Matthias Girke (photo: Heike Sommer)

Matthias Girke is the newest member of the Executive Council at the Goetheanum. On April 8th, 2017, the members of the General Anthroposophical Society confirmed the proposal to include the physician and clinic co-founder from Berlin. He has been head of the Medical Section at the Goetheanum since September 2016.

As the School of Spiritual Science and headquarters of the Anthroposophical Society, the Goetheanum has been undergoing a reform process for several years. Contemporary forms for a globally active membership-society and closer ties to people active in anthroposophic institutions, companies and organizations are the main objectives for the transformation of a society founded in 1923.

Members of the executive council are re-elected every seven years; the council and the leaders of the eleven special sections of the School of Spiritual Science have formed the Goetheanum leadership for several years. And the representatives of the Anthroposophical Societies in the respective countries are increasingly involved in the decision-making processes at the Goetheanum.

An internist from Berlin, Matthias Girke's has medical competence in internal medicine, diabetology, and palliative medicine. He is also a recognized public contributor concerning Waldorf education and biodynamic agriculture. He was a co-founder and senior physician at the Havelhöhe Community Hospital in Berlin, and a long-term board member of the anthroposophic physicians and anthroposophic medicine organizations in Germany.  [From]

Herbert Hagens has again kindly provided dates for following the 52 verses of Rudolf Steiner's Calendar of the Soul through the fifty weeks from Easter 2017 to Easter 2018. You can view and print out his suggestions from this PDF.

Steiner created the Calendar of the Soul in 1912, and you are also most welcome to read or reread here the special section of being human that greeted that centennial. Gertrude Reif Hughes explained:

“The course of the year has its own life,” said Rudolf Steiner in the 1918 preface to his Calendar of the Soul. As human beings we can “unfold a feeling-unison” with it. We can breathe out with the earth, from spring’s sprouting and blossoming to high summer; then we can follow the earth’s in-breathing as it moves through autumn to the depths of winter. The fifty-two verses of the Calendar, one for each week of the year, follow the year’s cycle, and allow us to perceive the changes around us in terms of our own inner activity. The verses alert the soul, says Steiner’s preface, to “the delicate yet vital threads ... between it and the world into which it has been born.” Coleridge called those threads “the one life within us and abroad.” Robert Frost wrote of inner and outer weather. The Calendar connects them at a deep level, an esoteric one.

You can view available editions and translations at SteinerBooks.

The Guardian has a lengthy new article in its "sustainable business" section: "Biodynamic farming is on the rise – but how effective is this alternative agricultural practice?" It focuses on Apricot Lane Farms and opens,

When John Chester, a filmmaker from California, quit his job to become a farmer, he didn’t do it out of a desire to “feed the world”. Instead, he says: “I’m trying to feed my neighbors – and if everyone did that, we would be able to replicate this.”

The article includes extensive comments from Elizabeth Candelario, co-director of Demeter USA, the nonprofit certifier of biodynamic farms and consumer products.

Critics are heard whose point is that biodynamics was not developed using the "scientific method."

While the more spiritual and unconventional aspects of biodynamics don’t appeal to all farmers, for some, a personal connection to the land is crucial to their agricultural practice. “You may find some who practice biodynamic because it is a sound agronomic system that delivers real benefits to the farm like healthier soil, better crops, more vibrant ecology,” Candelario says. “You may also find some biodynamic farmers who would agree with all that plus they may describe their personal relationship with their farm that speaks to a deeper connection with the farm and its place in nature.”


Is the Heart Moved by the Blood, Rather Than Vice Versa?

Walter Alexander has written a concise report for Pharmacy and Therapeutics Community Online on the work of Branko Furst, MD, in The Heart and Circulation: An Integrative Model (2014). It begins with what few lay people may know: that "Attempts to replace failing hearts permanently with fully mechanical ones, after years of experimental and clinical trials, have largely been abandoned because of high patient mortality..."

In the face of the entrenched paradigm that the heart pumps the blood through the body, Dr. Furst "marshals the evidence against the standard propulsion pump model and presents an alternative that may open new avenues for understanding circulation and, ultimately, pharmacotherapy."

The article is available online and an illustrated PDF is available to download. It is written for professionals but is well worth working through.

To challenge the prevailing paradigm in any field is difficult, and in the case of heart function, with its notoriously complex dynamics, myriad of interrelated influencing factors, and vast diagnostic and therapeutic implications, it is a prodigious undertaking. Dr. Furst has provided more than 800 supporting references in his book and the journal article. It is far beyond the scope of this article to fairly represent the range of this content. However, we will attempt to review the basic argument and rationale for such a challenge and give the reader a compass for delving more deeply into the underlying research.

