Tuesday, February 16, 2010

D.N.Dunlop, Theosophy and Anthroposophy

What is the Significance of D.N. Dunlop to the Theosophical Society?

How is it that the study of the biography of D.N. Dunlop will bring Theosophists and Anthroposophists together in Edmonton, AB in April 2010?

- By Debbie Allen

The above questions live behind the up-coming Thomas Meyer lectures in Edmonton. The impulse to have the biographical works of Thomas Meyer become more widely known in Canada lives on Salt Spring Island. Ann Watson, who sponsored Thomas Meyer to lecture in Vancouver in April 2009, contacted several Alberta Anthroposophical initiatives and individuals in the fall of 2009 to have Thomas Meyer speak at various Canadian places in April 2010.

Thomas Meyer was aware of the Edmonton Theosophical Society, as the ETS had republished a number of the old “Irish Theosophist” Journals that were of interest to Thomas Meyer for his biographical work on D.N. Dunlop. Thomas Meyer conveyed this information to Ann Watson, who in turned contacted Ernest Pelletier and me. Rob Black and I met with Ernest Pelletier and his wife Rogelle Pelletier, in November 2009 to discuss the upcoming Thomas Meyer lecture event.

Ernest Pelletier, a prominent member of the ETS is also an established biographer. Aside from a minor biographical work on D.N. Dunlop, Ernest Pelletier completed a major biographical work of the Theosophical Society history featuring many personalities important to both Anthroposophy and Theosophy, such as Madame Blavatsky and Isabelle Wyatt. The name of this extensive volume is “The Judge Case: A conspiracy Which Ruined the Theosophical Cause”. It took eleven years of dedicated work by Ernest Pellletier and his wife Rogelle to complete. The book contains an in-depth chronology of events Theosophical spanning 1891 – 2003.

The Theosophists have invited the Anthroposophists to their center in South East Edmonton to attend the lecture on D.N. Dunlop. Likewise the Theosophists are invited to attend the second lecture for Anthroposophists. Capacity is limited at both locations. Please inquire early if interested in attending.

- For contact details, see the end of Michael Roboz post.


Lucifer: I mean to fight
Benedictus: And fighting serve the gods.

- By Michael Roboz, North Vancouver, BC

Thomas Meyer gave interesting talks about personalities around Rudolf Steiner and touched upon the “9/11” theme last year. This year, he will give a talk entitled Reincarnation and Karma, concentrating on the relationship between Thomas Aquinas and Rudolf Steiner, at the Christian Community (Burnaby, BC). Following his sojourn in Alberta, he will concentrate on the theme of Evil in the Mystery Dramas in an introduction on Friday evening. This will be followed by leading us through specific scenes in all four dramas.

The first scene focuses on the Vision by Theodora of Christ in the Etheric, in Scene 1:7 of the Portal of Initiation. In the Souls Probation, two scenes will be examined. The first one, 2:7, is where the monk encounters the Spirit of Benedictus in the Templar Castle. Maria confronts Ahriman in Scene 2:11. In the third drama, The Guardian of the Threshold, Scene 3:3, one of the central scenes in the whole Drama Series, Lucifer confronts Benedictus and Maria regarding Thomasias and Capesius. This scene ends with one of the most famous quotes from the Mystery Dramas! (See subtitle) Again, two scenes from the fourth drama, Souls’ Awakening. In Scene 4:12, Ahriman brings one of the souls of a peasant, Reinecke Fox, to his own Kingdom, to inspire him to create confusion in the soul of Strader, in order to destroy Benedictus’s spiritual circle. The final scene is 4:15, when Ahriman confronts Benedictus after Strader dies.

This year, he expands his stay in Canada to Alberta. In Calgary, he will speak on the Relevance of the Mission of Rudolf Steiner and the Anthroposophical Movement Today. The afternoon of the following day will see Class Members gathered for a discussion on the School of Spiritual Science, followed by an evening public engagement introducing Anthroposophy. Following the Calgary lectures, Mr. Meyer will give two lectures, one on D. N. Dunlop at the Theosophical Society in Edmonton, and the other on Ovid/ Laurence Oliphant. Both Edmonton events are open to Anthroposophists and Theosophists.

