vocabulary, as specific references to (concepts for) the relevant part of our ordinary experience (which is inward, as against the outwardly given objects of the sense world), we will lose contact with our own essential nature, as a social community.

Soul is not an imagined entity, but an aspect of our immediate experience (See, for example: The Soul's Code, James Hillman; and, The Care of the Soul, Thomas Moore). Without a social finger again pointing (the words soul and spirit), we (humanity) may cease to look inward and come to terms with all that manifests only there (such as concept formation, emotional texture - self created mood, and moral purpose).

Imagine raising children in a world where their naturally rich and vivid imaginations are repressed as subjective illusions, and the only real things stated to exist are what is described on computer screens, with all primary experience mediated and conceptualized by secondary centralized authorities.

Waldorf communities and the PLANS community share the desire to avoid any such dark future, from whatever authority. Dan Dugan refused to let dogmatic anthroposophy (a secondary authority) tell him what is true. I believe Rudolf Steiner would see this act as heroic.


[Addendum: since this was written I have returned twice to the Waldorf Critics discussion list.  During my last visit it was clear that a certain amount of degeneration in the quality of interaction has occured, with a number of personalities having left the discussion, while the few remaining become more and more outrageous in the degree of their rigidity of mind and forms of personal attack.  It appears that what was originally a healthy impulse has fallen into difficulties.  For a good examination of various related issues visit the website of Sune Nordwall.]


Anthroposophy in the Light of America:

- what the American Soul needs from the Anthroposophical Movement -

In March of 1997, I gave a poorly attended talk (I am not a recognized personality within the Anthroposophical Movement) in San Francisco, with the above title. The talk consisted of two parts: one: the shadow side of the Anthroposophical Movement; and, two: the Mystery of America. As there are certain themes which were expressed there, that are not expressed elsewhere in my anthroposophical writings, I have recollected them as best as possible from my notes and my memory, and given a short version below.

In creating the above title for the presentation, it was certainly on my mind to reverse the usual relationship of certain ideas, namely that subjects are often placed in relationship to anthroposophy (as in: World History in the Light of Anthroposophy - lectures by R. Steiner; and, The Other America: the West in the light of Spiritual Science - writings of Carl Stegmann) rather than the opposite. In the case of this talk, it was my intention to speak of Anthroposophy as it could be seen by the forces of the American Soul, bathed in that light, rather than the reverse, which is the current habit of thought within the Anthroposophical Movement.

In writing the following I have added a few small matters as seemed appropriate, that were not in the original presentation (other matters have also been left out, both due to the different modus of expression - speech vs. writing - and, the simple fact that they have been forgotten).

a meditation on the shadow

In the talk I gave, I mentioned four characteristics of the shadow, first establishing that it exists as a series of temptations within individual members of the anthroposophical society/movement, and this shadow accomplishes its work on the larger scale, because so many of the membership are asleep in these matters, thus the individual effects are multiplied and reinforced.

The first is the temptation/tendency to deify Rudolf Steiner. The most serious consequence of this is the failure to develop within ourselves those capacities which would arise if we were to exercise our own judgment, rather then defer to Steiner.

The antidote to this temptation is to form a true picture of Steiner, through inner work. For example one can contemplate inwardly the moment, when at about the age of twelve, Steiner shared in an essay his experience of being able to follow, into the spiritual world, a favorite teacher who had recently died. This sharing was rejected. Those around him could not appreciate Steiner's youthful clairvoyance, and thus begins his silence about his inner life, not broken until his forties, when he begins to participate in the life of the theosophical society. There are other matters that should be contemplated, as well.

For example, at the end of his life, either Ita Wegman or Marie Steiner, came into Steiner's room (he would die in the next day or two) to ask his advice about some matter of concern. He did not respond, and turned his back. We should contemplate how often he was asked to give advice, and how frequently that asking was derived from a failure to be willing to be responsible on the part of others. This is a mirror image of "the doctor has said" impulse still so strongly alive today; except that at that time, it was his life forces that were exhausted by those unwillling to use their own insight.

The second tendency is the denial of Valentin Tomberg, the refusal to recognize that the spiritual world offered another initiate to the Society, following Steiner's death. The most serious consequence of this, is the failure to understand the religious impulse in the soul (exemplified by Tomberg) as well as to fail to appreciate the relationship of this religious impulse to the scientific impulse (exemplified by Steiner).

The antidote to this temptation is to contemplate the question of whether, in the time of the Etheric Return of the Christ, only one individual would offer service to the working of the Christ in the modern age. Working inwardly with this question leads one to an appreciation that Steiner's clairvoyant view was from spiritual heights, while Tomberg's spiritual view was from spiritual depths, from within the Passion, not outside it, observing it. These two different cosmic experiences lead to different paths and tasks in life, and from this flows all those differences between Steiner and Tomberg that are so clearly justified, once this is understood. A further implication of this understanding is the recognition that there yet remains to reveal itself, another view, a third encounter with the Christ - that of breadth. Will the one who experiences this view have a cosmic experience, or will it necessarily be purely earthly - an artistic expression of the Christ Impulse within modern life?

The third tendency is the subversion of the impulse to community brought about by the too close relationship between the membership of the Society and the Christian Community, and the failure to sufficiently foster the reverse cultus as the needed antidote to the dangers involved. The most serious consequence of this is the encapsulating of Society social structures; their closing themselves off from the outside world, and becoming increasingly inbred in their thought structures, because they are so incestuously focused on only the thoughts of Steiner.

The antidote to this temptation is to be found in the contemplation of the complete rightness of non-anthroposophical views. This is not a rightness as against any supposed absolute spiritual facts, but rather an existential rightness, due to the fact that the views of others are in accordance with their karma and individual needs. This contemplation will lead to an appreciation of the need of the anthroposophist to kneel before the views of others and offer service, rather then to stand superior, or to have a more correct view. Only such an attitude will remove the catastrophic dogmatism and sectarianism that presently pervades the interface between anthroposophical and mainstream culture.

The fourth tendency is the colonization of America, what I also called the impulse to spiritual imperialism, which has turned the working centers in America into basically poor imitations of anthroposophically textured central European cultural life. The most serious consequence of this is that the America Soul is unable to bring the unfolding of its treasures within the anthroposophical movement, which would greatly benefit the world wide impulse.

The antidote to this temptation is the contemplation of the threefold nature of the world, and how that soul differentiation is musical in nature, requiring of us an appreciation of the individual gifts of each folk. When this contemplation focuses on the American Soul, without prejudging this naturally intuitive will, understanding can arise as to the social and temporal tendencies of modern life, which allows a renewal of the anthroposophical impulse to be carried outward into the wider world on the shoulders of the natural social genius of this intuitive will.

The redemption of the shadow would bring about the following: Overcoming the deification would result in the soul's possessing clear thinking. Overcoming the denial would result in the soul's possessing the devoted heart. Overcoming the subversion would result in the opening up of the closed circle - the will now directed outward and including the rest of the world. The overcoming of the colonization - imperialism, would bring anthroposophy before the whole world in the most healthy way, for it is the social genius of the American Soul which knows how to bridge the gaps between individuals, peoples and cultures.

a meditation on the mysteries of America

The American Soul is not so difficult to come to knowledge of, if one is careful not to bring previously arrived at ideas to the table. Within anthroposophical work in America, certain themes stand out for their not being investigated. Given that anthroposophical work in America is captured by the forces of the central European Soul, it is not the work which is done in anthroposophical circles in America that should draw our attention, but rather the work that is not done.

When was the last time the Western, as a cultural artifact, was examined within anthroposophical circles. It has not, yet just in this - the Western - is the great Myth, the deep intuition of the America Soul, laid bare and explored over and over again. At the most, the tendency has been to study the transcendentalists, such as Emerson; or to study Emily Dickinson, or Melville. Yet these are studied because they still honored (to varying degrees) the cultural life of the old world: essays, poetry and novels. Only the Western, especially in film, is purely a new world invention, and carries within itself the open secrets of the American psyche.

Consider John Wayne: Imagine him standing, with that sideways slant of shoulders, thumbs tucked in his pistol belt, uttering the classic Western line: "A man's gotta do, what a man's gotta do." What could this mean? What might be hidden there, in plain sight? To answer this question we need to consider the plot of the Western: What is it, as an archetype?

First we have a community, and in that community the presence of Evil. Second the community is unable or unwilling to act. This creates necessity for the moral individual. His/her choice is simple. Cowardice, or courage; selfcenteredness or self sacrifice (after all, death can be the result of any action - this fear of death is what paralyzes the community.

The statement, seen often as a cliche, can be more clearly written: "A man has to do, what a man has to do". The repeated parts are not actually repetitions, because each aspect means something slightly different. The first part refers to the moral imperative: the choice - a man (someone) has to act, or fail before his/her own conscience. The second part refers to the act needed, which is determined by necessity. One has to do (in order to live with conscience) that which is needed (necessity) to be done. [subsequent to this being on the internet, a correspondent wrote a rather remarkable, and much deeper, examination of this seeming cliche'.  It is well worth reading and can be found here.]

Combining these ideas we can see that the Western is an exploration of the theme of the dilemma of individual conscience in the face of Evil in the social world (the community). What better description could we have for the social conscience and generosity characteristic of the American Soul?

The greatest modern investigator of this theme is Clint Eastwood. His films, both Western and Cop movies (which are just Westerns in modern times), continually explore this problem, the relationship between individual conscience and the presence of evil in the community. The films run from the clearly mythical (Pale Rider) to the existential (Unforgiven) to the light hearted (Bronco Billy). When his work is studied at Rudolf Steiner College in Sacramento California, we will have begun to come to terms with the shameful misrepresentation of the America Soul, by central European anthroposophists.

The American Soul sleeps, but not so deeply it does not dream. I implied this in my essay: Waking the Sleeping Giant. I would now like to look a little bit at television, to discover what mysteries lay there, again as an open book for those willing to look with an unprejudiced heart.

Consider Star Trek. Two and third years of one hour dramas produced during the 1966, 1967 and 1968 television seasons. Then canceled. Now a cultural giant. Two present series on television at present (Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager). A third, Star Trek: the Next Generation, ran seven years, and is now in syndicated repeats in every market. Eight or nine feature length films (I've begun to loose count). Conventions, books, websites, thousands of commercial products. Is this just space opera run amok? Or was a cord struck? Did something touch the dreaming American Soul?

The first series had three main characters: Captain Kirk (actor William Shatner), the alien science officer Spock - he of the pointed ears (actor Leonard Nimoy) and the doctor, McCoy (actor Deforest Kelly). All three were part of the crew of the starship Enterprise as it explored the universe, "going where no man has gone before".

Each show ended with a conversation between the three, often humorous, a lighthearted commentary on the drama just undergone. As the show developed its characters (a typical television literary necessity) over time, each became a distinctive voice, representative of a specific approach to the problems each episode brought. Kirk was the man of action, ready to rush in, to do what needed being done. Spock was the thinker, contemplative, rigorous of logic, refusing of emotion. McCoy was the empath, he saw the other side of things, what lay at the heart.

Later, when the seasons were over, and many conventions with fans had come and gone, William Shatner was to remark, in getting ready to direct the fifth feature length Star Trek film (The Final Frontier), that what the fans told them they most liked was the relationships between the three, but beyond that no one had a clue as to the reason for the series popularity.

Yet, with anthroposophical sensitivity it is clear. Spock-thinking, McCoy-feeling, Kirk-willing. The threefold soul, laid bare by the dreaming American Soul in a cooperatvie work of television drama. To verify this all one has to do is watch a good selection of reruns (a single episode is not adequate), and you will see the inner dialogues of the soul, as to how to relate to the problems each episode presents, spoken outwardly in the discussions between the three leading characters.

As would be expected, this being an American dramatic series, the Will man, the man of action, is the leading character, while the Thinker, the man of logic alone, is his primary support. The weakest character is the heart man, the doctor, consistent with the underdevelopment in the America Soul of the life of Feeling. [As an aside, it should be noted that this underdevelopment began to be corrected by those changes introduced into popular psychology in America during the 1960's. Thus, future generations are not the same, although this kind of change occurs very slowly. Here lies a whole other story, however.]

Consider Star Trek: the Next Generation. Seven years of dramas, two important themes woven in.The first theme, a matter generally explored in every episode: What does it mean to be a human being. Again and again this is explored, sometimes quite expressly.

There was an episode: The Measure of a Man, which approached the question of whether the regular character, Data, an android, was sentient. If he was just a machine, then he could be experimented on. The issue, dramatised as a trial, turned not on proving or disproving Data's sentient character, but whether the humans, who were deciding the issue, gained or lost something from their own humanity, by treating Data as a lesser form of existence, a potential class of slaves.

There was another level to this question (what does it mean to be human), which was posed right in the first episode (Encounter at Farpoint), in which a god-like character is introduced: "Q". This character appeared in several episodes, and again in the last (All Good Things). As an archetype, "Q" is Mephastopholies to Captain Picard's Faust (Picard, played by English actor Patrict Stewart, is Captain of a new version of the starship Enterprise). This "captain" is no longer a man of action, but a new renaissance man, cultured, a natural diplomat.

In the final episode (All Good Things), Picard has one last confrontation with "Q". As the scene is played, Picard is sitting, and "Q" is standing over him. "Q", first pointing off into space says to Picard (something on the order of): "You know mon capitan, what you are searching for is not going to be found out there, the real adventure is in here." at which point "Q" pokes his finger at Picard's chest. [I have recently discovered that this is not quite accurate, but haven't had the chance to examine a video tape of the performance to reconsider what was just written - therefore the reader is advised, for the time being, to read the above with the proverbial grain of salt.] An interesting idea, wouldn't you say, for a series that seems to be all about outer space on the surface, but turns out (once one gives up one's biases) all about inner space, instead. Consciously? No, remember, the America Soul sleeps and dreams.

More could be said, however, it is my hope that with these words, the reader might begin to see that American culture, the expressions of the American Soul, is not spiritually empty, as so many believe of that which is original to the new world. Rather it simply sleeps and dreams, and from this sleeping dreaming, intuitions of deep truths percolate to the surface, revealing small, yet significant, glimpses of the Mystery that is America.


This was written in winter-spring 1998, and was the first effort I made at describing in detail my own inner practice, which itself was rooted in a Gospel-based introspective life, instinctively begun in 1971-72 at age 31, and continued and further developed after encountering Steiner seven years later, in 1978-79.  The material below is then an expression of something that was developed personally by me for over twenty-five years before being shared in this essay.  In certain ways, an essential part of the material below is repeated in a more mature way in 2006 in In Joyous Celebration of the Soul Art and Music of Discipleship.  All the same, a certain naive wisdom still lives in the below, which I think the reader may find useful.

pragmatic moral psychology

Many people have trouble with the idea 'moral".   This is understandable given the history of Christianity (for example), which has included so many attempts at dominating the moral thinking of others.   Especially in our age a lot of us don't like being told what is right to do.   We would rather follow our own judgment.   It will come as no surprise to many, that the Christian Gospels actually support that latter view (personal moral judgment) instead of the view that allows someone else to tell us what is moral.   But this view of the Gospels is not appreciated until we have penetrated, in practice, the psychological teachings these remarkable Books of Wisdom contain.   Many so-called Christians have failed to live the Gospels, and for this reason have never come to understand what they teach about mind, about soul and spirit in a practical and pragmatic sense.   This essay is the result of my own explorations of these Books of Wisdom as they apply to life, to thinking and feeling, and to how the world is ordered in both its social and moral realms.  For it is here, in such practices that the real facing of the problem of Evil comes toward us.  It is only in the brutal self-honest examination of how we introduce Evil into the world, that we learn what we need to know in order to appreciate how Evil works in the social.  For a deeper examination of this problem, see my book The Way of the Fool.

Social morality is the highest form of art.  The world of the biography - the social world - is the moral world, and we need to move from a state of sleep with regard to this, to a state of awakeness. The material below is offered in support of the reader's struggles in this regard, and not as a statement of an activity which the reader must undertake. How one proceeds as regard these matters is very personal, and the following material, based on the author's own experience, is given only as an example of how one might proceed; should they choose to make some efforts in these directions.

The political or community leader, and certainly the story-teller who wants to encounter the Mystery, should realize that some kind of practice, some kind of personal effort at inner growth, of a kind similar to that described below, is essential to carrying out the responsibilities undertaken. We are not born virtuous, but rather human, with all the normal failings that implies. The author can state, with some surety, which he hopes this essay demonstrates, that such practice does bear fruit that can be obtained in no other way. The Mystery draws near that which strives toward goodness.


This is not an essay meant for psychologists. Nor is it about mental "health" per se, although its reflections may touch related problems.

This essay is based on an understanding of human inner life that developed out of the necessity of solving certain real problems of personal experience. It represents the fruit of many years of practical work derived from a struggle, only occasionally successful, to live according to certain teachings of Jesus Christ. It is the latter aspect which brings in the moral element.

When this work was begun, almost twenty-five years ago when I was in my early thirties, it first appeared as an instinctive awakening to certain problems, most notably: what was the relationship between my own thinking, and the world I experienced through my senses? A secondary question, more subtle, but quite definitely related, was what was the role of conscience in the solving of this problem?

Over a few years investigation and practice, I taught myself to: work at bringing discursive thinking to a halt (no inner dialogue); to think with my heart, instead of my head; and, to think in wholes, or, what I called at that time, gestalts.

Subsequent to this, I discovered that essentially the same problems had been confronted by the genius of a man named Rudolf Steiner, in his 1894 book, The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity. When I read this book, I found therein, not only a much clearer statement of the problems I had already been examining, but what turned out to be an introspection of human consciousness that was in accord with the methods of natural science; and which was therefore at the same time quite compatible with all those academic characteristics of philosophy that ordinary people find so confusing.

A few years later I encountered another book of Steiner's, The Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe's World Conception, which, although again compatible with academic philosophic standards, is nevertheless much simpler in its language. Both books were extremely helpful in making it possible to examine these questions (the interrelationship of thinking, experience and conscience), with all their possible subjectivity, in a completely objective fashion.

I mention Rudolf Steiner, because he has had an enormous influence on my thinking, and those readers, who may wish for a more academic justification for certain themes in this essay, should begin with the above materials. Most people, however, will be satisfied by their own common sense.

I use the word psychology in the title of this essay because this same struggle has also taught me that Christ's teachings are grounded in a complete understanding of human inner life. They are, in fact, a moral psychology par excellence; that is, an understanding of human nature which both fathoms and appreciates our true moral reality and potential. This is so regardless of ones conclusions regarding His religious significance.

Those readers who might have some discomfort with the religious matters below, should be advised that all that I can do is reflect my own experience. If the reader, for whom this may be some kind of problem, is careful, they may be able to translate the materials below into their own understanding and belief system. The person of Christian faith, who feels there may be matters of even deeper significance, is invited to read: Meditations on the Tarot: a Journey into Christian Hermeticism, author anonymous.


Matthew 7:1-5 The Unvarnished Gospels:

"Don't judge, so that you won't be judged; you will be sentenced to the same sentence that you sentence others, and by whatever standard you measure you will be measured.  Why do you look at the splinter in your brother's eye but don't notice the log in your own eye?  And how can you say to your brother, 'Let me get that splinter out of your eye', with that log there in your own eye?  You fake, first get the log out of your own eye, and then you can see about getting the splinter out of your brother's eye!"

The pragmatic psychological realities I have so far discovered in this teaching are as follows:

When we meet or interact with another person there may arise, within our own soul life, antipathies - feelings of disliking. Perhaps we will not like how they look, their class, the nature of the ideas they present to us or the values they express. Maybe they are of another race or culture, or believe in abortion, or believe in choice, or have a selfish political agenda, or a thousand other categories by which we may define them or weigh their moral or spiritual qualities.

In each and every instance where we experience an antipathetic judgment (or sympathetic for that matter), we do not perceive the individual before us, but rather only that classification or label by which we have identified them. This is so even though it is someone we know well. In fact, those in our most intimate circles are more likely to be the object of judgments we have made and continue to make, yet sleep through. These last have become ingrained habits of thought, a (perhaps too rigid) soul lens through which we view the world of our daily relationships.

We also apply this judgment to ourselves. Just consider how much we do not like about ourselves. It will even be possible to turn the material in this essay into another reason for unwarranted self-judgment.

This judgment is the "log in our own eye". By it we become then blind, confusing our judgment for the "splinter" in their eye, the character fault we believe we have identified.

Should it actually be possible that we could help them, the existence of our "log" nevertheless disables us. We lack the objectivity (which is neither antipathetic or sympathetic, but is rather empathic) by which we could actually understand them.

In fact the Gospel promises us that when we can succeed in setting aside the judgment and can instead empathize, i.e. know them from the inside-out objectively, then we may actually be able to be of service to them (then you can see about getting the splinter out of your brother's eye!").

From Rudolf Steiner, I was lead to understanding, that the most common types of such judgments are in fact reflections of our own weaknesses and failings. Our normal psychology is so ordered that our common antipathies are mirror images of our own defects. We often most strongly dislike, in others, our own worst flaws. So Jesus Christ advises us: "You fake, first get the log out of your own eye".

This being the case, how do we work with this in a practical manner?

The first step is to wake up to it, to notice each and every act of judgment. This is painful. A wonderful help is found in an spiritual exercise Steiner taught, the daily review. This exercise, which the reader is free to use or not, involves taking time at the end of the day, and remembering it, backwards, from the most recent events just before beginning the exercise, to those events surrounding our awakening early in the morning.  In this way we reflect upon our day, and will begin, after a time, to discover matters which need our attention. When, for example, we have begun to notice these judgments, they can become an element of the review. They are unfinished soul business.

During the review feelings of remorse and shame are good signs. In these self-reflective feelings the conscience awakens. Out of the impulse of conscience we can utter a brief prayer to the guardian angel of the one we have judged, so that the next time we meet, our perception will be more objective. The angel of the other - the thou - wants to help us do this. Those who doubt such an idea are simply asked to carry out such activity with full sincerity. Practice will, itself, establish the truth of these matters.

In this way we slowly refine the impulse to judge, and gain thereby (small bit by bit) control of our thoughts and mastery of our feelings. The soul territory, in which these unconscious antipathies and sympathies have previously tended to pull us, can now become an ever growing arena of inner spiritual freedom.

One of the mysteries of our inner life that this work, the refining of the judgment, uncovers, is that we are often captured - enslaved - by these repeated thought-judgments. Once having made them, our continued repetition of them, or habitual use of them, becomes then a point of view, a kind of judgmental colored glass through which we view the world. To refine the judgment in the manner being described in this essay, is to no longer by possessed by it - to be inwardly, spiritually, free.

These pragmatic understandings have applications in other areas as well. The reader, who works patiently with these soul-lawful realities, will discover other possible uses for the skills developed.

We can in fact be glad of those personalities who irk us so, who bring out of us these strong and unredeemed feelings. Their lives are a great gift to us and we appear to have sought out these relationships just so they could awaken us. Here is good cause for a prayer of thanks during the review.

Sympathies represent a similar problem to antipathies. How often does life teach the tragedy of those who fall so in love that the excessive sympathies and its resulting (love is) blindness leads eventually to confusion and terrible pain, when clarity finally returns.

To raise another up in excessive praise is also a beam of great proportions. Whenever we do this, we are just as blind to another's real humanity as when we live in antipathies. Our judgment is not a source of true understanding when it is derived from unconscious and unredeemed feeling-perceptions.

In the case where we are turning this unredeemed judgment upon ourselves, this can become another aspect of our search for spiritual freedom. In our inner life, once we become awake there, the voice of the conscience and the voice of the judgment are not the same. Conscience hurts because it expresses the truth, and we wince inwardly in this perception. The judgment dislikes, or excessively likes, but it is not expressing the truth. Learning to distinguish between these - between truth and dislike - can be very helpful.

While this does not begin to exhaust all that could be said about the beam and the mote, nonetheless, let us take up another thread.

John 8:5-9: The Unvarnished Gospels:

"In the law Moses ordered us to stone women like her.  So what do you say?  (They were saying this to test him, so they could have something to charge him with.)

Jesus bent down and started scratching with his finger in the soil.  Then as they kept on asking him he raised his head and said to them, "Let whoever among you is guiltless be the first one to throw stones at her."  and he bent back down and went on scratching in the soil.

On hearing that, they started going out one by one,..."

We all know this story, but we don't stone people anymore; or do we ? Obviously physical violence, retribution, against criminals continues. We understand these issues, to a degree. Is there then some more subtle meaning? This is what I have found to be true in practice.

When an unredeemed judgment is spoken, that is, when it passes from the inner life into the social world, through speech, it becomes a stone. The flesh is not wounded by this stone, but the soul surely is. Our ordinary language in its natural genius recognizes this, for don't we speak of hurt feelings?

Yet our ordinary personal life is full of just these acts of stone throwing. Tired and upset we throw them at our children and our partners. Believing too much in our own righteousness we will throw them at work, or at play.

The pragmatic teaching it this. Be silent.  Remember, Jesus' response in this story is first to say nothing: "Jesus bent down and started scratching with his finger in the soil".  We should examine our own thoughts more rigorously than that of others. Not every thought must be spoken. An ancient middle-eastern aphorism goes this way: There are three gates to speech: Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind? Any thought that cannot pass all three gates should not be spoken. And there may be even other reasons for not speaking those thoughts which otherwise could pass.

Further questions are these. What is the moral purpose for our speech? Why have we said what we have said? What is the objective? Do we speak to be self important? Or do we have the possible benefit for others as our purpose? How do we know it will be a benefit, rather than an interference in their freedom or a hurt? Do we believe we know the truth, that our knowledge is superior to others? Hidden here are all the judgments, the consequences of the beam.

Are we so sure of ourselves, that all our thoughts are worthy of being spoken? Silence is golden is the cliché. In truth, outer silence is just the beginning.

Matthew 5:3 The Unvarnished Gospels:

The poor in spirit are in luck: the kingdom of the skies is theirs.

If my mind is not quiet, empty, poor in spirit, what can enter there? Inner silence has two valuable moral consequences.

The first benefit of inner silence is that it is essential to listening to someone else speak. If we cannot quiet our own mind when we are listening, if our whole concentration is instead on our anticipated response or on what we think, then our attention is not focused at all on the other person or what they are saying.

In some lectures published under the title: The Inner Aspect of the Social Question, Rudolf Steiner suggests the practice of seeking to hear the presence, of what he calls the Christ Impulse, in the others thinking. This is very difficult. It is not just listening, but a feeling-imagining of the heart felt purposes living in the speaker. What brings them to speak so? What life path has brought them to this place? Even if they are throwing stones at us, we must still actively listen; otherwise, there will be no understanding of their humanity.

There is a wonderful experience possible here, when we have won past our antipathetic judgment and actually have begun to hear what lives in the other speaker. Each of us has learned in life some wisdom, and these little jewels lie every where around us, often in the most improbable places, the most unsuspected souls. These treasures are often hidden only by the darkness we cast over the world through our unredeemed thought-judgments.

The second benefit is this. Unless I am silent, and empty, that is poor in spirit, how will it be possible for the Mystery to touch me?

John 3:8 The Unvarnished Gospels:

"The wind blows where it will and you hear the sound  of it, but you don't know where it comes from or where it goes; it's the same with everyone born of the breath."

The Mystery goes where It wills. If we are not listening outwardly, we well may miss it when it appears through others. An inflated sense of self righteousness will certainly interfere. How much have we missed in life because we did not listen to what was being offered? Even a piece of an overheard passing conversation on a bus, which seems to jump into our silent waiting, may have an import just for us. And inwardly? The Mystery is silence itself, quiet, like an angel's beating wings. How much has been offered to us just there as well, a barely audible whispering that our own internal rambling dialog has covered over in its insistent and restless commentary.

It thinks in me spoke Rudolf Steiner. The Mystery has It's own will. It comes like a gentle wind, when It wills, and we prepare the way by learning to think on our knees, as Valentin Tomberg, another passionate seeker I find very helpful, has advised. Two acts, only one our own.

Matthew 11: 28-30: The Unvarnished Gospels:

"Come here to me, all you drudges and overburdened ones, and I will give you a rest.  Put my yoke on and learn from me: I am gentle and humble of heart, and you will find rest for you souls, because my yoke is kindly and y load is light."


Two acts, only one our own. Something comes to meet us and does not bring weight, but rather eases our burdens.

Pragmatic moral psychology is not meant to be heavy labor. We are working together with the world of Mystery. We make an offering of what lives within; we offer it up. In the Celebration of the Mass, the Offertory precedes the Eucharist.

The soul makes the same rite of gesture, when the unconsciously created judgment is perceived and then let go, after which the empathic understanding is yearned for. When this has been done we are then met by grace, by the work of others. Moreover, this grace is so quiet, so silent, we may not be able to distinguish it from our own yearning thinking.

Since the Mystery seeks no gratitude for its acts, we should not mind when it has invisibly carried us to subtle heights, breadths and depths. To expect this, is true faith. However alone we may sometimes feel, we are, in fact, never alone.


Let us review and synthesize, perhaps adding a few new thoughts.

We are born into a culture and a language, a family and a destiny. In our youth we draw into ourselves a way of seeing the world, consistent with those who raise us, and, without which we would have become incapable of being a member of that society.

Each of us has an inborn faculty of judgment which finds its center in the feeling life, but which leaves its most conscious traces in the life of thought. We do not want to eliminate this faculty, but it does need to be refined if we are to evolve it into a capacity for perceiving the true, the beautiful and the good. As the poet Goethe pointed out, particularly in his scientific works: it is not the senses which deceive, but rather the judgment.

The fundamental quality, latent in judgment and from which its evolution may proceed, is our moral nature, our moral will. Let us consider this in a more practical way.

What do I do with antipathies (or with excessive sympathies for that matter)? Something enters my consciousness and my reaction is to not like it. The first thing (borrowing a term from more recent popular psychology) is to own it. It is my reaction, it arises in my soul, and it is not (in any obvious way) in the object to which the reaction attaches. There does seem to be something, a seed perhaps, that does exist in the judgment and that does belong to the object of the judgment, but this seed only comes to flower through processes like those outlined below.

The antipathetic reaction, which is a feeling, then draws concepts toward it, clothes itself in thought forms, and in this way enters our conscious thinking life, usually as a stream of inner dialog (discursive thinking: our spirit speaks, our soul hears). Above, we considered how to become alert to these judgments using the daily review, and noted there, as well, that to feel remorse and shame for having so unconsciously and hypocritically categorized our fellow human beings, is a sign of an awakening conscience.

Once we have become more awake in the moment, it is possible to work with this process during the day, not waiting for the daily review. The antipathy arises, we notice it. We have learned not to speak it, not to allow it across the threshold of speech into the social world. We behold it inwardly, this thing, our judgmental creation. This objective perception of our self-created thought-judgments is an act of spiritual freedom, inner freedom before the concept.

There are two very practical acts we can do in regard to this object within our consciousness. One precedes the other, and the second is born out of the first. The initial act is one of sacrifice. Steiner calls this: sacrifice of thoughts. We not only allow it to die, we participate in the process of its dying. We give it up, we detach ourselves emotionally from this no longer desired judgment.

Doing this has brought our will into play. Using this same will we now engender a new becoming of the act of judgment. Dying has preceded becoming. We actively engage the process of metamorphosis inwardly in the soul life. The caterpillar of our antipathetic judgment can give birth to the butterfly of our empathic understanding. The crucial act is our moral intention. We recreate in the newly freed soul space the object of our judgment as an act of spiritual will. We choose to behold the other - the thou - with the forces of resurrection. We clothe the object of our previous antipathy in a freely chosen word-picture created in the crucible of a struggle to know them empathically. We redeem them in thought.

The most essential matter to recognize here is that in this activity one is not acting alone. Two acts, only one our own.

One last thought. In that activity by which we transform unconscious judgments into conscious ones, we inform the world with new meaning. We adorn the world, and the individuals which inhabit it, with self-created significance. The difference is that this new meaning-significance is neither arbitrary or capricious. The world means what we choose it to mean. In this act, however, it makes a great deal of difference whenever we have invited the cooperation of the invisible world.

With regard to this problem of meaning - the creation of new meaning - there is much more yet to say, as this is one of the principle ways for crafting the resurrection of a new civilization from the decay and debris of the old and dying culture.

Unto the reader then, I place these gifts of twenty-five years of practice, with all their flaws, for whatever service they may give.


In 1985, I wrote an article, which was called Listening to the World Song, for the small anthroposophical publication, America in the Threefold World.  This article is now really just a curiosity, but at the same time the Idea of the Title represented a profound intuition of the basic method I was developing in order to investigation of the social world.   The method, based upon Steiner's The Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe's World Conception involved letting the thinking perceive the phenomena without adding anything of an analytical conceptual nature.  The social world, like the world of Nature, was to speak, and I as its student, was to listen.  My poetic nature expressed this approach as: Listening to the World Song.  In the summer and fall of 1999 (some 14 years later) I returned to this theme (which I did again 6 years later - 2005 - when I again used this title in reference to the articles I had submitted to the New Review.  

There are three parts to this essay, and the reader may not want to read them all.  The first part: a few introductory remarks, concerns my views of the state of the Anthroposophical Society and Movement as I saw it at that time (1999); the second part: the path to an Idea, describes in more personal detail how I got to the Idea, and some of the experiences in the background of that process; while the third part: the experience of an Idea, concerns more the social picture that emerged out of that path/process.   By the way, by the term: Idea, I mean it as described by Steiner in his The Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe's World Conception, namely: an Idea is a complex of concepts.  It is also my view that an Idea - this complex of concepts, in this sense, can be described more poetically as the outer garment of a single spiritual being or community of beings.
 While we do experience thought, in the beginning, as a product solely of our own activity, after a time we come to realize that thought is co-participated.   Something comes toward us in response to our need, or our Parsifal question, but we sculpt the final form of the thought as it comes to rest in our consciousness as a by-product of this encounter.

Listening to the World Song

 - a report on the Experience of an Idea -

a few introductory remarks

Understanding comes slowly.  It cannot be forced.  Where I stand today (and what I see from where I stand) is quite different from where I stand or what I will see tomorrow.  The same may be true for the reader of these pages.  Some of what is below may be difficult to immediately appreciate.  Hopefully those who read what is to follow will forgive my excesses and errors, and still find some nourishment for their souls in my song.


This essay derives the greater part of its its basic impulse from a love of Anthroposophy.  It is because of this love I take the time and trouble to think about the social forms through which Anthroposophy is integrated with the wider social world.  The understanding that results from this thinking is not encouraging.

To my heart it sometimes appears that Anthroposophy will not survive the (hopefully) unconscious failings and betrayal of those who seem to lead its institutional forms.   In fact, the leading institution, the Anthroposophical Society, could be more accurately renamed the Rudolf Steiner Preservation and Choral Bureaucracy.  Such is the attachment to the past, of the Vorstand and other leading personalities, that a substantial barrier exists, which prevents the new and the living from entering into the present social-spiritual paralysis that is falsely called today: the life of the Society.

The worship of the past is a potentially fatal disease for any institution.  For something which aspires to be a modern mystery school, it is a tragic catastrophe.

Again and again the Christmas Conference is evoked, as if this past event represented some kind of magical formula.  Never does one hear a real acknowledgment of the disarray that followed, or any honest attempt to appreciate the real consequences of the events of the next ten to fifteen years.  A great sadness can come to someone who struggles to form an imaginative picture, and behold inwardly as a whole, the history of the Society, with its great and grievous heart wound, that followed Steiner's death.

Those events broke the relationship between the Society and the Spiritual World, and far too many are in denial of this truth.  The recreation of the Society, following after the second great war, was a social-political event, not a spiritual one.  It resulted in an earthly social form, but not in a true mystery school.  This does not have to remain the case, but until the truth is recognized, a healing between the world of spirit and the social form cannot arise.

The denial of the truth is itself the core obstacle.  This refusal to admit the existence of the heart wound at the center of the Society's biography cannot continue if we are to think about the Society in a real and a healthy way.

The result is that the Anthroposophical Society more closely resembles, as a social form, a bureaucracy.  Now a bureaucracy does not require a formal creation with clerks and administrators, because bureaucracy is a human response to certain situations.  A bureaucracy arises because a common attitude is taken.  The social form grows out of the intentions sleeping in this attitude.

In what calls itself the Anthroposophical Society we have an attitude of preservation and conservation, coupled with an exclusionary impulse that keeps the wild and earthly element of human existence (the life) outside.  It is the triumph of this preservation and exclusionary impulse which allows the real social form of the Society to function as a Bureaucracy.  The whole social form looks mostly inward, and toward the past, while being concerned mainly with the preservation of traditional structures and a complete avoidance of any risk taking whatsoever.

This is not to say that the future is not expressed within the Society, occasionally in some kind of ideal form.  But such expression is meaningless without action.  It is action which is missing.   In terms of its actions the Rudolf Steiner Preservation and Choral Bureaucracy is one of the more conservative social forms in modern Western Culture.

It may help, in dealing with what could be such a heavy hearted picture, to realize that this result was the karma of the Society from the beginning.  It had to fall away from its original connection with the Higher Worlds, because this was the natural state of the membership.  We are fallen, and so our Society, after its moments in Paradise (truly connected to the spiritual world through the being and deeds of Steiner), must also fall.

So, now we are fallen, and our connections to the world of the spirit is as tenuous as any other earthly social form.  Anthroposophy lives in individuals now, which is something for which to be very grateful.  Not only this, but we have passed through the Event of the Second Golgotha.  The result is that an ethereal Pentecost is now being enacted, and individuals are appearing who speak, not just different languages in the traditional sense, but different languages in the sense of modes of consciousness and all the different disciplines and paths.  We have languages of dance, of farming, of teaching, of sociology, of all the endless variety of ways and means out of which people seek the true, the beautiful and the good.

Moreover, there is much Anthroposophy which lies outside the Society.  Anthroposophy, being a path of cognition, is not the exclusive possession of the Society or the Movement.  The path itself belongs to individuals, any number of whom are unable, or unwilling, to join the Rudolf Steiner Preservation and Choral Bureaucracy.

Today we stand at the End of the Century.  Can we find our way toward a truly anthroposophical society?  Will we find reasons to unite with all anthroposophists, or more reasons to separate and divide?  The new millennium waits for us.  What creative deeds will we initiate?  What footsteps will we take and what traces leave upon this unwritten future?

Many who see flaws in the anthroposophical society believe that the roots of these flaws are to be found in the so-called constitutional problem, or in the absence of a successful threefolding of the society.  All such thinking is confused.  The root of the present day's Society's problems is spiritual in nature, as is the cure.  Only spiritual deeds, based upon an  elevated thinking about the Society's social realities and responsibilities, will discern what is needed to be understood in order to find a healthy way into the future.

Of all the realities, whose essence must be appreciated in order to understand the meaning of Anthroposophy for the world, it is the spiritual truths of social reality that are the most central.  Anthroposophy only fully incarnates in the world to the extent it penetrates the social, and brings a  consciousness of the Being of Wisdom and the Being of Love alive within the earthly life of the individual human soul, and within human communities.


If we want to place our work consciously in the service of the social life of the future, we have to learn to truly see the social world's dynamic nature and work within  those parameters. Possible problems begin with a failure to distinguish thoughts about social realities, from knowledge about social realities.  Thoughts arise with little or no effort, especially if driven by some strong emotion.  Knowledge, in the sense of Steiner's Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe's World Conception, requires discipline and effort.  There it is made clear that the quality and character of the willed thought activity must correspond to the nature of the object about which knowledge is sought.  One must have a method equal to the nature and character of the social body / order / organism as it in fact is, in order to come to knowledge of it.

Frequently I have heard in conversation, or seen written, various suggestions by anthroposophists about how to deal with this or that social problem.  While a good hearted impulse stands at the root of this thinking, it tends to superficiality and antipathetically driven judgments.   But the social world is not apprehended this way.

There is a general pattern to this kind of thinking, which it will help to appreciate.  By nature we experience matters in the social world which disturb us, which we do not like.  Our good heart leads us to wanting to correct it.  Over against this disturbing picture we place our idea of how the social world ought to be, whether in a specific or a general way.  For example, people will look at some social problem and say/think that if only everyone was Waldorf educated, or threefolding was brought in, then the wrongness we experience would be made alright.

In spite of our good intention, our wish is completely useless.  Our experience of the disturbing matters is nothing more than a variation of the problem of the mote in our brother's eye.  We have factually not seen the social problem at all, but only the beam (our antipathetically driven judgment) in our own eye.  Further, when we propose an ideal solution, we again have failed to understand the social world, because its real processes are considerably more complicated than the mere imposition of some fantasy ideal change.  The social world does change, but when it does it follows various rules - patterns, processes, and dynamic conditions of necessity.

Do not take this matter lightly.  Without real knowledge of the social, the great gifts so far developed out of Anthroposophy cannot truly enter the world.  In fact, in many instances these gifts are finding rejection today, not from so-called opposing forces, but from a lack of knowledge, among the anthroposophists promoting them, of social realities.

It is to help those who justly desire a healing for the social world, and who reasonably see Anthroposophy as having a relationship to this goal, that I have written the material below.

the Path to the Idea

It is my experience that a complex Idea, such as the one I am discussing, does not appear whole and complete in its initial experience to the I.  There is an initial encounter, and then later, over years, an unfolding of detail and context.

Also, in the practice of Anthroposophy, how one comes to knowledge is of significance.  Method influences content, and the reliability of that content.  For these reasons, I am going to trace the Idea through its various iterations and development, as I worked with it over many years.


