You have asked for comments on your “Apologia” for publishing your translations of the lessons of the First Class of the School of Spiritual Science and making them available for anyone to read in your Southern Cross Review.
When you first began publishing your translations, I wrote to say that I did not on the whole agree with what you were doing and now that you have completed this very long task, which must have been a labour of love on your part, I would like to add a few more thoughts.
I will refer here to what Steiner himself wrote about the First Class for people who were not members of the School of Spiritual Science. These comments were set out in various letters published between January and June 1924 and originally printed in the News Sheet issued by the Goetheanum. Steiner had very clear guidelines for both how the content of the lessons should be received and also for what was expected of people who wanted to become members of the School. I would like to look at these indications of Steiner’s, to see which of them might still apply today.
We could start by looking at what Steiner said were his intentions for the School:
“…what we need is the place which gives what is given nowhere else: namely, that which can guide man into the spiritual world. And that is intended to be the content, in the strictest sense of the word, of the School of Spiritual Science.” (Lecture at Dornach, 18th January 1924)
Steiner also gave an outline of the nature of the classes:
“… the aim is to give insight into the experience of the ‘threshold’ between the sensory and supersensible world. For those who really seek knowledge of the human being it is necessary to understand how everything that ‘nature’ reveals in the way of beauty, grandeur and nobility cannot lead to the human being. The inner human being, working in the external world, does not have his source in the natural but in the spiritual world. But into the latter the senses and the brain-bound intellect cannot penetrate. These inevitably cease their activity where the human being seeks to engage with the world of his origin. But where this activity ceases the human being initially finds himself incapable of perceiving anything. He gazes into his surroundings and, as though it were ‘nothing’, the darkness appears to him that is present due to this incapacity. This incapacity can only give way to spirit-beholding capacities as the human being becomes aware of higher forces within himself which form the ‘spiritual senses’ in the same way that the physical forces of the organism form the body’s senses. This depends on a complete transformation of the inner life from one form of existence to the other. In this transformation, a person must not lose the one form of existence before he acquires the other. A proper process of transformation results from the right mode of experience at the ‘threshold’. Knowledge of the human being in his true essence is only possible from a perspective beyond the threshold. Someone who wishes to absorb with healthy human reason the communications of a seer that come from the realm beyond the threshold must also have a picture of what the seer experienced at the threshold. He only becomes able to properly judge the supersensible realm when he is also aware of the conditions under which knowledge of this supersensible realm is gained.
One will only be able to give content to the words with which the results of supersensible vision are expressed when one understands what the seer underwent before he acquired the power to form such words. If one does not understand this, it appears as if the words do not signify supersensible but sensory things – and this leads to confusion. The words become deceptive, and instead of knowledge, illusion arises.” (GA260a)
Was Steiner trying to keep these things secret? Definitely not; he said that the Anthroposophical Society is “an absolutely public Society like any other Society…not in the least hedged-in from the outer world…we must not be in the least bit narrow-minded when it comes to the admission of members.” When speaking about the relation of the individual member to the Society, he emphasised: “What we may call the teaching and spiritual impulses of this Society can be understood by every one if only he will use his everyday human intelligence…you do not need any kind of initiation or the like.”
But Steiner also said that most people “do not like to admit that the spiritual can be clearly seen and understood. Most people have not the necessary courage. They find it comforting to say: ‘The spiritual world is that which a man divines but cannot understand – it is the great secret.’ Now spiritual science always consists in the unveiling of this secret – so that the secret is made manifest before the world.” (30th January 1924)
So from the foregoing, it is clear that Steiner did not wish to prevent anyone from knowing about, or finding access to the spiritual world – quite the contrary. This would seem to accord, Frank, with your desire for openness about the text of the Class lessons. But this does not mean that it was right for people to come to these lessons with no preparation.
On the contrary, he advised that only those people who had been members of the Anthroposophical Society for two years should apply to join the First Class:
“… for two years, one should endeavour to find one’s bearings in all that the Anthroposophical Society already contains…Whoever has not been in the Society for two years will not be well advised to enter a Class at once.”
Steiner’s reasons for saying this seem to have had at least some of their foundations in what he perceived as the necessity for community: “…you must go into the Society, or into its several groups, not merely in order to learn what is there said or even debated, but simply because the human beings are there. You must be able to go there for the sake of human beings…The human being needs the human being.” (ibid)
As far as applicants for Class membership were concerned, Steiner addressed those who were involved with what he called ‘playing at esotericism’ and the creation of cliques: “You find it too difficult to get to grips with the esoteric content of life itself; you find it comfortable to talk about the esoteric. When esotericism passes from mouth to mouth, no matter with what unction, then it is idle esoteric chatter…this among other things does untold harm… Therefore within the Classes, in future, the question of trust and confidence will have to be taken most earnestly. It will be quite invalid for people to say: ‘Having been in the Society for two years, I now have a claim to be received into a Class.’ “ (ibid)
If members of the General Anthroposophical Society (GAS) were inclined to cliquishness and esoteric chatter, then Steiner and the Society leadership reserved the right not to admit them to the Class: “Whoever wishes to gain entry merely for the sake of curiosity, or in the hope of hearing something different in the Classes than he can hear in the General Society, should therefore think again and rather decide not to seek entry…The point is that those who are in the Class should become the true representatives of the anthroposophical cause…The care of the anthroposophical cause will be in the hands of the School…the School of Spiritual Science must consist of those who feel themselves through and through as representatives of the anthroposophical cause.” (ibid)
Steiner felt that the GAS provided people with spiritual knowledge, and anyone could become a member of this without taking on further responsibilities. But he also felt that: “…we must have a group of people who penetrate through the exoteric to the esoteric, and this cannot be achieved unless one shoulders definite responsibilities. For if none could be found to take on these responsibilities, then…anthroposophy would not be able to exist…it will be essential that all members of the Class also state their complete willingness to cultivate anthroposophy in the world and to stand as its representatives.” (3rd February 1924)
So, Frank, it seems to me that by publishing on the internet the Class lessons, you have done several things which could be unhelpful:
- You have short-circuited the two-year period of preparation that Steiner thought was necessary and which could be done by joining the Society
- By putting them online, you have taken the Class lessons outside the context of human community which Steiner thought was essential
- You have made the texts available to people who may not be ready for such esoteric concepts and thereby could be “put off”; and by so doing, have perhaps deprived them of an opportunity to benefit from these lessons within the proper and supportive context of a group.
- You have given scoffers and opponents the chance to quote these lessons, which are bound to seem fantastic and absurd to those who have as yet no understanding of the spiritual world from which we all come
- You have given opportunities, specifically warned against by Steiner, for spiritual tourists to engage in esoteric chatter without getting to grips with the esoteric content of life itself.
- The lessons are steeped in esoteric knowledge and require much background preparation from the student. They are not to be read or talked about like stories from a newspaper, or thought about with our everyday kind of thinking. So these texts are not for intellectual or casual reading, but require a certain cast of mind, as well as preparation and commitment, before engaging with them.
Do you still feel that publishing the Class lessons was a good idea, Frank?
269 responses to “An open letter to Frank Thomas Smith”
Thank you, Jeremy. Well written and thought provoking. It certainly seems that Dr. Steiner intended for a period of inner work within a striving community to be a prerequisite for access to the first class lectures for all the stated reasons.
After following your link and reading Frank’s apologia, I’m left with a question. Are the first class lectures openly available (in the public domain) in German as he says? This is an important point for me to understand. If they are available to anyone who reads German than I don’t understand the purpose restricting the lectures in English.
Perhaps it would be better if they were not publicly available in any language, but if they are it affects the discussion for me.
The lessons of the First Class have been available in German for some time, I believe. But it is too simplistic to say: “Then we must make them available in every language and put them online.” One of the problems of having the class lessons online is, as I mentioned, the ease of access this gives to scoffers and opponents. See here for an example:
Thanks for your quick response. I see what you mean. Ease of access does invite criticism from people who see the content without context.
I’ve been a student of Anthroposophy for over 30 years– and I will not read the materials intended for others (who have done the necessary preparation). Interesting to see where this goes…
How dare you besmirch the reputations of Alicia Hamberg and Melanie Byng who welcomed Rudi to the Ethereal Kiosk for cognac and sweets in 2011 and he accepted graciously and enjoyed their pleasant banter about his First Class lessons — especially his cute and cuddly little monsters of the abyss!
And I certainly enjoy Alicia’s keen and serious insight onto the status of the First Class lessons so long after Steiner’s death. I quote from her dialogue with Melanie in the Comments section.
He had great fantasy but was also, it seems to me, a keen observer. All that talk about monsters is not so bad; it’s quite useful. If you peel away the stuff emphasizing anthroposophy’s epic importance and the trallala about true knowledge, it’s very readable and occasionally insightful. There are some very nice passages in other class lectures as well. I think it’s great they’re out there; they’re not worth secrecy fuss and what he says is basically nothing radically new (compared to material already available). Which is another reason to suspect a stunt.
I’m personally not sure steiner himself knew what he was going to do in 2nd. There were some rudimentary notes I think but nothing more. And maybe he hinted at it. But nobody knows, so they have to stop at 1st class… unable to progress without Steiner.
Tom, the problem with the banter here on Ethereal Kiosk is that it is silly and superficial. Just look at the slights and takes:
“He had great fantasy but was also, it seems to me, a keen observer. All that talk about monsters is not so bad; it’s quite useful. If you peel away the stuff emphasizing anthroposophy’s epic importance and the trallala about true knowledge, it’s very readable and occasionally insightful. There are some very nice passages in other class lectures as well. I think it’s great they’re out there; they’re not worth secrecy fuss and what he says is basically nothing radically new (compared to material already available). Which is another reason to suspect a stunt. I’m personally not sure steiner himself knew what he was going to do in 2nd. There were some rudimentary notes I think but nothing more. And maybe he hinted at it. But nobody knows, so they have to stop at 1st class… unable to progress without Steiner.”
Of course, it is right up your line in observing the posterior viewpoint with keen precision. Glad to hear from you. I was worried you were dead 🙂
On publishing the Class Lessons
For a long time, the „Class Lessons“ were available, accessible only to the „Class Readers“, not even to the members, the listeners of the Class. And access to the class was only accepted under certain conditions.
Then in 1977 the class text was printed and given and sold to „interested people“. This was not known to the general anthroposophic public and it was done without the consent of the Goetheanum, the leadership of the Anthr. Society.
Then in 1992, after long discussions between the AS and the Rudolf Steiner Verlag/Press, an agreement was reached between the two sides and a long foreword was set up, explaining the situation. Now the „Class“ was announced in the catalogue of the Rudolf Steiner Verlag and everybody, who wanted, could purchase the 4 volumes at the price of 420 CHF or 365 Euros. You had to order the Class directly in Dornach. It is woth the money, nicely bound, big print, thik paper and a large size 23 x 30 cm.
This way, the Class was made public, but not a bargain for those who were just curious.
Then Thomas Meyer published this text in his Perseus Verlag/Press, in 1995? for only 35 Euros, thus invalidating the agreement between the AS and Steiner Press. Meanwhile the Class seems to be a bestseller in Perseus Verlag with about the 7th edition (5 older, 2 new enlarged editions).
The next stage of publication is of course the presentation on the internet, first in German, now in English. So yes, Jwendy I downloaded the complete GA in 2010, as far as it was available then. But for study, the screen is absolutely not advisable for many reasons; I think everybody can have this experience, too.
I just wanted to give a kind of background on the publications of the Class.
It is open to discussion whether the Class should (have been) be published at all? What are the consequences of the publication, in respect to organization, other exoteric aspects? What are the esoteric aspects, consequences of the publication etc. This was also discussed on the preface for the edition of the Steiner Press and it should be translated as well. Or has it already been translated?
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Here is where it is important to make a differentiation between the First Class Lessons of 1924, which involve 19 lectures, and associated mantras, encompassing some 430 pages, and the original four volumes.
The original four volumes concern the first School of Anthroposophy, conducted at Dornach between September 26 and October 16, 1920. This where about 35 lectures were given, mostly by Steiner, and with the idea of bringing about a World Fellowship of Free Schools of Spiritual Science, ref. GA200, lecture 1, 17 October 1920.
Thus, the original four volumes, pricey then, are even more so today. Ask the RS Library in Hudson, NY, and they don’t even know what you’re talking about.
On Publishing the Class Lessons 2
In my first comment on the history of publishing the Class Lessons I meant the Class Lessons GA 260 and not another book.
The Class Lessons were NOT meant to be a subject of study, but as a means for esoteric development. And as such it was meant to be a teaching from mouth to ear, i.e. to be read aloud to listeners and as such it was meant to be read to a group, a more or less steady group.
That changed with the 1977 edition when for the first time individuals could purchase the Class Lessons and study them and also the mantrams became public.
The fact that the Class is now on the internet implies 2 aspects (as I see it). It is easily accessible to everyone, this and its consequences were mentioned here. Another side is the medium itself, that web of sub-sensible forces (see what RS wrote about electricity, intelligent machines and his imagination of a future web around earth and mankind).
Prokofieff opposed the publication of the GA on a hard disc for occult reasons. He was ridiculed for it. (My personal opinion on it: We cannot escape the computers etc., but we have to be very conscious of the use of it. A computer or hard disc can be a good search tool, to find quotes etc., but should not be used to replace printed books, or a print-out.)
Critics wont find much against Rudolf Steiner and anthroposophy in the Class Lessons, except perhaps that it is absolute nonsense, superstition and so on. No racism, anti-semitism.
Exactly right. As Steiner himself satd, all the new ‘consciousness technology’ is unavoidable. It is evolution and will happen. Thus, the lessons have become extant…ultimately in all (or whatever) languages, and whatever form of technology(media). The trick has nothing to do with its publication-this is a given-but in how man and other interested forces(beings) apply this knowledge. It behoves Anthros to realize that Ahrimanic forces (beings who invented this technology-going back to the printing press) and occult brotherhoods want to use this knowledge for their own purposes (like ruling the world and screwing up the etheric). Also the fact that we are talking about the duality of the sense world and its’ languages, further obscures these questions. On one hand, by becoming published and digitized, this knowledge becomes accessible to consciousness. On the other hand the arguments, incredibility and meaningless dissolution into the vast digital ocean (just another drop) makes this knowledge potentially lost or inaccessible to consciousness. How we deal with this, which goes far beyond the ‘first lessons’, is what really matters. And dealing with this task is at a very early stage.
On one hand, by becoming published and digitized, this knowledge becomes accessible to consciousness.
This is a point of confusion. If one reads about how self activity brings percept and concept into a union that creates reality in Steiner’s ‘Philosophy of Spiritual activity, then the activity of reading a book is one perceiving the figures on the page and then uniting the concepts to them. In this view, the knowledge of what the perceptual figures on the page mean is in the reader, not on the page. Since all typesetting has been done with either photographic dots or digital typeset since the 1950’s one can say that everything in print since that time has been digitized because the perceptual content is a set of dots. Pixels on a screen don’t contain information. Perceptually they are just a set of dots the same as the dots of ink in modern typesetting in books. Those dots don’t become information until I bring my knowledge of recorded language to meet them and so get behind the dots to what an author intended to communicate. If I chiseled a message in stone since I would be striking the stone in little dots to form the lines and curves of my symbols of meaning, I could also say that those lines and curves of the symbols are digitized. The important point here is that when looking at the sensory experience of reading on an electric screen it is only the symbols that have been given a digital representation, not the meaning of the symbols. The meaning of the symbols exists only in a human consciousness that knows the meaning of the symbols. Books or stone tablets or electric screens don’t contain any knowledge. They have had symbols inscribed on their being by a human author, that can be recognized by a human reader who also knows the meaning of the symbols. For instance a page of Russian, Arabic or Chinese symbols would give me no information or knowledge because I can’t bring to meet such percepts the necessary concepts to go behind the symbols to find the intention of the author.
To take knowledge that can only live in a human consciousness and ascribe it to an existence in dead material substance is an excellent example of an Arhimanic idea. Dead material substance can’t think. If I say that a book contains knowledge, this implies that somehow the material substance of the book has acquired knowledge and that somehow when I read the book that knowledge transfers itself into my being as a sensory percept rather than as a spiritual activity in my inner life.
Materialistic science looks upon my activity of thinking and my activity of remembering what I have thought out so that I know, as a set of electrical impulse habits in my neurological structure. When I see a particular symbol the sensory electrical impulses from that connect to the neurons that have that pattern which then sends a picture into my consciousness. With this image of the human being knowledge can be said to be in the books or the electric boxes behind the screens we view. But from this point of view there are no spiritual beings, no human thoughts, no human feelings, no individual moral action. We are each just a set of electrical impulses accumulating and reacting to stimuli. What goes on in the inner life of the human being has now been modeled and is thought about as if it works like computer works, with inputs, memory addresses, pre-set processing dogmas, and outputs.
But if one studies anthroposophy, one has to step away from that model of the inner life of the human being. One also, has to step away from what that model says about the outer life of nature also. If the atomic model of protons, neutrons and electrons is really the best and only way to conceive of material substance and its meaning, there is no way, even in the statistical possibilities of quantum mechanics for thinking or feeling as every human being experiences them to exist or be incarnated into a form bound to material substance.
Free the word from the book and the computer by knowing that it is your word and your thought, not the book’s or the computer’s.
Thank you, Jeremy, for this gentle and thoughtful rebuke.
Unlike Frank Thomas Smith in his Apologia, I believe this Esoteric School is alive, since the ongoing inner development of students is something that can never be taken away, and often infuses their work in the world. Which is the whole point. Even when it is made more difficult!
Jeremy must be a very lucky guy to have someone like you. He is gentle and kindly and diplomatic until his angst rages out at the seams. 2016 must be remembered as a monument year of what the future holds and portends.
I also believe that the Esoteric School is alive and well, even if Elvis has left the building. He would not have wanted it to die with him. So, he left these lessons and mantras for those that care to engage. Forget the GAS. I think this is Frank’s sentiment, and so he made his decision. By translating them in his own copyright, he is beholding to nobody concerning possible infringement.
And so, he makes them a free offering as with everything else he does. I do this as well, being incapable of resisting such fire and enthusiasm for our work. For me, it is contagious, and I hope so for others who look here with hope and honesty.
I would like to add to conversation even though I have never been a Anthroposophist. I can say that I have read more of Steiner’s lectures than many other people.
In many places Steiner says that his words will expand and grow through those who read and understand it. This is Logos, the Creative Word.
The real question in this conversation may be this: Can we consider that the advice given by Rudolf Steiner over 100 years ago is no longer necessary because his readers have used his teachings to expand their consciousness beyond that stage?
Food for thought.
Back in the year 2000 or so, Constance McQuoid published the verses of each Class Lesson online and you can still access them today.
Published and bound and available for sale in Dornach? I never knew that.
Searchable through Google and downloadable in a moment? Nor was I aware.
Information is demanded to be made transparent in this day and age, (WikiLeaks surely would have gotten it eventually) and as you outlined Jeremy, Steiner did not want his School to be guarded behind cliques of know-it-alls and mightier-than-thous. Yet, a very simplistic and somewhat arbitrary rule of a 2 year membership and admittance via demonstration of a ‘willingness to cultivate anthroposophy and stand as a representative in the world’ is all that stood between the casual observer and the 1st Class.
It was bound to happen, that the word would get out, and no doubt Steiner anticipated it would happen. It pains me to read mocking interpretations and commentary on anti-anthroposophical sites, but as an anthroposophist at some point, you come up against the naysayers, and have to learn compassion with respect to them.
An administrative error at our local Society has meant I will wait another year before (hopeful) admittance to the 1st Class … but to read the lessons online is something I will never do. To the student on the path, this would be a violation, and is almost a temptation in a weird way, though I personally have no need to know what is written there – (I will wait till it is my time!)
Your letter to Frank Thomas Smith clearly outlines the reasons for not publishing the notes in English, online. At first it is shocking to learn this happened, but where would one take these words, without the proper context of them? Mocking behaviour and ridicule is one thing, and those folk caught up in such behaviour can feast upon what has been uncovered, but for those with which it strikes a chord, may decide, if being truthful to their higher selves, to borrow a book from the library, make contact with their local branch, attend a workshop, or buy that biodynamically grown head of lettuce.
The beautiful success of anthroposophy in the world, as a practically flourishing movement is a great achievement and available to been seen by anyone at anytime. You can go as deep as you like into it, and of course, their are potential blockades at every turn, we have all experienced so many, no doubt! I am pleased to read this blog post, and the comments have been interesting. I look forward to my continuing development and the time when I get to HEAR the lesson delivered. Without knowing why, I get the importance of that.
I know I have the propensity to be optimistic, without sounding too naive, to some, I hope our goodwill and indeed efforts of Will will overcome any negative outcomes resulting from the Lesson being published.
Most of the Steiner/Anthroposophy detractors read German … or only listen to other detractors who read German. They have not really read the material, but scan it to find nit-pick points they can get attention with by exaggerating them. They fail to see that when you consider Reincarnation and Karma — roots of all of Steiner’s philosophy — it negates all they are saying.
By putting on-line ALL of Steiner’s works, in many languages, it shows the world that Anthroposophy is not afraid of what these few detractors say, but in fact, are happy to welcome everyone to research and find their own answers.
First sentence of Knowledge of the Higher Worlds: “There slumber in every human being faculties by means of which he can acquire for himself a knowledge of higher worlds.” Not just goofy people, or only college guys, but everyone! Even people who choose to detract! In a way, they are doing their own anthroposophical research.
I say, Welcome Everyone! Go ye unto the hills …
Rudolf Steiner Archive & e.Lib
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‘… the aim is to give insight into the experience of the ‘threshold’ between the sensory and supersensible world’
Prokofieff devoted a booklet to the School (2012, Why Become a Member of the School of Spiritual Science?, G1HDxowFsFkC).
Principal secrecy about one’s own spiritual experiences for fear of dependency on others (Polarities p. 24-26., RjwnjDEwcq0C, 1920) remains a connected social issue.
I don’t find anything in your comments which aren’t covered in my “Apologia”. (http://southerncrossreview.org/apologia.html )Therefore I plead guilty to the accusations listed below, but with explanations:
J: You have short-circuited the two-year period of preparation that Steiner thought was necessary and which could be done by joining the Society.
F:Guilty as charged, if we were time travelers and were back in 1924, when the Esoteric School still existed..
