Course: Life Phases
This courses offers an introduction to Anthroposophical world view in relation to the human being's biography and life phases. The course is based primarily on the work of Bernard Lievegoed, and others who have contributed to the understanding of child development and human development in the context of Anthroposophy. Bernardus Cornelis Johannes Lievegoed (1905 - 1992) was a Dutch medical doctor, psychiatrist and author. He is most famous for establishing a theory of organizational development. He founded the N.P.I., or Netherlands Pedagogical Institute, which works with organizations and individuals to help these realize their economic, social and cultural goals. Bernard Lievegoed was born in Medan, Sumatra (then the Dutch East Indies) in 1905. At nine, his family moved for three years to Rotterdam in the Netherlands. From 1917-22, Lievegoed attended high school in Java. In 1924, he began a study of medicine in Groningen, taking a doctorate in 1928. In this same year he first became aware of anthroposophical remedial education; this encounter was to play a large role in his further development. In 1930 he completed the medical degree in Amsterdam and became a general practitioner in Bosch in Duin (near Zeist). In 1931 Lievegoed founded the Zonnehuis, a home for children with disabilities, in Bosch in Duin. The Zonnehuis was later relocated to Zeist and, in the course of its expansion its name was changed to the Zonnehuizen Veldheim Steinia te Zeist. Lievegoed was the director of this institution from its founding until 1954. In 1932 Lievegoed helped to found the Vrije School (free Waldorf school) of Zeist. In 1939 he did a higher doctorate (promotion) with a thesis about the therapeutic use of music. In 1946 he published the first of a number of books, Ontwikkelingsfasen van het kind; this was translated into eight languages and appeared in English as Phases of Childhood. From 1948-1953 Lievegoed was a consultant for assistance to uneducated working-class children. During this time he published Planetenwirken und Lebensprozesse in Mensch und Erde (Planetary Influences and Life Processes in the Human Being and the Earth). In 1952 he cofounded the Vrij Geestesleven publishing house, oriented towards publishing works related to spiritual science. He became a member of the national commission on technical high schools; he served in this capacity until 1962. In 1954 he founded the institution that became his life-work, the NPI. The original name, the Dutch Pedagogic Institute for Economics, was later changed to NPI: Institute for Organizational Development. He led this institute (in Zeist) for the next 17 years publishing The Developing Organisation in 1969 (published in English by Tavistock in 1973) with colleagues in the firm, notably Hans von Sasson, arguably the first influential European book on organisation development. In 1955 he became extraordinary professor for social pedagogy at the Dutch Economic College (now Erasmus University in Rotterdam. In 1961 he helped to found a new technical college in Twente (now Twente University), which opened in 1964. Here he served as professor of social economics and Dean of the Economics Department until 1973. During this time he supported the work of the Kind en Instrument Foundation, out of which the international Choroi instrument-making workshops arose, and founded an association for therapeutic educators. Between 1968 and 1976 Lievegoed was chair of a governmental commission on education that was given the task of transforming the educational system in the Netherlands. During this time he published a number of works (titles are given in approximate English translation): Organizational Development, Social Structures in Therapeutic Education, The Spiritual Impulse behind the Movement for Therapeutic Education, Towards the 21st Century and, together with his wife Nel Lievegoed-Schatborn, Aspects of Therapeutic Education. In 1971 he founded an independent university, the Vrije Hogeschool, in Driebergen. He was Dean of the University for the next eleven years. In 1973 he left Erasmus University to cofound and become the managing director of the Vrije Pedagogisch Akademie, now Hogeschool Helicon (Helicon College). Over the next years, he published several more books: Phases (De levensloop van de mens, translated into eleven languages), Mystery Streams in Europe and the New Mysteries, and Organic Architecture. He joined the governmental commission on alternative medicine (1977–1981). In 1983 Lievegoed published a play (De wadlopers, The Marsh-Flats) and another book, Man on the Threshold: Possibilities and Problems of Inner Development. He received the Gouden Ganzenveer honoring his cultural contributions; the report cited his complete works as the basis for the prize. Further publications: Contemplations on the Foundation Stone (1987), About Cultural Institutions (1988), Through the Eye of the Needle (1991) and About the Salvation of the Soul (published posthumously in 1993). Lievegoed died on 12 December 1992 in Zeist.
D'où Venons Nous / Que Sommes Nous / Où Allons Nous
Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? is a painting by French artist Paul Gauguin. Gauguin inscribed the original French title in the upper left corner: D'où Venons Nous / Que Sommes Nous / Où Allons Nous. The inscription the artist wrote on his canvas has no question mark, no dash, and all words are capitalized. In the upper right corner he signed and dated the painting: P. Gauguin / 1897. The painting was created in Tahiti, and is in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. These three questions, ”Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?" are perhaps of the most deepest nature possible and touch upon all the questions there are in the world of philosophy and psychology. Getting closer to answers to these questions is the purpose of the Sophia Institute Biography Course.