The meeting with an Idea often begins with the search for an answer to a riddle.  In the case of this Idea, there were two riddles, or experiences, which drove my interest from deep within my soul.

The first was an encounter in my early years with the cruelty of other children, an experience of evil that left many questions in its wake.  The second riddle, which combined ultimately with the first, concerned the disparity between the deeply intelligent, but romantic, vision of America's founders, and the cliche driven, and content empty, dialogs of modern politicians

All of my social, spiritual and political writing, finds its impelling motives in an attempt to resolve these dissonances in my early experiences of the Song of the World.

In fact, it was in the aftermath of the political turmoil of the 1960's and 1970's in America (about 1977-78), while I was reading Herbert Marcuse's One Dimensional Man, that it came to me as a fully conscious understanding, that the various political views all had their roots in some idea of the nature of the human being, whether consciously expressed or not.  By this time in my life, I had already had some spiritual experiences, and was therefore certain that the human being is a spiritual being.

A few explanatory words might be appropriate here.  In my early thirties (about 1971), I underwent an unusual psychological change, following which certain previously unknown talents began to emerge.  It was seven years after this change, that the above question arose in my soul.  Thus, at this time (1977-78),  the riddle began to take this form:  What is the significance for political and social life that this is true, that human beings are creatures of soul and spirit?

It was with this question clearly before my own consciousness that I then met Anthroposophy.

Upon encountering Anthroposophy I took an immediate liking to Goetheanism, and the image building discipline born from the study of projective geometry.  I read all the Goethean science that I could get my hands on, and especially took an interest in Steiner's Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe's World Conception.  This became my anthroposophical bible, in part because of the material toward the end about a science of peoples, which seemed to be the direction required by my riddle.

Yet, it was another seven years before I could give some content to what was beginning to appear in answer to the research that was prompted by my riddle.

The period of time we are looking for is about 1984-85, at which time I was living near Sacramento, California, and was involved, at an anthroposophical level, with the circle around Carl Stegmann (author of The Other America: the Western World in the Light of Spiritual Science), which circle (called the Emerson Study Group) was concerned with research on the spiritual America.

In the November 9th, 1985 issue of the Stegmann sponsored newsletter America in the Threefold World, I had published a preliminary study, indicating where my work stood at that time.  It was called: Listening to the World Song: a symptom-like contemplation of current events.

In this essay, I wrote a little about the current state of my understanding of the necessary methodology, which involved a four stage willed-in-thinking process (sacrifice of thoughts, followed by fact gathering, picture forming, and artistic expression).  The process was required in order to see past the illusions carried in media, and as well the confusion generated in the own soul by our antipathetic and sympathetic reactions to the phenomena of modern society.

One of the elements that drew forth this essay was an awareness that within the anthroposophical movement, as I had at the time so far experienced it, there seemed to be a lack of appreciation for the fact that ordinary discursive, cause and effect oriented thinking, could not take hold of social realities.  There was a kind of lip service paid to threefold social order ideas, in a very abstract way, and an occasional reference to Steiner's ideas on symptomology, but basically when people spoke of modern events and their meaning, if they gave any characterization at all, it was to use the terms luciferic and ahrimanic, which seemed more of just another way of being antipathetic, rather than representing any kind of effort at trans-formative thinking.

This saddened me.  I felt, that if Steiner's epistemological works had any social significance at all, it was in the suggestion that reality, including social reality, could not be apprehended through ordinary thinking.  Since I had found, within Steiner's works, very significant help in dealing with the riddles which drove my life, it was disturbing to realize that anthroposophical circles tended to be so intellectually oriented and so socially retarded.  The discovery of this problem awoke in me many questions about the anthroposophical movement, the answers to which later appear in that work on my website included in the section Outlaw (rebel) Anthroposophy.

In addition to the work mentioned above concerning symptom-like thinking and its relationship to the perception of social realities, this period of my life resulted in the first perception of what I consider to be one of the most significant aspects of the Idea that I was to encounter.  I have worked with this aspect of the Idea for many years now, but it was early in my time in Sacramento that I first came to it as a matter of knowledge.

When I could manage the time, it was my practice to sit quietly at my desk (my altar) and attempt to hold pictures in my mind of social realities.  Having absorbed certain ideas from my studies of Goetheanism, I worked particularly within the elements of that discipline.  For example, anything of a theoretical or explanatory nature, in the sense of concepts, was to be excluded.  I was more at work at forming pictures of facts and processes.

As I have previously mentioned, I was intrigued with modern political events and ideas.  So it was natural for me to contemplate political matters, with a strong effort to remain only in facts and observable (with thinking) processes.  It was during such a contemplation that I first apprehended that the central element of the social order, the political-legal life, was inwardly threefolded into three polarically related socially valid functional structures of its own: State, Media and People.  Please remember that this came from the contemplation of self generated facts, raised into pictures, which then spontaneously ordered themselves into the above configuration.  This particular inner event was also accompanied (as had similar experiences) with a phenomena of inner light, a sudden, yet subtle brightening.   It was as if for the moment my mind had touched the Idea.  Over time I have had many similar experiences, but, as will be explained later, my technique has changed somewhat.

It has also been my practice to work and rework with such an understanding.  As well as to integrate it with a number of other encounters with the Idea.  Following after the practice of sacrifice of thoughts, I have several times completely eliminated from my soul life this and other related ideas, after which they are built up again completely from the beginning, starting with freely and consciously choosing the impelling moral basis for the work.

There is one other aspect to these considerations that must be dealt with at this time.  This is not a happy event, once one appreciates its real consequences for the anthroposophical movement and for the world.

Around the year 1977, Carl Stegmann, at a meeting of the Faust Branch of the Anthroposophical Society in Fair Oaks, California (a suburb of Sacramento), rose and spoke passionately about founding a center for anthroposophical studies there.  He envisioned (was inspired to say) that the center should consist of two programs: one, a foundational study year in Anthroposophy, and two, a program directed at the study of the social question in America.  From Carl's studies of America, he had come to realize that America had a special relationship to social questions, and that this second program was essential to founding a true relationship between Anthroposophy and the American Soul.

As this second program began its development, various individual American anthroposophists were drawn to it, suggesting that a remarkable constellation of individuals might well become co-workers in this Center.  However, this was not to be, for without laying blame on any particular individuals, there existed a serious lack of consciousness regarding the spiritual realities involved.

First, and this seems to have been very common, no one seems to have thought that the differences between the soul life of Americans and Europeans was a matter of any moment.  Even though Steiner had spoken again and again of the differences between East, Center and West, I have never found any evidence, that as Anthroposophy was introduced into America, that anyone considered that there were any questions that needed to be thought about.  It is, of course, through unconsciousness that the opposing forces are able do much of their work.

[This condition (the absence of concrete thinking about the differences between soul configurations and the necessary and related social consequences) persists in the present, and continues to be a foundation for tragic misunderstandings.]

Without going into details, of which the various parties that I have spoken with do not agree, this fact remains clear.  A European personality was brought into the developing situation in order to oversee the Foundation Year program.  After a year of this person's involvement, the second program concerning the significance of the social question in America disappeared, and the developing Center was turned into a Waldorf Teacher training school, to be known as Rudolf Steiner College.  Waldorf was the area of expertise of the individual brought in to oversee the Foundation Year.

While I was associated with the Emerson Study Group, a small group of those working with Carl Stegmann on the American Work, I worked at trying to understand this problem.  Why had the second program failed to come into being (obviously I would have had a special connection to it, had it been thriving, when I arrived in the area about 5 years later)?

As an aspect of this work, and in preparation for a coming 35th anniversary celebration of the Faust Branch, I worked over several nights during meditation at forming pictures of the history of the Faust Branch.  It was during this work that a particular image arose in my consciousness.

The picture was divided in half vertically into a left and right image.  The left image was like a blue line drawing and the right image like a red line drawing.  In the blue line drawing there was central figure, whose form was similar to the European individual mentioned above.  This figure was about three feet off the ground, and was surrounded by two or three other figures, who were portrayed in postures of adoration.  They were also off of the ground, as if somehow following upward the central figure.

In the red half of the picture there was a partial foundation of a building, with a few weeds growing around it here and there.  Sitting on part of this foundation was a central figure, this one similar in form to Carl Stegmann.  He sat in the posture of Rodin's Thinker.  Around him were several other figures, in various states of repose, either sitting and laying down.

The whole picture was static in nature, except that the left hand picture, the one in blue lines, gave the effect of some kind of upward motion.

My understanding of the meaning of this picture is as follows: When the European soul comes to America the Earth forces here push that soul off of the Earth, ungrounding it.  If the American soul attempts to follow this soul, to live in its mental pictures and the understanding and imitation of its soul life, this will unground the American soul as well.  For the American to imitate the European is to court disaster.  Even such a personality as Carl Stegmann, who had permeated his own soul forces with deep aspects of America for over almost fifty years before coming here, could not bring his will into play, could not bear real and lasting fruit.

Eventually I came to understand, through this and other experiences, that the anthroposophical movement in America is not connected to the American Soul, but rather, because of the lack of consciousness in the integration and working together of these two soul gestures, anthroposophical centers in America have the characteristic of being ungrounded spiritual colonies of European soul and cultural life.

This is a disastrous situation for Anthroposophy and for the world which needs something from Anthroposophy.  It cannot be overstated.

The situation can be seen this way.  As I see my destiny/task, it was to bring my genius of spirit, as regards social matters, into connection with Anthroposophy via the Center for the Study of the Social Question in America.  For this work to enter into the main stream of cultural life in the world, it first had to ripen in an institutional setting with all the aid that a constellation of co-workers can bring.  It was not me, as an individual, that was to bring into Incarnation the Idea, but a working group, a social group, which was to bring about the practical down to earth realization of the anthroposophical Social Impulse (as initially apprehended by Steiner, but which needed to be brought into realization on the Earth through the forces of the American Soul, with its natural social genius).

But this was not to be.  The so-called opposing, or limiting,  forces, working through unconscious confusion regarding the correct relationship between European and American soul characteristics, and through impulses rooted in ambition, destroyed this Center before it could be born, driving my work into isolation, away from the community in which it needed to thrive.  These same forces also scattered a remarkable constellation of individuals into a similar spiritual diaspora.

The next seven years of my encounter with the Idea involved very painful social experiences, as I wandered around trying to find a place within which to root my work.  Progress was made on some levels of investigation, and my association with the Center for American Studies at Concord (Mass.)(begun in 1988) helped me focus to some degree.

  However, since I was mainly concerned with life issues (earning a living, raising a new family), the work in striving to connect at deeper levels with the Idea could only make limited degrees of progress.

Even so, there is no need to regret this, because the rich life experience acquired resulted in adding many dimensions to the nature of the riddle, and those additional questions I put to my inner life, and the World of Ideas.  Remember, at consideration is the problem of understanding human social and political existence.  Therefore, to live as I have lived, among the working poor, facing all those questions of life (bankruptcy, divorce, having to live on welfare, frequent periods of unemployment - and all the attendant anxiety and loss of meaning connected to these experiences) was very much a necessity.

[I did not produce a great deal of publishable work during this period, but I was involved in considerable research in my fields of interest (social and political life, and the Mystery of America).  A couple years ago I went through my files and discarded hand written notes from this period (1985 - 1992) on hundreds of pages of 8 x 11 sheets, which made a pile as tall as my knee.]

Nevertheless I was able to produce a paper near the end of this period (in 1991) in which the further developments could be expressed.  This paper was called Threshold Problems in Thinking the Threefold Social Order (also shortly to come in this book).  At seventeen pages it was a small essay, and I submitted it to the Threefold Review, which was just beginning to be published.  I received a letter from them acknowledging receipt of this essay, but no further correspondence.  My attitude toward this was such that I did not have any desire to push myself or my work on anyone.  One cannot sell the truly spiritual.  For example, I will write this essay and make some others aware of it, but I will not be knocking on doors and demanding people pay attention.  The work, as far as I am concerned, speaks for itself, and has all the necessary qualities that would allow someone to take an interest in it.

In this essay (Threshold Problems...) I put forward, in more detail, my work concerning the threefolding of the middle element of the threefold social organism, and noted, in passing, that the human organism is in fact nine-fold (see W. Schad's Man and Mammals).  I also unveiled for the first time what might be a core version of the Idea, such as can be put in words (although not all the implications for social life, once one understands the Idea).  This was an examination of the meaning hidden in Christ's saying regarding "Render therefore unto Caesar...."  Even Steiner's social motto is a reflection of this saying of the Christ: The healing social life is only found when in the mirror of each human soul the whole community finds its reflection and when in the community the virtue of each one is living.

I also developed, for the first time, the idea of metamorphosis as that would apply to ongoing processes in the social organism.  This is a very important aspect of the Idea, namely that our time is experiencing social chaos as a necessary prelude to certain other possibilities.  However, given the disarray within the thinking of the anthroposophical movement on social matters, it is quite possible these possibilities will not be realizable.  Some group with full consciousness has to act upon this understanding, or the time will pass when new and healthy social form giving impulses can be introduced into these conditions of social chaos.  It is the possibility that this tragedy might be averted that has caused me to write these words.

There is one other point worth given special emphasis.  This was the need for Sun forces to enter into social life.  That is, for renewing forces to enter into the meaning-structure of human existence as that is carried by Media in its broadest sense.  Everywhere that the world is described or referenced, from gossip at a conference, to statements in organizational newsletters - this world is characterized with variable forces of soul.  If this characterization is produced from , for example, antipathetically driven soul forces, then those characterizations are false.  They produce a darkening, not an enlightening.

This essay (Threshold Problems...) then marked the end of the work of the third seven year period since my awakening in my early thirties.

For the last seven years, I have been refining my understanding of this Idea and putting it to work in various contexts.  In the absence of a group of co-workers, or an institutional support system, my work has been sporadic at best.  Little that is fundamentally new has been discovered, although all the previous work has been rethought (confirmed) and brought to a deeper level (see: Waking the Sleeping Giant: the mission of Anthroposophy in America - [also in this book])  I have also been able in this period to begin work on a version of this material suitable for non-anthroposophists, so that they can have an appreciation of this Idea as well.  This will be found in my book in process: Strange Fire: the Death, and the Resurrection, of Modern Civilization. [Work on this book has now been abandoned in favor of the more elaborate and deep: the Way of the Fool, which considers the problem of "rendering unto God", and a new work, still embryonic: the Way of the Citizen, which is to consider the problem of "rendering unto Caesar".]

Nevertheless, there are certain refinements of special significance along with some subtle changes in my understanding, and I will present them shortly as aspects of a total picture of the Idea.

One would be making a serious mistake to conceive that what is written below is all that I know, understand or to which I have access inwardly.  For example, my essay: The Social-Spiritual Organism of a Waldorf School Community (the next essay in this book) represents a thought content I have had for many years, which did not receive a written form until in casual conversation I mentioned something about its basic themes, at which time I was asked to write a more formal expression of my understanding.

What is below then is a general surface outline of my work of twenty-eight years with this Idea, a work which is not only an elaborate thought content, but a highly developed way of thinking (seeing) social and political existence.  This overview should be read in conjunction with the more elaborate presentations in the individual essays.  It is not meant to stand alone

My method basically now consists (when life circumstances allow it) of sitting at my desk and writing descriptive passages of social and political realities.  Inwardly the experience is analogous to looking at a clear stream.  The surface of the stream results from my inner activity in sacrifice of thoughts, fact gathering, picture formation and artistic expression (more or less done simultaneously).  At the same time as my thinking sees this clear surface, I can perceive that there arises, on the other side of that surface, activity that does not belong to my own will, but which appears there spontaneously of its own accord.  The clear surface is then a product of the two activities acting in concert.  With my writing I record what appears there.

Let me give some concrete examples of how one might conduct this descriptive writing/thinking process.  Make a list of as many different activities a human being can engage in during the course of a day.  Make such a list, imaging living at an early time; in fact, make several such lists, reflecting on various epochs of the past.  Take the items on these lists and see if they are members of any general class of activity.  Imagine the lives of others, living in the present.  In particular, imagine their inner life.  Reading novels can be a source of inspiration for such an activity.  Write out these various versions of what happens inwardly and outwardly during the course of a day.  Write out versions of the day for different people in different historical times.  Behold inwardly the sequence over time of these various versions of daily life, one following the other, much like the leaf sequence in plant life typical of Goethean work.  Be careful of speculating on causal relationships regarding single events.

The point is to immerse the imagination in being able to picture the ordinary life events (including the inner elements) as sequences in movement over time.  The more one does this, the more transparent the dynamics of present day social life become, because the social present is the confluence of the interacting flow of long term currents mingling with each other on multiple levels.

It was my experience, during the first seven year period after my awakening, that the world, as it was, was a kind of speech.  As my efforts to understand social life matured, it became clear, following after Goethe, that it was not necessary to add anything to the facts of the social-political world, but just to more and more deeply experience them.  The world itself would speak most plainly all that we might wish to know of its social and political truths.  This is why the essay at the end of the second seven year period, and this one now at the end of the fourth period, are called: Listening to the World Song.  [The culmination of this labor of many years now - 35 (five 7 year periods) as of this writing, is the essay above in this book: The Meaning of Earth Existence in the Age of the Consciousness Soul.  I could not have written that without all this preparatory work.]

There is also a definite experience that can arise in my soul, calling to me to sit and write.  I always have pencil and paper with me, and will even pull off to the side of the road to note something which has spontaneously appeared within my consciousness.  Of this content, what I then relate to others first passes my own fully awake judgment as to its truthfulness.  Nothing is accepted unless it can be rethought.  With major ideas, this rethinking has been done many times over many years.

Because I possess an American Soul, it is also clear to me that I am naturally oriented toward the earthly social world and its concerns, and not toward the spiritual world.  My research is then about this social world, while my method seems to be a hybrid, standing somewhere in between Goetheanism and spiritual scientific perception.  This seems quite necessary, as the work is concerned with understanding the dynamics and realities of the social-political world in such a way that it's true nature can be communicated in the ordinary heart-felt language of the common human soul and spirit.

  the Idea

- such as words, and my flaws, can render it -

The social body has, in part, the qualities of a living organism.  It is made up of countless human beings, and its nature must possess at least some characteristics which flow from this fact.

As an organism the social body exhibits levels of order, as well as of form and of process.  The common and shared elements of our human nature are found mirrored in the social body.  That the human being is a threefold organism, necessitates the threefold nature of the social organism.

Historically the social body has exhibited various kinds of order, from the rigidly hierarchical and dictatorial to the hopelessly chaotic democratic and anarchical.  The basic law which expresses the relationship between the individual human being and the whole (the community) is found in Christ's admonition "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things which are Gods" Matthew 22:21 (see a more detailed elaboration of this in part one of my essay Waking the Sleeping Giant...)

When one can see (with objective picture thinking) the working in the social organism of this fundamental principle, then one sees the basic polaric dynamic from which all social order is born.  Even Steiner's social motto is an insightful, but modest, reflection of this essential principle.  "The healthy social life is found when in the mirror of each human soul the whole community finds its reflection and when in the community the virtue of each one is living."

What Steiner presented in an ideal form as the threefold social order, is an Idea seeking incarnation.  This incarnation process can only occur over time, and in the end will take fully conscious human  action to complete.  Today we stand at a certain stage of this incarnation process and we must understand what is the exact nature of this particular stage.

Two major processes have been completed to a certain point.  One involves the full incarnation of cultural life, and the development of Science, Art and Religion (in the most general sense) as an inner threefolding of this aspect of the social organism.  The second involves the beginning incarnation and inner threefolding of the political-legal life, into an organism of State, Media and People.  But all is not well with this incarnation process.  The three aspects of the cultural life have become diseased (split into incompatible paradigms) under the pressure of the entry of humanity into deep materialism.  And the political-legal life has only just achieved this degree of definition of its elements in the social body.  Media, in fact, is so newly arrived that it is barely capable of enacting its true function.  (For details see part two of Waking...)

The economic life is just beginning its incarnation, and because it is initially predominately a will, and a physical, process, it has acted very powerfully on the social body.  It is necessary then to see that the incarnation of this Idea, the threefold social organism, is incomplete.  We have to form a picture of it as a process over a long period of time, and as partially complete.  It is a yet immature ordering of the social body.

We also have to see that it is a process that can't be pushed.  We can't force the incarnation of the Idea.  We can participate, as co-creative forces, but we can't overwhelm the process of incarnation with our own desires.  Moreover, in order to participate, we have first to learn to see.

There is more to see.

Threefoldness is not the only formative process active in the social body.  If you will recall, at the start of this part I spoke as follows: "The social body has, in part, the qualities of an organism..."

In the discussion of the significance of Christ's admonition about "Caesar", as contained in Waking..., it is pointed out that the social order (the State) is a consequence of our ideas, our feelings and our forces of will.  Thus the social body also reflects ideas, not just organic or living process.  These ideas live in the individual human being, and sometimes in communities.  Thus arises that aspect of social life which we might call tradition as it is lived by individuals and communities and becomes an element of small social structures.  (Just consider how much is already traditional in anthroposophically oriented communities.)  All over the world are various traditions, which in our time are encountering and reacting to the idea of materialism, and the extremely active youthful forces of the newly born world economy.

From this encounter and interaction, tradition has been dissolving for some centuries, especially in Western cultures.  This dissolution and the resulting social chaos is described in part two (in general) and in part three (in particular) in Waking....  In order to appreciate this one has to inwardly behold these changes in tradition over time.  As tradition is a form giving aspect in the social body (determining family and community arrangements, as well as much wider cultural phenomena), looking at this arrival of social chaos as an organic element suggests the possibility of metamorphosis - one kind of form is in the process of being replaced with another type of form.

The question here is whether we will be awake enough to participate in this change or whether the new form giving impulses will arrive from the realm of the unconscious, thus representing an even greater descent into materiality on a social level.  Will individuals choose the nature of their community life, or will blind economic forces form community such that more and more the individual and the community live in service to the technological and other anti-human elements?

All of this is fairly obvious for many anthroposophists, although we usually know it in a very abstract way, rather than as an aspect of living social dynamics.

We complete this picture when we learn to inwardly imagine, with discipline and exactness, the relationship between the dissolution of tradition and the ongoing processes in the evolution of consciousness.  As is pointed out in my previously noted essays, the dissolution of tradition is a necessary element in the birth of moral freedom (a central aspect of the goal of the consciousness soul age).  So it is of no surprise that the dynamics occurring in social life produce effects related to the possibilities of soul transformation needed in this epoch.  It may help to understand two related active processes that are supportive of this dynamic.

History is formed out of individual deeds, a kind of radiating social process, proceeding outward from the acts of individuals.  It is also formed from the demands of incarnating individuals, whose pre-birth influence acts like a suctional process.  From this suctional process events are agreed to, events which become an alchemical crucible for individual crisis and development.  The ego needs the dynamics of crisis in order to bring it into movement on the scale necessary for those transformations leading to the evolution of consciousness appropriate to the age.

While we, as anthroposophists, can understand that practices leading to initiation can bring about this evolution without the forced nature of events, yet we cannot forget that for most individuals life crisis is necessary in order for development to take place.  Choices must arise.  They must be real.  Deep pain of soul is involved.

At the time of this writing the events in Kosovo, as well as the shootings in Colorado, are active elements of ongoing historical moment.  Such events have two levels of meaning.  One is more personal.  How are we going to react?  What do we feel?  Each individual has different needs and demands at this level.

At the level of social dynamics, another mood - one of understanding is called for.  It can't be personal, but must become objective and free of sympathy and antipathy.  This requires inner effort.  We can act from each level of understanding, but we need to see that if we wish to participate in the ongoing social dynamics, different activities are being called forth by the necessities active there.

Let us consider these events from this other level of meaning, understanding that it should be the case that, whatever the event of the moment, the implications of meaning within the social dynamics ought to be similar.  Why do I say this?

Macro social dynamics, as we have been describing them, are large ongoing general processes in the social body.  The evolution of consciousness is an effect-producing element of  one such process.  Events are then supportive of this process, or not.  The dying of one social form (civilization) and its re-creation is another.  The further ongoing developments in the incarnation of social threefolding are a third.  The relationships between events, such as Kosovo and Colorado, and these general processes ought to be similar.  Events have their own character and also serve these processes.  The social body is dynamic and living, which means polaric and holistic.  It is not an arena of cause and effect abstract relationships.

For example, the common question asked about these events is "Why?".  But this question is asked from an assumption that cause and effect thinking is capable of rendering an answer.

Consider that I perform a selfish act in a personal relationship.  This is an act of evil, however minor.  The evil derives from my self conscious choice to act with knowledge that my act, selfish in motive, will have an emotionally harmful effect on the other, the thou.  But suppose the person receiving this act chooses to experience the harm, but not to indulge in hate or other base emotions.  Instead they choose to relate to my harming them as a way to practice forgiveness and for turning the other cheek. This is not easy, and requires some new skills being developed in the mastery of the feeling life, and some exercise as well in the control of thoughts.

The fact is that an evil act is a necessary element of the possibility of transformation.  What confuses us is gross evil, such as the holocaust.  We find it hard, so hard that it seems in fact to be just another evil act, to conceive that the pre-birth life will involve an agreement to participate as a recipient of such acts of gross evil.  Moreover, we can also imagine that the perpetrator of evil could use this as an excuse for further excesses.

We do not want to conceive of God as allowing such evil to arise.  I would suggest that the answer to this apparent dilemma has to do with our having asked the wrong question.

What God has created is clearly a situation which allows for human freedom.  It is human freedom from which evil flows.  The evil is not created by the pre-birth agreement, but by the free act during incarnation.  Before that it essentially doesn't exist.  What God has created is the process of recompense, what we call the law of karma.  It is recompense that is agreed to in the pre-birth life.

In addition, God has provided teaching for how to be a recipient of evil (turn the other cheek, etc.).  In between the law of recompense and the teaching of acceptance (love), the dance within the alchemical crucible of life, which is a necessary element of the evolution of consciousness, arises.

Now all over the world each individual lives within a context of meaning, a mostly culturally given thought content for which the word paradigm sometimes is accurate.  Common themes unite individuals into communities, and various events (such as Kosovo and Colorado) arise effecting and influencing both individuals and groups.  New evil comes into existence, crossing the threshold from within the individual soul and flowing out into the social world.

Human beings counter these events with acts of creativity and grace.  Kosovo draws acts of goodness out of human hearts.  It also brings about the movement of peoples, separating them from the previous context of their lives, and thereby acting as a further aspect of the creation of social chaos, making it possible for these individuals to step outside the given context of meaning and find their way to possible developments of the consciousness soul.

Colorado forces the community to re-examine its culture of meaning.  The erosion of spirituality under the excesses of economic forces and materialism is called into question.  The killings are terrible, but the consequences are also supportive of acts of creation.

We cannot let our thinking have such a narrow focus that the total context in which these events happen, and all their consequences are not seen.  We must avoid abstracting from these events only their presumed evil nature, which then falsely justifies our antipathies.  We need to know the whole, or we will not know truly how to act toward the necessary presence of evil in the social world.

There is a special point to understand here (which was discussed from one point of view in the beginning of this essay), having to do with the relationship between our own consciousness and the true nature of the social world.  The mind has certain special characteristics, by which it frequently sets up false polarities.  One common such polarity is to form a distinction between how we believe the world to be, and how we believe the world should be.  Both of these acts remain interior, that is they are products of mind, and not related to the truth of the earthly social world.

Our image of how the social world is, is formed from many experiences as well as out of the culture and traditions into which we are born.  But the fact is that this image is not true.  Rather the image is particular to our individuality - each of us has a particular image in accord with our own character and karmic needs.  Before this image we are usually not free, because it has not been created out of conscious objective acts of thinking.   We have inherited it, not formed it.

For example, each of us will form rather individualistic ideas concerning the meaning of the events in Kosovo and Colorado.  We will be guided in this meaning-formation largely by our antipathies and sympathies.  We will then set against this self created image, a second idea, our individual idea of how the world should be - what would be the good.  This same dual image creation process is active in our immediate social relationships, such as in our families and at work.  We constantly set along side each other two images whose content is completely derived from our own souls - one image is what we think is the social reality, its causes and characteristics, and the other image is our ideal, the what the social reality should become.

On the basis of these two images we make social choices.  But neither image is the truth of the social world.  We only begin to have the truth of the social world when our picture includes the fact that each person is acting out of justifiable individual polaric and subjective images, and that social interaction is the collision of these conflicting images.

Now factually we need these two images in order to proceed, in order to make the choices life demands.  However, when we generalize to the world as a whole some aspect of the dissonance we perceive between these two images, we falsify our understanding.  As I noted before, we need a personal view and an objective impersonal view.  We need both.

The former helps us live our lives.  The latter should awaken us to a most remarkable fact - the real truth, beauty and goodness - the remarkable artistic perfection - of the earthly social world. ("All the world is a stage...")

The only true darkness in the social world is that which proceeds from the beam in our own eye.

The Creation is never unclean in any given moment, whether we are looking at the natural world or the social world.  The presence of evil in the social world is an absolute necessity.  It is both anvil and hammer to our development, and we should stand in awe of it.  The creation of the alchemical crucible of social existence, with its law of recompense and its invitation to love, is, in itself, a most remarkable act of Divine Love.

Understanding this, however, should not keep us from the choices our personal views impel.  At some point we may want to become free of them, but in the interval we very much need them.


Our understanding of the Idea has now reached a certain stage.  We, hopefully, can see now that the social organism is a field of streaming activity in which large (macro) social dynamic processes are active.  Moreover, each individual experiencing these processes exists within a particular independent field or context of meaning, that may or may not support that individual (and community) in understanding the nature of the events and the possibilities of response.  The farmer in Kosovo does not understand the events in the same way a historian in Germany, or an America housewife understands them.

A question we can now ask ourselves is: What purpose can such a view serve, as regards the future of Anthroposophy and the anthroposophical movement?

As suggested in the beginning of this essay, Anthroposophy is only realized in the world to the extent that it penetrates the social world.  Anthroposophy is not something practiced in isolation.  The path to higher cognition serves as a vehicle for human beings, working in cooperation with the Gods, to realize deeds on the earth, in the social realm.  Through the higher cognition we reach upward, but this act cannot just serve our development, or it remains sterile and egotistic.

This being the case, how can the above social understanding help us achieve our freely chosen goals, whether they involve Waldorf, biodynamics, threefolding or whatever?

Let us begin with the basic understanding - our knowledge of the existence of the field of individual context of meaning.

If we have understood the inner realities that flow from an experiential knowledge of Steiner's The Philosophy of Freedom, we have realized that as regards our own consciousness, spiritual freedom is of the highest value.  We want no one, but ourselves, to determine this most intimate aspect of our inner being.  The thought-content of our inner world, as regards both the social world and world of mystery, is to be an act of free judgment, coerced by no incarnate or discarnate individual or community.  We are in movement from a culturally given context of meaning, to a context developed wholly out of our own inner forces.

Having taken this understanding into ourselves, it follows we will naturally want the same for all other human beings - complete spiritual freedom.  This being the case, it becomes impossible to demand of another that they have the same ideas, morals, spiritual views, whatever, that we do.  Rather we want for them that they find their way to that inner delight which we ourselves experience when in the possession of this gift of inner freedom.  We realize, from our own difficult path to spiritual freedom, that such can only be won out of acts of individual will, and that the world outside our own consciousness is to have no influence but what we ourselves permit.

In a sense then, each individual's context of meaning is a sacred core which we neither wish to, nor should, violate.  Yet, most of our social dynamics involve constant attempts at just such a violation.  We seek to persuade, argue, insist, teach, change, demand, that others have the same values and ideas that we have.  We judge them according to our own ideas of what is right and wrong.  We expect our children to follow our lead in the same fashion.  We demand of our fellow anthroposophists some common sense of what it means to be an anthroposophist.  In countless ways, from waking until sleeping, we judge the social world according to our own view of what is true and correct.

To truly support another's search for spiritual freedom is not an easy task, as not only our personal habits of thought, and feeling, but those of our communities as well, seek acts of conformance.  It is not easy to love another as deeply as this kind of respect for their sacred core of self determined context of meaning requires.

This is all made particularly more difficult when one is in possession of knowledge which we know to be true and practical, and which would benefit the other person if only they would listen to us and follow our advice.  Waldorf, biodynamics, threefolding - we possess such a wondrous collection of wise truths of which we anthroposophists have become the stewards.  Surely the world can hardly wait for us to save them from their errors.

How then do we offer the fruit of our work to the world, while at the same time respecting the realities necessitated by the need of each individual for completely autonomous acts seeking after spiritual freedom?  Moreover, how do we likewise respect those communities of tradition (communities of context of meaning) in which individuals find themselves embedded?

There is a possibility, which is gentle in nature and not authoritarian in any aspect.  It sets our discovered truths before the world in a way that the recipient can easily stand back from.  It speaks not the language of the intellect, or the will, but the language of the heart.  Moreover, it is adaptable to any given particular culture of meaning.

Properly understood it represents a maturation of the anthroposophical-Michaelic impulse.  Steiner gave Anthroposophy out to a culture heavily embedded in materialism and the ideas of the 19th century.  Moreover, this culture was still intimately tied to the dying traditions of a social life in flux.  Out of necessity he had to speak in certain ways that built a bridge from the existing form of consciousness in the direction of the new form of consciousness.  But we need to recognize that he could only start something.  If we conceive that what he gave was in any way a finished product, we will then kill all that was living in it, and freeze it in a moment of time already long past.  The sad fact is that much of what we do already has this character, and it is no wonder that so many find it indigestible.

What is this possibility - the possibility to touch gently the individual and community meaning-formation processes necessary and active in social existence?

It is the resurrection of oral culture, of the art and craft of telling stories.

There are so many possibilities that it is quite difficult to suggest even the most basic ways this could or would actually manifest in social reality.  Here is one example: Bicycles: A Children's Christmas Story for Adults (in the appendix to this book).

Another way is offered in my novels on my web-pages: American Phoenix; and, Earth Ranger 2323.  Further examples can be found as an aspect of: Strange Fire: the Death, and the Resurrection, of Modern Civilization.  This last book was organized around the Octave, being formed of eight meta-stories (the notes) and seven essays (the intervals).  The meta-stories so far completed are: Signs of Spring; the Age of Confusion; and, the Abyss of Aloneness. [again, this book has not be complete, and probably will not be completed]

In the above I have done no more then hint at possibilities.  As previously noted, such a work is to be social, which means to arise from group work, from communities.  If you still doubt and cannot yet see what this will mean for the long term in the age of the consciousness soul, just consider that what such stories call forth is the craft of distinguishing the essential from the non-essential (otherwise the story has too much information and detail), and the art of moral insight (recall that Christ taught in Parables).

Stories lie outside the ability of ruling elites, with their domination of media, to control.  If, from out of a People a Name arises that shines light into what is otherwise darkness, a great truth can then cut, with the sword of Michael, the Ahrimanic Deception.  The Darkness cannot tolerate the Light, and in the face of this power of Naming, the Darkness will retreat and find its proper place in the Balance.

Perhaps it will help to think of it this way.  In ordinary social situations the words of a gossip can confuse and breed hate in a community.  That this is possible comes from the fact that between a thing and its meaning, we stand with our capacity for speech (while behind speech stands our capacity for thought, for the formation of new cognitions).  Who a person is understood to be, or what an event means, in its social-community sense, is determined, sometimes in part, but often in whole, by how we render it with the word.

This same principle applies in a macro-social sense to large paradigms effecting large groups.  We call this total culture of meaning: civilization.  But Western Civilization - tradition - is passing away, and now it is possible to creatively work with this at all levels through the genius of speech and of story telling.  Moreover, such stories will naturally only be repeated if they are valued.  The social-body will itself interact with the stream of new oral culture.  Certain particular forms of expression will become favorites, and a kind of social self-correcting selection process can arise.  The meaning of existence will be taken from elites and given over to ordinary communities of human beings, who will adapt stories to their particular needs.

[Also, we should not forget that certain critics of modern culture have already pointed out that we are moving into a post-literate civilization.  What this means in reality is open, but it is important to recognize that the tradition dissolving processes have reached deeply into modern culture and are attempting to train the young (through passively received visual Media) away from the word.  This fact too calls upon us to enrich the newly being born civilization with all the richness of fresh oral culture we can manage.]

More essentially, story telling is especially appropriate in this age when the social body's macro-media functions are captured by forces out of the economy.  Story telling is micro-media, and, as it becomes more to the fore, it will influence macro-media because of the natural moral authority of the story teller.  As story tellers we participate consciously in the heart of the heart of the social organism, radiating outward one of the most essential of deeds of love - the creation of meaning through the power of the word.

Consider for a moment the problem of materialism.  At present, even with Goethean science and other related methods, the materialist edifice is hardly being moved at all.  Part of the problem is that it is assumed that the discussion has to occur within the scientific and academic establishment.  But in terms of civilization - of the social world, the dynamics are otherwise.  Already Carl Sagan noted what he felt was a danger in his book: The Demon-Haunted World.  But his view is partially an expression of fear.  The New Age movement, in its widest sense, is a large scale retreat from materialism.  In a very real sense materialism is collapsing because it does not in fact address the concerns of the soul, and people instinctively understand this.

Now the anthroposophical movement could take a very elitist point of view, and insist that only its approaches represent the true spiritual foundations coming out of the future.  This may even be true, but on a social level such an attitude is a egregious evil.  Nobody else has to think what we choose to think.  However, if we find our way into the real dynamics underlying a new oral culture, then we can place before people, in a way that leaves them completely free, all the deep truths of which we have been so blessed to learn, and for which we have now become stewards.

We also place ourselves in a relationship to the social world that is non-antagonistic.  In the realm of science (and even religion and art), anthroposophical understanding can become known as a competing and conflicting paradigm, a posture that ought to be avoided.  If the essence of this understanding is translated into the picture language of stories, then it serves as guide, inspiration and support to the imagination, leaving the judgment appropriately free to take its own course.

So, what do we choose?

As to you, I do not know.  What I choose is to refine my understanding to its essences and cast it into stories.


[For those who might find Steiner's words more comforting, during the writing of this summary of my understanding of the world's song, I received this quote of Rudolf Steiner's from a Internet list-serve discussion group.  Before that I had not heard of it.  It is said to be from the book: "Education As A Force For Societal Change."

"In the future, social life will depend upon cooperative support between people, something that happens when we exchange our ideas, perceptions, and feelings.  This means that we must base our general education not just upon ideas taken from science or industry but upon concepts that can serve as a foundation for imaginative thoughts.  As improbable as this may seem now, in the future we shall be unable to interact in a properly social way if we do not teach people imaginative concepts.   In the future, we shall have to learn to understand the world in images."

And for Tomberg fans, we have this quote from his: Anthroposophical Studies of the Old Testament:


"At the present time, the mission is different (the mission being the method correct for the average student of mystery wisdom in a particular epoch).  It consists in a thought knowledge endowed with vision achieved through the development of the forces of the conscience in order then to live powerfully in the creative word."]


The World in the Light of the Human "I am"

This essay was offered to the Journal, Trans-Intelligence Internationalle, and was rightly rejected as being too oriented toward issues internal to the anthroposophical movement.  Nevertheless, it remains a valid expression of a certain need that can be found within the modern world, and which ought to be answered by work out of the anthroposophical movement.  That this need is not perceived and met, is a very deep tragedy.

The Journal, Trans-Intelligence Internationalle, is becoming a place for the publication of serious thinking, relating matters of moment within the anthroposophical movement to the conditions of the modern world.  While I find these essays highly informative and challenging, something in my soul remains unsatisfied.  There is a thirst and a need yet unmet by these works.  With this short essay it is my hope to illuminate this condition, and make suggestions for its future resolution.

Let us begin by stepping back from the immediate situation, and attempt to form a more all encompassing picture.

The world in which humanity finds its current existence is a complicated place.  Among the billions of individuals, there are a large variety of ideas and understandings of what it means to be a human being, how it came to be that human beings really originated, and what might be our common (or individual) ultimate destiny.

The world view generally shared among anthroposophists is not a view shared by more than a small part of the whole.  But let us take as a given that this view is a) basically true; and, b) that it would be a deep goodness were more people to become aware of it.

In the light of these simple facts, it might easily be assumed that part of the anthroposophical mission in the world is to make known the truths of this world view, through the usual means.  If people fail to take in what is offered, how can we be blamed if wrong decisions are made and the future goes in directions that many would not have desired if they had been more awake in their own thinking.

Yet, it is my wish that in describing the situation in this very stark way, that the reader will begin to have questions about whether it is really so easy after all.   Certainly the world is more complicated, and merely offering the truths coming out of the new mysteries may not actually be adequate.  Is it not possible that the Good is not in the Truth itself, but is rather in the Service which that truth renders?

Let us now complexify the situation somewhat and reconsider it.

The human being is born into a culture and a language.  No one who thinks about this would doubt that these early life experiences strongly influence how and what a person later comes to think.  The matrix of culture and language in which one is born is like a rich ethereal ecology that not only forms and nourishes, but one from which the "I" is unlikely to distinguish itself.  Few people would consider themselves individual human beings first (at once the more particular and the more general class) and members of a culture or a race second (the more specific class).  Being "black", or Chinese, or Islamic is often more central to most individuals, than being just a human being, and having an "I".

Now the anthroposophical world view does speak of such phenomena, when it speaks of the transition from the intellectual soul to the consciousness soul, and the emergence of individuality from out of group soul dynamics.  Even so, let us leave these spiritual-social-technical terms aside for the moment, and try to remain within the more simple observations.

