Memoriam for Alice Pracht 1911-2000

By Dorothea Mier

Our dear friend, Alice Pracht (Sissy) died on November 12, and I would like to share some thoughts about her life. I very consciously begin with ‘our dear friend’ because not only did we experience her as such, but each time I visited her in the last eighteen years or so, she would remark how amazingly connected she felt to the friends and work in Spring Valley. She didn’t know why (then her characteristic little laugh), but she felt such a deep connection.

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Eurythmy in Waldorf Schools

By Robin W. M. Mitchell

At times, the question arises, “What is eurythmy, and why is it so important in Waldorf education?”  In an attempt to answer these questions, I started by looking at a number of definitions of education. I have synthesized them into the following synopsis:

“Education brings about a state of knowledge and of aesthetic moral development, resulting from a learning process which develops skills needed by a person wishing to take charge of his or her own life.”

Encompassed in this definition, we can find attributes that go much further than a summation of known facts, held in memory.  Knowledge may be in the foreground – but it is a form of knowledge that finds its validity in relationship to living one’s life and making one’s own decisions. Skills are also mentioned.  Skills require practice so that they may be at the service of the individual who has taken the trouble to acquire them.  Aesthetic development unfolds the ability to recognize beauty when one meets it – and the lack of beauty as well.  On a different level, where knowledge presupposes the ability to look at facts as objective realities, aesthetic development presupposes that one has an inner life with a capacity for discernment.  In the sphere of moral consciousness, we can see a need for ones objective qualities to meet ones subjective qualities in harmony.  To sum it all up, we might say that education has to do with a journey into the knowledge of oneself in relationship to everything around us in the world.

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Eurythmy and the Four Ethers

By Marjorie Spock

Aphorisms and Exercises

If we were to look really searchingly into the causes of today’s discontents we might find all of them stemming from a sense of having been disinherited. Few may be able to put a finger on just what has been lost or to say how we lost it. But something vital is missing from experience, an exuberant quality of life that earlier ages seem to have possessed. It can still be witnessed surfacing in the hops, skips, and jumps of early childhood and heard in the deep-chested laughs of tiny babies. But by the time adulthood is reached, a sad diminution has usually taken over, and most grown-ups look for it in vain.

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The Eurythmy Figures as Keys to a Deeper Understanding of the Human Being

By Seth Morrison

Rudolf Steiner created his sketches for the eurythmy sound movements and soul gestures in 1922 and 1923. The new art form had grown and performances were seen on stages across Europe. Despite the devastation caused by the World War, the Waldorf School Movement flourished. Therapeutic eurythmy was only a few years old but found an enthusiastic reception among educators and medical doctors. The eurythmy figures grew out of this germinating power of an inspired art form. The figures became a kind of living study material. The trios and quartets of colors, the highly differentiated forms and characters of the figures provide schooling for the artist. When reconstructed in the act of artistic creation, a true inner work fills the experience of visible speech and music. The figures offer the eurythmist an unending source of self education.

In addition to the well-known aspects of color and form in the figures, a whole other pathway of study is contained within them. In a course given by Elena Zuccoli to students at the Curative Eurythmy School in Stuttgart, West Germany, in 1986, an introduction as well as a challenge was presented. Frau Zuccoli arranged the twelve consonant figures according to their relationship to the zodiac as described by Rudolf Steiner. She then asked the class, “What do you see?” Only one student responded! One half of the figures are represented in profile, the other face forward. There are three transitory figures. It is a striking image once it is ‘seen’! But what does this mean? Frau Zuccoli left this image as an unanswered question, a point of departure for her students. This little article will share my attempts to understand the meaning behind the special orientation of the figures, which has become a source of inspiration for my work in curative eurythmy.