Thomas Meyer’s Western North American Lecture Series

April 18 - April 28, 2010
British Columbia and Alberta:
Burnaby and Vancouver, B.C
Calgary and Edmonton, AB

Burnaby, BC – Christian Community

1. Sunday, April 18th, 12:15pm;
“Rudolf Steiner’s Core Mission: Reincarnation and Karma”

Calgary, AB – call John Glanzer for Venue Location

2. Monday, Apr. 19th, 7:30pm
“The Relevance of the Mission of Rudolf Steiner and the Anthroposophical Movement Today”

3. Tuesday, Apr. 20th, 2:00pm
Meeting with the Members of the School of Spiritual Science

4. Tuesday, Apr. 20th, 7:30pm
Public lecture introducing Anthroposophy

Edmonton, AB – call Debbie Allen for Venue Location

5. Wednesday, Apr. 21st, 7:00 pm
The Theosophical Society
“D.N. Dunlop and his connection to the Irish Theosophists".

6. Thursday, Apr. 22nd, 7:00 pm
“The Individuality of "Ovid/ Oliphant” as revealed through Rudolf Steiner's Karma Research.

Vancouver, BC - Rudolf Steiner Centre, North Vancouver, BC:

7. Friday, April 23rd, 8 pm
"Recognition of Christ, Lucifer and Ahriman in Rudolf Steiner’s Mystery Dramas”

8. Saturday, Apr. 24th, 9:30-4 pm
“Selected Scenes from the Mystery Dramas”.

9. Saturday, April 24th, 7:30 pm
“Evil in the Mystery Dramas as Related to in our Time”.

Duncan, BC-Sunrise Waldorf School

10. Wednesday, Apr. 28th, 7:30 pm
“A Question of Reincarnation”

Contacts Information:

Greater Vancouver and Salt Spring Island:
Susan Locey: (Burnaby): 604-435-0600
Michael Roboz: (North Vancouver): 604-987-4935
Ann Watson: (Salt Spring Island): 250-653-4184

John Glanzer:(Calgary): 403-286-8480
Debbie Allen: (Edmonton): 780-961-2195

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Reflections on the Whitehorse Conference

- By Jeff Baggaley

There are a number of fundamental spiritual truths which we may learn from aboriginal American spiritual life. We were witness to this as embodied in Meta Williams' gracious presence at the Conference. The way she spoke, how she listened, her sense of humor, how she addressed the body of anthroposophists during her presentation, rooted in her people, speaking out of that Voice, and how her talk in all areas kept cycling around healing.

We can learn from all of this as we seek to deepen our lives.

When we enter the sweat lodge, we get down close to the ground and enter into the lodge on all fours, humbling ourselves before we enter into the world of Spirit. That is what we do when we go into a sweat lodge: we are crossing the threshold into the world of Spirit. It is a simple matter of recognizing this. The first thing we do is be humble. We are human beings, in a fallen state, filled with pride and arrogance.

Once in the lodge, we cultivate of mood of reverence. How? By keeping quiet, by being silent. We need to be very careful with our Word in the lodge, how we use words. Because in the lodge, where the Spirits are invited in, our word is our bond. You will get what you pray for, what you speak in there, so be careful what you say.

This honoring of the Word and the use of words is fundamental to understanding traditional aboriginal American spirituality, and was evident during Meta’s talk. It seemed that more of her talk was silence than words. This very silence deepens the words as they are spoken, measures them within the listeners with the inner touchstone of truth. It is the space of spirit between the sounds, and so enables the whole to be permeated with Truth. (That is why your shyster huckster will speak a mile a minute: There is no space for the truth of the matter to be heard.)

In the sweat lodge, as in all American spirituality, ceremony is conducted in and within a Circle. To my mind when we gathered together at the Conference within a Circle, the spirit generated therein was authentic as well as authentically American. All life goes in a circle, which then cycles in a spiral as Spirit infuses. This is a basic truth in America.

