Monday, June 7, 2010

Thornhill Campus Meeting, Hosted By Hesperus

- by Doug Wylie

The 10 organizations residing on Thornhill campus met on May 6, 2010 to explore how we might collaborate more. This was a meeting that had been talked about for years and it certainly felt long overdue. Thanks to Pina Corigliano who carefully crafted and arranged the meeting and to Gord Collins who wonderfully facilitated the conversations.
Representatives from each organization gave a brief history and then spoke about their vision of the future of their particular organization. I was very impressed with the extensive activities going on and how very richly endowed we are to have such powerful and wonderful organizations in one area.
From each of the talks, a brief time was spent pulling together common themes and possible ways the organizations could collaborate and work together. They were listed as follows at the end of the meeting:
• Collaborative outreach into the greater community
• Shared administration
• Shared festivals
• Branding and promoting the campus as a whole
• Shared fund raising
• Cultivating the common thread of Anthroposophy.
• Coordinating resources
• Understanding the soul needs of our community
• Positively promoting each other culturally
• Creating a form for collaboration and to create a regularly held forum to cultivate collaboration as a campus entity.
There was a warm and enlivened feeling at the end of the meeting and I heard many saying that a longer meeting would be very beneficial. This first meeting was one really to get to encounter each other in one room and to get a sense of the overall campus organism. Some discussion of a “name” took place and I’m sure more discussion will come. There was also a recognition that we also relate to other Anthroposophical organizations in the broader area. The Toronto Waldorf School offered to host the next Campus meeting in the fall.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Letter From Cornelius Pietzner - June 2010

Dear Friends,

Not infrequently we hear that for many visitors and conference guests, the Goetheanum is "far away" when they are busy with their work and lives somewhere else in the field. Yet the Goetheanum is also very "present" and "real" when they are actually physically present here. This is totally understandable in a more direct and literal sense. Yet in an odd way, one could also turn this around, and say that in the daily work and striving, in so many fields and different sectors, the Goetheanum (and what it represents) is actually present and real in a healthy way just precisely when we are engaged in our work in all parts of the world. And when one is physically at the Goetheanum, the world converges and the work and striving carried out far away flows into the meetings, questions, research and activity at the Goetheanum! This points to the not-so-new mystery of the point and periphery experience, or the "heart function" of the Goetheanum. Although this is a complex theme and beyond the purview of this brief greeting, it is perhaps interesting for each one of us to reflect how this phenomenon appears in the experience of our own soul.On a personal note, when I lived in the United States, I would experience the soul element of the country more strongely when I was not there, but travelling elsewhere. When I was away, the spiritual dimension of the country and its people and culture arose more strongely in me. This may be something of what I am referring to with the experience of the Goetheanum in its physical and spiritual dimension

Such a reflection, however broad, may be helpful as we move into the summer months. As we expand into the warmth and light, we are given to understand how, in the great summer Imagination from Rudolf Steiner, the awareness of conscience plays a particular role during this time. This is a seemingly contrary and very different inner gesture of focus and awareness, and one that may arise from the dreaming cosmic widths into a specific and precise realization that ultimately also guides our decisions and choices.

With best wishes,
Cornelius Pietzner
For the Executive Council

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Cornelia Hendrika (CORA, CORRIE) VERBRUGH

- by Michael Roboz

Born: Rotterdam, June 6, 1917
Died: Vancouver, April 28, 2010

Cora was born during the First World War in Rotterdam, Holland. During World War Two, she was a courier for the Dutch Resistance Movement. She moved to Vancouver, Canada in 1946.
She worked for a long time as a secretary in the Planning Department at Vancouver General Hospital. Following VGH, she was a secretary in the President’s Office at the University of British Columbia, until retirement. I was attending UBC at the time and visited her there many times. Cora was also a partner in the import/export firm of Bill Steuyavelt’s South-West Imports.
In Rotterdam, she had worked for the Mayor’s office. When the Germans took over, she worked for them. But, also against them. She had rescued many Jews and still had some possessions of some of them who never came back. She moved out from home in order to prevent danger to her family. She had a boyfriend, a Dutchman, who was in the RAF. He was shot down over the English Channel. Cora received a medal for her Resistance work by the Dutch Queen after the war.
When Steven Roboz advertised in the Vancouver Sun for the first Wednesday Anthroposophical Study Group meeting, Cora answered the ad. That was in fall of 1956. Cora had known about Anthroposophy back in Holland, but only became active through Steven and became a very active contributor to the Wednesday Study Group. Cora was the first Treasurer of both the Rudolf Steiner Centre Association and the Anthroposophical Society in Canada, Vancouver Branch.
Cora had a huge collection, spanning 60 years, of English, German and Dutch anthroposophical books. She was very meticulous and kept all the newsletters from Canadian, American, Dutch Societies; Das Goetheanum, Aurore, Cascadia Society, and the RSCA. Some of the material goes back to the 1950s. In many of her books that she worked with, she enclosed relevant articles, newsletters, and any other references to that subject. Many subject folders with her many research interests.
She will be missed in our Anthroposophical Community and in her long-time Kitsilano neighbourhood.

