Meditative Symbols from the Esoteric School 1906

Rudolf Steiner

Above is a page from Start Now! a book of soul and spiritual exercise, edited by Christopher Bamford. These meditative symbols were preseted in the Esoteric School of the German Chapter of the Theosophical soiciety. I used them as a prompt for discussion in my Design I class today, 1/26/2022. I have given two assignments using line as the main element. We looked at works of art that predominantly use line, talked about what line is, and how it conveys meaning and then began the two assignments. The first assignment was to divide the paper into three sections. The section on the left was to use staight lines, the section on the right, curved lines, and the one in the center a combination of the two. It is interesting to see how every student interprets this assignment.

In my own mind, I relate these ideas to Hegalian dialectic (thesis/antithesis/synthesis). This may seem symplistic but it lends order to my somtimes cluttered mind. It is also usful to see this exersize and other similar exersizes in relation to Steiner’s group sculpture, adding deapth to simplicity. I do not always tell my student’s everything I am thinking. It is a secular state run university and I do not want to overload my students from the start, nor do I want to trigger too many snap judgements on the part of my students.

I created my own rendering of Steiner’s diagram, seen below. I aranged them in two collumns to fit my paper, reading from top to bottom and frome left to right. I started with blue line because I was not ready to comit to a darker black line. I had intended to somehow incorporate color but the more I thought about using color, the more I was uncertain how to accurately associate color with each symbol. What colors would be appropriate. I think this would require a longer process of rendering each line symbol six times, one for each primary and secondary coler. In this way I could see how each color changes the way we might interpret the symbol. I may do this at some point but for now I am simply struck by the inherant power of each symbol alone.

  1. What is to disappear and to rise again out of ones dissappearance.

I talked to my students about how we can see these figures in nature. You can see the first in the flow of water and clouds, and apparrant vortexes in cosmic space. It can also be seen in flowforms: https://www.bohemianstoneworks.com/portfolio-item/flowforms/

This figure can be related to the life cycles in nature. That which arises from the earth, falls into decay, then disappears back into the earth to arise again in new forms. The most obvious example being the seed or seed pod. The essence of the plant disapears into the seed but rises again as a new plant often with subtle changes. In sleep, our soul and spirit nature dissappears into the spiritual cosmos then reappears again, revitalized upon waking. In death this process seems more permanent, and in one sense it is. We will never wake into this same body again, but as the cycles of time continue, our soul natuere is reinvested in a new form, in a new body and a new life. The spirit continues to act in the physical world both recycling the physical substances our old worn out bodies once contained, but also the spiritual soul substance that we helped to develop in the life we lived.

2. How does the point become a circle, and the circle a point?

3. What is inside, what is outside?

What is above, what is below?

What is matter, what is spirit?

What is substance,what is etheric?

4. What isd Astral?

5. How do the spirits of sensation work on the bearer of substance?

6. How does the turn occur in evolution?

(Involution-Evolution)

Picture this asif the lines were clasps made of fishbone, but at every moment resisted their position with all their strength.

(More on each figures later)

Christmas Eve, 2021 Brownsville TX

My wife in bed by eight, 

Asleep by ten. 

Now fireworks are going off like bombs. 

Earlier she thought it was the wind. 

My thoughts range… 

Move through, 

Sift memory, 

My life

The compost heap of failed attempts 

At living right. 

The righteous cling to hollowed empty forms. 

The young abandon what they’ve never known, 

Believers now  

In this religion  

Of apparent truth, 

The ghost that matter 

Cannot exorcise. 

Apparently, there is no other choice. 

We hear the boom and ascertain a source. 

My heart remembers and my mind recalls

There is no reason to be otherwise. 

She took a scalpel as I held her hand

We cut the reason from our severed brow. 

Youth’s sorrow never may abate 

Until we’ve loved 

And held that infant child

Until we,

Like him, 

Have given up our lives. 

That Joy be Born

That joy be born
From unseen worlds
And senses form
For light ensouled


A light the eye
May only see
By seeing light
The light has made.