[Update:] The publication in a peer-reviewed journal of this article opposing the “heart-as-pump” model and crediting Rudolf Steiner with its early mention represents a breakthrough to the conventional medical community.

Mon, 21 Nov 2016 | By Christian Boettger

BERLIN (NNA) – At the end of the performance of “Magic Moments - What moves You” on 27 August 2016 in the Komische Oper in Berlin there was rapturous applaus and a standing ovation for the 70 young people from a total of 18 countries throughout the world, the orchestra – the Gnessin Virtuosi Moscow – and the colleagues in the artistic direction. [Read more...]

The 2017 fall conference of the Anthroposophical Society in America will be held in Phoenix, Arizona, October 13-15, Friday-Sunday (the weekend after Columbus Day / Indigenous Peoples' Day). Click here for details and to register online!

BACWTT Summer 2017 Courses

Mon, Jun 19 2017 8:00 AM to Fri, Jul 14 2017 4:30 PM
Location: San Rafael, CA

Professional development and renewal through the arts programs, open to the greater Waldorf community and the... [more]

Workshop with Yeshayahu Ben-Aharon June NY

Wed, Jun 21 2017 7:00 PM to Sun, Jun 25 2017 1:30 PM
Location: Saratoga Springs, NY

Yeshayahu Ben-Aharon will lead a workshop on anthroposophical study, spiritual memory, and the Event of our times... [more]

Children’s Summer Camps of the Christian Community

Sun, Jun 25 2017 to Sat, Aug 19 2017
Location: California - Michigan - Maine

Three Locations: Northeast, Midwest, California [more]

Center for Anthroposophy: Renewal Courses 2017

Sun, Jun 25 2017 3:00 PM to Fri, Jul 07 2017 1:00 AM
Location: High Mowing School, Wilton, NH

For Waldorf teachers and administrators, parents, trustees, artist and thinkers to deepen their lives through... [more]

Hellenic Odyssey 2017

Mon, Jun 26 2017
Location: GREECE

Guided by Gillian Schoemaker and Van James; June 26—July 18, 2017 [more]

If you can't go in person to the Biodynamic Association conference in Santa Fe, NM -- Tierra Viva, Farming the Living Earth -- the full conference booklet is now online at -- sixty-eight pages of events, workshops, presenters, supporters.

There are eight conference tracks: Biodynamic Basics; Agricultural Wisdom of the Americas; Biodynamics and Healing; Biodynamic Principles and Philosophy; Biodynamic and Regenerative Practices; Community, Justice, and Economics;
Living Soil; and Living Water. Amazing!

While you're at you can also read a biodynamics-themed issue of Lilipoh magazine from last spring, or read back issues of being human.

We’re in the run-up to the biennial convention of the Biodynamic Association: “Tierra Viva, Farming the Living Earth” at the Santa Fe, NM, Convention Center, November 16-20. “Discover how we can consciously collaborate with our planet to create healthy, living, vibrant landscapes and nourishing food.” And biodynamics continues to gain positive notice in the press worldwide.

At in the Healthy Eating section Lauren Mazzo contributes “What Are Biodynamic Foods and Why Should You Be Eating Them?” with the subheading: “Long story short: Biodynamic is the new organic, and you need to get behind it, like, yesterday.” A lengthy article based on conversation with certifying agency Demeter’s Elizabeth Candelario, the four reasons given for buying biodynamic are the quality, the nutrition, the farmers, and the planet. “Demeter has 200 certified entities in the [USA]. About 160 are farms and the rest are brands, growing by about 10 percent per year, says Candelario.”

Biodynamic vineyards are a main driver of press attention. Both Forbes magazine and the New York Times have just published laudatory reports. In Forbes, Tom Mullen based in France’s Bordeaux region explains “Why Biodynamic Wine is the Future.” In the Times, Danielle Pergament has written “The Italian Winemakers’ Cult” for the Travel section, with the subhead: “Is the best way into the world of Italian wine with farmers who say things like 'our work is to enter the rhythm of the planets’?” “Sebastian Nasello, the winemaker at Podere Le Ripi in Montalcino, explained it this way: 'Organic farming does no harm to the earth. Biodynamic farming aims to make the earth healthier.’”

The advanced student of anthroposophy faces Rudolf Steiner’s advice that alcohol has served its purpose in human evolution and becomes an obstacle to developing higher perceptual faculties. Healing the Earth one small vineyard at a time is still an inspiring picture. — John Beck

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