Into this general situation of modern society, with its perception of the individual "I am" as secondary to larger classes of identity, comes the anthroposophical movement, with its view of the centrality of the "I am".  This movement has had almost a century in which to find some sort of foothold as a viable part of human culture, and not everyone can agree whether this has been even a partial success, if not just a complete and abject failure.

I would like to suggest that what has happened, as regards the interrelationship between the anthroposophical movement and the wider culture, is being misperceived, in large part because of the tendency to evaluate the series of events.  When the mind makes a judgment about whether something, that has occurred in the social world, is viable or otherwise successful, the mind has brought to the situation a theoretical frame of reference.  Instead of seeing the "what is" - the phenomena, the mind is looking to see whether the situation conforms to what it presumes should or should not be.  This mental habit is flawed.  Rather we need to hold back these tendencies to evaluate, and just observe what has in fact happened.  In such a case then, everything begins to shift and take on new form.

One way we could look at this situation is to realize that the world is now "salted" with anthroposophically related ideas and impulses, many of which have arrived from other sources (for example, the New Age movement represents a non-anthroposophical impulse recognizing reincarnation and karma).  These ideas and impulses live in individuals, many of whom do not even know the word anthroposophy.  In fact, in those places, where the term anthroposophy is known, many of these individuals and communities often tend to greater isolation from the whole.  It is as if the more these Steiner influenced "I am"s identify with anthroposophy, the more they tend to submerge themselves within this as a new form of "group".  Of course, this is not everywhere true, but it is nevertheless quite true in many instances.

At the same time, where anthroposophy is not known as a name, but where the consciousness soul impulse emerges on its own (that is where the individual "I am" more and more identifies itself with the eternal - with truth and goodness - see Steiner's Theosophy), in these instances the same two tendencies are present.  We see this often in what is now called Civil Society, where the individual "I am" is more and more insistent upon the realization within human society of some form of moral idealism.  Within Civil Society some people will stand out as individuals, and recognize themselves as such, while others will seek to become "part" of something - become a "green" or some such.

With these basic ideas in mind, let us spiral around again and return to the matters outlined in the very beginning - concerning what is happening within the birthing and incarnation processes of the Journal, Trans-Intelligence Internationalle.

A powerful impulse, arising within anthroposophy, concerns bringing to the fore the truth as regards human nature and the reality of the spirit.  In addition, among anthroposophists (and many others in the world) is a definite striving toward reunification with the eternal itself.  Certainly this is one of the impulses of the "I am" - to reconnect with its consciously (and/or unconsciously) remembered origins.

But another dominate impulse is to bring the eternal alive in the social world ("Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on Earth, as it is in Heaven.").  Thus we come to Civil Society - a moral/cultural social change movement.

Spread throughout, both Civil Society (the instinctive anthroposophical movement)  and the self conscious anthroposophical movement, is another moral gesture, which concerns the rights and freedoms of the other, the thou.  The "I am" knows instinctively that anything it insists upon for itself, it must also grant its companions.  The conscious striving for spiritual freedom, which is one of the driving impulses of the anthroposophical movement, is met by the recognition that this same freedom belongs, as well, to the thou.

This moral imperative has an effect upon the work of the anthroposophical movement, in that it may or may not seek to influence other individuals in particular and human culture in general.  The treasures we have found, we rightly are inclined to share, but this impulse runs right into a natural limit, in that we cannot impose our views without violating the spiritual freedom of the thou.  From this understanding comes a clear perception of the need that means and ends cannot be separated.  What is true and right and good is only part of the problem.  The other part is how do we get from the given social condition to the desired social condition, without violating the spiritual freedom of the thou.

I mean to suggest by this, that in the self conscious anthroposophical movement, the how to communicate the truth needs as much thought given to it, as an object of study and consciousness itself, as is given to the pursuit of the truth.  The Journal, Trans-Intelligence Internationalle cannot just speak of the true and the good.   It must also be the true and the good in how it conducts itself.

For example, in my view, one thing that often confuses the neophyte is the image of Rudolf Steiner.  When an anthroposophist makes reference to Steiner, this is always done with certain unstated assumptions in the background.  These unstated assumptions are often felt by the reader or listener, and may, in fact, not be consciously an aspect of the ideals of the writer or speaker.  Look at it this way.

When our own "I am" speaks of the truth by referencing it to the "I am" of Steiner, whether we wish it or not, a certain kind of relationship between ourselves and Steiner is implied.  This relationship exists not so much in what we say, as how we say it.  It lives in the deed of our writings, but is seldom brought out clearly in the actual content itself.  The recent article by Markus Osterrieder, on Electricity and Human Consciousness, is a case in point.

Osterrieder considers Steiner an authority on very deep matters of the invisible world.  Certainly he is free to do so, but why should anyone else?  Moreover, will this reference to Steiner actually accomplish the goal that Osterrieder apparently has - namely to awaken in the reader certain questions regarding electricity and human consciousness?  How much was Osterrieder able to awaken in himself some sense of the thou to whom he wished to communicate?  Not only that, but is the style of the essay (somewhat academic, with many quotes and citations), the style most likely to reach the apparent goal?

None of these should be considered as criticism of Osterrieder's essay.  Rather it represents that hunger and thirst I spoke of at the beginning.  My "I am" wanted a great deal more in order to bring alive within me a real connection to the problem the essay attempts to address.  Easily a thousand questions crossed my mind while I read this essay.

Let us step back once more, and take a breath before spiraling around again.

For starters I would like us to consider finding some new terminology.  To me the word "anthroposophy" is an already archaic usage; and one which is also, when we define it based upon its roots, a way of speaking not at all calculated to appeal to the naive consciousness that might well very much want to relate to the underlying impulse.  I find its use disrespectful of the needs of the thou.  If we can't find a way of expression, within the most common aspects of human languages, with which to describe our movement and its activity, then we already consent to anthroposophical concerns being properly socially marginalized and irrelevant.  We often seem to cling to it like some kind a magic talisman, such that if we were to let go of it we would lose some kind of spiritual power.  That is superstitious and hardly scientific in a spiritual sense.

What is unconscious tradition is hardened and without life.  We might as well put the term anthroposophy on the head stone of our movement and just bury the whole thing.

The living reality is within us.  With what words would we describe that?

By the way, I am not going to suggest a term.  On the contrary, I want us to throw out the old term and then in each and every instance where we might use such words as - anthroposophy, anthroposophical, etc. - we write instead out of ourselves what we mean in the given context.  From practice I know that in the beginning this will not be easy,  yet experience has taught that by actually having to face such a question, we bring something alive, and in to our consciousness, that must come there in an awake fashion.  The traditional terms allow a kind of mental laziness, as if this short hand way of expression communicates anything at all.  Recall, if you will, what Steiner has said about the "empty phrase".

This kind of discipline, in writing and communicating, is essential for building a bridge from our individual "I am" consciousness to the the consciousness of the thou "I am".

The question that needs to be before us when writing, is this: What does the "I am" I am writing to need in order to understand what I am attempting to communicate?  Beneath this are other relevant questions, such as: Does what I am attempting to communicate, as a content, actually represent something the thou "I am" wants to know?  Is it possible I have substituted some antipathetically driven picture of the world, for a real perception, such that I am expressing myself only on what I personally want to see changed, and not at all on what is a real need of the thou?   With this last question we reach into a very special area that needs our concentrated concern.

The world is as it is.  As it is, it is not something unchanging, but is rather in constant ferment.  Clearly a dead-end materialistic view dominates the consciousness of much of humanity.  It is easy to find evidence, however, within many peoples and individuals, of a movement to go beyond a non spiritual world view.  Within the self-conscious "I am" community, a pathway to such an understanding has been brought carefully to near incarnation.  But full incarnation of this pathway requires that it enter into the social stream of the whole civilization.  In self-contained communities, this pathway is sterile, irrelevant and egotistic.

The pathway through cognition, to the reunification with the eternal, of the self conscious "I am" community, is only socially fruitful as a component of an act of service to the wider circles of humanity.

This pathway has a beginning, many intermediate stages, and many complicated ending conditions.  In the beginning the central text of instruction is the own inner life.  Everything essential is to be found there.  There is a tendency within the self conscious "I am" community to view this path as bi-polar, something implied by the term "initiation".  The "non initiate" is presumed to find their goal in "initiation".  This is a huge error in thought.

The pathway is, in fact, clearly tri-polaric being a movement from a form of consciousness dominated by an instinctive thinking that is quantitative, moving to a more conscious kind of thinking which is qualitative and characterizing (goetheanism), then leading to a final stage which is fundamentally moral thinking (spiritual science).  The proper view is "non initiate", "goetheanist" and then "initiate", realizing that this is a flowing continuum, not a hard division into separate categories.

The process of incarnation of this pathway began by having to have been first spoken of in a cultural environment dominated by the patterns of thinking belonging to an earlier stage in the evolution of consciousness - what is called the intellectual soul age.  This soul condition (intellectual soul, or mind soul - the soul that is served by thought) is in the process of passing away within the individual, but the outward cultural constructs (language forms and systems of education etc.) still contains much that belongs to the prior condition.  This means that the pathway itself (anthroposophy), and the surrounding culture (central Europe), were not in harmony, but rather formed a naturally antagonistic relationship. In such a circumstance, a full incarnation into the social was impossible.

Thus, the culture of the soul served by thought, and the individual soul that begins to identify itself with the eternal, cannot be made compatible.  Those individuals permeated with the soul served by thought conditions cannot see easily the possibility of the soul identified with the eternal.  The pathway through cognition to reunification with the Eternal was first spoken of in the Old World, amidst the last days of Western Civilization, and at the beginning of the last century before the dawn of the new millennium.

In the New World, the coming place of birth of a New Civilization, the struggles to separate from the Old World have created different cultural conditions.  The soul served by thought is not established tradition in the culture of the New World, and for this reason the soul seeking to identify with the eternal is more easily able to come to the fore.  It is this soul soil - the cultural ground of the New World - that is the true place for the social incarnation of the pathway of the self conscious "I am".

It would not harm one to see the processes over the last one hundred years as being a movement from caterpillar, to cocoon, to a final emergence of the butterfly at the beginning of the new millennium.  The pathway of the self conscious "I am" does not occur in the horizontal, does not move from Central Europe westward carried by individuals, but instead occurs only in the vertical - in gestures within the soul looking both upward and downward.  One does not learn the new pathway to the mysteries from other individuals, whether they have achieved initiation or not.  Such lives can convince one such a pathway exists, but the pathway itself is only found through the basic book of the own inner life.

A peculiar tragedy of the efforts to bring forth the self conscious "I am" pathway in the Old World has been the loss of the sense of the necessary intermediate stage -
Goetheanism.  Little, by example, of this stage has arisen there.  Yet, when we consider the impulse to incarnate this pathway into the social, especially as a deed of service, it is this intermediate stage (think about what always lives in the middle) that is most accessible and most needed by the instinctively (semi-consciously) self conscious "I am" community (Civil Society).  What the fully self conscious "I am" community, as an aspect of the ongoing development of the soul striving to identify with the eternal, can do, is to bring forth the capacity to see the social world phenomenologically - that is in clear characterizing picture thoughts, without theoretical judgments (evaluations).

Thus, to bring this down into concrete reality in the context of the further development of the Journal, Trans-Intelligence Internationalle, what is needed is the practice of a writing style which not only knows the truth, but works to discover how to present these facts in the most accessible fashion to the semi-conscious "I am" community - Civil Society.  Social Goetheanism is the flight of the butterfly of the evolving self conscious "I am" pathway, that can be given as a service to world (which itself hungers to learn how to perceive its own dynamics free of the terrible antipathies and sympathies which so dominate human social and political discourse today).  For the truth is that the striving of the "I am" to identify with the eternal - with the true and the good - is to be balanced with the own forces of that "I am" in the terms of its own expression of these matters in the creative use of the word - i.e. by consciously combining the true and the good into the beautiful.

*     *     *

Let us once more dance in spiral form around the central sun of our questions.

Writing is much more than an art.  In once sense, it is a quite revolutionary process by which ideas are freed from the various prisons which they inhabit.

We, as members of the self conscious "I am" pathway community, understand in theory the principle that cultural life flows from complete spiritual freedom.   Yet, as members of the institutional social form of this community we have allowed to arise forms of publication, habits of communal discourse (meetings, conferences etc.), wherein small groups decide who gets published, and who speaks (lectures).  These institutional structures are dead social habits from the prior intellectual soul culture, and become, in the time of the soul expressing the eternal, prisons of the impulse of true spiritual freedom.  We have in our communities far too much order, and the inflow from the world of inspiration chokes on this breathless social habit.

The world of ideas is a reality.  But access to its riches is not limited to institutional leaders and popular writers.  When only certain singers sing, then only certain songs are heard.  This is the institutional or structural prison for ideas.  There is another prison - one created by our own limiting assumptions as to what is possible.

The thoughts expressed in Osterrider's essay concerning the relationship between electricity and evil are no doubt true.  But if one enters the world of ideas in the right way (with the moral intention to be of service to the needs of the thou), then the context in which that truth begins to clothe itself becomes quite rich and varied.  It does not need either Steiner or anthroposophy in order to come alive in the mind of the reader.  On the contrary, this truth, about to be born in service to the thou, would annihilate such unnecessarily attendant ideas, because they are not part of that which this idea needs in order to exist for the needs of the thou.  The living goodness of the ideal sun breathes most easily without the limiting structural debris which our habits of mind tend to throw into the flow.

It is a gross presumption to assume that what is important to us must also be important to the thou.  The difficulty comes from, in most instances, not having cleansed the soul deeply enough of its antipathies and sympathies.  These conditions, internal to our own soul, form a darkness over our vision of the world and of the thou.  We see not the what is, but rather our own prejudices.  But the thou lives in reality, which is masked by our assumptions.

Yet, by making clear our own mirror - by learning to reflect only the what is (the phenomena) - this then enables the sun of the ideal world to shine into our minds as we seek those thoughts which are to be of truest service to the thou.  Moreover, once we appreciate this truth and its related goodness, we also discover the joy that goes with realizing how much our own "I am" is called upon in order to express the what is in the form of the beautiful.  It is we who call forth the truth in service to the thou from the ideal world.  Without our activity this does not happen.  The pathway of cognition, for the reunification with the eternal, of the self conscious "I am" community, as it passes through the middle stage (social goetheanism) incarnates in the social as a deed of service.  The thou "I am", in their semi-conscious condition, hungers for this song - thirsts for the spirit creative work with the word to unveil the secrets of existence, as those secrets pertain to the present social conditions of humanity.  It is this thou-soul, driving the Civil Society impulse in the age of the consciousness of the identity of the "I am" with the eternal, which needs to understand the world in picture thoughts.

Will the community, of the pathway of cognition of the self conscious "I am", render this service?


The essay below was submitted to Renewal, a Waldorf parent's journal, in the Fall of 1998.  It was very kindly rejected (it was considered deep, but not appropriate for their readers).

The Social-Spiritual Organism of a Waldorf School Community

A healthy social-spiritual organism for a Waldorf School community is threefolded in two ways - a spiritually integrative gesture in which the threefolding takes a form analogous to that already known structure, which describes the human being as simultaneously spirit, soul and body; and, in a socially integrative gesture, similar to that of human physical form, which is so organized that functionally it displays, as aspects of a whole, those capacities which are realized in head, heart and hands.

Thus, there are two gestures in the social-spiritual organism of a School, which integrate in such a way that morphologically they can be symbolized in the image of the Cross combined with the image of the Circle.

The Circle is the social body of the school, and has the qualities of a Chalice. The Cross is the soul-spiritual body of the school and has the qualities of a Radiant Sun.

The various human beings associated with the organism of the school have different roles depending upon whether they are, in any given moment, contributing to the Life of the School, as an aspect of the Chalice, or as an aspect of the Radiant Sun. In one kind of meeting or action someone will be acting in one way, and then two steps and a minute later, in another. Much of the social confusion that arises in Waldorf School Communities comes about because these rapid changes of role are not understood.

I came to understand the above, in part, because I was a member of the Pine Hill Waldorf School (in Wilton N.H.), shortly after the moment of its own spontaneous social threefolding. This generative social event occurred as a response to a large tuition increase from one year to the next (on the order of 25%, as I recall), which drove the parent body first into a state of panic, and then to an organized attempt to grasp more firmly their relationship to the school. As a result there came to be three functional and predominately social organs, each of whose individual role in the social and spiritual life of the school was different. These three bodies (after the third added itself) were: the Board of Trustees, the College of Teachers, and the Friends of Waldorf Education (the parents).

The Friends had a rather narrow conscious focus in that, within this essentially social organ, an attempt was made to equalize and mediate, among the parent body itself, the burden of the huge changes in tuition. The Friends, as a whole, contracted with the School, to carry the tuition of all its members (all those parents who joined the Friends); while among themselves, the Friends distributed the costs in a way compatible with individual incomes. Non-parents could also be members of the Friends, but the core group were (and had to be, as a social necessity) parents of children attending the School.

Now those familiar with Rudolf Steiner's social ideas might easily think that because the Friends dealt with economic matters (funding the tuitions), that this body would be analogous to Steiner's Economic Sphere. But this is a mis-perception of the social facts.

The core problem the Friends dealt with was only incidentally economic. Its true center was the social life of the school - namely, how to help people get along with each other in the turbulent and dynamic social tensions of the school community (following the large tuition increase). The Friends mediated and balanced the social pressures, in the course of their meetings and through their relationships with the other functional organs of the School: the Board and the College. At a functional level, the Friends were the social heart of the school, the middle element, analogous to Steiner's Political-legal Sphere.

The Social Life of the School is the Chalice, which itself supports the Spiritual Life, the Radiant Sun. What is involved in Teaching - that is, what is predominately involved in the Spiritual Life - cannot be accomplished without this support. Let us now look more closely at this supported activity.

The teacher stands upright in the classroom as a human being. It is this example, as much as anything, that teaches. The student first imitates (kindergarten to 4th or 5th grade), then walks beside (4th through 9th or 10th), and finally meets this teacher, this particular human being (l1th and 12th), as another ego being, another individuality.

Now it is not the teacher, or the student, who is the Radiant Sun. Rather it is what happens between them, what is born in the relationship, which is the Radiant Sun.

Thus, as a spiritual organism, the school is organized as follows. Analogous to the individual spirit in the human being, one finds, above the social body of the school, that there exists a community of spiritual beings: the angels of the children, the dead who have an interest, the hierarchies that inspire and so forth (one should not think of this above as toward the sky, but rather that this above represents a qualitatively finer form of existence).

Below this purely spiritual community exists a second community, which is analogous to the soul of a single human being. Thus, the Soul of the spiritually integrative gesture of the School Community is centered in the collegium  of teachers, whose inner discipline and work is necessary for the spiritual life of the School to exist. It is the teachers who consciously carry the work of integration between the community of spiritual beings hovering over the school and the needs of the children. The teachers are the spiritual heart of the school, in the same way that the parents are the social heart.

Now both the parents and the children are inspired by the spiritual world as well, but their spiritual role is different and does not require the same degree of consciousness - the same attendant responsibilities as carried by the teachers. At the same time, the parents' social role is greater and more central then that carried by the teachers. It is here, where this difference is not perceived, that much that brings illness to the social life of the Schools is born.

The parents' responsibility is the Chalice, the social organism of the school, and the teachers' responsibility is the Radiant Sun, the relationship between student and teacher.

Let us now review the two primary threefoldnesses.

In the vertical-like gesture, the school is organized as follows: Above, the purely spiritual community of inspiration; in the Middle, the Soul-full community of the incarnated - centered in the inner work of the collegium of teachers; and Below, the social community, the social organism (body) of the School. The vertical-like gesture is an integrated organism of three communities.

In the horizontal-like gesture (that is socially), the school is organized as follows: the functional head, the directing and deciding organ, is the Board of Trustees; the functional heart, the social mediating and balancing organ, is or should be an organized parent body (Friends of Waldorf Education?); and the functional hands, the actualizers of the art of education, is the collegium of Teachers. The horizontal-like gesture is an integrated organism of three socially functional organs, within the lower, or most nearly physically expressed, community.

It may occur to some readers to ask where do the children fit into this picture. I would describe it this way: The Children drink (absorb) the wisdom of the Radiant Sun from the fount that is the Chalice. The combination of the Circle and the Cross serves the Children.

[Now, some students of the Steiner's threefold social order may wonder about this picture, and well they should. At the same time it may help them to reflect that we are here looking at micro social dynamics, rather than macro social dynamics. At the macro level, the ideas associated with the Economic, Political-legal and Cultural Spheres have validity, but at the micro level one has to be able to clearly see the purely functional relationships, free of any abstract associations in thought.]

For example, in practice, this is the way the school social body might work. The teachers express a need for something in order to carry out their work, the trustees decide to meet that need and plan how to carry it out, while the parents make sure the whole social community understands - feels integrated with - the totality of the process. Each organ carries out a different role, but each is necessary to the other.

Neither the trustees or the teachers should carry out the understanding function; that is, the social health of the school community is not their problem. At the same time, both the hands and the head must understand that the heart, the social middle, is the central necessary organ in the social life of the school. If this organ is unhealthy, which it most often is in modern Waldorf Schools, then the social functioning of the school is lamed, and all the many related problems going on in Waldorf Schools cannot be solved, because the social heart - the Chalice - is not vitally organized.

It may help some of the naturally arising confusion here to recognize that the parent body is a free association, and that teachers and trustees can participate in it, according to its rules. The inspiration of the Pine Hill parent body, to call their newly born association: The Friends of Waldorf Education, should not be passed by without deep consideration. The social life of the school has a heart, and it is in the social organ dominated by the activities of the parents (but not necessarily exclusively theirs). The total social body of the school includes the Trustees and the Teachers, but the most intuitively correct knowledge of what is socially right to do, rests within the central organ, the Friends.

Let us continue our examination of the spiritual-social organism of the School by exploring more deeply the symbolism of the Circle (the Chalice) joined to the Cross (the Radiant Sun).

The Cross is the symbol of vertical-like integration, between the upper and lower aspects of spiritual life (inner, psychological life) and the relationship between that act (of vertical-like integration) and the possibility of horizontal-like (or social) integration - participation in the life of Community.

The Circle is the symbol of social integration, the co-joined purposes uniting the different individual members of a social community, yet having (absent the Cross) an empty center, recognizing the simultaneous autonomy of each individual member.

As individuals (as Cross bearers) we can sacrifice in a vertical-like gesture - upward toward the higher aspirations of our own individuality, and downward, by accepting our individual flaws. We can also sacrifice with a social (horizontal-like) gesture by holding back our individual perceptions and intentions on those occasions where the needs of the whole, the community, seem to require it.

As members of a community (as Circle bearers) we can hold within ourselves the nature and needs of the other members (individually and as a group), while at the same time, along with this inward beholding - an act carried out together - we unite ourselves in common purposes and processes.

We combine these two symbols, when through acts of unification we create the Chalice, and when through acts of sacrifice we create the Radiant Sun. These acts are not independent of each other, but have a reciprocal reinforcing nature, so that the stronger and more effective the social organism is (the Chalice), the more support there is for the act of sacrifice which allows the spiritual organism (the Radiant Sun) to arise in the relationships between individuals. Conversely, the stronger the act of sacrifice is carried out inwardly, the more capacities the individual develops in support of participation in the Chalice (the social community).

From this then we can see just how, in the Waldorf School Community, Rudolf Steiner's most poignant social insight is made manifest: "The healthy social life is found when in the mirror of each human soul the whole community finds its reflection, and when in the community the virtue of each one is living."

Let us next carry forward this contemplation, by considering again a problem noted at the beginning, concerning the fact that in one instance an individual may be acting as an aspect of the Radiant Sun, and in another instance, moments later, an individual may be acting as an aspect of the Chalice.

A teacher is teaching in a the classroom, and as he or she moves among the children, the teacher is, to the degree able, consciously open in a spiritual gesture, inwardly empty and calling forth inspiration, while simultaneously humble, realizing they are also human and flawed. In between the teacher and the child, as this goes forward (the child does instinctively, in the beginning, what the teacher has to strive to do consciously) the Radiant Sun is born.

Now class ends, and the day is over, and parents enter the class room to conduct their necessary part of the activities. The teacher and parent converse and the subject concerns the social life of the school, not the nature and practice of the pedagogy. At this point the teacher defers to the intuitions of the parent, because it is in the vertical-like gesture of the soul life of the parent that the intuitions concerning the social organism are most present. Between them, the parent and the teacher, a Radiant Sun is active, while at the same time, in the acceptance of the different roles (for the parent defers to the teacher as regards matters of classroom activity) the Chalice is carried.

When the individual parent tries to dominate the pedagogical (spiritual) aspects of the school life, they are interfering in the necessary upward and downward stream which needs the teacher for its focus. When the individual teacher tries to dominate the social aspects of the school life, they interfere in an analogous way. If there are pedagogical concerns among the parents, these can be refereed to the Collegium of Teachers, but what parents need to recognize, is that in the organism of the School, it is the teachers who must be free to determine these matters. Without this freedom, the vertical-like integration with the community of inspiration is impossible. On the other hand, when a pedagogical problem needs to be explained to the parent community, it needs to be translated through the consciousness of the parent body itself, because it is there that the inspiration exists for how to mediate common social understanding.

For example, when there are crisis meetings where teachers are sitting facing parents (creating an us and them social environment), at that moment the social-spiritual organism of the school is dead, and cannot carry out what it needs to, regardless of how much talk or other efforts are expended. At that point the needed living social process (the Chalice) has been fractured into pieces, and without its support the Radiant Sun cannot properly shine.

Perhaps it will help to think of it this way. In the social organism of the school, as distinct from the spiritual organism, there is an interpenetration between the active element (the hands) and the mediating element (the heart). What are the healthy processes, socially, within this field of interpenetration? The heart element needs to empathize with the needs of the hands element, to understand those needs. The hands element needs to defer to the heart element to distribute this empathic understanding to the whole organism. The hands are incapable of carrying out the function of the heart.

Now a crisis may contain more than one characteristic. The pedagogical characteristics (the art of teaching) belong to the Collegium to define. The decision making characteristics (the art of making policy and long term goals) belong to the Board to define. The understanding making characteristics (the art of social integration) belong to the Parents to define. Social leadership in a crisis belongs to the Parents, who then enable, through their mediating function, the head and the hands to act in the ways best suited to those organs. But all must work together, because dominance by one or the other will mean disease and disorder.

The heart might say: "this is what is right to do". The hands might say: "this is what we need in order to do what is right". Then the head can say: "this is how we shall go about doing what is needed and is right". So at Pine Hill, the hands had said, this is how much we need to live and to operate the school according to our pedagogical goals, and the head had said, okay then this is how much the individual parents are going to have to pay to meet these needs - both leaving out any truly balanced dialog with the parents - balanced in the sense of understanding what the social organism of the school needed in order to deal with the huge tuition increase. Then the parents said, ouch, and afterward solved the social problem out of their own insight, saying that what is right is that the money needs of the school should be handled among the parents in a particular social way (The Friends of Waldorf Education).

Providentially then, they ended up working together in a more or less healthy social way, but over time, there was insufficient consciousness of how to carry this into the future, and the old habits reasserted themselves.

Social processes, in this age of family emancipation from community, and individual emancipation within the family, are very difficult. Where these difficulties intersect, in the social life of a school, all the worst tendencies manifest themselves; and, Waldorf Communities struggle constantly to live in a ocean of mixed and confused social realities. Hopefully, these words above will provide some small bit of a map for the future navigation of these turbulent seas. Remember, however, that the map is not the territory, and each School will have an individual manifestation of the general social-spiritual configuration described above, and therefore have highly particular and individual social and spiritual needs, which must be perceived, understood, and healed.

The crux, such as it is, is to remember that the school organism is both social and spiritual in nature, both Chalice and Radiant Sun, or simultaneously a co-joined Circle and Cross. In one sphere the intuitions of the parents need to lead, and in the other the intuitions of the teachers. [It may well be that this social-spiritual organism, in its micro-nature, is an archetype for all other micro community threefolding dynamics. It remains for the future to discover if this is so.]

One final point, speaking as a former parent. The Collegium of Teachers and the Board of Trustees need to very carefully free the parent body to follow its own intuitions in the creation of its own (the parents) social structure, intentions and purposes. All that arises needs to come from the initiative of the parents themselves. They only need be shown this article, or otherwise inspired to begin to express themselves as the stewards of heart of the Chalice.

In many schools the parent body already carries a great deal of the social life - school parties and celebrations, and the social structure and nature of fund raising events. More crucial, and not well developed, is the role of the parent body in relationship to the wider community in which the School community finds itself. This as well, this outreach gesture, belongs to the parent body to initiate and mediate - it is a gesture of the social heart of the school community. The teachers must trust that the parent body will, over time, find the appropriate healthy way to organize the heart relations of the school community toward the other surrounding communities. Teachers and Board members should make themselves available to serve certain roles at the request of the parent organ, but the initiation of outreach is a social matter, not a spiritual one.

Moreover, as some students of Waldorf School dynamics may know, Christopher Budd has criticized the Schools (and anthroposophical organizations in general) for failing to appreciate the needed economic relationship for the funding of the schools. The school, as a cultural form, must be funded out of the surplus capital generated by viable economic enterprises and not by what is essentially a tax on the parent body.

The use of tuitions from the parents to fund a school is a major underlying factor in the social dis-harmonies, because many parents intuitively recognize that something is unfair here. But lacking the necessary idea on which to understand what should be done, and desiring the education for the child above all else, the parents undertake to financially support the school. [Of course, this is different in countries where the State provides funding, but even there the school is not financed in the appropriate fashion. There still results a social disharmony. It is just displaced into another arena. In American this has manifested in the activity of PLANS, which opposes (correctly) public funding of Waldorf Schools. Truly free Waldorf Schools should not be funded by parents or by the State, but directly from surplus capital. [PLANS by the way (while an understandable social response to certain excesses with the Waldorf community in the present), is itself an excess of displaced passion and anger.  But a deeper discussion of these problems belongs to a whole other essay (see Scenes from the Eye of the Heart, later in this book).]

It is essential to the future social health of Waldorf Schools, that not only should the parent body organ become more highly developed and socially active, but the fundamental financing arrangement of the school itself needs to change. This financial change can be one of the first matters set before the parent body, as the arbiter of what is right in the social organism, not only within the school, but in terms of the school community's relationship to the wider social life. For it is within the entrepreneurial spirit of this wider social life that the needed excess capital is to be found. The contribution of this capital to the school is a social deed, as is the seeking after it. Just in this then, the hidden social genius of the newly developing strong parent bodies can make a giant step forward in the future life of Waldorf Schools [try to remember why the schools are called Waldorf - the original school was funded directly from the excess capital of an active business organization].

Then, through this social deed, will the Chalice discover its path to maturity as the support of the Radiant Sun.


Subsequent correspondence with a friend in the Philippines lead me to the following addendum, which I copy from a e-mail that I sent to her:

I have been thinking about what you have shared and have become very surprised at the thoughts that have arisen.   Basically I am taking my lead from the phenomena being reported by you and trying to bring out its picture qualities as these reflect life processes in the social.  Always my approach is not to judge these events, but rather to appreciate what they reveal.

What I have been thinking about might be called "the birth of a Waldorf School".

Certainly this is an event that always happens, doesn't it.  But how does it happen?  In describing this, and in referring to what you have shared about the local version of this, it seems entirely appropriate to use terms belong to the birth of a human being (as this human organism is the archetype of social form).  What follows is how I picture it out of what you have told me.

First there is a meeting of a social father principle and a social mother principle.  The former is an active social force - a group of people with a specific initiative (in this case to form a Waldorf school).  The latter is those aspects of the social body, who the initiative people will act upon, who are essentially passive and receptive, and who become impregnated with the initiative.  From this results an embryonic period, during which the initiative more and more takes on form.

The period that we (you and I) have become involved together in, seems to me to be the birthing process (or perhaps the later term embryonic - you may know more details that will clarify this).   I picture this as a birthing process because of the pain involved and the need to bring in the midwife (you), who initiates a contact with her backup physician (me).

Now when a human child is born there is a very definite structure to the form (please remember form follows function).  The head (nerve-sense pole) is most highly developed, while the middle (the rhythmic system) is less developed and the limb (metabolic will pole) least developed.  So we could say that phenomenologically, when a social form is born its head is most formed, its heart less formed and the hands least formed.  In the case of the social-spiritual organism of a Waldorf school community, this means that what will later be the Board of Trustees is most developed, the parent body less developed and the pedagogical aspects least developed.

We can appreciate this if we concentrate on the form follows function rule and remember what I wrote in the original essay about the role of the Board. "The decision making characteristics (the art of making policy and long term goals) belong to the Board to define."  Now what is functionally the most active principle in the present, but the need to set and define all kinds of matters so as to give direction to the incarnation of the school.  Most of what people do, whether they have originally been in the father principle or the mother principle, lies in this realm of "direction giving".  The next most dominate activity concerns the struggle over the balancing of the social relationships (more later).  The least active element is the actual pedagogical function.  In fact, don't we usually expect in new organizations that it will take some time before "it is able to stand on its own two feet".

So nothing is in the form it will be when the school is more mature, but everything is seeking to function at the most appropriate level in accord with the stage of its development.

Now always we want to be concerned with the middle, for the healthy rhythmic system is essential to all other aspects of the organism.

So the parents can play a very special role here.  First, on the basis of what you have conveyed, I suspect that it is important for the parents to realize that the teacher's desire for some concrete commitments as regards the economic life of the school is rooted in a quite human need to have some physical security.  They need to see that their ability to focus on the pedagogical work will not be interfered with by demands that they also find the funds to run the school.  And like most of us, going toward this goal they try the most direct and apparently secure way.

The parents can perform a very vital "function" by doing whatever is possible to respond to this need.  All they need to remember is that whatever "form" that matters take in the present, does not need to be the form it takes in the future.  Moreover, the more they can work together as a group, their own internal social vitality will flow out into the whole developing organism. Early divisions and mistrust within the parents will become an illness later in the life of the school community.

It is possible also to look at the Board as a work in process.  Think of the face of a newborn, they tend to look very much alike.  Over time the Board will become something quite different.  For example, if the parents later develop a true threefold economic source (excess capital from an existing business or businesses), people from this sphere will naturally take an interest and become included on the Board.  Likewise the general social community in which the school sites itself, will, if the social relationships the parent body fosters there are healthy, also be a source for members of the Board.   In this way the Board in time will become much broader in its outlook than it must be in the present given the immature stage of development.

People might do well to take a very lively interest in everything that is happening, keeping in mind that if they can step back from making it all too personal, they are participating in something not unlike the miracle of birth.  In this case it is a school that is being born, a school whose real meaning is not found in either the board or the parents or the teachers, but in the children that will drink from it that inner nourishment that will help them become who they truly want to become.  In this we find the higher good which moves through all the tribulation of birth and parenting - those many adult lives that will flourish because they were once nurtured in a healthy Waldorf school community.

Now let me speak to some of the concrete aspects of what you reported.  First, the parents division into rich and poor.  Now the rhythmic system is itself twofold in a certain way - heart and lungs.  So the parents are also twofold, and what on the surface appears as a "class" division also represents a differentiation of skill and capacity.

The rich might well do the best in the pumping of the blood (the money), while the poor might well do best in the social integration of the school, both within itself and outside itself.  The rich will after all understand money better, and will also out of self interest, not want to be trapped as the sole source, but will eventually seek some other kind of permanent solution.  They have a need like the teachers have a need.  So the poor parents let the rich parents "control" the money issue.  At the same time the rich parents need to recognize that the social patterns of the school (how people meet and get along with each other etc. may involve skills more richly possessed by the poor parents.  So these initiate helping everyone get along and appreciating all the work each other does (social gatherings, a newsletter, greeting of new parents, supportive involvement in finding "free" things for the school etc.).

The parents should never doubt that the stronger their vital functioning, the stronger will be the rest of the school.  Rightly done, without seeking to interfere with the pedagogical function (arguing about the "spiritual" aspects of the school), the teachers will feel this support and more and more come to trust and rely upon it.

The parents should realize that there is no hidden agenda, by the way, for what the teachers are about with their Anthroposophy is exactly the same thing that goes on in a regular school.  The subject matter is the same (how do you teach children), and the only difference is the language used to express that in a formal way.

I suspect that the parents are mostly of the mother principle in the social sense described above, and have a habit of being acted upon by the more assertive father principle living in those who initiated the school.  So go ahead and be the "mother".  Bake the cookies, make sure everyone is warmly dressed when they go outside, care about everyones health and did they eat their vegetables.  This nurturing social force will over time work wonders from a true social heart of the developing social-spiritual organism.

As you desire, share this with my new friends along with my sincere good wishes for their common work. Emerson said it best, in his lecture at Harvard called the American Scholar: "In self trust all virtues are comprehended".



Initiation, Goetheanism and the New Bogeyman

This essay was originally written in response to an article that appeared in the Newsletter of the American Anthroposophical Society - said article emphasizing the role of Ahriman in determining the nature of social events.  I submitted this article both to the Newsletter itself, and to the brand new editor personally.  I did not even receive an acknowledgment that it had been received.  Of course, it was never published there.

Things change.   For example, it once was essential for the spiritual development of the individual that they have contact and time with a knowledgeable teacher.   The Age in which this was true has passed, and now the individual must make their own choices and be responsible for their own development.    As Rudolf Steiner put it in his early book, "A Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe's World Conception":

"Man is not behaving in accordance with the purposes of the Guiding Power of the world when he investigates one or another of His commandments, but when he behaves in accordance with his own insight.  For in him the Guiding Power of the world manifests Himself.  He does not live as Will somewhere outside of man, He has renounced his own will in order that all might depend upon the will of man.   If man is to be enabled to become his own lawgiver, all thought about world-determinations outside of man must be abandoned."

In the anthroposophical society and movement, as it is presently constituted, a great deal is made of the personality of the initiate-teacher Rudolf Steiner.   The recently established English Course at the Goetheanum is a case in point - Steiner is to be studied.  This is all the more remarkable given that Steiner pointed his own finger not at the "initiate", but rather at a most remarkable human being - Goethe.  For Steiner, Goethe was the ur-human being, and the very building at the center of the Society was named for him.

To the extent that the anthroposophical movement over-emphasizes Steiner, it aligns itself, not with the New Mysteries, but with the Old.  The initiate-teacher, the Priest, was the mediator between the Heirarchies and the neophyte in the Old Mysteries.  In the New Mysteries there no longer is any intermediary, and it is the individual "I am" itself that is the source of all true and healthy developmental choices.   Where the "I am" displaces its own insights and substitutes the impulses of others (regardless of their presumed stature), in that place it falls away from its spiritual future and enters the swampland of atavism.

The New can only arise where the "I am" stands on its own.  Emerson saw this clearly and said in his Harvard lecture, The American Scholar: "In self trust all virtues are comprehended".

In the center of this atavistic swampland lies a new bogeyman - Ahriman.  Again and again this Age is given, in anthroposophical circles, its main characteristics by reference to Ahriman, and to Ahriman's so-called intentions.    But such a view cannot arise from real thinking about the actual human events occurring in the World.  In an anti-Goetheanistic manner, Steiner's thought is used as a theory by which the World is colored, rather than as an inspiration for our own "I am" to penetrate with its own powers of thought to the World-thoughts.   In this way, even within the anthroposophical movement, scientific materialism is triumphant.

This is so important to understand, that it bears repeating.

Scientific materialism is not just a set of ideas.  It is also a thought-habit instilled in the soul through the very languages we are taught as children.   It is not just a content, or a world view, but a "how" by which we are taught to think.   It is the nature of this thought-habit that the world's appearances are ignored, and the mind creates a kind of seeming behind what is actually our experience.   To merely substitute one world view (the lectures of Steiner) for another (scientific materialism) does not cure the defect living in the pattern by which we learned to think.   We are still living in a seeming behind the appearences, and the fact that it contains gods, angels and demonic beings is of no moment whatsoever.

It was to cure this defect that Steiner wrote his philosophic works at the beginning of his life.   It was to give us a model to follow that he pointed to Goethe as the one who had, out of his very humanness, taught himself how to cure this defect.

Initiation does not, in itself, cure this defect.  It is possible to cross the threshold into the spiritual world on the basis of all kinds of developments in the soul life without awakening the "I am" to the need to discipline its image creating capacity away from the invention of seemings  and into a  true thinking of the appearances.

Now within the anthroposophical movement this uncured thinking has taken the content of the lectures and used that content to create seemings of a theorized reality behind the appearances of the social world.    Events in modern life are constantly interpreted in terms of the new boogeyman - Ahriman.  It is Ahriman behind the scenes that is presumed by this uncured thinking to be the determiner of world social events.

The creating of these seemings is idolatry. (c.f. Owen Barfield's: "Saving the Appearences: a study in idolatry")

This is not to say that the lectures of Steiner are true, or are not true.  Their truth is irrelevant.  The central point has to do with the "how" by which the individual "I am" thinks the world.   This is not to say that the lectures of Steiner can't have a valid meditative use, which they certainly do.   But if the lectures are used as a belief system by which the "I am" creates a seeming spiritual explanation of the social world, then this "I am" will be practicing a kind of spiritual materialism.

To a goetheanistic social understanding the interpreted seeming centered on the new bogeyman, Ahriman, is false.