In the Lodge, we are all brothers and sisters, we are all relations, we are all related in a fundamental way to all Creation. That is what we say when we enter into the Lodge, into the spiritual world: “All My Relations.” We continue to affirm this relationship at all significant points in the Ceremony, much in the way ‘Amen’ is used during Mass. We are brothers and sisters, sons and daughters of Grandfather Creator. That is why we help each other, and do not hurt one another. That is why we endeavor to be kind, to develop understanding. We do all this because of these basic and fundamental relationships of spiritual kinship.

When we speak of Creation, of the spiritual Beings of the Hierarchies, we speak of Grandfathers and Grandmothers. That is the nature of our relationship to these spiritual beings: they are family. It may be difficult to see a Throne as a Grandfather, but that is the aboriginal American understanding of these matters. As we grow older, in our human way and manner, we try to reflect these divine spiritual qualities within ourselves: understanding, kindness, compassion, love.

These are matters of the Heart and are native to traditional American ways.

As with all matters of the Heart, when we get wounded, hurt, ground down, pulverized by Life and karma, the only way back to right relations is through healing those wounds and pains and hurts, as deep and raw as these woundings may sometimes go.

Reconciliation. Learning. Healing. This is at the very core of American spirituality. It is why Ceremony is performed at the Individual-Community level of Sweat Lodge Ceremony, or Community Level of Sun Dance or Individual level of Fasting, also called Vision Questing. It is always about healing, for a loved one or for your community, someone sick in your community, for yourself. It is about getting back into into right relations with your brothers and sisters, with yourself, with spiritual world.

At times the road back to these right relations is filled with extraordinary suffering and pain, and this too must be acknowledged in a good way, so that we may move forward and not be a hindrance. All this comes from the Grandfathers, all our pains and sufferings are part of the Gift we have each been given that is our Life. Wopila! we learn to say, even under the most adverse and painful of circumstances. Thank you Granfather, thank you for this Day. Much of this process involves a humble acceptance of our humanity, that we have goofed up in major ways. We are all human beings, and we all without exception mess up. Acceptance and quiet acknowledgement of our humanity as well as the other’s humanity is traditional to American spiritual pathways, a traditional value, however much conflict there may be in the process of reconciliation, healing and learning. It is not a matter of being right or wrong, but of healing, an ongoing process, so that right relations between us may be reestablished.

This is why we need a good sense of humor, so that we can laugh at ourselves when we blunder and goof up, can forgive ourselves for the mess that is our lives and get it in perspective. In American spiritual pathways, there is the Clown, the Heyoka, blundering through situations, smashing through all boundaries and rules and regulations, doing everything backwards, upside down, topsy turvy, to the general merriment of all. This Heyoka, this Clown, is a vitally important part of understanding any aspect of American spirituality. We can see in Dawn (Stratton) our Anthroposophical Clown why Steiner carved the Spirit of Humor in his Representative of Humanity statue.

So much of this understanding of American spirituality applies to us as anthroposophists, in my view, not least when you look at our history as a Society since Steiner’s death. Part of this history has been well recorded in so far as it is reflected in the history of the First Class in a recent book by Johannes Kiersch called A History of the School of Spiritual Science. The divisions, dissensions and expulsions within the Society point to nothing but our common humanity. How could it be otherwise?

This history, however, seen from an American point of view, is a wonderful opportunity for us to learn, to heal, to grow, and to move forward as a Society strengthened by this suffering.

As we continue our headlong and precipitous rush into subnature and witness the extraordinary devolution of humanity this transformation is bringing about, the Whitehorse Conference, fired by an aboriginal American spiritual presence, signals a healing within our Society, wonderful to behold.

May this Spirit of Healing continue to signal from the Periphery to the Center, and from the Center radiate forth to the Whole.

Mitakuye Oyasin! All My Relations!

Jeff Baggaley

Jeff was adopted into a Lakota tiospaye, a family, many years ago, and practices a Lakota spiritual pathway. He is a traditional Pipe Keeper and a Sun Dancer, completing his seventh Dance cycle this summer. He is also a member of the First Class.