J: By putting them online, you have taken the Class lessons outside the context of human community which Steiner thought was essential
F: Steiner said they should only be available to members of the Free School for Spiritual Science, who participated physically in the lessons. However, they – especially the all-important mantrams – have been available to non-members for many decades, at least in German. The “human community” to which you refer is, I assume, the First Class members who play the part of the audience listening to anointed “readers” do their thing: read. They are usually poor actors.
J: You have made the texts available to people who may not be ready for such esoteric concepts and thereby could be “put off”; and by so doing, have perhaps deprived them of an opportunity to benefit from these lessons within the proper and supportive context of a group.
F: Such people, if they indeed exist, would by “put off” by much else that Steiner wrote or said, and which is just as weird (for them) as anything in the Lessons.
J: You have given scoffers and opponents the chance to quote these lessons, which are bound to seem fantastic and absurd to those who have as yet no understanding of the spiritual world from which we all come
F: Come on, Jeremy, the scoffers have plenty of ammunition elsewhere in Steiner’s thousands of lectures. I’d say, in fact, more lethal ammunition.
J: You have given opportunities, specifically warned against by Steiner, for spiritual tourists to engage in esoteric chatter without getting to grips with the esoteric content of life itself.
F: Spiritual tourism is better than stay-at-home materialism.
J: The lessons are steeped in esoteric knowledge and require much background preparation from the student. They are not to be read or talked about like stories from a newspaper, or thought about with our everyday kind of thinking. So these texts are not for intellectual or casual reading, but require a certain cast of mind, as well as preparation and commitment, before engaging with them.
F: Preparation and commitment are free to anyone who wishes to and is capable of attaining them. In my experience, most of the class lesson listeners (today) are more like spiritual tourists..
J: Do you still feel that publishing the Class lessons was a good idea, Frank?
F: Absolutely, encouraged by the many messages of sincere thanks received over the years. Btw, I’m currently working on a volume 4, of the so called individual lessons in Prague (2), Bern (1) and London (1). Thanks for the comment, Jeremy.
Dear Jeremy and Frank,
Thanks to Frank everyone can read in English the class lessons. The School of Spiritual Science is the intention of Michael and not Rudolf Steiner. If they take such words seriously then it is easy to form the conclusion that everyone that discusses the question of what did Steiner for the School has only taken hold of the words as a tourist, formed a clique around them. If one takes the words of the School seriously then coming to the question of how are they to stand in the world now one needs to ask Michael what his intentions are now. In order to do that one needs according to the words of the School to enter into the realm where one has a direct perceptual knowledge relationship with Michael and all the other spiritual beings described by the words of the School. Jeremy, obviously you are not in that position.
Only one thing can be found in the words of the School that is not in the public literature of Anthroposophy. (The 3 beasts are described in greater detail in ‘Man as Symphony of the Creative Word,’ Oct 1923, for instance. Boney head is the cow. Bared teeth is the lion. Long split mouth is the eagle). The one thing unique about the words of the School are the statements that they come directly from Michael. If one has the earnestness to take the words of the School more seriously than a spiritual tourist then one has to look to the source of the words. If one doesn’t take these words stating that the source of the words in the School is a direct communication of a spiritual being to all human beings seriously, then one is a just tourist and scoffing doubter.
One can find for oneself following the words of the School that, at this point in time, Michael’s words loose no power to make available to everyone that takes them seriously, the light at the edge of the sense world that leads across the abyss to the field of knowledge, being minimized by members of the School into Rudolf Steiner’s intentions or by them standing in public of the freest and most available communication tool.
This is very interesting. I have quite a back-story here.
In 1970 age 21 I spent a year at Emerson College really taking on core Anthroposophy, and yes, agreeing with Steiner himself and many of his supporters I most respect, that Grasping The Experience Indicated In His “Philosophy Of Freedom” Was The Most Important Thing Of All. But I would not have had the ability to study PoF and absorb it without the richness I experienced from all the other activities.
I went to Emerson because I’d had encounter with Christ and with the etheric forms of plants and I knew that both these experiences were extremely important and why was I never taught about them?? – but with Steiner, I could develop these experiences that were and still are foundational to my life. Yet I almost never was able to talk about them. For personal circumstances forced me to work thereafter outside Anthroposophy, without referring to it.
Meanwhile it was quietly growing within my soul. And my soul was growing and opening up to the richness and wonder of the world, and asking “What is Really Needed?” So not being blind to the depths of darkness, nor to experiences at the outer extremities of human experience, like near-death-experiences, all of which approach the deepest spiritual experiences. Experiences that have to be at the “threshold” if “threshold” is to have any meaning. But different language is used to that of the First Class.
To me it seems that Steiner used different ways of opening up, pointing towards basically the same key experiences – a good technique to reinforce them – which also gives support for Steiner’s thesis that PoF is the best key of all. Now with an apocalyptic century in which many have reached threshold experiences in a multitude of ways, we have to recognize this – and it is hard work to do so adequately – and not all are called to this, but I am.
I am very sure that today there is a need to develop “With Steiner And Beyond” – and that this is somehow my work. I have found several actual instances where it is now very necessary to go beyond Steiner – one of which being his attitude towards Francis Bacon. Steiner himself pointed me towards Carlyle. Daniel Dunlop has also been a great inspiration, thanks to Meyer’s excellent and much-needed biography.
For the sake of challenging Steiner in an ethical and essentially supportive way, I felt I needed to go back to basics in as many kinds of ways as I could, usually asking subtly difficult questions. Clearly I now had to join a First Class. Coming in at lesson 8, which I felt was serendipitously appropriate, I nevertheless wanted to recap as thoroughly as possible – and was very glad to find, by “complete coincidence”, Frank Thomas Smith’s online translations, enabling me to catch up.
That was less than a month ago – and now, on another of my “back to basics” forays, I check out Anthropopper and find this article. Real serendipity at work. Clearly it IS time for this issue to surface . . .
I agree with everyone here. Jeremy for challenging Frank. Frank for his defence. Emanuel for his words of wisdom. And the rest.
I don’t think anything happens by accident. I think it was in the greater purpose of things that these Lessons have stayed held back for so long, that their release has now happened, and that this release has been challenged. All this gives us greater potential strength and wisdom to move on and to start to envisage what Class Two and Class Three are to become. For I am certain that it was known by Great Spirit that Steiner would not be able to bring through either of them, and that there is good reason for this, and for him telling us they are there in the higher worlds, as it were – and we have to earn the right to do this work together.
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Wonderful, Anne – thank you for these thoughts!
My own view on the likely content of the Second Class (and perhaps even the Third Class) is that it can be found in Steiner’s “Anthroposophical Leading Thoughts”, sometimes known as The Michael Letters or The Michael Mystery, an astonishing piece of work that he produced towards the end of his life.
“Anthroposophical Leading Thoughts” looks like more homework.
My intuition is that Class Two will be at most 50% of those contents, certainly not more: what is quite clear to me is that Class Two has to be what members bring out of their own deep experience that can further Spiritual Science as a basically unified body – collaborative but not uniform. A challenge similar to that of Ecumenism between the Christian denominations: also the ground work that needs to be done before the Exotics can be recognized as fit for a deeper inclusion (ie what for church ecumenism would be groups currently outside the ecumenical movement altogether, like the Spiritualist Churches, the Mormons, the Christian Community, the Sufis). Doing the groundwork of preparation for accurate recognition and appreciation of the useful contributions of “exotics” is for Class Three. I sense a possible touch of the Rosicrucian mysteries here. And always, it has to be in the sense that Yeshua said, “he who would be ruler of all must be servant of all”.
I’m committing my intuition into the public realm at this point, mainly to see if it holds true. Meanwhile I shall dip back into obscurity while continuing my studies. Thanks for the thumbs-up.
In the absence of Rudolf Steiner, who was Michael’s spokesperson on earth, it seems incumbent on all of us with this interest in actual spiritual communion to take up what the three classes represent, and contain. In dialogue with Michael, new insights and revelations occur as a continuous flow. This is really possible because Michael’s relationship with the individual human spirit exists since the Event of 1879, and wherein he is now the Time-Spirit of the Age.
Those who engage this inner dialogue, which if recognized, is akin to the feeling of “Not I but Christ and Michael in me”, are encouraged in their contemplations to assess the content of the three classes, albeit with the First Class already designated in is present form. Now, my attention is continually being drawn to the fact that Rudolf Steiner gave a particular lecture-course over three years time. This is GA 115, concerning Anthroposophy, Psychosophy, and Pneumatosophy, given over the years 1909-1911.
Anne has said something that is very stimulating because these are my exact thoughts. She states: “what is quite clear to me is that Class Two has to be what members bring out of their own deep experience that can further Spiritual Science as a basically unified body.” Exactly so. And this is the essence of Psychosophy, with its emphasis on the 12 Outlooks, and the various Planetary Moods, etc. It is all about our own self-creative efforts of soul. In a similar fashion, Pneumatosophy seeks to realize the overall objectives of our very unique form of Spiritual Evolution; one that was not the original intention, by any means.
For me, the overall theme of Spiritual Science involves: “Man in the Past, Present, and Future”. Thus, we have three time-orientations involved, and all three are concerned with developing total consciousness. As such, the disciplines are: Anthroposophy, Psychosophy, and Pneumatosophy.
What Steiner had in mind for the second and third classes would seem to have to be related to Psychosophy and Pneumatosophy, in the same way that the First Class is related to Anthroposophy. And all good students are steeped in Anthroposophy, which is largely about the past (for very good reasons), but much less so concerning the present and future, which is of the nature of Psychosophy and Pneumatosophy.
Threefolding of the entire Spiritual-Scientific Enterprise is an important goal.
My translation of “Anthroposophical Guidelines” – aka “Anthroposophical Leading Thoughts” (What’s a “leading” thought?) is available free of charge at http://southerncrossreview.org/Ebooks/ebooks.html (Scroll down)
It is interesting to read all the responses to Jeremy’s post. I am one of those who wrote to Frank Smith in the early days of his ‘Publishing the First Class’ adventure saying I thought he shouldn’t be doing it.
My main reason is and was that Rudolf Steiner didn’t want the material to be encountered by reading. He wanted the Class content to be heard.
As two people commented (and as far as I know it is correct), there is very little in terms of content which cannot be found elsewhere in public lectures which Steiner gave. Emanuel Blosser says, ‘The one thing unique about the words of the School are the statements that they come directly from Michael.’
I notice that one of the commentators speaks about ‘studying’ the material and ‘studying’ was an issue for me in my early years as a member.
I was fortunate to be able to have some conversations with Nick Thomas about this. (Nick was a wonderful reader and free-renderer.)
I was concerned that each time I heard a lesson there would be significant things that I would forget, for example, the very specific visualisations given in lesson 8. Nick’s point of view was that we should work with what we did remember and each time we heard the lesson we would notice something new. Some detail would remain in our consciousness which we had not noticed before.
Working in this way I found that I was not tempted to try and weave the mantrams into some intellectual/theoretical framework but rather to relate to them in a much more personal way, – with what I can understand now, the way I am now; letting them work on me in the way I might let a poem or piece of music work on me, and noticing what is happening.
Perhaps one makes them more one’s own by working under these voluntary restraints. (I.e., working without having the text of Steiner’s lesson to inform one’s response).
Alicia Hamberg’s blog, The Ethereal Kiosk, was quoted as an example of people scoffing at the content of the First Class.
I would like just to remind readers of how the mantram says we should deal with the second beast – the scoffer. I will not quote the mantram but in essence we are told that our own enthusiasm and fiery commitment to spiritual knowledge is enough to deal with scoffing. We do not need to bewail it happening or try to silence it. It arises out of a fundamental weakness in the feeling life which we all have as a consequence of the age we live in, something we have to live with and learn to manage. It is part of of our cosmic task to deal with this second beast, it is not something arising from personal karma – though I guess that in some cases it may do.
No-one has commented here on the fact that Frank nearly always puts an image of a naked full-breasted female as the frontispiece to each edition of The Southern Cross Review. Much like one might find in ‘The Sun’, an english red top newspaper!
I don’t understand why he feels the need to demean women. I call it demeaning because by posting these images he is contributing to the prevailing male supremacist culture which treats women primarily as sex objects. My comment has nothing to do with Frank’s personal love of the female form. It is about his choosing to use such images as the frontispiece for his Review.
Frank’s behaviour in this respect makes me wary of trusting his judgement on other issues.
Well, Tom Hart Shea, may I be the first to comment here about the sexist/misogynistic ways of one Frank Thomas Smith, because even 6 years ago, and even on the Waldorf Critics Yahoo forum, of all places, I castigated Frank for his naked lady frontispieces on SCR.
[wc] The Hugh Hefner of Anthroposophy
(dated February 1, 2011)
Finally, Frank, I would like to return to my original description of you as the Hugh Hefner of Anthroposophy. I need to make it clear that I did not hit upon this image of you because you were smoking a pipe just like Hef does. No, it’s much more from your e-zine Southern Cross review which is your anthroposophical version of Playboy Magazine.
Now obviously a centerfold makes no sense in an e-zine, but a header or homepage photograph does. And so what do we see at the opening of every issue of SCR? Yes, a naked lady. Oh, but of course, it’s not pornography — it’s art! You always find a fine painting, be it modern or classic, of a lady in full undress. But because it’s an *anthroposophical* version of PLAYBOY , the focus is more on reading the articles.
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Tom Hart Shea,
I would like to refine your comments about the Second Beast by referring to the German and then finding better English words to convey more precisely Steiner’s meaning.
The word you use for the beast, the “scoffer,” is in my view probably the weakest of the words that correctly translate the German verb Steiner used spotten which means to “mock, ridicule, sneer at, jeer, taunt, scoff.”
The problem is that I can scoff at something someone says or does without necessarily mocking them or sneering at them as persons. In fact, when I taught Waldorf High school, I made a game out of scoffing at what students would say inappropriately without mocking them as people.
On the other hand, the Second Beast does more than scoff at spiritual revelation; it mocks the very beinghood or essence of the spiritual revelation. It gets really down and dirty and ultimately personal, existential, ontological. So I suggest you choose another word from that list to convey more of the absolute existential mockery of that beast.
Secondly, Steiner uses a specific verb zähmen to express what we are to do with that beast. It means “to tame, to domesticate, to break (a horse)”
Once again Steiner is evoking beings and beingness and not nominal abstractions as you express when you say:
“. . . fiery commitment to spiritual knowledge is enough to deal with scoffing. We do not need to bewail it happening or try to silence it.”
We are not merely to “deal with scoffing.” Rather we are to tame or domesticate the Beast, i.e. to put it into our service.
Finally, I quote your next sentence:
It arises out of a fundamental weakness in the feeling life which we all have as a consequence of the age we live in, something we have to live with and learn to manage.
Once again, where you are abstracting, Steiner is directly evoking beinghood. The German word he uses is Schwächlingwhich means “a weakling, a pushover, a wimp, a wuss.”
So the beast does not arise out of some abstracted weakness in the feeling life. Rather the beast <b<IS the very being of weakness itself, i.e., the weakling!
Here I think it is important and necessary to quote the 3 lines of the mantram in German and give you a kind of free and expanded translation to give Steiner’s real sense of beingness here.
Dein Haß auf Geistes-Offenbarung
Schuf den Schwächling dir im Fühlen;
Dein Erkenntnisfeuer muß ihn zähmen.
“Your hatred of spirit-revelation
has created this weakling for you in the realm of your feeling.
Your enthusiasm for knowledge needs to tame [or temper] it.”
Los Angeles, CA
Oh dear, the matter of naked women on the cover of SCR raises its absurdly surly head again! OK, I’ll bite. As Tom says, they are not naked women, they are art. Uh oh, misquoting again. Shud be: naked women AND art.
Look folks, it’s a provocation. I’ve received many objections over the years, similar to tomhartshea’s. I hardly ever reply, but I do pay attention with a wry grin of satisfaction because of prudish anthropoppers being the first to pant over the sexy part of some great artist’s work – well, not always great, but if not, always at least good. It started when I put a painting Goya painting up many moons ago and got a number of objections, amounting to: anthroposophy and nakedness! How dare you?
I loved it, now I couldn’t care less, but it’s become a kind of signature which will continue. And I even love those who blush.
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Rudolf Steiner expressed to Marie Steiner that if the society became sectarian, or the Class Lessons were a source of personal power, that the Lessons would have to be made public. I recently was dismayed as my local class reader expressed both traits. The individual wondered if a recently departed soul could participate in the earthly reading of the Class Lessons without a blue card! I was surprised at the conception that a spiritual being needed a ticket for entry. I wished to give my card to this poor soul at the moment I heard this. My aunt, Baptist fundamentalist, would say the same about the gates of heaven. Only Baptists had the ticket to the gates of heaven. I never understood such thinking, but I know now why the Lessons are public.
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Dear Jeremy, Frank, and Daniel,
Thank you Daniel for bringing this view to the question. I would like to expand this further. In the words of the lessons, Michael several times explains that if the members don’t recognize the seriousness of the words and the written words come into the hands of people that the words don’t rightfully belong to, the words will lose their power. Now the facts are that the written words are printed in digital typeset on paper and in pixels on electronic screens. Have they lost the power to lead a soul that they rightfully belong to, up to the edge of the sense word, across the abyss of the beastly soul forces, to the only gate of knowledge, and then out into the field of knowledge? My answer from personal experience and from teaching others, even though I am not a Class Reader, is that they have not lost that power. So therefore logic must conclude that the words have not come into the hands of those that could have destroyed their power.
In addition, I have learned that power from reading the texts and not from the oral communication of the Class readers. I have also found so far every Class Reader I have met has no idea where the edge of the sense world is. This is the first fact of knowledge that Michael presents in the lessons. The facts that follow about the beastly soul forces and the hierarchies of the astral world and the life forces of the etheric world that can be observed from the ‘watchpoint’ outside the sphere of the fixed stars of the zodiac are all dependent on first knowing the facts of the sense world and where exactly the edge of sense experience ends and the spirit life of mastering the beastly soul life begins. If a Class Reader doesn’t know these facts in their personal experience then they haven’t followed the words of Michael seriously and earnestly. If they haven’t followed the words of Michael seriously and earnestly, will their oral communication reveal the power of these words and the facts they claim exist or destroy the power of these words to reveal the facts they claim exist?
The words of Michael claim that the fixed stars are a sphere around the wandering stars of the planets and the field of knowledge is outside this sphere where one can look down through the sphere of the fixed stars, the spheres of the wandering stars, the spheres of the four elements, into the four kingdoms of the earth and there in the earthly darkness see one’s earthly body. The words of Michael claim that everyone can come to this personal perception of this view of reality by following the words of Michael and thereby uniting their personal intelligence with his cosmic intelligence. I haven’t yet met a Class Reader that knows what I am talking about and takes it seriously, so thank heaven for the written published words of the text. If there is anyone reading this discussion that finds my words earnest and serious, I would love to hear from you. Please email the anthropopper (JeremyEss@yahoo.co.uk) so that he can forward your message.
You give a very convincing case for the First Class Lessons being made public. Yet, the real issue is one of preparation to receive the lessons. Thus, some need the format of the so-called “cultus”, which requires two years membership in the GAS, and application with recommendation. I know someone who has applied more than once after two years membership, and been turned down for some reason. And this person knew a lot.
So, I like it when Katie says she will avoid the public availability of the lessons until she is accepted according to the dictates of the “cultus”. I, too, have specifically avoided these lessons on that principle. Yet, Anne, in her current attempt in “going back to basics”, is readily accepted in First Class, mid-course, and finds in Frank Smith’s easily available publishings, the means to catch up with the first 8 lessons. Yet, she also beholds to the “cultus”, while also admitting the usefulness of having these lectures available to the public.
Then, we have Daniel, with his current and rather sensationalist remarks about the “class readers”, and whether they can be trusted. So, it is an interesting mix of wants and needs. If the alert has been sent out concerning the “class readers”, and their acceptability in communicating the First Class Lessons to the elect of the School of Spiritual Science, then it is important to assess where this alert comes from. As such, it comes from Spring Valley, New York, which is Daniel’s territory, and the hub of anthroposophical activity in the United States. Why is he saying this?
The class-readers of the First Class of the School of Spiritual Science are a very important element in helping make it real for the initiate into the First Class. Thus, it is a sacred obligation. I would therefore question anything that Daniel Perez has to say, considering that he lives right there in the Spring Valley area, and has chosen to make it a red-alert condition at this point in time.
Now, having said that, and all of the above, does anybody know anything about the so-called ‘reversed’ “cultus”. It supposedly starts from the ground up, and makes the case for knowledge acquired over time, and which makes these lessons a matter of self-initiation. Emanuel seems to speak to this fact; and it is true.
The reference that I know to the cultus and reverse cultus is in this lecture about the relationship of the newly forming Christian Community: The Movement for Religious Renewal and the Anthroposophical Society given in March after the Goetheanum fire. http://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/GA257/English/AP1974/19230303p01.html
EB: “The facts that follow about the beastly soul forces and the hierarchies of the astral world and the life forces of the etheric world that can be observed from the ‘watchpoint’ outside the sphere of the fixed stars of the zodiac are all dependent on first knowing the facts of the sense world and where exactly the edge of sense experience ends and the spirit life of mastering the beastly soul life begins.”
I have thought the planetary spheres to be the astral world and the hierarchical zodiac to be the etheric life forces.
The soul (astral) runs her course in time (etheric)
Most importantly, the etheric zodiac pertains to human beings and human beings alone due to the Mystery of Golgotha where a new cosmic centre is in creation with the earth becoming a Sun and wherein the human being etheric body is saved.
The human being etheric zodiac is round and has no top or bottom encompassing the twelve human outlooks.
The Class lessons describe (read lesson 17) a ‘watchpoint’ outside the sphere of the fixed stars, from which one looks down on the etheric color rainbow as a chalis. To get to that view of reality there are 16 pre-requiste lessons of observation, conclusion, new hypothesis given so that it is an objective knowledge of spiritual facts free from all subjective limitations that anyone who follows through and reconstructs for themselves the same conditions can reach.
You have learned meanings and had experiences in your biography that are different than these. If you were interested I could tell you about the thoughts and feelings to practice that arrive at the view described above for your self. The accuracy of the description of the view presented in the Class lesson is not a question for me since I have learned and practiced the thoughts and feelings out of which it is constructed.
