What is American Anthroposophy?

by Joel A. Wendt

This essay is to be distinguished from the book
American Anthroposophy.   This essay was written
far earlier, while the book is a product of three years further development.

This essay was originally written with a European audience in mind, and for that reason may have occasionally seemed to strike a wrong note.    I apologize in advance for any unintentional clumsiness that may have resulted, especially since I have recently adapted it for a wider audience.  I should also warn that the need for brevity will sometimes result in a lack of necessary detail and an overabundance of generalizations and conclusions.

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To place the modifier "American" in front of the noun Anthroposophy, may seem to some a rather curious, perhaps even defective construction.  What about Anthroposophy, authored by Rudolf Steiner and mostly taught in Europe, could be American?  Even so, the problem comes in part from Steiner himself, who apparently said in a lecture to workman at the Goetheanum, that America had a original form of Anthroposophy, and that one would have to look to Emerson to begin to appreciate this.  The following hopes to shed some light on this.

I have, over the period of 26 years now, in coming to know Anthroposophy, read a number of books on America written by European born anthroposophists, including: The Other America, by Carl Stegmann; America and Americanism by F.W. Zeylmans van Emmichoven; and, America's Way: the tasks ahead, by Dietrich V. Asten.  As an American I have to confess that not one of these books were wholly satisfactory, although Carl Stegmann's works on America were certainly the most inspirational.  Of the many problems, the main one common to all three writings, was the dismissal of any significance to the Native Americans or First Nations Peoples - the aboriginal Peoples who carried forward what those of us in America, who do research on these themes, call: the Saturn Mysteries.

Our experience is that there is no understanding of America, without coming to knowledge of the Saturn Mysteries which presently still live in the Americas, both North and South.  Yet, at the same time as I point this out, I need to make clear that for the rest of this essay I will be writing of the United States when I use the term America.  What we conventionally think of when we use the term America, that is the United States of America, is embeded within the whole which is the Americas both North and South, whose original Peoples carried and still carry both positive and negative aspects of the original Saturn Mysteries as practiced in Atlantis.  This should be kept in mind - that the United States of America is part of a larger whole, which is still struggling to manifest itself (1).

We could,  perhaps with some accuracy, say that there is in America a very real Ghost Presence, a spiritual reality which has not disappeared, and which is carried not only by those Native Shamans and Healers who still practice these Mysteries, but by the ancestors of these Peoples as they remain involved in earthly affairs even though living in the Spiritual World.  The connection between today's living Saturn practices and the world of ancestors and related spirits remains unbroken.  A dear friend, who is a Mohawk Shamaness and Healer, has regular contact with what she calls the Sky People at the level of what we might call: Inspiration - that is she speaks to and hears the ancestors and other spiritual beings, and toward whom she takes a relationship of obedience.

We could say that these Mysteries have come to rest in that stage of initiation which is pictured in Tarot symbolism, by the Hanged Man, the Twelfth Arcanum, where the will of the initiate is turned upside down in sacrifice, and given over to the Celestial Influence.

This sense of the Ghost Presence of the living Saturn Mysteries is just one of several themes the reader needs to encounter in order  to comprehend American Anthroposophy.  In what is discussed next, the Bioneers annual Festival in the Fall, Native Peoples are present everywhere, playing music, telling stories and sharing their deep social wisdom - what to this author is the real living legacy of  the Saturn Mysteries, namely: The idea of community as an integrated whole, which includes human beings, the four legged beings, the winged creatures and all the green world - that is all of Nature, as well as the Invisibles recognized ritually in the Pipe Ceremony, with the honoring of the Spirits of the Four Directions, just as Rudolf Steiner did not only in the Foundation Stone Meditation, but the ceremony he conducted when he laid the foundation stone for the original goetheanum.  Let me say this again, for those who have not heard this.  When Rudolf Steiner laid the copper dodecahedron as part of the foundation stone of the original goetheanum, he conducted an open air ceremony where he spoke one at a time to each of the four directions, just as later he  made reference to them in the Foundation Stone Meditation. (2)

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At the time  I am writing this (originally, not the revision), I am during the day attending an instinctive Michael Festival that has arisen in America.  Anthroposophists will immediately recognize that Steiner urged us to found a new Michael Festival, so that my reports concerning this ought to call forth your careful attention.

