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Re: [anthroposophy] circle/Waldorf, etc.Re:circle/vessel/Grail Cup

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  • jla
    Those interested in group or circle wisdom work may want to check out: Wisdom Circles by Garfield,Spring and Cahill. Jeff
    Message 1 of 3 , Nov 3, 2000
      Those interested in group or circle wisdom work may want to check out: Wisdom Circles by Garfield,Spring and Cahill.


      elaine upton wrote:

      Hello Bruce and all
      who are circling, clockwise or counter on this thread of circles, Waldorf
      practice, etc.,

      Thanks, Bruce, for what you share about circling clockwise or
      counter-clockwise, and about critics of certain Waldorf School practices
      (those who criticized the so-called new age/native use of circle, saying it
      was not Steinerian.

      Let me first write about the issue of Waldorf Schools and fidelity or not to
      Steiners' teachings. Then, I will go on to the matter of circles, and their
      formation clockwise or counterclockwise, and the relationship to shadow
      (which you mention) and darkness in our being here on Earth.

      Firt, quoting you:
      >Anyways, a lot of what has become "Waldorf" is not derived from Dr.
      >Steiner teachings.

      Yes, this kind of thing on what is really derived from Steiner in present
      day Waldorf Schools is really a controversy in many places, and was in the
      multi-racial, multicultural School where I taught in South Africa.--My view
      is that everything evolves (some things slowly, others more swiftly). I see
      Steiner's offerings for the Waldorf School as a wonderful blueprint, but
      just that: a blueprint, not a dogma. I think Waldorf Education must evolve
      to meet the needs of the time and place. By that, I do not mean that I think
      it should bend to every whim or passing fad or new age flighty idea. The
      basic ideals of once again bringing together art, science, and religion,
      from a broad cosmic perspective seem important to me, and the question
      Steiner asked: "What is it to be a human being?" is also for me central in
      the Education of a Child. These are within the core of what to me is

      For the rest, some of Steiner's specific indications seem to me
      time-bound/German-bound, and call out for careful re-examination and
      For example, *some* of the specific indications for what is to happen in the
      different classes and age groups don't seem to hold today in some places.
      Children evolve differently today. Moreover, what is true for children in
      Australia or South Africa may not be true for central Europe, and what is
      true for children in Holland may not be true for England, and what is true
      for Washington,D.C. may not be true for Tokyo.

      Take the specific indication that PARCIVAL should be read in Class 11. That
      may be true for certain European class 11's--I don't know. But some of us
      here in the U.S. feel that it might be more appropriate for class 11's to
      read MOBY DICK. Why? Because MELVILLE'S MOBY DICK raises some central, vital
      questions about the role of the U.S. in the world and about capitalism,
      colonialism, freedom, black and white, and so on. There is a wonderful
      opportunity when a Class 11 young person in this country follows the
      adolescent ponderings, struggles, and ideals of Ishmael and the opposing
      forces in Captain Ahab as they go around the world after a whale (and a
      revelation to study what the hunt for the whale represents in terms of
      American ruthlessness, greed, capitalism, materialism, racism, the
      'environment', death-rebirth,transformation, inner development...)is so
      important. And what an image, when Ishmael is the sole survivor of the
      disastrous hunt, left floating in the great sea on nothing other than the
      casket of the black Harpooner, Queequeg!

      On the circle and formation of circles, you write:

      >Some time ago posted a description of the founding of the Order of the
      >Garter. It's purpose was one of honouring the "discuss" as you have
      >presented in poetic form.

      Ha! Order of the Garter! I missed that one!--Ah, but the "discuss" and
      "discus" is pleasing to think of. I see the Olympic athletes here, twirling,
      whirling (clockwise or counter?)--The same idea is in poetry, and in the
      revolutions/rotations of planets, all with different rhythms (in poetry it
      is the repeating of words, phrases, rhymes and other sounds, repeating and
      evolving, revolving and evolving--chanting, cleansing, healing)--and isn't
      that what, ideally, a discussion is, in a circle (as, yes, the native
      peoples knew, at least native americans, when they sat around passing the
      talking stick or the peace pipe and told stories moving round the circle of
      Elders as a way of solving a tribal/social problem). Today, we are offered
      an evolutionary form of this in the Christ words: "Where two or three are
      gathered in My Name there I AM in the midst." Here the Sun is in the circle,
      the Sun is the circle.

      On counterclockwise circles, you write:
      >Talking of circles and things, there is the expression "widdershins" to
      >describe a circle which is formed against anti-clockwise against the
      >Sun. Thus it was common custom to stir a Christmas cake "sunwise" for
      >As you know, water whirlpools in a different direction down here (or up
      >here depending on how you look at it). So things are quite back to front
      >"over" here.
      >Our clocks move clockwise only because that is how the old sundials
      >"moved"- so I heard today. Is that the way it is Elaine? The shadow of a
      >sundial in my part of the world moves anticlockwise- it dances in a
      >different direction. Perhaps we should use anticlockwise clocks in
      >honour of this.

      I love this! When I lived in South Africa, I had to see that the moon waxes
      and wanes in different directions than in the Northern Hemisphere.--Also,
      isn't there something about the ions or molecules of a lemon and how they
      rotate clockwise, and therefore are better for certain kinds of health
      conditions than say, an orange?

      Somehow, within our common "western" "meme" or memetic system, there seems
      the idea that clockwise is right, like left to right linearly, and that it
      is purifying, and that counter (even as the word suggests) is negative,
      muddying, clogging. But i like what you say about the shadow. A shadow need
      not be negative. The southern hemisphere is not negative, at least not in
      the meaning of "bad", is it? The shadow is but another indication of the
      Sun, is it not?

      Which reminds me of a verse Steiner gave, one of my favorites:
         Ich schaue in die Finsternis
         In Ihr ersteht Licht, lebendes Licht.
         Wer ist dies Licht in der Finsternis?
         Ich bin es Selbst in meiner Wirklichkeit,
         Aber es tritt nicht ein in mein Erdendasein.
         Ich werde es aber wieder finden
         Wenn ich, guten willens fuer den Geist,
         Durch des Todes Pforte gegangen.

      (My German may be a little off here.)
        I look into the darkness.
        In it arises light.
         What is this light in the darkness?
         It is I in my reality,
         But it does not enter into my worldly life.
         I will, however, find it again
         When, with the will of the Spirit,
         I have passed through the Gate of Death.

      I guess what we have here on Earth is the shadow of this "I", and the
      Southern Hemisphere provides a special opportunity for meditation upon this
      "counter-existence", this shadow, or darkness, in which the light arises.

      Thank you, Bruce, for being in that hemisphere, and thanks to all here,
      wherever you are, for your gifts.

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