I’ve not forgotten,
Years ago
I traveled to this joy’s abode
A place where
light and joy are all.


I almost entered there,
But was
Returned to where the light
Is mixed
with dark.


Revealing darkness


Though we fall
to weeping and despair
Light pours from there to here.


Even in the darkest night
The Sun replenishes the Earth


Awakens us to boundless joy
Calls us to act in steadfast love.

New Drawing of Rose Cross

Since I no longer have the Rose Cross painting that hung in my office for half a decade, I decided to draw a similar replacement to remind me of the 7-fold spirit nature of man and to not neglect my own spiritual practice. One iteration of this 7-fold nature is as follows.
Physical body (mineral)
Etheric body (plant/life body)
Astral body (animal/dream consciousness)
Ego or “I” (human)
Spirit Self – Manas
Life Spirit – Buddhi
Spirit Man – Atma

Paul’s writings teach a similar configuration though with differing terminology.

Revisiting the Representative of Humanity as Form and Color

Representative of Humanity Forms by Stephen Hawks

I have focused on the representative of Humanity, Group Sculpture in past works, both 2D and 3D. This is my most resent revisiting. This type of interpretation is indicative of the way I interpret Rudolf Steiner’s indications for a new spiritual investment in art and its understanding. It does not have to be a critical cudgel to dissect non anthroposophical art but a way to understand the spiritual strivings of all art.. When we experience art, we may also experience the artist, the context, and the intent. There may well be flaws, but that may not be the most important thing we should focus on in any art. In Accademia, critical thinking may sometimes make us loose site of the merit and meaning, or even value, of that which is imperfect.

The threefold experience of art has more to do with identifying spiritual realities in art than it does condemning that which is outside of our personal preferences. If we do so we are practicing similar tactics as fascist regimes in their censoring of art.

Edith Maryon

Edyth Maryon is best known for her work with Rudolf Steiner on the Representative of Humanity, the Group Sculpture with lucifer, Ahriman, and cosmic humor surrounding mim now in the 2nd Goetheanum,

The Representative of Humanity by Rudolf Steiner assisted by Edith Maryon

Most of her art, if it were done today, might not be considered Anthroposophical art. There is a distinct Neoclassical look to her work much like neoclassicists s of the 19th century, and to a lesser extent, similar to the Symbolists and Art Nouveau. However, she was drawn to Steiner, as many European artists were in the early 20th century, and was profoundly influenced by him, so much so that she dedicated her life to work with him on his artistic endeavors. This is yet another instance of an artist educated in art prior to her encounter with Anthroposophy yet lending her talents to the movement. Anthroposophical insights into artistic practice is just as important as anthroposophical art as a style or movement. This is a longer discussion, one which for me goes back to a keen study of the group sculpture and Steiner’s writings and lectures, not only on art, but on other subjects as well. I tell my students, that art reflects all aspects of human endeavor as well as all perceiving human perspectives. Anthroposophical art, is no different in this respect. If a person trains oneself, one can look at any work of art, and not merely critique the work from the standpoint of Anthroposophical concepts but nay be able to perceive the human experience behind the work and in the work. Why are we drawn to become artists, and if we are also called to become Anthroposophists, what then is our task as an artist? How are the two related?

Here is some more of her sculptural work:

OLYMPUS DIPlaster casts of eurythmy figures Edith Maryon, private collection
Reversible flaws supplement, made with plasticineGITAL CAMERA

The Pixies’ Ring
The Messenger of Death
La danse d’Anitra
Priestess of Isis

More of her work can be found at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Works_of_Edith_Maryon

More Biographical information can be found at https://reverseritual.com/2021/02/09/

Owen Barfield

Intellectual Soul Quality – 1997
Sentient Soul Quality – 19
Consciousness Soul Quality – 199
Imaginative Soul Quality – 200

The first work I ever read of Owen Barfield’s was given to me by my second oldest sister who did not know of his connection to Anthroposophy. It was a collection of his essays. What i remember from the book, is his observations on television advertisements, equating , for one, Mr. Clean, and the Jolly Green Giant with spiritual beings. I consequently bought his book Poetic Diction. I did not know that he also painted. I found some of his paintings at OwenBarfield.org. What I found most interesting were the images shown above, representing the Intellectual Soul Quality – 1997, Sentient Soul Quality – 1998, Consciousness Soul Quality – 1999, and Imaginative Soul Quality – 2000. They also seem to relate to the 20th century color field movement.

