The Hindu reported on 12/8/2013 on an international seminar on holistic education in Coimbatore, southern India, with Waldorf educators and anthroposophic doctors. It shared the Waldorf story and perspective as brought by leader of the Medical Section at the Goetheanum Dr Michaela Glöckler. The eight-day conference was initiated by Yellow Train School whose Facebook page has photos of the event. Santhya Vikram of Yellow Train is quoted:
More and more people are disillusioned by the frenetic pace of our lives and what our young children are subjected to in the name of education. They want the schooling years that are joyful and healing in an environment of love and care.
The International Postgraduate Medical Training (IPMT) which meets around the world was also held in India, in Chennai, in late November. Its next meetings in North America are May 10-17, 2014, in Fair Oaks, CA, which includes the Anthroposophic Nursing Certification Course and Rhythmical Massage Therapy Training; and an advanced training for school doctors in Wilton, NH, June 29-July 4.
In the Biodynamics Blog Jeff Schreiber, who farms at Three Sisters Community Farm near Milwaukee, offers a stimulating report on a recent workshop with Bruno Follador and others: “More Humus, More Humanity: Insights and Practices out of Biodynamic Agriculture” at the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute in East Troy, Wisconsin. The report is interspersed with photos and telling quotations, include the painter Cézanne's assertion that "The day is coming when a single carrot, freshly observed, will set off a revolution."
And a key issue worked on was thinking: "All phenomena become merely things 'out there,' things to manipulate, exploit, and control. Here, in this worldview, is where the horrors of our world begin: soil becomes just an inert medium for root growth. Chickens: just cuts of meat. Water: just molecules. Land: just a commodity. People: just collections of genes." But a biodynamic farmer must overcome this kind of thinking to meet the truth of the compost heap at the heart of a living farm.
And so, "The revolution we so badly need... will come through free people paying ever greater attention – little by little, day by day – to the phenomena that surround them..." [Read more.]
Rudolf Steiner's pedagogical insight was that children are better not pushed into reading until the permanent teeth arrive around age seven. Formative forces at work in the bodily organism are then released for mental effort. In the UK the "Too Much, Too Soon" campaign has reached the same conclusion, and one of the signers, a Cambridge University researcher, explains that "There are several strands of evidence which all point towards the importance of play in young children’s development, and the value of an extended period of playful learning before the start of formal schooling. These arise from anthropological, psychological, neuroscientific and educational studies." David Whitebread adds, "One particular study of 3,000 children across England, funded by the Department for Education themselves, showed that an extended period of high quality, play-based pre-school education was of particular advantage to children from disadvantaged households." Read more at the Cambridge University site.
A broad campaign for healthy early childhood has been carried for some years in the USA by the Alliance for Childhood, whose co-founder Joan Almon was a co-chair of WECAN, the Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America, and a general secretary of the Anthroposophical Society in America.
Waldorf schools are so famous for their strong arts curriculum that some people mis-perceive them as schools for arts rather than for the whole human being. The awarding of a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine to Thomas C. Südhof provides a pointer to Waldorf graduates' abilities in the sciences. His laboratory studies how synapses are formed in the brain, take on specific properties, and accomplish their signaling. Südhof tells his own story online, beginning as follows:
When I was born in Göttingen in 1955, the aftermaths of the second world war were still reverberating. I was born into an anthroposophical family. My maternal grandparents had been early followers for Rudolf Steiner’s teaching, and worked for Waldorf schools when Hitler assumed power and banned the anthroposophical movement. Waldorf schools were closed, and my grandfather was conscripted to work in a chemical munitions factory ... My uncle was drafted into the army right out of school, and when I was born, he had just returned from the Soviet Union after 10 years as a prisoner of war. My parents were physicians... My father’s training led him to the United States during the time I was born; as a result, he learned of my arrival by telegram as he was learning biochemical methods in San Francisco, where in a twist of fate I now live.
I ... graduated from the Hannover Waldorf school in 1975. I had been interested in many different subjects as a student, any subject except sports. I did not know what to do with my life after school, except that I was determined not to serve in the military. More by default than by vocation, I thus decided to enter medical school, which kept all avenues open for a possible career in science or as a practitioner of something useful – being a physician...
The Telegraph reports on the support given to Steiner/Waldorf schools, and to parents' right to choose alternative schools in the UK, by parent Tilda Swinton, the well-known actress. "She said the Steiner education system, in which she placed her twin son Xavier and daughter Honor, encourages pupils to become 'a fully functional person.' Speaking at an open day for the Moray Steiner School and Brumduan Upper School, attended by her 15 year-old children, Swinton said promoting the schools is her only current project, adding that there was 'a misunderstanding' about Steiner education as people think it's 'flaky' or 'woolly.' She said: 'When I went into the Steiner school for the first time, I was struck not only by the trusting and familial atmosphere for younger children, but mainly by older children, because I had never walked into a school before where teenagers had been so welcoming and self-possessed and kind.' She said the Steiner education system, in which she placed her twin son Xavier and daughter Honor, encourages pupils to become 'a fully functional person.'" Read more online.