Jeff has recently completed a graduate medical program, and is currently in the process of setting up his practice and business in Antigonish, Nova Scotia.

Contact information:
Jeff Baggaley BA DipFCT
Biofield Medicine International
Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Mark McAlister
Anthroposophical Society in Canada
877-892-3656, 416-892-3656

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

French-language Contributions

Dear French-speaking members:

Most of our Newsletter content is only in English, and it would be very good if we could have some French-language material as well. Members across the country will be very interested in what you have to say. I will arrange for translation, and publish the article in both languages. If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact me. (If you prefer to communicate with me in French, please use email rather than the telephone...Thanks! Ed.

The Holy Nights at Arscura

- Submitted by Vibeke Ball

On December 29/30 a group of 17 met again for another art/study session in the holy nights. This is becoming a new tradition as we meet on two consecutive days sharing a pot luck dinner and conversation on the evening of the first meeting day. The idea of this originally arose the year after our "Angel workshop" with Christian von Grumbkow and Stephanie Wollenhaupt.

Last year we worked artistically on the verse by Rudolf Steiner 'Behold the Sun at the Midnight Hour' and our paintings set the stage in the community room at the Christian Community at 901 Rutherford Road in Vaughn, for the performance of the "Dreamsong of Olaf Aesteson".

This year, Regine Kurek led us into a different kind of work. As previously, we looked again at the language of the stars at this time and tried to see how this cosmic language could lead us, inspire us to a creative deed together. Reading from the Saturn-Uranus opposition this year, we learned to understand this time (2008-9), as a preparation, a time where the old and the new come up to face each other everywhere. The guiding words were: Setting the stage! Relinquish certainty (Saturn), Embrace discovery (Uranus)!

We shared with each other how it had been, to hold a ‘seed thought’ from last year over into this year and what new arose from and by doing that.

Regine then brought our attention to what could be seen as the second phase in this cosmic process, without the first one necessarily being completed. The second phase is being heralded by the slow moving Saturn-Pluto square. Following on from this confrontation between the old and the new, now a ‘new season’ begins, from the end of 2009 into 2010 and we are called to become participators in this cosmic journey, by actively turning to embrace the unknown and make small changes in our life in order to practice this transformation that is or wants to take place.

For our painting process, we now identified a colour suited for this: the peach blossom, colour of transformed darkness into a new light, the inner light of the soul. This is also the colour Rudolf Steiner gave to the eurythmists in the sun zodiac as the colour of Capricorn, ruled by Saturn. We painted peach blossom, first each on our own, gathering its qualities from the paintings that emerged, then a second time, this time with a partner, to let peach blossom arise between us.

When gathering qualities of this colour we realized that it is hard to find it in nature. Some qualities we experienced in us, are: gentle, mild, mysterious, surprising, ever lasting, shaded, quiet but strong. We could experience its presence entering the room.

The third step in our star journey was to come to the time when Uranus squares Pluto and this will happen in the near future during the years 2012-2015 and signify a forward movement in which we can all take part actively, if we are prepared and, wakeful to the signs of the time, willing to step in and play our part in large groups, yet, as individualities.

There are many other aspects that could be pointed out on this star journey, but Regine wanted to mainly point to these as something concrete we could all take into our year.

We followed up this insight-step through painting two more times. The first picture challenged us all into becoming consciously a vessel for this emerging ‘Being of Peach Blossom’ by paint ing one large picture all together. This required an intense group process of participation in many different ways, but most of all a willingness to let one's own ideas be changed or developed by others while at the same time, "taking care" of someone else's shape or movement. On the other hand, there was the risk of bringing something in that, hopefully wasn't perceived as arbitrary or destructive. At the same time all emphasis was to "serve" peach blossom to manifest. There was a moment in this hour long painting process when one would have heard a pin drop to the floor, so silently and intent on the task, was the work. Towards the end we all looked up and saw each other, standing in space as individualities, like players in a drama of cosmic dimension and amongst us , palpable, was peach blossom’s presence: love! There was a momentous pause. Then each added a last gift and ‘it’ was done.