This is the most disturbing thing about spiritual knowledge and activity. the forces of nature and karma give us an introduction that reality besides the sense world exists but to enter it as a cognitive, initiative being that cognition and initiative have to be created out of our subjective personal intelligence and feeling, so how can an objective spiritual science of facts ever be established? The lessons of the School of Spiritual Science offer a solution to this problem if one is interested in stepping beyond one’s personal experience into an objective experience of spiritual activity.
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Thanks for the reply Manny,
It is the astral light shining into the etheric (GA0112,13) It is not for nothing that our feet are planted in the earth.
Man in fact dwells in three worlds; the one sensible to his consciousness, the other of which he remains entirely unconscious, and the third (breathing) acting as a connecting link or mediator between the two. (GA201,4)
Yes absolutely, it is necessary for human beings to be beings that live, cognize and act in 3 worlds. That is the cosmic wisdom of Michael.
Our problem at the current moment of the evolutionary sequence of cosmic and human development is that while we live and act in 3 worlds we aren’t given cognition of 2 of them, but have to create out of what we are given new organs of cognition for the soul/astral/feeling world and the spirit/etheric/thought world. The boundary between the sense world and the soul world in the Michael words of the School of Spiritual Science is the edge of the abyss. The boundary between the soul world and the etheric world is called the gate of knowledge. By the time one gets to lesson 7 the soul forces have been transformed from their beastly nature given by karma into the wings of soul that cross the abyss and arrive at the gate of knowledge. Lesson 8 then explains that one can’t move forward into the field of knowledge without first looking back at where one has come from. Over there on the other side of the abyss one started at the edge of the sense world by hearing the Michael words sounding from the field of knowledge calling to the dearest longing of your heart. One then step by step learned that your 3 soul forces appear to you as unruly beasts because of the cosmic age we are in that began in 333AD. The antidotes that master the unruliness of the soul forces are then strengthened and developed further through the following lessons. Then at the gate having mastered the soul forces it is necessary to look back at what effects those activities had. The activity of mastering the 3 soul forces, turning them from beasts into wings, had effects on the elements of the earth and the 9 hierarchical beings of the soul world, with the counterforce beings that are also there. These effects and the beings that were effected are described in lessons 9-16. Lesson 17 then describes how one can look down through the ether color rainbow of the zodiac in the sphere of the fixed stars, and see the activity of the 9 hierarchies inside the sphere of the fixed stars (which would be the realm of the wandering stars and the elements) and see there inside the spheres of the wandering stars and the elements the darkness of sense life in the gravity of the kingdoms of the earth sphere.
If you read carefully Steiner’s ‘Theosophy’ from 1902, the picture there is no different just not as clear and specific, except for one thing. It goes on. It doesn’t stop at the entrance to the field of knowledge, ‘spiritland’, but describes the activities and regions of spiritland and then the journey across spiritland. Then comes the description of the 7 concentrations down to the formation of the human body in the sense world and the long description of the qualities of the human aura. If one has made it to the end of the journey through spiritland without losing one’s cognitive faculties, one then finds in this sequence of concentration and auric qualities the cognitive guide to journey back across the boundary into the soul world that ends at the birth boundary into the sense world body.
The lessons of Michael haven’t yet had a reader on earth that can carry his words forward from the gate of knowledge through the activities of the spiritland and then back across the abyss to the sense world. The pictures of this complete School of Spiritual Science are there in the windows of the Goetheanum. Beginning from the Group on the stage that masters the counterforces to the door of the Goetheanum in the first window on the south side through the ‘wall’ to the events of the red window, back through the ‘wall’ to the windows of the north side with its descending switchback paths down to the swaddling babe just before entering again on to the stage with representative of man standing in the midst of all the dark heavy gravity of the Group.
To be fully human, to do something that serves and speaks to the stars, this cosmic wisdom of Michael needs to become fully mature and cognizant in each individual.
May human beings hear it with single purpose of will,
What I love is: “all we see by day in the multi-coloured carpet of flowers is the reflected image of the higher spheres” (The Three Worlds and their Reflected Images, GA243)
We are cognizant of the sense world which is the head system, the circulatory and rhythmic system through respiration we should be aware of and the metabolic system should be known.
Hi Danel, May I put your message above in “Letters” in the next issue of SCR? Frank
Yes, although I have some concern for it being understood who I may be referring to, I feel the issue is important enough that it is warranted. I am not the only one using your translation, by the way, in my local area.
I made a personal commitment, which I kept, to hear all the lessons prior to reading them. Once I heard them orally I then read them. I don’t know if this loses power in the words or not, but for me I can only find my way into the material through immersion in this way. Hearing a lesson once every two years is too far apart. How can you unite with a lesson on that basis?
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Hi Daniel, just wondering – did you attend Green Meadow Waldorf School in your childhood?
Daniel Perez has expressed what is for me the most convincing reasons for making the Class Lessons public. I have often experienced sectarian behaviours within the anthroposophical movement.
And, indeed, as has been said in previous contributions, the powers that be at the Goetheanum, and in the AS in GB, had already taken the step of publishing the Class Lessons before Frank Thomas Smith’s rendering was made available.
Reading Daniel’s post has made me revise my opinion.
For many people the only access to the mantrams will be through reading them and I would never wish to block any individual’s particular route to spiritual enlightenment. Only their guardian angel will know what is best for them.
Frank Thomas Smith’s translation and publication of the Class Lessons may be helpful for some people, and I apologise to him for not appreciating that.
(However I still think that his attitude to women is debased, and that troubles me).
“However I still think that his attitude to women is debased, and that troubles me”.
Tom Hart Shea
I don’t know why I bother, but I guess in this case to teach you something THIS:
The pictures of nude women which appear on SCR are not debased, demeaning, impure, corrupt, pornographic, etc. They are artistic CELEBRATIONS of women.
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I appreciated very much your contribution on the translation of Rudolf Steiner s verse:
Dein Haß auf Geistes-Offenbarung
Schuf den Schwächling dir im Fühlen;
Dein Erkenntnisfeuer muß ihn zähmen.
“Your hatred of spirit-revelation
has created this weakling for you in the realm of your feeling.
Your enthusiasm for knowledge needs to tame [or temper] it.”
Couldnt you think of another expression for Erkenntnisfeuer, enthusiasm for knowledge. Erkenntnisfeuer is not in the Duden nor in the DWB, Deutsches Wörterbuch, however it is used by some other authors. Isnt enthusiasm a bit short of, a bit weak for Feuer-fire, when you are really burning (inside) for Erkenntnis-insight, understanding (not just facts, knowledge, knowledge-Wissen, Kenntnis)? You can also have enthusiasm for fishing or a football club.
„the powers that be at the Goetheanum, and in the AS in GB, had already taken the step of publishing the Class Lessons“ I dont know about the AS in GB, but the Goetheanum was certainly not happy, when the Class was published in 1992. It was a compromise after long, long talks between the Steiner Press, which would publish the Class with or without the consent of the Goetheanum. This put pressure on the Goetheanum to find the compromise, which is expressed in the forword. It would be a good idea for this indepth discussion to translate the forword. And I doubt that the Goetheanum would now publish the Class, if they had the free choice to do so or prevent it.
(The leadership on the Christian Community totally rejected the idea of publishing the lectures for priest. So there were no talks about a compromise, for a common forword for the priest lectures. Consequently these lectures do not have this special status as the Class.)
Behold the second beast, it bares
Its teeth in a warped face, scornfully it lies,
Yellow with gray spots is its body;
Your hate of spiritual revelation
Begat this weakling in your feeling;
Your flame for knowledge must subdue him.
What Steven Hale alludes to in expressing his mistrust of Daniel is an uncomfortable but real phenomenon that I call the “Anthro-politics of First Class,” something I first learned about when I lived at the 3-fold community in Spring Valley, NY in 1980.
In short, there is a secret and elitist cultic group within the Anthroposophical Society called The Kreis(German for Circle) which originally grew out of the Jugendkreis (Youth Circle) that Ernst Lehrs helped organize in 1923, but which has, over the decades, “metastasized” into a “kind of tumor” – as Daniel has aptly and accurately called it. I myself liken it to the elite secret group within the Roman Catholic Church called “Opus Dei.”
Where it intersects the First Class is that my understanding — gained in Spring Valley 1980 and further confirmed when I lived in the Rudolf Steiner College Community in Sacramento, CA 1981-1985 — is that all First Class Readers had to be first members of the Kreis in order to be appointed to the position.
At this point, Jeremy and Tom Hart Shea, since you both live in the UK, please read this eye-opening blog post of Kelly Connor, an Australian woman who once attended Emerson College and who discovered, to her great dismay, the existence of the Kreis in 2012 while she was living in Forest Row.
Over the past six weeks I’ve asked many of my fellow anthroposophists in Forest Row if they are members of the circle. So far, the results are split 40/60 between those who are members and those who’ve never heard of the circle.
The latter group often share the same incredulity as I did and sometimes feel deep dismay at learning of its existence.
Circle members often seem surprisingly eager to talk about the circle; some are totally convinced of the rightness of belonging to the group and value its exclusiveness.
Some say they are relieved to finally unburden the secret. Some carry concerns about not telling family, friends and colleagues about their membership.
The more conversations I have, the more concerned I’ve become about the health implications of this secrecy — both the health of the individuals involved & the health of anthroposophy.
Well, I for one have never heard of it or come across it in any way, shape or form. I shall, however, make enquiries here in Forest Row.
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I have now found reference to this group, which I’d never previously heard of – here it is: https://www.pdf-archive.com/2014/01/24/the-esoteric-youth-circle/the-esoteric-youth-circle.pdf
Whether it exists in Forest Row, and in the form which Kelly Connor describes, I will try to find out.
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Indeed, what you post contains the gist of what Ottmar provided in his comments containing these two insightful entries from the ASiA Newsletters in 1980. Interesting that someone said that they first hear about it in 1980. This is when the issue was being brought to rest. I read the lectures, “The Younger Generation”, GA217, last year, and while they encourage the advent of a youth movement in support of the science of the spirit, they contain nothing of a special dispensation which could ever propagate a so-called “secret society” within the Anthroposophical Movement. I would encourage anyone to read these two installments, and especially the letters, Lehrs and Howard.
Click to access ASA_Newsletter_1980_Spring.pdf
Click to access ASA_Newsletter_1980_Summer.pdf
So, whatever might be in existence today is likely an old-generation notion with whiskers. Desperation amongst the old folks 🙂
OK Tom, I consulted my occult anthropopper sources in Germany. Will advise. (top secret – for Anthropopper eyes only.)
Here it is: https://anthrowiki.at/Esoterischer_Jugendkreis
It does sound like some kind of secret society, that is, its existence and goals announced, but who its members are is a mystery.
Reading Meyer’s biography of Ludwig Polzer-Hoditz, I can now see a whole history of problems with Class “permissions”. Class One arose at the specific request of Ita Wegman, and she naturally became a Class Reader, as did Polzer. Yet in 1935 she, together with many others, was iniquitously “expelled” from the Vorstand. Polzer was expelled, as the very result of defending her and the others, and refusing to vote for their exclusion. He continued for a while to read Class lessons; then the mangled Vorstand tried to grab back the lessons; he declined to return them. He felt inwardly supported by, and supportive of, Steiner himself, as I think almost all current Anthroposophists would now agree.
Thus I have become aware of how close the Class “permissions” situation is/was to the Vorstand and its virtual suicide action – after which Polzer was sure that Steiner no longer saw it as able to carry true Anthroposophy.
Now as I said above, I get the strong impression that Steiner used a variety of techniques to help open people to the spiritual worlds in a healthy way, of which the Class lessons – which Steiner never repeats even though several Classes see newcomers – the Class lessons are one-and-several. But there is a classic technique that I find nowhere in Steiner – ostensibly. This is when the teacher challenges the student, without saying so, to do something subtly unethical – and the student will only pass the test by saying “No!” to the teacher.
Yet I have had this “No!” experience with Steiner many times, at the point of needing to work things out for myself – and every time I’ve had supportive confirmation from Great Spirit, in the form of another insight from Steiner – or at least in harmony with Steiner – lighting up in my soul. This is where I’ve found his greatness – and this is also where I’ve come to disagree with various of his details while still in harmony with his essential teachings. I am surely not alone in this.
It is precisely to heal the split between those Class members who do not see the Beasts at all and are therefore driven by them, and those who see them and act independently (and get “expelled”, as I believe also happened to Sir George Trevelyan) that I see a need for the Second Class to develop. After an apocalyptic century, humankind understands far better to tread the path to proactive cooperation, in which all parties can discover that each holds essential parts of the truth. There is a place, in the cosmic scheme of things, for Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw and even Slytherin, as well as Gryffindor.
I wouldn’t waste your time Jeremy…. Kelly Connor hogwash written in 2012.. she doesn’t substantiate any of her claims and neither does the drama driven blogger who posted the link.
There was a brief mention of the Youth Circle in a recent Anthroposophy Worldwide. One of the issues in late 2015 if my memory is any good. I having asked the question that suggests one has the interest to be a member was once offered membership and shown the pre-requisite reading material about the history of the group. It does exist and has a widespread membership. There was an article by Alan Howard in the newsletter of the Society in America in the early 80’s about its existence. I’m pretty sure the statement that all Class Readers have to be a member of the Circle is false. But I’m also pretty sure that many and maybe most of them are members of the Circle.
Since membership in the Circle is secret the most common thing for members to do is to make statements denying the existence or any knowledge of such a circle. If you read carefully and follow the instructions in ‘Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and Its Attainment,’ ‘the Philosophy of Spiritual Activity,’ ‘Occult Science: An Outline’ or the ‘First Class Lessons’ such mis-information destroys whatever possibility one might have had to satisfy the conditions of the Lessor and Greater Guardians of the Threshold and so truly unite with Michael in his cosmic intelligence in the Field of Knowledge before or after excarnation. So which is true, what Steiner published in the basic books and Michael says in the lessons or what Ernst Lehrs says about the mantra the Youth Circle practices 3 times a day giving them the exclusive membership in Michael’s community?
In light that shines into darkness,
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The younger generation
„a secret and elitist cultic group within the Anthroposophical Society, the Opus Dei of the AS“ sounds very much like a scandal, a no-go, a really big cover up. Well it is a cover up for those, who want it to be so; for the others it is an old, well-known story. Ernst Lehrs was asked about it by Alan Howard and Ernst Lehrs answered in a long letter, that was published in the Newsletter – Anthroposophical Society in America – Spring 1980 and Alan Howard gave a Final Note Concerning the Kreis in the Newsletter – Anthroposophical Society in America – Summer 1980.
The texts for the Esot. Jugendkreis were published in 1998, in GA 266c. The texts circulated among non-members years before; I got them in the early 80s. I think widely known became the „Circle“ in 1979 with Ernst Lehrs book, Gelebte Erwartung and I think this book triggered Alan Howard s question to Ernst Lehrs.
Click to access ASA_Newsletter_1980_Spring.pdf
Click to access ASA_Newsletter_1980_Summer.pdf
Tom Mellet could translate the following, quite exhaustive explanations on the Esoterischer Jugendkreis, as it is mostly called http://anthrowiki.at/Esoterischer_Jugendkreis but then I d beg him to translate the w h o l e text and n o t choose some i n c r i m i n a t ing p a r t s, drawn out of the context, or try google translator for a rough idea of it. Translating incriminating parts or making sentences look like incriminating by separating them from the context is the preferred method of those who e.g. want to make Steiner a racist or produce a scandal.
Rudolf Steiner on the Work
with Young People
by Ernst Lehrs
Editor’s note: We bring the following article in
memory of the author who died on December 31, 1979
in Germany, at the age of 85. As writer and as lecturer,
Ernst Lehrs has been known to many members in this
country. In 1933, 1956, 1958 and 1976 he participated as
a main speaker in the Summer Conference in Spring
Valley; in 1956 he traveled afterwards all the way to
California, lecturing at the various anthroposophic
centers. His Man or Matter, written originally in
English and published in the 1950’s by Harper and
Row, has become an anthroposophic classic.
Ernst Lehrs’ autobiography was recently printed
in Germany. We hope to bring an extensive review in
one of the forthcoming issues.
(Translated by Maria St. Goar from “Mitteilungen aus
der anthroposophischen Arbeit in Deutschland,” Summer
1971. Published with permission.)
“Soon after the founding of the Independent
Anthroposophical Society on February 27, 1923, Rudolf
Steiner gave its executive committee a memorandum
— designated as such by him — in which it says in the
fifth paragraph, among other things:
“Out of their midst, lecturing and other work for
the public will have to arise.”*
For this reason a member of the committee asked
Rudolf Steiner during a discussion that took place some
time later: “When we want to speak to young people of
our generation of supersensible contents how can we
generate the necessary confidence towards what we
say? The same confidence that one gains towards you,
the proclaimer of spiritual science, once one has attained
the insight that you have explored the content of
spiritual science at the very source. To a certain extent,
we merely pass on what we have heard from you.” To
this, Rudolf Steiner replied: “In every case, you must
try to take hold of that one little corner of the supersensible
that manifests in the sense world. In that way,
you create for yourself the platform of confidence on
which you can also speak of supersensible matters that
do not manifest to the senses,” — and here he turned to
the writer of these lines — “as I showed it to you this
morning during the lesson in the tenth grade.” To his
surprise, this person thus realized that during the
lesson that morning, a model had been shown of how to
address young people of every age….”
So, this is the gist of what Ernst Lehr’s remembers from 1923.
For those interested in the so-called forming of an “Independent Anthroposophical Society”, please read this lecture from February 27, 1923, Awakening To Community, GA257.
I have studied Anthroposophy for some years and only came across the Circle last year. I was given preliminary material which explained how the Circle came about and what its intention is. Although I haven’t yet asked to join it seems highly worthwhile with Rudolf Steiner directly involved in its initial beginnings. I didn’t see it as secretive at all rather as something I was intended to come across at the right time. I think it is well worth investigating. I only hope the Circle is able to maintain and develop further its intended purpose and not be side tracked by personality and power issues.
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Tim, what are the intentions of the Circle and who gave you the preliminary material… post it on here so we can all read the starter pack… and as you sound so gushingly concerned about its future why haven’t you joined?
I must say, dear gc, that you have undergone quite a remarkable and swift “conversion experience.” Why, just yesterday you denied the very existence of the Kreis with such a vehemence that you even pleaded with Jeremy not to investigate the matter. Today you have become such a “true believer” in it that you now badgering Tim to provide you with all the mystery knowledge he has of the Circle.
You really feel left out, don’t you, gc? I don’t blame you at all. What Kelly Connor discovered in 2012, I discovered in 1980 and I remember being quite angry that I was so left in the dark and, even worse, was obviously deemed unqualified to join such a select group. What a blow to my normally gargantuan anthroposophical ego!
But gc, and Jeremy too, take heart. Alan Howard reported in 1980 that he had been an Anthroposophist for 40 years before ever finding out about the existence of the Kreis.
Let me copy here part of Alan’s “Final Word on the Kreis” published in the ASinA Newsletter, Summer 1980, page 28.
Click to access ASA_Newsletter_1980_Summer.pdf
From Ernst Lehrs’ letter it is obvious that the material and tasks of this Kreis were left exclusively in the hands of those to whom they were originally given.
They alone would decide, by certain evidences which would become apparent to them, whom they should ask to join. This explains why some of us had never heard of it. Obviously we have never given those evidences, or have never been in the presence of those who would recognize them.
Consequently it would be a surprise to many to hear that there was such a Kreis —as it was to me after forty years of active work in the Society, spanning two continents and innumerable friends, some of whom I have only since discovered had been members of the Kreis for years.
A great topic of discussion might be to examine what exactly are the “evidences” that one must demonstrate to be recruited by a Kreis member to join the group? Certainly, Emanuel and Tim showed enough evidence to be recruited by the Kreis members in their community.
just how does one qualify for the “Kreis-hood?”
Los Angeles, CA
Yes indeed Tom, I had to slam the brakes on rather quickly lol
I’m not a member of any anthro groups so don’t feel left out. It just came across as some kind of ‘conspiracy theory’ when I first read about it but I have no idea whether it is true or not…
I agree with you about ‘evidences’ one must demonstrate to be recruited by a Kreis member, that would be interesting. Perhaps an ‘I meditate three times a day’ badge will suffice and bring the scoundrels out of the woodwork….
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Thanks for posting the link above Jeremy. Apologies to Kelly and Tim!
It’s a despairing read… ‘a group of friends coming together’… this kind of thing leads to favouritism and nepotism…
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The intention of the Circle is as sourced by Jeremy: “The task of a meditative community is the inner contemplation by its members in prayer or meditation of a spiritual content relating to the fundamental truths and values of life and the world itself, and in so doing, to create a relationship with purely spiritual or angelic beings so that these can assist the progress of humanity towards its true purpose. By the same token, the members do not constitute some spiritual or social elite, but join because an inner urge compels them to search for a form of supportive communal spiritual work”
I would rather not post you the info I received from a Circle member but let Circle distribute the material themselves. The info that Jeremy sourced and the letter by Ernst Lehrs to the Anthroposophical Journal from the USA 1980 sums it up anyway. The meditations you don’t receive until you are accepted into the Circle.
As you say I was a bit gushingly concerned I suppose – thanks for reflecting that back to me. I am not much into joining groups – not attending AS or First Class on any regular basis but preferring to study in a solitary fashion. This blog however does suit my idea of group work – I value it greatly. However the Circle having a commitment purely to the spiritual world would presumably need less personality inflation to work well and so I have to decide whether I measure up and can make a contribution as I do tend to get caught up in the hurly burly of it all. A worthy challenge no doubt.
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I’d like to correct Steve Hale. I am not in the Spring Valley community or part of their First Class readings. Where I attend First Class is personal to me and will not be revealed. I could attend First Class in several states as I live close to the border of several states with First Class lessons being given.
I am also not clear on what is, “sensational” about relating direct statements made to me by a Class holder? It is always fascinating to see how what one person says in black and white is read by another and colored by their personal experience. You are welcome to quote what you find, “sensational” as I have no idea what that could be?
Regarding the other comments on the Circle by others (I made no comment on this with regard to the First Class), there is a great deal of truth to what I read. It is not a requirement to be a Circle member to be class holder, but from my experience many of Class holders are Circle members in my region of the country. Of course no one has full statistics because the Circle is by word of mouth and always intended to be secret. It is only semi-secret now because of whistle blowers.