If we follow the example of Goethe, the model toward whom Steiner directed us again and again, and apply ourselves to thinking the social world without inventing seemings behind its appearences, the social world itself begins to speak.   We don't need to imagine spiritual happenings, or to suppose them, or in any other way confuse ourselves.  Rather we need to discipline the thinking to withhold forming any kind of image, whether based on another's spiritual research or otherwise, and learn to live only in the facts of social existence as these present themselves.

If we do this, we will find that it is not Ahriman that dominates the events of the Age in which we live, but rather the world community of "I am"s, who co-create the social world in order to form it into an alchemical crucible for the development of independent thinking, both as to world view and as to moral choice.   This is becoming more and more self evident to these "I am"s, for in even such an odd place as the strange and violent movie Starship Troopers, we find this statement: "Figuring things out for yourself is the only real freedom anyone has."

If we are awake to this, we will find this growing self awareness, of the emerging moral freedom, everywhere in modern civilization, in dozens (if not hundreds) of forms, from Steiner's Philosophy of Freedom to the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, to the recently born What Would Jesus Do movement.

It is an understandable foolishness to think that Christ, or the Mother, would let Ahriman rule in the Age of these most crucial times of choice.   But if we live into the life sphere of the social world, through an active Goetheanistic practice, we will find not a world ordered by the new bogeyman, but rather a world created and ordained by the Highest.  Our decisions in this age cannot be coerced by this seeming specter of evil, but lie truly in the realm of our own hearts.  We can be tempted and persecuted by the doubles, but the social world itself is the long prepared womb and birth-hearth for our unfolding free moral possibilities.

Ahriman's described characteristics clearly provide the form and texture of the Age, but not its essence, which is the emergence of the Christ Impulse, just as clearly coming to birth in the "I am".  We have had to descend into materialism, into the solid, the fixed, the numbered, the technical, the most crystaline and earthly.  In this over structured and dark texture we become free of the Gods - their gift to us.  The next and most powerful creative act is up to us and flows from the many moral choices the age compels (at our pre-birth intention and consent).   Yes, great dangers exist, but these go with the territory - without a true possibility of a further falling into materialism and further temptations of the powers of sub-nature, there would be no real choices to be made.  Even so, the essence lives in the unfolding of the potent moral authority of a truly spiritually free human being.

Somehow, in making out the initiate Rudolf Steiner to be the ideal human - the supposed goal toward which we should aspire, the anthroposophical movement has robbed itself of its true center, and heart, Goethe.   We forget that Steiner was born to initiation, and forget that Goethe earned his ability to forgo the illusions of the seemings.   Even more important, we forget how Steiner himself pointed over and over again to Goethe.  If we, as anthroposophists, are to reclaim our true roots, we must place in front of the goal of initiation the more accessible, and necessarily precedent goal of Goetheanism.

Scientific materialism is the tool by which we were separated from the divine, so that any future relationship could be based upon our choice.   This state - this thought-habit - had to arise so that we could truly be free.   But to merely substitute a spiritual seeming for scientific materialism is not a free act.  One has simply allowed the own "I am" to be captured by yet another conceptual frame of reference.

The age of initiates is past.  In the present is the the beginning of the age of the "I am" learning to think the world in freedom.    Even the Hopi Indians of America's Southwest are aware of this, for they call this dawning time, The Day of Purification.

Should we be surprised, that the beginning of the Age when all of humanity starts to cross the threshold, that the whole world becomes a social alchemical crucible of moral purification.  The history we are taught in our schools does not even begin to appreciate the real dynamics of the Events upon which the course of new millennium is being forged.

Now this freedom means complete inner freedom before the concept, from either the seemings of scientific materialism or the seemings of imagined initiate knowledge.  No concept is to arise in our consciousness unless our own "I am" has called it forth.  If we fail to build up our world view solely out of our own thought-activity, we fail at the essence of the age.   If we teach Steiner and call it anthroposophy we teach a lie.

Clearly Goethe was on the Path, and certainly we are all justified in minding our spiritual yearnings.  But when we by-pass Goetheanism, we lame the soul.

Any path has a beginning, a middle and an end (in a very broad sense).  We all begin with our ordinary thinking and go from there.  Here is what Tomberg said in the introduction to  his anthroposophical lectures, The Four Sacrifices of Christ and the Appearance of Christ in the Etheric:

"...the transition from all that is most prosaic produced by the nineteenth century to what the future holds is offered by the spiritual manifestation of Goetheanism - Goetheanism is, in fact, a bridge on which the transition can be made from the quantitative thinking of the nineteenth century to a qualitative characterizing thinking.   Now where this transition leads is Spiritual Science."

To the extent that an anthroposophist, or the anthroposophical movement, fails to move thorough the center, the goetheanistic transition realm, it falls away from the later goal of spiritual science.   It is a step that cannot be skipped.   The thinking must learn to enter the organic realm, the sphere of life, before it takes up the moral realm, the sphere of pure spirit.   Otherwise, it lacks both a certain displine and an existential quality.   We need to know how to keep the thinking from creating concepts for which it has no percepts, and how to see with an enlivened picture thinking the true nature of the social world.

For example, it is possible to see in the problems of the Waldorf movement in America the effects of these failures.   The center of the problems of Waldorf there are social in nature.  Waldorf teachers and administrators carry in their consciousness an understanding of the social world based upon the seemings thought to be behind its appearences.   Thus, when they meet the striving "I am"s, whose world view appears to lie in opposition to the spiritual world view belief system Waldorf training inculcates, they interpret this apparent opposition as rooted in the doings of the so-called opponents, the luciferic and ahrimanic shadow beings.

But the true social facts are otherwise.   Every world view held by an "I am", whether it is spiritual beliefs, or scientific materialism, is equally socially valid.   The so-called anthroposophical view is not superior within the true dynamics of the social world.   Yet, at these boundaries, where anthroposophical spiritual beliefs and materialistic beliefs confront each other, all kinds of terrible social mischief has been the result - from both sides.

However, were the anthroposophical movement to become informed with a goetheanistic social understanding, this apparent collision between belief systems would be seen in another light, and the anthroposophist would find the ideas and ideals of how to act in a socially healthy way.   It is this healthy social action which would enable the two apparently opposite beliefs to live together; and, at the same time, it would demonstrate to the materialist that something remarkable is living in what they have been experiencing.   It is this social experience that will be much more persuasive than any idea.  For, as we know, every human being responds quite deeply to how they are treated.

This picture might help.  The social world exists within the confines of the earthly physical realm, but is itself "in between" this realm (and its lower element, the subterranean spheres), and the heavenly, spiritual realm.  This is not just an analytical concept, but the actual appearances "speak" it.  The social sphere is within the atmosphere, a region poised between the dense concentrated physically solid earth, and the airless expanding environs of the cosmos.

Now granted the true spiritual is not actually physically above, but rather "within", nevertheless we are here paying attention to the form that "maya" takes.  This "form" is no accident, but rather the speech-echo of the Word, as it has come to rest in our time.

The social world then is a "middle" realm, with all that this implies.  It is only in this realm that we can develop and grow.  What a special place this social world must be that such a miracle is possible through the Grace which has given rise to it.

The life sphere of the social world is, of course, only one aspect of its nature.  But if we are to understand it, we must begin with the appearances first, before penetrating to the spiritual realities which penetrate this social life organism from within.  This is a step that cannot be overlooked.  It is part of our growth as anthroposophists, as we stand upon the cusp of the new millennium, to finish the incarnation of anthroposophy by enlivening our social picture thinking.  Anthroposophy must disappear (die) as the presumed creature of the priest-initiate Steiner, to reappear (become  in the social) in its middle stage, Goetheanism, through the disciplined activity of the individual "I am"s.

*       *       *

It has not been the point of this essay to suggest that more than normal human errors have arisen within the past of the anthroposophical movement.   We are where we are meant to be.   Our view should be forward into possibilities, not backward into recriminations.  For this potential future, Goetheanism offers a most remarkable possibility for social understanding, and then through this understanding will finally arise the real earthly incarnation of anthroposophy.    With these words I have hoped to encourage a deeper exploration of Goetheanism, and of the organic thinking needed to penetrate the life sphere of the social organism.


Die and Become

- the future of Anthroposophy in America -

It is the purpose of this essay to make a contribution to the current discussions involving the leadership changes being contemplated in the Anthroposophical Society in America. Even if that goal is not fully realized, perhaps what is offered here will at some time be of practical use for the new leadership as they contemplate their responsibilities for the new millennium.

This is not the first time I have used the above title. My very first anthroposophical lecture, given almost 14 years ago in Wilton, NH in 1989, had this very name.


Sometimes, when we are caught up in events, it is very difficult to see them with the needed objectivity. With the following thoughts it is my hope to shed some light on the situation in which we find ourselves. Let us begin such an examination by considering these remarks of Jesaiah Ben-Aharon, contained in his article: The Global Social Situation at the end of the 20th Century [ - ] Emerging of a Threefold Global Society And a Future Social Task for the Anthroposophical Movement [ - ].

However, what most anthroposophists seem to be unaware of is a central spiritual-scientific fact of evolution, that must be applied also to the anthroposophical society and the practical movements springing out of Anthroposophy. We must see that this "horizontal" spiritual transmitting of what Rudolf Steiner gave physically is bound to become weaker from one generation to another, and that this is occurring notwithstanding the question of the significance of any individual contribution offered along the way. This is so because of the operation of an important spiritual law that governs the natural spiritual decline in the vitality and fertility of any spiritual inheritance in the physical world.This law works in such a way that a spiritual impulse on the physical plane can only maintain its- already declining- inner vitality only in the course of three generations. After three times 33- a century- the physical ability to transmit a spiritual impulse ceases entirely. Then any spiritual movement stands at a crossroads: It has only two possibilities before it. Either it becomes purely traditional, carrying forward things past in an old and hence increasingly irrelevant form, or is able to breakthrough to the at present living supersensible sources out of which its inspiration came in the first place.

It is also possible to understand this from out of a Goethean sensibility regarding social matters. By Goethean sensibility, I mean to suggest a disciplined thinking that gathers social facts in a phenomenological fashion, before raising them into inward pictures.

We live in a time when social form is not able to maintain itself against two kinds of forces* - those involving our growing tendencies to individuate ourselves from each other, and those rapid changes in social existence arising because of increasingly excessive oscillations in economic conditions, which we can everywhere observe today. In the face of these social forces, social forms, such as institutional organizations, are more and more unable to keep to their past ways of functioning.

[*I have had to use the word forces occasionally, with, however, a certain amount of reluctance. I want to avoid borrowing the abstract meaning with which forces is used in natural science, yet need a term for indicating cumulative (and organized) effects of individual acts of will as these work within the social organism. It is this last which the reader should have in mind when the word forces is used in this essay.]

Moreover, as we understand from Spiritual Science, thinking in our time is by its nature anti-social. In addition, finding a community of meaning and purpose is extremely difficult given the individualization of mental pictures natural to our current stage of the evolution of consciousness.

If we look at what is happening in the American Anthroposophical Society in the present we will find a confirmation of all of the foregoing, appearing as symptoms. The financial situation is unable to sustain the needs and hopes of the current leadership, and cutbacks have been necessary (and may well worsen). Membership, while growing, is not growing rapidly enough so as to support the necessary institutional structures, in the sense of capital building needs, and staff support needs. The present special issue of the News for Members reveals the difficulty of finding the needed community of mental pictures and common sense of purpose.

The social chaos, clearly emerging everywhere in the world in our time, is not passing by the Anthroposophical Movement and Society.

I have used the image Die and Become on the basis that the social has very definite qualities such that we may properly speak of the life-sphere of the social organism. Life processes occur in this sphere, which are quite analogous to those we observe elsewhere.

As Goethe described with respect to the Plant, there occurs in its life path three different periods of dying and becoming . These changes, characterized by different types of metamorphosis, involve various kinds of indicative phenomena. Similar matters can be observed in the life of institutions and organizations, both small and large.

In the social life-sphere, much that is to happen in the future depends upon our coming to a conscious awareness of the real dynamic processes so as to be able to understand how to act. Like the human being (which is the archetype for the social organism), the social life-sphere is inter penetrated by other higher members. When we can understand how this works in practice, then just as there is a kind of therapeutic knowledge possible with regards to the human organism, so also is there a healing knowledge obtainable as regards our social conditions.

However, before we can open ourselves to such possibilities, we have to be honest as regards the nature of the meaning of what the observed social phenomena reveal. If the Anthroposophical Society remains in denial of the presence of death forces, there will be no chance at any kind of healing or rebirth. The institutional forms will become increasingly rigid and the whole will fail to become a potential receptacle for future spiritual inspiration.

It is the nature of social form that it is participated . It has no qualities that are not given it through human thinking, feeling and willing. The real question, especially in our time, is how conscious we wish to be as regards how this functions in a practical sense. The death forces are organic to the situation, that is they belong to it in a most natural way, and the problem becomes whether we will consciously participate in what they bring, or whether we will be in denial and ignorance, i.e. leaving matters to those impulses arising from the unconscious.

For healing and rebirth to be possible we need to begin by increasing our conscious participation in the death processes - in the ending of that which we otherwise might be tempted to try to sustain. If we can see the necessity of this participation, then certain questions arise: What is it that must die, and how do we, in a pragmatic sense, go with the flow, so to speak.

Each of us, and therefore the community which we hold so dear, has within our souls various kinds of mental pictures of the nature of what is anthroposophy, what is the relationship of Rudolf Steiner to anthroposophy and/or ourselves, and how should the society and movement relate to the current conditions of modern social and political life. As individuals, and as a social group, we have created these mental pictures over many years of life and experience.

It is out of this complex of mental pictures, and how we feel and what we will, that the social form arises. Much (too much in fact) is mere habit. We basically don't think about this aspect of things, as the Anthroposophical Society has yet to develop a language adequate to social realities, either within the Movement or outside it.

Nevertheless, this current crisis does offer the opportunity to begin work in this direction.

What might possibly bind us to a future with a rigid social form, unable to free itself from habit and tradition, lives in this complex of mental pictures we hold as individuals, and which we infect each other with through our community processes (Newsletters, lectures, conversations etc.). Having now introduced the idea of a kind of social infection through shared mental pictures , it very much now needs elaboration.

Social groups tend to develop forms of speech and language special to their view of themselves and their nature. All of us understand that the Anthroposophical Society and Movement does this. The question is whether this process should be left in the realm of habit, or whether it needs to become especially conscious. Common ways of phrasing things do have a kind of social efficiency, but for anthroposophists (at least) there is a problem.

Rudolf Steiner based his approach to the spirit upon a very detailed and exact epistemological foundation. Thinking (cognition) was to be the new path to the spirit, but in order for that to work it was necessary for individuals to cease to sleep as regards the nature of this act. Moreover, the current phase of the evolution of consciousness - the Consciousness Soul Age - has quite specific goals and means for coming into being. Central to this is the development of independent moral, and world view, capacities - independent in the sense that what is to happen has to arise from the forces of the individual I am , and only from those forces. The group must have nothing to do with the thought content the individual is to form, or the moral judgments the individual is to make.

Against this ideal, the social reality is that groups have a natural tendency to form a community of concepts and values. The I am in such a situation is conflicted, between its need for social acceptance and its emerging desire for spiritual autonomy. Yet, in our groups we are still learning how to balance these various values, between the ideal of spiritual freedom and what are fundamentally group soul social processes.

What makes a place socially healthy is the sense of being met , and the sense of finding a home . We do not yet know how to do this, however. Instead, we take the embryonic Consciousness Soul I am and give it dozens of books to read, lectures to attend and all manner of ideas that, while they may have been valid at the beginning of the Century, need to be questioned at the end - at this time of reduced vitality and death of the original impulse. When we add to this the effect of the social environment on the thinking processes of the newcomers, we have a situation where the dead and dying social matrix of the Anthroposophical Society is frequently (but not always) a source of infection with respect to the moral sensibilities and world conceptions of individuals who are really in need of getting support for their own self discoveries of spiritual freedom.

So as to make this somewhat more concrete, let me imagine a couple of forms of speech as examples. We could say to someone: You know, I found reading The Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe's World Conception to be very helpful. However, I suspect that you have come to anthroposophy for your own needs and reasons. What are those, and how can I help you further your own search?

Unfortunately, what is often said is more on the order of: You really have to spend a lot of time studying before you can understand anthroposophy. It is very difficult. Here is a list of the basic books which you must first learn to master.

How often do we approach each other as if there was a real and fixed content to the term (mental picture) anthroposophist , to which everyone need conform, instead seeing each other as an unfolding and quite individual mystery. In the Society the most important event that needs to happen is not the study of spiritual science (which clearly we can do on our own, as Steiner often pointed out), but the celebration of the meeting of the individual I ams .

This is a very important idea. Because of this I am going to come at it again from a slightly different direction.

Between Central Europeans and Americans there are quite distinct general characteristics of soul. With regard to the Consciousness Soul Steiner was quite clear in his lectures published under the title: The Challenge of the Times - there are differences. For English speaking people there is an instinct for the consciousness soul, living in the political-legal life; while for the German people, the consciousness soul is born by their becoming intellectual (this is clearly an oversimplification, but the point is really only that how one comes to the consciousness soul varies according to many factors, and we can under no circumstances treat each other's path to this experience as essentially the same).

Now it is not my point to make some kind of hard and fast rule, derived from Steiner's indications, but rather simply to note that he pointed toward significant differences, differences which we can observe for ourselves if we are careful. This last is more essential than depending upon Steiner, by the way.

Now what has happened, at the social level, is that how anthroposophy was taught by Steiner to Central Europeans, that is as a kind of system of knowledge appealing and depending upon the development of intellectual faculties, has been transmitted and imitated in America without consideration for the obvious and clear differences in the nature of general soul characteristics.

In America we teach anthroposophy as if the American had a soul similar to the Central European. This is a grave error, and is no doubt responsible for so few being able to take an interest in it.

The American is not met as an individual instinctively on the path of the consciousness soul, nor offered a home for the heart-felt striving which is natural to his nature as regards impulses for social and political healing. On the contrary, we teach anthroposophy as this very heavy and involved intellectual attainment.

Some are beginning to realize that if Steiner had given birth to anthroposophy in America, his model would have been Emerson, not Goethe. So when Emerson says (in his American Scholar lecture): In self trust all virtues are comprehended - we might begin to understand that for the American anthroposophist the path followed by Central Europeans needs to be distinguished, and then set aside from that form of the path the American needs to discover in him/herself.

It is no wonder then that a certain natural vitality belonging to the original impulses instilled by Steiner in Central Europe becomes eventually exhausted and sterile on the shores of America.

Now what has just been written is not pointed out for the purpose being believed. Rather the point is to aid the reader in the first requirement for a true participation in the dying process. The purpose of suggesting ideas contrary to the prevailing habits of thought is to show how important it is to let go the past semi-conscious conceptions by which one views our work. They are meant as an aid in considering the possibility that a rethinking of who we are, and why we do what we do is clearly in order.

In fact, one of the disciplines that Steiner gave to us is called: sacrifice of thoughts . If we can accept that it is time for the old to give way to the possibility of the new, and if we can accept that the traditional social forms are held together by habits in our thought structures, then perhaps we can see that the path to participation in the death forces is by letting go - by sacrificing - the old way we see ourselves as anthroposophists, and how we think we should be organized.

This needs to be done on a very individual basis, as an act of inner discipline. After all, the idea complex lives in our own souls, not somewhere outside ourselves. If we want to renew it, we first need to let it die, fully confident that through this process we have made a place in the soul for the new. The first essential thing is the inner activity of our own I am , and the second essential thing is the encouragement and support for this in our communities.

It is only through a consciously participated death process that we will really make possible the becoming from which we need and hope the future will be built. Remember, we are moving from an instinctive understanding of social processes to one more conscious. In order to do this we have to appreciate the dynamics of the social life-sphere, and find our individual (and communal) ways to be active within it.

As to this practice of sacrifice of thoughts, I can speak from many years of experience. It is not an act to be feared - to clear out from the soul life specific aspects of its existing thought content. It is true that through our natural egoism, we frequently become attached to favorite ideas (as well as feelings), sometimes even confusing the boundaries between our I am and the habitual content of the soul. Yet, we can have faith that when we allow to die any such habits - when we discover for ourselves our own version of the practice of sacrifice of thoughts - we can depend upon our next act (the act of rethinking the situation) bringing us to new and important places in the world of thought we could not otherwise have imagined.

For example, we in America have taken up certain ideals as regards how we conceive the goals of our groups and institutions. Yet, it is really from Central Europe that we have the ideal of the initiate - it is not a term really descriptive of the Mysteries of the Americas. We then proceed as if this was the prime way to arrive at a connection between us and the world of the spirit - as individual meditators and spiritual researchers. In fact, we are releasing from his duties our current General Secretary in order to support his work on this level.

Yet, Steiner taught of another way, a way that has fallen into a kind of abyss of forgetfulness - the reverse cultus. One can frequently find today anthroposophists who have never heard of this idea.

Further, it is important to note that this process - the reverse cultus - was spoken of in lectures called Awakening to Community. If we pay careful attention here, we just might realize that something in the social that could not be done at the beginning of the 20th Century might well be more possible at its end. That which could not take root (for which no one is to be seen at fault) within the Central European soul forces, might well be quite possible within the American Soul at the dawn of the new millennium.

The Central European, needing to come to the consciousness soul through intellectual activity, necessarily was engaged in a process which supported the anti-social nature of thinking. In a way, it was a kind of trap, what we now call a catch-22 . For our European brothers and sisters the path to the consciousness soul and the path of the reverse cultus were incompatible.

For the America, different conditions exist. The American is already highly individualized given the demands of living in the most material culture in the world. At the same time, special abilities regarding the social - regarding community - exist within this Soul. There is no accident to the fact that the genius of history brings all the world's peoples to this land where the development of brotherhood is to occur.

In the German language there are two forms of the word you: sie and du . This is because there is a stage of social intimacy which needs a second more intimate form of you in their speech. For the American such matters are different. We are often spoken of as having our hearts on our sleeves . We have a natural social intimacy that is not as deep so as to require the use of a du , yet which is clearly more intimate than the more formal sie.

The American Soul might be seen as having in its instinctive tendency to the consciousness soul an impulse to will the good and think with the heart. This impulse is found symptomatically in the generosity characteristic of the American as a social being. We need to distinguish this instinctive consciousness soul-being from that cold and calculating thinking encouraged by the materialism in our education, however. Instead, we should conceive it more in the nature of a capacity that sleeps and dreams, but which can come awake in the right circumstances (and which we can observe coming awake in all manner of social phenomena connected to how that social impulse called civil society unfolds here).

The tragedy for the American Anthroposophical Society is that the differences between general soul characteristics has not been brought into consciousness, especially on the level of the social. For example, I have seen social impulses of the American actually rejected at meetings by European leaders, without either soul gesture understanding what prompts the real (and hidden) difficulty. That social intimacy natural for the America is not natural for the Central European (who adopts a certain formalism - the sie mode - in general social conditions, retaining the more intimate way - the du mode - for much more personal situations), and this has confused relations in all manner of ways. Bringing these problems into consciousness and healing their past social effects will not be easy. At the same time it is very necessary if we are to have a socially vital future.

This has been a necessary digression, but I would like now to return to the reverse cultus.

The idea of the reverse cultus is that it is possible for a group to rise up together into the spiritual. This is different from individual spiritual inspiration coming through personal meditation. It is more of a socially intimate practice of the realization of: wherever two or more are gathered in my name, there also I am.

The odd thing for me is that I recently experienced this in a social context where the other members of the group really didn't understand that we were having a shared spiritual experience.

I was with three other American men, discussing our most heart-felt concerns regarding social and political matters. We had begun our meeting with some very inspirational input over the phone from another member who could not be physically present, but who directed our thinking in certain directions regarding the spiritual nature of America and something we were calling the slow development of citizen governance . I won't go into details, but I clearly experienced our conversation leading into the realm of presence, something I had previously only experienced a couple of times in anthroposophical study groups. The others were aware that something had happened, but as most readers will know, without the relevant concepts, the perceptual element - the percept (experience) - of the spirit can be missed.

It is not the point of this last to define the reverse cultus, but rather only to suggest that the becoming of the Anthroposophical Society in American, that might follow a participated dying could have certain very special qualities at the level of the social - that is within the life-sphere of the social organism as that grows into the future. The more we participate consciously our social existence, the more we find an awake community path to the spirit. Conversation can become ethereal experience for each individual I am. What a grace filled blessing this would be were the Anthroposophical Society in America to find its way to the profound mystery of this social-spiritual rite.

We are, after all, individuals. What community we have - what Society - that we accomplish together. But most especially, we now enter a time when the Higher Beings are saying clearly, through the circumstances of our lives: You are on your own now in very definite ways. We will help, but much that is to be, you must determine - you must create. Understand, we do not grant this trust lightly, or in jest. You have been given great gifts. Put them to use. At the same time, do not doubt, for it is our Faith that you will, out of yourselves, do all that is needed.



This essay was given away for free at the Annual General Meeting in Detroit in the Fall of 2004. It was written during the 2004 Season of Michaelmas.  As usual, it has been slightly edited and amended.

Concerning the Renewal of Anthroposophy

- rediscovering the true meaning of the New Mysteries -

The nature of intuition is such that it is always of the present.  This means that it is living, and as a living connection to the world-thoughts it is free of the past.  There is no need to frame matters in terms of what has been said or thought before, because the living spirit is ever new.  When such intuitions are reported to us, we should hear things we have not heard before, or things we have heard before and ignored.  The living spirit is always calling to us out of the future, free of the past.  Yet it always speaks to our present need, if we but acknowledge that need.

One day recently, I had an interesting insight.   It was as if a pattern always there in certain phenomena was for the first time perceived.  It had always been there, but I had not yet been inwardly ripe enough to see it.  As regards this insight, I am not offering it as the truth, but only as a beginning example of some phenomena that can be observed inwardly as an aspect of disciplined introspection.  As this essay develops, the significance of approaching the matter this way will be made more clear.

In addition, while the insight occurred of a moment and in later reflecting on it I fleshed it out with certain obvious details as clearly belonged to the original thinking-perception, the reality is that these details could only be added during this process of later reflection.

Starting with the Burning of the Goetheanum in late 1923, and then ending with the death of Rudolf Steiner in the early spring of 1925, something rather remarkable happened.  In order to appreciate this, we need to first remind ourselves of the two and third years of Christ's Incarnation, for the pattern established there appears to have been repeated in this the last phase of Rudolf Steiner's life.

Christ's Incarnation begins with the Descent of the Dove, at the Baptism at the Jordan.  The Incarnation's highlight is the Sermon on the Mount, the most profound moral teaching ever received by humanity.  The culmination of the Incarnation is the Week of the Passion (Christ's full descent into the human), ending with His Death on the Cross and His subsequent Resurrection.

In the case of the last two and a third years of Rudolf Steiner's life, we have not the appearance of the Christ, but most likely must deal rather with the appearance of the Divine Sophia Herself, who during that period united Her Being with (came to stand along side) that of Rudolf Steiner.  We know, for example, all the unique treasures which he was only able to bestow in the years following (1923-24).

We need to keep in mind that just as Love is a being with a name - Christ, so is Wisdom a being with a name - Sophia.

This uniting began with the Burning of the Goetheanum (December 31, 1922), which was a Rite of Sacrifice, in much the same way that the Zarathustra ego made way for the Christ prior to the Baptism at the Jordan.  Such an connection between the Divine Sophia, and an earthly personality, may not be possible without such a Rite of Sacrifice.  Steiner even knew in some fashion that this was coming, for in Wachsmith's biography of Steiner, Marie Steiner is reported to have remarked that upon Steiner's waking the day after walking all the hills and caves of Dornach (while considering whether it would be a suitable site for the original Goetheanum), Steiner was more disturbed that Marie Steiner had ever before, or after, seen him.  We can only imagine what it must have meant to him, to realize in some way that the great artistic effort, which was to take form in Dornach during the terrible years of the First Great War, would have to be sacrificed.

Yet, what else could happen given that the Library at Alexandria, certainly a repository of the vast ancient wisdom of Sophia, was itself at some point destroyed (historians do not agree on who or why, but only that it clearly disappeared).  Thus, it came to pass with the Burning of the Goetheanum, that a special relationship between the Divine Sophia and Steiner might have been able to arise.

[It will perhaps add to this picture to consider the possibility that the Burning was not just an event destroying a physical structure, but rather was a sacrificial Cleansing Rite in which the whole Society was invited to participate.]

Then, as a parallel with the Sermon on the Mount, we have the Christmas Conference (Holy Nights, 1923-24)and the first renderings of the Foundation Stone Meditation, which certainly might have been the high point of the Divine Sophia's offerings to earthly, and heavenly, humanity.  As a great deal has already been said and written about this, I feel no need to offer more.

Finally, with Steiner's last days which appear to end in great tragedy with his death, we have the final moments - the Passion of Sophia/Steiner.   But, like a great deal that Sophia and Steiner apparently had to bear, this mostly went unnoticed (just as with Christ, it was unnoticed by history and only of significance to those with the deepest relationships).  Consider this brief moment.  Either Marie Steiner, or Ita Wegman, entered Steiner's room, the day before he died, to once more ask him to decide some issue the Vorstand was itself unable to resolve.  In response to the question put to him - yet another question preying on what was left of his life forces, he could only turn his back.

So with his death came great mourning, but who among those involved in the Society at that time, realized that all that had happened was that Steiner had crossed the threshold into the spiritual world, were he would remain available to any and all who dared the work necessary to meet him there.  How many slept during his last hours, and how many since have essentially denied him and the Sophia in how they practiced Anthroposophy?  How many doubting Thomases where (and are) there among the members and friends, who could only conceive (erroneously) that Steiner was dead in the sense of no longer existing as a resource, and therefore everything of a living spiritual relationship died as well, so that all we had left was to worship what Steiner had said and wrote in the past?

How terrible then the Tomb in which so many place Steiner/Sophia, by relying too heavily on the dead thoughts of what Steiner wrote and lectured about 100 years ago?  Does this work not await our active participation in its true Resurrection, in conscious acts of our own intuition?  Is it not within our power to complete the Passion of Steiner/Sophia, through the act of Resurrecting, in a living way in the present, the same world-thoughts?  Not what Steiner said as appears in dead written form, but what he thought, which if we truly understand him can yet be thought again today, by us, as original intuitions.

No one should be surprised that such a pattern as that which was set into World Events with the Incarnation, should repeat itself in the last years of Steiner's life and in particular with his relationship to the Divine Sophia.

This then was what I intuitively perceived and then later fleshed out during reflection.  We are right to wonder whether it is the truth.  It is clear to my own introspection that while it may be the truth, it is not yet knowledge, and therefore has to be placed in my soul in that category where at best one can say of it: I think (as in believe) this might be true, but I do not know.

Why is it not yet knowledge?  Where is the problem?

Thinking produces all manner of content, but the essential question is whether this content is, in any specific instance, knowledge - a question which has concerned many and which Rudolf Steiner solved in his works on objective philosophical introspection.  He showed there how thinking could achieve knowledge of the True and the Good.  I believe it is a legitimate question to wonder how well this striving for knowledge is practiced today in the Anthroposophical Movement and Society.  To try to answer that question, in as wide a context as possible, is the purpose of this essay.

[A small aside: a friend, who reviewed this work, offered the insight that the Movement and the Society are not a unity, with the Movement being the continuous supersensible counterpart of the incarnate and discontinuous Society.  The Movement is more heavenly, while the Society is more Earthly.  I will not stress that insight in what follows, leaving us with the more conventional idea that the Society and Movement became joined at the Christmas Conference (and therefore remain that way today).  I only point to this here, so that there it will be in the mind of the reader as an important question: What is the true relationship and nature of the Society and Movement?]

There are other equally important questions.

Where stands the Anthroposophical Society and Movement today, in the face of such monumental questions as regards the relationship in the present of the Divine Sophia, and of Rudolf Steiner to this same Society and Movement?  Does, for example, either the Divine Sophia or Rudolf Steiner truly live in our works, or have we become too hardened and too earthly, for such deep and profound spiritual connections to arise?

As near as I can observe (with all the normal human limitations), there is no true spiritual connection between our work, as a Society and Movement, and the world of spirit, except those rare instances where individuals have succeeded in bringing about a personal connection.  But as to the Society and Movement, these have become mostly lamed earthly social forms, not unlike the institutional structures of the Catholic Church.

This does not have to remain this way, nor should we feel that anything other than karma has brought about this undesirable condition.  It apparently could not have happened in any other way, for such is the expected fate of all spiritual movements - they have their original truth while the teacher lives, and then upon the death of the teacher everything falls apart, which is precisely what happened in Dornach all those many years ago.  Rudolf Steiner died, and the Vorstand, and then the whole world-wide Society, collapsed into conflict.

The question is, in these the early days of the new millennium, what can be done by those who would seek to carry Rudolf Steiner's legacy further, such that the Society and Movement begin to rise from their all too earthly prison, to once again strive to found centers for the New Mysteries?

Now in order to understand how to answer this question, we have to have as much clarity as possible as to the real nature of the New Mysteries.  It is just here, where we have become confused over what this means, that we flounder and fail.  At the same time, Rudolf Steiner's life gives us all the answers we need.

First we need to renew our relationship to the three founding works on objective philosophical introspection: Truth and Knowledge; The Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe's World Conception; and especially, The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity (Freedom).  It was on this foundation that all the later works of Steiner depend, and any renewal of the Society and Movement must root itself in this same secure place - wherein we come to an exact understanding of how, in a practical sense, do we know?

Few of those now incarnate appreciate that most of his students did not make a connection to these works.   This incapacity, while understandable, then led to the necessity to publish Knowledge of Higher Worlds, which is not the primer on thinking upon which Spiritual Science was founded.  Knowledge of Higher Worlds is the fall back position, a recipe collection of initiation wisdom that had to leave aside Steiner's primary accomplishment, which had been to show how to achieve authentic spiritual insight (knowledge of the Good and the True) through elevating the nature of thinking itself.

As a consequence, even though a small few were achieving success with Knowledge of Higher Worlds, the principle result of Steiner's life work was lost (again there are exceptions, but these personalities - such as Barfield, Kuhlewind and Ben-Aharon - have not been able to work closely within the Society, something quite understandable if you think about it carefully).  And, it is this transformation of thinking which is at the heart of the New Mysteries.   All the same, we should not be troubled by the fact that it has taken us a century to realize how far astray we have gone.  Our biographies teach us exactly this, as many know.   We fail and fall on the path to true learning.   There is no other way we can travel, and the biography of the Society and Movement must endure the same kinds of trials as does the biography of any individual.

Most of the problems that can be found in the Society and Movement today come about because there is no pragmatic understanding of the either the mystery nature or practical social significance of The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity (Freedom).  Let me expand on this so as to illuminate the situation.

The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity (Freedom) leads us to a careful and scientific introspective life.  We learn through this activity to distinguish certain inner processes and activities one from the other.  Over time, we come to an understanding, in practice, of the Consciousness Soul, which, according to Theosophy, lives in the soul when she attains the capacity to unite herself with the True and the Good - that is with the Eternal.

The processes by which this uniting occurs is different for the True from what it is for the Good.  In a certain sense they are the opposite of each other.

The Good arrives in our consciousness as an individualized intuition.  How we do this is described in the Philosophy, so I won't elaborate that here, except to say that one must, in any case, actually practice moral imagination (consciously framing the moral dilemma), moral intuition (perceiving the answer with the thinking), and moral technique (applying the answer to the actual situation of life) in order to truly know, through experience, what this is about.  Merely reading about it is only of the most minimal practical use.

The True, on the other hand, arrives in our consciousness as a universalized intuition.  To achieve universal intuitions is not something we do on our own however, but rather requires that we work together, or as Tomberg describes it: take council together.  The True and the universal is found through uniting - through community, while the Good, in its particular and real form, is only found alone, via our individuality.  Those who might wonder then about the spiritual experience of the initiate here, need only to recognize that the community in which the True is sought need not in all instances be incarnate.

Now in addition to these problems, the Society and Movement do not understand in practice the significance of the distinctions that Steiner makes in the Philosophy between mental pictures, generalized concepts, pure (abstract) concepts and ideas.  In general, we individualize mental pictures and generalized concepts, which basically makes them tend to be at the very least largely false and limited, and it is only when we rise away from our individualized mental pictures and generalized concepts, through conversation, that we start to live in the world of pure concepts and ideas such as will then lead us to the True.

To put the matter bluntly: individualized mental pictures and generalized concepts are generally nothing more than mere opinions, and do not constitute knowledge.

So there are, in effect, two aspects to the New Mysteries.  One aspect is found in the acts of the individual, whereby the Good is apprehended by thinking, when the I sacrifices antipathies and sympathies in order to make room in the soul for moral intuition; and, the other aspect is found in acts of community, whereby the True is apprehended by another sacrifice of the I, this time of its individualized mental pictures and generalized concepts in the shared search for pure concepts and ideas.

What this means, in our having failed to appreciate in practice the mystery nature and practical social wisdom of the Philosophy, is that when we have our meetings, we tend to fail to distinguish the moral and the Good, which necessarily must be individualized, from the True, which needs to be universal.  In addition, we assume that our individualized mental pictures and generalized concepts are sufficiently true such that in much that we do we come into conflict with each other.  Discussion after discussion in our meetings fails because we do not appreciate the social significance of how we stand as individual thinkers and what are the consequences for our mutual activities, of remaining in either our antipathies or sympathies (which hide the Good), or of remaining in our individualized mental pictures and generalized concepts (which hide the True).

Now this failure does not always appear in outright conflict (although in the right circumstances it frequently does).  On the contrary, as it is often a group failure, what this failure most commonly means is that we have created a semi-consciously shared view - a kind of atavistic group-soul thought content.  This group-soul content has more to do with vague beliefs, than it has to do with knowledge.  We fail at reaching for the True, by first failing to live out the Good, and end up with semi-conscious (easily warped by the Doubles - that is these views are driven in either an ahrimanic or luciferic direction because of the lack of consciousness) shared views that are more like religious views than they are like well grounded and exact views as exemplified by science.  We thereby most frequently tend to become anthroposophical theologians (adept at combining and re-combining the dead thoughts from Steiner lectures), and not spiritual scientists (adept at the perceiving-thinking with true intuitive insight).

Yes we strive, but we have not received from above, in the leadership of our institutional forms, this clear understanding, precisely because these prominent individuals did not themselves possess it.  Like Yeats saw at the beginning of the Century: "Things fall apart, the center cannot hold;...".  In spite of there being a Vorstand (and various Councils), the New Mysteries have been and presently are unable to incarnate into their nature, or more worrisome, the nature of Branch and Group work.

What this has over the years devolved into is many instances of infighting among groups, who lacking the individual insight necessary to appreciate what the Good is in any given moment, and how to distinguish it from the True, end up living in flawed and individualized mental pictures and generalized concepts about which there can be no agreement, thus Steiner's pointing out to us that thinking (in its ordinary, or untransformed, sense) is anti-social.  He constantly pointed us in the right directions, but without our doing the real introspective work, we can only end up in conflict, or in so homogenizing our individual thinking into an atavistic group-soul thought content that nothing of the Good or the True can live there.

In addition to the failure to properly seat the activity of the Society and Movement in the mystery nature and social teachings living in The Philosophy of Freedom, we took another wrong turn not to long after the sacrificial Cleansing Rite of the Burning of the Goetheanum.  Recall that following the Burning, the Divine Sophia may have been in some way united with the earthly personality of Steiner, so that the very first lectures, handed down to us as Awakening to Community, were of quite special significance.

I will only cover the most salient point, although there is much in the whole to which we would do well to pay careful attention.

Steiner advises in these lectures that the Christian Community is a grave, if not the gravest, danger to the Society.  He explains this as follows:

When a true Rite is enacted on the earthly plane, the participants become united across the threshold, for that is the consequence of the Rite - a crossing of the threshold of the group brought about by the descent of aspects of the spiritual world into the group during the Rite.  This uniting then has as a consequence a profound fellow feeling among the participants in the Rite, and without doubt, the Act of Consecration of Man would be such a Rite.

The problem comes about when and if anthroposophists attend the Christian Community, and thereby experience this uniting and its fellow feeling consequence, such that then their hunger for community is satisfied, after which they then will not bring that hunger to the Branch and Group meetings of the Anthroposophical Society.  Without that hunger, then the Society will not develop the ability to engender the needed fellow feeling.  The meetings, as many experience them today, will be lacking in the same social warmth that can often be found in the Christian Community (making the CC even more socially attractive).

The antidote to this problem is in what Steiner described as the Reverse Cultus, which is a Rite in which, instead of the spiritual world descending, the group itself ascends into the spiritual world.  Without the Reverse Cultus, and this ascent, the Branch and Group meetings will not produce the fellow feeling (or warmth of heart) necessary for a true Society to be born in which the meeting of true I to true I was to be fostered.

Granted that during the control of National Socialism over Germany, anthroposophists, having lost the Society and Waldorf Schools (they being closed by the Nazis) could only meet for a time in the Christian Community (it was closed much later than the other two) the fact remains that the Priest Course, and its teachers, knew precisely what had been said in the Awakening to Community lectures, and still allowed the Christian Community to become the so-called church of far too many anthroposophists, without clearly warning them of the consequences for the wider Society.