Qualities that were present in the painting and had manifested in the room amongst us were: united, flowing, movement, great stream, river of life, becoming, creating, time and eternity, Sophia, wisdom of the world, love.

In our study, Regine now invited us back to the circle where the 50 qualities were laid out on individual cards, each representing a guiding force, an Angel and we each took a card that gave us a new impulse and that we took upon ourselves to carry with us into our year . We now set out to paint another individual picture. We started with an impulse from our previous work and added a new individual gesture, reaching into the future toward our guiding angel for the year to come.

This was our last hour of painting. At the end, as we each stood before our last paintings, we all committed to "embrace discovery" and "relinquish certainty", meet and engage courageously and creatively with what the year will bring!

This time, our common painting became the stage setting for Olaf Aesteson as Elizabeth once more sang of the journey through the holy nights, until "the thirteenth day, when Olaf wakes up from his sleep so deep so long".

(Olaf=human being; the dream song=the journey of the individuality between lives and also the dream journey during the holy nights every year as we review the year that has passed and prepare for the new year to come).

October Event With Marko Pogacnik

“We are the Earth” - a personal perspective from Vibeke Ball

“Geomancy explores the realm where human consciousness meets and dialogues with the Spirit of the Earth. It empowers the harmonious interaction between person and place.”
- Marko Pogacnik (link to his website)

There was a group of 30 people walking around the Toronto Waldorf School campus on the last Wednesday in October in the light drizzle. They are part of a group learning about Geomancy with Marko Pogacnik from Slovenia. As a sculptor and lover of the Earth, Marko has written many books, including his most recent title “Sacred Geography” which outlines a form of working with and healing the earth . For Marko this work began in the seventies and has now taken him all over the world including Europe, South and North America. Two of Marko’s daughters share the connection to and love of the earth. They often work with him, in fact Ana Pogacnik, hosted by Arscura School for Living Art, came to work in our area four times in the last two years. With Ana we learned how to listen to the landscape that supports and holds our community. Ana, who studied archaeology at University, has developed her own educational program called “The Deeper Cognition of Landscape”. Marko and Ana have created a North American school of Geomancy; two of the faculty at TWS, Sandi Churchward and Elyse Pomeranz have completed this two year course.

Our group began the day at a huge oak tree that children pass everyday as they walk the path between the school and the parking lot. This oak is truly impressive in size and I sheepishly confess that in the 13 years I have been coming to this campus I have not noticed it and I consider myself to be an observant person and someone who truly loves nature and the Earth. Our family donates the earth flag that has been seen for a time flying on the flagpole. Marko tells us that this tree is the guardian of the campus. I notice with curiosity that its branches reach towards the west and the school. I remember that oak is one of the hardest woods and I have observed that in the fall long after the other trees have dropped their leaves the oak is still ‘holding on’. I also notice with interest that this statuesque oak seems to have a partner that stands very close and is of similar size.

After this we turn our attention to the swamp that lies on the south side of the driveway before the bridge. The swamp, Marko says, is teeming with life and compares it to our metabolic system where our food is transformed; a perfect description for me of the importance of a swamp. I notice how the people in our group feel the strong boundaries of this place and I think back to when our daughter Sunni was at the school and we had to rescue the beavers that had made their home in the swamp. Beavers are such hard workers.

Next we go to the platform that overlooks the ravine that follows the north side of the property. This ravine is likened to the spine or backbone of the campus and has an almost primordial or primeval feel to it. We do a meditation here that connects us in an imaginative way to the power that lives here. Personally I have an awareness of a huge and powerful dragon moving through the landscape. Of course the strong life force is evident in this ravine. I think how fortunate we are to have this ‘wildness’ on the property.

At the back of the property in the small sheep pasture we all stand quietly and try to perceive this particular spot. Of course we are not told ahead of time what this spot is so we can have our own experience and not step into the power of suggestion. For the most part everyone feels a very positive energy in this location. People share their perceptions of this spot in the landscape and of course, as individuals, we perceive in different ways: some feel it in their bodies, some have an imagination, and some receive words. We learn that the earth is actively producing new qualities and they express themselves in places such as this which Marko called a Gaia place.

