Offering healing exercises to help you ground yourself, build forces of immunity, overcome stress and strengthen your spiritual practice
Including Hygienic Soul Exercises and Copper Rod Work
Join Cynthia for a 6-week Live Webinar Series
Offering healing exercises to help you ground yourself, build forces of immunity, overcome stress and strengthen your spiritual practice
Including Hygienic Soul Exercises and Copper Rod Work
I can belong now to myself
And shining spread my inner light
Into the dark of space and time.
Toward sleep is urging all creation,
But inmost soul must stay awake
And carry wakefully sun's glowing
Into the winter's icy flowing.
Twenty-Fifth Week [September 22 -28]
Rudolf Steiner, The Calendar of the Soul
Today, we celebrate the fall equinox. What are you doing to connect with this unique time of year? What are you observing as we move from one blessed season into another.
Here at the BDA we're celebrating in our own individual ways — whether it's enjoying fresh-roasted dandelion root tea, or recognizing and appreciating how life lives and moves inside of us. I would like to appreciate all members who participated in our most recent Biodynamics & Justice Salon II. We imagined how the biodynamic movement and our communities could manifest diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice. With much gratitude, I'm moved to say we are manifesting this reality one day at a time by overcoming fear with confidence, investing in trust, and embracing readiness. I encourage any member who is still questioning how biodynamics and social justice fit together to take a moment to view this 2-minute video called Bridging & Breaking. Take from it what serves you and leave the rest.
Next month, we are supporting and participating at the Anthroposophical Society's annual conference, Willing the Good: Love, Action, Healing. Our annual kick-off for the Biodynamic Scholarship Fund has also begun. We've got a good journey ahead of us to get to reach our $30,000 goal, which will allow 200+ aspiring farmers and gardeners who wish to learn more about biodynamics the opportunities to connect with some of our leading practitioners and best of all you!
Hot cider and cheers to enjoying the remainder of this special day.
Be safe and stay well,
Some children and adolescents feel that the biological gender assigned to them does not express who they are. The Waldorf teacher and sculptor Christian Breme has studied the phenomenon of gender identity for many years, asking how Waldorf education can support these young people.
Sebastian Jüngel Is the question of gender identity new or are we only just becoming aware of something that has been suppressed for a long time?
Christian Breme There certainly have always been children and adolescents whose gender identity differed, temporarily or permanently, from the one assigned to them. Today they express themselves more forcefully and demand to be recognized as who they deeply feel they are. They are often quite distressed.
Jüngel What does the fact that they feel so strongly tell us?
Breme It is rooted in a previously unknown authority of the soul over a body that is experienced as alien. We could call it an awakening that first manifests as a sense of not being at home in one’s body. Did we not notice it before? Maybe we had to first get to a point where we are able to look at the phenomenon without fear. We have to learn to support transgender children and their parents in unusual ways today. This confronts us with new pedagogical challenges.
Distracting from the ‘I’
Jüngel How significant is gender in your view on the path to one’s personal identity?
Breme The ‘I’ develops with what it connects to, as Rudolf Steiner pointed out in his book Theosophy (GA 9). My interests, my goals, my studies, my encounters, my work – they strengthen my ‘I’.
When we look at others we should therefore not focus on cultural aspects, family, gender etc., but on what they have decided to do and how they do it. We are still blinded by a person’s appearance, particularly their gender. It pushes itself to the fore and hides the active ‘I’. This deception occurs to a lesser degree when we look at children or elderly people. We can learn from this.
Jüngel How has this topic changed for you over the last decades?
Breme Studying the enigma of gender is part of pedagogical anthropology. How do boys and girls develop? What does puberty mean? I must admit that I neglected the question of homosexuality in the first years. I only learned gradually to perceive a latent homosexuality in older adolescents and to address questions regarding gender orientation in class when we learned about relationships. The question of gender identity became more central for me around five years ago when I visited other countries, and also through reading. This space is now filling with experience, with conversations and individual destinies. And with great amazement: in the end we are each entirely individual.
Jüngel You have addressed this question with different cultures. What differences do you notice? Where do you see something universally human coming to expression?
Breme In 2013 I was invited by a number of Waldorf Schools in the US to speak about relationships. I visited a small school with five transgender children. That is normal today. In the upper grades of the large school in Austin, Texas, ‘gender issues’ were discussed in depth in the lessons – at a time when we hardly knew what that meant here in Europe.