Of course, it is in the Reverse Cultus, which itself is rooted in a moral act (the Good) of sacrifice of personal opinion, that the needed group work of seeking the True, as an universal intuition, was to arise.  Here we also see clearly where the New Mysteries were to be practiced, namely in the Branch and Group work, which Steiner clearly pointed to in his writings on the Life, Nature and Cultivation of Anthroposophy.

Why is this important?  Because for the New Mysteries to actually incarnate there must be activity on the Earth in which the threshold is consciously crossed.  There is no Mystery without contact with the living spirit, and the New Mysteries were to be based upon the developing of the newly born inherent mystery potential of thinking, coupled with an appropriate group work (the Reverse Cultus), so that Centers (Groups and Branches) would arise where living spiritual realities where apprehended by groups of human beings on a regular (rhythmic) and ongoing basis.

This, unfortunately, could not be done, and thus the laming of the mystery potential of the Society and Movement was complete - no real understanding of the mystery nature and practical social implications of the Philosophy and no real appreciation of the mystery nature and social meaning (shared heart warmth) aspects of the Reverse Cultus.

All this before the Second Great War.  A tragedy true, but also a karmic necessity.

In the years following this Second Great War, the then fractured Society was reunited on the physical plane, but not on the spiritual.  This reunification was essentially political in nature, and not based upon a wise understanding of the spiritual work that would be necessary to set right the failures of the past.

As a consequence, further unbalanced elements arose within the structure of the Society, and while I will next mention a few that need our attention, let me first end this section with a cautionary note.

Some will think that the study of the Philosophy of Spiritual Activity (Freedom) is hard.  It might be better said that the work that seems to be hard is not the book itself, but the act of brutally self honest introspection that is required.  The book is merely a map to a territory, and we only learn from the territory, never the book.

The territory (our own inner life) does confront us with the most difficult questions that come before any student of Spiritual Science.  For example, to fully come to terms with learning, in practice, how to produce intuitions of the Good, we have to face the possible fact of how often we fail to act from our true moral center.  In a sense, at the threshold of truly honest introspection, we run into our own fears regarding facing ourselves with equanimity and (as the recipe wisdom in Knowledge of Higher Worlds describes it) as a stranger.

What we really run into at this threshold of true self exploration and knowledge is nothing but the first raw intimations of the complex of the Doubles.  It is the ahrimanic voice of this Double complex that suggests to us that we should fear this examination, and that we will find ourselves wanting if we do dare serious introspection.  The truth is that true introspection is an adventure, perhaps the most wondrous adventure that awaits us, and the reality is that for every bit of darkness we find inside, there is an equal portion of light.  Moreover, the darkness is not there to shame us (although shame and remorse are often how we can choose to feel concerning our inner actions), but to teach us.

Seeking to intuit the Good, via the process of moral imagination, moral intuition and moral technique, is like learning to ride a bicycle.  We fall down a lot, and often hurt ourselves, but eventually we become skilled, and learn after time to see moral action as an art.

At the center of the fear is the ahrimanic Double's whispering that we will have to love (that is that moral action finds its deepest roots in love), and certainly (according to this being) love is the most risky and terrifying act of all.  To love is to step into the unknown, for if we follow our impulse to love (the center of our heart), then who knows where that might lead?  We could get emotionally hurt, we might have to give up our life style, or share with others that which we hold dear, or all sorts of other actions that take from us what we do not want to give.

Do you not know that this whispering is a lie?

Yes, to open ourselves to love is to stand on an abyss, but the ahrimanic Double makes of this profoundly moral  act such a heavy and costly task, that we turn from it again and again.  Even so, Steiner (again in Knowledge of Higher Worlds) points us in the right direction when he says that for every step in inner development leading to higher knowledge, we must take three steps in moral development.

Now moral development only takes place in life.  There are no exercises we can do by ourselves. We can meditate all we want and study the dying and becoming of nature all we want, but until we face the nature of our own participation in moral intuition, we don't do the most essential work.  That by the way is one of the secrets - participation.  Intuitions of the Good are not announcements from a distant Father God demanding of us great sacrifices, but are rather gentle and tender presentments from our own heart of what the right thing to do is in a particular circumstance that is entirely individual to us.

While the ahrimanic Double makes us fear love, the luciferic Double gives us images of love in its most grandiose forms.  According to the latter Double, we have to save the world, invite all the homeless to live with us, and sacrifice everything in order to love.  So the one makes us fear love, as too costly, and the other creates images of love as if we had to become some kind of super being.  In combination they steer us away from real and ordinary human love, until we ourselves learn to surrender to what lives already in our own hearts as an impulse to do the Good.

We would do well to remember that Christ went to the Cross as a human being, not as a God.  His teachings on love are for human beings, not for divine beings, otherwise what would be the point.

Christ lays this out for us clearly, in Matthew 11: 28-30: "Come here to me, all you drudges and overburdened ones, and I will give you a rest.  Put my yoke on  and learn from me: I am gentle and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your souls, because my yoke is kindly and my load is light."

The act (or yoke) of love found in the individual search for intuitions of the Good is a far far lighter load than we imagine.  It really only comes down to finding the courage to risk the unknown in an inner questing for guidance to outer and inner actions, whose essential core turns out to be just the ordinary moral sensibilities of our own heart.  It is really only in our most ordinary human interactions that we are called to bear our portion of this yoke of love, and it is here just in these same actions that we are graced with the capacity to know the Good.  It is also here, where we do ask ourselves what is the Good, and let ourselves answer, that we take the first awake steps into the Consciousness Soul.

In a sense, we mistake the real teachings of Spiritual Science if we believe it means that the Society and Movement are all about producing initiates, spiritual research and a hierarchy of truths to which we are bound.  Spiritual Science is about fostering the New Mysteries, and to deepen our appreciation of the true nature of such work, this essay must now turn to that effort which requires the strongest self honesty about our mutual efforts as a community - namely to love ourselves and forgive ourselves, while we seek to understand all those errors in the past that have led us (quite wisely) to where we stand today.


Preliminary to this let me remind the reader that there is no attempt in the following to criticize various personalities in either the Society or Movement.  What we are exploring below is micro social consequences of the karmic failure to be able to become fully awake to the mystery potential latent in The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity (Freedom) and the Reverse Cultus.  This failure had consequences, and we are next examining these consequences.

In addition, I would also like the reader to keep in mind that nothing here is meant to suggest that fine work is not being done in many places.  All manner of impulses are filled with spiritual insight and deep goodness, whether it is the work of doctors, teachers, Goethean scientists, or just mothers and fathers struggling to raise their children in new ways amidst a fallen, and still falling, culture.  We are here looking at a very narrow question: What is the Nature of the New Mysteries; and what is the effect upon our shared social life, as aspirants to the practice of Spiritual Science, of the fact that we have not yet been able to incarnate these Mysteries into our community life on a healthy rhythmic basis?

The first micro social consequence, with which we must concern ourselves, is the confusion concerning their real significance by a certain group which calls itself in America: The Circle (it has some other names elsewhere, such as the Youth Circle and so forth).    The history here is fairly simple, since it was not at all intended to produce the grave consequences that were later to arise.  A small group, that had received the Lectures to Youth, wanted to work together in service to the spiritual world and asked Steiner for verses and/or meditations in support of their work, which he then gave.  This is certainly a fine motive, and had the social implications of the failures regarding the Philosophy and the Reverse Cultus been understood, there would have been no problem.

The group took the course that it would develop itself (or grow) only when someone who was known to its members expressed in some way a similar desire to work with the spiritual world.  They might then, having in this way identified themselves, be invited to join the work of the Circle.  The Circle would not otherwise have a public face, and not make itself open to volunteers.  Its meetings generally would not be advertised in anthroposophical publications, large or small, and its membership would be essentially private in support of the deep group work which was sought.

What could be wrong with any of this?

Part of what was intended for the Society and Movement is that it be a free association, open to any, regardless of their religious or spiritual convictions.  All that was really asked was that those who joined the Society would recognize the need for such an institution as the School for Spiritual Science (by the way, being in support of such a School really only means acknowledging the existence of a Science of the Spirit, and being in support of centers of spiritual research - it does not mean merely supporting just any institutional (and probably not living) social form which might call itself a Center for Spiritual Research, but which really is far too often only a center for propagating a theology of Steiner-thought.  Those who might wonder here how this can be said about the School today, only have to ask themselves why, for example, Georg Kuhlewind and Jesaiah Ben-Aharon are not currently heads of sections in the School).   If the Anthroposophical Society and Movement were to found New Mystery Centers, then the need for openness and freedom had to be consciously understood and appreciated in all its real inner implications.

By basically hiding itself, and by only drawing to itself members who those within pre-qualified, then the Circle could socially only be a secret group, with a hidden agenda, regardless of how harmless seeming was the purpose.   We should know by now that whatever our good purposes (intentions), if we fail in the means - in how we go about what we do - that will pollute the ends.

Immediately the judgments being made as to who to invite, because of their highly subjective nature (absent the True and the Good) began to socially corrode the work from within.  Within itself, it was possibly healthy, but as something within a greater whole, it could only cause imbalances.  Like a cancer it closed itself off from the whole organism, and it has metastasized far beyond any useful purpose today.

Precisely because its work is hidden, we do not see its influence clearly.  But the reader can be certain that many highly placed functionaries in the Society and Movement are members, and that their deliberations, and activities with respect to the greater whole, are not open, nor are we free to join, or to judge and consider how their deliberations effect the rest of us.

In addition, to the extent that the mystery nature and social meaning of The Philosophy of Freedom and the Reverse Cultus does not live in the meetings and actions of the Circle, then that group too will live in antipathies and sympathies, as well as individualized mental pictures and generalized concepts - that is: anti-social thinking and some form of an atavistic group-soul thought content.

This kind of social arrangement has no value in the New Mysteries, especially if the basis of those New Mysteries is to be a true Science of Knowing, which Steiner created in the works on objective philosophical introspection.


Next, in point of difficulty as a cause of micro social problems for the Society and Movement, is the failure to appreciate the truths, which Steiner pointed toward again and again, as regards the differences within the soul life of Peoples in various places in the World - what he often spoke of as the threefold nature of the world into East, Center and West.  Again, much of this is karmic and necessary, but that doesn't mean it was desirable, or that we should continue to be asleep as to these realities.

Horrible consequences have resulted socially in America (the true West), for example (this is true in the East as well, but only someone of the East should speak to this), due to the failure to consciously consider how European (Center) and American (West) soul forces needed to work together in America.  These soul characteristics are fundamentally different, and all manner of problems have resulted from not taking account of these differences.

For example, we do far too much lecturing in America.  We have copied this from our European brothers and sisters, but it really ignores our American nature to use what is essentially a sun (speaker) moon (reflecting listener) social structure.  We basically violate the best in us with this endless dependence upon lecturing.  For reasons that will be hinted at later in this essay, our gatherings should mostly take the social form of a circle (sun-sun, instead of sun-moon).  Now this does not mean that in all cases we should not hear long or short stories from each other, but the practice of laying out a series of Ideal thought-forms, as if that communicated spiritual reality, is flawed.  Stories nurture and nourish our instincts for the Good, but the True cannot be brought to us by lectures.   All the same, the root of the problem goes much deeper.

Let's start with the Earth forces in America.  Steiner pointed out that the invisible spiritual forces rising from deep within the Earth in America were quite different (and far stronger) from those in other places in the world (all of which is connected, according to Steiner, to the North-South direction of mountain ranges in the Americas); and, in addition, that the soul configuration, especially with regard to the Doubles, was different in America precisely in order to seat the individual properly within these powerful rising earth forces.

The Doubles of the Americans are far stronger that the Doubles of Europeans.  What are the consequences then of this fact, when Europeans move to America (in order to try to carry out their preconceived European ideal of anthroposophical work here), where these unusually strong earth forces exist?

In general, what this means to Imaginative vision - coupled with reflection, is that European personalities are pushed up off the earth in the Americas in their soul life - that is their astrality is essentially shifted in a luciferic direction as against the general soul conditions of the Americas, because the spiritual density of the European Doubles is insufficient to ground them here effectively.

What often, unfortunately, follows after this, is that if an American personality models their inner life on a European leading personality living here, they will be sucked up as well in a luciferic direction, by filling their soul with impulses of imitation, instead of grounding it in their own natural insights and soul characteristics.

It is possible for a European personality to so deepen their soul characteristics with a love of things American, that it can come to a kind of grounded rest (I have seen examples), yet even in these circumstances the will is sterile - nothing truly socially living can result.

If we add to this Steiner's admonition, that Central Europeans should not teach others matters of spirit (see some of the lectures on the East and the West), given that they lacked completely the capacity to enter into the inner life of another people, we can begin to see how it is that the Society and Movement in America has taken the disastrous course that it has here, such that so few Americans can find any connection at all to Spiritual Science in spite of being a deeply spiritual people, described by Steiner as natural anthroposophists, who being English speakers are instinctively in the consciousness soul in their life of rights.

Think on this again, for it bears repeating.   Americans are natural anthroposophists and are instinctively in the consciousness soul in their life of rights, so we must ask ourselves why so few join with the Society here.  The reason Americans do not flock to Anthroposophy in America is because it is presented in a far too European way (that is as something foreign), has failed to come to ground (to rest on the Earth) here (too luciferic), and for reasons passing understanding fails to appreciate that this land still has living Mystery practices - the Saturn Mysteries are alive and well (more or less) in the Americas (something of which hundreds of thousands of spiritually striving Americans are instinctively aware.  We have to face the truth of why, in a Nation and a People who exploded with spiritual striving in the 1960's and 1970's, so few came to Spiritual Science.

In the land of Brotherhood, no New Mysteries can flourish without consciously connecting to the Mysteries already being practiced here.  In a sense, to ignore the Saturn Mysteries is to walk in a Church (the Americas) and constantly violate its present and living spiritual reality.  The Saturn Mysteries made no false distinction between the sacred and the profane as did Western Civilization,  and they need to be honored above all else, and respected, for they contain wisdom about community (the unity of all beings, visible and invisible) preserved from the deepest times.  They are part of the spiritual landscape here, and we must acknowledge them.  Anthroposophy will only truly found itself in America (come to full social incarnation), when and if it takes up a respectful relationship to the Original Peoples of the Americas.

[I recently attended for the second year, the Bioneers Conference in San Raphael, California, via satellite.   This conference is a semi-consciously emerging Michael Festival (held in the middle of October), at which the opening gesture involved two Hopi, and one Navaho, as well as two African-American practitioners of their religious traditions, offering prayers.  The ending gesture of this conference was the singing, by the group, of the words of a Hopi Elder, given in the late '90's: We are the people we have been waiting for.  In the present, the New Sun Mysteries are more vitally alive (albeit instinctively) in the Bioneers, than in the Anthroposophical Society and Movement in America.]

The Society and Movement here fail as much due to this, as any other flaw.   We are far too absorbed improperly with matters European, with the consequence that many deeply spiritually inclined Americans are right in wanting to have nothing to do with our work.  Further, we are also far too incestuous (mostly talk to ourselves) at the level of concept formation and language usage, and lack a real appreciation of how to express the social good in acts of service outside our own circles (yes, it does happen in individual instances - we kind of leak our work, but we do not, in an organized and conscious way, know how to serve the wider whole).  We mostly serve ourselves and too often think and then seek to convince others of our importance.   Here is the luciferic impulse in full flower.  It says: "We have Rudolf Steiner, we have Waldorf, we have biodynamics, we have the truth - thereby implying: aren't we great!" - all the while lamenting how it must be the opponents (and never ourselves) that keeps others at bay, and creates such opposition.

A clear consequence of this is what has happened to the Waldorf Movement here, in that the leading personalities of two principle teacher training institutions were for many years Central Europeans.  As a result, far too many Waldorf teachers here approach that work in a luciferic (prideful) fashion, and lacking a proper grounding in the social (by ignoring their natural social genius as Americans) are unable to deal with parents and outside communities in a wise way.   It is no wonder then that such virulent opposition has arisen to the Waldorf Movement in America.


A third micro social effect arises because we have failed to properly appreciate either the threefold social organism or Goetheanism.   Matters of crucial knowledge remain outside of our consciousness because of an excess of dependence upon what Steiner said, and the failure to develop in ourselves the qualitative characterizing (organic) thinking gesture (Goetheanism).  It is simply not possible, for example, to take hold of modern history and social life in America, without first changing, with conscious intention, the nature of the thinking activity which seeks to live into the events and spiritual realities unfolding here.

Let me cover this again, for it is also something well worth repeating.

Rudolf Steiner presented the Threefold Social Organism in its Ideal Form, because his listeners (in the Center) could only receive it in such an ideal form, due to the nature of their soul life.  Even so, the fact remains that a true social science, based upon the development of the capacity to think in qualitative characterizing pictures, is not only possible but has been achieved (in the West).  Yet, it remains outside the attention of the Society, because of the fixation, inside the Society, on dead Steiner-thought, and the failure to recognize that how matters need to proceed in America, must be quite different from how they proceed in Europe.

Thus, we focus in the Group and Branch work on the lectures of Steiner, without first becoming grounded in the works on objective philosophical introspection, which dooms our efforts to make living our encounter with Steiner.  As a consequence we absorb dead thought upon dead thought, and the soul is then unable to connect this to the living social reality in which it finds itself.  Those who could present the social reality of America (and of the whole world), in a living Goetheanistic fashion, are routinely ignored.  Yes, there are moments - and many of us experience them, but at an institutional level we flounder, and the Groups and Branches are left to wander in a spiritual desert.

Let me just give one example, keeping in mind that there are many others (such as the unresolved problems connected to the Constitution question in Europe, as well as the deeply troubling matters that arose  - and were wrongly set aside - in the debate concerning the spiritual scientific validity of S. O. Prokofieff's work, following on the publication of Irina Gordienko's: Sergei O. Prokofieff: Myth and Reality ... I leave aside these questions because so few Americans are at all sufficiently informed on these problems):

In threefolding we are pointed toward understanding the role of freedom in the Cultural Sphere.  Cultural Sphere social forms need to be based upon freedom, and need to cultivate their social form structures such that those with the most developed capacities are put in the leading positions. It will then be out of their freedom of initiative and developed capacities that the cultural social form will thrive.

We have not done this, again no doubt for reasons of karma.  But let me say it again, from a slightly different direction, so as to make as plain as possible what is happening.

Cultural life depends upon free initiative and capacities.  By capacities it is meant the ability of the individual to create intuitions of the highest order.  This is why the Ideal of Waldorf is the freedom of the teacher - it is their intuitive activity in the classroom (as against following a dead and dry formula) that brings fully human warmth and light to the education of the child.  If we don't instill the highest capacities in our cultural life social form structures, we lame these institutions.

Now there is a role for the administrator and the bureaucrat in any social form in the three spheres.  But these are functionaries, providing needed services, and not meant to be, especially in the cultural life, the source of inspiration.

At the same time, we need to recognize that our tradition of hierarchical social forms (Vorstands, Councils etc) is mostly due to the fact that when they were first created at the beginning of the 20th Century, we hadn't yet emerged far enough into the consciousness soul (fifth cultural) epoch to realize how it is that traditional hierarchical social forms are no longer valid (too much third cultural epoch).  Steiner made clear to us that the fifth cultural epoch (the age of the consciousness soul) was to be an involution (inside out opposite) of the third cultural epoch (the age of the sentient soul).

Steiner could only do so much in his creation of the Vorstand and the School for Spiritual Science, and had to depend upon us eventually getting how it was that cultural social forms truly needed to be organized in modern times.  We now need to consciously learn to discard what we have been doing here, and find the more socially healthy course.

The current situation, wherein anthroposophical institutional social forms propagate themselves by picking their successors, is flawed (we just had a big fight - remember what I said about how easily we devolve into conflict - about the how of the succession of the national general secretary).   An outside group needs to be formed, whose sole purpose is to assess the spiritual capacities demonstrated by members, and then to seek to place the most qualified members in the leading positions.  This group should be elected, and there should be a different such group for each different Council or Vorstand.

Let me describe an example from life.

I went to the United States Air Force Academy for three years.  We had an honor code, and those responsible for the judgment of whether any cadet had violated that code, were elected by the individual members of each squadron.  Neither the military school administrators, nor the honor council itself, selected its members.  When the cadets selected their honor representative (which was always out a certain class - i.e. seniors, but elected as juniors), they were basically choosing their own judges, should an honor question involve themselves.  Seldom was this selection either someone popular or academically or militarily advanced.  It was a decision as to who could be most trusted to carry out what was an essentially profoundly moral act.

This is what we seek in having a group consider whose spiritual development (character) will best serve a cultural social form in which freedom of initiative is to be the operative principle.  This choosing is a character judgment of the highest order, and the group doing this choosing will arrive at its work best, if it is selected from the bottom up (fifth epoch), instead of from the top down (third epoch) - that is democratically.  Also, contrary to the influence of the Circle, such actions of the choosing group need to be completely transparent (open and free).


Each Branch or Group should be able to select one of their members, for only in such intimate circumstances will reside the necessary knowledge of the character of the choosers.  This elected council of representatives, one from each Branch or Group, then meets when and only when it is necessary to replace a higher Council (or Vorstand) member who has resigned or died.

The present method, whereby the institutional form propagates itself is flawed, because it comes from the top down (although cultural social forms will create a natural hierarchy of capacities, once made living), and because through the Circle, a secret process of judgment and evaluation has been active.  Circle places itself on the Councils and keeps itself on the Councils, all without anyone being aware of this totally unjustifiable interference.   To know that this is true, all we need have happen is for the members of Circle, worldwide, to confess their membership.

In this way then, we renew the New Mysteries from the bottom up (true fifth epoch), from out of the Branch and Group work wherein The Philosophy of Freedom is the primary essential study, and the Reverse Cultus the main community practice.  Such living spiritual groups will then elect councils of selection, out of which those most respected for their inner work and character will be appointed to the leading Councils, and from which intuitions of initiative will pour out all over the whole, not just for the benefit of the Society and Movement, but for the benefit of all humanity.

[As an aside: if we had bothered to come to know more intimately how Chiefs where selected through the matriarchal processes in the Six Nations (the Iroquois Confederacy), we would already know how to do this, for the Saturn Mysteries saw clearly here.]

For it is in service to humanity that we best serve the spiritual worlds (the once true aim of the Circle) - since, while for humanity the Gods are our religion, for the Gods, humanity is their religion - thus to truly serve the spiritual world is to serve humanity.  This is the secret of Christ's admonition concerning the greatest commandment: To love God with all our mind, and all our heart and all our spirit; while the second is like unto it - to love our Neighbors as ourselves.  This is why Steiner, in The Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe's World Conception wrote that:

"Man is not behaving in accordance with the purposes of the Guiding Power of the world when he investigates one or another of His commandments, but when he behaves in accordance with his own insight.  For in him the Guiding Power of the world manifests Himself.  He does not live as Will somewhere outside of man, He has renounced his own will in order that all might depend upon the will of man.   If man is to be enabled to become his own lawgiver, all thought about world-determinations outside of man must be abandoned."

And why Ben-Aharon in The Spiritual Event of the Twentieth Century has written:

"Now when they identified themselves with the situation of earthly humanity, the souls who remained true to [Archangel] Michael prefigured, in their planetary Earthly-Sun life, the great Sacrifice of Christ.  They walked again in His steps as they did in former earthly lives, only now the order of following was reversed.  They went before Him, showing Him the way, acting out of free and self-conscious human decision, and He followed in their steps only after they fully united themselves with the divided karma of Earth and humanity.  Only then could He offer His sacrifice, as the answer to the new, future question of human existence: the question concerning the mission and fate of evil."

[By the way, should those Groups and Branches seeking to incarnate the New Mysteries, look for something with which to work, after a first serious encounter with The Philosophy of Freedom, and Awakening to Community, the next best effort would be to understand and practice the Three Panels of the Imagination of the Second Coming, as described in Ben-Aharon's work noted above.]

What all this comes down to and means, is that the renewal of the cultivation of Anthroposophy is a function of the individual acts of seeking the Good first, and Branch and Group work seeking the True second.  It is not a function of top down order in an organization.  In fact, anything from above which seeks to tell individuals, and/or Groups and Branches, how to be anthroposophical or what anthroposophy is, has missed the point.  In the fifth cultural epoch the Good can only manifest through individuals and the True can only manifest in those small Groups and Branches where living out the Good and seeking the True is the basic gesture, as Marjorie Spock so wisely intuited many years ago in her small pamphlet: Group Moral Artistry.

True heart thinking is a profoundly moral art.  It is in fact in our social existence that we are challenged to tame the excesses of sympathy and antipathy in the soul, in order to make possible the creation of a thought content based upon the knowledge of a freely chosen moral imperative (the Good).  This is why the individualized knowledge of the Good is a necessary precedent to the seeking after knowledge of the True.  It is knowledge of the Good that sets my course in the sacrifice of opinion in order to find a community sense of the True.

The New Mysteries cannot be fostered from Dornach, or in fact in any place of central authority, although they can be practiced there and then served from such places.  Only in the Groups and Branches, can true centers of the New Mysteries arise.  In the Fifth Cultural Epoch the Temple is not to be found above, but is born below, in a multiplicity (many many Temples) of shared spiritual communal existence.

The practical element enters in when we seek to make in the Groups and Branches something of a mystery temple atmosphere.  This is what the Youth Circle sought, but failed at, by not recognizing that the primary act is not in the outer temple atmosphere itself, but rather in the acts of the human spirit within the temple of its own soul.  What happens outside in the creation of a temple atmosphere in the Groups and Branches has to arise because it appears from within the individuals first.  The Groups and Branches support, in a open and free way, the individual expression of inner work, and this then leads naturally to the arising of a temple atmosphere.  It will appear primarily as a shared mood, in the conversation, and there is no necessity at all for a Rite-like structure (everyone reading from the soul calender for example, although each Group and Branch must be free to self determine how it approaches these processes).  The seeking for an outer Rite-like structure is simply imitative of third epoch atavistic group-soul processes, where the mystery atmosphere was imposed from the outside.  In the New Mysteries, the mystery atmosphere will appear in the Groups and Branches from within the individual outward, as a naturally arising shared mood of reverence and awe as each begins to experience inwardly the consequences of the Reverse Cultus within their own souls.   The individuals will sense the rising toward the spirit within, and that will engender the heart warmth of fellow feeling.  It will be the shared mood that is the first sign of the success of the mutual work.

The basic individual gesture is as follows: we will the good, and think with the heart.  This willing of the Good, as an individualized intuitive aspect in support of the group work, then (according to Steiner and phenomenologically perceivable to introspection) brings about a current in the etheric body which rises from the lower pole upward through the heart, whereby it is warmed by the cultivated (willed) mood of reverence, awe and fellow feeling, and then streams further upward into the upper pole where the will and heart warmed etheric stream opens up like a flower toward the surrounding Sun Mysteries.  Into this inner open flower like gesture then streams the Truth, as a community intuition, appearing to the whole group in speech, first from one member and then another.  Even the neophyte - the complete newcomer to Spiritual Science - can speak into the conversation out of this shared mood.

It remains to bring forward one more essential matter.

The Anthroposophical Society and Movement was meant to be a meeting place in which differing Mystery Steams could come together.  It was not meant to be a place where the too often dominant tendency was that only one prideful and self absorbed pseudo-Mystery stream carried out its sectarian and dogmatic practices.  That dominant tendency is how far we have fallen, yet it also shows how far we can rise, if we so choose.

Like an individual biography, with its trials and errors, the biography of the Society and Movement tells a precise and wonderful story of just what is needed to be addressed.  If we do as a group, that which the individual spiritual aspirant must do, namely view ourselves objectively and as a stranger, then we can not only honestly see our flaws, but more importantly the true nature of our potential.  The one cannot exist without the other.  To face starkly the one (the flaws), we do the most necessary work that gives birth to the other (the potential).

On a wider scale, there are three general kinds of healthy Mystery Wisdoms practiced by humanity.  One is a stream similar in nature to the bodhisattva tradition of Buddhism (East), another is a stream similar to the initiation wisdom of the true Rosicrucians (Center), and the third stream is rooted in the development of the earthly character of the individual, as represented in their moral contributions to the community (West).  The former seeks to raise the human up, the second seeks to bring the divine down, while the third seeks the integration of the individual within the whole community of beings, both visible and invisible.

If the New Mysteries are begun to be properly practiced within the Anthroposophical Society and Movement in America, then this will attract Moon Wisdoms, Saturn Wisdoms and perhaps all the Planetary Wisdoms once celebrated Eons ago, to the newly emerging modern Sun Wisdom.  This attraction will arise, not because the New Sun Mysteries are wiser and better, but because in their light and warmth of service (based upon sacrifice) all will flourish.   Rather than standing against each other in differentiation, the myriad Mystery Wisdoms will come into contact, forming a dynamic and living spiritual vortex, themselves then beginning to take council together, out of which gesture then will finally arise a conscious True New Michael Festival.  


written in the fall of 2004 for, and handed out (for free) at the Annual General Meeting of the Anthroposophical Society in America in November, 2004, in Detroit Michigan

The Law and the Spirit

- some remarks in support of our considerations of the issues

of the amicus brief, the problem of opposing defamation, and the constitutional question.  the remarks below on the organic

nature of law within the social order should be considered

as on the surface of what could be a deeper contemplation -

The Summer 2004 Newsletter contained a number of pieces, wherein the activities of the Anthroposophical Society had found themselves involved in those ongoing social processes which find their social focus in the Life of Rights, or what is sometimes called: the political-legal sphere of the threefold social organism.  This brief paper hopes to add to our considerations of the relationship between anthroposophical activity and the Life of Rights.

Matthew 22:21 "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's"

I can speak now from a more than twenty-five year contemplation of this verse and its help in understanding human social existence (my original essay - Threshold Problems in Thinking the Threefold Social Order - describing the significance of the verse was written in 1991, and is published in this book).  Christ here recognizes that there is a difference between the earthly social realm (Caesar) and the realm of the Father, or what we in the anthroposophical often call "the spiritual world".  He enjoins human beings to give (render) to earthly human existence what belongs to that world, and to give (render) to the Father what belongs to Him.

When we render unto social existence, that organism acquires those qualitative characteristics which we give to it.  Social life, especially the Life of Rights, is entirely formed out of what we give to it (whether positive or negative).  The realm of the Father, however, is not formed by what we render to it, but rather we ourselves are formed by that activity.  We become in accord with how we develop spiritually.

The two realms then interact with each other in a reciprocal fashion.  To the extent we render to something higher than ourselves, we develop.  To the extent we later render those developing qualities into the social life, it develops.  The social organism's development can aid (or hinder) our inner development (and processes of education are clearly an excellent example of this); and, our development clearly can aid (or hinder) the development of social existence (witness the problems in America in the present due to the excess of amorality in political affairs).

The above is an oversimplification, as the reader might guess.  On my website can be found a more detailed examination in a long (five part) essay: Waking the Sleeping Giant: the mission of Anthroposophy in America (the 5th essay in this book).

In those lectures collected under the title: The Inner Aspect of the Social Question, Rudolf Steiner remarks that while the Cultural Life is a mirror-like image of our pre-birth existence,  and the Economic Life is a mirror-like image of our post-death experience, the Life of Rights is entirely earthly.  It has no spiritual-world counterpart.

In this way Steiner also recognizes what is pointed to by Christ - Caesar's realm and the Father's realm are not the same.  We should, by the way, also keep in mind that the Life of Rights is the central organ of the threefold social organism, with all that that observation implies.

What happens when an aspect of the Cultural Life is forced by circumstances (and some of its own behaviors) to interact with the Life of Rights?  What qualities of the Life of Rights are to be encountered, and what might be the consequence for this cultural institution (such as the Anthroposophical Movement and Society)?

When  I was in law school, on almost the first day, more than one law professor made clear to us that the Law is not the same as morality (Spirit).  Law was, in fact, what the social order determined to be its lowest tolerable expectation.  Morality (Spirit) was the highest expectation, and the Law the lowest.

In addition, from a phenomenological point of view, Law is to the social organism, what the skeleton is to the human body - that which is most hardened and rigid, but without which movement and uprightness would be impossible.  Furthermore, mostly in the long bones, lies an organ surrounded and protected by this hardened (yet living) structure - the marrow.

The marrow produces red blood cells (oxygen carriers), white blood cells (protectors) and platelets (coagulators).  What is the analogous function in the Life of Rights?

The Law consists of three broad realms: court decisions leading to stare decisis (case or common law), actual written laws (legislation) and regulation (rules made by bodies authorized to make rules by legislative authority).  Again we are simplifying, which means we need to be cautious in our conclusions and our reasoning by analogy.

In the Life of Rights, the concepts that a society has concerning what is right for all come to expression.  These concepts are the life blood of that society, and they circulate throughout the body social, creating (in the same way that the blood circulation creates its heart) a social heart - or what we call Media in the broadest sense.   Media are meant to be a kind of commons in the social body, wherein the concepts of what is right for all are actively discussed and elaborated - equalized and mediated, in the same way the rhythmic system equalizes and mediates the nerve-sense pole and the metabolic pole.

[the journalist Amy Goodman (of Democracy Now), speaking on October 16th, 2004, at the Bioneers conference in California said that "media was a long kitchen table, running the whole length of the country, at which we all sit, discussing war and peace and life and death, and that anything less serious was a travesty of the true purpose of media"]

That this organ in the body-social is new, and is not healthy or well developed, should be taken as a given.  Nevertheless this organ - media in its broadest sense - has arisen in between the State (the nerve-sense pole of the Life of Rights - i.e. the death, or consciousness pole) on the one hand and the People (the metabolic or life and will pole) on the other, during the course of Western Civilization. Thus has the Life of Rights become itself internally threefolded.

We should also keep in mind, some remarks of Steiner's in his lectures collected under the title: The Challenge of the Times, that English speaking Peoples are instinctively in the consciousness soul in their Life of Rights.  This means, phenomenologically, that instinctive consciousness soul impulses (mostly moral in nature - i.e. individualized intuitions of the Good) are pouring their forces into the dynamics of the Life of Rights, trying to elevate and make more living, the Law (with its outer hardened structural aspect - the skeleton, as well as its inner organ of concept perception and generation - the marrow).  This gesture out of Civil Society and into the Life of Rights is a movement of resurrection and rebirth within those forces of Death in Western Civilization, which Death forces appear, in part, in the ossification of the Law to the extent that it has now outlived its once valid Roman origins.

As mentioned above, in the last Newsletter, certain matters of intersection between our cultural movement and the Life of Rights were elaborated.  In the light of those concepts also elaborated above about the Law and the Spirit, are there any cautions or inspirations that might be helpful (in a pragmatic sense, this being America)?

Certain concepts can be troubling.  Is it useful, for example, to see PLANS as opponents?  That is how they see themselves, but do we miss something if we only view them as wrong, and against us?

I would suggest that a more accurate assessment of their (PLANS) reality is that as regards the larger social body, they represent the activity analogous to white blood cells.  They are trying to protect society from concepts they find inappropriate and unhealthy.  In fact, in the age of science, we should expect precisely such responses from those parts of the social body which rest, in one way or another, within the dominant paradigm (secular humanism and/or scientific materialism).

At the same time (and I speak here from experience, for I have been on the battlefield of the PLANS Internet discussion group off and on since 1996), there is a zealotry within PLANS that is itself excessive.  Yet, the reality is that there is also something unseemly within Waldorf, and this excess within our own movement has naturally brought out a protective reaction.  Please do not express dismay here, for if we are honest, we are all merely human and excesses in Waldorf are as expectable as is a reaction against.

Since this is of crucial importance, I will briefly elaborate.

We are talking here about concepts.  Concepts are produced by thinking.  If the concepts being expressed in the Waldorf movement are not produced by active thinking, but are rather held religiously (such as beliefs in what Steiner said), then they will be expressed as beliefs, treated as beliefs and rejected as beliefs by the social body (the parents) that receive them, because in the age of science, it is knowledge not beliefs that are of the most import.

To the extent that Waldorf lives as a community of concepts held together by the processes in the soul of belief or faith, then Waldorf (and Anthroposophy itself) are a religion.  Waldorf is even sensitive to this, for there is in the Waldorf movement in America, a recognition of a difference between those who might be described as traditionalists (change nothing the Doctor said), and those who believe that Waldorf must be adapted to the soul circumstances of America.

PLANS teaches us something about ourselves and we will gain greatly from recognizing its lessons.  While we have to speak to the question the amicus curie brief reaches toward (whether Anthroposophy is a religion), we also, at the same time, need to be brutally self honest for our own growth as a movement depends upon this gesture (which is itself the foundation for anyone who seeks spiritual development - the ability to look objectively at one's self).

The reality is that in its ideal form, Anthroposophy is not a religion, at the same time, it is often expressed in individual souls in a quite religious way.  We strive to be Spiritual Scientists, but much that we do revolves around faith in the teachings of Steiner, and not knowledge in the sense of Steiner's epistemological works.  For Steiner, what is truly anthroposophical is knowledge, not faith or belief.

In the case of the activity of PLANS that comes forward in what has been described in the Newsletter as defamation and the like, we find the excesses of PLANS' zealotry in full flower.  The real question has to do with how do we, as a spiritual/cultural free association, choose to deal with what is essentially the name calling of some school-yard bullies.

If we descend into the Law for a response, we may well surrender the higher moral ground that is our true foundation.  For example, there is a certain individual connected to PLANS, who has made a career out of connecting Steiner to National Socialism.  The thing that should be kept in mind is that this view is so excessive, that we really only need to rely on the moral common sense of those exposed to these concepts, and encourage them to investigate and make their own sound judgments.  In short, we trust people to be wise enough to see past this obvious excess.

[For example, the following matters could be pointed out with respect to this individual.  Think of Steiner's entire work as a pie chart.  This individual has taken a very small segment of the pie chart, out of its context within the whole, and reinterpreted its meaning (decided that he can say what Steiner had to mean).  It is as if someone were to look at the face of a very beautiful woman, find a beauty spot, call the beauty spot ugly, and then declare that this self-defined ugliness represents the truth of the whole.  That is the basic nature of the argument connecting Steiner to National Socialism, and all the words and pseudo-scholarship can't change the fundamentally flawed nature of that argument.]

The danger is to too strenuously oppose it.  We really have to stay off the playing field this approach assumes proper, and to carry out our activities on those grounds which we know to be validated.  We have many members who are superbly competent in various fields of endeavor, and all we need do is bring them into the situation, and ask the public, if we were really so far out as is suggested, how do we produce such gifted people?

Finally, as regards the constitutional question, we here encounter two factors of import.  The first is a quite definite distinction between the approach of Central European soul forces to problems within the anthroposophical movement, and the approach of American soul forces.  The second factor is the entrance into anthroposophical work of Ahriman via the ahrimanic double.

With respect to the constitution question, these two factors act in concert.   Central European soul forces tend to work from the ideal, seeking to incarnate into the social order the ideal element as conceived by the thinking.  As a consequence, problems within the anthroposophical movement and society were seen [under the influence of the double, which encourages us to mistake a matter of law (Ahriman's realm) for a matter of spirit (the Father's realm)] as causally manifesting due to a structural defect in the corporate entity which carried the Society - it was not as it had been ideally conceived.

This resulted in the view that if this defect, which did not meet the ideal, were to be corrected, that this would significantly alter the society and movement so that obvious defects in the present would be healed.  This is basically a modern ahrimanic deception.

Now in America, this constitutional issue has not been taken so seriously.  This is because the American soul, in its approach to the social, sees problems to be solved, rather than ideals to be incarnated.  In addition, our relationship to the ahrimanic double is more natural - it is more useful in a sense, belonging to us in a deeper way.

The real point of this discussion is that problems within a spiritual/cultural institution need to be solved by spiritual activity.  The resort to legal reform (fixing the constitution) and courts of law means to operate in the realm of Ahriman - part of which is the presently Romanized Life of Rights - when the real problems are of the soul and spirit (the realm of the Father), not of the earth (the realm of Caesar).

None of the above discussion is meant to suggest that in all cases necessity cannot require that we work within the Life of Rights, but only to suggest that the anthroposophical movement and society will find its best response, not in the realm of the Law, but in the realm of Spirit.

Thus, we let PLANS teach us the lesson such so-called opposition is there to teach us.  We ignore the territory the bully would take us, and trust to the good will and thoughtfulness of those to whom we can really show what and who we are.   And, that we seek not the reformation of the society and movement via recourse to the Law, but through the deepening of our own inner activity.


addendum regards the constitution question - the another side to the story:

It was stated in the Newsletter that the great majority of those present in Dornach voted to support the so-called merger.  For two years leading up to this meeting over Christmas 2003-2004, I was a member of an Internet discussion group on the constitution question, which was quite international in scope and included a number of people that actually attended the meeting.  The story told by those who attended is quite different.

The constitution meeting had been under discussion and in planning for a number of years.  Delays occurred, but finally the issue was to be decided at the Christmas meeting.  The various factions who had been working on this made plans to attend.  Simultaneously with this long planned meeting, it was announced in the Fall that S.O. Prokofieff would give an important series of lectures regarding the Christmas Conference during the same time period.

As a consequence a very large group of people, who had not been following the constitutional question and who were not informed at all on the underlying issues, were in attendance at Dornach to hear Prokofieff speak.  These people were allowed into the constitution question meeting, essentially packing the audience, and allowed to vote although they knew little or nothing about the issues.  Guided by partisans on the existing Vorstand, who stood to lose a great deal if the constitution meeting went against them, a vote was taken essentially overwhelming the decades of work of those who were trying to return the structure of the Society to Rudolf Steiner's original intentions.