Before launching ahead, it might be helpful to explore the experience of the human figure as it appears in profile as opposed to the frontal view. One hundred years ago, the silhouette was still a popular form of portraiture. The profile view of the torso reveals a sculptural impression. The shape of the shoulders, head, forehead, nose, lips, and chin appear fixed and formed. The profile is an image of what has been; the past up to the present moment. It is human destiny sculpted and made visible. The full face view of the human being gives an entirely different impression. The past lies somewhere in the distance, hidden behind the projected personality. The directions of dimensions of right and left fill out the ‘space’ of an incarnated person, be it narrow or broad, robust or hallowed out. There is a meeting with the present and an intuition of the future. The presence of human character, in its immediacy, fills space and projects itself into what will become the future.

When arranged according to their correspondences to the fixed stars, the figures for the sounds V (Aries), R (Taurus), and H (Gemini) are presented in profile. They face outward and away from the center of the circle. The figure for F (Cancer) however, also in profile, faces T and D (Leo). B and P (Virgo) face forward. The figure for Ch stands in a ¾ view. The S (Scorpion or Eagle) faces forward as does the G (Sagittarius). Its double letter K, stands in profile toward the N (Pisces). The N stands in profile toward the V (Aries), which joins the circle together. The figures for F, M, and CH are transitory with regard to the directionality of the entire circle of figures.

Rudolf Steiner’s spiritual research confirmed the idea of an astro-physiognomy of the human being. In countless manuscripts, painting, and drawings, most of which echo the mystery teachings of a forgotten time, one sees the human head marked with the sign of Aries or a ram. The Larynx is connected with the Bull, or Taurus, the shoulders with Gemini, and so on. The science of contemporary embryology was once seen from another point of view: the embryo lies curled up exactly as the circle of fixed stars appears in the heavens, the head in Aries and the feet in Pisces. One can imagine how the human embryo materializes out of the fluid world of the womb, somehow analogous to the creation of dry land in the book of Genesis of the Old Testament. Turning ones attention to the eurythmy figures, one can ‘enact’ this creation of man’s form through the eurythmy movements themselves, beginning with the V, which contours the head and going on to each region of the human form. It is a wonderful exercise. Now the special orientation of the figures begins to ‘speak’: the figures which correspond to the upper region of the human form all stand in profile and face outward into the depths of the periphery. They look away or back into another region of space. Aries, Taurus, and Gemini form a grouping. The human head is enclosed in a bony shell, like the insect. Its activity is contained within itself, invisible and concealed. It is inwardly mobile but outwardly immobile. The throat uses the air element but does not really change it. It adds to the air, instead. Its activity creates an enclosed, half-way internalized acoustic. The shoulders give width through the dimension of right and left. A tension, a dynamic holding together in equilibrium characterizes this region. The human being then acts as giver or receiver of world experienced every time he goes out of himself into the ‘other’; thus the H movement expresses how the arms become the instruments of the forces of Gemini.

Now a great transition occurs: the formative forces seem to turn the orientation of structure inward, as air enters the chest cavity and is transformed by the magic of the blood. The figure faces away from the H figure and directs itself toward the T figure. The T corresponds to that organ wherein the transformation is perceived by the ego organization. The ribs enclose from without, the lungs from within. Doublely embraced, the heart (Leo) an organ of blood perceives itself.

The journey within, intensifies further. Those eurythmy figures whose sounds are related to the zodiac regions associated with the digestive organs all stand facing forward. The figures are grand and immediate. One feels as if real personalities make their presence known… like the gods of the underworld or inner world of man. The B movement expresses this complete containment of an inner realm, like a temple removed from outer light but filled with a self-sustaining radiance. Within the metabolic organs substance is destroyed or reduced to a level which can be called ‘inorganic’. It is then recreated by the rhythmical processes of these organs so it bear the incarnation of the individual ego.

Yet another transition occurs, expressed by the spatial orientation of the CH figure. Within the basin-like structure of the pelvis an environment is created in which another ego, a new person, can anchor itself. Through fertilization, gestation, and birth, the signature of S (Scorpion or Eagle) reveals itself. The S figure is dressed as a renunciate, just as certain monastic orders dress in black and then grey to express their religious journeys, And just as the S movement in eurythmy almost manages to become a separate entity, so do the female reproductive organs sacrifice their autonomy in order to give place to the developing human being. Then, the event of birth gives a separate existence to the child. The S figure shows man’s deepest penetration into the physical world and the moment of victory for the ongoing evolution of the earth.

