- by Monique Walsh
I would like to share with you some of the work of the North American Collegium and, in particular, my experience of the emerging life of the General Anthroposophical Section here in Canada and in North America.
As many of you know, the awareness of The General Anthroposophical Section of the School for Spiritual Science and its raison d’être have inspired many questions and been the focus of much exploration and discussion within the Society for the past number of years. One of my own questions, a twofold one, has been: Why was it necessary for this Section to elude our awareness, to sleep, for a period of time and what has changed now? Is this Section present today and if so, where?
My observations to date lead me to conclude that whenever members of the School meet and strive to work consciously out of the lessons and sensibility of the School, the General Anthroposophical Section is active. In dubbing it The Universally Human Section, we can experience a true characterization of its intention. The path of rediscovering what it means to be human, of consciously reconnecting to our spiritual self is the work of the General Anthroposophical Section. Establishing this path as a spiritually scientifically supported activity is the driving force behind the research required of us as members of the School and asked of as members of the Society.
When the Collegium meets twice a year, in May/June and December, it shares and explores the research work being done in the various Sections. The challenge is to meet each other as consciously as possible as members of the General Anthroposophical Section, a challenge shared by each of us in our work with Anthroposophia, whether in the context of the School or of the Society.
Here in Canada, when the Class Holders, Collegium members and Council meet annually, it is a manifestation of the General Anthroposophical Section work. To work more consciously is one of our tasks.
In revisiting the activities of the Collegium over the past year, I come first to December 2011 when I joined the Collegium. At that time we worked with the theme of the Ethers and the Etheric. One aspect of these meetings was the opportunity to share some of the research work with local members; Sherry Wildfeuer and Rudiger Janisch both shared aspects of their work. Another identified area was to make the School for Spiritual Science in North America more visible, with focus on the General Anthroposophical Section work; with this in mind we asked Herbert Hagens to draft a letter to all Class Holders and dedicated a time in our schedule to meet with local Class Holders at each of our meetings.
Perhaps it is important to insert here that, out of a sense of fiscal responsibility and practical logistics, the Collegium meets mainly in Spring Valley where the Fellowship Community generously hosts its activity. Meeting here also helps to keep down the cost of travel.
In our June meeting we were joined by Virginia Sease and welcomed four new members: Prairie Adams for the Pedagogical Section, Peter Buckbee for the Social Science Section, Bert Chase for the Visual Arts Section, and Jennifer Greene for the Natural Science Section. At this time we shared our work with a small number of Class Holders and began our conversation regarding the Spiritual Goetheanum.
In August the American Society hosted a Leadership Colloquium to which the Collegium members were invited. This was followed by a Conference and concluded with the American AGM. All of these events took place in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The Executive Council members from the Goetheanum also joined us in this work.
My own experience of the Colloquium was one of a missed opportunity. I personally found it painful to witness so much potential untapped. There were approx 160 individuals gathered, invited because they carry various roles of responsibility in the movement. I would suggest that their presence was an indication of a willingness to work together, to overcome differences and focus on the common goal of securing the health and well being of Anthroposophy in North America. Unfortunately, with all the best intentions, the running of this event was delegated to individuals who were applying techniques used successfully in major corporations, but not adequate to enable us in our struggle toward the universally human.
However I experienced that the conference theme That Good May Become: Meeting Our Spiritual Destinies in America steered us gently into this year’s theme The Identity of the Anthroposophical Society.
The work from June evolved into our December theme of the Spiritual Goetheanun and culminated when Rudiger Janisch led us, together with local members, through an imaginative experience of approaching and walking through the First Goetheanum, experiencing its burning to the ground and the resultant Foundation Stone Meditation which is now laid in human hearts.
The following are some thoughts and observations from our meetings of December 2012:
- The Goetheanum as a living being depends on our life and work.
- The School has a responsibility to serve the evolution of culture. All humanity belongs in the temple.
- The second Goetheanum fits like a protective cover over the space of the first Goetheanum”(made visible in the drawings of Rex Raab, Arne Klingborg & Ake Fant).
I would conclude that the work of the Collegium and of the School for Spiritual Science is to carry out the research necessary to support the findings of Rudolf Steiner’s own spiritual scientific research - to establish as fact the human being as a spiritual being. The work of the General Anthroposophical Section is to support us in being human. To help us in these tasks we have been given the Foundation Stone Meditation.We live in a time when humanity has unconsciously crossed the threshold. Can we provide a conscious context for our shared experiences?