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Town Meeting- March 20th, 2020

Dear BACWTT Students, Alumni and Colleagues,

I hope you are safe and well. This email is a way to make up for the fact that we are not able to meet and have a Town Meeting in person.

Here is the Calendar of the Soul for this week – please feel free to read it aloud, and if you have translations, to read those too.

Verse 50
To the human I there speaks,
Mightily itself revealing,
And setting free the forces of its nature
Joy in growth of world existence:
‘On you my life bestowing
From its enchanted bondage
I reach my own true aim.’

We might be inclined to think that reading the Calendar of the Soul is only for when things are normal and we are in our usual routine – that there are more important and disturbing things going on around us now for this luxury of contemplation of higher or more inward things. However the reverse is true – the calendar of the soul and other verses are there to support us through challenging times. In a way you can say that by regularly reading the Calendar of the Soul each week we have built up a momentum, or a reserve of good will during normal times that can then carry us over, carry us through a period of distress.
We have an image of the human being through Anthroposophy, of ourselves and those around us, that shows us that there is more than the physical body that needs to be cared for – even more so now than usual as it is under stress.
Reading the verse is a support to these more subtle aspects of us:
• The continuity and rhythm supports the etheric body.
• The ideas and beauty of the musical flow of the words and the feeling they engender supports our astral body.
The intention behind the verse to connect us to the flow of the year supports our sense of self, our I.
For those of us who are not directly fighting a virus infection it is important to support the health and immunity of our etheric, astral and ego bodies through inner practices because these too are under a kind of viral attack from the shock and disruption and fear.

This week’s verse calls our attention to a voice that can be experienced in the world of nature. It speaks of breaking free from a type of bondage and enchantment and being able to reach our true aim. This verse comes at the time of the spring equinox – March 21st when the length of the day and the length of the night are equal. It is a moment of balance, of equilibrium in the cycle of the year – a moment of calm in the rush of the energy of the seasons when if we are in the right mood a certain free space can open up. We are always caught up in the powerful pull and push of the Earth’s cyclic energies and as a result have a clouded or ‘enchanted’ view. This time of the year can be a moment of clear and unenchanted vision. This might seem like a stretch with the crisis we are experiencing, but this poem by Kitty O’Meara, that has gone ‘viral’ captures the essential experience that is possible even in the present distressing situation.

And the people stayed home
And the people stayed home.
And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art,
and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still.
And listened more deeply.
Some meditated, some prayed, some danced.
Some met their shadows.
And the people began to think differently.
And the people healed.
And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways,
the earth began to heal.
And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again,
they grieved their losses, and made new choices,
and dreamed new images,
and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully,
as they had been healed.
by Kitty O’Meara

We are being asked to do what we can to reduce the spread of the virus – or to reduce the speed of the spread and this means ‘social distancing’. Is that a new expression? It seems like something that has been an underlying force in the modern world working into our lives in many ways through technology and lifestyle – finally has an expression! It is a recommendation and a law in some places. A disturbing side effect of the current Corona virus is how it is pushing us at an increased magnitude in this direction. Schools are rushing to create online lessons, people are working from home. We are even more glued to our screens. Those of you that have read Rudolf Steiner’s lectures The Younger Generation will recognize in these phenomena a continuation and development of those forces working in the world that he could describe 100 years ago. Where will the social distancing gesture stop?

The social distancing and the increasing technology/screen/virtual existence wouldn’t be so bad if we didn’t lose sight and connection to the world outside – to our deep engagement with nature with the processes of nature.
I took this picture this morning of the Plane tree in my garden which is just bursting out of its buds. As well as the buds can you see the shapes of the branches swirling to some unseen energy? Some plants are quicker but there are many trees which are just budding now and we can watch them day by day as they unfold into the light and air. It is such a strong impression of health, vitality and trust. Nearby the wind machines are going in the vineyards at night and early morning, the propellers move the air to stop the new grape buds from freezing – it’s a delicate moment.

Loss of engagement with the forces and processes of nature is a virus too. It is spreading fast. There has been long and pervasive ‘nature distancing’ taking place in our society assisted by our technology and the creation of a very seductive virtual world. Outside right now there is fresh air and sun-light, budding plants and birds flitting in the branches of the trees, there are stars to be seen shining at night. None of these requires a screen.

It may not be helpful to speculate … but a number of well respected people have drawn our attention to the timing of this pandemic and the rolling out of 5G – the manifold in-crease in the amount of electro magnetic frequencies our bodies are subjected to. Rudolf Steiner gave a disturbing picture of our world being encased in a kind of spiders web of forces that would block out the healing, guiding spiritual forces that ray in to us from the stars and planets. Here is an advertising image from China with a disturbing replacement of the beauty and geometry of the starry world with 5G antennas and satellites.

In our program at BACWTT we prepare to become teachers of children. This is a position of responsibility and to a certain extent leadership in our society – a position many of us do not feel up to – especially when confronted with world events like those we are experiencing now. What do we know? Here is a verse that is helpful. It points us inwards to grow aspects of ourselves… and perhaps through that we may have something to offer.

For those who will to work with those who guide the future of humankind;
Bring forth spirit potentials in yourself
And so achieve the power to awaken dormant faculties in others
Cultivate the seed points,
Foster forces of growth,
Recognize future becoming.
Rudolf Steiner

I wish I could say….”and now let’s sing with Kristine” … or “play recorder with the music teachers”…..like I usually do.
Kenneth Smith, Director; BACWTT

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