In the Challenge of the Times, Steiner describes English speaking Peoples as being instinctively in the Consciousness Soul in their Life of Rights.  Central Europeans, he remarks in contrast, need to be educated into the Consciousness Soul.  What this comes down to in a pragmatic (American) sense, is that the biographies of many in America, in that they are awake to the great events happening in the World, find called forth from their souls moral responses.  There is no clear authoritative religious teaching that covers these questions, and the individuals who face squarely political and social realities, finds themselves struggling with the need to respond from their individual moral center, in essence: to will the good and think with the heart.

This is at a certain level a world-wide phenomena, that has given birth everywhere to what Nicanor Perlas and Jesaiah Ben-Aharon have recognized as a global threefolding - a new whole-world spiritual cultural development: the environmental movement, social activism, Civil Society (NGO's etc.) and efforts at what are called: Green Politics.

In America, about  16 years ago, some people from the Taos area of New Mexico, started what they called: the Bioneers (3), by which they meant to combine the idea of the biological with the idea of pioneers.   To the Bioneers this is not the information Age, but the Age of Biology.  They saw themselves as creative forces seeking to forge new social realities on the basis of environmental, social and political needs.  In this way then began an annual gathering in early Fall, usually around the middle of October, where the very best speakers, thinkers, writers, doers, and artists, from all over the world would come together and share their work with each other.  Thousands now attend this annual gathering, held in the Frank Lloyd Wright Marin County Center just north of San Francisco, while thousands more (in 16 locations now) attend via satellite.

While the international scope of those attending and presenting varies, with sometimes the dominant voices being American, the net effect is the inbreathing and outbreathing of a world-wide spiritual consciousness, morally involved in all the deep issues faced by Peoples everywhere.  And certainly, this is not the only such instinctive Michael Festival that is manifesting on the Planet in our time.

What can't be dismissed in listening to these speakers, who in all cases are also doers, not just thinkers, is that one is listening to a Michaelic Cosmic Intelligence revealing itself through the moral grace living in the presenters.  Social, political, economic and environmental problems, which ordinary politicians and business people believe unsolvable, have already been solved, and here these solutions are introduced and elaborated, not just in theory, but in actual living practice. 

The real social problem appears to be not the absence of the needed Intelligence to solve these difficulties, but the absence in the decaying patriarchal hierarchical social forms (governments and corporations) of the will to solve them.  Yet, it is clear from listening to these voices of the Bioneers that they do not consider this to be a "real" problem.  They are abandoning the old forms, and taking upon themselves the will and the solutions.  What the macro culture of world political and financial powers fails to do, will and is being  done at the local level, out of the wisdom of the social commons - Civil Society.

Let me tell just one story from the most recent (2005) Bioneers conference.  I'll be brief by the way, so please understand that this is something of an over-generalization.

Some years ago a movement (the Tree People) was started (mostly led by a single individual), in order to look at the Los Angeles Basin - a huge urban environment more than half covered over with concrete and asphalt, in which lived millions of people - as still potentially an ecology.  A tree planting program was begun, that has led today to some 2 million trees being planted.  This was basically seen as a reforestation project involving a very large urban area.

As the consciousness of those working with this problem evolved, it became apparent that the whole urban area needed to be also seen as a watershed.  Earlier in the 20th Century all the river and stream systems had been enclosed in concrete, and when storms arose, a half billion gallons of rain water was yearly just being routed out of the city and into the ocean.  This was happening at the same time that the Los Angeles Basin was importing a billion gallons a year, from all over the Western United States, for its citizen's water needs.  As a large urban organism, the city had developed independent departments for different needs, and they never saw, or even conceived, what could happen if they thought differently and collectively about these issues.

The Tree People couldn't get the bureaucrats to understand how to see that an urban area could be conceived as a forest and a watershed, so finally some seed money was obtained, some design work was done, and an experiment was arranged for city officials to view.  4000 gallons of water was dumped on a single redesigned home in half an hour, none of which went into storm drains or down the street and most all of which went into a cistern and filtration catchment placed under the front yard.

This broke loose some more money from the city, and a large urban school yard (acres of asphalt and concrete), was turned into a park, underneath which were placed huge cistern and filtration catchments.  Now the whole city and county government has been taught to see the Los Angeles Basin is a urban ecology, with forestation and watershed characteristics that can be integrated into one system for handling water needs, waste disposal and flood control.  Hundreds of millions of dollars, once earmarked for separate problems and programs is now being spent on integrated systems.