Michael Roboz
North Vancouver, May, 2010

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


- by Ann Watson

Thomas Meyer has come and gone, off to Seattle to continue his North American tour. The whole conference was dealing with the Mystery Dramas and was in depth and actually very well listened to. Unfortunately it was a bit overshadowed by a serious error in the wording of the program advertising the visit. This concerned Meyer's final talk - which the organizers had ASKED him to give, after the Mystery Drama talks were over, on 'The Meditative Path of The School of Michael'. The program organizers, Ann Watson and Michael Roboz, had failed to clarify the nature of this topic and the wording of the program, which went to all Vancouver Anthroposophists, was actually claiming that Thomas Meyer, who is not a member of the Anthroposophical Society and so therefore not a member of The School of Spiritual Science, was calling a meeting for the members of the First Class to discuss the material of the class in a new way, and also, though not stated in the program, perhaps even the form of the class! As can well be imagined this program caused considerable disturbance throughout the serious-minded members of the Society. Actually, Thomas had no intention of speaking to 'members only' and he, from the very beginning, was only willing to speak about his thoughts on 'The School of Michael' as Rudolf Steiner had spoken of it in the Karma Lectures and in the lessons.

I found Thomas's final talk to be careful to lay down the basic meditative work of the Anthroposophical path. It actually didn't go into any details of the Michael School until the end which culminated with a short inquiry into the language of the form of the Sign of Michael, and on the blackboard the Sign of Michael was drawn. The whole talk had a very reverent tone and mood which, it seemed to me was shared by the audience. Thomas pointed out that the material of The Michael School is now available on the internet and also in book form. According to several people I have since talked to, this material - the 19 lessons and the Recapitulation Lessons - can be easily purchased in the German-speaking world, which I find to be contrary to the English-speaking world which seems to have this material under strict control. However this is diverging from my topic which is Thomas Meyer's visit.

Thomas's new book "Rudolf Steiner's Core Mission" is a wonderful biography of Rudolf Steiner in which the author traces the beginnings of the reincarnation and karma work of Spiritual Science. There are many new and enchanting anecdotes about the people in the life of Rudolf Steiner, both in his youth and during his career as a spiritual teacher. The book also touches on the problems that affected the Society and the people in it after Steiner's death. I thought this particular subject was dealt with in a very human and understanding way by Thomas Meyer. I hope that in spite of the error that was experienced during Thomas's visit, that we can all welcome Thomas Meyer back when he chooses to try again with a visit to Vancouver.

