Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Dornach 2013!

- by Mischa Saunders

From February 21st-24th, 2012, a group of anthroposophists from around the world gathered in Dornach for the Michael and the New Isis Mysteries conference.  This conference was full of many surprises and deep meetings, and was graciously hosted under the wing of Dr. Michaela Glöckler and the Medical Section.  The question at the center of the conference was essentially, “what is needed for the being of Anthroposophia to live and thrive in the 21st century?”

The participants of the conference came from many different communities.  Many had met previously on Facebook.  Some were youth who had attended the Youth Initiative Program (YIP, together.  Most of the rest came in pairs of two, primarily from Camphills and Waldorf schools spread around the western world.  In listening to the stories of all those who felt the call to come to this gathering, one thread wove in and out of nearly every story.  It was the thread of working alone; working in isolation.  Feeling the call of a deeply spiritual task, and the struggle to find the community with which to strive.
It was appropriate therefore, that the red thread of the gathering was the Foundation Stone Meditation.  As individuals who have committed to taking up the spiritual research of Rudolf Steiner, it can feel downright bizarre to be faced with a world in which nearly every social convention seems designed to thwart inner work.  The speed of life, the split attention asked by information technology, and the total anonymity in neighbourhoods, are just a few examples of these, in which one “has to” participate.  These were some of the underlying challenges taken up in this gathering, in both content and form.  In the eurythmy offered by Patrice Orange and Rozanne Hartmann, the seeing offered by Adriana Koulias, the sculpting offered by Kilian Voss, and speaking together the Foundation Stone Meditation with Christine Burke, there were real meetings taking place and individuals being empowered to step into their strength.  In this way, the foundation stone for a new community of practitioners was laid, a community dubbed by Dr. Glöckler, ‘The Wild Section’.

As a member of the youth who attended this gathering, I was struck by a number of things.  Upon arrival at the conference, as conferences tend to go, we discovered there was some help needed to make the conference happen.  In stepping into the supporting role that was needed in the conference, it was incredible to me to see how easily people respected us.  When Caleb, one of my peers and a fellow Canadian, was asked to step into helping to host the conference, we were unsure of what would happen.  But from morning singing to deep group processes, youth taking the lead was never questioned.  We were familiar with participating in deep group process out of our education at YIP, but to hold and facilitate deep process in a circle with more than 40 people, all of whom were our seniors, lay beyond the bounds of our prior experience.  We were eight youth, but perhaps one of the most remarkable aspects was seeing one of us really step forward and shine.  In this, the education we have had at YIP and what we learned there was made visible.  It was reassuring to know that what we have learned and continue to learn is of a substance that is useful and valuable for the present as well as the future.
Finally, out of the many contributions offered, one aspect has continued to live on in me in the time following the conference.  Peter Selg stated that “Michael can only use people of courage. How can we find the courage to meet the other, to continue the work we have begun, to form a community of healing? There are many forces that work against us in our task. Yet in 1924, Rudolf Steiner assured the anthroposophical physicians: ‘Still, this community is possible… You will find it.’”

Such is the work that we have taken up.


Anonymous said...

Thanks you for a great article and window into this event. Such events, while small, can have large ripples into the world. I was struck by the unfortunate mention of Michael needing only "men" in the final quote, coupled with the reference to being united as human beings. A small and unfortunate error, and hopefully one without big ripples. I would suggest it be addressed.
Mark McGivern

Mark McAlister said...

I have changed the word "men" to "people". ed