As Marko said, “Our body is our landscape and we need to have a relationship with it. If we feel at home within our body, then wherever we are, we are at home and we serve the life of the earth. We have lived on the earth long enough as if it were an object. The intelligence of Gaia is within us and is working through us if we want to collaborate with her in working on the landscape.” Just as list ening and turning our attention to one another deepens and enlivens relationship and our well being, so does seeking communication and connection with the living aspect of the land.

This group ,comprised of students, teachers, parents ( present and former) members of TWS, AHWS, Hesperus, the Dowser’s association and Arscura also spent the next day exploring the Humber Bay, Humber River area as this represents a very significant place for the whole city of Toronto.

"A town is saved, not more by the righteous men in it than by the woods and swamps that surround it." - Henry David Thoreau

If you are interested in this work please feel free to contact: churchward.venne@sympatico.ca.
For more information visit http://www.markopogacnik.com/ or http://www.lifenethome.org/.

Youth Workshop In Toronto

Dear friends,

On January 23rd 2010, a meeting took place in Toronto, brimming with enthusiasm, seeking to discover the promise and possibility of youth. Our gratitude goes out to Olivia Hanna who organized the event with the support of Robert McKay, Doug Wiley and Mark McAlister. We are grateful to everyone who attended and especially to Greg Scott who helped facilitate the event.

This was a workshop for young adults and mentors in Toronto interested in exploring and finding ways of working together out of anthroposophy. The diversity of the crowd enriched the ideas we explored during a brainstorming session. Priorities were set and discussed as we made a list of needs and challenges youth feel exist in both the anthroposophic movement and the world at large; issues and questions we perceive and want to engage with. Our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats were brought to light as we went deeper into our process of discovering what occasions for service exist in our own respective regions, in our own "local lives."

We were given the gift of moving with each other, in a Eurythmy exercise led by Johnathan Snow. He helped us feel the importance of balance between opening up to the world and cultivating a firm relationship to healthy boundaries. It was kinetic and insightful to witness a concept brought to life in this way through Eurythmy.

We were given the language of “container and capacity” with which to begin thinking about the development of this group. What kind of container can a Toronto youth group create which will allow us to build the capacities we need? How can the capacities we build continually develop containers for youth initiatives wishing to incarnate into the world, bearing within them seeds of vision?

We were encouraged to listen to each other’s hearts and reminded that our strength lies in supporting each other. At the heart of this workshop was the desire for collaboration and this includes strengthening our containers and capacities with intergenerational guidance and mentorship born of mutual trust and respect.

We hope to meet again to try to answer our burning questions, not only with our heads and our hearts, but also with our hands. This is an ongoing project. There are currently twenty four members, some interested in attending regular meetings and others offering themselves as resource people.

Please email Ariel-Paul or call him at 416-617-1391 if you would like to be involved.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Whitehorse Conference: The Financial Picture

The conference Planning Group met for a final time in Vancouver in mid-September to reflect on the conference and to bring the financial picture up to date. When all aspects were taken into account and all outstanding commitments met, there remained a surplus of $7000. After thoughtful discussion, and with an aim to respecting the intentions of the conference and to furthering work recognized there, it was decided to disburse these funds as follows:

.Refunds of registration fees to five people: $1750

.To the Rudolf Steiner Centre, Vancouver (for meeting space for the Planning Group): $500

.Seed funds toward the 2010 Conference in Iceland: $1200

.To ISIS, toward continuing work in Russia: $1000

.To the fund for Meta Williams Healing Centre initiative (through ISIS): $500

.To the Goetheanum: $1000

.To the Anthroposophical Society in Canada: $1000

The balance went toward the costs of disbursing the above funds.

We are grateful for the participation of each of you who came to Whitehorse and to those who supported the conference in other ways.

Edna Cox, for the Planning Group