In Shenzhen (CN), a city with twelve million people, I gave a workshop on sex education and relationships. In China it is generally very difficult to speak of our origin and sexuality because there is a traditional sensitivity and reluctance to unveil the mystery. Many people are also traumatized by the enforced abortions of the last thirty years. In the end it was possible to speak about special forms of sexual orientation and identity only when the topic was presented in an artistic, Goethean way.
Most recently I visited the Waldorf School in Samara (RU). The whole upper school came together. The students had only one question, “What is it with this gender movement? How can we understand gender identity? We are confronted with it in the media. Politicians call it destructive.” The young people were grateful for an approach that made such phenomena more accessible. Then I met the parents in the evening. Again, the same question was discussed vehemently. A doctor translated the outcome of the discussion for me: it is right, we should overcome gender in the future, but it is too early. Our ‘I’ is not strong enough yet.
Authentic ‘I’ awareness
Jüngel How do you think a spiritual community should deal with this question?
Breme Anthroposophy can explain these seemingly sudden and new possibilities at a deeper level. My book Matryoshka is an attempt at presenting ways towards understanding and resolving identity conflicts. As a knowledge-based community our working contexts offer us the space to practise authentic ‘I’ awareness and the unconditional acceptance of the other.
Jüngel Have you ever had a key experience in connection with this topic?
Breme I approach it as I do all problems that I care about: I build bridges. A key experience? All encounters I had with young people or adults in my sphere of life who struggled with their physical gender were moving: I was able to perceive the ‘I’ in its authenticity.
Waldorfee is a bit of a play on words. Through the duration of 20 years as a classroom teacher, Jacquelynn caught herself using this informal term, “”Waldorfee”” to describe anything that fit into the Waldorf category. Given that Waldorf Education is primarily taught in schools offering a relatively consistent curriculum across the world, what we offer you is indeed “”Waldorfee””, which is our best endeavor to provide you with Waldorf-inspired elemental education in an online setting. More ...
Discover new opportunities to engage with the biodynamic community and learn more about biodynamics. From the 2020 Online Biodynamic Conference, to a member poetry and creative writing salon, to an exploration of how to heal the earth and social life—and much more!—we invite you to connect with, learn from, and get inspired by the many others doing transformational work across the continent. More ...
The Feast of the Transfiguration is celebrated by various Christian communities in honor of the transfiguration of Jesus. The origins of the feast are less than certain and may have derived from the dedication of three basilicas on Mount Tabor. The feast was present in various forms by the 9th century, and in the Western Church was made a universal feast on 6 August by Pope Callixtus III. More ...
Rudolf Steiner's word regarding this event can be found in the following lecture: The Gospel of Mark. Lecture 8 of 10. Rudolf Steiner, September 22, 1912:
In the Gospel of St. Mark directly after the great world-historical monologue which I have described there follows, as you know, the scene known as the Transfiguration or Transformation. I have often pointed out before that for the three disciples who had been taken to the “mountain” on which the Transfiguration took place, this was a kind of higher initiation. At this moment they were to be initiated, as it were, more profoundly into the secrets that were to be entrusted to them, one by one, to enable them to become leaders and guides of mankind. From what we have said before on several occasions we know that this scene contains a series of secrets. Both in the Gospels and other occult writings whenever the “mountain” is spoken of, then we have to do with something occult. In an occult connection it always means when the mountain is spoken of that those who are led to the mountain are led into certain secrets of existence. In the case of the Mark Gospel we feel this especially strongly for a reason that will become apparent if the Gospel is read rightly. But it must be read rightly.
