- by Michael Roboz
The Wednesday night study group, which takes up the deepening of Anthroposophy, was founded in 1954, in Vancouver, by Steven Roboz. Steven is the remaining founding member of the Anthroposophical Society in Canada. (The Canadian Society was formed in Toronto in 1954, when it separated off from the Anthroposophical Society in America. This was just before my parents, Steven and Helga, moved to Vancouver.)
The study group reached numbers of more than 50 people in the 1970s before other groups were founded for various reasons. Steven has co-signed over 100 new memberships. This group has studied the Four Mystery Dramas (Hans Pusch translation) four times, taking about two years to complete each cycle. The last time this study group took up the Mystery Dramas was from September 2007, until May 2009. On average, about twenty people took part. For the first time, Helga, was not physically present, as she had already died in December of 2006.
It was about five years ago that Steven started to pull back from his Wednesday night participation. At first, he would come about once a month to give specific talks on special subjects. When we started again with the Mystery Dramas, Steven came weekly for the first six months, and then withdrew completely. However, he was there always in the background. Before each scene, I discussed with him what background material to bring in by Rudolf Steiner and Steiner’s pupils, and explored with him many questions regarding the deeper meaning of what we were reading and discussing. Steven was fully supportive, but by the end of the Dramas, it was difficult for him to work intensively with me for an hour, for his energy to focus was waning. Steven celebrated his 91st birthday in September 2009.
Since September of 2009, the theme has been the Opposing Powers. This involved many short cycles relating to the incarnations of Lucifer and Ahriman and their influences on past, present and future culture. The Asuras were also touched upon in context. A couple of evenings were dedicated to the occult background of earthquakes after the one in Haiti in January. Apart from the study group’s theme for this year, we also have had special evenings dedicated to Christmas, Epiphany, Easter, Whitsun, and Rudolf Steiner’s birth and death anniversaries. While Steven was still working intensively with us, he inspired many of us to connect deeply with the being of Rudolf Steiner.
When Steven was at the helm of the study group, he often gave long introductory talks, followed by questions and discussion. Much of the time, people took up a lecture, prepared it at home, presented it, followed by discussion. The format of the Wednesday Study Group has changed since Steven has retired. We alternate between:
- reading lectures together followed by a discussion
- presentations of a summary by a volunteer who feels inspired to do so and again we follow with a discussion.
We are very conscious and grateful for the gift of study and support that Steven and Helga offered so generously over these many years and we are doing our best to continue the legacy and build on the strong foundation. It is much more of a “working together” than a teacher/lecturer-pupils relationship.
It was so interesting to observe Steven’s changing relationship to the body of Anthroposophical knowledge over the last few years. The most rapid change was over the past year. Anthroposophical knowledge became like a huge tableau, as Steven described it, similar to the tableau we experience right after our physical death. Most everybody knew Steven as an encyclopedia of Anthroposophical knowledge. He would have at his finger- tips, where and when Steiner said this or that, in what context it was said, and often the exact quotation. People used to write and phone him from all over the world. We continue to work in the way Steven taught us by noting the lecture name and cycle when quoting parts of lectures and being mindful of the context in which Steiner said them.
Steven’s love of Anthroposophy, his love of the being of Rudolf Steiner, streamed through in all that Steven brought to the Wednesday Study Group, to his many public lectures, and many articles over the last sixty years. Rudolf Steiner spoke many times of groups that come together in freedom, regardless of race, nation or blood, and how through such groups a feeling of fellowship is formed, which allows an Angelic Being to descend and support the work. Rudolf Steiner described this kind of work as “reversed cultus”. “The anthroposophical community seeks to lift human souls into supersensible realms so that they may enter the company of Angels” (RS: Feb. 27, 1923, GA 247, lec. 6, Awakening to Community). I really am aware of this Being some evenings!
North Vancouver, BC