But this is not all of the Bioneers Michaelic Festival, for of special import is that which is living in the women present and presenting, but for that theme we have to start a new thread.

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Rudolf Steiner, with apparently good reason, focused mostly on the Cosmic Hierarchies and their work, especially upon Christ.  In America, the Feminine Mysteries are flowering, and the presence of the Mother impulses is so strong that sometimes it seems almost perceivable by the senses.  These are the Mysteries of the Underworld - of the Eight Inner Spheres of the Earth - at the center of which is the Golden Realm of the Divine Feminine.

At the Bioneers conference mentioned above, an unusual young looking Black woman, who has apparently given herself the name: Rha Goddess, spoke; and, at times it seemed as if Rhea, the Mother of the Gods had appeared to reprove those present, while at the same time inspiring them.  Of all the speakers she evoked the most applause at the end.  Her work is mainly concerned with young women of color, and helping them overcome their victimization so as to lead them to vision.  She described going within (inner soul work) as just as important as marching in protest or voting.  She castigated the feminist movement for still being dominated at an organizational level with class and race distinctions.  She spoke of the need to face the shadow, the own inner demons, as a necessary prelude to real development and social action.  And that was just the beginning.  She also echoed a dominant theme of the conference (Festival), of how change is happening now, and that tomorrow is today.  She enchanted, chastised, evoked and inspired.

Across the Country, in New England, 3500 miles from California and a few days earlier, another Conference (Festival) was held, under the guidance of the Center for American Studies at Concord, in Concord Massachusetts, the home of Emerson and the transcendentalists.  The theme of this "convocation" was to bring the traditional understanding of Emerson, Thoreau, Alcott and others, into contact with anthroposophical spiritual science, in a subtle and gentle fashion.  The keynote speaker was another woman, this time Doris "Granny D." Haddock, aged 95, who in her 89th and 90th years, had walked 3500 miles across America in support of the political issue: campaign finance reform, which is an effort to get the lords of finance out of way of truly democratic politics.

She too was expressing the need to reprove, and especially was challenging the audience to realize that the usurpation by the Christian Right in America of moral virtue needed to be visibly and vocally confronted.  The time was well past when this basically anti-Christian and immoral movement was to be allowed to hold forth without the most intense response.

So the Divine Feminine - the Goddess - comes back.  Not in the Ways the New Agers fantasize, or in the Way Steiner taught, but deeply through the moral gesture, through the open hearts of those who bear the wound of the womb.  This is not a Michaelic Cosmic Intelligence, but something Other, for it chastises and reproves - it is wise and necessary, something the Native Peoples of the Plains in America called: Grandmotherly Kindness.  It is not the Light that Enlightens, but the Virgin Force which penetrates and transforms.

You see dear reader, the Mother rules the Dark, and with reproval She can cast aside the double, and remove it from its dominance of the individual I-am, the ego.  Here is a task She has already been at for years, and that comes next in our story.

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Around 1933, in America, as one of the first acts of His Return in the Ethereal, Christ touched Bill W. and planted the Grace in his soul that was to flower, via profound group work (a community actually gives birth to this) into the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.  In the first of these Steps, the basic gesture is one of surrender.  We accept our powerlessness over the demon - the monkey on our back.  When this gesture is truly meant, authentic and sincere, this Christ supported Way makes a door in the soul through which the Divine Feminine can enter, and stand in between the fallen ego and its self created demon, or egregore.  The rule of the Dark by the Feminine Mysteries is complete, and simply by standing within us a soul space is created by this Divine Feminine Mystery such that the I-am is now able to first rest and gather its strength, eventually to stand on its own, learning to live life on an entirely new basis.

The journey within by the addict and the drunk is a journey through the shadow realm toward the light and the Good. Help from the Invisibles is needed and is available, guided by that which Itself rules from the deepest Underworld the hierarchies of the Left.  This help does not need to stay present, which would otherwise weaken the ego and make it dependent, but rather only visits for a time until the others of the Twelve Steps, as well as the community of like wounded, leads the newly freed ego to the healing of its own soul.

