Friday, September 12, 2014

Letter From the General Secretary - September 2014

- by Arie van Ameringen

Dear Friends,
Virginia Sease visited Montreal in July. She worked with the members of the School for Spiritual Science for a full day and on the following evening gave a public lecture on Skythianos, one of the great initiates and leaders of mankind. Eric Philip-Oxford’s article in this issue, based on the extensive notes taken by Louis Casgrain during the lecture, will allow readers to get an idea of the content of this talk in which Virginia shared her research on this little-known initiate. Her visit was made possible thanks to a generous donation by the Sophia Branch in Montreal. Members and friends from Quebec as well as several participants from other parts of Canada and New York were present. Our sincerest thanks to Virginia, who kindly agreed to carve out a moment from her extremely busy schedule to make the trip to Canada.

Conference on the Americas
From the 22nd to the 27th of July, a conference on the mission of the Americas in the 21st century was held in São Paulo, Brazil. The event was organized by the Anthroposophical Society in Brazil (Sociedade Antroposofica no Brasil). My wife and I were the only participants from North America. The conference content was divided into four categories under the main theme of “How the soul-spiritual dimension is living in the various peoples of the Americas”:
1.     What is the mission of the Americas in our time with respect to spiritual research?
2.     In what way can one’s cultural heritage carry an element for future evolution?
3.     What are the archetypes common to the mythologies of all the various populations?
4.     How do people interact with the place in which they live?
Many of the speakers pointed out the contribution of the indigenous cultures and their richness and wisdom (a more detailed article on this conference will appear at a later date).

The Anthroposophical Society in Brazil
It was thanks to the generosity of the Anthroposophical Society in Brazil that we were able to attend the conference and meet members and initiatives in São Paulo. This vast country, contrasting in so many ways with our own, is quite striking in the lushness of its vegetation, the density of the population in its large cities, and its quite obvious social disparities (slavery was abolished quite late, at the end of the 19th century). We were able to appreciate the warmth and hospitality of the people as well as noticing the great respect Brazilians have for the elderly among them – interaction among generations happens quite naturally.

The Anthroposophical Society is very active and receives numerous donations. When we visited Society headquarters, the treasurer, Alfredo Rheinganz, explained that courses and conferences also provide substantial income and even help fund a book publishing enterprise.

Sergei Prokofieff
At the time when many of us were on holiday, we learned the sad news that Sergei Prokofieff had crossed the threshold after a long illness. He had come to Canada in 2009 and had taken part in the Whitehorse conference. Many of those who met him will recall his great warmth and his tireless activity as an anthroposophical researcher. His work will ever remain a source of inspiration for deepening our relation to anthroposophy and for inspiring us to take on initiatives.

In Hatley, Quebec, some twenty persons gathered to give readings in his memory and share experiences of meeting him, either personally or through his writings – and to speak of how he touched our hearts.
Peter Selg has written a brief but gripping biography of Sergei which has just appeared in latest issue of Anthroposophy World Wide.

Ongoing work on “The Encounter with Evil “
In Cowansville, in the Eastern Townships, we are committed to continuing the work begun last spring on the theme of the Antichrist by holding a study day with conversation and artistic activities followed, two weeks later, by a session on the Foundation Stone in North Hatley. For this work we will take as our starting point Sergei Prokofieff’s short book entitled “The Encounter with Evil.* This work describes the four streams of evil in our time and how spiritual science, and in particular the Foundation Stone can help us to bring order into our world. He specifically mentions three qualities that we must develop in order to be able to experience the etheric Christ: spiritualization of our intellect, expansion of our consciousness so as to open our souls up to imagination, and the ability to withstand the experience of “powerlessness” with respect to our own personal aspirations in order to achieve the resurrection of our souls. This book can inspire us to work intensively with the Foundation Stone.

I would like to close with the verse Rudolf Steiner gave on September 13th, 1914. This meditation was recited during the Conference on the Americas, but it also directly addresses the challenges of our time described by Sergei Prokofieff.

You, spirit of my space on earth!
Reveal the light of your antiquity
To the soul imbued with Christ,
That striving it can find you
In the chorus of the spheres of peace,
Resounding with the praise and the power
Of the human sense devoted to Christ.

Arie van Ameringen,
General Secretary

*The Encounter with Evil, S. O. Prokofieff, Temple Lodge

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