the School of Chartres, and the Culmination.

for a much more elaborate essay on the Culmination, written more than a year after this shorter piece below, go here:
The Potential Mission of the Anthroposophical Society in the Early Centuries of the Third Millennium

[the original version of this article was written in the Summer of 2012, in preparation for the AGM that August in Ann Arbor.
Revisions have been added in preparation for the AGM in October of 2013, in Keene, NH.   Such revisions will be placed within the text in brackets.]

Stephen Usher recently wrote on article on The Culmination, containing this language: Further, he [Steiner] states that a great Culmination of the Anthroposophical Movement should occur at the end of the Century, and upon this depended the fate of civilization. If the Culmination actually occurred, civilization would receive a new impulse that would lift it to a higher stage, but if it failed then a terrible and inevitable decay would result.  The key participants in the Culmination drama are the Aristotelians and the Platonists. The former include Rudolf Steiner and most of the souls who established Anthroposophy at the beginning of the Century. The latter included the great masters of the School of Chartres in France who typically incarnate out of sync with the Aristotelians but who would incarnate in sync with them to achieve the Culmination.  See:   

[I could write a long article disagreeing with many details of Usher's presentation, but prefer to simply put forward the following with some additional comments as seems needed today - September 19th, 2013 - on the occasion of the full moon nearest Michaelmas.  All the same this should be noted.  Usher seems to hold to the idea (not really justified) in anthroposophical circles that the Anthroposophical Society manages to carry Anthroposophy.  This conception can be contrasted with this remark of Steiner's concerning the reading of his The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity, made after the burning of the original Goetheanum, and published in lecture three of Awakening to Community:  "The way it should be read is with attention to the fact that it brings one to a wholly different way of thinking and willing and looking at things....The trouble is that The Philosophy of Freedom has not been read in the different way I have been describing.  That is the point, and a point that must be sharply stressed if the development of the Anthroposophical Society is not to fall far behind that of anthroposophy itself.  If it does fall behind, anthroposophy's conveyance through the Society will result in its being completely misunderstood, and its only fruit will be endless conflict!"]

Because something I participated in over the turn from the 20th to the 21st Century may be further evidence of Usher’s research on this question, I offer below the tale of that work here.  Those with whom I gathered in those years, mostly over the Internet, but a couple in the flesh, are unknown to most anthroposophists.  This should not be surprising given that the Anthroposophical Society had fallen on difficult times in a number of ways (of which I have written elsewhere).  I make no assertions or claims, which is why I characterized it as a tale.  The reader should feel completely free to interpret it however they wish.

In a way, to appreciate this, we have to see my own individuality as a kind of axis of the wheel of several intersecting biographies.  It cannot be otherwise, for I only know [the details of] my own experience.  All the personalities I mention will have their own point of view as to what happened and what it all means.  Nevertheless, on reading Usher’s article in the articles section of the website for the Anthroposophical Society in America, my thinking drew relationships between Usher’s efforts to  understand something and my own experiences.

Let us begin with asking whether a gathering of some of the personalities of the School of Chartres would have to know they had been part of this group in the past.  I see no reason that they should.  In the same vein I see no reason that they should believe they are participating in The Culmination, or in the fate of civilization.  My view is that those spiritual beings who this group of people were connected to, consciously and otherwise, may well have known all that, but for the members of the group (in its widest sense), this knowledge of culminations and fates of civilizations would have in fact interfered with their freedom by creating a meaning at odds with that meaning they already had produced for themselves.   To begin the tale ...

In 1997 I wrote an article (a couple in fact), which I sent to an anthroposophical  conference in August of that  year at Ann Arbor, via a friend, for I was too poor to afford  to go myself.  I only sent 23 copies, again having few funds.  I later published this article on my first website.  The main article was called: The Study of Rudolf Steiner’s Lecture Cycles, and the Problem of Cognition - musings on the epistemological swampland of the Anthroposophical Movement, and I published it as part of a journal called: Outlaw Anthroposophy.

This attracted some curious inattention:  That’s right. There was basically no reaction. It was ignored!  That is, in the immediate moment, no one sent me any responses.  Over the years that this has been on my website many people have found it of value.  One person translated the two essays [the second essay was called: "The Anthroposphical Society - is it a living social form?"] into German and published them in the “Jarhbuch fur anthroposophische Kritik 1998“.  Bob and Nancy’s extensive Waldorf Website has copied the two essays with favorable comments.  Four years after the conference, someone who had been there found this material on my website and sent me an e-mail.  They described having heard that “subversive” material was being circulated at that conference, and that this must have been it.  Now, that is a very interesting term (subversive), if you think about it.  In a Society, which is dedicated to the Ideal of Spiritual Freedom, people were reacting, to the above efforts at seeking the truth, in a political way.