To Tim I would simply correct the statement that, “Steiner was involved…” as he helped anyone with anything they asked. This group came to him and asked for meditations and he helped them. If they then misused what he gave them it has nothing to do with Steiner. This is a common misconception that is propagated for obvious effect. Steiner never sanctioned or “started” the Circle. If you read the statutes of the Society it is crystal clear that what the Circle members did was anathema to Steiner’s impulse.
If anyone wishes to join a secret group that is then part of their karma and destiny. What is helpful to consider when you make such a decision is the impact on the community as a result of the secrecy. If you wish to create a false class structure by virtue of those who are “in” and those who are “not ready” then this is sectarianism.
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Hi Daniel Perez Yes I agree that “This group came to him and asked for meditations and he helped them.” That is much more accurate than how I stated it. I can’t say anymore about the subject simply because I don’t know. You have certainly opened my eyes re the controversial nature of the Circle – I had no idea so thanks everyone.
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I m a bit surprised about some comments here. It s nearly all in the records!
There was the hint on the the newsletter 1980, it can even be read online!, then http://anthrowiki.at/Esoterischer_Jugendkreis gives a comprehensive overview. For details go to CW 266, vol. 3; there is all the material, including the mantras, on more than 100 pages.
The questions of who qualifies, elitism, ego games etc. arise when you look at these things through world-given eyes, and not with eyes given by the spirit. (I took these expressions from a verse Rudolf Steiner gave The Berlin Friends, a famous verse, which is often regarded as prophetic. This is my poor attempt to translate it; these translation should be done in collaboration with native speakers of both language really.)
(I m not a member of the Kreis. The „Kreis“ even hasnt got a name; it is only as a matter of earthly convenience to give it a name.)
To the Berlin Friends
With the eye created by the world;
What he sees binds him
To the joy of the world and the pain of the world.
It binds him to everything
That comes into being, but also
To everything that falls
In the abyss of the dark kingdom,
To everything that falls there
In the abyss of the dark kingdom.
With eyes given by the spirit;
He is bound by what he sees/perceives
Both to the hope for/through/by the spirit and to the
The power/force of the spirit that holds (him).
It binds him to everything
That roots in eternities (plural)
And bears fruit in eternities.
But man can look
Only when he feels his inner eye
As an organ of god s spirit:
That in the soul as a stage,
In the human body temple
The deeds of the gods work.
When I first heard of the “secret” First Class lessons, I was suspicious and hunted around to find out what they were. I eventually found it via The Etheral Kiosk, thanks Alicia. I was expecting something more exciting (turning lead into gold, etc) instead it was more Steiner gobbledygook. I think that the reason for not allowing new members into the First Class is that they need two years to be suitably brain washed and lose their power of critical thinking. And I don’t see why the Class lessons are taught nor given such reverence given that it is an incomplete course; Steiner popping his clogs (why didn’t he “see” that coming!) before completing 2 and 3. But now on this blog I learn of another secret Anthro group, The Circle, how many others I wonder exist! No wonder so many outsiders regard the movement as flaky.
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Alicia Hamberg has written a new post today on her Ethereal Kiosk blog about the issue of secrecy involving First Class and addressing Jeremy’s accusations of her scoffing at the lectures on the EK in 2011.
I find Alicia’s latest (above) mostly quite accurate, although I should rather say that I find her opinions not far from the mark, One thing she writes, however, does puzzle me. Actually, she asks the question herself: Is she really asking herself the question? She has obviously invested much time, in fact a sizeable part of her life, to investigating Anthroposophy. She asks why should “someone like me” (her) do that. But she doesn’t answer.
For what it’s worth, I understand that after eighty years of a man’s death their work happens to become humanity’s legacy. It’s coherent for Steiner to ask esoteric knowledge to be hidden from the public in his times but in our times it’s coherent to understand that no book, no matter how esoteric, can be understood by the rational mind for the esoteric is not a rational experience.
In his times, publishing or not publishing texts was necessary for the life of anthroposophy and his own life to be protected but today it is precisely publishing the texts that will allow seekers to not have to pay the dues to those wanting to appropriate divine, esoteric knowledge for their own particular power positions in yet another cult wanting to make money with their founders work, without sharing its life and knowledge openly.
Thank you Frank for publishing these works, it would be interesting to read them one day, if you could send me the link.
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“It’s coherent for Steiner to ask esoteric knowledge to be hidden from the public in his times but in our times it’s coherent to understand that no book, no matter how esoteric, can be understood by the rational mind for the esoteric is not a rational experience.”
Actually, due to the developing conditions of the 19th century, Steiner forecasted that esoteric knowledge would need to be made public at the outset of the 20th century. His mission was to carry that torch as the light-bearing Christian Rosenkreutz, tasked to now make what was previously secret wisdom, the matter of public property. Several factors are involved here:
1) The rise of theoretical materialism by 1850
2) Michael’s Battle in Heaven, c. 1841-1879
3) The subsequent defeat and fall to earth of Ahrimanic spirits
4) Michael’s own sacrifice on behalf of humanity
5) The close of Kali Yuga by 1899, covering the period from 3101 BC; thus some 5000 years of progressive darkness
6) The recognition by the Central Powers guiding earth evolution that the 20th century would carry the fallout of said Kali Yuga
7) The decision to advent Spiritual Science before it could be lost altogether
Thus, as indicated in GA 177, Michael’s victory of the War in Heaven between 1841 and 1879, would assure that spiritual science came to earth in the twentieth century. The Event of 1879 served to cast down a particular group of ahrimanic spirits to earth, with the intent of binding themselves to Sorath as adversarial agents working against humanity. Thus, war and destruction was seen as an inevitable condition of the upcoming century.
A new Age of Light succeeded Kali Yuga. Spiritual Science had to enter at the outset. Even so, time was of the essence. The first two phases [rosicrucian theosophy, and christosophy] had to be completed by 1914 in order that when WWI began, the phase of Archai Michael could begin immediately. War meant the battle for the cosmic intelligence had begun, and it would last for the duration, and more.
We are still very much in the Michael Era of attainment.
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Thank you for all that information Steve Hale, it helps to have it in perspective.
Rereading your text I’m now wondering whether you’re misunderstanding my comment or expanding it, for it’s clear to me that Steiner’s work needs to be published.
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“It’s coherent for Steiner to ask esoteric knowledge to be hidden from the public in his times but in our times it’s coherent to understand that no book, no matter how esoteric, can be understood by the rational mind for the esoteric is not a rational experience.”
This is a topic that is a big problem in anthroposophy. If one were to say that the mind trained in the rationality of sense world events can’t understand esoteric experience it would be a correct statement, Rationality itself is not the problem. Often Steiner wrote or spoke such statements about the rational mind or intellectual activity without explicitly stating the condition that he was referring the intellect an rationality built by observation of the sense world. In lec 1 of Karmic Relationships Vol 1, Steiner very rational describes the differences in the relationship of cause and effect in the sense world, the life world, the soul world and the ego world. Intellect and rationality built on the sequential cause and effect relationships of the mineral events of the sense world can never grasp the working of life forces, consciousness forces, or the nature of the human ego, because cause and effect have different relationships in other worlds.
T|o have a cognitive understanding in these other worlds it is necessary to build up an intellect and rationality based on observations in these worlds. Below are some quotes from ‘Knowledge of Higher worlds and Its Attainment’ on this topic:
“One human quality is of very special importance at this stage of initiation, namely, an unquestionably sound judgment. Attention should be paid to the training of this faculty during all the previous stages; for it now remains to be proved whether the candidate is shaping in a way that shows him to be fit for the true path of knowledge. Further progress is now only possible if he is able to distinguish illusion, superstition, and everything fantastic, from true reality. This is, at first, more difficult to accomplish in the higher stages of existence than in the lower. Every prejudice, every cherished opinion with regard to the things in question, must vanish; truth alone must guide. There must be perfect readiness to abandon at once any idea, opinion, or inclination when logical thought demands it. Certainty in higher worlds is only likely to be attained when personal opinion is never considered.”
“The experiences through which the human soul lives on the path here described are wholly confined to the realm of psycho-spiritual experience. They are only possible if equal freedom and independence from the bodily life are attained for certain other inner experiences, as is the case during ordinary consciousness, when thoughts are made concerning things outwardly perceived or inwardly felt and willed, thoughts which do not themselves originate in what is perceived, felt, and willed. There are people who deny the existence of such thoughts. They believe that no thought is possible that is not extracted from perceptions or from the inner life dependent on the body. For them, all thoughts are to a certain extent mere reflections of perceptions and of inner experiences. This view, however, can be expressed only by those who have never raised themselves to the faculty of experiencing with their souls a self-sustaining life in pure thought. For others, who have lived through this experience, it is a matter of knowledge that wherever thought dominates the life of the soul to the degree that this thought permeates other soul functions, the human being is involved in an activity in whose origin his body has no share. In the ordinary life of the soul, thought is almost always mixed with other functions: perception, feeling, willing, and so forth. These other functions are effectuated by the body; yet thought plays into them, and to the degree that it does this a process takes place, in and through the human being, in which his body has no share. This can only be denied so long as the illusion is not discarded which arises from observing thought only when the latter is united with other functions. Yet an inner exertion is possible which will enable the thinking part of inner life to be experienced as distinct from everything else. Something consisting in pure thought alone can be detached from the encompassing soul-life, that is, thoughts that are self-sustaining and from which everything provided by perception or bodily conditioned inner life is excluded. Such thoughts reveal themselves through themselves, through what they are, as spiritual supersensible substance. Anyone uniting himself with them, while excluding all perception, all memory, and every other token of inner life, knows himself to be in a supersensible region and experiences himself outside the physical body. For anyone familiar with this whole process, the question can no longer arise: Can the soul live through experiences outside the body in a supersensible world? For it would mean denying what he knows from experience. The only question for him is: What prevents such a positive fact from being recognized? And the answer he finds to this question is that the fact does not reveal itself unless the student first cultivates a condition of soul which allows him to become the recipient of this revelation.”
My experience of The Ethereal Kiosk is that Alicia accords more real respect to Steiner than many anthroposophists do. She pays attention to what he actually said and does not behave in a sectarian manner. What she believes or makes of Steiner’s revelation is her own affair and nobody else’s.
I am not a member of the Circle.
But I want to offer the following thought. If I were somebody who was praying for you, how would you feel if I went around telling everyone that I was praying for you?
If I did pray for people I would do it in secret. They would not know I was praying for them.
It is the advice that Christ gives in Matthew 6;5.
How is it different with meditation?
If I choose, along with like-minded people, to meditate as a way of working for the well-being of the world, why should it be made public?
OK, Tom Hart Shea, your point is well taken, but may I take it another step and ask this question:
If I choose, along with like-minded people, to meditate as a way of working for the well-being of the world, then why the necessity of recruiting new members among those whom I deem worthy enough — according to certain selective moral/spiritual criteria — to join my like-minded group?
If you pray alone… you can meditate alone.
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Hello gc, I really appreciate your expression of a rare commodity seen here in discussion of the Kreis, namely simple common sense about the “all-too-human” nature of all humans, especially of those humans who call themselves Anthroposophists and who have organized themselves into this group called the Kreis.
I copy what you wrote yesterday.
“It’s a despairing read… ‘a group of friends coming together’… this kind of thing leads to favouritism and nepotism…”
“You don’t know the half if it!” I might say. In my own experience of investigating the Kreis from 1980-85 in two centers of anthroposophy in the USA, in Spring Valley on the East Coast and then Rudolf Steiner on the West Coast, I became painfully aware of the dark side of the Kreis, which is still just as dark today as it infects the institutions and structures of anthroposophical endeavors in the world today, notably within the Waldorf Education movement.
Back in 1973, John Dean said to then President Nixon: “This Watergate cover-up is a cancer on the presidency.”
Since 1980, I could say to you and to Jeremy: “This Kreis cover-up is a cancer on anthroposphy.”
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gc, some information about the Kreis meditations. They are normally done alone, though sometimes small groups will get together.
Since they are prescribed for 3 definite times of the day, they are very much like the Muslim “call to prayer” which happens 5 times a day. Of course, the individual Kreis member is his or her own “muezzin” who makes the call to meditation.
And instead of facing Mecca, each Kreis member “faces” the Archangel Michael who is the being and essence of the entire meditation.
But then consider the astral-spiritual effects of this meditation because if hundreds, even thousands of Kreis members are meditating at the same time every day (in their respective time zones), then, is there not a collective spiritual energy generated, one that will eventually create an “egregore” which then becomes the dark shadow or Doppelgaenger of a group collectively imagining the Archangel Michael, each in his or her own respective image?
Please read the opening definition of egregore in this wikipedia entry and apply it to this group called the Kreis:
Egregore (also egregor) is an occult concept representing a “thoughtform” or “collective group mind”, an autonomous psychic entity made up of, and influencing, the thoughts of a group of people. The symbiotic relationship between an egregore and its group has been compared to the more recent, non-occult concepts of the corporation (as a legal entity) and the meme.
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Hollywood Tomfortas, you say ” I became painfully aware of the dark side of the Kreis, which is still just as dark today as it infects the institutions and structures of anthroposophical endeavors in the world today, notably within the Waldorf Education movement.” Would you care to expand on this?
I happened to arrive at the Steiner community in Spring Valley, NY in Jan 1980 (to pursue the Foundation Year in Anthroposophical Studies) just as all hell was still breaking loose there after Alan Howard’s whistleblowing article on the Kreis published in the American Society Newsletter, Fall 1979.
After I got settled in there, it wasn’t long before I began to hear from many different sources in the community, all of them non-Kreis members that all the people in leadership positions within the community, including the Waldorf school (Green Meadow), the 3-fold Adult Educational Foundation, the eurythmy school, and especially the Fellowship Community — all of them were members of the Kreis.
Furthermore, much of the non-Kreis community felt that social and financial decisions affecting the whole community were made in ways that were not transparent. It was like there was a “shadow government” in charge and those who were not Kreis members felt very left out.
The point is that the situation had been going on for decades before 1979, so Alan Howard’s query suddenly brought a long festering wound to light.
A fascinating phenomenon was that when I talked to several people later identified to me as Kreis members, I felt like I was being tested or sifted, on probation, almost as if I was in a job interview. Later I found out that they indeed were testing me to see if I had the requisite soul disposition to follow the Archangel Michael and save humanity through devotion to this spiritual being. Obviously I didn’t pass muster because I was not recruited like Emanuel and Tim were.
I’ll continue with the next phase when I moved across country to attend Rudolf Steiner College in Sacramento, CA, only 4 years old when I got there and that’s where I really gained personal first hand knowledge of the Kreis and how they operate in the world. I’ll post that next.
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Tom Mellett asks the question, ‘… why the necessity of recruiting new members among those whom I deem worthy enough — according to certain selective moral/spiritual criteria — to join my like-minded group?’ And I would say, ‘why not?’ People can do what they like. As far as I know the Circle is not a formally constituted body of any kind. The people in it can do what they deem fit. (Please note, I am not expressing approval or disapproval of this situation!)
What Tom describes of his experiences in Spring Valley points to the weakness of many Steiner institutions all over the world. Which is that there is no properly accountable leadership – consequently nearly all Steiner institutions become oligarchical and develop ‘personality cult’ traits.
Consider the Vorstand – a closed group of like-minded individuals who choose their own successors. These people are not in any real way accountable to the membership for their actions. Similar to the Chinese communist party. (Again I am not expressing either approval or disapproval).
It seems to be in the nature of institutions which have a spiritual mission that they are not essentially democratic. And that seems to me to be the stumbling block for some people writing on this thread. They seem to want something open and inclusive which they can have a say in.
The statutes of the General Anthroposophical Society given in 1925 state that the Executive Council in Dornach is an initiative group representative of no one but free to do as their insight or lack of insight leads them. The 2 conditions of membership in the Society are that one finds the activity of the Executive Council justified and that one wants to support it financially. Free will is then the determining social relationship not democratic representation. Members are free to not be members if the council takes initiatives that member doesn’t support. The Council is free to withdraw membership from anyone they feel is not supportive. The one democratic provision is that members approve the nominations for successors.
However, Swiss law has decided in the court case that neither of the 1925 statutes were fully registered into the Swiss legal system and therefore ownership of the property is still vested in the Society and statutes registered in 1913. I haven’t yet studied and comtemplated these statutes.
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You are mistaken, Emanuel, The statutes of the General Anthroposophical Society of 8 Feb. 1925 were duly registered according to Swiss law and is the Society of which we are all members. The Christmas Conference Society of 1923 was never registered and ceased to exist in 1925, having been absorbed into the G.A.S. in Dec. 1925 (according to the Swiss court) unbeknownst by the great majority of its members.
Yes indeedy, gc-,
I can’t bear groups who sit and claim to be meditating together, I always wonder what the others are actually thinking about!
But as far as I know that is not what the Circle are doing.
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Thanks Hollywood Tomfortas. Will you do part 2 or did I miss it?
Rudolf Steiner issued open public letters on the Mystery of Michael from August 1924 to April 1925, ref. GA 26.
Here is a very characteristic example from early November 1924:
“Anthroposophy truly values what the natural-scientific way of thinking has learned to say about the world during the last four or five centuries. But in addition to this language it speaks another, about the nature of man, about his evolution and that of the Cosmos; for it would fain speak the language of Christ and Michael.
If both these languages are spoken it will not be possible for evolution to be broken off or to pass over to Ahriman before the original Divine-Spiritual is found. To speak only in the natural-scientific way corresponds to the separation of intellectuality from the original Divine and Spiritual. This can indeed lead over into the Ahrimanic realm if Michael’s mission remains unobserved. But it will not do so if through the power of Michael’s example the intellect which has become free finds itself again in the original cosmic intellectuality, which has separated from man and become objective to him. For that cosmic intellectuality lies in the original source of man, and it appeared in Christ in full reality of being within the sphere of humanity, after it had left man for a time so that he might unfold his freedom.”
The Activity of Michael and the Future of Mankind, GA26, 2 November 1924
Thus, it is all here; now. Michael has risen to the Archai Spirit of our very time through his exalted efforts over several millennia of selfless service to the goals of spiritual evolution. Why would anyone think that a special dispensation in the form of a specific mantra/prayer to Michael could be superior to the fact that Michael lives now within us all, and seeks to be that quiet, unobtrusive voice that finally becomes known with efforts of intensified thinking, conducted in the spirit of self-creative activity dedicated to the Science of the Spirit?
At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.
Is this a riddle?
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I am really having a great chuckle at the stupendous irony you manifest here. If ever there was a prime candidate for recruitment into the elite secret society of the Kreis, it is you!!! What with your deep and abiding devotion to the Archangel Michael, your encyclopedic knowledge of Rudolf Steiner’s works, and your own strong willingness to work to see anthroposophy manifest in Ahriman’s world — my God, man, if I were a Kreis member, I’d recruit you in a heartbeat!
But alas, Steve, your geographical destiny was such that you never lived in an anthroposophical community that was large enough to have the Kreis members around in abundance to recognize, acknowledge and then reward your Michaelic devotion with induction into the elite Circle.
May I quote Alan Howard’s lament in 1980 with emphasis on your karmic plight.
They alone would decide, by certain evidences which would become apparent to them, whom they should ask to join. This explains why some of us had never heard of it. Obviously we have never given those evidences, or have never been in the presence of those who would recognize them.
In the Leading Thoughts Steiner (1924) commented on the working and secrecy of the Rosicrucians:
“There was no question here of ‘secret societies’ in any bad sense — nothing that haunts the dark because it shuns the light of day. It was a case of people coming together, who in the actual coming together would convince themselves that every one of them had a fitting consciousness of the Michael Mission. Those who are working together in this way, do not then talk of their work before persons who from lack of understanding might only spoil the tasks on which they are engaged. These tasks, as we have seen, belonged to spiritual streams which do not run within the borders of earthly life, but in the neighbouring spirit-world — although they send their impulses across into this earthly life.
The spiritual work to which allusion is here made is that of men who stand within the physical world, but work in union with beings of the spirit-world — with beings who themselves do not enter the physical world, do not incarnate in it. We here allude to what is referred to in the world at large — in very little accordance with the facts — as the ‘Rosicrucians.’ Etc.” (GA026_c12)
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Let us extend the comment above, and especially the last paragraph, to its point of origin here:
“Christian Rosenkreutz selects those whom he wants to have as his pupils in a remarkable way. The one chosen has to pay attention to a certain kind of event, or several events in his life of the following kind: Christian Rosenkreutz chooses people so that, for instance, someone comes to a decisive turning-point, a karmic crisis in his life. Let us assume that a man is about to commit an action that would lead him to his death. These things can be very different one from the other. The man goes along a path which, without noticing it, can lead him into great danger. It leads to the edge of a precipice, perhaps. Then the man, now only a step or two from the precipice perhaps, hears a voice saying ‘Stop!’ — so that he has to stop without knowing why. There could be a thousand similar situations. I should say, of course, that this is only the external sign of being outwardly qualified for a spiritual calling. To be inwardly qualified, the chosen person has to have an interest in something spiritual, theosophy or some other Spiritual Science. The external event I have described is a fact of the physical world, though it does not come by means of a human voice. The event always occurs in such a way that the person concerned knows quite clearly that the voice comes from the spiritual world. He may at first imagine that the voice has come from a human being who is hidden somewhere, but when the pupil is mature enough he discovers that it was not a physical person intervening in his life. In short, this event convinces the pupil that there are messages from the spiritual world. Such events can occur once or many times in life. We have to understand what effect this has on the soul of the pupil. The pupil tells himself: I have received another life through grace; the first one was forfeited. This new life given him through grace sheds light on the whole of the pupil’s further life. He has this definite feeling which can be described in this way: without this rosicrucian experience of mine I should have died. My subsequent life would not have had the same value but for this event.”
GA 130, 28 September 1911
Some have had this experience in a very concrete way. Others can attest, if they are willing to admit, to being tapped on the shoulder, or otherwise marked as being selected for the so-called, “inner circle of Michael”. This is what we’re dealing with. It likely has a further depth of origin, which Steiner’s most close followers took up in the aftermath of his death.
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In the twelve outlooks the so-called esoteric lessons would be called mysticism.
Assuming that Caryn Louise is speaking about the School of Spiritual Science here, Mysticism is one of the seven moods which can imbue any of the 12 outlooks. The mantram of Class Lesson 3 would seem to reflect the mood of mysticism. Each of the first 7 lessons reflects one of the 7 moods.