Letter from Philip Thatcher

Dear Friends,

In the course of the year 2011, the Anthroposophical Society around the world will commemorate the 150th anniversary of the birth of Rudolf Steiner. Of particular interest is a conference in Bologna, Italy, next spring, where on April 8, 1911, Rudolf Steiner gave a lecture in the context of a philosophical congress--the only occasion, I am told, on which he was invited to address such a gathering.
The Council in Canada is taking up the question of how such a commemoration could be enacted within the Society in Canada. In Europe this commemorative year will go forward in the context of over a hundred years of interaction between anthroposophy in its various forms and the historical and cultural life of European peoples. In Canada our situation is very different, even though we can point to times and places over the years where we as a movement have interacted with political and cultural life. How then might we place this commemorative possibility within a Canadian context?
I suggest that one way might be to take up across the country this lecture given in Bologna on April 8, 1911, entitled in the translation I have, "The Psychological Foundations of Anthroposophy: Its Standpoint in Relation to the Theory of Knowledge."
At the core of this lecture is the relationship between anthroposophy as a spiritual science and the scientific/philosophical conviction of Steiner's day--continuing into our own time--that because what I call my "I" seems to dwell within the physical body and gaze out into the world from that place, my knowing of the world and myself is bounded by the consciousness this physical body makes possible. In the course of the lecture, Rudolf Steiner describes exercises that lead one toward an understanding and experience of the human being as a configuration of spiritual activity not bounded by the physical body.
As the horizon of consciousness grows and human being begins to experience itself as "the stage upon which a supersensible content, consisting of real being, is not merely perceived but perceives itself," one's relationship to the physical body changes. More and more the physical body ceases to be the prison or sanctuary that bounds our knowing but becomes a reflecting apparatus that enables the ego as a spiritual reality to center and objectify its knowing of the world and itself without placing limits upon that knowing.
Thus my attempt to bring into focus one aspect of this April 8, 1911, lecture. How might what I have tried to bring forth speak to our situation as Canadians and as the Society in Canada?
I have flown over this country many times, from west to east, from south to north, and back, at both high and low altitudes. And in the past six years I have flown over the north of Canada, travelling to and from the Goetheanum. Looking down from whatever height, I gaze upon the myriad of mirrors that are the lakes and rivers holding this land together, and upon the great mirror that is Canada itself--the whole of Canada. My work with this April 8, 1911, lecture has led me to see that it is possibly the physical body of this country, the land itself, that reflects back to us that elusive yet real center of identity that makes us Canadian. How then is this relation to the land, a beholding of the physicality of Canada as a whole, integral to the becoming of the Anthroposophical Society in Canada?
Other peoples, of course, also feel the land on which and in which they live to be part of their identity. I suggest that for Canadians, however, the mirror of their geography is a primary, even primal, means of reflecting who they are as Canadians, far more than their history or culture or varied cultures, as important as these are in other respects. As I have written elsewhere, Canada's geography has encompassed and still encompasses its history.* Thus Canadians, I suggest, have intuited that we need to comprehend--a gesture of knowing that begins at the periphery, at our horizons, and reaches inward to discover a center--the entire reach of this country if we would truly know ourselves.
I offer the above as one point of departure out of this lecture of April 8, 1911, toward discerning how we in Canada might enter into this 2011 commemorative year honouring the life and work of Rudolf Steiner. Class Holders and Council members across the country can provide access to one translation of this lecture. It can also be found in another translation as the second lecture in Esoteric Development, published by Anthroposophic Press (USA).
In closing, I ask that we in the Society in Canada send good thoughts toward those taking part in the International English Conference to be held at the Goetheanum from August 2nd through 7th, around the theme Entering into the 21st Century Spiritually. All four Mystery Dramas will be performed in the days leading up to this conference, making for a rich and challenging event.

Philip Thatcher
General Secretary

*In "North of the Border", first published in the US Journal for Anthroposophy (Winter 1986) and then in past editions of the newsletter in Canada and in The Riddle of America (AWSNA 2001)

