Friday, October 16, 2015

THE DELICATE BALANCE OF GAIA Conference/Workshop Report 
6-10th August, 2015, 
Oakdene Centre, Bear River, Nova Scotia

Duncan and Maggie Keppie, Jennifer Greene and Jonathan Swan
This unique conference brought water and rocks together as subjects of Goethean observation of the processes common to water and the earth as a step towards a deepening understanding of the “Living Water and Earth or Gaia”. The stage was set by presentation of a beautiful puppet production of Goethe’s The Fairy Tale of the Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily by a group of South Shore Waldorf parents under the direction of Monike Wildemann. Goethe regarded the Fairy Tale as his way of presenting his most profound observations of nature in the transformation of the soul. The Fairy Tale is set in a landscape divided by a river that depicts the boundary between two lands: the land of our normal ‘daytime’ consciousness and the land of the super-sensible, which is not accessible to our normal sense perception. By the end of the Fairy Tale, there is a permanent bridge spanning this river, joining these two Lands together. In this context, we “read the water and rocks” using experiments, and excursions around Bear River. Workshop themes centered around the ring vortex and archetypes.
Successive days followed a rhythmic pattern of welcoming the day with water- and earth- related songs led by Maggie Keppie, followed by a morning field trip, an afternoon experiment, a shared dinner on the banks of Bear River, an evening lecture, ending with a dance depicting the water/earth movements with Maggie and a Scottish slow air on the piano accordion played by Duncan Keppie. These activities were supplemented by molding clay from a sphere to a ring, an excercise that Rudolf Steiner used in embryology, and drawing vortex patterns on paper. Our last day together involved a walk to view the patterns in the river and in the rocks along its' banks followed by a meal in the park and concluding offerings.
Following the workshop, some of us visited Blue Beach to see the Carboniferous sedimentary rocks deposited by estuarine currents, raindrop imprints, and fossil plants and animals. On the return trip Jennifer and Jonathan stopped at Joggins UNESCO site to see the fossil trees. Full Report

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