Take, for example, the third chapter of Mark from the 7th to the 23rd or 24th verse. Actually we need not go further than the 22nd verse, but it is necessary to read it with perceptive understanding. Then something will be noticed. It has often been stressed that the expressions “accompany to the mountain” and “leading to the mountain” have an occult meaning. But in this particular chapter we find a threefold activity, and not only an “accompanying to the mountain.” If we examine carefully the three passages indicated by Mark, we notice first in verse 7, “And Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the lake,” etc. Then, in the 13th verse it is said, “And he went up to the mountain and called to him those who were acceptable to him.” Then in verses 20 and 21 we read, “And then he went to his home. And the crowd gathered again so that they could not so much as eat bread. And when his family heard of it they went out to seize him, for they said ‘he is out of his mind.’” Thus we are referred to three separate localities: the lake, the mountain, and the house. Just as in an occult sense the mountain signifies that something important takes place, so is this also true in the other two cases. In occult writings if such expressions as “being led to the mountain,” or “being led to a house,” occur, this invariably means that they have an occult significance. When this is the meaning intended in the Gospels some specific circumstance is connected with it. You should remember that it is not only in the Mark Gospel but also in the others that a special revelation or special manifestation is connected especially with the “lake,” as when the disciples cross the lake and Christ appears to them. They at first take Him for a ghost, but then become aware that it is He in reality that is approaching them (Mark 6:45-52). And elsewhere you can also find a similar mention in the Gospels of some event that takes place because of the lake, or by the lake. On the mountain he first appoints the Twelve, that is, he confers their occult mission on them. That was an act of occult education. It is again on the mountain that the occult Transfiguration takes place. When he was “at his home,” he is declared by his family to be “out of his mind.” This was the third thing, and all three are of the greatest and most comprehensive significance.
An insightful and inspiring reflection from our dear student Huong on her experience of handcraft as part of her study in the course on Steiner/Waldorf Teacher Education at the Melbourne Rudolf Steiner Seminar. - Tiffany Lovegrove
“When I came to Seminar, I learned how artistic and spiritual impulses bring more depth and vitality to my work - I am not only shaping the forms but myself as well. I have new spiritual insight into what I can do with my hands, what lives in my hands.
I learn a lot about life by doing craft. It’s not buying what you want- we have to use our hands so that children can see what it is to make something. It is therapeutic and helps reduce stress. I am empowered by using my hands to do craft.
I have clear thinking of what I am doing; I have a warm feeling, and then I can do marvelous things out of this.
When I’m doing craft, I find myself very present in the moment: I enjoy seeing my hands moving with the stitch, and I can see beautiful pictures appear in my eyes, and I really enjoy it and I keep doing it in between times, for example when I’m waiting for my son to finish his lunch, I can do some craft and when he sees me sitting next to him, not saying anything, just seeing and doing my work, he feels very calm and comfortable playing around me. And I think because I’m present, I’m calm so I can bring a calm atmosphere surrounding me so my son and my family feel very comfortable to be side by side with me.
I discover that the more I use my hands on a project, the stronger my thinking is, the clearer it is in everything. This is like a practice activity to calm and train my thoughts, it focuses me.
I love it. It’s a relaxing activity. This is my first time doing cross stitch and tapestry and it’s really amazing, with my hands that I can do this kind of task! By doing this I discover that my hands can do so many things.”
Learn more about the Melbourne Rudolf Steiner Seminar here.
The Friends of Waldorf Education invite you to travel around the world with twelve stories, taking readers on a colorful journey of stories, fables, and legends from all over the globe.
From Jana-Nita Raker
Following our WOW-Day cookbook, the Friends of Waldorf Education will this year publish a fairy tale from a Waldorf institution worldwide every month on their website and in their newsletter. The journey begins in Brazil and leads via Colombia, Argentina, Kenya, Namibia, South Africa to Georgia, Russia, Moldova and ends in Ukraine. The stories tell,among other things, of a toad that is determined to join the birds in attending a party in the skies. But without wings this isn't easy! Will the toad succeed? A South African fairy tale tells of the day when starlight, moonlight, and sunlight were brought back to the sky to save the earth. The story "Martishor" from Moldova recounts the origin of the spring festival and the custom of knitting red and white tassels.
The fairy tales are illustrated with drawings, blackboard drawings or photographs and are accompanied by a brief description of the institution from which they come. They all need continuous support to allow children from poorer backgrounds an upbringing based on Waldorf education.
Whether you want to read the fairy tales directly on our website or download them as a handy PDF, they are available online at www.freunde-waldorf.de/en/wow-day/fairy-tales/ The Friends' campaign runs from January to December 2020 and is aimed primarily at teachers with the warm invitation to use it for classes in grade school or kindergarten. But also parents and friends can easily print it out at home and thus build a bridge to the world.