Through the powers of Scorpio in the human being, the physical world is conquered. Now the human organism can metamorphose further. The thighs  are the mechanisms of walking and express the will forces which seek to propel the human being into the future. The G figure faces forward but the head is turned toward the K figure. The K faces the G. The K corresponds to the hardest part of the thigh, just before it embraces the knee. Both represent the forces of Sagittarius. The knee (Capricorn) is the mediator between the innermost forces of the will and the earth itself. It floats, so to speak, in currents of dynamic forces, fluid-like and ‘sensitive’ to the interplay of the human spirit with the organism of the earth. It lives between levity and gravity. The L figure faces forward but the figure for M faces away, in the other direction. The M forms the shins, which are purely rhythmical organs. A person’s gait indicates the way in which the limb-metabolic system is embraced by the rhythmical system. The lower legs are the primary rhythmical organs of the lower region of the human form. The fact that the M faces away from the other figures of the region is significant. From the knees downward, the human body takes on a new character. It no longer strives toward incarnation but carries itself anew, toward the macrocosm. The head contains an imprint of the cosmos, the feet strive to become active in the cosmos. The foot is really a complex arch, an organ which has the power to overcome the earthly forces of weight. It is an organ of the ego. The freedom of the feet is the signature of human destiny which seeks to become independent through its evolution. The M figure, as well as the N figure, faces the region of Aries so that the past may be dissolved and remolded. The future alters the past.

The spatial orientation of the eurythmy figures reveals a hidden teaching. It tells the story of human becoming, the descent of man into matter and his triumph over it, brought about by his own activity. The human form is really a living sculpture and a hieroglyph of spiritual evolution.

One cannot carry this kind of information with one and this is surely not the intention of this article. Instead, a kind of ‘feeling’ can reside within the creative life of the artist with regard to the different sounds. These feelings or moods, as Rudolf Steiner called them, are objective realities. He brought them to poetic expression in his Twelve Moods (Zwolf Stimmungen).

This study brings questions to mind about the zodiac positions or gestures which were given in Eurythmy as Visible Speech. It is important to remember that of the twelve gestures only Aquarius has a kind of movement. All the others are at rest. It is a silent world, like a summer night when one looks into the heavens. It is as if the zodiac gestures are a portrayal of the Star-Gods themselves, of their contribution to the human figure. The eurythmy movements are dynamic. They speak and sing. They are so alive as to enable an ill person to actively participate in the anabolism of his own etheric body. If one practices doing a zodiac gesture, followed by the eurythmy movement, in light of the figure, a powerful experience can come about. One can feel how the resting zodiac becomes dynamism, creating the human form – which ‘appears’ to be at rest. Yet its life turns within and the formative forces reappear in the life of the soul as music and speech. Through the spiritual activity of art, the powers of the universe become visible. This is the art of eurythmy. One can only stand in awe before this art. It overcomes all our ‘ideas’ about ourselves and all art and shows us that we ourselves and all we do is really ‘evolving cosmos’, ‘evolving being’.

 

The Scale as a Work of Art

By Marjorie Spock

Judged by any sound criteria of art, the scale is the most perfect of musical compositions. It is a completely resolved, simple, yet subtle and eloquent expression of the ultimate theme, telling as it does in full the story of the growing up of greatness. And it does so with incomparable brevity in seven short climbing or falling steps or intervals, weaving them moreover into the classic pattern of the lemniscate.

Goethe held the test of a work of art to be its necessity. By this he meant not only that it must say something wholly original needing to be said, but body it forth in a whole and living form, every part of which is harmonious with and essential to it. He therefore called works of art a “higher nature within nature.” The scale is in his sense just such an organism of a higher order.