Mot du secrétaire général

Chers amis,
Au cours de l'année 2011, la Société anthroposophique partout dans le monde célébrera le 150e anniversaire de la naissance de Rudolf Steiner. À souligner particulièrement : un congrès sera tenu le printemps prochain à Bologne, en Italie, là où le 8 avril 1911 Rudolf Steiner a donné une conférence dans le cadre d'un congrès philosophique. (C'est, à ma connaissance, la seule fois où il ait été invité à participer à un tel colloque).
Notre Conseil au Canada se penche sur la question d'explorer comment nous pourrions accomplir une telle commémoration à l'intérieur de la Société au Canada. En Europe, cette année commémorative s'inscrit dans le contexte de plus d'un siècle d'interaction entre l'anthroposophie dans ses différentes manifestations et le vécu historique et culturel des peuples européens. Notre situation ici au Canada est fort différente, bien qu'il soit possible d'indiquer certains moments et endroits où nous avons pu interagir en tant que mouvement avec la vie politique et culturelle. Alors, comment situer une possible commémoration dans un contexte canadien?
Une suggestion : envisager, partout au pays, l'étude de cette conférence donnée à Bologne le 8 avril 1911, dont le titre dans la traduction que j’ai entre les mains est "The Psychological Foundations of Anthroposophy: Its Standpoint in Relation to the Theory of Knowledge." (Les fondements psychologiques de l'anthroposophie: Sa position par rapport à la théorie de la connaissance?) (On trouve la conférence du 8/04/1911 en français dans le volume Philosophie et Anthroposophie, EAR, 1997 . NdT.)
Au cœur même ce cette conférence on trouve le rapport entre l'anthroposophie comme science de l'esprit, et la conviction philosophique/scientifique de l'époque de Rudolf Steiner (conviction qui règne encore à notre époque) que parce que ce que j'appelle mon « moi/je » semble vivre à l'intérieur du corps physique, d'où il dirige son regard vers l'extérieur, ma capacité de connaître le monde et moi-même est limitée à la seule conscience que ce corps physique rend possible. Or, au cours de la conférence, Rudolf Steiner décrit des exercices qui ouvrent la voie vers une compréhension et une expérience de l'être humain comme une configuration d'activité spirituelle non limitée par le corps physique.
À mesure que l'horizon de la conscience s'étend et que l'être de l'homme commence à faire l'expérience de lui-même en tant que « théâtre sur lequel un contenu suprasensible, constitué d'une véritable substance d'être, non seulement devient perceptible mais aussi se perçoit lui-même», notre rapport au corps physique se modifie. De plus en plus, le corps physique cesse d'être une prison ou un sanctuaire qui limite notre possibilité de connaissance. Il devient plutôt un appareil réflecteur qui permet au « je » comme réalité spirituelle de centrer et d'objectiver sa connaissance du monde et de lui-même.
Je tenterai ici d'attirer l'attention sur un aspect de cette conférence du 8 avril, 1911. Comment ce que je viens de présenter peut-il parler à notre condition de Canadiens membres de la Société anthroposophique au Canada?
J’ai souvent eu l'occasion de survoler ce pays en avion, d'ouest en est, du sud au nord, aller et retour, à haute altitude et à basse altitude. Et depuis les six dernières années, j'ai volé régulièrement au-dessus du Grand Nord du Canada lors de mes voyages au Goetheanum. Dirigeant le regard vers le sol, de quelque altitude que ce soit, je contemple les innombrables miroirs que sont les lacs, les rivières et les fleuves qui relient les différents coins de ce pays; et je contemple en plus le grand miroir qu'est l'ensemble du Canada lui-même. En travaillant avec la conférence du 8 avril 1911, j'ai été amené à penser que c'est possiblement le corps physique de notre pays, sa géographie même, qui réfléchit ce centre d'identité – à la fois insaisissable mais réel – qui fait que nous sommes Canadiens. Comment donc ce lien avec la terre, ce regard qui englobe l'aspect physique de l'ensemble du Canada, fait-il partie intégrante du devenir de la Société anthroposophique au Canada?
D’autres peuples aussi, bien sûr, ressentent que la terre sur laquelle et dans laquelle ils vivent fait partie de leur identité. J'ose suggérer pourtant que pour les Canadiens le miroir géographique reflète de manière primordiale leur identité, bien plus que ne le font leur histoire ou leur culture ou mélange de cultures, sans enlever quoi que ce soit à l'importance de ces derniers éléments. Comme je l'ai écrit ailleurs, c'est la géographie du Canada qui a toujours englobé et qui englobe encore son histoire.* Et j'oserais suggérer qu'ainsi, en tant que Canadiens, nous pressentons déjà de façon intuitive ce que nous sommes appelés à comprendre clairement si nous voulons nous connaître réellement – tout l'étendu de ce vaste pays. Il s'agit d'une activité de connaissance qui prend naissance à la périphérie, à nos horizons, et qui se dirige vers l'intérieur pour enfin découvrir un centre.
J’offre ces réflexions comme un point de départ possible parmi tous ceux que cette conférence du 8 avril 1911 peut inspirer – un pas possible vers une compréhension de comment nous autres Canadiens pourrions entamer cette année commémorative 2011 qui rend honneur à la vie et l'œuvre de Rudolf Steiner. Les responsables de la première Classe et les membres du Conseil peuvent fournir une traduction (en anglais) de cette conférence. La même conférence paraît également, dans une autre traduction, comme la deuxième conférence du volume Esoteric Development, éditions Anthroposophic Press (USA). (En français dans le volume Philosophie et Anthroposophie, EAR, 1997. NdT.)
En terminant, je demanderais que nous envoyions de la part de la Société au Canada nos meilleures pensées à ceux qui participeront au congrès de langue anglaise qui se tiendra au Goetheanum du 2 au 7 août et dont le thème sera Entering into the 21st Century Spiritually. Les quatre Drames-Mystères seront présentés durant les journées précédent ce congrès, ce qui fera de l'événement quelque chose d'encore plus riche et stimulant.

Philip Thatcher
Secrétaire général

*Dans "North of the Border", US Journal for Anthroposophy (Hiver 1986) ainsi que dans d'anciens numéros du bulletin au Canada et dans The Riddle of America (AWSNA 2001)