"The Veiled Pulse of Time" by William Bryant
"Phases" by Bernard Lievegoed
"Theosophy" by Rudolf Steiner
"Facing Karma" by Rudolf Steiner
"Biographical Work: The Anthroposophical Basis" by Gudrun Burkhard
"The First Three Years of The Child: Walking, Speaking, Thinking" by Karl König
Each lesson includes presentations and study material from several sources including lectures by Rudolf Steiner, assignments, artistic work and tasks.
Lesson 1: 0 - 7 Childhood/physical body/willing - Moon
Lesson 2: 7 - 14 Grades school/childhood/etheric body/feeling - Mercury
Lesson 3: 14 - 21 High school/college/etc./adolescence/astral body/thinking - Venus
Lesson 4: 21 - 28 Sentient soul age - Sun
Lesson 5: 28 - 35 Intellectual soul age - Sun
Lesson 6: 35 - 42 Consciousness soul age - Sun
Lesson 7: 42 - 49 Spirit self age/transformed astral body - Mars
Lesson 8: 49 - 56 Life spirit age/transformed etheric body - Jupiter
Lesson 9: 56 - 63 Spirit man age/transformed physical body - Saturn
Lesson 10: 63 - old age/wisdom
Lesson 11: Lunar Nodes
Lesson 12: Summary and Conclusions
"Our biography is our most precious, intimate possession, yet how much do we really know about ourselves?"
- William Bryant
Waldorf Certificate Program
Course: Life Phases
"How much do we really know about ourselves?" as William Bryant puts it in his groundbreaking work "The Veiled Pulse of Time" is one of the main questions that we will encounter when turning to biography work.
This course will help to get somewhat closer to this subject by lifting into our consciousness patterns and significant threads that can be revealed from the treasure chest that holds the human being's biography as if someone (we ourselves?) has discarded a bunch of memories and thrown them into this chest and time has added some dust and made some of the pictures fade.
One of the mysteries that we all encounter in our lives, even though we might not always be aware of it, is indeed our own biography. In our day to day life, we might pay little attention to this mystery, and only if dramatic events enter our life and cause us to stop and reflect, we may become aware of underlying currents or tendencies that reveal themselves to us upon examining our life.
Using a diary or journal, or at least to reflect from time to time on our life, is an important practice in becoming more conscious of our biography.
In this course, we try to turn to biography and life phases in a particular way, trying to detect patterns and gain insights concerning biography by looking at it through the lens of the seven year periods. While during the first three seven year periods obvious and significant changes occur at the transition from one into the next, as the change of teeth around age seven, and the entry into grade school at that time, or the onset of puberty around age fourteen, later in life we might not be so aware of these transitions, and we might need to make extra efforts in order to become conscious of these changes.
In the book “Phases” by Bernard Lievegoed, Lievegood states: “The human biography is a symphony which each individual personally composes."
While each person's path in life is a unique and individual 'work of art', the human being meets certain milestones - from the period of adolescence to old age - which are universal in nature. Regardless of background, critical outer and inner stages must be passed through. "Phases" describes each period of life - adolescence, the twenties, thirties, forties, etc. - and looks at the inner qualities and challenges that arise at each stage. The author argues that the various biological and psychological explanations of the human being are incomplete. If the inner self, the ego, of each individual is recognized and acknowledged, then the peculiarities of one's particular life-path and its challenges take on new meaning.
Bernard Lievegoed - psychiatrist, educator and anthroposophist - brought half a century of clinical practice, studious observation and personal insight into the writing of the book "Phases." His overview of the course of human life and professional career, of male-female relationships, and the sometimes misleading picture of the human being presented by the various psychological schools of thought, has made this book essential reading for all those interested in attaining an insight into the mysteries of life.
The 7 Year Phases
In Anthroposophical parlance we find the life phases structured and depicted in the following way. For those already familiar with some of the concepts and ideas of Anthroposophy, this division and description of the life phases will be easily recognized, for those less familiar with these concepts, it may serve as a guide that can be referred back to.
0 - 7 Childhood/physical body/willing
7 - 14 Grades school/childhood/etheric body/feeling
14 - 21 High school/college/etc./adolescence/astral body/thinking
21 - 28 Sentient soul age
28 - 35 Intellectual soul age
35 - 42 Consciousness soul age
42 - 49 Spirit self age/transformed astral body
49 - 56 Life spirit age/transformed etheric body
56 - 63 Spirit man age/transformed physical body
63 - Old age/wisdom
Course: Life Phases
Phase: 0 - 7 Years
“The most important thing we can give the growing person for his path through life is a sense of assurance, trust and security- the feeling of being welcome in this world of people through which he receives love and warmth. Assurance and trust come from a rhythmic life and from consistency in the child’s encounters; security comes from the warm love of his surroundings.” -Bernard Lievegoed
This phase of our life is usually the most unconscious but at the same time the most determining period for our later life. Attitudes and character traits, habits and patterns are being formed. Modern psychology agrees that the first years of our life determine much of our development as adults, with the first three years being of singular importance.