Prime and octave are the beginning and ending points of the scale’s unfolding, seed and blossom stages of a living whole. Each interval holds the full scale implicit in it, the prime sounding out a prophecy of things to come, the octave its fulfillment

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Marjorie Spock

By William Jens Jensen

For the better part of a century, Marjorie Spock has had a beneficial influence on the development of anthroposophy in North America. She has been a eurythmist, a Waldorf teacher, and an active practi­tioner and advocate of biodynamics and community renewal. She has written several books and articles, including In Celebration of the Human Heart; Fairy Worlds and Workers; Teaching As a Lively Art; and Eurythmy. She has also translated several books, including Nutrition and The Nature of Sub­stance by Rudolf Hauschka.

Marjorie Spock was born in New Haven, Connect­icut, early in the twentieth century. At the age of eighteen, filled with excitement and plans to study dance and with no notion of anthroposophy or the arts associated with it, she traveled to Dornach, Switzerland. Only a year earlier, in 1921, while a counselor at a girls’ camp, the painting instructor there had spoken of a wonderful dance program in “Door Knock” (as she heard the name). She under­stood these words to mean “Knock and it shall be opened unto you,” and knew instantly that she needed to go there.

Except for brief interruptions, she spent much of her youth in Dornach. No doubt, she experienced many deep and lasting impressions during that time, and even first impressions can stir a desire for self-development. Marjorie Spock says that when she first saw the first Goetheanum she “thought it was the ugliest thing” she’d ever seen. Later, she heard that Rudolf Steiner had said that, for those who are still unable to perceive their own inner nature, “one’s whole stature as a human soul became clear to oneself when seeing the Goet­heanum for the first time.”

Later, she became seriously ill and was confined to Dr. Ita Wegman’s clinic. Around Christmastime, she was released for a brief time, and on that New Year’s Eve, she witnessed the complete destruction of the Goetheanum by fire. She said,

“I think that something in me burned up that needed to be burned up as I watched it. And, for the first time, I became truly interested in anthro­posophy. Up until that time, I had loved eurythmy; now the whole seriousness of what was at stake there impressed itself on me, which I had not felt before. So I began to study anthroposophy in great earnest.”

The following year, at nineteen, she was able to attend the Christmas Conference, the series of meetings called to reoganize and renew the Gen­eral Anthroposophical Society. Although young and inexperienced in such matters, she neverthe­less sensed the significance of that event.

Around Christmas 1924, she returned to the U.S. and decided to support herself by working in an anthroposophic bookstore in New Haven. That work proved to be a tremendously valuable experi­ence— “After all,” she said, “I had a whole library of anthroposophy at my fingertips, and I read and studied with great seriousness during those years.”

After working in the bookshop for three years, she returned to Europe and studied for three years at the eurythmy school in Stuttgart. Later, she went to Dornach, where she performed eurythmy on the Goetheanum stage. During that time, she became familiar with Marie Steiner, who was acively involved in most of the eurythmy rehears­als. “Frau Dr. Steiner was simply magnificent,” she recalls, “but rather unapproachable.”

When asked about her experience of Rudolf Steiner during that time, what she expressed was singular:

I looked at his head, and I looked at his hands as I sat in his lectures, and I had the feeling that his head was sort of a condensation of all he was speaking. And the words that he was saying were tremendously significant, although I can’t say that I remember more than a sentence of all the things that he said in those years. But there was one point where I remember his gesture and his words exactly, and that was when he expressed “the wake-up call to become a person of initiative.”

Looking back, I had the sense that he meant something completely different from what hap­pened. People in the society tried to become little Rudolf Steiners, and I felt that we needed to pull together and get an entirely new kind of feeling about community—in a truly Christian sense, really helpful to one another, spiritually and in every possible way—rather than indulging in all the criticism.

It’s incredible that people should not appreciate each other, because we are, each one, developing as individuals, each one developing a completely unique ability of some kind. But instead of look­ing upon this as an absolute treasure, we cut the ground out from under the feet of people. Largely this is what has happened.

