From the General Secretary: “working out of a Michaelic attitude”

December 2019

Dear Members and Friends, 

The fall has been a very full, a time of harvest and harmony, a time of protest and celebration, and a time of reconsidering our history. The Society’s October gathering in Atlanta, Georgia, Facing Each Other, opened by bringing together the images of Rudolf Steiner, Marjorie Spock, and Martin Luther King, Jr. on the ceremonial table. Their images, their ideals, and all that they stood for and accomplished were a presence throughout the gathering via verses, quotes and speeches. They inspired depth, honesty, openness, moral technique, and right action, each in an integrated and universal way. There will be perspectives from this gathering included in the upcoming issue of being human. The gathering also included our more formal Annual General Meeting, at which we presented the state of the Society and its budget, and, further, engaged in dialogue with members present. There were also some informal gatherings, one of which brought together initiatives that are diving into aspects of building the future of anthroposophical life, especially for the rising generations. Personally, this was inspiring as we know how important it is to the future of the anthroposophy and the Society to pay deep attention to emerging leadership their needs and who these initiative takers are serving.

Not long after the US Society’s gathering, I left for Dornach, Switzerland, for the fall meeting of the General Secretaries, Country Representatives and Goetheanum Leadership at the Goetheanum. These meetings are always inspiring, insightful, and world-wide community building. This November, twenty-four country Societies were represented. The leitmotif of this meeting was “working out of a Michaelic attitude,” based on a shared study the Michael Mystery, written by Rudolf Steiner in 1924-5.

Ueli Hurter, Leader of the Agricultural Section, introduced the topic with a challenge and a short response: What can we contribute to the challenges of our time? In the spirit of world consciousness, we recognize that there is little distinction between the outer environment and our inner condition. Polluting the earth then is polluting the self. What is the data saying and what is the spiritual reality — particularly from the point view of the time spirit Michael? How do we bridge spirit (Michael’s realm) and the material world (which Michael cannot touch)? That is a human challenge to meet with equanimity. And, it is an expression of a Michaelic attitude to be able to stand in this tension in trust.

Following this lively challenge there were additional contributions by country representatives over the three days. These contributions moved us from the individual view to Society, to the world at large. I must say that it is a particular joy to benefit from my colleagues’ insights. While there is not space to give you a thorough picture of the short presentations and follow on conversations, I will try to characterize some of the highlights as food for thought.

We began with Mats-Ola Ohlsson [Sweden] who presented an historical overview of power of monarchy and the power of nature forces in Sweden and the importance of Stockholm to Rudolf Steiner’s work. Through a Michaelic spirit, a deeply human impulse could be brought into culture though the creation of places to gather in conversation and engage in processes of reconciliation. It was unusual for a monarchy to foster a “revolution of humility,” a phrase used by Bishop Thomas.

This presentation was followed by David Fairclough [Ireland] who spoke about the Hibernian Mysteries in the context of today. He characterized two streams—one of science and one of art that unite in the Christ experience of the I am. The first stream he called knowledge that lacks being. This stream posits absolute truth, is self-restoring, and is experienced through the twelve senses. The second stream he identified as fantasy without truth, which one holds and experiences through an impression or image. This stream is connected to the pursuit of happiness and is foundational to art. The Michaelic attitude is to hold a unity of both streams.

Dr. Erich Šašinka [Slovakia] brought a very modern picture out his work teaching information technology. While it is possible simply to engage with the technical skills necessary to code and manage data, he asks his students to understand and weigh the moral and ethical issues connected with artificial intelligence, for instance. The purpose is to awaken a certain consciousness, to ask the hard and human questions about the consequences and effects of the technological world. He asked us to ponder the following: If a driverless car hits a pedestrian, who is at fault?

The spiritualization of thinking was the topic that Vlad Popa [Romania] addressed, and then for each of us to ask: In what stream do I stand? Am I able to lift human thinking up to the spirit? Through the event of the Mystery of Golgotha, Michael was able to establish a Michael School on earth. This has played an important part in the evolution of consciousness and has made it possible though our own efforts to move from intellectual thinking to morphological thinking to the threshold of spiritual thinking. The attainment of real freedom arises through the sacrifice of our own freedom to the being of Christ.

You can imagine, I hope, the depth of conversations about the Michaelic attitude elicited by these thoughtful presentations. The true spirit of inquiry was quite alive and focused through the days. The quality of community and of our shared leadership for the wellbeing of humanity as a field of warmth across the world is both inspiring and energizing for me. In many ways any of us working out of Rudolf Steiner’s ideas and ideals, regardless of geography, experience, culture, whether a formal member of the Society or not, share in holding this warmth as an antidote to the stresses of daily life. And, deepening one’s work in anthroposophical meditative practice supports being ever more actively engaged in and responsible for that warmth with an awareness of the Michaelic impulse.

I encourage you to subscribe to and read Anthroposophy Worldwide to keep up with all that is going in the Society. We, US members and friends, are part of global effort to cultivate a Michaelic attitude as a way to meet the future with positivity.

Wishing you an inspiring Adventide on behalf of the Council and Leadership Team,

John Bloom
General Secretary

Leave a Comment