Karl König, the founder of the Camphill Movement, states in his book "The The First Three Years of The Child: Walking, Speaking, Thinking" the following: that we all go through basic and archetypal steps in our development as little children. Typically at the end of our first year we learn how to become upright and to walk, at the end of the second year he learn to speak and finally on the basis of the language we have learned we start to think. This development is accompanied typically by the first time the child uses the word "I" for itself and often our memory reaches back to approximately this point in time.
Rudolf Steiner describes in "Theosophy" the following:
"In the course of his development as a child, there comes a moment in the life of a man when for the first time he feels himself to be an independent being distinct from all the rest of the world. For sensitive natures, it is a significant experience. The poet, Jean Paul, says in his autobiography, “I shall never forget the event that took place within me, hitherto narrated to no one and of which I can give place and time, when I stood present at the birth of my self-consciousness. As a small child I stood one morning at the door of the house looking towards the wood-pile on my left, when suddenly the inner vision, I am an I, came upon me like a flash of lightning from heaven and has remained shining ever since. In that moment my ego had seen itself for the first time and forever. Any deception of memory is hardly to be conceived as possible here, for no narrations by outsiders could have introduced additions to an occurrence that took place in the holy of holies of a human being, and of which the novelty alone gave permanence to such everyday surroundings.” It is known that little children say of themselves, 'Charles is good.' 'Mary wants to have this.' One feels it is to be right that they speak of themselves as if of others because they have not yet become conscious of their independent existence, and the consciousness of the self is not yet born in them.
Through self-consciousness man describes himself as an independent being separate from all others, as 'I.' In his 'I' he brings together all that he experiences as a being with body and soul. Body and soul are the carriers of the ego or 'I,' and in them it acts. Just as the physical body has its center in the brain, so has the soul its center in the ego. Man is aroused to sensations by impacts from without; feelings manifest themselves as effects of the outer world; the will relates itself to the outside world, realizing itself in external actions. The 'I' as the particular and essential being of man remains quite invisible. With excellent judgment, therefore, does Jean Paul call a man's recognition of his ego an 'occurrence taking place only in the veiled holy of holies of a human being,' for with his 'I' man is quite alone. This 'I' is the very man himself. That justifies him in regarding his ego as his true being. He may, therefore, describe his body and his soul as the sheaths or veils within which he lives, and he may describe them as bodily conditions through which he acts. In the course of his evolution he learns to regard these tools ever more as instruments of service to his ego. The little word 'I' is a name which differs from all others. Anyone who reflects in an appropriate manner on the nature of this name will find that in so doing an avenue opens itself to the understanding of the human being in the deeper sense. Any other name can be applied to its corresponding object by all men in the same way. Anybody can call a table, table, or a chair, chair. This is not so with the name 'I.' No one can use it in referring to another person. Each one can call only himself 'I.' Never can the name 'I' reach my ears from outside when it refers to me. Only from within, only through itself, can the soul refer to itself as 'I.' When man therefore says 'I' to himself, something begins to speak in him that has to do with none of the worlds from which the sheaths so far mentioned are taken. The 'I' becomes increasingly the ruler of body and soul."
These archetypal steps of development, uprightness and walking, speaking and thinking, and the moment when we for the first time use the word "I" for ourselves determine much of our later development. In a sense we can read in these developmental steps and in how and when we accomplish them our personality in all its facets and potential.
Reflecting back on this time in our life is essential in trying to gain an understanding of ourselves and our biography.
Tasks and Assignments for this Lesson
Reflect deeply on this 7 year period in the following way: Either take your own life and experiences as an example, or focus on someone else you know (for instance a relative) or conduct research concerning a historical figure and his or her biography (for instance Rudolf Steiner or Eleanor Roosevelt).
Attempt to do this reflection in a somewhat detached manner but with compassion and love.
What were some of the typical, significant events during this phase? What were some of the typical, significant experiences? Where were you or the person in question? Where did you or the person in question travel? Who were the important people that you or the person in question encountered and were influenced by? What was your or the person in question's education like? Jobs and career? Important books or other artwork that left a lasting impression? Were there accidents or trials that changed the course of events?
Once you have arrived at an overview and awareness of significant aspects of this life phase, use the submission form to send in your completed assignment for this lesson.
Please send your completed assignment via the online form or via email.