Rudolf Steiner said that, if any group of people gets together with an ideal purpose, an archangel is assigned to that group to guide it. But I don’t think that can happen unless we have the right attitude toward one another.

When asked for her impression of Rudolf Steiner’s appearance, Marjorie Spock said that “he appeared very much like Abraham Lincoln.”

He looked as though he bore up most manly under the most terrible burden … but, of course, he had many warm personal relationships. My father came over to see him when I was in Dor­nach, and I was able to introduce him to Rudolf Steiner. When we departed this wonderful meet­ing, my father said first of all, “I think he liked me. I was surprised at the way he looked—he looked just like anybody else!” I took that to be a comple­ment to Rudolf Steiner to say that he looked like anybody else.

When she again moved back to the U.S., Marjorie Spock taught for five years at the Rudolf Steiner School in New York City. Later, she spent a year teaching in a school at the Hales community near the border of Maine and Canada. The community was involved in operating a dairy and vegetable farm on 12,000 acres of forest and lakes. They also had a “sensitive crystalization” laboratory, which was able to test the nutritional vitality of food.

She returned to New York, this time to Columbia University for a major in education. Having no college degree, the school administration gave her “nine hours of examinations in all subjects” to help determine where to place her.

Due to my studies of Anthroposophy and all the interesting things that Rudolf Steiner was always reporting, I was able to pass them all. The dean of admissions said to me that he didn’t “know of a single school in America that can match that”— especially considering that I had an IQ that was only just respectible.

As a result of those tests, the college awarded her credit for three years of college and allowed her into the post-graduate program. After two years, she received a master’s degree.

For the next five years, she taught at “two of the big progressive schools” in New York—the Ethical Culture School and the Dalton school (or “chil­dren’s university”). From there, she went on to teach eurythmy for eight years at the Garden City Waldorf School. It was while living in Garden City that she began her lifelong passion for biodynamic agriculture, which led her and a friend to buy 140 acres of land in Upstate New York.

Living on their new farm, Marjorie Spock and her friend became interested in producing and selling organic vegetables, but their land was always being sprayed with pesticides—something that had also happened in Garden City. They decided that it “was absolutely essential to challenge this practice” by getting an injunction against spraying private lands. Although the suit, which reached the U.S. Supreme Court, was unsuccessful, it raised aware­ness of the issue and enfluenced the views expressed by Rachel Carson in Silent Spring. Even­turally, the courts decided that private lands could not be sprayed without the owners’ consent.

After Rudolf Steiner’s death in 1925, various diffi­culties and divisions arose in the Anthroposophical Society, which led Marjorie Spock to write two articles on community building, later published under the general title of “Group Moral Artistry.” They have been widely circulated ever since— especially among young people according to the author. One of the articles, “The Art of Goethean Conversation,” was included in the recent edition of Goethe’s Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily (see page 74).

Marjorie Spock’s most popular book these days is Fairy Worlds and Workers. It is a sensitive, imagina­tive exploration of nature’s inner beings—its Little People, the elementals, the Middle Kingdom. She says that her feeling for the natural world of fairies arose not clairvoyantly but from her connection with the earth as a farmer and gardener. That feel­ing is an ability to read certain signs of nature and to hear what it is asking for.

Today, Marjorie Spock remains active—indeed, an activist. She participates in an anthroposophic study group, she writes, and she enjoys nature, people, and the world around her. Her spirit shines brightly through her words, her sense of humor, and in her concern for our future as human beings and anthroposophists.

 

Eurythmy as a Threshold Art

By Carol Ann Williamson

 

How can eurythmy be considered an art of the threshold? For years, I have pondered this question. In the past ten years, my eurythmy destiny has led me into this sphere. A year ago, a eurythmy colleague of mine urged me to write about my encounters. At first I was reluctant to speak about these matters for obvious reasons. But after much thought, I have decided to share some of my experiences. As eurythmy is a new form of art, and its application in threshold issues is indeed a nascent art, I realized this is a realm which could use some illumination.