This rite of passage is not limited to the addict and the alcoholic, for what lives in the Twelve Steps is an archetype of that to which John the Baptist referred, when he said: "Now I bathe you in water to change hearts, but the one coming after me is stronger than me: I'm not big enough to carry his shoes.  He will bathe you in holy breath and fire."  Fire here describes the trials we endure in our biographies that Grace us with gifts of learning we can acquire in no other way, while holy breath refers to the knowledge of the Good with which we are Graced within, in this the Age of the Consciousness Soul

We are nearly ready for the deeper Mysteries of America, the shadow or double and the Ahrimanic egregores which Rudolf Steiner named the Spirit of Rome and which seem today to so trouble the world, but before that it is necessary to look more carefully at the thinking process itself by which we are to produce our concepts and artistically create our meanings. (4)

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A main difficulty in encountering American Anthroposophy is met in the own Soul as a consequence of the Culture of Media.  Images and meanings are placed in the Soul, by the Culture of Media, that are not the truth of earthly existence.  Stories of tsunamis, hurricanes, corruption in high places, unnecessary wars - these pictures of the world are too partial - too incomplete, and while there is a purpose to them, to find the truth we have to discipline the Soul away from these pictures.

For the American Soul, this Culture of Media creates an image of a problem to be solved, while for the European Soul it creates an image of a situation in contrast with the Ideal of how matters should be.  This common functional element of modern sense existence enables the Soul to grasp the world in images and respond to it.  Yet, if we are to be anthroposophists, and are striving to think the world in a living way, we have to understand that these images are but a shadow of the social world, not its reality; and, as well, to recognize that the Soul is not the same over the earth.

For the European, thinking that seeks to see behind the social appearances will move upward through the Ideal, seeking Cosmic Vision.  For the American, thinking wants to move horizontally through the social appearances to discover their earthly heart filled meaning as aspects of human existence.  Both Soul gestures share ways they need to respond to the social appearances, but in that any higher spiritual meaning is sought, beyond the social appearances, the two Soul gestures take separate paths.

The World needs both forms of vision.  It will also come to need that Way of anthroposophical social Vision unique to the East, but that Voice is not yet clearly being heard (4a).  Yes, there are universal aspects to thinking that will be the same in East, Center and West, but since the Soul gestures of each are quite different, the meaning, processes and applications will vary.

What happens when thinking seeks to pass horizontally through the social appearances to the earthly heart-meaning of events?

Emerson spoke of how a "ray of relation" went from any one distinct nature object, to any other nature object.  The same is true for social events, and it is to a kind of contemplative picture thinking that this "ray of relation" appears.  The practices of Goetheanism are applicable here, but with a difference that is quite significant.

In Goetheanism, the appearances of the sense world are recreated in the imagination, in movement over time, and within their context.  But with the events of the social world, thinking has already abstracted meaning and content into inner pictures.  A Goetheanism of the social-political world has no already given (Steiner's "necessary given") sense forms, but must recognize that the thinking I is responsible from the beginning for the image creation.  This is why the images provided by the Culture of Media can not be allowed to primarily form that which thinking needs to contemplate.

The images provided by the Culture of Media have to be first worked over, so as to take away from them any lingering antipathy and sympathy that either the creators of the Media have produced, or which arise in our own Souls.  Let me give some concrete examples of the kinds of problems that can result, although nuanced in a particularly anthroposophical way.

It is common among anthroposophists, especially those who seek a deeper sense of events, to work with what has come to be called "symptomology", a process generally based on the study of Steiner's lectures: "From Symptom to Reality in Modern History".  What happens here is then that unredeemed pictures - pictures from the Culture of Media that are still painted with the colors of antipathy and sympathy, either ours or others or both - are linked up in the mind with concepts Steiner has given.  The obvious cases are where something is described as luciferic or ahrimanic, such that it is quite common among some today to speak of much of American Culture and Public Life as under such influences.

This joining of a Steiner concept with an unredeemed picture of the social appearances is a violation of one of the central precepts of Goetheanism.  When we bring a ready-made concept to a phenomena, we actually pass a cloud over our ability to observe and to think.  While this cloud is internal in the Soul, it is none the less there, even if we have borrowed the concept from Rudolf Steiner.  It is not the source of the concept which is the problem, but the lame (weak) nature of our inner activity in joining the two together - in uniting a Steiner derived concept to a Culture of Media produced percept.