For Michaelmas (September 29th), Bill Trusiewicz adds a third installment on the topic, "Archangel Michael, the Fiery Thought-King of the Universe: How Can We Know Him?" This part has the further title, "Spiritualizing the Knowledge of Space."
We will explore the statement from Rudolf Steiner’s last address quoted earlier, concerning the “great crisis” that humankind would pass through after the end of the twentieth century. Steiner said that it would be necessary that “the Michael Power and the Michael Will penetrate the whole of life.” He said that these “are none other than the Christ Power and the Christ Will.” We will explore how it is that through the Michael Power, humanity in our time can and must transform our predisposition to view all things in a materialistic way, due to our peculiar knowledge of space. We will address the question of how Michael can help us to spiritualize our knowledge of space and thus “penetrate the whole of life” to meet the challenges of our time.
There are a number of celebrations on September 20 and 21 of the laying of the foundation stone for the first Goetheanum a hundred years ago. Rick Ruffin of the SE Pennsylvania Branch has kindly shared a paper written by Alan Thewless, which was presented to the local Tycho Brahe Star Group.
Wherever you are, the members of the Eurythmy Association of North America are suggesting that you do "Halleluiah" in eurythmy. To co-ordinate with the beginning of the session at the second Goetheanum in Dornach that opens with the Prologue from the Gospel of John, the times would be 5:30 pm (Dornach), 8:30 am Pacific; 9:30 am Mountain; 10:30 am Central; 11:30 am, Eastern; 12:30 pm Rio de Janeiro; 4:30 pm London, etc.
Here is the information on the Dornach event, and here is information on the Ann Arbor talk by Douglas Miller. Here is the Frank Chester event in Silicon Valley and here is the celebration at Rudolf Steiner College. Here is the 9/21 Interactive Study at the Washington DC Waldorf School.
Location: Belmont, MA
A talk by M.A. Kirkwood at the Boston Branch [more]
Location: Miami, FL
at the Sunrise School in Miami [more]
Location: ONLINE (Central Time Zone)
Ross Rentea MD, Mark Kamsler MD, Andrea Rentea MD, and invited guest contributors [more]
Location: Shelburne, VT
at Lake Champlain Waldorf School, Vermont [more]
Location: Dornach, SWITZERLAND
Rudolf Steiner’s Research into the Gospels [more]
There are some notable open positions in the anthroposophical movement in North America. Rudolf Steiner College is looking for a new President. The College was granted Candidacy Status accreditation March 2012 by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Enhanced degree-granting and academic opportunities are evolving as part of the accreditation efforts and the next phases of the strategic plan. "The presidential search will be worldwide to encompass the expanded college directions," reported Dale Hamad, PhD Board Chair. As a recognized leader in the education of Waldorf teachers, Rudolf Steiner College offers multiple learning tracks geared to teaching in both public and private schools. The position information is online, as is the RSC mission statement.
The state of Oregon is friendly territory for biodynamics. For one thing, the Demeter USA organization, which certifies biodynamic farms and products, is there. Seattle Times travel writer Brian J. Cantwell recently visited four vineyards southwest of Portland, asking first to see the cow horns (yes, cows have horns, used in quite a remarkable way in making BD preparations). He picked up a common-sense take on BD from the young saleswoman in a jam store ("at least the biodynamic folks are out there looking at their vines, while some winery owners aren’t even in the same state!"). And he ended feeling he had the "secret handshake": it's the biodiversity! [Read the article.]
The Anthroposophical Society in Great Britain elected new leadership just a few months ago, and the July-August edition of Anthroposophy Worldwide includes an interview with Marjatta van Boeschoten, the new General Secretary. She grew up in the context of anthroposophy and Camphill and has worked professionally outside the movement, as a lawyer and then in organizational development. "Rudolf Steiner spoke of a Society where those who are seeking can find, and I hope that we will succeed in opening our doors to these people, whether or not they wish to become members." [AWW, see p.4]
Also in this issue:
One of the crucial issues for the USA (and the world) is the proper place of business corporations in our political decision-making and our culture. The governance structure of this democratic republic is something very great in world history; but the wealth and power of America are also very great, and influence over our government can be a reliable source of wealth. Recently the US Supreme Court reaffirmed that corporations have the rights of human individuals under the constitution, and that their spending to influence political decisions is a matter of free speech. Most Americans believe that this is wrong, but few of us have any depth of understanding of the history and issues involved. Abraham Entin, a long-time social activist and anthroposophist, has been working to educate his fellow citizens in the area. His essay, "Corporate Personhood -- A Christian Perspective," asks what makes us human, and then what kind of being is a corporation. Only in the human being does the miracle of free choices and conscience appear. To protect that he argues that the power of corporations must be limited by constitutional amendment. [Read the essay]
The Anthroposophical Society was founded by Rudolf Steiner in Switzerland in 1923. It seeks to support individuals who are working on their own inner development and who wish to bring the fruit of that inner work to benefit the wider world. More...
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