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By Shannon Boyce
Recently, I learned that each of Rudolf Steiner's indications for the 12 Holy Nights given to Herbert Hahn can be applied to each month of the year. This year I am taking up the practice of meditating on each of these mysteries throughout the year. Now that February is here, I am reflecting on the Mystery of the 2nd Holy Night indication: "Choosing the narrow and difficult path or the path that is wide and easy".
In my reflections, I realized that while the path of singing study has been my passion my whole life, it has also been the path that has led to my spiritual awakening. I choose the narrow and difficult path but by facing my challenges and difficulties and remaining open to new ideas the narrow and difficult path of singing is now wide and full of joy and ease.
When I was introduced to "The School of Uncovering the Voice" over ten years ago, I quickly realized it was unlike any other singing training I had ever experienced and I had to consciously choose to stay open to the new ideas. Ideas that were based in Anthroposophy and deeply researched by Valborg Werbeck-Svärdström and verified by Rudolf Steiner. Before I began my studies in "Uncovering the Voice" my singing was harsh, too loud, overbearing and often out of tune. I had no flexibility in the voice and no inner flexibility of soul. I was often closed-minded in my thinking. And I had no understanding of how to relate to the other socially in a healthy way.
The School of Uncovering the Voice changed all that for me. It was my path of spiritual initiation. Not only has my voice changed for the better and become more flexible and supple, my soul and spirit are more flexible and supple. And I have learned to make room for the other. Is it still a work in progress? Of course.
While life will never be a breeze and just easy going all the time, The School of Uncovering the Voice, through the practice of singing, has taught me how to live in the essence of imagination, which is connected to our will life. This is the place where the muscle of the soul resides. By consciously working through the singing exercises I have learned to engage my will forces in two directions, engaging the will where needed and not engaging the will were not needed. Steiner calls the latter the "Turned Around Will". The singing has taught me to build up the capacities in my selfhood that allow me to live life more fully with a feeling of wide and easy-open spaces.
Any difficulties we face in life are like puzzles that must be solved. If we just ignore them we may think we are choosing the easy path. But are we really? In reality, it's often the selfish path. Learning to live in the essence of imagination gives you the courage to face the narrow and difficult path, the path of the spirit. It can be compared to singing. It's like your air which carries the tone; it is your lifeline that carries you and gives you the courage to face the difficulties when they come along in life. Some even call this living in the Christ consciousness.
In the last article I published in Waldorf Today, I talked about how the Voice is connected to this Muscle of the Soul. Developing this muscle is developing the capacity to live in imagination. Not a fantasy imagination but a place of balanced living. If you didn’t get a chance to read the last article, click here to read Your Voice: The Muscle of the Soul.
While the groundhog indicated that we will have an early spring here on the East Coast of North America, it is still very much winter. Just as the seeds are still very much sleeping in the depths of the earth gathering the physical forces of the earth to prepare to blossom in the spring, at this time of year we as human beings are bound up with the spiritual forces of the earth waiting to blossom for ourselves in the spring.
Therefore, I invite you to come to the Winter East Coast Singing Retreat of The School of Uncovering the Voice led by Christiaan Boele for a time of winter renewal to draw strength and courage for your spring awakening.
Singing renewal is for everyone. If you can talk, you can sing. The School of Uncovering the Voice invites you to develop a deeper self-awareness through moving with confidence and joy toward discovering your own voice. It is a gentle process and the voice is never pushed along, but develops slowly through the engagement and active participation of the singer, who gains a deeper understanding and manifestation of the truly free voice.
East Coast Opportunities to work with Christiaan Boele are:
February 19, 2020, an evening workshop at Washington Waldorf School, Bethesda, MD 7:30-9:00.
February 20, 2020, an evening workshop at the Waldorf School of Baltimore, Baltimore, MD 7:00-8:30.
February 21-23 East Coast Singing Winter Retreat, Threefold Educational Foundation, Spring Valley, NY
February 24, 25, 26 workshop classes with Eurythmy Spring Valley Students open to the public, Spring Valley, NY
February 27, 2020, an evening workshop at Garden City Waldorf School, Garden City, NY (Long Island). Contact Shannon for more details.
SAVE THE DATES July 5-10 a new cohort is forming to begin the 3rd East Coast Singing Foundational Training, Spring Valley, NY. This may be the last opportunity to begin the Foundational Training in the U.S.
July 10-12 Alumni Graduate Retreat, Spring Valley, NY.
For more information on the East Coast Uncovering the Voice Singing opportunities contact Shannon Boyce at email@example.com or 845-288-2824 or click here.
West Coast Opportunities to work with Christiaan Boele are:
February 13-15, 2020 Alumni Master Class, Ananda Retreat Center, Nevada City, CA
June 19-21, 2020 Annual Singing Retreat, Davis Waldorf School, Davis CA
June 28, 2020, Choir Day, Marin Waldorf School, San Rafael, CA
For more information on the West Coast Uncovering the Voice Singing opportunities contact Sheryl Adler-Eldridge at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.werbecksinging.com.
A Child's Seasonal Treasury by Betty Jones
A Child’s Seasonal Treasury was conceived as a Waldorf-inspired resource book for parents and teachers of young children. Throughout the seasons, songs, verses, poems, riddles, fingerplays, games, creative drama and movement, watercolor painting, handcrafts, healthy recipes and gratitude for life that rekindles a sense of wonder are keynotes of this Smithsonian Notable Children’s Book (Nov. 1997, Vol 28, Number 8)
Having been chosen as the first book in the Hearthsong Family Library (1996), Waldorf Education has grown tremendously and with the surge of home schools, charter schools, pre-schools and daycare centers, quality curriculum that is child-centred to help counteract the influences of TV and technology on the very young is imperative.
