Among the many events that took place during the summer season, the following were of special interest for the life of the Anthroposophical Society in Canada and for the General Anthroposophical Society as well.
Bodo von Plato
My wife and I had the great pleasure of travelling with Bodo von Plato from July 24th to August 9th as he visited Vancouver, Nelson, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal. This tour gave us the opportunity to meet with friends and members in these centres as we explored together the main theme Bodo wished to share: Anthroposophy and its influence on our daily lives - how Anthroposophy can give us tools to meet the requirements of our everyday existence. (See Elisabeth Carmack’s account of the Vancouver gathering.)
This session focussing on inner work helped to deepen our sense of this contemporary enigma through conversation and exercises. Thanks to Bodo’s warmth and openness, he was able to create a space in which each participant could feel he or she was truly being heard.
Travels across Canada
We were unfortunately not able to visit the Maritime Provinces on this journey, but our travels were nevertheless sufficient to give Bodo a true sense of the manifold cultural diversity of this country. Thanks to Philip Thatcher’s explanations, he was able to enter into some of the secrets of the totems carved by West Coast First Nations. He was delighted by the magnificence of the Rockies and was particularly astonished to learn that bears could sometimes be seen in a town like Nelson! He got a first-hand look at the meteoric development of the city of Calgary, greatly appreciated the exhibition of paintings of the Group of Seven in the McMichael Museum, and acknowledged the pioneering spirit of a fledgling Waldorf school north of Montréal (L’École Imagine).
Our sincerest thanks go out to Bodo and to all those who helped in the planning of this pan-Canadian event : John Bach and Moniqiue Walsh(Vancouver), Rudica and Trevor Janz as well as Ariel-Paul Saunders (Nelson), John and Margaret Glanzer (Calgary), Jeff Saunders, Mark McAlister and Grant Davis (Toronto), Hélène Dubé, Jean Balekian and Renée Cossette (Montreal).
Gathering in Spring Valley
The Collegium of the School of Spiritual Science in North America and the North American Class Holders met on August 20th to explore specific questions concerning the holding of Class Lessons. This gathering was held in the context of the spiritual research carried out by the General Anthroposophical Section. In small groups, we exchanged ideas concerning the tasks for which the School for Spiritual Science assumes responsibility. Virginia Sease shared her impressions on “The Esoteric Dimensions of the Michael School: challenges and possibilities.” Another question we studied was the relationship of the School to the Society and possible ways of tightening the links between the two by organizing events and undertaking spiritual research together.
On our way to the Goetheanum, my wife and I spent several days in Vienna. Besides taking advantage of the opportunity to enjoy some much needed vacation time, we were there to seek out places where Rudolf Steiner had lived, worked and studied. This imperial city has preserved many of the facets of its glorious past, even down to the famous Viennese coffee savoured and served in great style. In these sumptuous surroundings imbued with history and tradition, it is not difficult to imagine Rudolf Steiner seated in one of these establishments, totally absorbed in an article he was writing or in earnest conversation with some illustrious contemporary. But in order for the picture to be complete, one would have to add a layer of thick smoke wafting through the café, something our modern sensibility could no longer tolerate.
During our daily strolls, we made a stop at the very station where Steiner would disembark from the train upon returning from one of his many journeys or from visiting a relative or even when having travelled alongside Felix Foguski, the herb collector. The original structure no longer exists, having been replaced by a modern station. Upon arriving at the station, we were surprised to come across a crowd made up of many various peoples and ethnic groups – hundreds of exhausted and famished immigrants. Many were sleeping on cots, children were crying. Fortunately, volunteers were there to hand out food, blankets and toys. This makeshift camp looked like a place one would see in the aftermath of a battle, the desperate conditions of human beings having experienced suffering and fear and having crossed a major part of Hungary on foot. One of the volunteer was able to inform us as to the aid the Austrian government was offering to these people, chartering busses to go to meet them in order to lessen the suffering of their journey. Here, our attention was rudely shifted from the historical charm of this city to the urgent needs of the present time.
Michaelmas 2016: preparing the 100th anniversary of the Christmas Conference.
The meeting held in Dornach from September 9th to 11th had as its theme the three fundamental exercises set forth in the Foundation Stone Meditation: Practice Spirit-recalling; Practice Spirit-meditating; Practice Spirit-envisioning. Participants from various parts of the globe were present at this gathering, the aim of which was to exchange ideas and prepare elements of the programme for the upcoming 2016 Michaelmas celebration designed to celebrate the hundredth anniversary of the Christmas Conference.
What is our connection to the Christmas Conference? How do we live anthroposophy today? What is the role of the Goetheanum? How do we view the future of the General Anthroposophical Society? These were among the questions raised during the gathering.
In view of this event, the extended Executive Committee would like to hear your suggestions and your questions. It is hoped that preparatory work can be carried out by the members in the various groups and branches before the event is to take place.
The 2016 Ottawa Conference
The programme for the artistic evenings is beginning to take shape. We are looking forward to performances by the Spring Valley eurythmy group. We shall also have the opportunity to enjoy the humour and creative poetry of Dawn Nilo .Many may remember her delightful antics during the Whitehorse conference in the Yukon.
The conference preparation group met in Ottawa during the Thanksgiving weekend. Jean Balekian, Dorothy LeBaron and Gary Burak are in the process of setting up a conference website which should be online by the end of the month. You will then be able to find all the information pertaining to the conference and registration information.
With my best wishes for Michaelmas,
Arie van Ameringen,