Thursday, March 14, 2013

Letter from the General Secretary - March 2013

- by Arie van Ameringen

Dear Friends,
Every year the Class Holders and Council come together to meet for a full weekend. From January 11th to 13th of this year we shared our reflections with respect to the identity of the Anthroposophical Society and the ways this identity is expressed through individuals, initiatives, anthroposophical groups and conferences. It was also an opportunity to share with local members in small discussion groups and with the full circle as we took up the Sunday rhythm of the Foundation Stone Meditation.

The Heart of the Turtle
I spent the first week of March in Ottawa, where I met with members of the Confluence of the Three Rivers branch as well as with parents and teachers from both the Ottawa Waldorf School and the Trille des Bois school.

During the gathering with branch members we brought up the possibility of organizing a large-scale Society event. The members present showed great enthusiasm for the idea of hosting an international conference, and discussed setting up an interactive media site that would play an integral part in the preparation of the event. This project is still in its very first stages, and I hope to be able to give you more details about this initiative as they emerge.

Several members guided me on a tour of Victoria Island, which is located directly facing the Parliament buildings. This site has a particularly symbolic significance, being an ancestral meeting place where Algonquins and other tribes gathered. And it is perhaps not by chance that the Parliament buildings were erected in their present location.

Owing to the powerful vortex caused by the rapids (whose current has now been significantly reduced by a dam), several First Nations peoples considered the site to be a sacred meeting place. They called it the Heart of the Turtle (they identified the whole of the North American continent as being “Turtle Island”). 

It is interesting to note that last year several Ottawa members mixed a biodynamic preparation and sprayed it over this very site as a healing gesture. This spot also attracted extensive media attention last fall through the Idle No More movement and Theresa Spence’s hunger strike.

Those of you who took part in the Whitehorse conference will perhaps remember Olga Kornienko, who led several Russian songs during one of the evening performances. Next summer, from July 20th to 28th, Olga is organizing an international conference in Yekaterinburg. This event is in some ways a response to the Yukon conference. The conference theme will be: The Urals, crossroads and meeting place. Taking its impulse from a lecture by Rudolf Steiner on The Imagination of Europe, the conference will explore the imagination of a cross consisting of three dimensions: the North-South axis represented by the Ural mountain range; the East-West direction involving the cultural development of mankind; and the outer-inner dimension of each individual’s encounter with his own ego.

This is the region of the globe where mountain ranges delineate the boundary between Europe and Asia. It has played an important role in the history of Russia, especially with respect to its industrial development and the events which took place there during the 1917 revolution.  

Members of the Isis Cultural Outreach foundation are lending their support to this initiative. Both Philip Thatcher and I have been invited to give presentations. If you would like more information, please feel free to contact me. Financial contributions in support of this project are always welcome.

Dennis Klocek and our AGM conference
The planning for our upcoming AGM conference in Montreal from May 17th to 19th is well underway. This year, we intend to provide adequate time for members to meet among themselves. May 19th is Whitsun, and the conference theme: The Challenge of our Social Will can speak directly to the Whitsun experience. Dennis Klocek will share some of his most recent research into the influence of the media and the inner work now required for us to strengthen our own spiritual capacities and become more inwardly active.  This theme is both essential and timely for parents and teachers, and in fact for anyone engaged in any form of social activity. Social life depends on developing a genuine will to meet and to work together. The last verses of the Foundation Stone Meditation may then take on their full meaning:

That good may become


From our hearts we found,


From our heads

We direct with single purpose

Of will.

Following the conference there will be an artistic evening featuring eurythmy. Please take note that the Society has established a special fund for members’ travel expenses. I hope we will have the pleasure of seeing you in Montreal for this event.

Arie van Ameringen,

General Secretary.

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