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A Healing Education

How can Waldorf Education Meet the Needs of Children?

Five lectures given at the West Coast Teachers Conference in Fair Oaks, California, February 15-19, 1998 by Michaela Glöchler, M. D.

Rudolf Steiner College Press

9200 Fair Oaks Boulevard

Fair Oaks, Ca. 95628

916-961-8729

Fax: 916-961-3032

bookstore@steinercollege.edu

ISBN 0-945803-48-6

101 pages Paperback

$15.95

Copyright 2000 Reprint 2003

Permission to reprint kindly granted by Dr. Glocker. This excerpt is taken from pages 80-82.

Of course you could experience during the eurythmy performance and also through your own eurythmy study how important and differentiated and delicate the study of eurythmy is. You can experience, for example, that if a teacher does something like this, that this is not a eurythmy E. It is just a nice movement, isn’t it? But a eurythmy A, a eurythmy E, is something very different. It is an etheric stream. And if you start to practice often and learn from Rudolf Steiner that our heart is the source of the etheric forces and that all the vowels have their origin in the heart region, you will know that you need first to pull back all your movement capacity, to bring it into silence, to bring it into pure intention, and feel that this impulse is something which has no weight but has intensity. The etheric quality has no physical weight. It flows purely in time and not in space. Our physical body with its substance and weight reveals itself in three-dimensional space. Our etheric body lives only in time. It’s a system of circulations, of rhythms, of all those life cycles. It is a system of developmental laws living in time. It’s the basis for the streaming changing of evolution, and this together with the physical gives what we see as the physical-etheric constitution of plants, animals, and human beings. When you study eurythmy, you have to enter into this realm of the etheric and create even physical movements out of this etheric source. You have to study for years to come into this attitude and to be able to bring movements out of the heaviness of the physical body and into this etheric lightness. And one can’t do this in eurythmy without training. I did not mean that the class teacher should replace the eurythmy teacher at school. It can’t be. Eurythmy is something very special.

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What Can Biography Projects Offer?

By Robin Mitchell

Lifetime learning requires challenges that move us out of our comfort zones, no matter how old we are.  As we grow, we stretch our present limits to embrace new abilities, gaining confidence as we develop. This is as true for older people as it is for the young. When we are at school, we know that we are constantly learning new things and discovering new skills that add to the quality of our lives, thus adding to the sum of experience that establishes our relationship to the world around us – as well as to each other.

We look into the world and discover ourselves…

We look into ourselves and discover the world.

This is also true for older people who have been in the school of life for so much longer. Only, the challenges are rather different from those that face the young. Younger people tend to look forwards with an optimism that can transform ideas into ideals – and ideals into deeds that can change the course of life. Older people have already been in that situation – therefore they can look back and evaluate the ideals that have filled their lives, the decisions made and acted upon and the outcomes of those choices. Younger people are often unsure – or even unaware – of their abilities. Older people can look back upon a lifetime during which they exercised their abilities – or did not. The question arises: To whom does a young person turn when asking questions about life – its challenges, its tasks, its requirements and its values?

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Explorations in Color

A Weekend with Annemarie Baeschlin and Dorothea Mier

By Mark Ebersole

Rudolf Steiner saw himself as a spiritual scientist, and as such avoided like the plague any form of set definitions. He could declare something in a certain way one lecture, and then appear to give a completely opposing picture of the same phenomenon in the next. Nurturing this living, changing knowledge, he defied any Wagner (as in Faust’s colleague) to take Anthroposophic knowledge home with him safely locked up in a book. The hero here is the ever-striving, ever-seeking, often sinful but ultimately redeemed Faust.

At the weekend workshop on color with Annemarie Baeschlin this fall in Spring Valley, we were privileged to experience the fruits of a lifetime of such striving and seeking, of great knowledge penetrated with personal feeling and brought into deed with love and endless effort.