Perhaps by the ‘so-called esoteric lessons’ Caryn intends those of the first esoteric school or the meditations used by the Circle members. If so my comment is irrelevant.
Hey HT I haven’t been recruited into the Circle. At this stage I don’t plan on following through due to my own disposition making it doubtful, but also because the discussion here leaves me much to think about. However
looking at the Circle from a more positive light, it is Inevitable that any human organisation/institution is at risk of rigidity unless there is commitment to constant renewal. As a model, possibly the Circle might have been able to support the institutional aspects of the AS in renewal simply because it the Circle seems to be in a constant state of salve due to its inherent nature. However how the Circle seems to actually function based on what some of you are saying curtails this. But it could still be a possibility in the future.
There are other very good models. I recognize that blogs like this also help undo the rigidity of our AS Institutions or at least provide a potent alternative means of participation. And I wonder how the opposing spirits feel about being utilized through its domain the internet to provide, discuss and apply Anthroposophy in the world in a such an enlivened manner?
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Someone, probably more than one, has told you that the internet is the domain of the opposing spirits. While this idea lives in many anthroposophists, there are some serious problems with it. I’ll ask a series of questions. The internet is a construction of human beings and not product of natural forces. It is a system of wires (or light fibers in many cases) over which electrical pulses (or in the case of fibers, light pulses) are sent from one electric box to another. Each electric box uses the coded pulses to turn on colored pixels on a screen at the receiving box, according to the pattern assigned by the human being at the sending box.
The human being lives in the sense world, the soul world and the spirit world. First question: if I want to observe the activity of the counterforces which of these 3 worlds should I look in?
Hi Manny well I am guessing you already know the answer to that question and as you know the three worlds are not separate. Thank you Ahriman for the inspirations you provide for technology.
If I take the inner path I find no end to the activity of the counter forces. I should be thankful shouldn’t I?
And with technology I ask myself – will what I am doing with it enmesh me even more with my demons or will what I am doing with it help transform them and me?
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Hi Manny I was tasking my approach from: Technology and Art: Their Bearing on Modern Culture A Lecture given by Rudolf Steiner Dornach, 28th December, 1914 GA 275
Thanks for this lecture. I hadn’t read it before. It is very helpful.
Since no is giving a direct answer to my question, I’ll build comments about the domain of Ahriman from this lecture.
‘Therefore one who has already taken the first steps on the way to initiation perceives that everything which permeates modern life in the form of machinery and the like presses into the life of the human spirit-and-soul in such a way that a great deal is killed, destroyed. And he becomes aware that this destruction makes it particularly hard for him to develop those inner forces which bring him into connection with the lawful — please do not misunderstand the word — the lawful spiritual Beings of the Hierarchies’
As a mechanical designer, I had the assignment and became the first to design, build and operate a rupture disk (to let out over pressure through a controlled path) at 4 deg kelvin on a liquid helium superconducting magnet that needed to rotated 360 deg around a patient for a cancer treatment. Without going into more detail than that about the complexities of the problem for brevity’s sake, it was about 10 years before anyone besides myself could assemble it and make it work. There was a particular moment when that person became proficient at the assembly that he got the idea of how the parts must touch to make the seal as a picture in his consciousness and then he could do it. This experience makes the point that all of our modification of nature into forms that originate in human consciousness does so because human beings have thought the thoughts and developed the feeling and will forces to make natural beings conform to our human purposes and leave behind the course of their natural evolution.
Printing books or making paper, ink and feather pens in this regard are no different than electric boxes that send pulses to the screens of other electric boxes. In all these cases, I am using my thoughts to transform natural objects to serve as a memory for myself and as a communication to others who can ‘read’ the code. With all written word I am not using my naturally given bodily organization for the memory and communication of my meaning. When I leave the ‘Abel’ life of living inside the garden of what is given and take up the ‘Cain’ life of farming and city building, providing for myself, I enter a domain as a soul and spiritual being that has the two counterforces of Ahriman and Lucifer in it. If I as spiritual being know the lawfulness of the hierarchies mentioned in the quote above, then I can also master the counterforces that arise from my activity in all my farming and city building.
Much more to say about all these aspects of course. How to know the boundaries between my spirit, soul and body, what happens as my soul and spirit activity extend beyond the boundaries of my body into nature on the one side and into truth, beauty and goodness on the other side, how to master the 5 counterforces so they serve the evolution of the cosmos and the enoblement of the human being……
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Thus far the internet is the most democratic instrument humanity has had. On the one hand all its limitations, on the other, all its achievements, accelerating human contact. Steiner, right as he is about most everything, chose to look at the dark side of technology and not its positive aspect and that says something about him. People today can come up to the affirmation of Life positively using technology instead of pretending to move back a hundred years. Real, honest, direct communication with each other is as possible on the net as in actual life.
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Or rather, was it Steiner who only looked at the dark side of technology or is it us when we take this position?
OK , Truth Seeker, here is Part 2 of my Kreis saga
I arrived at Rudolf Steiner College in Sacramento CA in the fall of 1980 quite perplexed about the murkiness of the situation concerning the Kreis that I had left behind in Spring Valley, NY, in the wake of Alan Howard’s “whistle-blowing” article in the fall 1979 issue of the ASinA Newsletter.
But the fog would lift as I became acquainted with the President of RSC, a man named René Querido (1926-2004), whose mission was to train Waldorf teachers. I had heard from several sources in Spring Valley that René and his wife Merlyn were both members of the Kreis and after we had all developed enough of a good rapport together I asked them about the Kreis. They gladly answered my questions and so I learned not only about their Kreis membership itself, but also a lot about its history, which I will go into later. René Querido was also the First Class Reader and became my sponsor into First Class in 1984.
Because of my fluency in German, René recommended me to Rev. Carl Stegmann (1897-1996) who was looking for someone to translate a followup booklet to his 2 volume edition of The Other America. Rudolf Steiner himself had given Carl Stegmann, one of the original Christian Community priests, the mission to bring anthroposophy specifically to the USA for its further development. This became known as the “America work” (Amerika-Arbeit).
This project became quite a wonderful experience for me, mainly because, after Carl and I would hash out our weekly German to English installment, Carl and I would kick back with tea and he would regale me with his memories of private conversations with Steiner as well as his assessment of the world of anthroposophy before and after Steiner’s death. (For example, what he told me about living through the Nazi time as the pastor of a CC Church in Mannheim is worth a whole other blog post.)
But this is about the Kreis and I note that Carl Stegmann was NOT a member of the Circle, nor were the vast majority of his followers who were interested in pursuing this “America work” in and around this community of Rudolf Steiner College.
Here I must explain that the original name of this anthroposophical institution was not Rudolf Steiner College, but rather: The Sacramento Center for Anthroposophical Studies, founded in 1976 for the express purpose of cultivating the “America work” of Carl Stegmann. Why the name change? To hear the embittered followers of Carl Stegmann tell it at the time, the name change occurred in 1977 after a “coup d’état” or a “hijacking” took place, engineered by Anthroposophists — all of whom were members of the Kreis — to usurp and then replace Carl’s mission with a new one — an exclusive focus on Waldorf Education and training Waldorf teachers.
The Kreis couple most responsible for this “revolution” were the late Franklin Kane and his then wife Betty Kane (now known better with her later married name of Betty Staley), who today is the leading figure of Waldorf education in the USA. When I met her at a Waldorf teacher conference at RSC in summer 2003, I asked her about this usurpation of Carl Stegmann’s Steiner directed impulse of the America work. She answered: “Well, the America work is Waldorf education.”
At this point, I would like to address Tom Hart Shea’s statement:
What Tom [Mellett] describes of his experiences in Spring Valley points to the weakness of many Steiner institutions all over the world. Which is that there is no properly accountable leadership – consequently nearly all Steiner institutions become oligarchical and develop ‘personality cult’ traits.
Now, Tom H-S, with the description of my RSC experience, might you see a connection between the Kreis membership and those oligarchical structures of leadership? Instead of a Darwinian process of Natural Selection, could we describe it more as a Steinerian process of Spiritual Selection?
Leaving aside for the moment the issue of the Kreis mandate not to do anything in the outer world based on the meditations, isn’t also true that, as cream rises to the top, the members of the Kreis who rise to the top of the various oligarchies, do so, not because they belong to the Circle, but conversely, because they had been the most committed and ablest Michaelic warriors whose dedication to Michael was then recognized by other Kreis members who then invited them into the Circle?
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It’s worth realising that such structural pattern in the anthroposophic cult is as current in most other institutions, corporations and governments of the western world where communication between the alpha minority class and the participants is nulle.
It’s basic instinctive hierarchic behaviour and it’s one of the reasons why Steiner clearly talked about the human being needing to move beyond nature to access consciousness.
Thanks. Do people think The Circle has a bigger hold in the US than Europe and UK?
Yes, Tom M, the oligarchical power structures, lacking in proper accountability made it easy for it to happen.
Again 3 spheres
Looking at religious or cultural groups, even political parties, it is helpful to distinguish 3 different aspects and my favourite example to show this is the catholic church, but you may apply it to the AS, smaller sized groups like the Waldorf School or others.
1 the organization, the leadership, the power structure in the group, policy and politics. This aspect or sphere is the most vulnerable, most easily corrupted and in fact in all (?) groups very negative.
2 the ideology, the beliefs, the teachings etc. In the beginning, the ideas were often truely living, were true mysteries, were truely fitting for their environment and time.
The more time passes by, the more the „ideas“ become petrified, become hardened. In the catholic mass and freemason rituals for example only the outside form has survived, the living knowledge of where it came from, what it really means is lost (perhaps some people in the group still know about the forces behind it). Rudolf Steiner explained how mass once grew out of the mysteries, but now the form has become a fossile.
Anthroposophy is much younger, thus the „ideas“ are still better understood, but in the Waldorf school for example you can see, that the living knowledge step by step becomes a mere outer tradition, „we do it this way“.
3 then there are the aspirations, the devotion, time spent, work, disappointments, dedication of the individuals etc. and that is to be regarded as positive. I personally am convinced that even a totally naive Jehovas witness, a worker for greenpeace, an honest and devoted soul in the catholic church, they all can aquire higher soul qualities.
In the discussion about the Circle there was mostly talk about the first aspect, rarely about the second aspect. The irony here is that Rudolf Steiner wanted to have a kind of work totally without that first aspect: absolutely no adminstration, superiors, regulations, money etc.
I m not a member of the Circle but I m very sure that it is a great tool of development (both for the individual soul and for the world) for a great number of people and so it saddens me to see the Circle and its members belittled or ridiculed or demonized.
On the path of soul development, everybody stands at a different point of development; so it is difficult to judge it. There are many ways of development, shown by Rudolf Steiner, Philosophy of Freedom, How to attain knowledge of higher worlds, the Class, the Circle, mantras, exercises, hard work and much more. Then there is the difference between initiation and evolution. A field as wide as life.
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Just a comment Ottmar about what you wrote about the Catholic mass being petrified in time…something like that. I remember a long time ago, when I was still a Catholic – the priest faced the altar with his back to the faithful. Then, however, they changed it so the priest faces the people with the altar – a table – in front of him. The Christian Community, as far as I know, still has the priest with his back to the people. Once I asked a priest why they don’t change those ridiculous flowery uniforms the geriatric altar-boys wear. He said – won’t happen Dr. Steiner made the design. So who is more petrified (ver-steinert) now?
I suppose the assertion about the CC priest taking his/her back to the assemblage can be verified, or not, but whether Steiner made “the design of ridiculous flowery uniforms”, is likely something he saw in the whole offer to help the young theologians around Friedrich Rittelmeyer realize a true Christ experience within the domain of true anthroposophy.
You see, it is all contained here, and why Steiner felt the need to explain to his own movement why he responded to this need for a kind of religious renewal that could possibly embrace the esoteric dimension of Christianity. This lecture was given one day before the last one about spiritual communion that saw the burning-down of the Goetheanum begin one hour later.
So you see, by 1922 Steiner was looking for every possible way to get some kind of interest and allegiance in what he had to offer. His three-folding initiative was gone since 1920, and after returning from England in April 1922, which he had not visited for some nine years, his head was on the block, as seen with the Munich assassination attempt in May of that year. He was looking for whatever allegiance he could corral, and these young theologians struck a chord which made him want to help them in every way to construct a liturgical program that would fit their needs.
In the long run, Steiner felt the CC would eventually accept general anthroposophy, and drop their need for a special cult and ceremony. Apparently, he was wrong, and largely owing to weakness of the human soul today.
Ottmar, I also am not a member of the Circle in any kind of formal way based on some external authority. But, I sense that if it is right and true, it can indeed be conferred by certain mysterious means for the betterment of all.
“Through the works of the rosicrucians the etheric body of Christian
Rosenkreutz became ever stronger and mightier from century to century. It worked not only through Christian Rosenkreutz but through all those who became his pupils. From the fourteenth century onwards Christian Rosenkreutz has been incarnated again and again. Everything that is made known in the name of theosophy is strengthened by the etheric body of Christian Rosenkreutz, and those who make theosophy known let themselves be overshadowed by this etheric body, that can work on them, both when Christian Rosenkreutz is incarnated, and when he is not in incarnation.”
GA130, 27 September 1911
OK, Steve, I’ll bite. Is CRC in incarnation right now? If so, who is he? If not, then please tell us his most recent incarnation.
It is even possible to take this whole developmental issue from the fourteenth century back to the 4th century, c. 333 AD, when a supersensible council took place involving the several avatars, led by Manes, as the highest. The goal was to establish a school that would diligently strive to protect and sustain the Christ Impulse through the future times. Of particular note in history are the Crusades, and the work of the Knights Templar, early in the second Christian millennium. This was the “school of the rosy cross” in its early formation. Please excuse the long address, but it is very worth it:
There is a fourth individuality named in history behind whom for those who have the proper comprehension, much lies hidden — an individuality still higher and more powerful than Skythianos, than Buddha or than Zarathustra. This individuality is Manes, and those who see more in Manichaeism than is usually the case know him to be a very high messenger of Christ. It is said that a few centuries after Christ had lived on the earth, there was held one of the greatest assemblies of the spiritual world connected with the earth that ever took place, and that there Manes gathered round him three mighty personalities of the fourth century after Christ. In this figurative description a most significant fact in connection with spiritual development is expressed. Manes called these persons together to consult with them as to the means of reintroducing the wisdom that had lived throughout the changing times of the post Atlantean age and of causing it to unfold more and more gloriously in the future. Who were the personalities brought together by Manes in that memorable assembly? (It should be remembered that such an event can only be witnessed by spiritual sight.) He called together the personality in whom Skythianos lived at that time, and also the physical reflection of the Buddha who had then appeared again, and the erstwhile Zarathustra who was wearing a physical body at that time. Around Manes was this council, himself in the centre and around him Skythianos, Buddha and Zarathustra. And in that council a plan was agreed upon for causing all the wisdom of the Bodhisattvas of the post-Atlantean time to flow more and more strongly into the future of mankind; and the plan of the future evolution of the civilisations of the earth then decided upon was adhered to and carried over into the European mysteries of the Rosy Cross. These particular mysteries have always been connected with the individualities of Skythianos, of Buddha and of Zarathustra. They were the teachers in the schools of the Rosy Cross; teachers who gave their wisdom to the earth as a gift, in order that through it the Christ Being might be understood. Hence in all spiritual Rosicrucian schools the deepest reverence is paid to these old initiates who preserved the primeval wisdom of Atlantis; to the re-incarnated Skythianos, in whom was seen the great and honoured Bodhisattva of the West; to the temporarily incarnated reflection of the Buddha, who also was honoured as one, of the Bodhisattvas; and finally to Zarathustra, the reincarnated Zarathustra. These were looked up to as the great Teachers of the European Initiates. Such presentations must not be taken in the sense of external history, although they elucidate the historical course of events better than any external description could do.”
GA113, 31 August 1909
Until this posting, I happily hadn’t thought about the circle for decades. At the time, I thought it was a bit rude to ask anyone if they were a member, and I never did. But it seemed self-evidently a bad idea to have a group of unidentified people in an institution, however well-meaning they thought they were, assessing each other and colleagues by standards that no one else was even aware of. It could be enlightening for someone who has worked in a heavily anthroposophical Waldorf school or similar institution for a long time to try to identify who were members of the circle over that period and see if this knowledge brings new clarity to episodes and/or dynamics in the school’s past.
Fortune favors the Anthropopper! Oh, Prince of Serendip, thy Cup of Destiny runneth over! Can you believe it? Not one but two fortuitous geographical and temporal happenstances in your life today to aid you in your quest for knowledge of the mysterious Kreis-hood of Michaelic Anthroposophists.
First, your geographical destiny: you just happen to live in Forest Row, which turns out to be Ground Zero for the establishment of the Kreis in the Waldorf movement in the English-speaking world. When René Querido told me of his membership in the Kreis, he also filled me in a bit on its history through his sponsors in the Kreis, namely Francis Edmunds (1902-1989), founder of Emerson College and then Cecil Harwood (1898-1975), founder of Michael Hall Waldorf School.
So, as I was planning to write this comment this morning, I wondered if you might meet someone at Forest Row who could really inform you about the history of the Kreis there and then I see your new blogpost today on the 3-fold Social Order and I read this section with eyes wide and mouth agape:
So it was serendipitous that on returning from what, from my perspective, was a disappointing meeting, I had an email from Michael Spence with the following essay attached.
Michael is a former bursar of Emerson College, who was closely involved with Francis Edmunds in developing the college, where he carried responsibilities for finances, administration and the campus.
He also ran study groups and lectured on the threefold nature of social life. He has written an excellent history of the college (The Story of Emerson College)
Now might you contact Michael Spence to ask him if he might provide you with an important addendum to his history of the college, which you might then report to us here as The History of the Kreis at Emerson College? And I do believe that even Woofles might concur that asking Mr. Spence about his own membership in the Kreis would not be rude at all, but rather, a genuine Parsifalian question fraught with destiny as only befits your present investigation of that arcane and hermetic Michaelic Circle.
Jeremy Smith, you are the Man of Destiny at Forest Row.
All this is illuminating, and since I don’t have any sense that you regard asking you questions as rude, I’d like to put some to you.
Did Querido talk with you about what he thought the importance of the kreis was? Did he give you any insight into why no one asked you?
Did Stegman ever explain why he was not a member of the kreis?
Once you throw Edmunds and Harwood in the mix where you already have Querido, it isn’t just Emerson, it’s Michael Hall, and probably Werner Glas, no? Maybe Georg Locher, another tireless guider of the Waldorf impulse in North America. The takeover of Sacramento gets more interesting. And the mantle was passed on to the Kanes . . .
That’s quite aside from the fact that we are getting awfully close to Barfield and to the great eurythmist Marguerite Lundgren.
All of these people knowing that three times a day they are all making a special meditative connection with Michael that no one outside their circle knows they are making and that no one will know unless they judge them fit to be told, with the understanding that they will then stay mum about it.
And this in a movement that can get very concerned about secret conspiracies directed against it.
I’m not being snarky with that comment, or at least trying not to be. I know or have met some of these people and have immense admiration for them and their gifts, while finding this whole business of an inner secret, self-perpetuating, and clearly well-placed group very strange.
Very well-placed questions, Wooffles. I am glad you have asked them. Whether Parsifal answers is another matter 😉
Now, here is something that might have to do with this Kreis business, on some level. It is an essay written in 2000 for the Threefold Review by Joel Kobran; an excellent article, which we hardly find anymore. Joel died in 2005, and left this extraordinary thought-piece, “The Michaelic Millions.”
Click to access Michaelic%20Millions.pdf
It even says that anthroposophists are aware of this phenomenon, and are actively seeking those who show the trends in order to draw them into the fold where they truly belong. Could this be the true Kreis Initiative?
Wooffles, you wrote in teasing out more info from TM:
“Did Querido talk with you about what he thought the importance of the kreis was? Did he give you any insight into why no one asked you? Did Stegman ever explain why he was not a member of the kreis? Once you throw Edmunds and Harwood in the mix where you already have Querido, it isn’t just Emerson, it’s Michael Hall, and probably Werner Glas, no? Maybe Georg Locher, another tireless guider of the Waldorf impulse in North America. The takeover of Sacramento gets more interesting. And the mantle was passed on to the Kanes. That’s quite aside from the fact that we are getting awfully close to Barfield and to the great eurythmist Marguerite Lundgren.”
You see, this is what I find dangerous. Outing people as members of the Kreis,who are no longer here to defend such allegations. Who has a right to do this? It only leads to hypothetical extensions, as indicated above. I find it repugnant and disreputable that you and Tom M. do this with such keen serendipity. Sounds familiar to me, as previously noted in assessing the words-worth of the author 😉
“You see, this is what I find dangerous. Outing people as members of the Kreis,who are no longer here to defend such allegations. Who has a right to do this?”
The dangerous thing about the Circle, is that people who are members will deny such membership based on the fact that no such earthly organization exists. Only those that are not members will speak about known members. Yes, along with Rene Quriedo, Werner Glas was a member, Hans Geibert, John Gardener, Lee Lecraw and by extension then a large portion of their students. There is a feel one gets if one listens closely to the ideals a person strives for. Francis Kane was here in Edmonton for a number of years and I have felt evidence of Circleness here. Everyone denies it though, doesn’t know anything about it. Conversations happen, conclusions are reached, then a public position is taken that a ‘group’ all agree with and that carries the day in outward life of a larger group. It is just friends talking with friends so what is the harm in that they say. Plenty of deniablity to go around.
The mention of the Circle in ‘Anthroposophy Worldwide’ in 2015 was about conversations in Dornach about the possibility of uniting the ‘activity’ of the Circle with the activity of the School of spiritual Science since they are both dedicated to Michael. So there is Circle ‘activity’ in Europe as well as the Western world.
I didn’t become a member because the work of Anthroposophia, Michael and Steiner says to me that human beings can and must extend their perceptive capacity beyond the edge of the sense world into the astral world of the 9 hierarchies, the etheric world of the zodiacal beings and the eternal activity of the Christ ego. But I am constantly being told by anthroposophical leadership from the Executive council in Dornach on down that I can’t do that and must be delusional to think that I can because only Steiner could be the messenger through his initiation to those stuck in the sense world.