This is the so-called democratic majority, and it is no wonder that the group supporting this fallen political process lost in the subsequent court case.


This next was written on the run up to the Ann Arbor Conference of 2005.  It was an effort to render into a more imaginative form, something that needed to be offered to this gathering (it was made available for free), whether people knew they wanted it or not.

The Crack in the Foundation of the Castle of the Dragon

- a story, which wants to be read aloud,
 by joel a. wendt,

social philosopher...and occasional fool -

dramatis personae (more or less in order of appearance): the Dragon (Ahriman); the Dark Angel (Lucifer); the Eaten Ones (the Asuras); the Sacrifice (Christ); the Mother (the Divine Mother); the Fires of Gehenna (Hell, or the Eight Spheres of the Interior of the Earth); the original Peoples (the Hopi and their Prophecy); Land of the Eagle (America); the Sacrifice's Knight (Archangel Michael); the Mother's maiden Daughter (the Divine Sophia); the Priest-King (Rudolf Steiner); the Old Powers (the old religions of the goddess, and their helpers in the Underworld); the Community in the Land of the Eagle (the Anthroposophical Society in America); the Old World (Europe); the Alchemist (Dennis Klocek); the Singer (rumored to be the Raphael-Novalis Being, name withheld for very obvious reasons); the Scholar Seer (Stephen Clarke); the Earnest Seeker (S.O. Prokofieff); and, the foolish Wizard (yours truly).


The World is made out of Love, although it is hard in this Age to experience this truth.  Even so, we must consider that whatever the deeds of the so-called opposing powers, their place in the Whole is part of this living and evolving organism of Love.

The Dragon's Castle took a long time to build.  He meant it to stand forever, a cold and rigid monument to heartlessness, for great was his power, and strong were his allies.   For example, in his long years in the Dragon's service, the Dark Angel had sung many siren songs in the ears of the humans, seducing them with self importance and visions of power.  While behind them both, in a dark inside the dark, the Eaten Ones gnawed at the spirit of the humans, tasting in anticipation the repast they thought to enjoy through out eternity.

It was not visible this Castle, for it inhabited the soul.  It was built of cold ideas, amoral thoughts, and unrestrained desire.   From the soul it leaked into the social-political world, where it took the form of rigid social order and illusory world views - a mystery of evil not comprehended.   But it's nature there in the outer world was merely as a Stage setting as the Bard well understood.  So through the human soul the darkness leaked into the world, giving it form and texture, until there came that Age when this truth must be understood, and responsibility taken.

Even so these three Dark Powers were also frustrated - constrained, for even Greater Powers Lived, Loved and Thought the World.  They too worked mostly through the soul, for the outer World was the womb of the 10th Hierarchy, and became thus the realm of the evolution of human beings.   Of those who constrained the Dark Powers, the Sacrifice was one most powerful, for by giving away instead of keeping, what He created in the soul that could be willed by the human being were powers of love akin to those of His Own.  This meant that neither the Dragon's stone ideas, nor the siren songs of the Dark Angel would always be able to find purchase within the human soul.  All the same, the Eaten Ones were not to be defeated even by the Him, only held in check by a power even greater than the Sacrifice.

While the Sacrifice lived in the Heart of the World, it was the Mother, living in the Root of the World - on the Other Side of the Fires of Gehenna, who was stronger still.  It was She, who had been there from the beginning as Co-Creator with the Father, the True Dark from which the Light Itself was born, and who held back the Eaten Ones, dominated the Dragon and soothed the hot desire of the Dark Angel, although that was the most that She could do.  Eventually, only the human ones would find the means to make permanent the true role of the Eaten Ones, to place the Dragon in its proper place in the Divine Order, and to finally forgive them all, including the Dark Angel.  Think ye not?   What purpose do you see then for the human ones, wherein the real seed of the Father resides in the i-AM - the verb that is Eternal?

Then it came, the Time we now enter - this Age of Purification, at the Dawn of which the Sacrifice had acted for the fifth time, in secret and unknown by the world of the humans.  Oh a few knew, and some had heard, but most did not know, for their minds were possessed by the Dragon's cold dead thoughts and the siren songs of the Dark Angel.   While deep in their souls, the Eaten Ones were also active, in addictions and other dark and unseen places of the human inside, where steadily they gnawed away at the edges of the human spirit - the i-AM.

The Age of Purification, a time foretold by some original Peoples of the Land of the Eagle, had come, and the War on Earth between the Evil and the Good began its final Rites.  A Civilization began to fall, and a New One sought its birth, all Shapes in the Fire of Purification.   At this same time, all through the lands of the Earth, ancient heroes returned and Old Powers sought to awake from their long sleep.  Sides were being chosen, and cold embers once forgotten stirred in the ashes of history, seeking to find in human attention the rekindling of their atavistic light.  Either a time of great dark, or a new age of light, was said to wait on the horizon of Time.

In the Land of the Eagle, there had come to be a certain Community.  Authored by a humble Priest-King during his sojourn in the Old World - himself spiritually the son of the marriage of the Sacrifice's personal Knight, and the Mother's maiden Daughter - this Community had struggled against the Dragon, the Dark Angel and the Eaten Ones - struggled and fallen, wounded on the battlefield of Love.

Somehow, this Community had looked at the outer world for the Dragon's Castle. instead of at the inwardness.  Looking in the wrong place then, they mistook the nature of the task given to them by the Priest-King.  They sought to change outer culture, forgetting that first it was inner culture where the true danger lay.  If the leak of the dark via the soul and onto the Stage was to be contained, this could only happen through the mastery of the soul.

Naturally, the Community's wound was invisible, and mostly was felt as a kind of weariness, a reluctance to face past confusions with the needed brutal self reflection and honesty.  All the same, in the Land of the Eagle and elsewhere, a few of the ancient heroes came to be part of this Community, some in the Centers (even in the Old World Center), with their excess of Gravitas,  and others far out on the surrounding Periphery of Life.  There were many, but here are just five as are necessary for our tale: first, the Alchemist - well known in the Centers in the Land of the Eagle; second, the Singer - a rumor and in hiding, working on the yet unknown and invisible higher unity of Islam and Christianity; third, the Scholar Seer - who sought to rediscover the truths of the Old Powers, especially of the Underworld and the Mother; fourth, the Earnest Seeker - who in the naive vanity of youth, prompted by the Dark Angel's siren song, came to believe that he had arrived at knowledge, but instead only made an even stronger prison inside his own soul; and finally, the foolish Wizard - retired from the practice of his Arcane Arts, a chronically lazy aging soul, mostly interested in telling stories and having conversations.

A gathering of the Community had been called for, and the foolish Wizard, aided by Divine Providence, who had been one of his main teachers over the 33 years of his incarnation, made plans to attend.  Deep were these plans, for the foolish Wizard had accidentally mastered the Priest-King's  philosophies.  [an aside: Wizards are notorious for falling into the truth while wandering around dreaming with their heads in the clouds]  The Alchemist had mastered the Priest-King's evolution of natural science and his (the Priest-King's) reconstruction of esoteric teachings under the names: the Six Exercises and Knowledge of Higher Worlds.  The Scholar Seer, meanwhile, sought to know the Saturn Mysteries of the Land of the Eagle, and had found his way through the Fires of Gehenna and into the Golden Land of the Mother, at the Root of the  World.  Then there is the Earnest Seeker, who became infectiously popular in the Old World Community so strong was his self-belief in his own knowledge and so lightly on the earth his incarnation.  While the Singer, who also lived in the Land of the Eagle, was far deeper than any of these.  It was she who communed directly with the Sacrifice, the Knight, the Mother and many many others, in seclusion and in silence, as was her task.

Each in their own way worked at transforming the Dragon's Castle, seeking to dissolve it within themselves, or in the case of the Earnest Seeker and his natural companions - out in the world.   By this means and out of Love they worked, each just a small part of the whole, hoping to learn something of how to support the rest of the human spirits in the task of learning to make the light inside, so as to be able to seek and find true spiritual freedom.  Even the Earnest Seeker had the best of intentions, which as we know can still lead to tragedy.

The Community, like the Alchemist, had mostly focused on the reconstructed esoteric teachings of the Priest-King, and had not yet found certain aspects of the inner freedom necessary for the coming Trials of the War of Love.  Without this full freedom, as the foolish Wizard well knew, the institutional leaders of the Community could not properly face their own shadow - their personal mini-versions of the Dragon, the Dark Angel, and the Eaten Ones - or truly understand the moral issues at the heart of what the Priest-King had called: the Consciousness Soul and the Mystery of Evil.  Again, valiant were the efforts and intentions, but only something akin to the Path of Cognition, the Path actually walked by the Priest-King, could lead to true inner freedom.

For the Castle was well constructed, the Dragon having had eons to calculated its rigid order.  The Dark Angel knew how to misdirect, and the Eaten Ones, hidden in the depths of the soul, chewed on weakness and frailty out of sight of the human spirit - the verb that Lived.  As long as the i-AM looked mostly outward, instead of inward, the true Castle could not be seen, its guardians confronted, or the Crack in its Foundation discovered and then passed through.

So the meeting was called, and to it would come both the institutional leaders of the the Old World aspect of the Community and those from the Land of the Eagle.   But sadly, in the center of the meeting lived a great confusion.  While rumors of a need for occult and spiritual discrimination blew on the local winds, the Community still floundered in the absence of a true understanding of the Priest-King's philosophies.  The Community sought spiritual freedom, but could not find it in the absence of knowledge of the these realities - what the foolish Wizard called, using the First Thought of the Priest-King: the Path of Cognition.

So the meeting called out to the foolish Wizard in his retreat in the Far West, and thus beckoned  he came.  But what could he do, having worked on the Periphery of Life, and not in the Centers of Gravitas.  There would be many obstacles, not the least of which is that the Community felt that it knew things.  Great was its hubris as a Community of knowledgeable ones, for many had eaten the Priest-King's teachings to the far too often exclusion of their own thinking.

They had taken the dead thoughts of the Priest-King and asleep as to the consequences made them part of the mortar of the Dragon's Castle as it existed in their own souls.  The meeting of the Community was to be about wakefulness, but how could those still asleep to true introspective life, true seeing-within, speak out of experience to truly becoming awake and spiritually free?

Addicted to lectures, both in books and at conferences, the Community did not see how this dependence killed the very thing they sought.  Just here the Eaten Ones manifested in the Community, for wherever human beings refused to stand on their own, and be responsible -creatively responsible for their own thought content, there the Eaten Ones feasted.

Now the Sacrifice had anticipated the coming power of the Eaten Ones, and at the very beginning of His fifth sacrifice He had appeared to a drunk in the Land of the Eagle and taught the 12 Steps, or what the foolish Wizard understood as one of the two modern great powers of Love - the mastery of the soul by the elevation of the spirit.  There in the first steps, with an authentic surrender to a higher power, a door could be opened whereby the Mother could rise, for the needed time, to stand in the human soul and in between the humbled naked human spirit and the Eaten Ones, until the i-AM itself could carry this task.  All that was required was that the natural egotism of the spirit acknowledge that it could not do everything on its own, and that help was needed and could be invited in.

The other great power of Love was the word, in speech and in thought.  In the first great power, surrender was its initial task as was told in the story by John with the description of the Sacrifice's washing the feet.  Thus we begin the work of self mastery, by admitting we need the help of higher powers, especially the Mother.  In the second great power we have the work of giving away - of using the creative power of the word in speech and in thought - as an act of service.  But before we can create, we must understand.  Before we can understand, we must learn to see.  In order to see, we must strive to look.  Where we do not look inside, there hides the Dark Ones.

Looking outward all we see is the mote and never the beam.  Only looking inward, and facing down the own dark, do we begin to see and understand.  As the Priest-King said in Knowledge of Higher Worlds: for every step forward in spiritual development, we must take three steps in moral development.  And, what is the Priest-King's text on moral development?   The Philosophy of Freedom, where is taught: moral imagination, moral intuition and moral technique.

The human spirit dies a little when it succumbs to the siren song of the Dark Angel that says: leave aside self mastery, and be proud to speak and lecture and write and teach when you have yet not achieved that goal for which the Priest-King had set the mark, for only when you are surrounded by worshiping adoration, are you then on the path to divinity (forgetting that the Sacrifice Himself became human on His way to Death, giving away His Divinity).  It is the Dark Angel that tells us to forgo difficult paths, and who helped the Earnest Seeker to believe he can write true books on esotericism at age 26, before even the tasks of life are truly seen and felt, much less engaged and mastered. 

Even so, let us marvel at what might happen were the Earnest Seeker to awake from his inner sleep and take his gifts toward their true potential.  What an example could be given, if the most elevated was to come down among the least and admit confusion.  What a wondrous light would shine, if the leading lecturer and writer, the one so full of words they pour out in gushing streams, were to enter the silence, and just be.  Why?  Because the Earnest Seeker is also an ancient hero, whose task so far has been to be the Archetype of the first ones to seek to understand the teachings of the Priest-King.  Such work could only be carried so far in the beginning - we are yet to arrive at the goals which we are meant ultimately to reach.  Before that time, much confusion will be the norm, and like many of his companions in the Community, the Earnest Seeker was not yet fully free.

For not only does the human spirit inflate itself in answer to the siren song of the Dark Angel, but it also imprisons itself, when it repeats from memory the thoughts of others, rather than author its own.  Here the Dragon lurks, for he loves the dead thoughts of memory, and makes his Castle of such stones.  When members of the Community worship such dead thoughts, they add the room of their soul to the Dragon's Castle.

So stung by the three evil powers, the Community lies wounded on the battlefield, and, sadly but truly, neither the Alchemist or the Singer, the Scholar Seer or the Earnest Seeker, or even the foolish Wizard, with his power to let loose the light of the word against this enclosing dark, can help the Community.  Only the Community can heal itself.

This leads, in our tale, to three questions.  One is why should the Community undertake such an arduous task?  The second is how does the Community do this?  And the third is what is the use of an aging, cranky and foolish Wizard in such dire times?

No one but each individual can answer the first question in its personal sense.  The Path of Cognition (the Priest-King's philosophies) show how to place before any action a freely chosen moral ideal or reason.   This process of choosing an ideal reason to act (outwardly or inwardly), brings ultimately in its train a number of consequences, not the least of which is true heart thinking.  Exercising this power then, the human spirit stands in the World on a self chosen moral reason for its actions, thus standing on the firmest ground possible, for by this act it anchors itself in the Good - that is in the Eternal.

Now the Community is a collection of individuals, who among other shared characteristics, have become the Steward of some (only some) of the New Revelations of the Sacrifice.  These Revelations belong to the World, not to the Community, and when personalities in the Community, base their individual actions on the Good, then in their Community actions - especially those rooted in what the Priest-King called the Reverse Cultus - knowledge of how to appropriately bring to the World these New Revelations will be called forth.

As long as the Community is ruled from above by its addiction to lectures and institutional leaders, this task cannot be done, for this tired social process lacks the living Wisdom that can only appear in the Community when it meets in circle-wise conversation, and is led from the social commons, and not by a hierarchy of mostly un-free sleepers and confused knowers.

In understanding this we are led from the question of why to the question of how.  Why is known and created by an individual moral intuition of the Good, and how is known by a community intuition of the True as is only discoverable by the whole during circle-wise conversation.

Now, as to the meaning of the foolish Wizard.  Well, he has walked the Path of Cognition - the Path to Inner or Spiritual Freedom - and wrestled with his own mini versions of the Eaten Ones, befriended his version of the Dark Angel, and punched the lights out of his version of the Dragon. So he knows a little bit about how we win spiritual freedom, especially the part about how to find the best questions.  You see, that is the real secret of Wizardry - not how or what to know, but how and what to ask (ask and you will be answered, seek and you will find, and knock and it shall be opened unto you).

So armed with this understanding, the Wizard came to the meeting of the Community, to share in the trials and joys of those others who came, although he could not, for reasons of being interested more in spiritual freedom, attend lectures, or give them, with a good heart.  Oh, he would go, and if asked he would give, but not with a good heart.   For he saw the truth of the New Mysteries and the need for circle-wise conversation in the Land of the Eagle.  The First Nations had lived that way, as had the circle of friends which history calls the Transcendentalists.

Here then is the Crack in the Foundation of the Dragon's Castle, where the human i-AM goes inward and seeks spiritual freedom, out of which the two main acts of Love appropriate for this Age can come: learning to master the soul through the elevation of the spirit; and, discovering the power of the creative word both inwardly in the soul and outwardly in speech and conversation.

So with sadness he would go to lectures, and with sadness he would give lectures, if asked or when he otherwise saw great need.  But his heart would be elsewhere, wanting to listen to all the voices.  You see, he remembered.  He remembered when the Sacrifice had walked the Earth, and how in that Circle each one in his or her turn would speak with the Voice of Goodness and Truth.  No single one could capture the Eternal, no single one be its author, not even the Priest-King.  Only from the Whole, from the commons of the Community, could the Eternal Truly Speak.

the end of the beginning of the story


This next essay is the one of my various considerations attempting to illuminate with cogent honesty certain aspects of the shadow side of our work, and to share that study through publication.  Yet, even my offering it to the News for Members evoked more shadow elements, as the introductory story below will reveal.

Valentin Tomberg has been frequently, and wrongly, attacked by many in the Anthroposophical Movement. The essay below was submitted in 2005 to the News for Members in an effort to make a counter-pole to the latest attack by Stephen Usher there, referring to Prokofieff's newest book also attacking Tomberg.  Not only was I not told my contribution would be published, but Stephen Usher, whose work I had critically commented on, was allowed to write an immediate rebuttal (published at the same time as my piece, and immediately spatially thereafter), about which I was also not told.  It is important to understand the power exercised here by the editor Douglas Miller.  Not only does he not publish my research submissions (The Meaning...etc; American Culture...etc; and so forth), but he is here able to publish what he chooses and to then follow up that with Usher's response to which I may make no public rebuttal. As you read deeper into these Critical essays, you will find how much the truth hurts and how much fear is allowed to drive the institutional leadership so as to be able to marginalize those who speak these quite dangerous truths.  This approach to Anthroposophy is not grounded in either freedom or Spiritual Science itself, but represents an incursion into the Anthroposophical Society of the most petty kinds of behaviors typical of academic infighting, all of which reveals how deeply the Michaelic Cosmic Intelligence living in the content of Spiritual Science has been captured by an excess of intellectuality.

As has frequently been the case in this book, I have rewritten some of the text below, such that it will be a bit different from what was originally published in the letters section of the News for Members

Wendt on Usher on Prokofieff on Tomberg on Steiner

As Stephen Usher's recent piece on Prokofieff and Tomberg has some problems, I feel compelled to offer some alternative thoughts.

First, so that there will be clarity as to my own general views, let me state that I am a reader of Tomberg, and could be described as one of those "who spreads his ideas about Anthroposophy in branch and group meetings".  However, the emphasis needs to be on "could be described", because I think Usher's characterizations of Tomberg readers is more political and polemical than something that provides real insight.  The article Usher has written clearly makes references to the most immoderate of those who speak on these problems and refer to Tomberg, but not to the more thoughtful.

To thinking contemplation the problem of Steiner and Tomberg takes on certain unusual characteristics.  An introspective study of mind reveals that we have a natural tendency to form distinctions and make comparisons, for example: this car is good, that one is bad; this spiritual way is atavistic, that one is more pure.  Most of those who try to think about Steiner and Tomberg make the error of comparing what are basically apples and oranges.

Not only will comparative thinking (as against thinking contemplation) fail to grasp the underlying spiritual realities, but it will reduce what is a highly complex problem to superficial irrelevancies.  We only really get at the root of the situation when we meditate on the question of what Christ might have hoped could be achieved by these personalities for the benefit of humanity.  Meditative contemplation on this question reveals that humanity is divided into quite disparate groups, each with unique spiritual needs, such that in the time of the Ethereal Return of the Christ, more than one renewed spiritual teaching needs to be offered.

In one of the beginning essays of this book, concerning The Future of Anthroposophy in the 21st Century, I spoke of the need for Esoteric Christianity to reach out toward Exoteric Christianity, a need I do not believe any anthroposophist can deny.  At the same time, many in the Society and Movement routinely find wanting the gesture of Tomberg to seek to bring alive a rebirth of initiation science (Christian Hermeticism) among the religious of the Catholic Church through his book Meditations on the Tarot: a Journey into Christian Hermeticism, and among the laity of the Church through his book Covenant of the Heart.

Now those with a more logical orientation on life, and well educated in our universities and colleges - these could best be reached by Steiner's form of the renewal of the Mysteries in the form of Anthroposophy.  These tend to be aspects of the Michael and Aristotelian Stream.  But those, who are less intellectually oriented, but who are rooted in their spiritual life in a more devotional way, these could best be reached by Tomberg's version of a renewal of the Mysteries in the form of Christian Hermeticism.  Here is something more of the Sophianic and Platonist Stream. [The Christian Community is a third way, but still retains what one hopes is only a temporary  relationship with the Third Cultural Epoch (reliance on a priesthood) which reliance is not fully appropriate for the Fifth Cultural Epoch (we become our own priests).]

We need to understand that these are not hard and fast rules, as if humanity could be neatly divided in these ways.  The Streams really reflect communities of spiritual beings.  We, as individuals, work with these streams communities), sometimes more than one such stream at the same time.  So we have Michael streams and Sophianic streams and Christic (discipleship) streams and Kings streams and Shepherd streams and Aristotelian streams and Platonist streams.  We speak of this influence of communities of spiritual beings as Streams because they endure over more than a single human lifetime, and many different human beings find spiritual nourishment in co-creative service to these spiritual communities.

It was hoped by Rudolf Steiner that the Anthroposophical Society could be a place where these various Streams could meet.  Alas, this is not proved true.  The deeper truth is that it is not what we wish or believe that is important, but what Christ's Love seeks to be realized, and which incarnate personalities will freely devote themselves to that activity.

Prokofieff's original book on Tomberg suffered a number of problems itself, for while it was decent scholarship, it really lacked an ability to approach the problem from out of an experience of the Consciousness Soul.  Prokofieff's The Case of Valentin Tomberg is a book written out of the Intellectual Soul, as can be perceived by its reliance on argument and on a mass of footnotes and citations.   Someone working out of the Consciousness Soul would have foremost in mind the reader's need for spiritual freedom, so that only carefully wrought pictures and verifiable facts are presented, such that the reader is left free to make all the crucial conclusions and judgments for themselves.

Now to turn to the second Prokofieff book and Usher's use of it.

First, it is my understanding that the letter, published now in the News for Members and in Prokofieff's second Tomberg book, was never actually sent to its purported recipient or published by its author.  As a consequence we really don't know whether Tomberg wanted to stand behind it, or whether it was something he wrote out of a certain mood, and then withheld because he decided that it lacked something.  We should also keep in mind that Tomberg confesses in the letter to be 70 years old, disinterested in meeting with the person he is responding to, and has recently undergone a "major operation from which he has barely recovered".

Prokofieff tries to intellectually overcome these defects (when simple charity and empathy might require acknowledging as important aspects in the "mood" of the letter), by asserting that the same "argument" that appears in the letter also appears in the writings in two Jesuit publications, which then is alleged to mean that the source of inspiration is identical.  Now this identity of inspiration is not asserted as something Prokofieff knows directly by spiritual perception, but is really only offered as his saving theory, since he (Prokofieff) is the one who has now seen fit to publish this letter (a confusion now widened by Usher and the News for Members).

Like the resolute intellectual anthroposophical scholar that Prokofieff is, the whole thing with Tomberg seems more like a kind of exercise in pseudo-academic warfare, and as such hardly helps anyone achieve understanding, or knowledge.  Mostly we are invited by both Prokofieff and Usher to take sides.  Further, if we actually read with an open mind the letter itself, which is quite illuminating on many levels, we might well come to the conclusion that what is being argued about by Prokofieff and Usher is not something that Tomberg actually wrote.  (It is entirely possible, and we will get to this later, that while Tomberg is wrong, neither Prokofieff or Usher actually know why he is wrong)

The meaning that is used by Prokofieff and Usher is something abstracted it out of its context, which context is not only the letter, but the whole of Tomberg's later non-anthroposophical works as published in Covenant of the Heart and Meditations on the Tarot.  Tomberg's very language that he uses in the letter is rooted in these later writings, and to be honest about what the author is trying to express in the letter, we would have to understand these meaning conventions that Tomberg has carefully established elsewhere.

Usher urges us to be logical, for example, but his writing itself is full of polemics and some serious lapses in logic. Lets just consider this language which Usher uses: "...Tomberg is hardly the first person to find his way to anthroposophy in his youth only to lose the thread in his old age and become a disgruntled opponent of anthroposophy"; or "...Tomberg has an army of followers".  These are not facts, but fanciful exaggerations apparently meant to create a picture using clearly anti-Tomberg dramatic (polemical) formulations.

As Margaret Runyon writes in a letter published in the same newsletter, concerning Usher's last article: "It is the fundamental negativity of Stephen's approach that impels me to respond."

Usher clearly cannot of his own experience assert that anthroposophical Spiritual Science is scientific, the matter which seems at issue, and basically makes a bootstrap argument the essence of which is that since Steiner says his work is scientific, it must be scientific (which is to rely on authority, something Steiner again and again urged us not to do).

Now personally, as much as I might admire Tomberg's contributions to those whose need is for their renewal of the truths of initiation and gnosis to take the form of something akin to their devotional life (the main significance of Meditations on the Tarot), I would actually suggest that the abstracted argument aspect of his unsent and unpublished letter that suggests Spiritual Science is unscientific is in error.  But it is clear that neither Usher or Prokofieff actually has enough experience of why Spiritual Science is scientific, to make the case that in this instance, this recently ill older man made an error of thought.  Since neither Usher or Prokofieff has any love or empathy for their subject (Tomberg), they can't find their way to the essence - love being the necessary moral motive which enables true heart thinking to penetrate to the truth.

Having gone this far, and since the subject has come up, let me try to shed some light on the problem of the scientific basis of anthroposophical Spiritual Science.

Science is rooted in a certain moral Ideal, appropriate to the Age of the Consciousness Soul - namely that whatever is asserted to be true, must be followed up with a discussion of the actual method used and by which another may themselves find the same truth.  From this Ideal comes the scientific method, which we should take in its present formulation to be only the first iteration of what science is ultimately capable of becoming.

Science also rests on a two very secure foundations, namely the Queen of the Sciences - Mathematics; and less obviously so, the King of the Sciences - Philosophy.  These two sciences are crucial to everything else which science seeks to accomplish.

Steiner led us through this confused (by materialism) tangle of affairs in two ways.  With regard to Mathematics he pointed out to us projective or synthetic geometry as the next evolutionary step in the Queen of the Sciences.  With regard to philosophy, he gave us the works on objective philosophical introspection, whose practical exploration has fallen by the wayside within the Anthroposophical Society.  In those early writings, he overcomes the dualism on which 19th Century materialism rested, with a profound monism, in which thought and experience are discovered to be united.

I purposely use the term "discovered", because the monism that is established in A Theory of  Knowledge Implicit in Goethe's World Conception and in The Philosophy of Freedom is something we do not know through argument (which is where Usher and Prokofieff reveal their weakness), but directly and only through experience.

It is really here where Tomberg floundered, and many anthroposophists also flounder today.  The tricky part has to do with Steiner's having found out that so few could follow his personal path, the Path of Cognition, that was laid out in the early philosophical observations of the nature of thinking.  This discovery on Steiner's part led him to publishing Knowledge of Higher Worlds, and if one wants to get into the essential matter here, a reading of Florin Lowndes' Enlivening the Chakra of the Heart is called for.  In this latter text will be found, in the last chapters, a careful explication of the problem of the two paths in Anthroposophy.

Tomberg followed the path of Knowledge of Higher Worlds, such that his initiation was through the sense world, and not, as is done via The Philosophy of Freedom, directly through the spiritual world by confronting the question of freedom out the potentials of moral imagination.  Something happens to thinking on the path of The Philosophy of Freedom, that cannot happen through Knowledge of Higher Worlds - a kind of more fully conscious and exact free moral strength arises that is qualitatively different.

Absent the acquisition of this quality, thinking remains somewhat immobilized with respect to certain moral aspects of spiritual experience.  In this sense then Usher's instinct is right, in that Tomberg couldn't do what Steiner had done, so he couldn't recognize that Steiner actually could do it.  The problem is that Usher really doesn't know why Tomberg failed in understanding this, the why being something essential for Usher to be able to behold* with his own thinking, in order to understand the essential nature of the problem in the first place.

*[Thanks to a conversation with Clifford Monks, I am going to try to use the word behold more often, in instances where I had previously used the word perceive.]

Once thinking comes to  terms with its real apprehension of the natural unity of thought and experience (monism), then we see how it is that Steiner's spiritual experiences can become scientific.   Tomberg is right that mystical union in the form of "inner certainty" is generally its own and only verification; but, in not quite appreciating monism, Tomberg can't recognize how true thinking, which has become spiritual beholding, can result in a conceptual content that is scientifically reproducible.

It is this conceptual content that we encounter in most of the books and lectures that Steiner produced.  However, without being grounded in objective philosophical introspection, we don't personally know how Steiner produced this material.  And, since the moral Ideal of science is rooted in being able to tell the next person how you got your knowledge so that they can reproduce it, what makes anthroposophical Spiritual Science scientific is dependent upon the one following after being able to reproduce that how.

Many people, including Tomberg, have deep clairvoyant experiences.  The problem arises when the thinking faculty has not been as rigorously trained as is possible via Steiner's objective philosophical introspection.  It is this exact and precise thinking that is able to work over the sublime and delicate nature of spiritual experiences and render them into the content that becomes what we call Spiritual Science.

Knowledge of Higher Worlds doesn't provide this particular how that Steiner himself utilized, although it can and does lead to higher knowledge (something that I believe Tomberg correctly finds not quite scientific).  Anthroposophy is really this Path of Cognition, while anthroposophical Spiritual Science is the conceptual content produced by someone traveling this Path.  Please note the usage Steiner often made in this context, where he modified the terms Spiritual Science, by the adjective anthroposophical.  It is the cognitive activity (again Emerson's active soul) that makes all the difference.

Knowledge of Higher Worlds doesn't quite make it, which Steiner himself suggested near the end of the 5th Chapter of Occult Science: an outline in the following way:

"The path that leads to sense-free thinking by way of the communications of spiritual science is thoroughly reliable and sure. [Knowledge of Higher Worlds]  There is however another that is even more sure, and above all more exact; at the same time, it is for many people more difficult.  The path in question is set forth in my books The Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe's World-Conception and The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity.  These books tell what man's thinking can achieve when directed not to impressions that come from the outer world of the physical sense but solely upon itself."

The key words are: "above all more exact".  It is the quality of exactness, especially as regards the essential nature of the moral dimensions of spiritual experience, that makes anthroposophical Spiritual Science scientific.  Thinking, in acquiring this quality, takes hold of spiritual experience in a way Tomberg (and most anthroposophists) can't even imagine.  If we not only master the objective philosophical introspective activity, but also take up projective geometry, then the thinking is not only well grounded in the moral problem, but also becomes capable of working in a participatory way with mobile living pictures (Imaginations) in an equally exact fashion.

I recognize that this is a very subtle distinction, but it is one that is essential to the future of our work as anthroposophists, which is why I felt compelled to bring it forward as part of my response to Usher's article.  By the way, just so we are clear here, if Usher and Prokofieff want to criticize Tomberg, then by that same standard, their own work must be open to critical examination.


The following letter was released shortly after Easter 2005, and sent by e-mail to as many anthroposophists, in America and elsewhere, as will receive it and hopefully forward it.  This letter was intended to support an understanding that in the future the wise expression of Anthroposophy needs to come from the periphery, not the center; and, that Fifth (Consciousness Soul) Epoch social forms are meant to work from the bottom up, not the top down (hierarchical social forms are Third Epoch and no longer valid).

An Open Letter to the Anthroposophical Society,

in America, as well as world-wide

In August of 2005, from the 11th to the 14th, a meeting will take place in Ann Arbor, Michigan that holds out much hope, for not only the future of Anthroposophy, but for whether or not Spiritual Science will be able to contribute its particular gifts to the urgent dialogs now faced by all of humanity. [See addendum, note 21, for commentary on the planned content for this meeting.]

The situation is grave.  Anyone awake to modern political and social realities understands this.  What is less understood is how it is that Spiritual Science can meet this crisis out of the yet slumbering forces of spirit residing in human nature.  What is to be our contribution, as a part of the whole, in helping draw forth these slumbering forces of spirit?

During the 20th Century the forces of opposition were in the main successful.  They caused the early death of Rudolf Steiner, and by this means kept the social center of the much needed new planetary culture from its birth.  Central Europe was pushed toward the dark, not toward the light.  (1)

Even the Anthroposophical Society was not immune to the work of the opposing forces, and remains lamed, and undeveloped, from its true spiritual potential.  Yeats was right: "...the center cannot hold..." and even the Vorstand in Dornach is not what it needs to be.  (2)  When Rudolf Steiner died, the Vorstand, as an esoteric Center, fell from Grace.  Nothing since has changed that, and today this fallen social organ is possessed by the opposing powers. (2a)

Some will of course doubt the above statements.  The problem for many is not unlike that failure which allowed a very dangerous political impulse possession of the American Presidency.  People live in denial of the truth, and would rather cling to their beliefs than make the needed effort of will-in-thinking to face reality.

[Since this letter first was released, there has been some comment.  Some felt I was being overly harsh and negative, and the best critique suggested that I fill in some of the background detail regarding this statement: "and today this fallen social organ is possessed by the opposing powers."  At first I balked, because I felt such a digression would have to be too elaborate and confuse the main theme, but upon reconsideration, I will do as asked, and hope the reader will forgive me from making an already long letter, much longer.

In order to understand:  "and today this fallen social organ is possessed by the opposing powers" it is necessary to elaborate on the Mystery of Evil in both its macro and micro aspects.  This is a theme Steiner wove very carefully and to which others have added, while at the same time its main nuances are not spoken of within the Society with the care and experience this Mystery deserves.  I have given a full rendering of the social meaning of this Mystery in my book the Way of the Fool, whose url can be found at note 12 in the footnotes.

Most people familiar with Steiner will also be familiar with his many sided examination of the three dark powers: the fallen Seraphim Lucifer, the dark near-God Ahriman, and the yet mysterious Asuras.  This is macro evil, but macro evil cannot be understood without first  appreciating even more the nuances of micro evil, or what I call in my book: the double-complex.  Christ introduces us to this problem in the Sermon on the Mount when He teaches concerning the mote and the beam.

Before we can understand the mote - the evil in the other, or outside us - we must first understand the beam, the evil within the own soul.  In modern spiritual practice, this problem comes before us in the double-complex.  I say "complex" because in reality there are three aspects to the double: a luciferic aspect, an ahrimanic aspect, and a human aspect (which human aspect is found in the failures that lead to the opening needed by the Asuras).  The personal introspective study of this inner trinity of evil is where we must go if we wish to really begin to understand the role of evil in the world.  We forgo judging others (the mote) and instead concentrate on seeing how we ourselves introduce evil into the world (the beam).

Now someone might think, why didn't Steiner say what Wendt here is saying, and all I can reply is that people were not then ready.  But a full Century has passed and we enter upon a new one, which then calls for its own spiritual orientation.  For Americans especially, whose double is a far stronger aspect of their soul life than it is for Europeans, in accord with our role in the overcoming of materialism, appreciating this problem is essential.  For hints and a few details, the reader should refer to Steiner's two lectures published under the title: Geographic Medicine.

Also to be read for a deeper appreciation of the double-complex are Tomberg's anthroposophical Inner Development, and his Letter XV The Devil in the book Meditations on the Tarot: a journey into Christian Hermeticism.

To frame the question better, picture the plant, poised as it is between the Sun and the Earth - between the life or suctional forces of periphery and the concentrating materializing forces of the center.  Here manifest clearly forces from outside the plant that work upon it.   Yet, the human being is not a plant, such that for us even macro evil does not work upon us from the outside in the way anthroposophists tend to speak (except as either karma or a goad to moral action as that appears in the biography), but instead evil manifests from the inside, through and out of the own soul.  The entrance into human affairs of Lucifer, Ahriman and the Asuras comes from inside us, and from there enters our shared social and political existence.  We are the door through which macro evil influences civilization, which is also why we are the potential source out of which macro evil will be tamed.

So Christ says: "Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye."

This is why we frequently understand, socially and politically, that the individual is their own worst enemy and that most institutions succumb to decay from within.

With these thoughts in mind, let us consider the Vorstand and the meaning of my statement:  "and today this fallen social organ is possessed by the opposing powers."

Below you will find elaborated how it is that decadent third epoch hierarchical social forms are overseen by individual ahrimanic egregores - a demonic-like psychic parasite, which is a small copy of what Steiner called in the Challenge of the Times: the Spirit of Rome.   These are everywhere today whenever an institutional social form displays a lack of ability to respond to the social below, the place where the Consciousness Soul is most active.

For example, the United States has an ahrimanic egregore, as does the Catholic Church and many aspects of Islam.  These arise because individual human beings fail to think in a living way, and by the rigidity of their thought activity begin to worship something fantastic (Lucifer in the service of Ahriman), such that a false psychic Idol is created that becomes the object of veneration, and more and more absorbs the devotional life forces of those worshipers.

Out of this process comes fundamentalism, which is a dogmatic belief in an illusion, without the Grace of Living Faith.  No modern hierarchical institution is free of these spiritual dynamics, not even the Anthroposophical Society or the School of Spiritual Science.  For us, it is an Idol of Rudolf Steiner that is worshiped, along side a false and illusory view of what Anthroposophy really is, as a higher being, or as an aspect of the own soul life.  The result of this errant psychic activity is the creation of an ahrimanic egregore, which resides in what is sometimes called the Realm of the False Holy Spirit, a nearby region of the spiritual world where we wander, when in any act of morally undisciplined thinking we semi-consciously cross the Threshold without the right preparation.

Specters are everywhere, and we should expect them, instead of pretending they do not exist.

If the Consciousness Soul was active above - within the decaying third epoch hierarchical social form, either in full or semi-consciousness, this institutional hierarchy would be in the process of dissolving itself in favor of the social below, for its leaders would understand that in the cultural  present individual spiritual freedom is the most essential development, and all social forms need to "wash the feet" of the least within its structures.  Top down social form is antithetical to the spiritual freedom of the individual.  By the way, this isn't about being nice.  Most of the leadership of the Society and Movement are nice people.  The questions are: what do they actually know, and how do they act on the basis of those truths.

Such a dissolving process of social form can take many paths, but at the least any truly awake social form would find itself moving more and more away from top-down structures, knowing through direct personal experience that spirits of inspiration are seeking to enter from the Consciousness Soul below.

So our first clues as to the absence of an awake Consciousness Soul understanding in the Vorstand are: 1) in its continued perpetuation of itself as an imagined viable social organ (which is really only justified as tradition - we did it before, no reason to think it anew); and, 2) from the lack of a clear teaching of either the double-complex or the Consciousness Soul.  If the Vorstand was properly developed inwardly, it would display a primary interest in these three: spiritual (inner) freedom (the result of objective philosophical introspection) , individual knowledge of the Good and the True via the Consciousness Soul, and the struggle with the double - which three are essentially that elementary trinity of the Good appropriate to the times so that now each I-AM can begin to manifest its personal creative forces in order to stand in balancing opposition to the inner trinity of evil (itself the vehicle by which macro evil reaches the outer social political world).

The endless teaching of Steiner-thought, without any real original contribution is the greatest phenomena revealing the spiritual emptiness in the institutional hierarchy above.

Decadent hierarchical social forms tend toward a socially induced unity of thought and other soul activity (e.g. let's all read the Soul Calender before we start our group, without seeking first to know the individual impulses present).  We have too much of leaders and followers, and thus make no fertile social ground for the individual creative impulses to manifest (Emerson's active soul).

Absence this development, the Vorstand is incapacitated, and lamed - that is, unable to hold back the movement of evil from out of their own double-complex and into their activities.  Instead, the Vorstand and the School are mainly places where a theology (no spiritual freedom) of Steiner-thought is taught, and with the penetration of this circle by a particular personality - someone who acts as if he possesses the highest teaching abilities, and who simultaneously demonstrates he knows nothing through experience of the Consciousness Soul, the Mystery of Evil in its macro and micro aspects, or spiritual freedom, as can be seen in what he wills (see again note 2 and 2a).

Now some will find this disquieting, and I can't blame them, for we are all human beings and all serve as an entrance through which evil can manifest to the extent we inwardly sleep.  Further, it will be obvious to those who think about it, that the fall from Grace of the Vorstand was entirely predictable (or as Steiner indicated: "karma will hold sway").  All the same, nothing is being said here but this - that in a spiritual sense, as regards the Vorstand and its most popular member: the emperor has no clothes.

Again, nice people inhabit our institutional hierarchical social forms.  They are often pleasant and intelligent.  Certainly well meaning.  But the question is what do they know?  What they believe, hope, wish or dream is of little moment against the true challenges of the times.]


It might seem to some that the healing of such tragic circumstances is beyond human will.  This is not so.  There is a single gesture, if carried out, which can begin much that will serve our Movement and the whole of Earth evolution.  The opposing powers cannot subvert us if we shine the light of truth on them, which light then puts them in their proper place in the balance.