The idea of a fairy tale collection was born during the Waldorf-One-World-Day, WOW-Day for short. The worldwide student campaign takes place annually and is coordinated by the Friends of Waldorf Education. On this day, children and young people directly and actively work towards making the world a better place. For this purpose, they organize a large number of extraordinary fundraising events that connect people on all continents. All Waldorf Schools, curative education and social therapy institutions and Waldorf Kindergartens worldwide are invited to take part in this campaign. The proceeds of the campaigns provide children with school time, a sheltering community or a warm meal.
To find the fairy tale collection please go to www.freunde-waldorf.de/en/wow-day/fairy-tales/
Jana-Nita Raker, WOW-Day coordinator, email@example.com
Christina Reinthal, press and public relations, firstname.lastname@example.org
By Jamie York. In this world we now find ourselves, how can we make lemonade from lemons? I believe that it starts with letting go of old preconceptions and being open to new possibilities.
When I first started Jamie York Math Academy and teaching online math classes for homeschoolers half a year before the onset of the Corona virus, I was skeptical about how effective it would be. Certainly, as a Waldorf educator, I was well aware of the detrimental effects that screens and technology can have on children’s development. So how is it even possible for me now to say that this year has been perhaps the best teaching I have ever done?
One thing was clear to me: it would be awful if the children only experienced a talking head on the computer screen. I needed to find a way for my students to experience a human element in my online courses. After all, isn’t human connection central to any meaningful education?
Although I do give lectures in my Math Academy classes, the real heart-and-soul of the Academy experience is the group work. Twice per week, our students connect fact-to-face with peers from different places in the world and engage in real mathematics – puzzles, problem-solving, and making mathematical discoveries. This is the human element. Before this year, I had never been able to have students learn from one another so successfully. Ironically, it was through online teaching that I was able to finally talk less and have my students do more on their own.
Now I can honestly say that a problem-solving and discovery-based approach to math is the best way to capture the students’ interest and motivate them to learn. If we can effectively engage students in learning in this way, the skills will naturally follow.
Even though our Math Academy was designed for homeschool families, as soon as the Covid-19 hit, schools around the world were forced to do online learning. I wanted to find a way to support these teachers and schools. So we made it possible for schools to join our Math Academy for a much-discounted rate. More than anything perhaps, joining the Math Academy relieved class teachers of part of their large burden, and allowed them to focus on other aspects of the curriculum, yet they still remained connected to their students’ math learning by serving as the Math Academy tutor for their class.
There is no doubt that good Waldorf math taught live by an inspiring human being is the best possible scenario. But as Waldorf schools face another year of uncertainty, whether they find themselves in physical buildings or in virtual classrooms, we are here to support Waldorf educators tasked with online teaching and families who believe homeschooling is their best option. Our Academy will continue to offer high quality math education that engenders enthusiasm for learning and develops mathematical thinking, making the best of our changing world.
Click here to learn more about the Jamie York Math Academy, online workshops, and many math resources.
Kusi Kawsay School has release a unique and beautiful album Pukllay with their student's songs honoring their traditional Andean Calendar.
Kusi Kawsay School has release a unique and beautiful album Pukllay with our student's songs honoring our traditional Andean Calendar. Participate in the Band Camp fundraiser today, July 3rd and receive these beautiful songs with lyrics!
These times call for resilience and solidarity. Music is medicine and accompanies us during difficult times in soothing ways. Purchasing this album today, is is a great way to support the continuation of our work that contributes to the formation of a global conscience that respects cultural and ecological diversity, that honors the wisdom and dignity of indigenous traditions, and that searches for the unity of human beings within a framework of reciprocity, respect and social justice. This benefit album Pukllay was created to support Kusi Kawsay School, all proceeds go to Kusi Kawsay. Today Band Camp does not take a cut. We hope you support Kusi Kawsay, enjoy the music, and feel uplifted! Spread the news and share the love of music. On social media make sure to hashtag #bandcampday #bandcamp and #covid19 and #kusikawsay. THANK YOU FOR YOUR ONGOING SUPPORT! STAY SAFE AND HEALTHY! Buy Now
Sophia Institute offers a variety of programs, courses, publications and other resources to anyone interested in Anthroposophy and Waldorf/Steiner inspired education. Currently there are students from all over the world enrolled in the Sophia Institute online courses. Sophia Institute publications are available worldwide. The Sophia Institute newsletter and blog provide insights and information concerning the work of Anthroposophical initiatives, Waldorf/Steiner Schools, the Camphill Movement, and related endeavors. More ...