Thursday, October 22, 2009

Geographically Engaged Members Study Group (GEMS)

Margaret Shipman, a member of the Anthroposophical Society and participant in the Encircling Light Conference, is engaged in an initiative to support those around North America who have to study spiritual science on their own. In Margaret’s words: “The question of how to study together was answered by the knowledge that thoughts are real. If we study the same material at the same time and study on the same day, we are literally studying together. We light a red candle to remind us of each other and of our work together.”

This year the initiative is working with the theme, “The Hierarchies and the Physical World”, with the first Goetheanum as a meditative basis. Margaret sends out regular mailings with study material.

If you want to connect with this mode of study, please contact Margaret by email, or by phone at (323) 462-7703.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Owen Stanley Lange (April 5, 1946 - August 4, 2009)

During the recent conference on the North, word arrived that Owen Lange had peacefully crossed the threshold on the evening of August 4th. Owen and his wife Marilyn had looked forward to attending the conference, but on his return from a trip to Costa Rica earlier in the year Owen began to suffer from back pains that could not be alleviated. Following a series of moving and variable symptoms, Lymphoma was discovered to have been the visible cause. Always hopeful, Owen held to the possibility of recovery through treatment that included the use of alternative therapy.

On learning of his passing, one of his colleagues wrote: “I loved his stories and his insight on what was happening in each and every area. I will miss Owen’s sincere soul, his passion and his knowledge, but most of all, his smile.”

Owen was loved and respected by all those that knew him - his family, friends and colleagues. A dear man and a dear soul, he was always ready to provide help when needed, and often offered help to others before being asked. One felt ‘adorned’ by his presence and gentle smile.

Born in Victoria, British Columbia, on April 5th, 1946, Owen was his parents’ second child. Previous to his arrival they had adopted a girl, feeling that they could not have a child of their own. During his growing years Owen delighted in bible studies, memorizing verses and spending his Friday evenings, alongside his neighbor, looking at the cosmos through a telescope.

While at the University of Victoria, among the many life-long friends he made, he met Marilyn, his wife-to-be, at a church group for university age students. Following graduation, Owen pursued further studies at the Meteorology School in Toronto. Their connection continued there. Both had a deep interest in spiritual exploration and were married in July, 1971.

Their first child Kara was born in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan where Owen began his career as a meteorologist with Environment Canada. His next posting was in Gander, Newfoundland. While there, he and Marilyn adopted Peter, their second child and were introduced to the work of Edgar Cayce -- a stepping stone to their eventual discovery of Anthroposophy.

From 1976 until 1984, Owen was the Meteorological Forecaster for a British company that serviced offshore oil rigs. Starting in Aberdeen, Scotland, his meteorological work took him to the island of Malta and to Bahrain, before returning to Aberdeen where he and Marilyn had taken up the study of Anthroposophy and were introduced to the Camphill Community initiative, the Christian Community, the Waldorf School and Biodynamics.

In 1984, the family returned to North Vancouver and a few years later their ‘rowan’ child, Rosie, was born. Owen continued his interest in the activities of the Science Section of the Anthroposophical Society and in the Canadian Biodynamic Society. In the early years, he organized several studies of the ‘Agriculture Course’. Throughout his years in North Vancouver he was also very dedicated to the work of the Christian Community, serving on its board. In later years, he joined the board of the Rudolf Steiner Centre and even stored the entire RS Center’s library in his home, while the Centre was in transition to a new facility. This triggered a passion for collecting as many of Rudolf Steiner’s works as possible.

In his professional work at Environment Canada’s Pacific Weather Center, Owen became part of the specialized marine forecast team affectionately known as the ‘Bomb Squad’. (‘Bomb’ is a meteorological term for sudden storms that cause hazardous boating conditions. Sadly these storms took the lives of several mariners that Owen frequently spoke with.)

During his career, he published four books for mariners on the weather of the Georgia Basin and Pacific North Coast. In his book ‘The Wind Came All Ways’, he attempted to nurture more than facts by using quotes from weather journals and paintings by Emily Carr. His books are still widely circulated, and well appreciated by the west coast marine community.

His workshops on weather and on cloud formations were inspirational. One could experience Owen’s passion and struggle to develop a spiritual understanding of weather shining through. Owen also served as a founding member of the School of Nature, an international initiative that provides field-oriented workshops to further the study of the Spirit in nature, and contributed to a weekly study group that focuses among other initiatives, on the study of the Elemental Beings and their activities in nature.

Owen retired in 2006 and in the following year was honoured with the Rube Hornstein Award--a prestigious national award for his various contributions to Operational Meteorology and his coaching and mentoring of young meteorologists.

Following his retirement he became occupied with the transformation of his new home in Duncan, on Vancouver Island, creating flower beds and a garden to which he added some very high deer fencing, after experiencing the trials and tribulations of island gardening. It was a monumental task that he completed with the help of a friend earlier in the year.

On the family front, Owen delighted in being a grandpa to his grandchildren Jaspar and Rowan, often taking his grandson to soccer practices and games, introducing him to some new activities like golf, and on a fishing expedition with ‘uncle Peter. He enjoyed planting a little garden, and baking and reading with his granddaughter.

In Duncan, Owen continued his spiritual work. He attended two study groups and the devotional group of the Christian Community, and continued as the organizing server, as he did throughout his time in North Vancouver, with the occasional Christian Community services. He also hosted several ‘Festival’ studies and was the Treasurer of the Ita Wegman Association, spending many hours in meetings and following the activities of the association with great interest and support.

Although apolitical, in the last years he became occupied with alternative social/political views and theories, and in Rudolf Steiner’s lectures on the impending incarnation of Ahriman.

Illness was very distressing for him and he was disappointed that he did not have enough strength to overcome it, but there was always the question in his mind ‘as to whether he had something to do on the other side’, since he could not find a strong reason to stay, despite the many reasons family and friends could give him.

His wife Marilyn said, “Even close to the end he was concerned about the family and didn’t leave until he had spoken to each of us making sure his concerns would be looked after… and then took off on a tailwind as our son Peter, a mariner, said.”

At Owen’s parting a great wind slammed a door shut. It was rather fitting.

Anthony Perzel
North Vancouver