24 Oct “For the well-being of our beloved Anthroposophical Society” by Marguerite Doray
For the well-being of our beloved Anthroposophical Society.
Some thoughts and impressions following an Anthroposophical event recently held in Ann Arbor.
Marguerite Doray, Montréal, Canada (with editorial help by CHB)
From June 29 to July 2, 2023, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, at the headquarters of the Anthroposophical Society of America (ASA), an initiative supported by the ASA’s Economics Group came to life, hosted by members of Ann Arbor’s Great Lakes Branch. The meeting was open to members of the Anthroposophical Society from any country, who wished to examine the evolution of Rudolf Steiner’s intentions in refounding the Anthroposophical Society at the 1923 Christmas Conference.
There were two of us from Canada, and Christopher Houghton Budd from England was the main speaker and facilitator of the ensuing exchanges. This report is not intended as an exhaustive summary of the four-day meeting, but rather a sharing of some of the powerful images that were developed and which still live intensely within me as one of the participants.
By way of introduction, I’d like to quote Rudolf Steiner from his opening lecture at the Christmas
Conference on December 24th, 1923: ‘…Countless seeds for the future can begin to unfold their
ripeness through this warmth which can surround us here, so that one day they may stand before the world as fully matured fruits as a result of what we want to do for them.’1
These few words capture the essence of the communications and exchanges that took place at the meeting. In essence, the spiritual world sends humanity endowments, gifts with a precise intention, which in this case would be supporting universal evolution, embracing humanity and the cosmos.
Rudolf Steiner received such an endowment from the spiritual world. He welcomed it into his soul and took responsibility for it by developing Anthroposophy. Human beings continue to be blessed by these endowments from the spiritual world and, thus inspired, take the necessary steps in each of their professions. But these impulses need fertile ground to become earthly reality, by being taken up by those who work, as ‘representatives’2 of Anthroposophy in the School of Spiritual Science and carried by the collaboration of the Anthroposophical Society. If not, it could happen that a similar impulse by other researchers will occur, but linked to the stream of human evolution in a more materialist way.
A striking example is that of Bidor, the anthroposophical remedy that, using Rudolf Steiner’s indications, was developed as a treatment for headaches and migraines. This had the potential of generating substantial revenues for spiritual scientific research. And yet, at the same time, Aspirin was discovered and developed with the necessary financial resources, and so went on to become widely distributed and perennially lucrative.
This earthly home is the responsibility of the Sections of the School of Spiritual Science as far as research is concerned, and the responsibility of the Anthroposophical Society for securing the necessary funds for its realization in the world and for the whole world, as stated in statute #9 introduced at the same opening lecture at the Christmas Conference on December 24th, 1924:‘The purpose of the Anthroposophical Society will be the furtherance of spiritual research; that of the School of Spiritual Science will be this research itself…’
We know how Rudolf Steiner weighed his every word: The purpose of the Anthroposophical Society will be the furtherance of spiritual research, i.e. the Anthroposophical Society must ensure that the results of Section research can be taken out into the world. …that of the School of Spiritual Science will be this research itself… As if the School of Spiritual Science were the receptacle of these impulses from the spiritual world, and that the task of the Sections was that through them ‘the countless seeds may stand before the world as fully matured fruits… not in an elitist or sectarian way, but as extensions and new leases of life in life’s many fields of endeavour – in medicine, pedagogy, agriculture, economics, philosophy, science or the arts.
And he added: …that they may stand before the world as fully matured fruits, as a result of what we want to do for them.
The health of the Anthroposophical Society depends on whether or not we are able to assume our responsibility, as ordinary members, to support the work of the School of Spiritual Science or, as spiritual investigators, to bring to maturity the fruits of Anthroposophy by working harmoniously in concert with the spiritual world which continually stands ready to endow humanity with its gifts. This is why financially in our capacity as ordinary members we need to pay our share of the operating costs of the Goetheanum, so that the world may join us when it comes to the large sums of money needed to fund spiritual scientific research, a significant proportion of which is needed to cover the income and expenses of those who do the research.
So how can we help? Everyone can find what resonates within oneself as regards possible means. One can, of course, contribute financially through an endowment or donation of one’s own, mentioning an intention to subsidise either a sphere of human activity, a particular Section, or the work of the Sections in general, or some other relevant field.
In our respective anthroposophical initiatives we can also help by putting into practice the ripened fruits of the research of the School of Spiritual Science, which continue the development of those countless seeds that Rudolf Steiner left us in the form of Anthroposophy during his time on earth; then our schools, our biodynamic farms, our Anthroposophical clinics, our associative economics, our artistic, scientific and pedagogical training centres would be as flaming hearths in full sight of the world and at its service. What better way to bring Rudolf Steiner’s intentions to fruition?
Over the last hundred years, have we really understood this – our responsibility as ordinary
members of the Anthroposophical Society? This question was presented as the gateway to a path of healing for the next 100 years.
One of the participants, Meg Freeling, had created an insightful document on the subject, which
we were even invited to read in preparation for the event. I recommend that all members take a
look at it if their time permits.3
For most of us, there was nothing particularly new about these concepts in themselves. But to
experience them together with the awareness of their fundamental nature concerning the furtherance of Anthroposophy in the world and for the world, can give fresh oxygen to the metamorphosed flames of the first Goetheanum as they passed through the Foundation Stone laid in the hearts of members on 25 December 1923.
All the thoughts expressed, all the feelings awakened, all the gestures of collaboration so natural to each other during this meeting acted like a sparkler from which a thousand sparks fly. And, indeed, one of the organizers, Kim Chotzen, invited us into the garden after our last meal together for a surprise. There, she gave each of us, as a metaphor, a lit sparkler. Thus, we made a circle to say goodbye.
I am profoundly grateful to have had this opportunity in my life.
(PS: What Marguerite omits to mention is the fine cooking that she and Jean-Marc Lugand provided us all with. – CHB)
1 The Proceedings of the Christmas Conference 1923/4, Anthroposophic Press, New York, 1990. CW 260, p.45.
2 Rudolf Steiner’s word for describing the sole condition of becoming a member of the School of Spiritual Science.