What must* occur is that the American Spirit (3) begins to be make its presence known at the meeting in Ann Arbor.  To those remaining living forces still flowing out from the Center, and still inspired by the ideals laid in so many hearts with the Foundation Stone Meditation, another quality, this out of the true West, needs to manifest its yet hidden nature.  In this way we begin that work of joining together the threefold nature of humanity, of East, Center and West, which our Teacher so long ago advised needed to be brought about.  The America Spirit (in part the spirit of egalitarian brother and sisterhood) must begin to manifest itself at the meeting in Ann Arbor, which at least some of the Vorstand (at this point) plans to attend.

[*Throughout this text the word "must" is used in a causal sense.  It in no way means to limit someones freedom, but rather points out that if event B is to happen, it "must" be preceded by action A.  The reader will themselves have to "think" the causal relationships, but for purposes of an example, the above "must" means that for a healing to occur, a certain action needs to be taken.]

How to do this is very simple, and is quite consistent with the nature of the time, the spiritual differences between Center and West (4) , and as well is firmly rooted in the Age of the Consciousness Soul.

The act itself is very straight forward.  Instead of the usual social form to the meeting in Ann Arbor, wherein leading personalities (of the Vorstand and the various Councils in America) would lecture and seek to guide, we must have a totally different form.  The lecture social form is sun - moon, wherein the thinking of a so-called leading personality shines its light out into the reflecting consciousness of the listening audience.   Instead, we need to have a sun - sun form, a circle conversation, in which no speaker is assumed or seen to be more highly developed or more knowledgeable.


Simply by changing how we meet, we change the whole dynamic, in that then from the world of inspiration, a whole other quality is now able to enter in.  We sacrifice our past dependence on certain individual intuitions, for that which can only arise from the whole, out of a group process - one which Steiner himself spoke to us of in his lectures on Awakening to Community, and called: the Reverse Cultus.

The meeting in Ann Arbor must be an awake activity fully rooted in the New Mysteries. (5)

Americans must come to this meeting prepared to speak to each other, and to be listened to by those who have by their own karma come to be placed in leading positions.  The leaders must listen, and those below must speak.  The leaders must say nothing - even if asked questions (6), and there will even be those others (myself included), who wisely understand that they will themselves best contribute by silence and attention.  The inspiration from above must be allowed to find its connection with the most ordinary heart felt thinking of the members and friends who have come to the gathering to discover the mystery potential of their own I, when it is allowed to blossom in a social environment no longer dominated by the thoughts of the imagined leading personalities.

[This letter was read by some before being sent.  Of all the questions asked, that which was the most significant concerned the idea of the freedom of those who came to the Conference to listen to the Vorstand and/or other leading personalities speak.  Did they not have a right to come and hear leading personalities and their contributions?  This observation really begs the question being raised here.  The real question is not about freedom, but about whether such a so-called free act supports the New Mysteries or not.   People are free to do whatever they want.  The problem has been that the Society roots itself in Third Epoch hierarchical social forms, which are no longer appropriate for modern humanity.  For anthroposophists to gather in situations where the dominant social form was listening to presumed higher authorities speak, is to live a decadent and atavistic spiritual life.  We must do the work out of ourselves.  Without that effort (Emerson's active soul), we remain the creatures of spiritual inspiration sent from retarded hierarchies.  For details see below.]

We all must trust that by such means (circle wise social interaction), that which we all need to hear will manifest Itself.

For those who may not understand how the above need is rooted in the teachings of Spiritual Science, I will write the following additional material.  For those to whom the above is obvious, the following will be a mere curiosity.

We now live in the Age of the Consciousness Soul, what Steiner called the Fifth post-Atlantean epoch.  This Fifth epoch is the involution (inside out opposite) of the Third post-Atlantean epoch.  The Third epoch's characteristic social form was hierarchical - the Mysteries proceeded out of mystery centers, via the priest-initiate's teachings.  The Fifth epoch's characteristic social form is to be circle-wise, and means that the mysteries must come from the social below upward (or out of the horizontal as against the vertical), - out of the cooperative activity of individual ego's, as they learn themselves to manifest the Consciousness Soul.

This is why some are correct in seeing Steiner as the last great initiate.  Only Christ now is the initiator of those who travel the path of the Consciousness Soul into the future, and the tendency in the Society toward having leading personalities as teachers (the Vorstand and Council members who love to lecture) is a dead and useless remnant of Third epoch social forms.

Keep in mind that Conferences, and Branch and Group meetings are social forms, wherein the point is to meet the I of those gathered.  When the dominate social activity is the listening to lectures, followed by asking the lecturer questions, then the World of Ideas drawn toward the social form is only able to manifest qualities of the Intellectual Soul.  This was true when Steiner lectured, but something he had to accept and work with, since the Consciousness Soul had yet to manifest in any active way.

We only have this dead hierarchical form today because, like all other present-day hierarchical social forms, an unrecognized ahrimanic egregore (7) sits astride our Society.  These egregores are the seed-children of the Spirit of Rome, with its hierarchical social order and legalistic rules.  (8)  They are everywhere today, and the emerging Consciousness Soul is likewise everywhere confronted by this opposition to the individual i-AM's initial expression of the Christ Impulse, whose first forms of manifestation are to be found in the uniting of the soul with the eternal - with the good and the true. (9)

The meeting in Ann  Arbor then is a battle ground between the Consciousness Soul and the ahrimanic egregores inhibiting the ability of the Society to manifest the New Mysteries for the benefit of all humanity. (10)

This healing will not happen however, unless American personalities begin now to insist to the Vorstand, and the Councils in America, that this sun - sun circle-wise social form be the structure of the coming Ann Arbor meeting.  This only happens if the Consciousness Soul recognizes the moral question being expressed by this situation, and chooses to respond to it, out of the own I.  A demand must arise from below upward, which seeks to realize the true spiritual freedom in any social form that is necessary for the appearance of the New Mysteries.

This healing gesture from below will draw downward from luciferic heights, that excessively Euro-centric aspect of the Society which presently is ungrounded in America, and finally seat it firmly on the Earth.  It is only out of a firmly seated Consciousness Soul activity, that the naturally Earth grounded America Spirit will be able to enter into the Society, and add its distinctive egalitarian voice to the whole Earth Michael Community.

The American Spirit is an I centered Consciousness Soul response to world conditions.  It is not just confined to the geographic America (11), but nonetheless needs to assert itself in Ann Arbor, through the heart felt longings of ordinary American anthroposophists.  No one must be an initiate or an adept to share into the circle-wise conversation their yearning questions and deep soul needs.  Yet, it is precisely such questions that will draw to our conscious efforts to bring alive the New Mysteries, via the Reverse Cultus, those Spirits of inspiration that desire to share in our communion - our shared Eucharist of Spirit.

Much fresh insight, that has wanted to appear to us, has been excluded precisely because we fell into the illusion that the New Mysteries were dependent upon a hierarchy of initiates, who were to sit above and teach all those below.  That is a very old and now decadent Way, and it must be set aside if Rudolf Steiner's legacy is to enter fully in service to the needs of humanity at the Dawn of the Third Millennium.  In point of fact, it would be a very great gift were the Vorstand  and Council members to choose to fully stand behind this gesture, pledging their own sacrifice and restraint in order that this long awaited meeting between the Consciousness Soul and the Spirits of inspiration could manifest.

In this way, what was a centric Rite in the Christmas Conference will now find out how to re-appear everywhere on the periphery; and, new content directly related to the deep questions facing all of humanity, will now began to come forth.  But instead of coming from an initiate at the top, it will now come from the Consciousness Soul at the bottom, fully renewing the Anthroposophical Society and Movement from within.

Then this renewed experience of the New Mysteries will find out how to express itself in ever widening circles, so that in all those places, where there is yet only an instinctive sense of the Consciousness Soul, and the meaning of the I in Earth evolution, inspirations of the Spirit will find entrance such that the newly born Community of Humanity will find its true voice as it seeks to face the present crisis of spiritual maturation out of which the whole of the Third Millennium is destined emerge. (12)

Nothing less is at stake here.  Nothing less.

We can also come at the whole situation from an entirely different direction.  Let us consider contemporary events.

At present an American President, whose thinking is rooted in an apocalyptic vision, and whose family background makes him a member of the Lords of Finance, controls the enormous power of the American Presidency.  This power is used mainly to stand behind the world-rule of the lords of finance. (13)

Allied against these well established world powers is the emerging Consciousness Soul, appearing in what we call Civil Society.  Free moral deeds are struggling to find a way to liberate humanity from the near tyrannical rule of the Lords of Finance. (14)

Complicating this whole picture is the dominate world view - scientific materialism, which influences deeply the thinking of most of humanity, in spite of the Faith of many.  Modern religious beliefs are poor weapons with which to oppose this powerful (and no longer necessary)  tyranny over our minds that is rooted in the Ahrimanic Deception.

Knowledge of the New Mysteries is mostly unavailable, and this includes knowledge of the true nature of the I, of the centrality of Christ in support of the I's course in Earth evolution, and of the present emergence of sources of new knowledge concerning the reality of spiritual aspects to all organic life, human health, our true social nature and much else besides.

The struggle between the rich and the poor is occurring in a context in which knowledge of the spirit is withheld.  The I knows itself not, nor has it a healthy way in which to appreciate its biography or the moral realities of its existence.

Humanity struggles against the Dark, in the dark.  Its need is great.

Rudolf Steiner and the New Mysteries were to reveal to the I the light within.  This did not happen in the Twentieth Century, and these treasures are still largely the possession of those few connected to Spiritual Science. who managed not to succumb to the temptations placed before the Is of the membership of the Society.  The non-anthroposophical world is not the only place where human beings struggle against the Dark, in the dark; and, where the need is great.

If we can accept the humility that comes from realizing that we too share the struggles of yearning humanity - if we can place ourselves on the first step of the Seven Stages of the Passion of Christ - the washing of the feet - we will find from this moral place (15) those questions regarding service, that lets us perceive the true nature of the treasures for which we are the stewards.

To know of Rudolf Steiner, and of the possibilities of the New Mysteries is to be the recipient of a remarkable Grace.  Yet we do not own these treasures, nor are we to be the sole teachers of these truths.  Instead we are to stand with others, in awe of what has been and will be given.  We can in no way stand above suffering humanity, but must bow down before it in shame for the failures of our stewardship in the 20th Century.  [For the terrible truth is that the opposing powers succeeded in their goals, as regards the holding back of the anthroposophical impulse, only through us.]

We did not take in deeply enough what was offered.  We were told of the doubles, and led to the water of true introspective life (16), but did not pay attention and did not drink.  Unconscious before our personal inner demons, we slept on the treasures, and like the boy in C.S. Lewis's second Narnia book, we became the dragon ourselves.

The opposing forces have no sway in these events without our consent to their temptations.  We failed our teacher, and confession of this fact is where we must begin if we are to have any hope of taking the next steps on the right basis (17).  All of us know this.  Who can say, in looking back over their lives, that they rigorously mastered the works on objective philosophical introspection, then faithfully meditated and did all the exercises Rudolf Steiner offered, or that they took all those social risks connected to always acting morally in the moment (learned of and embraced the first task of the Consciousness Soul - knowledge of the Good).  I certainly cannot.

Again and again we failed to distinguish the essential from the non-essential and spent too much of our time in the pursuit of sterile pleasures (such as the endless reading of lectures), and little time in the exercise of the practices of Spiritual Science.  We read about it, but did not do it.  We leaned on Steiner, but did not offer him the true support of our own willed-thinking.  Yes, there was Karma, and yes we are meant to fail, but these truths do not excuse us from acknowledging the consequences of our defects, and our responsibility.

First then we must confess, and then we must make amends (18).  And this is why we must face each other in circle-wise conversation, with those who were the highest, becoming the lowest.  Those who have been speaking, must fall to their inner knees in listening.   Matthew 23:11 "The highest person among you is to be the servant of you all, so those who exalt themselves will be humbled and those who humble themselves will be exalted." (19)

Only the most profound moral acts will let new life into the Society, and transform it into that which struggling humanity needs - a true place where the New Mysteries can be found, and which when one meets it, one has the sense of coming home, just as the prodigal son is to come home.

No one is to come to Anthroposophy feeling that they have to learn much and to study much and to be just like those who lecture and all the time teach.  Each I should find, in meeting Spiritual Science in practice, that such an I brings gifts for which we who welcome them hunger.  Their arriving is to be cause for deep celebration, and we can hardly wait to hear the tales of their journey through life.  What a gift they will be to our circles, with their truths and their questions.  Then, when they are sated from the repast we have offered them, and rested from their journeys, who knows what questions they might ask that any one of us, including them, could answer.

Only in service, can the New Mysteries flower.

This is then the whole point of this letter.  Humanity struggles in the dark against the Dark, and the knowledge of this, while understood instinctively in Civil Society, remains yet hidden precisely because the ahrimanic egregores (seeds of the Spirit of Rome) are hovering over anthroposophical activities, and are not confronted.  Every step taken by anthroposophists, however small, to face the doubles and rediscover the true nature of the New Mysteries, is a step in service to humanity and to the world of Spirit.

The so-called leadership cannot take us on this journey as long as we place our own thinking in a co-dependent relationship with the Vorstand and the various Councils.  Only from the social below can true Fifth Epoch spiritual impulses appear.  Hierarchical social forms can no long manifest what must come out of individual I's via the Consciousness Soul. The true anthroposophical impulse lies in chains, and will only be freed when we, as individual anthroposophists, take up our freely chosen responsibilities.


If you find this message to be important, or dangerous (20), please share your views and pass it on to others, with any comments you feel necessary.

In support of those who may wish to offer their personal voices to an effort to organize the meeting in Ann Arbor such that it is sun - sun circle wise, here are the names and e-mail addresses of the Vorstand and the members of the Councils in America*.  Non-Americans, who come upon this message, should also feel free to share their views, for the Society, if it is to become healthy, must belong to all; and, what happens in America is therefore the concern of all.

*[for this text, this material has been eliminated.]

At the same time, and even perhaps more necessary, those who would have us remain a Third Epoch hierarchical social form, should also express their views and their reasoning.  I can be contacted at: hermit@tiac.net.


(1) See the Jarna lectures of Jesaiah Ben-Aharon in late Feb. of 2004, notes of which can be found on line at: http://www.antroposofi.org/benaharon0204.html

(2) See Irina Gordienko's book: Sergei O. Prokofieff: Myth and Reality.  The problem is not just what is in this remarkable book, but more in the fact that it has not been taken seriously.  It has asked very hard questions - questions that must be faced and settled.  That the Vorstand has not led an open and honest effort to face these questions reveals a fatal flaw in their processes of deliberation.  If the Center cannot hold, then the Periphery will have to act.

(2a) For those unfamiliar with this issue, let me provide some background.  Irina Gordienko is a Russian born and trained mathematician and anthroposophist (now deceased), who discovered that the works of S. O. Prokofieff had diverged significantly from the teachings of Rudolf Steiner. Her book is not only a detailed illumination of these divergences, but a clear discussion of how this happened and what it signifies for the Society that so many have uncritically accepted these alterations of the basic teachings of Spiritual Science.

(3) This is a complex Idea - the American Spirit.  It has not been well studied or articulated in anthroposophical circles.  Hints can be found in this open letter, and as well in the essay American Culture - a first look: http://ipwebdev.com/hermit/americanculture.html (also in this book)

(4) The East will have to find its own true voice, and decide itself how it wishes to participate in the coming harmony of voices seeking expression from all over the world.

(5) See my essay: Concerning the Renewal of Anthroposophy: rediscovering the true meaning of the New Mysteries, at: http://ipwebdev.com/hermit/concerning.html (next in this book)

(6) The asking of questions of leading personalities is an invitation to spiritual co-dependence.  Questions should come forward, but they need to be addressed to the whole circle.

(7) An egregore is a human created demonic-like entity, which functions as a psychic parasite within the groups (or individuals) it "rides" (drug addicts know this as "the monkey on my back"). They are part of the Double complex all human beings share, and all modern social institutions have them, even the Anthroposophical Society.

(8) The battle over the Constitution which took place, mostly in Europe in the last years, is a social phenomena revealing this struggle between the Spirit of Rome and the Consciousness Soul.  To the extent that both sides saw spiritual value in the "changing of the rules", both sides succumbed to this egregorial spirit.  See my essay on The Law and the Spirit, at: http://ipwebdev.com/hermit/lawspirit.html (also in this book above), and see also Steiner's lectures published under the title The Challenge of the Times.

(9) See Steiner's Theosophy

(10) See note (5) above.

(11) See note (3) above.

(12) See my book: the Way of the Fool: which can be found on-line at: http://ipwebdev.com/hermit/twotf.html

(13) See Jesaiah Ben-Aharon's: Americas Global Responsibility - individuation, initiation and threefolding.

(14) See my essay: Civil Society - its potential and its mystery, at:  http://ipwebdev.com/hermit/civil.html

(15) Recall Steiner's advice in Knowledge of Higher Worlds - How to attain it, that for each step forward in inner development, one had to take three steps forward in character (moral) development,

(16) The epistemological works: Truth and Knowledge; A Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe's World Conception; and, The Philosophy of Freedom.  A symptom of the problem can be found in a Course booklet put out by the Rudolf Steiner Institute, where a summer 2005 course is offered with the following title: Meditation: the Core of Anthroposophy.  This is a deep error, for the Core of Anthroposophy is not found in Meditation, but rather in the New Thinking born in the introspection that comes from the study of the science of knowing elaborated in Steiner's works on objective philosophical introspection.

(17) See Ben-Aharon's The Spiritual Event of the Twentieth Century.

(18) Great wisdom lies in the open in the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous - see my book referenced in note (12).

(19)  My practice, wherever possible, is to quote from The Unvarnished Gospels, a rendering directly from the original Greek into ordinary English, whose virtue is that it lacks the

subsequent encrustations of interpretation made necessarily in order to make the Gospels consistent with later invented dogmas.  For example, the concept of sin nowhere appears in the Greek, which uses a word from archery, about missing the mark or making a mistake.

(20) See my essay Dangerous Anthroposophy, at http://ipwebdev.com/hermit/dangerous.html (also found at the beginning of this book) about how the truth is dangerous to social forces rooted in impulses to conformity and full or semi- unconsciousness.

(21) Addendum note (now that the Being Awake conference material has been mailed and received).  Those who have received these conference materials can refer to them, or if not it can be accessed at: http://www.anthroposophy.org/Events/STD/ .  As expected, the dominant social process will be six lectures, somehow to be delivered by 12 people (two for each theme?).  Only in the closing Plenum, which is given one hour and 15 minutes for sun - sun encounter, do those coming meet together (except for casual conversation in between sessions).  Who knows what the "workshops" will involve, but (and lets be honest) they will probably tend to be sun - moon.  The total sun - moon time (the six "lectures")  will be about 12 hours.  This means that during the conference, the only time the New Mysteries will be practiced (sun - sun Reverse Cultus conversation), will possibly be during the plenum and maybe during one or two workshops, with the dominate social mystery gesture being lectures - that is atavistic Third Epoch hierarchically structured top down instruction, instead of Consciousness Soul, bottom up (from the social - horizontal) Fifth Epoch I meeting I encounters.  This means that those creating the conference are not themselves awake, so how can they possible lead a conference on Being Awake?

How does this come about?  Because the leadership does not practice the Philosophy of Freedom, and therefore does not understand how to support the development of spiritual freedom in others.


this was written after the Ann Arbor Conference of August 2005 (that fall)

The Three Wishes

- for the future of anthroposophical work -

This essay is a further elaboration of material presented by me very briefly (five minutes at the most) at the closing plenum of the Being Awake anthroposophical conference, held in Ann Arbor, Michigan, August 11th to 14th, 2005.  Some comments made afterward, suggested that there were those who had not heard of or understood the relationship between the epistemologies (Steiner's books on the Science of Knowing - The Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe's World Conception and The Philosophy of Freedom) and Anthroposophy.  For purposes of the following material, it should be understood that these two books are a description and introduction to Rudolf Steiner's own path of development, which the author of this essay has, to the best of his abilities, made an effort to follow.  All the thinking below is grounded in the practices outlined in the above books.

As regards the relationship of this Path to that outlined in the Six Exercises and Knowledge of Higher Worlds, this can be said: The traditional Rosicrucian Path was updated by Steiner, using the new thinking clairvoyance, and became then the Six Exercises and Knowledge of Higher Worlds.  That is, the latter was created using the skills of the former, so that in a sense Steiner's Path of Cognition is the means by which a second, more traditional path was made available to human beings, for whom Steiner's own path seemed too difficult.

The Path of Cognition, or the path of pure thinking, goes right through the inwardness of the soul, from the own spirit, directly and exactly to the Spirit in the Universe.  The Six Exercises and Knowledge of Higher Worlds, goes through the sense world to the spiritual living behind it, indirectly awakening the thinking to its deeper possibilities, but not entirely opening up the whole potential latent in thinking and made available on the Path of Cognition.

The major difference is that the Path of Cognition faces more directly and consciously the moral questions of existence, while the path of Knowledge of Higher Worlds, circles around this problem, not quite fully engaging it.  Both paths lead to what some want to call higher experiences, or the threshold, but only the Path of Cognition directly opens up the full nature of thinking itself.  Details can be found below in the section below on Spiritual Research.

At the same time it would be false to compare these paths, in the same way it would be false to compare apples and oranges, as if one could be superior to the other.  Yet, they are different, and produce differences in the soul/spirit matrix (the mind) in terms of capacities.  To fully understand this, the reader would have to read and contrast the work product of myself in the Way of the Fool, with Dennis Klocek's The Seer's Handbook.  The former, produced by the presence of Fullness and the fullness of Presence (it thinks in me), illuminates the meaning of humanity's true social existence, in the process weaving together esoteric and exoteric Christianity, and providing in this way a means for ordinary people to come to terms with the Age of the Consciousness Soul and the Mystery of Evil; while the latter, a result of what is essentially Rosicrucian clairvoyance, unites the Path of Knowledge of Higher Worlds with a modern version of Alchemical Understanding in such a way as to illuminate in even deeper ways much of teachings of Rudolf Steiner given out as anthroposophical Spiritual Science

Two quite different results, created by two quite different means, out of two quite different moral intentions and with two distinctly different audiences in mind.  In this way, the higher worlds - in co-participation with their human friends - are able to reach many more people than what one book alone could reach.   A way of working that can be seen everywhere today, if we just open up the perceptual eye of thinking.  There is not just one Way to either knowledge of the Good or knowledge of the True.

The First Wish

The First Wish was addressed to the Vorstand.  It basically requested that the Vorstand undertake a certain work, which was to look backward at the last one hundred years of anthroposophical activity with the same intention that a student of esoteric development takes when he or she gives over to a serious life review, in order to mine from that brutally honest self reflection, the necessary wisdom regarding what has worked, what has failed, and what changes and efforts needed to be sought in the present and the future.

In asking for this it was my hope that the Vorstand would not simply pass such a task off to a committee that would then deliver a report, but rather that each individual member would so reflect.  It is the individual voices that will provide the best understanding, for such an examination is on the one hand quite personal, and on the other it needs great creativity.

The process of thinking in this way is easy to describe but not easy to do.  The temptation would be to indulge in either an excess of antipathy or an excess of sympathy.  The former would lead to too much criticism, and the latter to too little.  Even in the idea of criticism we can miss the mark, and while the word objectivity is better, it too does not quite grasp the necessary nuances.

Let me take a side trip here to get a bit of new vocabulary.  The study of Steiner's objective philosophical introspection leads to an ability to recreate the whole within and out of the own soul (see lecture 12 of the 1908 John Gospel cycle).  For the American Soul this leads to understanding that there are three basic gestures in thinking: thinking about; thinking with; and, thinking within.  Thinking about has a kinship to what some call ordinary thinking, or quantitative thinking.  Thinking with has a kinship with organic thinking or qualitative characterizing picture thinking.  Thinking within is rooted in moral or spiritual thinking.

To overcome the tendencies to excessive antipathies and sympathies, we need to leave thinking about behind, and move onward to thinking with and thinking within.  It is the latter two forms of thinking that I hope the Vorstand will engage in when looking backward in review concerning the last one hundred years of our mutual work.  What anthroposophists need to hear from the Vorstand in this regard is redeemed pictures of the truth.

As a practical indication, derived from my own practice, I would start with just sketching out a conventional history, touching on the high points, and noting both the failures and the successes.  The more these can be rendered imaginatively (with qualitative characterizing picture thinking - Tomberg's formulation), the better.  Then this same picture form is looked at again, but this time the thinking is filled with the moral intention to love those whose failures and successes we are to describe.  This gesture moves us from the qualitative to the moral, and depending upon the carefulness out of which the facts were first gathered during the sketching phase, the richer will be the thought content produced in the last phase, when by the act of love (which involves a sacrifice of one's personal views) the presence of Fullness and the fullness of Presence (it thinks in me) is invited to participate.

[an aside: I passed out at the Conference a small example of such a way of thinking: The Crack in the Foundation of the Dragon's Castle (which can be found later in this book).  In this work, I made grave errors in how I characterized S.O. Prokofieff, and for that I apologize to him and to all.  I have corrected those errors as best I am able, and the revised story can be found at: http://ipwebdev.com/hermit/confstory2.html.  Mainly I changed his "name" in the story, from the Unwounded Upstart, to the Earnest Seeker.  I changed this because during a conversation at the Conference, where he spoke generously and candidly with me about his reaction to the Gordienko book (Sergei O. Prokofieff: Myth and Reality),  I came to realize that he was like all of us, just another struggling human being, except his karma and fate had placed him in a very special place as regards our movement.]

Now the point (or purpose) to be achieved by this Wish, is to cast the light of the wise intelligence of the Vorstand on the shadow side of the Anthroposophical Movement and Society.  The opposing forces enter the world, and influence even our activities, through the double-complex as exists in each member's soul (for an elaboration of the Mystery of Evil, see my book: the Way of the Fool: the conscious development of our human character, and the future* of Christianity - both to be born out of the natural union of Faith and Gnosis).  The Vorstand, by illuminating this darkness, will help each of us to see how we ourselves co-participate in what injures our work.  Further, to the extent that the Vorstand personalizes this effort - that is speaks out of their own experience of their own shadow, such as by saying: "I failed this way" - this act of confession of confusion enables and invites all of us to join together in the work (thanks to Steve Burman for leading me to this insight).

This self reflection then becomes not just an act of a few, but becomes the personal responsibility of all.  We are all responsible, for example, for our Teacher's early death.  But that problem we will come to more when I elaborate on the Third Wish.  For now, we just need to realize that in thinking back, either on our own life, or on the collective life of the Society, we need to root such thinking in impulses to love, to forgive, and to accept personal responsibility in order for the thinking to have the necessary foundational moral gesture.

The Second Wish

The Second Wish was directed at the Councils in America, the General Council and the three regional councils (East, Center and West).  Basically this Wish was for the Councils to make it their primary activity to bring forward the Mystery of America.

Too long has Anthroposophy in America leaned on its European relations.  It is time for America to stand upright and on its own as a source of anthroposophical impulses and insight.   Our  Teacher made clear that there were remarkable distinctions between East, Center and West in the World, and that these quite different soul natures had to come into their own and learn to work together.  In spite of Steiner's emphasis on this, Anthroposophy in America remains quite Euro-centric in nature and basically ignores American Culture entirely.  Yes, there are pockets here or there where the reverse is true, but as long as the dominant approach is to ignore the Mystery of America and remain locked into a preference for things European, the whole world-wide Movement will suffer.

Not many know this, for example, but the Central Regional Council had planned for the AGM in Detroit in November of 2004 a conference directed just at this Mystery.  Unfortunately, a personality was included as a speaker that others in their antipathetic judgment deemed "inappropriate", and the planned conference was canceled and another substituted all at the last minute.  Something was feared, and the root of fear is often a double (or shadow being) representing in our own soul an Opposing Power, so we need to be careful when our leading personalities act on the basis of their fear of what might happen to their control, if speakers with whom they have issues might speak.

At this moment, there exists a stream of ideas using the terms: occult or spiritual discrimination.  Certain leading personalities would have us believe that we might be fooled into following someone who in "their" view is not speaking the truth.  This approach is not much different from what is happening elsewhere in America, where the claim of patriotism is used to put down views not agreed with by those who assert they are patriots.  It is a fundamentalist approach to matters, and the Society and Movement (in America and elsewhere) are not free of this confusion.

A terrible and evil power is evoked when someone says: fear this person, their thoughts are not worthy, for I know what is worthy, and theirs are not.  Here is the problem of the mote and the beam of which Christ spoke with such eloquence in the Sermon on the Mount.  This does not mean we cannot with discernment be thinking critically, but that mere criticism is not the same thing.

The reality is that if such personalities had made the acquaintance of The Philosophy of Freedom in a practical and pragmatic sense, they would know that first we must learn to apprehend the Good, before we can know how to properly apprehend the True.  And, given that all of us are seekers and incomplete, who can really claim to be able to judge another.  I have not desired to speak of this, but circumstances require it.  Let us then leave these problems and return to the Mystery of America.

It is not necessary for the Council members to be personally adept at speaking to this Mystery, unless perhaps it is their idea that only Council members should lecture and teach.  The fact is that since the time of the inspiration of Carl Stegmann during his visit to America (1970-1984), a number of American personalities have heeded his call for a deeper investigation of the Spiritual America, and much ripe work already exists.  All the Councils need to do is to create places where these skilled researchers can speak and write, and quite literally wonders will appear.

One of the prime and most important changes that will happen, is that the excessive reliance on lecturing will cease, for it is clear to those doing this research, that the American Soul needs circle-wise conversation to properly express itself.  It is how we think as a community of social beings that brings us closer to the Good and the True, which was the experience of the First Nations, the Transcendentalists and is now the experience in Alcoholics Anonymous and the work being called: Non-violent Communication.

The benefits should be obvious.  Americans have too long imitated European soul life and it is time for us to discover who we are out of our own considerable depths.   Once American Anthroposophy stands upright, then that distinctive voice will join with the already distinctive voice of the Center, and by this inspire the East to find is own way to a freely defined anthroposophical identity.

Yet, there is another, even more crucial, need.  Over the last couple of decades and especially since the year 2000, the Occult Brotherhoods have used their leverage and control over World Events, via the power they wield in British and American financial circles, to essentially crucify the Imagine of the Spirit of America.  This has been done to disable the coming America Culture - to make people doubt that America contains a universally human impulse at its core, one that was everywhere being recognized and with which people all over the world had begun to identify.  For details see my American Culture - a first look (included in this book).

The Consciousness Soul is a natural gift of the American, and our expression of it was to be an example to the Consciousness Soul all over the world.  This had to be opposed, for not only would this make easier the incarnation of Ahriman, it would also make easier the long sought after world rule of the Occult Brotherhoods.  The American Spirit is a spirit of steadfast resistance against oppression - a spirit resolute in its pursuit of not only freedom, but more especially of sisterhood and brotherhood.  This Image needed to be darkened and even made unholy if such is possible.

If the Councils in America were to not only sponsor gatherings on the Mystery of America within our circles, but make possible the wider speaking, sharing and writing of these long prepared personalities, the needed counter-pole to the crucifixion of the Image of the America Spirit would be brought forth.  This Second Wish means a great deal to the whole world, not just to us.

The Third Wish

The Third Wish was directed at us all, members and friends and Councils and Vorstand.  It was this: please stop saying Rudolf Steiner said.

Just in the verb said we have the core of the why of it.  Said is past tense, and it reveals that in the moment of speaking our thinking has turned from present thinking and gone into memory.  We are no longer relying on our own insight, but instead leaning on our Teacher.

I also spoke from the podium in the plenum about two other matters of import.   The first was what has been seen in the World of Imaginations and reported to me by another, which is an image of Steiner standing weeping and in chains.  This needs to be elaborated upon so it can be better understood.

The chains are, of course, forged and reforged every time we fail to think for ourselves and instead become addictively dependent on what Steiner said.  He weeps not because he is in pain, but for us.  His condition he entered into freely in life, when he did that act we already know, where he joined his karma to ours.  This condition is one consequence of that free act.  Our spirit is also in chains when it is not spiritually free, but instead dependent upon the sayings of the Teacher.  This Imagination reflects our mutual bondage in the joined karma.  Steiner as the Archetype of Michaelic, Sophanic and Christic Thinking is entombed, as we ourselves are entombed, through the co-dependent enabling of each other as addicts of the dead thoughts of our Teacher.

The fact is that he is presently a living presence that can be sought in the spiritual world, should we make the effort.  Nor is it necessary to directly have such contact, for if the soul is ripe and open he will participate in the supersensible community of inspiration that already is available to us.  He is also likely to be presently incarnate, and these chains even effect his (her) present biography, because his (her) karma is joined to ours.

By letting go our dependence and thinking for ourselves, we not only set free ourselves and his (her) cosmic Presence, but also his (her) current earthly incarnation.

Just to make clear what was hinted at in the First Wish, Steiner's early death was another consequence of this joined karma.  Not only did those who refused during his life to think for themselves drawn down his life forces, but we do the same, for truth to tell his true name is not Rudolf Steiner.  But when we idolize him, that is when we create a false adored picture of him in our souls, we also drawn on his etheric being, and weigh it down with our idol in violation of the deeper meaning of the 2nd Commandment (you ought not make a graven image).

The co-joined karma of he who was once named Rudolf Steiner, and those who follow his "indications", can only be unraveled by our seeking after our personal inner freedom and learning to stand on our own.

In the Age of the Consciousness Soul we can begin to learn how to free ourselves, which is why the other matter of import was as follows: Steiner did not follow the path so many follow today in Knowledge of Higher Worlds, but rather discovered and then followed the path laid out in the  epistemologies - the Path of Cognition.  If we wish to follow in our teacher's steps, we need to rekindle our interest in The Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe's World Conception, and The Philosophy of Freedom.

For those who seek for a further discusion of this problem, they will find help in the ending chapters of Florin Lowndes book: Enlivening the Chakra of the Heart.

The most interesting question put to me after I spoke was one or another form of: can't we do both or do we have to sacrifice the one for the other, or aren't the exercises in Knowledge an aid to work on the Philosophy?

First, people are free to follow their own instincts, and should.  It is, after all, our path, and given our individual natures, we are the best judge of what is right for us, which is another reason why we need to stop leaning on Steiner.  Emerson puts it this way: In self trust all virtues are comprehended.

The basic problem we seek is to know what to do.  So we go to Teachers, when the tragic fact is that we have our own direct way to know, as Christ promised: ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, knock and it shall be opened unto you.

In the Age of the Consciousness Soul we have all been gifted with Moral Grace, that is the ability to know the Good via our own inner gesture in thinking, which is what is taught not only in The Philosophy of Freedom, but also in the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and in Charles Sheldon's book In His Steps, upon which was based the What Would Jesus Do movement.  For details see the First Stanza of the Section on Freedom in my book the Way of the Fool.  Christ has not confined His modern revelations to just anthroposophists.

I suppose the real question concerning Knowledge of Higher Worlds is whether one is using the study of that work as a means of avoiding the encounter with The Philosophy of Freedom.  Certainly the Philosophy is hard work - it is after all about climbing a mountain in the mind.  If you want to do some preparatory exercises, then read Theory first (something I recommend in any event),  for that text will exercise the mental/soul muscles needed to face the Philosophy.  Steiner even said that he wrote the Philosophy in such a way that thinking had to more and more reach into the etheric itself in order to think the thoughts of the book.  The struggle is there for a purpose, and should never on the basis of assumed difficulty be avoided.

Now some might wonder what is the purpose of all this, and at the Conference I dealt with that problem in one of the informal groups, which few attended, but which nonetheless contained material we need to face, and which informal group was called:

Healing Materialism

Here we get to something which is both inside us and outside us.  Some think that merely by adopting, as a personal world view, the results of spiritual research, we have overcome materialism.  This is not so, for materialism is rooted in our souls far deeper than many yet imagine.  Let us contrast two pictures in order to understand this.

Picture One: We are raised in a culture which teaches us, via the findings of natural science, that cosmic space is an almost endless three dimensional emptiness, punctuated with stars, planets, latent heat and various obscure speculations such as dark matter.  The science fiction genre in literature fills the imagination of its readers, as do the science fiction films of today, with pictures of human beings flying through hyperspace, jumping over great distances called light years, all in a moment.

Picture Two: In the book The Unvarnished Gospels, a rendition of the Gospels straight from the original Greek into idiomatic English, without adding later doctrinal nuances, provides this as the beginning of the Lord's Prayer: Our Father in the skies...  Why has Christ spoken this way?  The people he was speaking to were not materialists and further had a quite different form of consciousness.  For them the vault of the heavens was a place where the Gods lived, and this Sky, both in its day and night variations, was filled within by divine consciousness that looked down on them from above with concern and interest.

Is Picture One false?  Probably.  Steiner describes the starry sky as the left behind remnants of the divine world creative powers.  In projective geometry, we find the idea of the plane at infinity, a picture with which we need to become familiar.  Here is a help.

Imagine a circle, with the radius of a yard (or a meter).  Slowly expand this circle in the imagination, by lengthening the radius.  As we lengthen the radius, the curvature of the circle flattens at the point where the radius line intersects an arc of the circle.  If we lengthen the radius line to infinity, the circle become a straight line.  If we change our picture from that of a circle to a sphere, the sphere with an infinite radius line is no longer spherical at all, but has become a plane - the plane at infinity.

What this can tell us is that space itself is polar in nature - three dimensional at its Earthly pole, and two dimensional at its cosmic pole.  In going from one kind of space to the other we traverse something which is nothing less than a metamorphic middle - a threshold.  Hans Zimmerman of the Vorstand actually described this process, from the point of view of expanding consciousness, in the last lecture of the Conference.

From the side of natural science there are several problems.  The basic cultural imagination of near endless three dimensional space is born in the ideas of red shift and parallax.  The idea of red shift, for example is based on an analogy made between sound phenomena and light phenomena.  The relevant sound phenomena is found in the change in tone we experience when a train bases by, which is called the Doppler shift.  Astronomers have likened some light phenomena as having the same nature, a thought which perhaps would fail Steiner's logic test.

In any event, the astronomer Halton Arp discovered a number of anomalous problems with red shift a few decades ago, for which violation of the standard dogma he was almost excommunicated from his community of peers.  Today there are any number of astronomers who have problems with the conventional view, although they still believe in the classic materialist view of three dimensional near endlessness.  Here is a link for those who might want to investigate further: http://www.metaresearch.org/

Let me suggest a hint of what lies potential in a thinking which has freed itself from the cultural icons of the Age of Materialism.  It is sunrise, and as the Gods in Nature speak to us through the sense world, the image/symbol of the Divine Mystery rises in the East.  As this Mystery rises, the Stars kneel before this Coming, fading out in sacrifice before their Creator, only to wait again for the setting of this Mystery in the West, after which they appear again, to carry out their work in the Night.  So our Days go forward, with Nature singing to us in form-pictures of the Divine Creator in the light of the Day, and singing (again in form-pictures) of the angelic hierarchies in the depths of the Night.  The sense world is a speaking picture of all the secrets of Creation.

When we can, via our own artistry in thinking, replace the idols and icons of materialism with the truth - only then will materialism be healed within.  And, this act must be the precedent act, to really aiding others - to healing materialism without, for Christ has told us that we must cure the beam in our own eye before we can help the Thou with the splinter in his.

Now perhaps we can see what really lies latent in the Waldorf School movement - support for a quite radical, self induced, change of consciousness in the Age of the Consciousness Soul.  At the same time we can see why in America a problem arose in California - the Waldorf School movement had not taught its teachers how to solve the problem of the beam, and so social conflict arose when Waldorf encountered secular humanists.  In any event, that is a whole other problem, far beyond the scope of this essay (for some details see the essay included in this book: The Social-Spiritual Organism of a Waldorf School Community, as well as the essay scenes for the eye of the heart - on my website).

We also need to understand why materialism - the Ahrimanic Deception (in all its forms - such as religious fundamentalism), was visited upon humanity.

The Gods meant for us to be completely free.  The descent into materialism was meant to erase from human consciousness the last lingering aspects of what Owen Barfield calls, in Saving the Appearances: a Study in Idolatry, original participation - the last remnants of which were instinctive apprehensions of the Divine.   This had to die out so that we would be entirely free to choose re-integration (final participation) out of our own I.  Whatever relationship we were to have to the Divine Mystery in the future was to be rooted in our own freedom.

So we have, in the 1950's, Time Magazine with the headline on its cover: God is dead.  So we have the desperate acts of rigid believers in religious fundamentalism - a dogmatic belief system, dry and arid and empty of living Faith.  And, so we have the deterministic theories in natural science with regard to genetics and evolution, which reduces the human being to a mere accidentally produced organic mechanism, without any self or I at all.

Anthroposophy is not the only Christ authored gift to humanity to help us heal materialism, but it is at the same time quite special, for in the books on objective philosophical introspection lies the path by which the natural scientist can heal him or herself.  If the Anthroposophical Society and Movement fail to revisit Theory of Knowledge and The Philosophy of Freedom, these may well be lost to world.  And to the extent that the Opposing Powers, via the double-complex in the human soul, has tempted and coerced us away from Steiner's Path of Cognition, little yet exists to halt an even deeper and more terrible descent into materialism.

Now there are natural scientists who are resisting this, without knowing anything about Anthroposophy.  I recently watched on C-Span, a program involving a dialog between the American neurophysiologist and cognitive scientist Dr. Michael Grazzanica, and the American novelist Tom Wolfe.  Grazzanica was not about to join his peers in the rush to replace the I with a mechanistic evolutionary and deterministic genetics.  He knew his own I, but he did not know Anthroposophy or what The Philosophy of Freedom could provide as an aide to his resistance to the tragic deepening of materialism.  The Consciousness Soul lived in him, but the knowledge he needed in support of his instincts did not.