[Recent thinking of mine, on the true nature of the modern Anthroposophical Society, has felt it necessary to describe that Society as less of a spiritual social form, but rather something with more kinship to an academic department at a modern University.: There are in-groups and out-groups.  Differing "schools of thought".  Behind the scenes struggles over who is rise to dominant positions in the hierarchy of "authorities".  The field of study of this "university department" is the works of Rudolf Steiner, who is basically seen as incapable of being mistaken about anything.  People who can't agree with the dominant paradigm of the "meaning" of Steiner's works are shoved to the periphery, and the center is guarded somewhat visciously with gossip and inuendo concerning those personalities not felt to be "appropriate" - e.g. the comment that my contribution in 1997 was "subversive".  There are many stories that can be told in this fashion.]

Shortly after it [Outlaw Anthroposophy] was published on-line, I was contacted and invited to join an Internet Steiner discussion list-serve, named: Anthroposophy.  About the time I joined, the discussion list name was changed to: Anthroposophia.  Because certain individual members were undisciplined and often acted as agents of chaos (trolls), those wanting serious discussion created even another list-serve, which was intuitively named: The Ark.   The Ark was moderated.  This did not stop various agents of chaos from trying to sneak in, which eventually killed the Ark after about five years.  But from about 1997 to 2003 some rather unusual people engaged each other, sometimes meeting in the flesh, but mostly through e-mail dialog and the sharing of papers.

Factually, without the Internet, most of us would not have been able to have contact, for we were somewhat international in scope, although most were Americans, residents in a country 3000 miles wide and all of us located spread out all over the place and often in movement.  For example, during that time (1997-2003) I lived in San Francisco, Greenville NH, and Prescott AZ.

I’ll only tell the story of some of the major personalities that were present, what they did, and what they are doing now (as far as I know).  You’ll have to decide for yourself whether we represented  enough of an unusual constellation of personalities to fit into the idea of the Culmination and the School of Chartres in some fashion.  [My thesis is that the following members of the Ark were platonists, and that many on-lookers were aristotelians.  We have to keep in mind that the distinction between the two involves the "how" of the way they thought, with the platonists more interested in the "true idea", while the aristotelians were more interested follwing the correct Steiner doctrine.]

 My own work is, in a way, an open book.  Those who read it tend not be institutional leaders of the Anthroposophical Society, although I was told at one point that early in the first decade of the 21st Century, [that] the Central Regional Council in America used my Waking the Sleeping Giant as group study material.   During the year 2010 I wrote The Art of God: an actual theory of Everything, and [as well] turned most of my written work into oral form, creating over 230 [272] videos for YouTube, which has generated over 70,000 [120,000] visits to individual videos.  This is a bit odd because there are no cute cats, and mostly it is me just sitting in front of a camcorder waxing philosophical.

[Recent works of note: Electricity and the Spirit in Nature; Cowboy Bebop - and the physics* of thought as moral art; and, Sex, Porn, and the Return of the Divine Feminine.]

The Ark also included Bruno Abrami, an Italian initiate whose path is rooted in The Philosophy of Freedom.  He finds Dornach disgusting and a failure (he is refreshingly blunt).  He once likened spiritual experience as being the difference between mental masturbation, and actually making mutual love to someone.  On another occasion he said he would have had no trouble killing someone if he had been standing on a pass in the Italian Alps, when Moors where trying to invade Christendom.  Very down to earth fellow, and simultaneously wise.  He asked me once what I looked like and I said I was over 300 lbs and bald.  His reply was that was how he saw me in his “dreams".  Here’s the link to his website (which is in English and Italian):

Next, Harvey Bornfield.  Harvey was hard to read - his prose had flights of language that seemed to be difficult to follow.  His genetic background was Jewish, his dominant religion Baha’i.  He came to the Ark already very familiar with Steiner.  He died in 2006, having entered this world around the time of the creation and use of the Atomic Bomb (May, 1945).  At the time of his death I had on my hard drive a number of his offerings to the Ark, which I then collected (and organized a bit), in a book I called: Silent Passage, because no one noticed him during his life except for a few friends and family.  He was almost too sensitive for our time.  At the end of the introduction to his writings, I wrote: - imagine what might happen if the Sufi poet-mystic Rumi, and the deaf composer Beethoven,  decided to write together (as dance partners) some seeming prose as an organic (spontaneously alive and  evolving) sequence of jazz riffs -

 When I was putting together my collection of his e-mails, I happened to read one of the early ones out loud, and made the most astounding discovery.  What he wrote was not meant to be read in the inner silence of our own mind, but to be read aloud and with passion!  When I did that everything changed and I felt even more deeply what a loss it was for us to have had him for a while before he slipped away.  Here is the link to his works:

As soon as possible go there and read aloud #3 and #4, for the first is a beautiful prose-poem written to Fall and the Season of Michaelmas, then shared with us early on the morning of  9/11/2001, before Harvey even knew about the events in New York.  #4 was written the next day (the 12th) and is one of the wisest observations of the meaning of those tragic events I have ever read.