Rudolf Steiner's epistemological works teach us that the World is a monism, wherein experience and thought are naturally united.  This is set against the assumed dualism of the Age of Science, which mistrusts the subjectivity of thinking, and believes there is a disconnect between the truth of the world of sense experience and the mind. 

The beginning of the path away from this assumption of a disconnect was laid out in Steiner's A Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe's World Conception, and involves learning to discipline the thinking gesture so that rather than a ready made concept becoming semi-consciously attached to the experience, the experiences (the phenomena) are so carefully observed, with concentrated attention and moral intention (sacrifice of already thought thoughts and antipathies and sympathies), that this "empty" thinking (blessed are the poor in spirit) then becomes a place where the spiritual reality already latent in the object (the phenomena) can itself speak - what Steiner called: "it thinks in me" (for theirs is the kingdom of heaven).  [please read this sentence at least twice]

In the case of social-political events, which almost automatically arouse strong feelings of antipathy and sympathy, the first work is to wash clean the pictures that we are creating of these events.  Thinking as a perceiving of the events has to be awake to what is being brought already to the process by our own Soul predispositions, as well as awake to that which has been laid into the situation by the Culture of Media.

This is actually the first and essential work - to consciously build up the inner pictures of events about which we wish to think.  In this case, we are becoming conscious of our own activity in spiritualizing (in an artistic sense) how we characterize the world. 

This is, by the way, not so simple as it sounds.  Even so, there are some rules of experience that can be shared here.  First, it is essential to keep any event connected to its biography.  The War in Iraq has a history of its becoming, and this must be thought.   Second, it is essential to keep any such event-biography, within its context - that is to not separate it from the wider streams of cultural and historical movement in which the event itself is but one theme.  Third, it is essential to carefully observe our self tendency to "describe" the event with words already weighted with values of sympathy and antipathy.

None of this means, by the way, that Steiner concepts have no utility.  On the contrary, they are very useful as a terminology, once thinking has perceived what wants to be perceived.  As terminology, they allow us to communicate, but this use must come after thinking has first worked over experience in the absence of any Steiner terminology induced concepts.

Having spent over 25 years now struggling with such problems, it can be said with assurance that a lot of preliminary work is essential.  We cannot leap over this work, although in other writings it has been my hope to set out some of the foundations already discovered, and by that work give the reader some help.  In this essay however, only a little can be done in the absence of this foundational material, and that task we shall take up next. (5)

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The following material will be offered mostly as conclusions, something a bit undesirable, but all the same necessary.  In the rest of this essay is that which appears to thinking when it embraces the social via a horizontal thinking through gesture, rather than through a gesture moving upward toward cosmic vision.  In the American Soul, the gravitas of the Divine Mother pulls the thinking down to earth.

We live in a time in which there is an ongoing metamorphosis of civilization - a dying and becoming.  Western Civilization is dying and something new is appearing.  Clues to this are found in Steiner's indications describing the Fifth Cultural Epoch (the Age of the Consciousness Soul) as being the inversion of the Third Cultural Epoch (the Age of the Sentient Soul). (6)

In the Third Epoch social life was characterized by hierarchical social forms, and humanity was ruled from above by Kings, Priests, Pharaohs and so forth.  Morality was defined by the outer culture in the form of rules (such as the Ten Commandments).  In the Fifth Cultural Epoch, hierarchical social forms are rigid (a natural sclerotic process) and are incapable of adapting anymore to modern conditions as regards the nature of the human being, who now demands to define the moral from within.

Over the same period of time, the human being has strongly individualized, such that the real causes of the dying of Western Civilization, besides age, come from within the human being with its unwillingness to anymore tolerate others defining what we can think or how we are to behave.  The outer form of civilization has to pass away and then be reborn, so as to catch up to and serve the real nature of the modern human being.

Such a process is incapable of being easy.

This is made all the more dire because each individual biography has to have within it those experiences that make possible the unfolding of the Consciousness Soul.  Each I must be confronted with experiences that offer to it the possibility of free moral choices, or that inner act which enables the I, in the Soul, to reach toward the eternal in the form of the Good.   We are to be baptized by holy breath (inner moral insight from which our conscience cannot turn away) and fire (outer strife that makes us face these hard moral choices - choices which are so formed that to rely on traditional moral sources is to go to sleep within).

