Threefold Education Foundation, Spring Valley, New York
May 25-28, 2023
The Anthroposophical Society is fast approaching the one hundred mark of the Christmas Conference of 1923/24. That re-founding of the Society set a newly inspired direction for the individuals who came from various Country Societies, who then brought those impulses back to their respective countries. Even back then, Rudolf Steiner perceived that there could be a sense of separation between the Society and the Initiatives in the emerging movement. In his lecture cycle Awakening to Community (Lecture 3, February 6, 1923), partially in preparation for the Christmas Conference, he spoke these words:
It is time to be absolutely serious about anthroposophical work, and all the single movements must work together to achieve this goal. We cannot rest content to have a separate Waldorf School movement, a separate movement for Religious Renewal, a separate movement for…. Each will flourish only if all feel they belong to the anthroposophical movement.
The May Meeting of the Movement arose as a result of the following question: Can we, 100 years later, find our way to the integrated whole that Rudolf Steiner intended? A beginning response to this question was made with members of the current: North American Collegium of the School for Spiritual Science, the Country Society Councils of the US and Canada, Class Holders from regions in North America (Canada, US east/central/west, Mexico) and the Council of Anthroposophical Organizations. The request was made specifically for individuals from those groups who felt the need for this re-envisioning of our movement. Each of the Section representatives from the Collegium was asked to bring a second person from their Section. We were also honored to have two members of the Goetheanum Leadership present to witness and support our process. This meeting was envisioned not as an end but rather as a beginning to re-imagine and re-enliven our movement and to be more aligned with its spiritual origins, as exemplified by the Christmas Conference.
Over the last one hundred years, much truly good work has been done in all fields of anthroposophical endeavor. Yet, leaders in various groups have been aware that we are fragmented across the anthroposophical movement, which is what Rudolf Steiner intended to remedy with the re-founding of the Anthroposophical Society. The Christmas Conference imagination had the School for Spiritual Science at its core, with Sections that reach from the inner schooling, through the Anthroposophical Society, and right into the practical work in all realms of life.
Members of the Society have supported the creation of numerous leadership groups and councils, each carrying a particular part of the Society’s work but effectively unconnected to the other parts. The primary purpose of this May’s meeting was to start a process to re-form ourselves into a living, breathing organism with the unified purpose of nurturing the human soul, which is even more obviously under attack in our time than it was when Rudolf Steiner made it the focus of the first statute of the newly formed Society. The School for Spiritual Science provides a common moral path for all to tread who will to represent anthroposophy in life in order to transform our civilization on the basis of knowledge of the spirit.
One of the current challenges of our anthroposophical movement is that, through the separation of the School for Spiritual Science from the various fields of work in the world and their attendant administrative organizations, the outer practical work has become more and more disconnected from Rudolf Steiner as teacher and anthroposophy as the source of inspiration.
To be effective in meeting the challenges of the world, we are moving toward more coherence across the movement. We came to recognize that, while there was agreement on this need, the processes would not be easy and some changes would be required. Further, we will need to find pathways for all members of the Anthroposophical Society with its School for Spiritual Science and anyone working in initiatives with an interest in an anthroposophical worldview to be included in the inevitable shifts.
There were no conclusions from the meeting or specific action plans. Those are ahead of us. There was, however, an amazing alignment of intentions to continue working toward coherence through our respective groups and through cultivating relationships across the individuals and groups. We were a diverse group, across generations, countries, cultures, and experiences. Within an inviting space, good will, real conversation, and a letting go of answers, the future of the Society in North America showed itself as a warming glimmer.
The May meeting was blessed with a performance of the Foundation Stone Meditation by Eurythmy Spring Valley to which the entire Threefold Community was invited. Working with The Foundation Stone Meditation was a red thread through the meeting and is clearly as meaningful and powerful now as it was nearly one hundred years ago. More details and reverberations from the meeting will be forthcoming, even as a carrying group further imagines the processes needed to sustain the enthusiasm that was so clearly present at the gathering itself.