 Stephen Clarke: After I had known Stephen for a while, he sent me a copy of his unpublished autobiographical work: Close Encounters of the Fifth Kind.  In the beginning it seemed to him he was having visitor (alien) experiences, but eventually worked out that he was meeting the spiritual beings of the hierarchies of the inner spheres of the earth.  Their fearful appearances gave way when he started to try to love these beings.  His path then was, through what he calls belly clairvoyance, to descend into these underworld vistas on his way to the Golden Realm of the Mother, which Steiner describes as being on the “other-side” of these inner spheres.

Eventually it became routine (in a way) for Stephen to meet with the Feminine  Mysteries of the Earth, which he once described to me as kind of like having tea and conversation (a version of what Steiner called: Inspiration).  For Stephen, he felt as if he was following where Christ went on Saturday, following his Crucification: through Hell and into the arms of the Holy Mother as depicted on the Pieta.  An amazing act of surrender.

Stephen wanders in the southwest, living mostly in Santa Fe, New Mexico (50 miles north of Albuquerque).  He runs there an auto repair shop, called Mozart’s Garage, specializing in the repair of high end European cars like Mercedes Benz.  His office in lined with hundreds of books, and he told me once he on occasion spent $800 a month on phone calls talking to people who interested him.

He is an excellent writer and a very clear thinker.  He has studied Steiner seriously, especially the material on the Mexican Mysteries, because that is what Stephen studies: meso-America, its history and personalities.  I keep trying to get him to put all his writing on the Internet, but there is so much Art (of the Americas) that this represents a huge technical problem (for me), so that we have to (at this point in time) content ourselves with what I got of his work on my own website:

Disgusted with the Society, he left it a few years ago, and mostly spends his time connecting to various Native America elders in the Southwest (Hopi, Navajo, Pueblo and so forth.)  Also, more modern, a special treat: Some Notes Toward a Resolution of the Dilemma - in reference to Paul V. O’Leary’s The Inner Life of the Earth, which is a discussion of certain erroneous thinking, common in the Anthroposophical Society, on the nature of Evil.

 Catherine MacCoun:  Powerful and intimidating ... that about sums her up.  Her use of Reason can be devastating if you’ve made a goofy argument and she decides to take you up on it. Born and raised Catholic, she first crossed the threshold into the world of the dead when her  mother committed suicide when Catherine was 17 or 18.  Later she gravitated to Tibetan Buddhism - Chogyam Trungpa, creator of the Naropa Institute of Boulder Colorado, with whom she spent over 15 years.  She ended up on the Ark, I know not how, but was the only  [first - others have followed] ,  writer and thinker I’ve ever read who could stand toe to toe with Steiner and argue with good cause that he’d gotten something wrong.

I’ve an essay of hers on my website: Work on What has been Spoiled, which is about the “Dornach Scandal of 1915“:

Her anthroposophical knowledge is sometimes weak ... she once didn’t know the term Goetheanism, when I used it in a post to the list.  But she was very scientific in a way, such that when we were investigating Steiner’s views of the Jesuits, she dropped out for about 4 months to actually practice the Loyola Meditation exercises to see for herself what they were about.  Eventually the list worked it out that what Steiner spoke of critically was not the original exercises, but how they were being applied at the time he was alive.

Around August of the year 2000, she reported to us that Christ had hinted or directed her to go to Morocco (she speaks French) to experience Ramadan that Fall, which she did.  Upon her return she began writing to us what she called her: Ramadan Diaries.  Described by others as tall, blond and statuesque, she began her trip by sitting in cafes drinking tea and coffee.  Men approached her, and she spoke to them of her wish to experience Ramadan exactly as did their people.  Confidence in her sincerity arose after a time and she was then invited to spend the month of Ramadan in the women’s compound of a local family, which she did.

The Ramadan Diaries, as given to the Ark, were episodic, she had after all another life (besides the Ark) as a literary collaborator: (her own business - link here: ).  But when 9/11 happened it was very clear why Catherine was the member of our “group” sent the year before to an Islamic Country in order to have direct experience of that culture’s reality.  She described Islam thusly (I’ll be brief): Neither the Greeks or the Romans or the Jews could take up fully Christ’s social teachings.  These teachings then rose in a kind of hyperbolic curve into the spiritual world, until they were able to re-descend via the archangel responsible for the visions of Muhammad.  Catherine met these social teachings, in their modern form, in her experiences of Ramadan within the women’s house in Morocco.