The Dawn, of the Third Millennium since the Incarnation, is to occur via a Rite of Passage through fire and ice.  The fire of our inner passions will drive us, and as individuals the outer world will be cold to our needs, so that we have to stand on our own.  Everywhere, at least, the first two stages of the Passion of Christ are being offered to Souls: the washing of the feet and the scourging (there are individuals who experience more of these stages).  The meaning of the social-political world is being imitatively formed out of the Meaning of the Incarnation, as the Christ Impulse seeks to manifest Itself through the individual I-am.

This is the essential picture.  The whole-world social organism is penetrated from within by living spiritual forces, via the individual human Soul in the biography.  This organism is more properly understood as a moral organism, a reflection of the Good in and onto the Stage of History.  World Historical Events are but the Stage Backdrop to this Drama being played out operatically in each biography.  Such World Historical Events are peripheral to the biography.  It is the I at the center of the biography which is the principle object of the Love of Christ, and the Events are mere epiphenomena.

At the same time, such epiphenomena can still have meaning, and like the Book of Nature, which Goethe studied, the Book of the Social Political World also speaks.  What does it say?  How does it speak?  Why does it speak?

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From the Cultural East, we have the idea of the sense world as Maya - illusion.  But how could Goethe read such a Book, if all it was, was illusion?  I prefer this Idea: The World is the Word come to rest in living equilibrium.  Buddhism, being non-theistic, does not comprehend either the Creator or the Creation in the same way that Christianity is meant to discover.  What Steiner in Theory of Knowledge describes as experience and the necessary given is the Creation, and what he describes as thought is the Creator.  That is why in following the Path of Cognition - the monism described in The Philosophy of Freedom - we learn to experience the World's Inwardness as "It thinks in me".

Because the Creation, the sense world and the rest of the necessary given (Soul experiences) are fully penetrated with the Word, Nature is a book that can be read, and the social-political world is likewise a book that can be read.  The Creation is Living Speech which does not descend into the materialism of written language, or even the spoken word (although both those are filled with Grace).  This Living Speech authors a world of dynamic symbols, once we approach the phenomena with the right inner attitude.  For example, the biodynamic farmer in coming to listen to the speech of clay, silica and calcium begins to hear this Logos inspired cosmic speaking which all of the Creation contains.

So, as well, for those of us who want to learn to Listen to the World Song.  It is our Western education and culture that disables us from right inner listening and right outward observing.  We are enveloped in the darkness of the Ahrimanic Deception in order to be made free of the Divine Mystery, so that to seek re-integration - to become the Prodigal Son or Daughter - only happens if we so choose.

In that we transform thinking from within, by resting it on the foundation of free moral inner deeds, then can be born in us the capacity to perceive with the thinking the speech of Events.  Yet, we cannot be passive here.  Thinking needs to be cognitive activity.  Let us now go to what thinking can perceive in Events, which again, unfortunately, will have to be more in the nature of conclusions.

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Americans have the fate and the good fortune to have a very strong double-complex.  This is necessary so that this earth-bound Western culture, which is so penetrated with Ahriman's nature, can be met.  Souls have to incarnate that can carry the capacity to overcome, out of their own forces of spirit - out of the own I - this too earthly culture, to tame it, and to (oddly enough) Christianize it.
The American is to work on the social-political in a very concrete, down to earth, Way.

This why the Saturn Mysteries are so strong here - because they contain the living memory of the human being as an integrated member of a whole.  Western Civilization, born out of migrations from Atlantis to the East, ultimately achieving a culture emancipated from integration with Nature, had to eventually give birth to materialism, something the Saturn Mysteries could not.  Peoples remaining integrated with Nature, even if just by tradition, can't create the culture of materialism needed for human beings to become free of the Divine Mystery.

When these two opposite cultures collided in America, a great battle ensued: Materialism confronted the last memories of non-materialistic culture - the Saturn Mysteries.  It appears on the surface that materialism won, but this view would be false.   As we observed above, there is a Ghost Presence in America, such that the influence of the dead has a peculiar characteristic here.  In that American's receive instinctive impulses from the dead, these impulses lead the I toward a new yearning for re-integration.  The American Soul hungers for spiritual community, yet on the earth. (7)

This impulse manifests archetypically in the Bioneers, who struggle to combine (not always with success) ecological science and native spirituality.    In addition, the whole situation at the level of American Soul characteristics, is under a very strong influence from the Divine Feminine.  There is a fierceness coming out of women here, a moral fierceness as it were.  Also permeating the American culture is the work on addictions - Twelve Step work is everywhere that people are seeking to overcome their inner demons, producing the foundations of a new spiritual culture.  What others perceive about America, through the Culture of Media, hides the essential reality - what is happening at the level of ordinary people, within the social commons.