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Introduction to the Eurythmy Performance

At the Christmas Conference, December 23, 1923

By Rudolf Steiner
My dear friends!
Today our guests from further afield who have already arrived make up the majority of those present at this opening performance of eurythmy. There is no need for me to speak particularly about the nature of eurythmy, for our friends know about this from various writings which have appeared in print. But especially since we are gathering once more for an anthroposophical undertaking I should like to introduce this performance with a few words. Continue reading

Journeys to Oslo

Upgrade your Eurythmy Diploma to a Bacholar of Arts Degree at the University College of Eurythmy, Oslo, Norway

By Ute Heuser

Last October I traveled to Norway in order to join ten other eurythmists at the University College of Eurythmy in Oslo. We all embarked on the part-time course to up-grade our Eurythmy Diplomas to a Bachelor Degree. After an introduction, Michael Leber took us through our first lesson. It was the best way to get to know each other and to “find our feet” – especially for the three of us who had travelled from the US. The time change was hard at first.
Soon we began work on two group-pieces: “The Cloud” by Shelley and an Allegro by Schubert (Op.164). Coralee Schmandt guided us in speech eurythmy and Michael Leber in tone eurythmy. Lessons in speech formation were held in two groups, one in English and one in Norwegian. Although I joined the English group, I was fascinated by the sound of the Norwegian language and we all got a little taste of it in our first session. Each of us began to work on an epic, lyric, and dramatic piece. We also had an introduction to a music exam we were due to take. Some frustration and confusion came about as the test needed to be translated for some of us, but in the end we all passed. I guess the language of music is universal.
After ten full and rich days it was time for us to leave. We had become a group, had formed many new connections and lots of hugs were freely shared before we all departed for our many different destinations. We took a lot of home-work with us: A solo form by Rudolf Steiner in both speech and tone eurythmy; the group pieces needed to be “kept warm”; the pieces for our speech formation presentation, and a written paper about an aspect of our teaching experience. Off I went back to Pennsylvania with a Shakespeare Sonnet (“Let me not to the marriage of true minds”) and the Rondo from the Pathetique Sonata by Beethoven in my luggage. It was hard to fit in practice times in an already busy schedule, but I was glad to have this extra challenge as part of my artistic work.
Last February I was off to Oslo again, this time we only met for six days and a lot had to be done in this short time. We continued our work on the group pieces, and had some quick practices for our solos with a speaker and pianist we were not used to. A good part of an afternoon was needed for each of us to present our epic, lyric, and dramatic texts we had worked on as part of our speech formation assignment. It was a festive moment and a great variety of pieces were shared in different languages. Each of us had to present our eurythmy solos, and again I was amazed at the richness of what was brought and shared. It was hard for me to perform just one piece as part of this presentation. By the time I felt in the flow of eurythmy my solo was already over.
Now I am looking forward to our last session in July. I am busy working on an Adagio by Mozart and a poem by Denise Levertov, both solo forms I need to present in July.  I am glad for this rich experience, for getting to know eurythmists further afield and making new contacts. Coralee and Michael are great guides in this process and I appreciate their ongoing support. If any of you are interested, they are hoping to start another course this fall. I know it is a long way away, but Oslo is well worth a visit and if you are looking for an artistic “boost” as well as a BA, this is a great way to get it both!!

Eurythmy Room Design

PRINCIPLES AND CRITERIA

By Reg Down

Waldorf schools are continuing to experience growth and development as awareness of the need for meaningful forms of education increases. Associated with this growth is a rising demand for eurythmists, as well as a need to construct or remodel spaces suitable for a healthy and thriving eurythmy program. How this space is designed can have a huge impact on the children, the teaching, and the health and well?being of the teacher.

This article is addressed primarily to the architect-builder, constituting principles and parameters to be guided by when designing a room for eurythmy. In addition, the reasons underlying these guidelines from a practical, pedagogical and anthroposophic point of view are outlined, as the presumption is made that the designer/builder has an interest in the professional needs and philosophic background of an anthroposophic or Waldorf the Waldorf client.