For some on the Ark 9/11 led to furious arguments.  Yet Catherine, who had frequently demonstrated her clairvoyance (of the old kind - absent the new cognition), was able to help us stay spiritually sane.  When the Ark fell apart a couple of years later she went on to other things, eventually producing her own spiritual masterwork: On Becoming an Alchemist: , which she characterizes as a combination of Tibetan and Christan Alchemy.  I’ve read the book and highly recommend it, although I published my own review, with a few critical remarks, here:

 Elizabeth Ancrum Mackenzie:  Elizabeth, who was born and lives in Scotland and is a former Waldorf teacher, was not on the Ark, although it was during those same five years of the possible Culmination (1997-2003) that she first contacted me, and along with our dialogs on things anthroposopohical and humorous she sent me Irina Gordienko’s remarkable book: Sergei O. Prokofieff: Myth and Reality.  These dialogs with Elizabeth were sometimes reported on the Art - such that she was there indirectly through me.  I also published some of her work on my website, which then made that material available during that time to others on the Ark.  This Gordienko work is, by the way, a very important and very  much suppressed and needed critical study of  a leading member of the Executive of the Society.

We fell out of touch for a time and then a couple of years ago she resurfaced, enabling me to put together a first iteration of a website for her, which she later replaced with her own: Christian Esotericism at Tibby Fowler's Bothy.  These works represent to my thinking [some of] the very highest presentations of Anthroposophy by someone currently incarnate. There is nothing like them being produced elsewhere, and it would be a great tragedy if the Society were not to take her work very seriously.  

Was this co-working on and around the Ark of these six personalities (Joel, Bruno, Harvey, Stephen, Catherine and Elizabeth), with me as the ostensible axis, part of The Culmination?  Had we been together in the School of Chartres?  Did we save modern civilization?  Or was our working together more a by-product of the activity of higher beings?  However you want to answer those questions, these meetings did factually happen.  The personalities are as described.  We were not just connected to each other, but many more remarkable individuals participated in the Ark or have been otherwise touched by each of us as aspects of our biographies.  If you read Catherine’s book, especially the last section on Radiation,  you will encounter the idea (true also for Steiner) that those who are truly creative with Ideas radiate them into the world of Ideas, where they then become able to be “downloaded” and used by others.  Think about it.

The reality of this group is more complex than presented, for the true common axis was not me, but Rudolf Steiner.  All of us shared that as an essential and important interest, however varied were our reactions to him and to the Society.  We were also all deeply parts of different spiritual streams and all us had direct perceptions of various kinds of the world of spirit and its Beings.  I’d wager you would not have found a constellation of individuals of such spiritual depth anywhere else on the Planet during those five years of the so-called: Culmination.

*     *     *

[Bruno continues refuse to have intercourse with the Society, althougth he gives evidence of having worked through Steiner's The Philosophy of Freedom successfully.   Elizabeth, although she maintains a strong belief in Steiner., also holds to her version/understanding of the  meaning of The Philosophy of Freedom.  Keep in mind here, that there seems to be latent in European thinkers (Bruno and Elizabeth) a kind of idealism that is different from American pragmatism.  

Harvey has crossed over and may be helping all of us from that corner of reality.  Catherine today (see hints in her Alchemy book) believes that Steiner's work was excessive (just way too much of it asserted with to much certainty) and thus is confused on many levels (she doesn't name him, but the reference could not be more obvious).  Stephen, in a recent conversation, seems tending a bit in that direction, but clearly wants nothing to do with the Society, having found a home in the aboriginal Earth-spirituality of Native Americans.  

Of the six of us, I seem to be the only American who made it through the mine-field of the soul to the New Mystery of Thinking, and even now I am getting ready to go to the coming AGM in Keene, NH (Oct. 2013)  and see if there is the possibility of helping redirect the remaining energies in a wiser fashion.  That AGM is actually to be followed by a two day conference of the Youth Section, which I will also be attending in the hope that young people may have some healthy instincts that can be supported - after all it is they who will live in the trials of the 21st Century, not us elders.  In essence I have not yet given up on the Society, conceiving of it's present state as simply a natural and necessary condition, mostly derived from the needs of karma, that has to be gone through in order to incarnate Anthroposophy into human civilization (a matter Steiner seemed to believe might take four centuries to achieve).  The main question I seek to bring to the Society, and the Youth Section, is from the American cartoonist Bill Griffith, through his character Zippy the Pinhead: "Are we having fun yet?"]  [ is a link to my report on this AGM and following Youth Section meeting in the Fall of 2013]