Why is that?   What is that which the Culture of Media sees, that confuses us?

Here we come to what Steiner pointed at in the Challenge of the Times, as the Spirit of Rome.  All institutional hierarchies (including the Anthroposophical Society) in this time, have within them a shadow being, a human created demon-like psychic parasite or egregore. This egregore is created by our worship of the social form as an idol (or of a particular personality as an idol), which violates the spiritual laws recognized in the Second Commandment.(8)  An excellant example is the love of a Corporation, as a being in itself, by its upper level managers and owners.  This unconscious and misplaced worship then is absorbed in the psychic parasite, with very unwanted consequences.

What can then be seen about America, in that non-American's worry about American Imperialism, is this ahrimanic egregore or double of America.  We live in the time of the Mystery of Evil, which is a Cosmic Mystery concerning the meaning of earth events.  In America, via the influence of Lucifer and Ahriman on the double-complex of individual Americans, a social process appears in which the unrestrained elements of the double-complex appear in public life in this infusion of egregorial shadow beings.   If we step back from this a bit, and see these events as a whole - as the Logos Speaking, we can see that in America the unrestrained double-complex manifests in such a shadow being in the culture of public life, and ordinary Americans, at the level of the social commons, are forced to confront it.

The social-political world, guided by Divine Spiritual Powers, authors the free expression of the double of Americans so that we have to face our worst fears about ourselves.  The social-political, itself permeated with the Logos Speaking, forges a mirror for the American Soul, such that we cannot escape from facing the worst within us.

But this is not all, for this Mystery of Evil, with its social-political mirroring authored by the Logos Speaking, is everywhere in the world.  No place, no people is free of being confronted by the mirror image of its own worst impulses.

This then is the gift element of the Culture of Media.  By its fascination with the dark, and its inability to think its way to the social commons where the Consciousness Soul is expressing itself, the Cultural of Media still serves a functional process in the Logos Speaking by creating for us the images of the doubles of all the Peoples, whether Islamic, Christian, German, English, African, whatever.

In our naive thinking we assume that this manifestation of terrible human activities serves no purpose.  But we forget then, that we are forced by the very existence of these elements confronting our Souls, to alter our own behaviors.  We don't want to be like that.  We don't want our Nation to be like that.  We don't want the world to be like that.  Thus the Logos Speaking of the World Song forces us to face the own dark within as an aspect of the complex mirroring Rite in the Mystery of Evil appearing through the Culture of Media as we enter more deeply into the Age of the Consciousness Soul.  This Logos Speaking, in its focus on the Shadow, then encourages the I  to turn inward toward the Good as the only healthy existential response to modern civilization.

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That which comes toward us, via the senses and the Culture of Media, are but the outer seemings of the social-political world - the phenomena.  Only when we include in this picture the inner elements - the Soul consciousness of the Age, and the experiences of the I in the biography - does our thinking start to penetrate to the Meaning of this Time.

When we look, with thinking, at the whole of these inner elements, as something living and in movement, does the essential begin to appear.  We need, with the thinking, to make a sum, or a whole, of all seemingly individual consciousness.  Please remember that the world of the senses, and the meaning of Events as provided by the Culture of Media, are but a seeming - merely epiphenomena.  It is the whole of Soul consciousness and the activity of all the I's, that is the reality.  Billions of human beings are united via the inner invisible world of which materialism denies any significance, but which is the whole point of earth existence.

Imagine away the outer world, and make only a picture of the inner world, which appears to the I as individual, but which in reality is but a doorway into the true Realm of Spirit.  In that we in this Age, seek knowledge of the Good, as potentially compelled by the events of our biographies, we each cross the Threshold.  To know the Good is to know the Eternal - that is to cross the Threshold via moral intuition.  Recall that our teacher often spoke that all of humanity is in our time crossing the Threshold.

The Spiritual World, on whose door we knock in seeking to know the Good, is a unity.  Each individual inwardness is joined to One Universal Inwardness by the gestures of Soul made possible by the Consciousness Soul Age.