I have yet to penetrate it, but my experience feels there is also another ‘private’ mediation in use besides the Circle. These 2 working together both block development of perception of the soul and spiritual worlds. I don’t see where that blocking serves Steiner’s initiative, Michael’s or Anthroposophia’s. There are 2 elephants that I see sitting in the ‘room’. I do see that 4×12 people who followed the instructions given, could see all that Steiner saw and with that vision solve the world war conflicts that have been going on for over 100 years now. If I see things that you can’t see does that make me delusional, an elitist, or a prophet? You can see the same things that I see if you follow the steps of logic and observation of facts that I followed.
For me, we can ask the question, “What is the purpose throughout history and in our time for something to be kept secret?” In answer to that I have seen the purpose of the Cloisters, where oppression necessitates secrecy. I have seen the purpose of esoteric secrets being held by a mystery center until mankind in general was prepared. But it is now after 1879, when the Michaelic intelligence is on the earth and expressed through the individual. This is central to the impulse of the Archai, the Spirits of Personality and Michael as the time-spirit of the age.
So what is the answer to the question, “Why is the Circle secret?” I know dozens of people in the Circle, and they are wonderful and dear friends. When I ask this question the response is always vague. It is something like, “this is just a group of people meditating,” or, “this is just something I do in my own work.” These are not answers to the question, and the only clue to the answer is contained in the statement that, “only those who are ready…” or, “those who have a burning desire to serve Michael.” For myself, I find this a curious and incomplete response.
Steiner brought the First Class so that the direct revelation of Michael would be available to Anthroposophists with an open path and open membership. He gave the way anyone can openly join the Society. He gave the statutes that state, “The Anthroposophical Society is an entirely public organisation, and in no sense a secret society. Without distinction of nationality, social standing, religion, scientific or artistic conviction, any person feeling the existence of such an institution as the School of Spiritual Science — the Goetheanum in Dornach — to be justified, can become a member of the Society. The Anthroposophical Society is averse to any kind of sectarian tendency. Politics it does not consider to be among its tasks.”
If this statement is not the antithesis to a secret, sectarian group, then I do not know the logic. If someone who is of completely different, “convictions” as my own can take part in the Michael school of the First Class, then why would there be a more important need for, “those who are ready” as part of a closed sectarian group with common convictions?
What is this like minded group “ready” for that is not contained in the First Class and why didn’t Steiner create that “ready” sect? Steiner spent his life bringing the esoteric secrets into the clear light of day. He spent his life bringing the esoteric secrets into the First Class with a public membership. Michael gave his wisdom to be brought to humanity through the First Class.
If we add to this picture the reality that the Circle is no longer secret, then what is its purpose? What is it hiding from humanity for the greater good? For myself, I cannot answer these questions in the affirmative. I cannot find a reason for the existence of the Circle’s attempt at secrecy. It is wonderful to meditate to Michael, but there is no reason for the membership to be secret and sectarian.
The essence of the work of Michael is to arm humanity with the intelligence to counter the Ahrimanic impulse. Today we need to work together to accomplish this goal.
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It is true, the secrecy of the Circle is a mystery in itself.
1 Daniel, in your comment you mixed the Anthr. Soc. which is open to everybody under the named condition „existence of such an institution as the School of Spiritual Science — the Goetheanum in Dornach — to be justified“ with the Class which is an etirely different matter. At Rudolf Steiner s time you had to be a member of the AS for a certain time to become a member of the Class and even then RS didnt admit everybody who applied for it. (Things are different today, of course, with the Class being published, groups outside the AS work with the Class lessons and there is even a line of succession, coming from Marie Steiner, that claims to have the „legitimation“ to work with it.)
2 Rudolf Steiner said, and we can all agree with it, I think, that there is a difference between inner and outer secrets. He said that our time accepts inner secrets but no outer secrets.
I understand it this way: inner secrets are spiritual experiences, clairvoyance, prayers or meditations, religious convictions. Today there is no objection to keep these things secret, to yourself or to keep it under secrecy. Outer secrets: societies, groups, texts, teachings among closed groups etc.
And mind the change from this modern attitude, feeling to the way these things were treated in the middle ages: secret groups or societies were taken as something natural, given but what we consider to be private matters, beliefs, convictions were in the middle ages under strict observation of the church and the rulers; inner secrets were not allowed.
3 This makes it difficult to have „secrets“ at all. When we see a group of friends meeting regularly we ask ourselves: Who are they? What are they doing? Can I join them?
It was said that in the Class there is no teaching, no esoteric facts (except 1 or 2) that are not in the published books. The „main content“, the crucial part of the Class are the mantrams. The same with the lectures for the priests. And I remember very well the discussions among Class members: Will the mantrams be the same when they are published, will they change their character, lose their power? There is little knowledge and experience about these things among anthroposophs, the priests of the CC have a better knowledge, consciousness, awareness of these matters.
4 Now, what about the Circle? Is there a new teaching, are new esoteric facts given? I dont think so. So it is the mantras again that is really important. No esoteric facts are hidden. Is everybody entitled to have or use all mantras, that others use? I dont think so. Will the spiritual world withhold anything which is necessary for you? I dont think so. (And today you could join the circle on your own title/right, since the texts have been published.)
(The meditations, mantras for Ita Wegman, which RS gave her as a schooling so that she could lead the First Class were published only in 2009. This is most interesting material, but it certainly is not for the use of today s anthropoppers.)
The most holy or powerful of all mantras is the Lord s Prayer, I think. It is open to the whole world.
5 As I understand it Rudolf Steiner wanted to „incorporate“ the esoteric youth circle into the Christmas Conference AS in one way or another, but there was no intention whatsoever to dissolve the circle. It was meant to persist.
So our approach to this can only be that we ask: Why is it so? And not claim: The circle should be dissolved, it is obsolete, it is an insult to my logic and feelings.
6 I must admit that I sympathize with this „anarchic“ organization of the Circle: no membership list, no membership fees, a member can introduce a new member (as much as I know), it is not a board that decides (as much as I know), they are close brothers and sisters in the spirit. Some know each other, are friends. Some dont know of each others membership.Thus the circle cannot be wiped out by a dictator. In Nazi times it survived and was (later?) also known under the name „circle of the 1000“.
7 I understand the disappointment of those who want to become a member and who dont find a sponsor and then, as a psychological consequence, be hurt, become what? an agitator?, stirrer? …?
And Daniel, I 100% agree with you, that „Today we need to work together“. Everybody at his or her place. Rudolf Steiner, when asked (in 1924) why the great anthroposophic attempt had failed, he answered, because of a lack of „Herzenskultur“, heart culture, in short, because of a lack of love.
You’ve given an eloquent description of the Kreis, with much food for thought in it.
I didn’t feel, though, that you dealt with the issues that resonated with me originally. You said earlier that the political realm is the most easily corrupted, which it true. Judging from the way that you and AnthroWiki describe the Kreis, it denies entirely that it exists in the realm of the political and denies that it has or can have any responsibility for what members do outside the specific task of the Kreis.
Tom’s description of the situation at Spring Valley and the situation in Sacramento doesn’t have anything, at least in the first instance, with people’s disappointment, as you suggest; what it has to do with, at least as I read it, is a feeling that a situation that is political, in the broadest sense, is getting very murky and that this murkiness is coming about is at least in part because Kreis members are acting like an in-group in the political sphere while not laying all their cards on the table. In other words, the Kreis is having an effect on the political sphere without taking responsibility for that effect because it claims to be above the political. Tom’s anecdotes suggest that it bears some responsibility for the tendency correctly identified above for anthroposophical organizations to lack proper accountability and to drift into oligarchy. How much responsibility it bears, if any, who knows, since it is secret. I don’t know the specifics of his anecdotes but know enough about the general situation in those places to find them plausible.
I do think that it would be fruitful to acknowledge that there is at least a genuine issue potentially there, or perhaps an resolvable conflict inherent in anthroposophy, which is actually the main thing that I take away from your reply. That conflict can’t even be perceived, however, if it is reduced to non-Kreis members feeling “hurt,” as you put it.
I appreciate your comment so much that I hereby bestow upon you now the coveted “In Collocutorio Elephantus” Award given to someone not myself who finally calls attention to the “Elephant in the Parlor,” which, in this context, is simply acknowledging the possibility that the Kreis may have a very negative, paralyzing and corrosive effect on any and all anthroposophical institutions where Kreis members are in both leadership and co-working positions with non-Kreis members.
I also appreciate the fact that you challenge Ottmar on his “straw man argument” about the animosity against the Kreis only arising from hurt feelings or envy at not being selected for membership. I suppose Ottmar did not detect the sarcasm in my comment to gc about suffering a blow to my Anthropopsohical ego-organization when I found out about the Kreis and wasn’t ever recruited. I really never wanted to be a member.
But the real issue among the many people I spoke with about being excluded from the Kreis was not because they wanted to be in the group, but rather because the Kreis members they worked with or lived with in the community pursued their own elitist and secret social and even financial agenda that always excluded the non-members from real participation in the community life.
And Ottmar, when you write
I must admit that I sympathize with this „anarchic“ organization of the Circle: no membership list, no membership fees, a member can introduce a new member (as much as I know), it is not a board that decides (as much as I know), they are close brothers and sisters in the spirit. Some know each other, are friends. Some dont know of each others membership. Thus the circle cannot be wiped out by a dictator.
I respond by saying that it is precisely this “anarchic” lack of an extrenal structure, — what we might call a “paper trail” — allows the members the perfect cover to hide any accountability to non-members involved in their day to day working together (such as Waldorf teachers). You say the circle cannot be wiped out by a dictator. I say that precisely because of their “anarchic” lack of accountability, the Circle becomes a dictatorial group, or to use the term that Tom Hart Shea’s used: dictatorship by oligarchy.
I keep thinking that anthroposophy can’t surprise me anymore, and now I get reminded about the Kreis. I feel like Hawthorne’s Young Goodman Brown just back from the forest.
I suspect that it would only be inside anthroposophy that there would even be room for argument whether or not it was a healthy thing that a self-selected entirely secret group had taken it upon itself to evaluate whether or not other anthroposophists were, to use Daniel’s words, “ready” or had a sufficiently “burning desire to serve Michael” and then recruited them into the group.
I don’t want to make this into a bigger deal than it is (but of course, I don’t know how big a deal it is because the group is secret) and again don’t impute sinister motives to anyone. But there is, at a minimum, an incredible naiveté about human nature at work here—we’re all servants of Michael; what could go wrong—as exemplified in that AnthroWiki article.
On the positive side, it is refreshing to know that it’s possible for you, me, Daniel, and Steve to all line up on the same side of an issue.
You really should at some point put your anthroposophical memoirs into some coherent form. You’ve done a real service by raising the issue of the Kreis again, and it came about almost randomly.
Whoops, in the last paragraph, “irresolvable conflict,” not “resolvable conflict”
Discrepancy noted. Now, with regard to the Kreis, there are two points of view. The nominal viewpoint is that they are all good people, working for the betterment of anthroposophy, with an extra incentive. The exceptional viewpoint is that they are working for a certain agenda, which seems against a worldwide anthroposophical vision, and attempting to confine it within the parameters of the Waldorf education modality. This would seem to be a restriction from what the overall incentive of a Center for Antthroposophical Studies intended, and why Carl Stegmann lived outside the parameters of the Kreis. Yet, as explained with Rene Querido’s appearance at Fair Oaks, California, it was about transforming the Stegmann initiative into a college for teacher training.
Then, there is the issue of Stegmann’s own work, and this third installment of his book, “The Other America”, which was taken down and then handed over to the Kreis, and disappeared. It only proves that with the best of intentions to meet the needs and requirements involved, that certain people get rooked, and they remain outside of the system they were looking to enter. They live now to confess their discrepancy in the parlor with the “confessio pink elephanto”.
Hi Ho, Steverino!
Thank you for noting the irresolvable conflict between the Kreis “stream” and the non-Kreis “stream.” And I use the word “stream” here because I am in the midst of composing detailed answers to Wooffles questions of me from a few days back and will only preview one answer here, which is that, according to René Querido, the people drawn to join the Kreis are largely those of the Platonic stream, while the outsiders tend to be the Aristotelians.
And do note the karmi-cosmic irony in that the two streams are also designated as “old souls” and “young souls,” and at issue here we have a movement called the Jugendkreis or Youth Circle that attracts the Old Souls. And do note René’s veneration of the School of Chartres and his parting gift to me when I left the RSC community for good in 1985 — a small book devoted to explicating the 10 Categories of Aristotle.
Thus I would like to augment your own polar distinction between “nominal” and “exceptional” viewpoints of the Kreis. I would classify them at first as more “nominalistic vs. realistic”, but then more accurately in the light of the 12 worldviews, as “Idealistic vs. Realistic.” We may see Ottmar, for example, as being over-Idealistic about the Kreis, requiring counter-balancing from my Realistic side.
But I also must expand your own narrowed vista of the Kreis and its present-day “machinations” as being exclusively limited to the Waldorf Movement. These “Kreisers” are everywhere!
Yes, the Waldorf movement is the most visible of the outer manifestations of this invisible group, but there is a far less visible movement that actually manifests the Kreis in its more pristine, even more concentrated form and that is the Camphill Movement.
Consider that Ernst Lehrs, who was all German and half Jewish, fled the Nazis in the late 1930’s and relocated to England. However, when war broke out, Ernst, along with many other German and Italian thus “Axis aliens” living in Britain, were ordered by Churchill’s decree, to one of the 10 internment camps located on the Isle of Man in 1940.
I’m not sure if Ernst was interned in the Hutchinson camp, which was famous for its thriving population of many gifted and accomplished German artists, writers, painters, sculptors, musicians, etc., but wherever he was, Ernst met there a fellow German Jewish internée, a young medical doctor by the name of Karl König. I believe they spent at least a year together in that camp where they became life-long friends and of course Ernst inducted Karl into the Kreis.
But wait there’s more! A third fellow internée and close friend of Ernst and Karl was another German by the name of Willi Sucher, who actually had met Rudolf Steiner in 1922. And I myself had my own astrosophy chart done by Willi Sucher in 1983 because he lived in his retirement in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, near the Rudolf Steiner College community.
Let me give this excerpt from Willi Sucher’s biography which shows his connection with the early Camphill movement:
The group was later transferred to a camp on the Isle of Man, in the Irish Sea. Here several anthroposophists found themselves interned together: Dr. Ernst Lehrs and Dr. Karl Konig, the founder of Camphill, among others.
Willi would later describe this time as a most fruitful period of research. For 18 months, these individuals were given time to hold a kind of “super college”, as Willi called it. They had long conversations about their studies and research, and practiced giving talks to each other.
Since he was a medical doctor, Dr. Konig was released first, in January 1942, and he secured Willi’s release by inviting him to come to work at his home for children in Aberdeen, Scotland. Willi was joined by [his wife] Helen, who had remained at Sunfield, and he carried on his researches while helping to care for the children.
„Tom’s description of the situation at Spring Valley and the situation in Sacramento“
The fact that the Cirle exists, although in a weak formal manner, means undesireable effects will inevitably also appear, no doubt about it. It is understandable that you prefer personal friends, fellow students, those who played in the same orchestra or baseball team, someone you know well from your hometown to someone you dont know, that is understandable not desirable. I cannot judge the situation in Sacramento or Spring Valley. I ve heard Tom s perception but I d like to hear the other side as well, audiatur et altera pars (for those who love Latin, it s an old Roman principle and even endorsed in Actes 25,16) and even after hearing the other side I wouldnt judge. Was it unjustice done in Unpleasant Valley and Sacramento? Good or bad karma? Old karma or karma for the future? Did higher wisdom act through something bad? And how can you be sure that it was exactly the fact, that the adversaries belonged to the Circle, which was the cause for their action?
Given it was unjustice done: It will of course bear personal karma/reponsability; the small group of people directly involved will share responsability; being in one esoteric group the whole Circle will share the karma or responsability; and you can widen the circles of responsability as far as to the Karma of total mankind. (Or didnt you mean karma but accountability in a US court with a judge who has never heard of anthroposophy and who cant pronounce it either? Or did you want to write in the local newspaper and smear people/names? Or….?)
You may have a special situation in the USA (decades ago or even today?) but here in Germany there are a lot of problems in anthro institutions, but none (?) of the problems has to do with the Circle. What do you make of an anthro clinic where the doctor tells the patient: I can give you this „normal“ medicine or anthro medicine, but the anthro medicine wont help you? In another anthro clinic here in the state of Baden-Wurttemberg there are only 2 doctors left who are anthroposophists. Or Waldorf Schools where 1/3 of the teachers are anti-anthroposophy, 1/3 doesnt care or doesnt know anything about anthroposophy and only 1/3 tries to uphold the ideas of Rudolf Steiner? I d wish more circle members were in these institutions if there are any at all!
Did anyone on the blog write about access to money for Circle members? The Goetheanum is bankrupt, the archive needs 5 million to complete the collected writings, all Waldorf Schools are short of money and and and. I dont know about the finances in the Alanus University but there the head certainly is not a Circle member.
„I do think that it would be fruitful to acknowledge that there is at least a genuine issue potentially there“. I do acknowledge.
In a way I regret having entered in this discussion. Sure there are dark sides to the Circle, but that is all too natural. You wont find a flawless person or group. For me not the sediments are the interesting part, but other questions. What is the purpose of a group? What can be done/achieved in a group that cant be done/achieved as an individual? Can I join the Circle by using the texts that are published now or do I have to be in contact with other members? How can I fully describe the difference between such a „grassroots group“ without leadership and another concept like the Class, which has or had a defined leadership? What does group forming imply esoterically? The Circle has more an emphasis on personal friendship, the Class is in comparison more impersonal; both intended by RS. Why is this so?
@Tom „I say that precisely because of their “anarchic” lack of accountability, the Circle becomes a dictatorial group, or to use the term that Tom Hart Shea’s used: dictatorship by oligarchy. and The Opus Dei in the anthro institutions“ . Sorry Tom, to me that sounds like a verbal running amok, that tells more about you than about the Circle. That is factual nonsense and I can explain your words only as a psychological phenomenon due to traumata suffered in anthro institutions. (Writing this I think: Even before having finished reading Tom will think how to react, which strong, sarcastic or defeating words to use. But sorry, Tom, I feel too old for this and for me it is a waste of time and force. Sure you ll find others to quarrel with and who take up your sediment talks.)
To be positive: here is something for you English-German dictionary: post-truth in German postfaktisch. Will the new US administration, after having completed regime change, replace post-truth with „alternative facts“?
“The fact that the Cirle exists, although in a weak formal manner, means undesireable effects will inevitably also appear, no doubt about it.”
I appreciate that.
“It is understandable that you prefer personal friends, fellow students, those who played in the same orchestra or baseball team, someone you know well from your hometown to someone you dont know, that is understandable not desirable.”
I don’t think this analogy works that well. The chances are pretty good that you will discover the connections you mention among your colleagues after you have been at an institute for a while, since no one is trying to keep them secret. If it turns out that they are trying to keep them secret, that would be rather odd.
The AnthroWiki page says:
Keiner im Jugendkreis ist dazu verpflichtet, den Kreis geheim zu halten, aber auch nicht über ihn zu sprechen. Nur über die Mitgliedschaft anderer wird aus Rücksichtnahme auf deren Privatsphäre nicht gesprochen, ohne vorher die Erlaubnis der betreffenden Person zu erhalten.
It sounds like there isn’t any intrinsic reason why Kreis members can’t let their colleagues know that they are members.
“For me not the sediments are the interesting part, but other questions.”
That comes across clearly in the way you write, and I appreciate that you took the time to share your thoughts for just that reason. It was really helpful for me to get some idea of what the Kreis means to a member.
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I’m baffled by your last sentence.
It was really helpful for me to get some idea of what the Kreis means to a member.
Do you believe that Ottmar is a member? A week ago, he stated:
(I’m not a member of the Kreis. The „Kreis“ even hasnt got a name; it is only as a matter of earthly convenience to give it a name.)
Or is Ottmar exercising “tactful discretion” by following the example of Ernst Lehrs, who wrote at the end of his article in 1979:
I hope that through my description it has become clear that this community is in no way an institution on earth and that there is no secrecy about its work. It is much rather a question of tactful discretion steering a middle course between secrecy and indiscriminate broadcasting.
Let us put Ernst Lehrs’ comment into perspective as it relates to Rudolf Steiner.
“I hope that through my description it has become clear that this community is in no way an institution on earth and that there is no secrecy about its work. It is much rather a question of tactful discretion steering a middle course between secrecy and indiscriminate broadcasting.”
Now, here is what RS had to say in order to clarify what it means to steer the ship:
The region of Scylla is that of the spirits who serve Ahriman. We come into their sphere if we cultivate, not egotism but the will for destruction. If we cultivate the subjective mysticism connected with the Luciferic spirits of will into whose sphere we enter, then Charybdis approaches us from the other side; for these spirits do everything to foster egotism, so that our own inner nature forms the world for us. This is the duality in the material world: objective occultism — subjective mysticism. In both realms there may be aberrations.
Fundamentally speaking, in what has been developing for centuries there is present, on the one side, objective occultism, guarded in the Secret Societies and Orders but no longer effectively protected owing to the insistent trend towards publicity. We have heard of the efforts that were made to find a way out of the dilemma. And on the other side there is subjective mysticism.
It follows from this that when we wanted to lay the foundations of Spiritual Science, it behoved us not to allow ourselves to be enticed either by Scylla or Charybdis, but to steer between them; it behoved us neither to cultivate the old, traditional occultism, nor the old, traditional mysticism. And now you have a deeper conception of what gives our Movement its direction. Both objective occultism and subjective mysticism in the old sense had to be avoided. Our Spiritual Science had to be of a character ensuring that Scylla as well as Charybdis are avoided.
Spiritual Science avoids false occultism in that it applies the ever-increasing intellectual capacity now developing in humanity to the establishment of a science for which more intellect is required than hitherto. The nature of Spiritual Science inevitably demands greater intellectual effort than people have been accustomed to apply. Men like to delude themselves in this respect. Were they really to apply the intellectual capacity at their command today, they would understand Spiritual Science. Through the strong intellectual efforts that are necessary in Spiritual Science, Scylla is avoided and mastered on the one side. The spiritual scientist is well aware why people are disinclined to embark on the study of Spiritual Science. It is because they are too lazy to apply enough intellectual effort. That is why I spoke just now of laziness.
On the other side, the pitfall of false mysticism must be avoided [Charybdis] by ceasing to grovel within the purely inner life. This tendency to live and brood continually within one’s own soul must be eliminated. The soul must come out of itself and look with eyes of love at the deeper connections manifesting in life outside.”