The architectural style of the building has been deliberately left out of the discussion as this is the province of the architect. Nevertheless, a building’s style is, or should be, consonant with its purpose. The architect is encouraged to delve into Rudolf Steiner’s contribution to architecture as his architectural insights and the art of the art of eurythmy are sourced from the same spring, and then, and then out of the architect’s own artistic nature, develop a style in harmony with the prevailing environment, community and culture. A brief bibliography is included at the end of the article.

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The Rebirth of Poetics out of the Spirit of Eurythmy

Fundamentals of a Goethean Approach to Poetics and Meter
Dr. Hedwig Greiner-Vogel
A summary and translation of Dr. Greiner’s life research, compiled by Cynthia Hoven


“The moving forces of the supersensible nature of the human being prepare the formative speech of poetry.  This hidden eurythmy was, in primeval time, the preparatory step of all language.  Just as all language has arisen out of sacred rituals, so has poetry arisen out of dance, ritual dances, which recreated the path of the stars in manifold, strictly lawful forms.  The rhythms of the stars, which have their microcosmic correspondences in the rhythmic organization, are the primal movement forces of the metered step, the poetic ‘ foot’ and the forms of poetry which have arisen there from.  The meters and poetic forms which have come down to us from ancient cultures still show spurs of these origins, and can become visible once again through eurythmy.”   p. 132

In the art of eurythmy, new perceptions of the nature of poetry are possible.  To assist both eurythmy itself and the enlivening and understanding of poetry, it is necessary to research the basic elements of the latter, namely, sounds, meter, and poetic forms.  Indeed, the study of these should be an integral part of any eurythmy training.

One of the fundamental principles of eurythmy is that speech itself springs out of the spiritual world itself, and that when humans speak, they are expressing their spiritual nature.  Vowels are expressions of the personality, and consonants are the sounds which echo and imitate nature.  The interplay of both, the alphabet, embodies in one sense the totality of the human being.

A study of language reveals an evolution of the relationship to sounds.  Greece, for instance, still ascribed names to its sounds, such as alpha for the first letter.  The Latin alphabet calls the same sound merely ‘a.’  (Such reductionism is also evident in the acronyms which are increasingly common.)  Ancient runes as well as the Hebrew Kaballah reflect the power of single sounds.  It is also said that sounds were danced in ancient cultures: eurythmy is a re-enlivenment of these dances.

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What is Eurythmy Doing in School?

Artistic and Therapeutic Eurythmy speak for themselves. What about Educational Eurythmy?

By Mary Watson

The most important educational task of eurythmy is to aid the incarnating processes of the growing child, in order that these processes may take place in the most harmonious way possible; a very lofty ideal, but nevertheless one toward which every eurythmist strives.

Plunge into the world

These processes change and assume different forms in the various stages of childhood. The very young child lives very much in his surroundings; he is ‘at one’ with the world, and it is easy for him to transform himself, through the imaginative pictures of stories, into animals, plants, beings. In these early years he must plunge into and experience to the full the world around him. He must unite himself with every tree, bird and stone, immerse himself in the rhythms of the created world. At this time the eurythmy teacher can lead the class through a Paradise, where they can learn to know the created and the creator.

Between the seventh and ninth year, the child will then begin to stand back and observe the world. He will begin to separate himself from it in his experience and even begin to be critical of things around him. The closer his unity with the world before this time, the more his powers of reverence and wonder will be enhanced during these years of separation from the whole. During this time the spiral form becomes very important in the eurythmy lesson, where the child spirals into his own inner  world, and out once again to the outer world. Repetition of this form with
various verses strengthens the individuality in its first awakening.

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Eurythmy in Waldorf Schools

By Robin W. M. Mitchell

At times, the question arises, “What is eurythmy, and why is it so important in Waldorf education?” In an attempt to answer these questions, I started by looking at a number of definitions of education. I have synthesized them into the following synopsis: “Education brings about a state of knowledge and of aesthetic moral development, resulting from a learning process which develops skills needed by a person wishing to take charge of his or her own life.” Continue reading