- by Sylvie Richard
Rudolf Steiner's Soul Calendar - Sixteenth Week (July 21-27)
Zu Bergen Geistgeschenk in Innern,
Gebietet strenge mir mein Ahnen,
Dass reifend Gottesgaben
In Seelengründen fruchtend
Der Selbstheit Früchte bringen
To bear in inward keeping spirit bounty
Is stern command of my prophetic feeling,
That ripened gifts divine
Maturing in the depths of soul
To selfhood bring their fruits.
This past summer the sixteenth week in Ottawa took on a deeper meaning. A guest eurythmist from Dornarch, Monika Pudelko, in collaboration with Brenda Hammond and myself, led a 3 day summer intensive on the Calendar of the Soul. Six participants joined the work. The mornings were devoted to eurythmy (tone eurythmy and speech eurythmy) and, in the afternoons we were led by Brenda into creative writing based on what had been brought into movement in the morning. The idea of bringing creative writing into a eurythmy workshop was successfully done the summer before but now we had the gift of a professional writer leading it.
Monika had visited Ottawa in the early spring and had witnessed the work of Choros Vitae (a small amateur eurythmy performing group) with the Calendar of the Soul in preparation to the big April celebration in honour of Rudolf Steiner’s 150th anniversary. She then shared with us one of the tasks she has given herself: to meditate and moved every day the eurythmy forms Steiner created for the Calendar of the Soul. This gave rise to the idea of a collaborative summer intensive in Ottawa.
Although the group that came towards this offering was small the work was rich and fruitful. Many difficulties arose in the planning of this event to the point that even a couple of days prior to the week-end we thought we might have to cancel it. Perhaps having to push through so many hindrances made the work so potent.
The mornings started with the taking in of the many sense impressions through a walk in the beautiful gardens of the Unitarian Church located near the Ottawa River. Prior to entering the building we gathered for a Hallelujah bare feet in the shade. Then I led a session of tone eurythmy preparing us through various musical elements and form principles to work on the eurythmy forms for the Sixteenth week. We were so blessed to have Chiharu Zeng who is so sensitive and open to eurythmy as our piano accompanist. Even in such a short time we explored the Steiner’s eurythmy forms with Monika, as well as some of the sounds in three languages: German, English and French! Again in such a small group, the three languages were living, some participants being bilingual and even multi-lingual. Steiner’s creation of these eurythmy forms is an amazing gift to eurythmists and they should be shared in the right context with reverence and awe. They truly bring to life the verses of the Calendar of the Soul.
The work in the afternoons was rich and challenging. Brenda chose so well the type of exercises that would allow such harvesting of the experience. By Sunday, we could feel the ‘ripening of fruits’ and many ‘divine gifts’. The pushing through the hindrances became clearly “Stern command of prophetic feeling”.
In reviewing this collaborative work we all felt that this was a seed for future work. We are currently planning a similar format for next Whitsun. We have no doubt that the work will be fruitful. We hope to be able to share it with a larger group of people.
Sylvie Richard, eurythmist