The Sophia Institute online Biography Program includes several courses as specified below and leads the student through sequentially structured lessons that will help to process, help to heal and help to clarify the student's life story and at the same time introduce and deepen the understanding of Anthroposophical biography work. As part of the studies the student creates a beautiful booklet that includes all the assignments and visual artwork to form a sort of chronicle of the student's life story and the deeper meaning of the biography. The booklet will be made available as a free download or it can be ordered via Sophia Institute Publishing as a full color paperback or hardcover printed book (private edition/accessible only to the student).
This program is of interest to anyone who seeks an introduction to Anthroposophical biography work, wants to understand the basic ideas and concepts of Anthroposophical biography work, wants to work on self-development through bringing consciousness to the riddles of our biography, work on healing, or to students who long to understand Anthroposophy and the significance of Rudolf Steiner for our time.
The Biography Studies Program is self paced but under the guidance of an experienced mentor who will advise and guide the student through the lessons and assignments, and will provide the student with feedback for the duration of the coursework. The student determines the start date, for instance by selecting to start immediately (once enrollment has been completed) or selecting a specific start date.
The coursework also prepares the student to engage in biography group work or counseling.
The coursework includes several courses. The core biography course consists of two parts. Firstly, several lessons reflect on and gather information concerning the student's biography in phases, and process and work on the biographical reality that emerges. Secondly, lessons and feedback, counseling and further study lead the student to a deepening and into a trans-formative phase ideally touching on the guiding principles and tasks of the individual and his/her biography.
Each lesson includes presentations and study material from several sources including lectures by Rudolf Steiner, assignments, artistic work and tasks.
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, United States. 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 Studies.
"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
"Anthroposophy in Everyday Life" by Rudolf Steiner
"Our biography is our most precious, intimate possession, yet how much do we really know about ourselves?" - William Bryant
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
Upon completion of this 7 credit coursework the student will receive a certificate of completion and an official transcript.
Coursework / Outline / 7 Credits
The Four Temperaments / 1 credit
Lesson 1: Introduction. Physical, Etheric, Astral, Ego.
Lesson 2: Pedagogical Issues I.
Lesson 3: Practical Exercises I.
Lesson 4: Practical Exercises II.
Lesson 5: Practical Exercises III.
Lesson 6: Practical Exercises IV, V, VI.
Lesson 7: Practical Exercises VII.
Lesson 8: Pedagogical Issues II.
Lesson 9: Practical Exercises VIII.
Lesson 10: Practical Exercises IX. Conclusions.
Biography/Core Studies Course / 4 credits
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
Art of Watercolor Painting / 1 credit
Lesson 1: Colors and Form
Lesson 2: Landscapes and Seascapes
Lesson 3: Plants and Vegetation
Lesson 4: Animals and Their Surroundings
Lesson 5: The Human Being
Lesson 6: Waldorf Veil Painting
Art of Drawing / 1 credit
Lesson 1: Drawing Geometric Shapes
Lesson 2: Drawing Rocks, Stones and Minerals
Lesson 3: Drawing Plants and Trees
Lesson 4: Drawing Animals
Lesson 5: Drawing the Human Being
"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 Biography program 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 our 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.
With these courses, we try to turn to our life’s story in a particular way, trying to detect patterns and gain insights into our 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 ourselves and in our biography.
Consider your biography and the 7 year rhythm drawing on your own experience and study. In his book “Phases” Bernard Lievegoed 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.