GA 254, 24 & 25 October 1915
Tom, no mystery here—I didn’t read this long, rich, variegated thread until the day I commented and was paying only erratic attention to who had been saying what when I did. In my reply to Ottmar, I was making inferences based strictly on what was before my nose.
On the other hand, I see that Emanuel has just posted a reply to Steve above in which he says that members have worked out a way to deny that they are members while keeping their consciences soothed, so who knows. Fascinating that Emanuel throws Garden City into the mix.
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Hi, I like the conversation. I have talked with Tom Mellett and I am a member of the Jungenkreis, Youth Circle, for over 35 years. I can explain it and answer your questions anonymously, or through Tom if you prefer. I am even willing to share the meditations at some point. I am also a long time member of the First Class. If you want me to participate in this conversation just let me. Thank you very much.
Tell him no, Jeremy; anonymity has its reasons, which usually aren’t good.
I know who it is, Frank, and I’m content for Anonymous to be just that, if he so wishes.
Yeah, well I know too, that’s why I advised against.
I don’t know who it is, but I’m with you. Why would I answer an anonymous invitation to a large inheritance from a relative I’ve never heard of? Or why would I ask The Donald about the effects of the temperature of the Artic Ocean?
Manny writes, in defense of keeping ‘Anonymous’ out of the discussion:
“why would I ask ‘The Donald’ about the effects of the temperature of the Arctic Ocean?”
Well, you wouldn’t. His present task is to see what the economy means for the world’s interests in their various domains. As such, the Arctic region is rather clean.
So, what did you mean by making this analogy?
What I mean by this analogy is that we live in the ‘post-truth age.’ Shortly we will be hearing US government agencies reporting alternate facts about the environment. The analogy is that as the Circle has become more ‘known’ it has developed a public persona of alternative facts. As the story was told to me there is one verse in the circle and the last 3 words of it are never written down. I didn’t hear anything about the 1922 Esoteric Lessons. So which is the mis-information? The trouble with secrecy and revealing secrets is knowing whether the secret has been revealed or not. Johnny Depp starred in a movie, ‘The Ninth Gate’, about secret knowledge of Lucifer and who has the real secret of where the ninth gate is. 3 murderous factions in the movie were competing to find the real secret. I found this DVD in the $4 box at Walmart which means it wasn’t in theatres long. The philosophical point though is big and important now. In the ‘post-truth’ (Oxford dictionary’s 2016 word of the year) age how can an individual find and verify what is true and what is not? Testimony from other individuals, news paper, scientific or government agency or otherwise is no longer trust worthy. ‘Revealed secrets’ have to be examined. What reference are you going to use to decide for yourself the validity of a statement? Circle members have and do lie about knowledge of and membership in the Circle because it is a secret. To do so they have constructed a web of mis-information to refer to so that it’s not a ‘real’ lie. I’m not going to ask any questions of someone who says they are going to tell me the truth about the Circle anymore than I am going to ask The D to tell me facts about global warming.
In the first lesson of the First Class Michael makes the point that with all of its glory, beauty and wisdom nothing in the sense world reveals its true being, because I can’t find anything in the sense world that tells me the answer to the question who I am and was and will become. Therefore if I want to know what the Circle is and was and will become I also have to look somewhere else besides the sense world. Same for the Society or the School of Spiritual Science.
There are 2 astral beings, the lesser and the greater guardians of the Threshold, who determine truth in the present moment and decide the judgement of what has been and what will be. Steiner, Anthroposophia, and Michael in the School of Spiritual Science offer that there is only one gate through these 2 beings for an individual to find who they are and were and will become and so enter the field of knowledge where the truth of everything else can be seen.
Anyone interested in learning more about such facts?
Please do share all that you have. But, first, let me tell you where this all started, and what it became. On January 9th, the discourse on this thread began with the consideration of the First Class lessons being made public, and then on January 14th, Tom Mellett interjected his thoughts concerning the Kreis. So, this particular thread has two parts.
Relevant to the transition [in consideration of the Kreis] are these two blog references coming immediately on the heels of TM’s transfer of attention:
Jeremy cites a fairly good English translation of the Anthrowiki article on the so-called “Esoteric Youth Circle”, and I follow with my own recent memory of having read the lectures in question last year, referenced below.
So, by all means, please inform as much as possible. In October of 1922, much was on the brink. These lectures, GA217, demonstrate a call for the future cause of the anthroposophical movement. In just two months, the Goetheanum would be burned down.
Thank you Steve for the perspective and the references.
I am glad to answer any questions that arise.
I would add to the remarks that I made before that the Youth Circle meditations can be found in the book: From the Esoteric School Esoteric Lessons 1913 – 1923, Volume 3, Steiner Books CW 266/3. The full Youth Circle meditation is found on page 429. There is a complete history on the Circle and the two Steiner lectures I referred to that were given to the Youth Circle before he gave the meditation. There are also numerous personal notes and correspondences from Circle members. These texts shows the incredible care Steiner took to create this Independent School for the youth. He loved these young people and saw them as the hope of Anthroposophy.
As far as the First Class goes, I know that T. H. Meyers tries to justify his printing of all 19 lessons of the First Class in his book, The First Class Lessons and Mantras The Michael School Meditative Path in Nineteen Steps, Steiner Books, 2017 – by quoting Marie Steiner who supposedly said, “Doctor Steiner told me that, when the class lessons lead to sectarian behavior and pretensions of power, they will have to be published like all of my other lectures.”
Personally, I don’t believe this quote at all. These words attributed to Steiner do not agree with many other remarks he made about his “other lectures” and stand in contradistinction to the vows and oaths a First Class member makes. This is not true for Circle meditations which had no prohibition on the print of the meditations.
In T. H. Meyers book, we get much of the content of the lessons but none of the atmosphere, reverence, or respect that is due these special, and yes secret, meditations.
I don’t believe any of the material should have been put in print or circulated widely, which has happened — evidenced by the books I reference above.
A vow is a vow and should not be broken. Shame on those who break their vows — no matter what the rest of the world has done.
And, I believe that print and words typed into the Internet certainly do feed Ahriman’s mission in our times. Revealing the sacred as profane “words on a page” works in the opposite direction of Steiner intended. These First Class Lessons, the Youth Circle meditation, and the Tableau (used by the First Class, the Youth Circle and the Camphill reverse cultus) have been used by the enemies of Anthroposophy to divide and conquer — a simple trick of Ahriman’s to devalue spiritual experience. Much like talking too much about one’s own spiritual experience and development — which tends to work against having any more spiritual experiences.
The question I have is, does anyone know about the first meditation in the Second Class of the High School of Spiritual Science? It also is in print and is most interesting in the fact that it seems quite opposite the content of the First Class. Ita Wegman lead the First Class, Marie Steiner was to lead the Second Class and Steiner (with some help from spiritual beings) was to lead the Third Class. The first 19 lessons were “unfinished” and Steiner began doing recapitulation lessons because he believed the First Class members were not ready for more. As an interesting coincidence, H. P. Blavatsky gave 19 lessons in her Esoteric Section (which I am a member of also) before they were abruptly ended and remained “unfinished.” Most of the content of Blavatsky’s Esoteric School can be found in Steiner’s lectures entitled: Foundations of Occultism and the 1904 lectures: The Evolution of Mankind.
As I said, I am happy to answer any questions that I can about what I have said in these posts, or basically any other question at all.
Thanks for joining. I have lots of questions, but here is the one that is of most immediate concern, and that’s the institutional danger of what Tom said happened at Spring Valley. The Kreis forms an institutional clique and everyone else feels that something weird is going on in the way that things are being run, that power in the institution isn’t transparent. And they are right, and there is nothing that they can do about it, because everything is secret. In other words, this isn’t about what the Kreis is for; it’s about the effect that the Kreis can potentially have on an institution, and about what Tom said did happen at Spring Valley.
Ottmar acknowledged that the issue is certainly possible and said that karma sorts it all out eventually, which is a not unheard of invocation in anthroposophical institutions to avoid grappling with hard problems.
I think this is a genuinely hard problem. On the one hand, there is the felt need of the Kreis for secrecy (which I hope is discussed later) and the right of people working in institutions, at least where they aren’t doing it in pursuit of a posh life style, to have transparency in how the place is run, or at least transparency about why it isn’t transparent. Institutions aside, I think this problem of a clique that no one else knows about could potentially emerge in any situation that involves group work.
Thank you Jeremy for letting me join the group.
A little background on me so you can frame what I have to say about the topic of this thread. I have been a member of the First Class of the High School of Spiritual Science for four decades, a member of the Youth Circle (Kreis) for 35 years, a Waldorf teacher for 35 years, and have been a co-worker in Camphill Communities and worked in numerous Anthroposophical endeavors. I have belonged to various Sections over the decades and have been close friends with numerous members of the Vorstand in Dornach. I have taught Waldorf education in Spring Valley, Detroit and Fair Oaks. I was a Christian Community server for decades.
Concerning the topic of Frank Thomas Smith printing the First Class meterials in his newsletter, Southern Cross Review, I must first say that when Frank first published it I was shocked that any First Class member would break their vow and put the meditations in print. I made my displeasure known to Frank in the comments section of the Review. Frank informed me that it was OK because he was not a First Class member and therefore was not breaking the vow. I begged to differ with him and he has been quite rude to me online ever since.
But in all fairness to Frank, Dornach had already put the entire First Class Lessons and meditations into a book in German — then later into English. We had to be “approved” to buy copies of the books. I bought the books. I knew then that the “elemental beings” involved in the vows and the secrecy had “flown the coop” at that time and it was widely discussed by Class members that the true nature of the First Class ended when the meditations were put into print – against the strict instructions of Rudolf Steiner. Each Class member had to take an oath, a vow, that the meditations only be written down by hand and that the book that they were written into must be returned to Dornach upon the death of the Class members so that NO ONE ever see the meditations. When Dornach released the books, the vow was no longer valid and did not bind the Class member any longer. The Class lessons came into the hands of enemies of Anthroposophy and were used for all kinds of mischief and nonsense.
With that in mind, I still believe that Frank, and now T. H. Meyers, has abnegated the vows whether they took those vows themselves or not, in full consciousness and then subsequently fell under the karmic consequences involved in making the Class materials public – for whatever reason. I have told Frank these ideas before and he simply cusses at me and refuses to discuss the topic. That is why I am so happy to respond now in an open and honest environment where these ideas can be discussed in all fairness without anger and threats.
As with the First Class, the Youth Circle meditation is held as sacred by those who practice it three times a day, Morning-Noon-Night. It too has a set of oaths and vows that you must take to be a member. The Circle is much more guarded and protected than the Class. There are strange rules of secrecy and stranger rules concerning what one must do to “get into” the Circle. Every Circle member vows never to speak of the Circle and never admit that it exists. Only if someone comes up to a Circle member and says, “I believe that you are a member of the Circle and I would like to apply.” Then, the Circle member cannot yet admit that the Circle exists or that they are members. The Circle member takes the request back to the Circle and tells them and they discuss whether they will “take” the person in. It must be unanimous to vote a member in. Therefore, some members take those rules to mean that “no one gets in” and “no one finds out” about the Circle. And that is what keeps it small, elite, exclusive. It and can be a meditation for a person who is not in the Anthroposophical Society or the First Class. The Circle was designed during the The Younger Generation lectures and was given to young people who might not have been members of the Anthropsophical Society.
Tom and Emmanuel are right about the Circle – it creates a secret in-group that some people suspect exists but they cannot penetrate it because one or another member of the Circle do not approve of the person – even if they asked. And yes, Waldorf schools, as the main Anthroposophical cultural islands tended to have the old members connected to the community and thus the Circle follows Waldorf schools and can be at the heart of secret politics. The in-crowd feeling that Circle members give off is tangible and certainly does add an aire of distrust and misgiving. Therefore, it is true that Circle members – especially if initiated by Ernst Lehrs himself (which I was fortunate enough to be) had a part of Anthroposophy that other members of the Society did not have. This was also true with the rituals with the Christian Community prayers and meditations and for a while the lectures to priests, as well as the reverse cultus exercises found in the Sunday service in Camphill communities. Both the First Class and the Camphill community share part of a meditation which is often called “The Tableau” – a wonderful verse of Steiner’s that begins the First Class lessons. The reverse cultus ritual Steiner gave to the Camphill community originated with the religion lessons in the First Waldorf School in Stuttgart and evolved into a beautiful service that is the “opposite” of the Christian Community – per se. The Youth Circle meditation is not found in the same mantric form anywhere else but is quite similar to the Esoteric Lessons Steiner gave while still in the Theosophic Society and are partially found in print in English. The “content” of the First Class, Rudolf Steiner said, could be found in Anthroposophy but not the mantric words. These mantric words, like the Foundation Stone Meditation, mix with special daily and weekly rhythms could effect accelerated spiritual development. Of course, the “content” of the First Class is found the the Guardian of the Threshold lectures.
The vow to protect the mantric content of a secret spiritual group should be considered seriously. Steiner called on the “elementals” of North, South, East and West again and again in the Foundation Stone. These are serious beings who become a “group soul” of those secret participants and do not dissolve until the elementals are consciously disenchanted – disincarnated. The vows of the First Class and the Circle are quite serious. There are other vows in the complete inductions and secret lectures of Steiner’s on the meditations – just as in the First Class. The Camphill reverse cultus is open and for everyone but it is “shocking” in a way. Black candles and the mighty incantation of the Guardian. Very powerful. The Christian Community is a continuation of a “cultus” that Steiner redid – rewrote – and re-enlivened.
The element of rhythm is even more profound with the Circle meditation. Each member must, at NOON sharp, find a place and do the meditation. This alerts attentive people to the secret practice off the elite. I assure you that Steiner did not want that at all. Steiner clearly said in the lectures on the Circle that the rhythm of practice of the collective Youth Circle would some day “encircle” the earth like a “wave.” This etheric connection would unite the group in a higher group soul to advance Steiner’s work even if the Youth Circle member did not agree with the “old” Anthropsophists.
Teachers have secret meditations that are profound. The Doctors too. Every Section has secret meditations. I could go into why I know this – but that is another evening.
I hope some of this dribble is helpful. I am glad to address any questions.
Again, Jeremy, nice group and thank you for letting me join. I am at your service.
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I didnt want to continue on the issue of the Circle since 2 writers on this thread insinuated that I am a liar, when I said that I m not a member of the circle. Telling someone you are a liar of course means to end the common basis to talk to each other.
You, anonymous, give proof of the fact that I m not a member because I was wrong on the procedure to become a member of the circle.
„Every Circle member vows never to speak of the Circle and never admit that it exists.“
Well here I have to contradict you. -It was in the 80s that I had a long talk with a prominent person in the anthro world and when I mentioned the youth circle he put on a large smile and said something like: Oh, are you a member, too? When I denied and told him that I had all/most of the material of the Circle he got very angry indeed. However he had the greatness not to ask where I had got that material from.
-A few years ago, I mentioned the Circle again in the presence of 2 well known persons, one of them from the Vorstand, and the same happened again. Ah, you are a member, too? Thus admitting that they are members.
In CW 266.3 which is translated into English and available at your local bookshop (support it and not Amazon) all (?) the material has been published and I see no need to present it here.
However I think it would be a good idea to present a translation of the parts concerning the Circle in Ernst Lehrs book Gelebte Erwartung. I m sure a translation exists because it is of interest for the circle members.
I was happy to read anonymous` explanation on the mantrams, the aspect of keeping mantrams secret or publish them, the elementals which are being formed etc. I hinted at these things in the form of questions before. For me these are the interesting questions and not those of the sediment stirrers. Dear anonymous, there is more to be said about this esoteric side of the mantrams and daily meditations, efforts etc. but you know that some of your words are controversial.
I d like to ask you some questions: In your meetings do you talk about the difference of the meditations at the 3 times of the day? What about the difference in the meditations in the course of the year? Do you collect the results of the observations which you make/have during the meditations? Is there a change in the meditations (or the astral/soul environment) say in the 70s or 80s and today? And if so what are the differences? I know that the meditations are not a research tool in the first place, but perhaps some of you members ask themselves these kind of questions, too.
There was talk about the use of electronic media, printed books, hand written words and the spoken words. Beside theoretical dealing with it you can try yourself to experience the difference between electronic means, printed means and so on.
Is it a good idea to have a kalashnikov on your lap when you are meditating? Why not? What elementals are connected to technical devices, to a smartphone? What s the difference between a smartphone that is switched on or off? When the smartphone is switched off, are there still elementals connected with it? There are studies made on these questions, among others by Frank Burdich, who also works in the English speaking world. So the time for theory and opinion is over, now there is first hand knowledge about it. The best is you try yourself: I m sure that after a few years of regular meditation you are aware, awake enough to sense the difference between having a smartphone in your pocket, 1 meter in front of you, or in another room. Try it! You dont have to be a Rudolf Steiner to sense the differences, perhaps you cant describe it in great detail but in a more general way anyway!
Anon: “Concerning the topic of Frank Thomas Smith printing the First Class meterials in his newsletter, Southern Cross Review, I must first say that when Frank first published it I was shocked that any First Class member would break their vow and put the meditations in print. I made my displeasure known to Frank in the comments section of the Review. Frank informed me that it was OK because he was not a First Class member and therefore was not breaking the vow. I begged to differ with him and he has been quite rude to me online ever since.”
Frank: He may have sent me a comment about the publishing of the First Class, I don’t remember because I have received many comments, most of them positive however. I would certainly not have answered that I am not a First Class member, because I have been a member of the Free School for Spiritual Science (correct denomination) since 1972. I never took a vow about not revealing or publishing the content of the lessons because no such vow exists. (Rudolf Steiner, in his day, that is, when the Esoteric School still existed, considered it understood that the Class Lessons would remain in the province of the School and even expelled several members for violating this rule. No “vow” ever existed, however…unless, perhaps, invented locally.)
Anon: But in all fairness to Frank, Dornach had already put the entire First Class Lessons and meditations into a book in German — then later into English. We had to be “approved” to buy copies of the books. I bought the books. I knew then that the “elemental beings” involved in the vows and the …
Frank: What does he mean by “Dornach”? One must think of the General Anthroposophical Society. But it was the Rudolf Steiner estate (Nachlass) that owned the rights to the Lessons and all of Steiner’s literary property. The G.A.S. had nothing to say. The 4 volumes of Lessons were published by the Nachlass (in German) in 1977. (I have copy number 128). The Nachlass decided to whom to sell them and to whom not to sell them. The Society was not consulted, was in fact opposed to them being sold at all. Then, when Steiner’s literary estate entered the public domain in 2000 the Nachlass sold the books to the general public (in German). There was an English translation owned by the A.S. of the Great Britain – not in the public domain because the translation is copyrighted. I’m told – but do not know if it’s true – that it was or is only available to members of the Free School. My translation is different and has never been copyrighted. It is free of charge in pdf.
You can see, Jeremy, why I recommended not admitting our dear Anonymous, aka Douglas. It’s merely a part of Tom Mellett’s anti-anthropop disinformation campaign and obliges me to waste time in refutation.
Thank you so much for your detailed insider information about the Kreis, First Class and even the enigmatic offshoot of Camphill with its arcane occult rituals. To honor your courage in coming forward with these revelations, and to refer to you as something better than “Mr. Anonymous,” I hereby christen you, in tribute to the anonymous source of Woodward and Bernstein that blew open the Watergate scandal in 1973, with the sobriquet of: “Deep Larynx.” (DL for short)
And to remind Emmanuel that he actually knows DL’s identity, I would like give Manny this syllogism as a hint:
Tom Mellett :IS TO: Rene Querido ::AS:: Deep Larynx :IS TO: Werner Glas
Now to address Jeremy:
When I first broached the subject of the Kreis here, I was worried that you might consider it off-topic. What does the Kreis have to do with First Class? But by now, I think you are beginning to see just how intimately connected they are, at least in their respective origins. Furthermore, there is yet a third intimate connection and that is with the 3-fold Social Order, the subject of your most recent blogposts.
Please consider your new awareness of the Kreis to be a kind of “missing link” between your previous knowledge of the First Class and why Michael Spence worries about the 3-fold Social Order being “forgotten.”
I’d like to explain that by quoting from Ernst Lehr’s article about the Kreis in the 1980 issue of the American Society Newsletter:
 Connection of Kreis to First Class:
Subsequently Rudolf Steiner met twice with the members of this community, endowing them with two esoteric lessons, the second of which was held on December 30, 1923, that is, during the Weihnachtstagung (the Christmas Foundation Meeting). It took place in a room of the Glashaus; and on this occasion, Frau Ita Wegman and Frau Marie Steiner accompanied him as guests. From what Rudolf Steiner said with regard to Dr. Wegman’s presence, we realized that this work was in a way linked to the newly formed Hochschule (School for Spiritual Science). In subsequent months, Rudolf Steiner made himself available to us whenever required either personally until his illness or in writing until shortly before his death.
 Connection of Kreis to 3-fold Social Order:
Our question [to Rudolf Steiner] had been prompted by realizing the rapid crumbling of human society in its different spheres. This was at the same time that the inevitable failure of the Threefold Commonwealth Movement became apparent. We felt that something quite definite ought to be undertaken which would ensure the continuity of the anthroposophical substance regardless of external conditions.
I was thinking only of Emanuel’s comment when I wrote that “who knows,” but it was careless of me to do so. Please accept my apologies.
A logical question, at least for me, that comes from what you have just bolded in Ernst Lehr’s article (the Kreis as the continuation of the threefolding impulse and the Kreis as linked to the First Class) is as follows:
Is this why the back and forth up thread about the connection of the Kreis to the class readers was only whether all of them were Kreis members or most of them?
Very good point! Recall that my conversation about the Kreis with Rene Querido took place 35 years ago. A year or 2 after that conversation, Rene sponsored me into First Class since he was the Class Reader in the Sacramento area (almost said “diocese”).
I cannot remember Rene ever saying it was a rule that a First Class Reader had to be a member of the Kreis, but I certainly got that impression at that time.
And if there are non-Kreis readers now, it may be because the First Class “ritual” has lost its “esoteric mojo” with its profane publication, etc., and therefore, now it doesn’t matter who becomes a Class Reader so even non-Kreis members can be appointed.
And especially now, in the light of DL’s revelations about the strict vows taken by both the members of First Class and the Kreis back in Steiner’s day, then that is further confirmation of my impression in 1982 that all readers had to be in the Kreis.