The Anthroposophical Society, in the form of the Councils in America and the Vorstand, is responsible for his not knowing.  Even though Steiner told us The Philosophy of Freedom would be the book he would be remembered for, we have ignored it to our own detriment, and worse, to the detriment of future course of Civilization.

Spiritual Research

Spiritual Research has become a kind of idol or icon in the anthroposophical vocabulary.  Some have apparently taken to reducing it from the clear indications of Steiner, by suggesting that we do research when we spend enormous amounts of time with the lectures and books.  This is completely bogus, and perhaps even criminal in a moral-spiritual sense.  Steiner clearly meant by spiritual research the use of clairvoyant abilities applied to the study of reality across the threshold, and nothing else.

Again, such thinking arises because anthroposophists have not made a personal connection to the objective philosophical introspection, and therefore do not know how to think about, with or within, or how to place a self chosen moral impulse at the root of their thinking - all matters learned on the Path of Cognition.  Let's look a little more closely at this Path, and see if we can widen our understanding of its potential.

In Lowndes book, Enlivening the Chakra of the Heart, we have this quote which Lowndes took from the end of the fifth chapter of Steiner's Occult Science - an outline:

The path that leads to sense-free thinking by way of the communications of spiritual science is thoroughly reliable and sure.  There is however another that is even more sure, and above all more exact (emphasis added); at the same time, it is for many people more difficult.  The path in question is set forth in my books The Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe's World-Conception and The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity.  These books tell what man's thinking can achieve when directed not to impressions that come from the outer world of the physical sense but solely upon itself.  When this is so, we have within us no longer the kind of thinking that concerns itself merely with memories of the things of the sense; we have instead pure thinking which is like a being that has life within itself.  In the above mentioned books you will find nothing at all that is derived from the communications of spiritual  science.  They testify to the fact that pure thinking, working within itself alone, can throw light on the great questions of life - questions concerning the universe and man.  The books thus occupy a significant intermediate position between knowledge of the sense-world and knowledge of the spiritual world.  What they offer is what thinking can attain when it rises above sense-observation, yet still holds back from entering upon the spiritual, supersensible research.  One who wholeheartedly pursues the train of thought indicated in these books is already in the spiritual world; only it makes itself known to him as a thought-world.  Whoever feels ready to enter upon this intermediate path of development will be taking a safe and sure road, and it will leave with him a feeling in regard to the higher world that will bear rich fruit in all time to come.

With this in the background, I would now like to share some thinking about this thought-world, based upon my own experiences.

We can have as the object of our thinking anything at all.  Any subject can be the object of thinking, even thinking itself.  I, for example, spent 25 years thinking about the social-political world.  I also thought about how to think in this way, and began thereby to realize that: Thinking itself can be a Sacramental Rite.  I can become the active conscious priest of my own inwardness, which itself is connected to the spiritual world (First Leading Thought: Anthroposophy is a path of cognition from the spiritual in man to the Spiritual in the Universe).  Here is what I wrote, first in the 1980's and then revised somewhat in the 1990's regarding such work.

a) Preparation: these are exercises, such as those practices in control of thoughts, developing inner quiet (meditation practice plays a role here) and so forth. Its like the stretching one must do before beginning serious physical exercise.

b) Sacrifice of thoughts: letting go preconceptions; overcoming habitual patterns. Nothing will prevent new thoughts from arising, as easily as already believing one knows the answer.

c) Refining the question: the moral atmosphere, why do we want to know; fact gathering and picture forming. It is an artistic activity. What moral color do I paint my soul, what factual materials do I gather as I prepare to form an image - i.e. think in all that that act can imply.

d) Offering the question: acknowledging Presence, and not needing an answer. One practitioner (Valentin Tomberg) urges us to learn to think on our knees.

e) Thinking as a spiritual Eucharist: receiving and grace. We do not think alone. It thinks in and with me (Steiner).

f) Attitude: sobriety and play.

We have in the Mass, most other Christian Rites, and in the Rite of Consecration of Man, the model for this inner sacrament.

From the beginning, the Rite should be individual and as elaborate or brief as one wants.  The general transformation that occurs over time is that the soul (astral body) more and more becomes purified in the sense described in Lecture 12 of the Gospel of John lectures as: kartharsis.  We can begin to realize that the division, of Western Civilization into the sacred on the one hand and the profane on the other, is false.  All is sacred as America's First Nations Peoples well understood - even our darkness, our shadow.  Nothing lies outside the Creation or is truly unclean.

Most anthroposophists, having absorbed indiscriminately the lectures and books of Steiner, spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about percept-less concepts, or matters about which they have no experience but only the concepts and pictures they have generated in their own consciousness from reading.  If the mind is passive during this reading, and in the present or later does not actively think the imaginations Steiner is presenting, darkness instead of light is laid into the soul.  The point here is to recognize that knowledge is the union of percept and concept and the seeming created by reading is not knowledge, although it can be understanding.

Understanding is what Steiner gives us through his reports of spiritual research.  We acquire through this reading a more accurate understanding (generalized world view) of earthly and cosmic matters, but if we wish to have knowledge, we must go that path which increases our experiences, so that we then have the percept (experience) to go with the concept (thought).

To become a priest in one's own soul is to take a step that cannot otherwise be ignored, without consequences we may well not have desired.

Thinking in a sacramental way then can take up any subject/object, which is what a Goetheanist does.  They think with the subject/object, and Goetheanism need not be confined to Nature.  Barfield was a Goetheanist of language (read his Speaker's Meaning).  I have struggled to be a Goetheanist of the social-political.  We can be a Goetheanist of the history of our own anthroposophical Branch, and surprising insights can arise if we learn to think the biography of social forms, through building up a series of pictures, from the beginning, through the past and into the present.

Whatever the interest of our I, thinking can engage it on a deeper level through approaching it sacramentally.

One method I have found quite useful is to write, whether long hand or on a keyboard, at the same time as I think.  I think, then pause and record, and then think some more.  In this way, I begin to enter the thought-world and discover that it is a landscape all of its own.  The more I practice, the longer I can, with concentration of intention and attention, live in this landscape of the thought-world.  In the present, I can usually write an essay in one sitting, or if I become tired, I will rest and then return to thinking about the object/subject of my interest.  I have, on occasion, written for several hours in this way.

Sometimes, we will think for a moment, perhaps when driving a car, about some subject which interests us deeply, and have then a particular insight.  I have often just stopped the car, or even risen from bed, and written down what was thought, for here we begin to inwardly sense the presence of Fullness and the fullness of Presence.  It is the moral impulse behind the thinking which draws the wind: John 3:8 The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know whence it comes or whither it goes; so it is with every one who is born of the Spirit.

The roots of this essay, for example, were first found during the Conference, when I, on about the second day, began to let go of (sacrifice) the preconceptions that I had brought with me.  Thereafter, all I had to do was live out of my conscience in my interaction with others, and the deeper matters of the Conference began to unfold before my thinking I, sometimes in the morning as we all know, and other times in the moment.  The idea of the Three Wishes and of Healing Materialism came from the life of the Conference itself, and do not represent anything I brought with me.  I have in this essay fleshed out these intuitions, but otherwise they were born in the living spiritual atmosphere engendered by the whole community of those attending.  In a very real sense I would not have come to them otherwise than through the Conference and the special social atmosphere co-created by all who attended.

Let us now consider some other features of the thought-world.

As a general rule the thought-world responds to what we bring to it.  If we bring already-thought-knowing, then there is little it can add, for our attitude precludes the co-operative element, which is essential.  Further, the already-thought-knowing is dead, and its ability to participate in the living landscape of the thought-world is near impossible, because there is no natural harmony between our activity and the thought-world's own nature.  This is, of course, what happens when we go into the thought mode of Rudolf Steiner said.  We enter memory, and the living potential of our own activity is diminished in favor of the already dead thoughts.

So, again - what happens depends upon what we bring with us, for the thought-world is like a mirror - it reflects back to us what we are and what we bring, the most essential element of which is our moral nature.

The reason the analogy is made that gives rise to the use of the term landscape, is because the thought-world is very much a place.  In the modern projective geometry of dual polar-space - the co-joined earthly and cosmic spaces, the thought-world is the etheric, or a term which I prefer, after an indication of George Adams - the ethereal.  I prefer the term ethereal because the vowel sounds are more alive than in the term etheric, with its ending of a more material consonant nature.

This landscape then is the ethereal aspect of the thought-world.

When we record while thinking about the subject/object of our interest, we practice concentrated attention.  We follow what ordinary language calls a train of thought, but now we recognize it as a trail in the landscape.  This trail appears due to our moral intention, which we have prepared in the soul through our sacramental rite there.  Our ability to follow the trail in the thought-world then is the mirror of our attention and intention.

As Steiner describes elsewhere, everything here happens out of our own activity and appears to us in full consciousness - completely transparent to our I.

This landscape can be pictured, although many will in the beginning follow the trail as if they were going from one abstract concept to another.  The picture element again is produced by us, initially.  We, for example, following on Geothe's example of picturing the movement of the leaf forms, bring to the thought-world these pictures.  So we make pictures of what has become the subject/object of our interest, and we stay with the pictures as they unfold according to our already naive understanding of the subject/object.  What is the wonder is that when we have more or less exhausted what we have brought, the thought-world responds with the new.

Now this can happen with a long meditative-like contemplation of a theme (as described in Kuhlewind), or it can happen in a moment.  We actively picture think, perhaps making a kind of speaking ending in a question, and the thought-world, being the Garment of the Divine Mystery, responds (ask and you shall be answered, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you).

In the first stage, with the abstract thinking trail, we seem (as near as I can tell) to begin the Michaelic gesture in thinking (I use such a name, because it is the only concept that seems to go with the percept - the experience).  Perhaps our moral intention is to more deeply know another human being, and our sacramental thinking first sacrifices what we have already assumed we know, to be more open to their real truth.  We are here mostly thinking in word-concepts, not pictures, but our moral intention has changed the nature of what can happen in our soul, and so now we are thinking Michaelically.  By this means we apprehend the thought-world's ethereal nature.

With the picture thinking we are thinking in a Sophianic manner (again the name-concept is used to be in harmony with the percept-experience).  This is, of course, the whole world of imagination, which while not the clairvoyant Imagination (which I have experienced, but here distinguish), nonetheless demonstrates a qualitative aspect of the landscape of the ethereal thought-world.

Now, when we travel in this landscape in the thought-world it appears as pictures.  And, with this apprehension of the thought-world as pictures we come to what seems to be its astral nature.  That is the ethereal landscape is penetrated by astral elements, which with our mutual picturing thinking (our thinking and the thinking of the community of inspiration) results in co-created mobile pictures.

Then we come to the final feature of the thought-world - its Logos Nature, or what Steiner tried to point our thinking toward in suggesting we keep awake to the logic of a thought.  The thought-world has a Michaelic ethereal aspect, a Sophianic astral aspect and a Christic I-AM aspect.  In apprehending the Christic or Logos Nature of the thought-world we come to its essential I nature.  In the natural logicality of thought we meet the Christ (e.g. I am the Way, the Truth and the Life etc.).

Our thinking can then become a kind of breathing, wherein we breath in and ascend through the abstract conceptual element, to the picture element and then to its logical organism or Logos Nature.  After which we breath out and return the same way, until we act in the world, either recording our experience in words by writing, or sharing through speaking, or in the case of a moral dilemma, through action.

This leads us to another way of seeing the thought-world - as music.

It is possible to read something and to live in the connective element of the words, sentences and paragraphs - to think with the content the writer has produced.  Sometimes it will be fairly obvious that something strikes us as wrong or out of order, and we have then the problem of whether this reaction is taking place in that arena of the soul where sympathy and antipathy arise.  Here we have to have some self knowledge.

Once we have been able to make clear to ourselves that we are awake to our natural subjectivity, then it becomes possible to seek, to feel by means of the thinking, the musical structure of the concepts and their perhaps related ideas (the Garments of Beings).  Does one theme naturally lead over to the next?  Within a single sentence does it make its own whole?  Do the paragraphs develop the theme, or does the whole texture just jump around?

In feeling with the thinking the structure of the flow of the themes, we have an experience of to what degree the Logos Nature of the thought-world has been incorporated.  Is there dissonance or harmony?  If we sense disharmony, then we can examine more carefully the logic itself.  We can trust ourselves to read in an awake fashion and only have to puzzle out the exact logic, if our thinking-feeling senses dissonance.

One of the more common dissonances will be the degree of ego presence.  If there has not been enough sacrifice of thoughts, then we get too much self reference, as in: I did this, and then I did that.  We are, by the way, not judging here, but just being awake to the degree to which the writing and speaking reflect the speakers experience.

Some have noticed, particularly in The Philosophy of Freedom, that Steiner's sentences seem to have a certain structural relationship to each other.  A paragraph might contain fifteen sentences, with the last seven being the mirror image of the first seven, with one transitional sentence in the middle.  I believe this is not so much conscious on Steiner's part, but rather represents what his thinking experienced in the thought-world while constructing the text.  The structure we perceive is the structure already present in the ethereal landscape as regards that theme due to the presence of the Logos Nature of the thought-world itself.  As thinkers we report what has been thought in us, and the accuracy of our reporting then reflects that which we have been experiencing.

There is some indication in the experiences of the thought-world that we encounter different communities of beings, depending upon the subject/object we seek to think about, with or within.  This again is a felt experience of the thinking.  It is as if there were different tastes or textures to the themes.  Our soul is itself not a unity but a diversity.  Depending upon the nature of the impulses we bring in our questions, the responses will accordingly vary.

Now because we often have before us questions regarding various lectures of Steiner, we might try to pose those questions in the thinking, for example: Was Mary Magdalene the apostle that Jesus loved?  The problem here is that we do not have the percepts (experiences) to go with such a question, so that pure thinking or clair-thinking cannot really answer this for us.

What this means is that we have to understand that this kind of thinking gesture is not about becoming another Steiner, another initiate researcher into spiritual realities.  Yet, at the same time, this thinking enables us to engage the world of our biography in a fully awake and free way, open to all manner of spiritual insight.

What this also means is that we cannot leave the shadow or double-complex outside of our inner observation and thinking perception.  The luciferic double will urge us to questions too grandiose and outside our real need, while the ahrimanic double will push us into a calculated analysis, with no heart in it.  All of which brings us to the core element of the new thinking - the clair-thinking: knowledge of the Good in the Age of the Consciousness Soul.

What exists for us as students of spiritual knowledge in this Age is the possibility to think the world of experience - to find the conceptual content to go with the perceptual content of the soul (thanks again to Steve Burman for lending some additional clarity here).  We have the experience and then think its meaning.

Above I have mentioned several times the need for a moral gesture to exist prior to thinking about a specific subject/object in which we have an interest.  Now this inner moral gesture is something like a cultivated mood of soul.  We self-define the Good, which is the why we have decided to think sacramentally about the particularly subject/object.  At the same time, most of us are also involved in all manner of outer moral dilemmas.  So we have two kinds of moral actions - one inner and one outer.

With the outer one we confront our karma, fate and destiny.  This initiation by fire is the task of the biography in the Consciousness Soul Age.  We are confronted by moral questions, and no longer able to fall back on old textual rules.  Even where fundamentalism exists, many are confronted with agonizing life choices.  There is in life no hiding place, only the rock of experienced reality.

At the same time Moral Grace exists, which means that if we honestly frame the question (moral imagination), honestly listen to our higher selves - conscience - answer (moral intuition), and carefully act in outer or inner life upon the answer (moral technique), we have the promise fulfilled of moral certainty.  We can know the Good, and know we know the Good - that is the Eternal.

This knowledge of the Good is a threshold experience, which is part of why Steiner described the present time as involving everyone crossing the threshold, many unconsciously.  Because it is a threshold experience there is then a direct encounter with the double-complex in its role as the Lesser Guardian of the Threshold.  We will try to seek knowledge of the Good, but bring something with us (remember the mirror aspect of the thought-world) that cannot pass by the double-complex.  At the same time, if we again and again authentically seek to know the Good we will come to this knowledge, for Christ will not deny our need.

The principle defect we bring before the Lesser Guardian is the act of will needed to actually act upon the moral knowledge we seek.  Our seeking to know the Good can be prefaced with a lack of trust in ourselves and our ability to act on the knowledge when we apprehend it.  All the same, it is quite like learning to ride a bicycle.  Much falling down and pain in the beginning, but after a time we start to get it right, and confidence builds in such a way that what was clumsy in the beginning becomes skill, then craft and finally art.

Now this does not mean - when we do know the Good - that we will be perfect, or always get it right, or that nothing ambiguous will remain even after we act.  Life is not to be that simple in this Age.  But we can trust that we have this capacity, and if we start to exercise it, then all manner of other results began to unfold in the soul, because by this activity real purification begins to occur, which is why the Hopi Prophecy calls this time the Day of Purification, and has for centuries looked to the rising sun for their true white brother to come and inaugurate this Day.  For a deeper appreciation of the Hopi Prophecy, read: The Mystery of the True White Brother. on my web-pages.  I have also written of these themes from another direction, again in the Way of the Fool.

In this way - by learning to know and act upon the Good, we become a light bridge between the spiritual world in its thought-world garment form, and the world of the senses in which we live in our biographies.  We stand in between, and freely relate one to the other.  In a very real sense we become the balance point between.  We think, and receive the gifts of meaning from within - through a co-creative art with spiritual communities, which we then share among each other through speech and writing, that is with incarnate communities of human beings.

One of the matters, toward which Steiner has pointed concerning active thinking, is suggested by the idea that human consciousness inserts itself in between the sense object (or the object of experience) and its idea.  In reality, he has stated, the two are united - the thing in itself and its inner being or idea.  When we wake up to the new cognition - to clair-thinking - we discover how to reunite what is only apparently divided.

Taking a sense object as a typical example, we act as if it is our senses that experience the outer aspect of the object, and our thinking that can potentially experience its inner nature - its fundamental reality and meaning.  This condition is itself the consequence of the long evolution leading to the Ahrimanic Deception, or what others call: the on-looker separation.  Only by taking up the new thinking, out of our own choice to seek re-integration (or final participation), can we bridge the gap between our I (as a spirit) and the true reality of existence in the inwardness of experience (the Spirit in the Universe).

Blessed are the poor in spirit (engaged in the sacrament of the sacrifice of thoughts), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (the presence of Fullness and the fullness of Presence).

a few final comments

We need then to distinguish between clairvoyant spiritual research and the newly born clair-thinking (Carl Stegmann's term for what Steiner called pure thinking) with its ability to experience the spiritual world as a thought-world.  In the former the object of our activity is to deepen the understanding of the spiritual, by acquiring direct experiences of the Divine Mystery.  Most of us realize that such is a rare gift, while the fruits of clair-thinking can begin to arrive once the Path of Cognition is fully entered as a personal sacrament.

In point of fact, it appears likely that the 20th Century was only meant to give us the return of just a few true initiates - the Kings (Steiner, Tomberg* and Ben-Aharon - see my book the Way of the Fool - the Fourth Stanza of the Section on Love), as a starting help.  They help us see the right Path and we start to travel it, each in our own individual Way.  With the new clair-thinking (as against needing to become a full initiate - a form of consciousness perhaps no longer really the necessary goal for modern students of the Mysteries) we can best go forward, for any subject/object of interest can be thought using this method of entering the ethereal landscape.  One can start thinking this new way right from the beginning, using the texts (Theory and the Philosophy) as a map to the territory now being explored through a disciplined (scientific, or "some results of introspection following the methods of natural science") introspection out of the impulses of our own I.

The best training for this is found in the study of projective geometry, which helps the thinking gesture to learn to follow qualitatively and exactly the living forms in the ethereal landscape.  My favorite book on this is Olive Whicher's Projective Geometry: Creative Polarities in Space and Time, a text which should never be out of print , but due to the lax nature of understanding in the higher circles of our movement, has been allowed to disappear.

Yet, what do anthroposophical publishers, reprint over and over again - Steiner lectures, while the other and often more truly helpful and essential texts waste away in Ahriman's "preserving jars".

*As to Tomberg:  The whole problem here begins with comparing apples (Steiner) to oranges (Tomberg), and assuming that Tomberg represents a danger to Anthroposophy.  Once we start there, thoughts will come that can be used to suggest a wrongness.  We need to start in the right place, which is to ask the question: Would the Christ only support one teacher to meet the varied needs of human beings in the Age of the Consciousness Soul?  The answer to that will always be no.  In which case then our thinking needs to sacrifice its assumptions and read in the script of the social-political world who Tomberg has served and why.  It is not about there being one pure and only Way to go into the future, that fits all human beings and all biographies.  It is about Christ's Love which speaks everywhere and to everyone, via those human resources that have offered themselves so as to be in His Service.

As to the Three Wishes: It is entirely possible the Vorstand and Councils in America, as well as most anthroposophists, will fail to understand the need and/or fail to act.  At the same time, where ever any individual decides to work in the way described above, materialism can be healed.  The main point to realize is that as individual seekers we need to not only free ourselves from dependence upon our Teacher, but we also need to avoid transferring that dependence to Councils, Vorstands and even the writers of essays and books.  It is from out of our own I that the light of transformation will enter the next phase of human Civilization.  Such truths are captured everywhere, but most especially in this modern folk wisdom: think globally, act locally.  Have the deepest and widest understanding, but apply this knowledge directly to what appears within our own biographies - ourselves and the world of our immediate experience.


This is another of four essays written and submitted to the English anthroposophical Journal The New Review, in the spring 2005, for which no reply or acknowledge was received.

"The least read, most important book, Steiner ever wrote"*

* Owen Barfield, referring to the book: A Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe's World Conception, during a conversation at Rudolf Steiner College in 1986, in response the question of whether he (Barfield) had a book he read over and over again, in the light of Steiner's remark that he would rather people read one book fifty times, than read fifty books once.  Barfield said this was his book for reading over and over again, and then he characterized it as quoted.

Consider, for a moment, that it might be possible to write a sentence, using ordinary words, with the same precision and elegance of an arithmetical equation written using the symbolism of pure mathematics.  Ponder that idea for a moment, and then take to heart the suggestion of this article, that Rudolf Steiner wrote a whole book that way, during the flowering genius of his mid-twenties: A Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe's World Conception (Grundlinien einer Erkenntnistheorie der Goetheschen Weltanschauung, 1886).

Is there a hidden treasure at the heart of anthroposophical Spiritual Science?  Let us consider the possibility.  However, before turning to the book, we should perhaps take a look at writing and reading and meaning and words and sentences and such....

The writer thinks, and writes.  The words on the page are not what was thought, although an effort has been made (sometimes) to do just that.  Especially for anthroposophists, we know that the content of cognitive activity is not always just a stream of words, what we might call ordinary discursive thinking (the spirit speaks, the soul hears).  Matters transcendent of language can often be the content of true cognition, after which the words on the page cannot then be what was originally perceived by the thinking.  In such a case, the words on the page have to have another purpose.

At the same time we must read the words on a page, and in the act of reading do something more than just passively let the concept content of the words on the page wash over us.  The words on the page are an entombment of the experience of the writer, and we, as readers, must now bring about the resurrection of this experience, which is something that often is impossible when we consider the content about which Steiner has so often lectured and written.  How do we, for example, have more than the most remote and abstract a concept of such an entity as Archangel Michael?

This is a serious problem, but perhaps in seeking to solve it, we can go to places in the World of Ideas we do not ordinarily go.

Consider a sentence - almost any sentence will do, so for example: "I don't understand you."

The meaning seems obvious, but clearly it is not in the individual words themselves.  Our reading and thinking adds up the words into what might be called the sentence's concept or meaning.  This meaning hovers over the sentence, and is not on the page, but only in our own mind.  Our active reading understands the sentence.  We can also enter more deeply into this process of understanding, and with other sentences notice what might be called the picture quality of the sentence.  Perhaps it evokes an image in the mind, such as: "And in the darkness the light is shinning and the darkness never got hold of it."(John 1:5, the Unvarnished Gospels).

But even with that image quality, which evokes not just our word-unifying thinking gesture leading to the understanding of meaning but also the capacity we have for imagination, there is an even higher quality toward which our knowledge-seeking can reach.  Above even the picture is the reasoning of the sentence, its logic or logos-nature.  Depending then upon the quality of thought of the writer, the sentence has descended from its reasoning or logos-nature, through a picture in the imagination, to the naked understanding of the unity of the words.  Could we say that this gesture is a descent from the Christ Presence, via the Sophia Presence and into our I consciousness presence?  A difficult question, for few among us knows these exalted Beings, or their relationship to writing and reading.

Even so, in seeking to read Steiner, for example, do we not wish to strive to rise from the spare unity of the meaning in the sentences, through the picture quality to the logos-nature out of which they descended?  Well maybe, sometimes. 

With a paragraph, a writer can create a set of ideas we have never before encountered; that is take us into an aspect of the World of Ideas (1) that is fresh and unique.  Here is the opening paragraph of the writer Ursula K. LeGuin's novel: The Dispossessed:

"There was a wall.  It did not look important.  It was built of uncut rocks roughly mortared.  An adult could look right over it, and even a child could climb it.  Where it crossed the roadway, instead of having a gate it degenerated into mere geometry, a line, an idea of boundary.  But the idea was real.  It was important.  For seven generations there had been nothing in the world more important than that wall."

Now this is a book of fiction, of the imagination.  What happens if one is seeking to write a book about the mind, and the human being, in such a way that a very accurate and coherent description arises in the reader of processes the knowledge of which the reader has never before been aware.  There is no fiction in such a task, but it certainly seeks to bring before us something as ephemeral as a work of the imagination alone.  The writer wants to guide us inward, into and through our soul - our mind, into a territory that was previously in darkness.  At the same time the writer wants to do this with the same full clarity of a work of science - to illuminate the ephemeral aspects of mind and spirit with the precision and elegance of a work of mathematics.

What an absolutely astonishing purpose!

Consider the structure of the themes as Steiner gave them in his book: A Theory of Knowledge, on what is typically (and perhaps inadequately) called the contents page (it will help if you pause as you read each word group):

A. Preliminary Questions

  I. The Point of Departure

  II. Goethe's Science Considered According to the Method of Schiller

  III. The Function of this Branch of Science

B. Experience

  IV. Definition of the Concept of Experience

  V. Examination of the Content of Experience

  VI. Correction of an Erroneous Conception of Experience as a Totality

  VII. Reference to the Experience of the Individual Reader

C. Thought

  VIII. Thinking as a Higher Experience within Experience

  IX. Thought and Consciousness

  X. The Inner Nature of Thought

D. Knowledge

  XI. Thought and Perception

  XII. Intellect and Reason

  XIII. The Act of Cognition

  XIV. Cognition and the Ultimate Foundation of Things

E. The Science of Nature

  XV. Inorganic Nature

  XVI. Organic Nature

F. The Spiritual, or Cultural, Sciences

  XVII. Introduction: Spirit and Nature

  XVIII. Psychological Cognition

  XIX. Human Freedom

  XX. Optimism and Pessimism

G. Conclusion

  XXI. Scientific Knowledge and Artistic Creation

In 1892, in between writing Theory and Philosophy, Steiner published his PhD thesis: Truth and Knowledge.  Here is its contents page.

I. Preface

II. Introduction

III. Preliminary Remarks

IV. Kant's Basic Epistemological Question

V. Epistemology Since Kant

VI. The Starting Point of Epistemology

VII. Cognition and Reality

VIII. Epistemology Free of Assumptions and Fichte's Science of Knowledge

IX. Epistemological Conclusion

X. Practical Conclusion

This book would seem to be a bridge between Theory and Philosophy.

Now, just to be clear, it is not the point of this essay to set out an argument suggesting Theory of Knowledge is a better book than The Philosophy of Freedom (1894).  To do so would be like comparing apples and oranges.  Something else is involved.  Let us look at the same structure (the contents) of The Philosophy, so as to see what that might reveal:

Knowledge of Freedom

1. Conscious Human Action

2. The Fundamental Desire for Knowledge

3. Thinking in the Service of Knowledge

4. The World as Percept

5. The Act of Knowing

6. Human Individuality

7. Are there Limits to Knowledge?

The Reality of Freedom

8. The Factors of Life

9. The Idea of Freedom

10. Freedom-Philosophy and Monism

11. World Purpose and Life Purpose (The Ordering of Man's Destiny)

12. Moral Imagination (Darwinism and Morality)

13. The Value of Life (Optimism and Pessimism)

14. Individuality and Genius.

In Theory, the problem of Freedom is not mentioned until the third to last chapter, while in the Philosophy it is where Steiner begins.  Both have, near their ends, chapters with more or less the same name: Optimism and Pessimism.  In the case of Theory, Steiner is trying to explicate something he saw in the background of Goethe's mind and will, but which Goethe had never articulated himself.  In the Philosophy, Steiner is going out on his own, and from a richer life of inner spiritual experience, such that he says in 1908, in the 12th and last of the lectures on the St. John Gospel, after defining katharsis as the purification of the astral body so that it becomes capable of imprinting the developing organs of clairvoyance on the ether body:

"A person can go very far in this matter of katharsis if, for example, he has gone through and inwardly experienced all that is in my book, Philosophy of Freedom, and feels that this book was for him a stimulation and that now he has reached the point where he can himself actually reproduce the thoughts just as they were there presented.  If a person holds the same relationship to this book that a virtuoso, in playing a selection on the piano, holds to the composer of the piece, that is, he reproduces the whole thing within himself - naturally according to his ability to do so- then through the strictly built up sequence of thought of this book - for it is written in this manner - katharsis will be developed to a high degree."

In Theory then we might say, we are led to knowing something consciously, that had only lived instinctively in the will of Goethe, while in the Philosophy we are brought even more consciously to the highest possible pre-stage to initiation.  Steiner continues, in the St. John lectures, to say that all that is necessary at this point, for the developed and purified astral body now to imprint itself properly on the ether body, is for the student to undertake meditative contemplation, in the manner learned in the Philosophy, of the opening Chapters of the John Gospel, beginning with: "In the beginning was the Word..." and ending with "...full of devotion and truth." John 1: 1-14.


When the Philosophy lives in us in the right way, we stand on the threshold where we are about to know Ideas as independent realities.  We participate in their arising in the soul's consciousness (experience), but they (the Ideas) are nearly objectively independent entities.  Yet, for the final element of initiation to arise there needs to be an Initiator, that is Christ, so we take the skill learned in the Philosophy to nearly experience Ideas as independently real, and then meditatively contemplate the opening verses of the St. John Gospel, for in those Ideas we come upon the spiritual garments of Christ in their most profound expression, such that it is Christ who meets us and brings about the impression into and onto the ether body, of the seed organs of clairvoyance that are now within the katharsis purified astral body.

The Philosophy prepares us, and Christ takes us through the final step.

So then, what is the relationship between Theory and the Philosophy?  Or between the now consciously understood instinctive will of Goethe and the Rite of Initiation fostered by Steiner?  Is the former trivial, or is there a very definite reason that in Steiner's biography the one precedes the other?  Could Steiner have written the Philosophy without first thinking through and writing Theory?

Many people find the Philosophy difficult.  Some even suggest it might be time to rewrite the Philosophy for modern times.  The problem here is clear, for in this suggestion we have the problem of dumbing down, of meeting the laziness of the Age with a co-dependent enabling gesture, as if struggle and effort are not part of spiritual development.  What would be the point of chopping the top off of Mt. Everest so that it was easier to climb?

The fact is that no one would actually climb it (it isn't there anymore), and that skill, only attainable through the effort, would be lost.  Rewriting the Philosophy would destroy the potential to do the work needed to engage it, and in effect destroy the very necessary prelude to the new thinking initiation.  So then what do we do in response to the obvious reality of difficulty so many find in the Philosophy?

Well, what we do is get our collective heads out of that place the sun doesn't shine, and realize that Theory is the preparatory step for the Philosophy - the work that exercises the basic inner thinking capacities that are needed before tackling the real mountain.

Consider that in Theory, the problem of Freedom comes last, while in the Philosophy it comes first.  The problem of Freedom then is the bridge between the two.  Theory is the examination of the problem of the relationship between thought and experience, from many sides, and with respect to all sorts of implications once we understand what is at stake.  We need Theory to possess Goetheanism, which is the ability to discipline thinking before the experience of phenomena.  We also need Theory's world view and the inspiration which that view instills in us, as expressed in such paragraphs as these:

"It is really the genuine, and indeed the truest, form of Nature, which comes to manifestation in the human mind, whereas for a mere sense-being only Nature's external aspect would exist. Knowledge plays here a role of world significance. It is the conclusion of a work of creation. What takes place in human consciousness is the interpretation of Nature to itself. Thought is the last member in a series of processes whereby Nature is formed."


"Man is not behaving in accordance with the purposes of the Guiding Power of the world when he investigates one or another of His commandments, but when he behaves in accordance with his  own insight.  For in him the Guiding Power of the world manifests Himself.  He does not live as Will somewhere outside of man, He has renounced his own will in order that all might depend upon the will of man.   If man is to be enabled to become his own lawgiver, all thought about world-determinations outside of man must be abandoned."

This then prepares us for later appreciating in the Philosophy the necessity behind Freedom, as well as the training regarding moral imagination, moral intuition and moral technique.  What Rudolf Steiner lived in his biography, we can gain by following that same path.  He broke the trail, and now we can follow in trust.

Just as Nature speaks to us in a Goetheanistic manner concerning its deeper truths, so does Steiner's biography speak to us of the deeper truths of modern initiation.

First we get the Theory - the true concepts about mind, and then in the Philosophy we get to practice, to look within (introspection) and arrive at knowledge of mind.  Once trained inwardly to an awake relationship to the real nature of thinking, then we begin to contemplate those thoughts which are the outer garment of Christ.   This will then show why Owen Barfield described Theory as: the least read most important book Steiner ever wrote.  We begin where our Teacher began, and then faithfully follow him.  

Let us now come at this from a slightly different direction in order to deepen our appreciation.

Here is the often erroneously scorned Valentin Tomberg, from his anthroposophical lectures collected under the title: The Four Sacrifices of Christ and the Return of Christ in the Etheric:

"...the transition from all that is most prosaic produced by the nineteenth century to what the future holds is offered by the spiritual manifestation of Goetheanism - Goetheanism is, in fact, a bridge on which the transition can be made from the quantitative thinking of the nineteenth century to a qualitative characterizing thinking.   Now where this transition leads is Spiritual Science.  Here it is not only a matter of being able to think qualitatively, but of placing the moral element in the thinking into the foreground. And by way of comparison, one could say that Goetheanism is related to Anthroposophy, to Spiritual Science, in the same way as the organic world is related to the soul world. The organic calls for qualitative thinking; the soul world, for the formation of moral concepts."

In Theory we are introduced to this qualitative characterizing thinking - that is the picture thinking that adds nothing to its experience of the phenomena.  This organic thinking gesture is necessary in order for thinking to penetrate the living aspects of nature, of the social organism and of all manner of organic and living aspects of reality, such as languages.  In Barfield, for example, it is his organic thinking that gives us the mobile and plastic pictures such as are found in Speaker's Meaning.

So we need to proceed from organic thinking (Theory) to moral (spiritual) thinking (the Philosophy).  The latter is naturally built up out of the former, and the former is a step that cannot be skipped if we want to be able to stand freely within spiritual experience.  In developing organic thinking we build up capacities in the will, like learning to ride a bicycle.  Once present as capacities, they can simply be exercised as the problems of the Philosophy unfold within our introspective experience.  As these develop, and especially as we work with moral imagination, moral intuition and moral technique, we rise from the renewal of true imagination (Goetheanism), to the full embrace of true reason, or the logos-nature of thought (Spiritual Science).

Christ said in the Gospel of John: I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.  In that moral reasoning learns to apprehend the truth, it is actually apprehending Christ, for Truth is not just a qualitative characteristic of Reality that rests in the Being of Christ, Himself, but exists because of the Being-nature of that same Reality.  Truth is moral, and it is only the moral in us that can approach truth.


(1)  Reference the "world of ideas": The philosophy of Plato conceived of Ideas has having an existence independent of the human being, and among modern Platonists (those whose experience leads them to considering that at least mathematical ideas have an independent existence), we would find Einstein, Godel and Penrose.


This first essay in this section was submitted to Renewal Magazine, and rejected, late summer in 2006.

Waldorf Charter Schools in America: some social observations

The following material is rooted in several decades of social observation, following the methods of thinking and observation first pioneered by Goethe, and called by Rudolf Steiner: Goetheanism.   As I have only been related to Waldorf as a parent, and also occasionally as an anthroposophical friend of various Waldorf teachers, my vision of matters is more from the outside than the inside.


The development of Waldorf Schools in America takes place within a social context, and as those who study plant biology know, what the seed becomes as a plant form is significantly related to the context in which it develops root, stem, leaf, fruit and flower.  A dandelion in the grass in your yard does not look at all like a dandelion that comes to development deep in a forest.  In this case our context for Waldorf is the general social conditions in America, and more deeply, the relationships of a Waldorf School to the nature of soul characteristics unique to the American Character.  Thus, the social form Waldorf creates also is interdependent with the social and psychological ecology in which it arises.

Waldorf Schools in America also arise for a variety of reasons, and are given birth from impulses connected sometimes to parents, sometimes to teachers and sometimes in connection with existing institutions, who for motives of their own adopt a Waldorf-like pedagogy.

Keeping these factors in mind, we need then to see that Waldorf Schools arise from a variety of inner impulses and then are given birth into a variety of contexts.   The inner impulses share certain characteristics, as do the contexts.  It becomes possible then to observe certain general tendencies in the Waldorf Movement in America as these inner and outer aspects reciprocally relate to each other.   It is with a significant few of these general tendencies that this article concerns itself, and the reader will have to do their own thinking in order to interpret what this means in the specific instances of a particular school.

One major general tendency as regards reasons and inner impulses that leads to Waldorf Schools is related to the differences in general soul characteristics between the Central European Soul and the America Soul.  The Central European Soul tends to live most strongly in the Ideal, and to express itself socially by an effort to incarnate that Ideal into the social.  The American Soul tends to live most strongly in response to social problems, which it then seeks to solve.  An Ideal will tend to only have meaning to the American Soul to the extent that it can be pragmatically realized.

This has led, in America, to that general tendency toward confusion in many Waldorf Schools between those who want more to apply the pedagogy as a system (an Ideal) and those who want to adapt it (pragmatize it).  At the same time, Americans, for example, who idealize Central European personalities, will tend to imitate that European Idealism, so one should be cautious about seeing this as just a matter of where someone is born.  Nevertheless, one can hear all manner of passionate discussions about what Waldorf should or should not be, which discussion's true roots are often in the inability to recognize these contrary impulses: the Ideal as against the Pragmatic.

Schools developed by parents, for example, will tend to apply the pedagogy in a more pragmatic manner, while schools developed by teachers (especially teachers trained in American teacher training centers based on a strong Central European influence) will tend to a more ideal impulse.  We could perhaps deepen our understanding were social research to be conducted as regards many schools in America, not in a statistical manner, but more in the sense of a biography of the impulses underlying the school's birth, as well as where the teachers came from and what is the nature of their training.  An accurate telling of the story of a school, especially many such stories, would help greatly our understanding of the Waldorf Movement in America, its present conditions and future needs.

As regards context, clearly schools developing in various places in the world will exhibit characteristics belong to that area.  In America, we will have general American characteristics, and also regional characteristics.   Some social scientists conceive of America as having various distinctive cultural regions (the Northeast is quite different culturally from the South, for example).   In pointing this out, all I am suggesting is that folks keep in mind the regional aspects of their Waldorf School, not just its more general characteristics due to its being in America.

One phenomena that has been of particular interest to me, is connected to the number of master Waldorf teachers I have personally known, or become acquainted with, who have fostered, supported or otherwise been positively engaged with the Charter School Movement in America.  It is here, I believe, we find the true pragmatic impulse emerging from the American Soul in relationship to Waldorf.

The master Waldorf teacher (someone who has done at least two or more cycles of taking a class from 1st to 8th grade), who is also American, is confronted as a social being with the general failed state of education in America.  These are mature teachers, not just in terms of their practice as Waldorf teachers, but also as social beings within America.  They are part of the whole culture that is awake to a crisis in American education.

The same phenomena exists with regard to parents who, having found Waldorf in some form or another, want Waldorf for their children.  As social beings they can't just want a better education for their own children, however, but must as well wish for and even work for the general improvement of education in America.

Waldorf schools in America have also had a tendency to be tuition based, that is essentially to tax the parents for the cost of running the school.  In American society, with its strong egalitarian tendencies, it is difficult for many parents and many teachers to tolerate what feels like a kind of economic elitism without seeking some form of resolution.  Charter Schools offer one alternative form of resolution.

For many American master teachers, and Waldorf parents, to find then a means of acting as true social beings by creating Waldorf inspired Charter Schools is almost kind of predictable.  In this way, we find then a necessary melding of the tendency toward the Ideal of Waldorf pedagogy joined together with a healthy social pragmatic and egalitarian gesture.

I am not suggesting, by the way, that Waldorf in America should or ought to be Charter in social form, but rather simply observing that this tendency resolves and works with both the basic inner impulses of many Americans, as well as with the outer social context in which schools are born here.  It is socially healthy, and where people express concern that it isn't fully ideally correct, they have simply