The essential then is the Moral Texture of this Age, which Steiner characterized as the Consciousness Soul, which characterization itself is yet too abstract a term.  In order to take hold of the living element we have to see how all Soul consciousness is enfolded in the Bosom of Christ such that we are together inwardly traversing what appears to us presently as a dark moral sea, in which the only light that can appear (initially) is out of the own I.

The outer seeming, via the Culture of Media, in which the double or shadow forces dominate, is but a cosmic social mirror whose purpose is to reflect back on the Soul consciousness, and the I, that experience which then invites the I to bring the light of its own moral truth upon the initially dark sea of inward being - a sea that is shared by all, even though we do not yet recognize this.

This individually created moral truth not only then shines light on the initially dark collective inner sea, but also spiritual warmth via the heart-thinking.  Out of humanity's collective moral thinking then, the shared dark sea of inner unknown becomes creatively transformed by our moral light and warmth, slowly and surely, into the substances and foundations of that realm of future existence we seek to call the New Jerusalem.

Thus, the Earthly Rite of the Mystery of Evil (a Rite created by the Logos Speaking of the Christ coupled with the darkness shaping authority of the Divine Mother), via the social-political, with its mirrored confrontation between the Shadow as displayed by the Culture of Media, and the I in the biography, seeks to unite all I-am's across the threshold in moral communion.  From this picture of World Events, we can now come to see the need for a renewal of our anthroposophical understanding of the New Mysteries, and the need for our anthroposophical participation in a true and conscious Michael Festival, so as to artistically elaborate our own earthly role and counterpart to this Rite,....but that, dear friends, is a whole other story. (9)

*       *       *

Hopefully the reader will now see that it was not so much my intention to intellectually describe American Anthroposophy, but rather simply to demonstrate it.

written late in the Season of Michaelmas, 2005
joel a. wendt

(1) See the remarkable essay America - the Central Motif, by Patrick Dixon, which can be found included in the material at this URL. about a fifth of the way down the page. http://ipwebdev.com/hermit/clarke3.html

(2) For details on the Saturn Mysteries thoughout the Americas, with special reference to Steiner's works, go to Stephen Clarke's work, American Chapters, that can be found here: http://ipwebdev.com/hermit/clarke4.html

(3) Here is a URL to an essay I wrote on the Bioneers in 2003: http://ipwebdev.com/hermit/bioneers.html

(4) The problem of the double-complex, the influence of the Mother, and the intersection of these in the healing powers of the Twelve
Steps is discussed fully in my book: the Way of the Fool: Christian Enlightenment (initiation) and the Future of Christianity, (2004) which can be found at this URL: http://ipwebdev.com/hermit/twotf.html.

(4a) The work of Nicanor Perlas of the Philippines points in the right direction, yet seems to lack something.  It is somehow too individualized, when it ought to be more rooted in community - in a circle of thinkers.  Other than this small disquiet in my soul concerning this work, it still seems worthy of respect as a viable first iteration.  For details see: http://www.cadi.ph/

(5) Foundational material is outlined in the following essays:
Threshold Problems in Thinking the Threefold Social Order (1991): http://ipwebdev.com/hermit/thpts.html
Waking the Sleeping Giant: the mission of Anthroposophy in America (1995): http://ipwebdev.com/hermit/wkslg.html
Listening to the World Song (1999): http://ipwebdev.com/hermit/lttws.html
The Social-Spiritual Organism of a Waldorf School Community (1999): http://ipwebdev.com/hermit/ssows.html
The Law and the Spirit (2004): http://ipwebdev.com/hermit/lawspirit.html
American Culture - a first look (2005): http://ipwebdev.com/hermit/americanculture.html

(6) Strange Fire: the Death, and the Resurrection, of Western Civilization http://ipwebdev.com/hermit/stgfr.html

(7) The Hopi Indians of America's Southwest knew this collision was coming through their prophecies, and I have written on this in the essay: The Mystery of the True White Brother (1997): http://ipwebdev.com/hermit/eldbr.html

(8)  See also Owen Barfield's book: Saving the Appearences: a Study in Idolatry.

(9) Concerning the Renewal of Anthroposophy - rediscovering the true meaning of the New Mysteries, the URL for which essay is: http://ipwebdev.com/hermit/concerning.html, and The Three Wishes: http://ipwebdev.com/hermit/threewishes.html