Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Letter from the General Secretary (September 2010)

Dear Friends,

On our west coast, the waning days of summer are bringing a fresh clarity as fall approaches. The smoke-tinged hue of the August sky has given way to a lucid blue as we draw in from the expanse of summer and return to ourselves.

Members and friends of the Society in Canada took part in several events over the summer months. One of these was the Wanderseminar in Iceland from late June to mid-July. Among the Canadians present, several had also participated in the Encircling Light conference in Whitehorse last summer. They report that their days in Iceland were good ones, especially the time spent entering into the Icelandic landscape. Louise Rosch gives a picture of her experience in this issue of Glimpses; other reports will come in subsequent issues. Having spent some days in Iceland in July 2008 and met the Icelandic members who laid the groundwork for this conference, I can bear witness to the devotion and energy they would have given toward making this a worthwhile event.

Others of us attended performances of Rudolf Steiner's four Mystery Dramas, and then the English Conference that followed them, Entering into the 21st Century Spiritually.  The four days of the performances were very intense, yet having actors speak the German lines in English and French through earphones made it possible for the audience of those languages to enter fully into what was unfolding on the stage.

Penetrating the Mystery Dramas is a work of a lifetime and perhaps more than one lifetime. In my meeting of them on this occasion, I was especially struck by the certainty yet precariousness of our destiny encounters. Individual struggles come together in moments of profound resolution as those on stage find one another and karma comes to light...and then the moment of resolution falls into crisis as each new stage of development brings new choices to be made, new encounters with adversary powers and the possibility of losing touch with others on the path. Throughout this journey the temples of the past give way to the temples we create individually yet together within the situations of our everyday lives. With its minimal staging and superb use of lighting, and enlivened by eurythmy, this current production at the Goetheanum has enabled me to find a path into the Mystery Dramas.

Participants from Canada, the United States, Mexico, New Zealand, Australia, Britain and Ireland, Russia, continental Europe and Asia came together around the theme presentations, artistic and thematic workshops and very fine evening performances of the English Conference. It quickly became clear that no overarching gesture or theme could capture what it means to be spiritually alive and active in our time. Again, so much depended on the situations in which each of us finds himself or herself and one's readiness to listen within a theme presentation or workshop for that configuration of words, that thought or insight that could become a light along the path each one walks. 

Virginia Sease and Cornelius Pietzner worked hard to make this 3rd International English Conference possible, along with their secretaries and all the staff at the Goetheanum, who said they were glad to welcome us and sorry to see us depart. We in the English-speaking countries owe these colleagues our thanks for what they have done on our behalf.

While at the Goetheanum, I learned of the death of Heather Rombough in Edmonton. I first met Heather in July 2008, two years after she had been hit by a truck--an accident from which she never fully recovered. Yet Heather was determined to take part in the Encircling Light Conference and made the journey to Whitehorse with her wheelchair in tow. Fellow participants who met her during that week were moved by her joy at being among us and her courage in living each day of the life left to her. Heather joined the Anthroposophical Society soon after the conference. Her friend Henriette van Hees of Edmonton will join with others in preparing a picture of Heather's life for an upcoming issue of Glimpses

Finally the Class Holders in Canada welcome Elizabeth White in Guelph, Michael Chapitis in Toronto, and Arthur Osmond in Nova Scotia to the work of the Class Holder in their areas of the country.

Good thoughts to each of you and the work you will undertake on the path toward Michaelmas.

Philip Thatcher,
General Secretary

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