This newly published edition has been up-dated with more writing and all illustrations by the author, a conversion chart for the recipes to "translate" world-wide, and the promise that at home or at school, this book will bring joy into the process of learning, both for children and for the adults who are involved with them on a daily basis. More ...
Throughout recorded history the garden has been a place for the human need for cultivation. Think of the baroque garden in the West and the Zen Buddhist garden in the East. The Garden of Eden in the Old Testament is probably one of the clearest pictures of how man has existentially and spiritually connected the garden with life, growth, doctrine, and wisdom. But what does the garden have to do with a book on kindergarten life? A great deal if you ask this book's author!
”The garden helps us to understand that the world is good and that life is best lived in the now for a child.” Based on 25 years of experience Waldorf kindergarten teacher Helle Heckmann perceives the garden as a microcosm that reflects the macrocosm, in all stages of life from birth to death and the resurrection expressing itself through the changing seasons. This outdoor space where the one to six year-old child with all their senses learn about life through daily contact with the organic and hard-working activities there, always in a process of transformation. A little sprout that gradually grows to be harvested and eaten by all, the caterpillar in the cocoon that becomes a butterfly in early summer.
The garden is described in detail in this book as a place of cultivation for the adult educator and a learning environment for the child. Through observing the adult working and caring for the plants and animals in the garden, the child learns about life through their own experiences as they imitate the purposeful acts of the adults in their play. Through the adult observing the child playing, the garden is gradually built up and transformed to be the learning setting that creates the very best framework for child development. The garden is described as a living, organic space, forming a sounding board for all the processes the young child goes through, to become ready to meet life with an essential inner understanding of themselves as belonging to a world they can actively intervene with, shape, and transform. More ...
The Ultimate Meeting Notebook ™ and Calendar / Planner for 2019/2020
The Ultimate Meeting Notebook ™ and Calendar / Planner is a publication by Sophia Institute. The calendar / planner pages are large format month by month with lots of space for entering important dates and appointments. The calendar section includes monthly calendars for July 2019 through December 2020. Holidays and the dates of festivals are also included. The notebook pages feature generous sections for taking notes and recording other essential data during meetings including: name of meeting, attendance list, absentee list, date, to-do-list/action items section and date of next meeting.
The Virtues of the Month are included with each month in the calendar section of this publication. The Virtues of the Month were given by Rudolf Steiner as meditations in the publication “Guidance in Esoteric Training.”
Meditation and Initiation
Knowledge of the Higher Worlds
Meditation, Initiation, Spiritual Exercises and Will Development
by Conrad Rehbach
The book Meditation and Initiation by Conrad Rehbach is based on the authors research and work with Anthroposophy, a spiritual path of self development given by Rudolf Steiner. The book includes a comparative study of the sixfold path which is one of the basic teachings of Anthroposophy, and a way of self development, meditation and initiation. The author attempts to provide the reader and fellow student of Anthroposophy with a guide and workbook, sharing ideas and practical examples on how to work with the sixfold path, without being dogmatic or narrow in the approach to and practice of meditation. The book is of interest to anyone wanting to learn about meditation and Anthroposophy, and the sixfold path as given in Anthroposophy in particular. More ...
Three Tales by Conrad Rehbach
Three Tales contains tales written in three different traditions.
"What Makes Things Grow" is a tale in the Eastern tradition and leads us to the insights around the theme of Attention in a deep spiritual sense. "The Inner Light" brings to us a modern fairy tale of the experiences on the inner path to that special place inside us where the inner Light is shining. "Reincarnation" is a short humorous look at the theme of reincarnation in the modern world.
Paperback Book. Published January 25, 2013. Language: English. Pages: 36. Binding: Perfect-bound paperback. Interior Ink: Black & white. Weight 0.22 lbs. Dimensions (inches) 5.83 wide x 8.26 tall.
The Threefold Diary by Conrad Rehbach
A Daily Journal and Workbook
From the Introduction to "The Threefold Diary":
The diary (or daily journal) that you hold in your hand has been created in such a way that you are able and even encouraged to use it in a threefold way. You are asked to write down your daily observations in a threefold way. You will discover - over time - that this activity is transformative for your perception of your life’s events, preparing you for a deeper and more meaningful understanding of your own biography and the time you live in. Of course, you should develop your own approach and interpretation of the task at hand. As an example, a sample threefold diary entry will be presented here:
Body: Today I observed wild life in my backyard. There was a squirrel that ran up and down one of the trees, while emitting certain sounds. Then the squirrel disappeared behind some bushes and did not return.
Soul: The observation of the squirrel filled me with a joyous feeling, hope and the feeling of endless possibilities, as the squirrel darted this way, then that way. When the squirrel disappeared, a deep melancholy entered my soul, and I became aware of a slight fear of the unknown, as I pondered the question of where the squirrel had gone now.
Spirit: I became aware of the fact that we live within a very narrow field of observation that we call reality. At times we forget that there is another reality “beyond those bushes”, which our thoughts might be able to explore in the same way – and with the same ease – as the squirrel who went there, as if to show me the way.
A Maypole Dream by Marjorie Rehbach and Christine Nietert
An Illustrated Story for Young and Old
When the bright colors of spring failed to appear after winter one year, the fairies wanted to find them and bring them back to earth. How did they manage? Walking through the woods, one spring morning, the story of “A Maypole Dream” appeared, as a gift, to the author. It is a tale which brings gratitude for the nature spirits back into our celebrations of the miracles of the seasons. The book contains this story and beautiful illustrations, and can be enjoyed by young and old – all those who love the weaving colored ribbons of the Maypole dance!
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 ...