I don’t know quite how to answer all of the questions.
First, the distinction between Dornach, the Society, and the Collected Edition should be made – of course in German to be accurate — sorry I am an American and don’t speak German. You are right to make the clear distinction. Your remark made me realize that the topic of this thread is truly connected to that very distinction. Marie Steiner wanted to keep Steiner’s lectures to members (and thus the First Class and other secret material) secret and only available to members of the Anthroposophic Society. Again, I agree with Marie. This disagreement was one of the things that caused fighting and the eventual expulsion of some members. Of course, there were many other issues also. But at the heart of this disagreement is whether private (secret) works of Steiner should be made public. We have seen who won that dispute. I am on the losers side.
The issue of the Threefold Society in relationship to the Youth Circle is pivotal. The course of lectures – The Younger Generation – is sometimes seen as an educational lecture series and sometimes as a threefold social order lecture series. Most of the Youth Circle were interested in Waldorf education and therefore there is an educational focus in the lectures. But the deed of creating a separate “Independent School” for the youth started great controversies in Steiner’s time and much jealousy came forth and is still, even if subliminally, a force of divisiveness. The First Class and the Circle became counterpoints of the old guard and the upstart youth, who in some cases might not be a member of the Society or the First Class. This special attention Steiner gave the Youth Circle did cause a strong sense of separateness and secrecy.
I participated in the First Class and the Circle in many locations in America and Europe. It was made perfectly clear what the rules were. If a person could be tricked with a question to admit they were members – then what is the point of secrecy? I know some Circle members who talked to others about the circle who were not members. This was frowned upon and could result in being kicked out of the group and group meetings. There certainly might have been other “local rules” that I didn’t know about or that I was exposed to “local rules” myself. I don’t know. I only know what I experienced.
In terms of Frank. I have seen his bad behavior on FaceBook groups and found his presentations somewhat distasteful and full of foul words and mean heartedness. That is why I asked to be Anonymous. I don’t want Frank’s rancour to spread to groups we may be associated with. Thank you for keeping my name Anonymous.
And for brother Tom. I have many times been accused on other sites of being the infamous Tom Mellett under a disguised name. So, I looked him up and called him. We have many things in common and have almost crossed paths numerous times. But alas, I pale in comparison to Tom.
Ottmar. To try to answer some of your questions. No, the rhythms of the three parts of the Circle meditation do not change with the cycle of the year. Yes, Circle meetings were to discuss the “effects” of the meditation on Circle members. I have not seen the meditations change over time. Yes, it was made perfectly clear that First Class lessons and mantras were not supposed to be typed – so I assume that would apply to the Internet also. There were no such restrictions on the Circle meditations.
I have heard that the Vorstand wants to co-opt the Circle into the First Class or at least into the Society. I don’t know if this is true, but if it is I don’t think that would be in keeping with the tenor of the Circle. I can see why the Society (Free School of Spiritual Science) would want to bring the Youth Circle (the Independent School for Youth) under Dornach’s umbrella. But the Society already has a Section for Youth that has been very problematic over the years and caused deep rifts in the Society over just this issue of the Youth Circle’s Independent School for Youth. Keeping the meditation as an exclusive meditation for only “properly inducted” members was often the issue. Having all of the “secrets” of the Circle (and First Class) in print somewhat dispels some of the problems. Again, I don’t agree that they should be in print – either the Class or the Circle.
I hope I found all the questions. Thanks
Yawn! What a load of tommyrot. Congratulations, Tom Mellett, you’ve done it again, this time with Douglas St. Gabriel as mouthpiece.
Reading the above thread I think ‘Thank God that I have always worked in state education and legally constituted charities.’ These were all professional bodies with clear lines of authority, responsibility and accountability.
Looking from outside it appears to me that Collegiate management is the greatest weakness of Steiner institutions. It allows the formation of personality cults and oligarchic dictatorship.
Colleges of teachers where the colleges choose their own colleagues and successors (Oligarchy) make for a situation where Circle members can take control of such institutions.
It could not happen so easily in a hierarchical institution where there is either a Principal or Chief Executive who is directly accountable to a board of Trustees or Governors. In England there are clear lines laid down on how the Trustees of a charity or school are to be elected so as to prevent self-perpetuating groups taking control of registered charities and state funded schools.
It would appear that members of the Circle owe allegiance in the first instance to the Circle rather than the institution they work for. This would be more easily sussed out in a traditional professionally managed institution.
As for the Circle itself, as I indicated earlier in the thread, I have no problem with its membership and its practices being secret. People can do what they want in a group which is not formally recognised as a legal entity.
The onus is on Steiner initiatives to ensure that they are not easily subverted by such groups.
0. I m very much surprised at the confusion and disinformation that is taking place here! I ask myself why this happens, what the purpose of it is.
1. We have heard that there are n o v o w s or o a t h s. I have been around in anthro circles for more than 45 years, I have never heard of any such things before. There might have been some folks in the UK or in the USA who have introduced such things on their own rights but I very much doubt it. There has always been a close relationship internationally of the class readers and class members and also of the circle members. So such an introduction would have come known among the members and would have been stopped immediately. Nowhere in the literature you find anything like that and there were a lot of books on the history of the class in the last years.
So what is the purpose here to fabricate such disinformation, such nonsense?
2. Yes, the class and the circle are both „Michael schools“, but there is n o organizational l i n k. I can even imagine that there is even a kind of rivalry between the 2 schools, like which one is the more important school, has better results etc. Or some may think: I ll do both and on Sunday I go to the Christan Community priest. But that is a matter of personal understanding or misunderstanding. Marie Steiner and Ita Wegman participated in the named esoteric lesson; it was because they should know or had to know what was going on in the AS. Otherwise there is no connection and the writer obviously hopes that the readers are poorly informed or are not able to see through the mist that is brought up here.
3. And the „connection“ of the circle to threefolding is even more fabricated, it is a coincident in time. The circle was not a „replacement“ for the failed threefolding. These ideas are even too stupid for a Hollywood movie. I do ask myself: What is behind these ideas? Is it only stupidity or ignorance? Is it only to create confusion or what is it? Do you think: Es wird schon etwas hängen bleiben? Post truth times in anthro circles, introduced from Hollywood?
Threefold nonsense indeed. On the WC list you might get away with it, here in Germany Michael Eggert wouldnt risk to write such nonsense, fake news, because thousands here know better. Michael Eggert is also often in the business of disinformation but with such nonsense he would expose himself to total ridicule.
I hope others on that list can and will contribute more information and more precise information on the matter.
4. There is no second class thus no mantra for the second class. Period. No secrets, no oaths, no vows. Or you may say: The second and third class are so secret that not a single word of it has been spoken on earth.
It is true that some speculated that Sergej Prokofieff might try to start a second class. It is true that the „Falter Meditation“ was thought to be a mantram of the second class. No, there is nothing to it.
@ Woofles: Yes, I do accept your apologies, I gladly will.
I had written the part above when I got the latest comment of Anonymous.
„Ottmar. To try to answer some of your questions. No, the rhythms of the three parts of the Circle meditation do not change with the cycle of the year.“ Sorry, this isnt what I meant, I didnt make myself clear. What I meant was: Do the same mantras „feel“ different at different times of the year.
And I didnt mean that the mantras changed in the course of the years, but if the surrounding atmosphere, the astral quality of „the air“ you breath has changed over the decades. How did the state of the „mental atmosphere“ around you change.
When you have the same mantra for many many years, when you have „digested“ every syllable of it, when you know it by heart in a double sense, you create a measuring instrument in your soul, you have a sort of soul base line of normality, you have a sort of meter inside for the different atmospheres that surround you. My question was: Have you experienced a change in the astral „atmosphere“ over the decades? Did you talk about such things in your meetings?
This is a fitting addendum to No 2 above:
„I have heard that the Vorstand wants to co-opt the Circle into the First Class or at least into the Society. I don’t know if this is true, but if it is I don’t think that would be in keeping with the tenor of the Circle.“ This clearly shows that there is no such link between the class and the circle as suggested by Tom. The Circle is even outside the AS! It is a separate entity.
I appreciate that you are trying to cut through what you think is unnecessary and even badly misleading fog. I would like to hear more from you, if you don’t mind. You have written:
“The circle was not a „replacement“ for the failed threefolding. These ideas are even too stupid for a Hollywood movie.’
The word I used was “continuation,” not replacement. It doesn’t seem unreasonable to me in the context to assume that Lehrs intended the threefold impulse to be included implicitly in his phrase “anthroposophical substance.” You must know a great deal more about Lehrs than I do, though. How do you understand this passage?
Lehrs: “Our question [to Rudolf Steiner] . . . was at the same time that the inevitable failure of the Threefold Commonwealth Movement became apparent. We felt that something quite definite ought to be undertaken which would ensure the continuity of the anthroposophical substance regardless of external conditions.”
You wrote: “Marie Steiner and Ita Wegman participated in the named esoteric lesson; it was because they should know or had to know what was going on in the AS. Otherwise there is no connection [between the class and the circle] and the writer obviously hopes that the readers are poorly informed.”
It wasn’t anyone on this thread who said the circle and the class were connected, it was Lehrs. How do you interpret the passage?
Lehrs: “From what Rudolf Steiner said with regard to Dr. Wegman’s presence, we realized that this work was in a way linked to the newly formed Hochschule (School for Spiritual Science).”
I know almost nothing more about the Kreis than what I am reading on this thread. Are there other documents and memoirs that go back to the very earliest years of the Kreis that might shed more light on its intentions?
1 Was the Circle a „continuation“ of the work for threefolding? Continuation in what sense?
Threefolding was or is a work in and for the society, a completely exoteric work, in its aims and in its activities. Activities like giving lectures, writing pamphlets, posters etc. The Circle was and is esoteric work, regular meditations, sometimes talks with other members.
Perhaps some members of the threefolding work realized, that one reason for their failure was that they were inwardly not „rooted enough in the spirit“, that they lacked „anthroposophic substance“ and that they felt they needed more inner substance and that intellectual knowledge and activism, fed by will power only wasn t enough. In this there might be a sort of link not continuation between the failed threefolding campaign and the desire for esoteric work. I said „perhaps“ and „might“, I wasnt present there so I cant tell. But I can very well imagine that the encounters with Rudolf Steiner had led them to this insight. I think CW 217 and 217a and Ernst Lehrs, Gelebte Erwartung could shed some light on it.
2 On the „connetion“ of the Circle and the Class I can only repeat what I ve written earlier: Marie Steiner and Ita Wegman participated in the named esoteric lesson; it was because they should know or had to know what was going on in the AS.
The Circle was founded at a time long before there was the idea of a first Class. Both being „Michael Schools“ they are in a sort on the same „level“ or at the same threshold; they co-exist next to each other, side by side, there might be some overlapping in persons but as esoteric bodies, as mystical bodies they are independent of each other here on earth, united in Michael on a spiritual level. (I want to give a speculation here, not meant as a blueprint of what RS intended to do but as an illustration of the relationship of the 2 entities. Although the Circle is much less differentiated or worked out in detail than the First Class one might think that Circle members would have been admitted to the Second Class, without having made the course of the First Class. The Circle could lead its members to the same point/level as the Class members. Class and/or Circle as the fundament for the building/second class and roof/thrid class.)
3 More documents and memoirs on the Circle? I mentioned the sources above, but CW 266.3 in the first place of course. The discussion here on this blog made me read the memoires of Rene Maikowski now. Other „founding fathers“ were much more reluctant in revealing anything on the circle, but with the 3 CW volumes and Ernst Lehrs we get a pretty good idea of the founding of it. There are many many books about the Class, hardly anything on the Circle. I dont know a book on its history.
“I know almost nothing more about the Kreis than what I am reading on this thread. Are there other documents and memoirs that go back to the very earliest years of the Kreis that might shed more light on its intentions?”
Yes, indeed. Here is one from Douglas Gabriel, who says he was the inspiration for the Indiana Jones trilogy. Go figure, but he makes it convincing.
Steve. Great video. I checked it all out – going back to Ourspirit. Interesting. But if you want to be a sleuth, then I will give you a hint – Star Wars and Indiana Jones both go back to where? (Hollywood) Hmmm “Cosmic Eggs Quantum Bacon” — Hollywood Tom already gave you a hint that did not point at DG. And, what does it matter. Some people have multiple personalities — and for good reason. Frank is sharing one of his on this site. I guess I am known now as DL on this site. Thanks Hollywood Tom, my twin brother.
I don’t know if you are interested but since Ottmar brought it up I will offer yet another “hidden” meditation attributed to the 2nd Class of the High School of Spiritual Science that also has an underground following. It “didn’t exist” in the fact that it was never duly instituted by Rudolf Steiner. But, the knowledge of it is similar to the ethnocentricism surrounding the First Class, the Circle, and other secret groups inside of each “Section” of the Anthroposophical Society and outside of it. I believe this is the real point I hear some making.
I share this meditation in contradistinction to Frank sharing the “secret” mantras of the First Class. The Second Class is not secret but is treated that way by many who possess it.
The following is the introductory lesson to the 2nd Class of the High School of Spiritual Science as given by Rudolf Steiner on his sickbed to Count Polzer-Hoditz, Guenther Wachsmuch, his brother, the Vorstand and K.(unknown).
To use your thinking as a snail, touching four stages of sleeping/waking
I A O
Catch the butterfly
Send it to icy heights,
Where the world-dreams hold sway,
It becomes a bird to you
Then half the operation is completed.
I A O U E
The bird dives into the sea’s depths
Where the World-Will works
Drown (sink) the bird
Then there still remains something for you to do
The bird’s corpse to burn
In the fire, purifyingly
Then consume the ashes
And you are the light in the World Darkness.
Going back to the Circle. It is my understanding that the First Class works on the astral body crossing the threshold and Ita Wegman was its leader, the Second Class was to work on the Etheric body and was to be lead by Marie Steiner, and the Third Class was to work on the physical body and be lead by Rudolf Steiner. The Circle was, like many of the Esoteric Section meditations, supposed to develop clairvoyance through the common meditative work of the circle. The initial idea of the Circle was to be a circle of 12 around Rudolf Steiner the 13th – copying the example of “The Friend of God from the Oberland” – Der Gottesfreund vom Oberland — whom Steiner describes. Steiner didn’t want this and instead gave the meditation. But Steiner gave the “transmission” of the spiritual aspect of the “group work” to each of the initial members and they in turn could give the “transmission” to others. I received that transmission from Ernst Lehrs. Thus, even within the “hidden” Circle is yet another group who received the transmission from an original member.
These “transmissions” happened with a few leaders of the Sections and the “hidden” meditations are still guarded. Something similar can be experienced with the original founders of the Christian Community and the Camphill movement. Many people in both of these communities are members of the Circle and may not be members of the Anthroposophical Society.
My twin brother Hollywood Tom reminds me that Ernst Lehrs was
“held” on the Isle of Man during the war with Karl Koenig and Willi Sucher. Lehrs surely gave the transmission to both explaining why the Camphill communities and many astrosophers (followers of Sucher) are members of the Circle. Good point DL. We often forget so much of what we know.
In 2012, I took a survey from a lady who said she worked at Emerson College, about being a member of the Circle. I never saw any results on that but it underscores the interest in the Circle.
What I am saying is, there are still other groups within the Society that I belong to that are similar. And no Frank, I am not a Jesuit spy. I have just been fortunate enough to be invited into these groups. Nowadays, I am an educator.
I hope these remarks have been helpful. And, Steve, if you figure out who I am please let me know because I am still working on that issue myself. This is a fun game. Next time could it be a handsome guy like Brad Pitt or Tom.
Thanks for the conversation — for it is “greater than light”… Perhaps I am Goethe reincarnated…
Anonymous, I was just following up some leads provided by your brother, Tom. Personally, you don’t have to be DL, DG, or anybody, but the vastness of the secrecy and duplicity you are describing is something I had never heard about, and why the concerns are flooding in. Of course, being a complete independent in the affairs of the science of the spirit, this is all useful information. These postings are worth a look.
Steve, the misinformation spread here by the ex-anonymous Douglas St. Gabriel and his occult master Tom the Father, together with a metro-card, will get you a ride on the subway
I realize that it appears we are getting dosed with a variety of possibly unwanted data about various meditations, once secret and now being revealed, as well the beginnings of the second class, which was likely exorcised out of Dr. Steiner on his deathbed. The 64,000 dollar question is this:
Why do you think they are doing it?
“Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? Only their shadow knows.”
Steven Hall – I saw an other video of Douglas Gabriel or Anonymous. It is interesting to se how correct data can lead to different conclusion. I have observed the same methods of “occult” interpretation, by Tom M. and John B. But some things missing some things wrong.
Now concerning the work of Publication of First Class by Frank S – I will ad this.
The first publication of The first class came in Dornach, in German, 1992. Co-sign 1992 by Jørgen Smit, Bergen, Norway. Who told us about the “Free class readings” and the Ritual Text. I was at that time member of the AS Nordic Comity for Cooperation.
The later translations into American were limited to the Copyright if the translators. First with the translation by Frank Smith the First Class lessons was made online as the translator, did not calm any copyright. There is a misunderstanding among some, that the secrecy has been broken if so it was already done with the permission of Dornach. Some even speak of betrayal of a wave. This is the other speculation as there was no use of wave at the First Class membership. SV.
One of the things I’ve been thinking about with this Kreis business is that with the Kreis being secret, the story of the anthroposophical movement doesn’t include it, at least for anyone who isn’t a member of the Kreis.
For example, I can tell a straightforward story of the early years of Rudolf Steiner College. Carl Stegmann starts the college with one idea of what its purpose is. A few high powered, gifted Waldorf teachers decide it could be put to much better uses than he is doing. They engineer a redirection, which inevitably leaves some bad feelings behind it. That’s what I thought the story was, although I’ve never known anything about the details, and it worked well enough for me.
The Kreis is nowhere in that story. What difference does it make that those high powered, gifted Waldorf teachers were Kreis members? I’m thinking in terms of narrative, motivations, outcome, and even the sort of bad feelings that were left behind.
Joel Wendt wrote a kind of biographical essay about this Fair Oaks situation a few years ago. It may still reside on his website. It is entitled: Listening to the World Song. Anyway, he was there, and a student of Carl Stegmann’s work on the “other America”. He can verify a great deal of what ‘went down’, so to speak, although I don’t believe he even mentions RMQ; just that someone came over from Spring Valley, and suddenly the centre for anthroposophical studies was turned into a Waldorf teacher training college. Remember, this has been revealed to be the initiative coming out of the Kreis, and both RMQ and Betty Staley upheld this decision.
Joel also says some disturbing things about how Carl Stegmann was a seer, and someone was trying to get to this faculty and steal it. This also sounds very Kreis-like. Anyway, Joel eventually left Fair Oaks to be a bioneer, seeking the American Work at its roots in Concord. Eventually, many years later, he would return to Fair Oaks in order to attempt to renew the original incentive that he lacked the will-power to pursue in the early 80’s.
Wooffles, you trigger the Bayesian in me. Surely, you are not making the argument that the “absence of evidence” demonstrates the “evidence of absence?”
Don’t forget that same argument is used by Holocaust deniers because there is such scant historical paper evidence of a Nazi program to exterminate the Jews. Of course the reason for it is that the Nazis meticulously destroyed almost all of that paper evidence when they knew the war was lost. So what are historians then to work with?
But back to RSC in 1980. Yes, if you take away the Kreis as inner motivation and only look at the practical external reality, it is clear that Carl Stegmann’s Center, founded in 1976, could not sustain itself financially, whereas it was eminently more practical to shift to Waldorf Education since there was already a demand for that in the outside world.
And if you talked to Kreis members about it, like Querido and the Kanes, they would tell you the same story about the unsustainability of Carl’s original impulse and that their shifting the mission of the new college to Waldorf teacher training saved the institution from bankruptcy.
Of course, with the Kreis members and their conviction that the organization is not of this world, then what better expression of “plausible deniability” is there to fend off all possible criticism of their true inner motives to operate in this world, motives which always remain secret with them.
I have wonderful news for you. I contacted my German Zwilling (twin) Michael Eggert to inform him of this discussion about First Class and the Kreis and he has just posted about it today on his Egoisten blog.
I told him how frustrating it is for you here on Anthropopper because you must write in English and you desperately need a German outlet where you can then give full vent to your anger and indignation at me and Deep Larynx in your native language.
You will also then attract a wider audience of other German speakers and the amazing phenomenon that I am now calling the “Kreis Apocalypse” will unveil even more consciousness about this once deeply hidden secret sub-cult group within anthroposophy.
Don’t let this comment bother you. See it only as another very overt sign of who you are talking to with the folks of the opposition. Of course, you could have easily rendered the German original of your thoughts on ‘egoisten’, but you wrote here in English.
It is very much appreciated, and something we Anglo’s need to hear in our own tongue. So, my impression is that you could easily have expressed these concerns in your native language, and likely know the whereabouts of the blog cited above, but you choose to write here. Thanks to Tom for pointing that out in a kind of relief which truly shows your concern.
I have often thought about what these “egoistens” converse about in their own native language? They seem to know a lot. Maybe Tom could translate your viewpoints from English to German. He’s good at it.
Motives and agendas
There are not so few people around here who can only imagine that one acts on personal motives: -defending my club where I m a secret member of -venting personal anger -have my eyes on a large audience -follow a personal agenda
Yes, it always is an effort for me to write in English, to invest time. But there are no personal motives: I try to give facts where they might be unknown or forgotten, I want to give facts so that the reader is able to judge him/herself (the main motive of the enlightment was to strengthen men, den Menschen stärken) and this is what I want to be a servant of. In my contributions I try to separate personal opinion or judgement from facts.
I feel to be successful when I can add to the knowledge, correct errors, disinformation or blunt lies and I m happy when I can achieve this in one single reader.
I do not follow a personal agenda like exposing Rudolf Steiner as a racist, as a plagiator or something like that, or promote any ideas outside the work of Rudolf Steiner. (This doesnt mean that I personally have no interests or follow no activities outside standard anthroposophy, but this is not for this blog.) If you like my agenda here is: strengthening men, giving pieces of information, encourage the study of the work of Rudolf Steiner, encourage the path of self-education and practise meditation/exercises. (or if you like it more humoristic:fight lightwight intellectuals and overweight disinformants)
When I started writing here I thought I would only be objective, it is a bit embarrassing to become so personal.