Monday, August 29, 2011

Report from the Worldwide Biography Conference 2011

- by Dorothy Lebaron

I attended the Worldwide Biography Conference held from June 28 to July 3, at Emerson College in England. This was the first conference taking place under the new initiative on the site of Emerson College, called “Emerson Trust.”  The theme for this year’s conference was “Living in an Awareness of Karma.”

Biography, as a new profession, is much more established in Europe and also Brazil,  than it is in North America. Its roots go back to the late 1970s, in Holland, inspired by the work of Bernard Lievegoed. The first worldwide biography conference was held in 1987, and they now take place every two years.

There were more than 100 participants in the conference, from the Netherlands, the UK, Switzerland, Japan, Romania, Brazil, Israel, Germany, the USA, and myself from Canada.

Many of these countries have biography training programs, with graduates often working in the field of biographical counseling or biographical coaching. However, there is also a recognition for “biography workers” or “biography practitioners,” who are professionals who work with human development out of anthroposophy but not with a “counseling” specialty. As Michaela Glöckler said in her keynote lecture, everybody will do their jobs better when they have done biography work. Everybody needs it.

The conference was rich and exciting. It began with two days of master classes, allowing participants to experience the deep learning that biography can offer. In the shorter presentations offered in the marketplace, one could learn about techniques other people are researching and using in the field. There were two evening dialogues where we all gathered in silence and conversation around the theme of “Listening to the Earth” and “Listening to the Karma.”

One of the conference participants from Japan, Yukiko, had assembled fifty-five beautiful photos of Fukushima that were taken before the area was hit by the disaster of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear power plant destruction. It created a powerful entry into our theme of looking at the time and circumstances we are living in, and recognizing the place where our personal destiny meets the destiny of humanity. Through working individually and in groups we were guided into finding a world event that touched us, recognizing in this event our own personal struggle, meeting the forces at work there, and allowing that struggle to show us a future step. It was very powerful.

There is a pioneering quality to biography work. Questions living in the conference participants were about growing this work, finding applications for it, and a sense of how much it can offer people living in these complex times and searching for deeper meaning and understanding in their lives. As Michaela Glöckler said, in each person’s biography lives their own initiation path. This is a very new branch of anthroposophic work.

Dorothy LeBaron is a faculty member at Arscura, School for Living Art, where there is a biography training program called Biography—Life as Art.

Thomas Meyer Bibliography - Update

- by Ann Watson

The Laurence Oliphant book, When a Stone Begins to Roll, is Thomas's latest book.  It is a fairly small book that comes as an equivalent to the much bigger biography on Laurence Oliphant, by Thomas.  Oliphant is mentioned by Rudolf Steiner in the karma lectures as a spiritual being who has been a guide to all initiates when they are entering the spiritual world.  When A Stone Begins to Roll sells for $16.50 retail so is very inexpensive
Another book is  The Bodhisattva Question, which is in print for the second edition, about Krishnamurti and Annie Besant.  This book also has two otherwise not published lectures by Elizabeth Vreede about Rudolf Steiner's year of lectures on the Second Coming and RS's relationship to this question.

D. N.  Dunlop -  a Man of Our Time is perhaps not so easy to get, but I think it is now "print on demand" status.  Light For The New Millennium is of course the best of all of them and is one of the most important books in Anthroposophical literature.   Emil Bock uses the same material, The von Moltke Papers, as a subject in his Life and Times of Rudolf Steiner Vol. 2  which has as the last three or four chapters the question of Pope Nicholas - who is Helmuth von Moltke.  

This book Light For The New Millenium by Thomas Meyer can provide study material for more than a year for anyone interested enough to GET INTO IT.  It leads into all sorts of other books like WJ Stein's Ninth Century which has a chapter about Pope Nicholas, and also Emil Bock's above mentioned book. Then one can also can find related study work in the book The  Anglo American Establishment by Carroll Quigley, which is about the brotherhoods in England at the time of WW1. Also Terry Boardman's works Casper Hauser - Where Did He Come From?, and Mapping the New Millenium are fantastic followup material.  Another excellent book which uses Light For the New Milllennium as a reference book is Conjuring Hitler, a recent work by a PhD in Economics, Guido Preparata, who is mainstream scholarship.  It is as Rudolf Steiner predicted - "Future historians" will have their work cut out for them and will see the events around the beginning of WW1 in a different light.

These books are the great books of our era.

Also "in print books"  are The Death of Merlin, a cool collection of essays by WJ Stein and of course Rudolf Steiner's Core Mission.