Larry Young

I have seen Larry Young’s work on the internet for a while and on Anthroposophical publications. It was good to finally connect the art to the artist. I was especially interested in his responses to an interview with David Benner of Cascadia Living Wisdom. Speaking of his Anthroposophical mentor, he says:

“Larry: When Karl and I first met I was angry from the war and addicted to drugs and alcohol. Basically I was a big bully. But Karl’s bigger presence made me intensely self-conscious and aware of my own shortcomings for the first time in my life. When I finally realized that people respected me as an artist but had no respect for me as a human being I was led to an epiphany. It happened one night after I learned that all my friends were having a party and I hadn’t been invited. As I sat in my car in front of their house trying to decide whether to go in and make a scene or go home and sulk, a car pulled up behind me. Their headlights flashed in my rear view mirror and I glanced up. What I saw instead of my own reflection was a specter, an arrogant caricature of a human being. I broke down in tears. I had seen myself as others saw me.”

This resonated with me, not because our life stories are similar, but because his path to Anthroposophy, like my own, has been difficult. The rewards have balanced out the difficulties. Steiner’s admonition that for every step forward in ones own spiritual development, one necessarily must also develop character and compassion rings true. I am also interested in Larry’s Art because it is not strictly speaking, Anthroposophical art but echoes Anthroposophical Arts connection to modernism with attention to color and simple abstraction. Anthroposophy informs the art and maybe that does make it Anthroposophical art. There is no set cannon or definition. even artists steeped in anthroposophical concepts and experiences are left free.

The following biographical information is from ANTHROPOSOPHY NYC website:

“Born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1944, Larry’s early childhood was spent isolated in a cornfield in rural Tennessee, on the outskirts of Nashville. At the age of 21, Larry served in Vietnam, and then returned home to study illustration, and graphic design. It wasn’t until his 30s that Larry would encounter his mentor Karl Voster and would find his introduction to the work of Rudolf Steiner. This encounter would change Larry Young’s life and immerse him in an ongoing exploration of spiritual science and art.

As a painter, Larry’s work is an exploration into the subtle dynamics of color following the artistic teachings of Rudolf Steiner. His paintings use narrative allegory and the human face to reveal inner human struggles, at once deeply personal and universally applicable.

Larry spent nine years working as a teacher at the Green Meadow Waldorf School in New York where he developed and refined the high school art curriculum based on the four-year unfolding of the adolescent body, soul, and spirit. He has led drawing, painting, and sculpture workshops, and taught courses on the role of art in community building: “The New Basics,” “The Four Temperaments,” “Art and Human Consciousness,” and “Art as an Antidote to Violence.”

Besides painting, Larry is a sculptor and photographer. He has shot and edited two documentary films: “Ana and Arthur” and “Carmen,” which were screened at the Hot Docs Film Festival in Toronto and the Vancouver International Film Festival.

He lives in Toronto with his wife and partner Kathie Young”

More of his work can be seen at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/46654381@N03/albums/72157712436322147

I am always pleased to seen new work and consider posting it for this site. It does not have to be just visual art. I would like also to receive information about connections between Anthroposophy and artists work. Due to my work as a Teacher, the posts are sometimes far apart in time.

Ten Economic Insights of Rudolf Steiner

Ten Economic Insights of Rudolf Steiner

Posted on 

By C. Otto ScharmerPUBLISHED IN WINTER 2019 | COMMENTS 0

https://www.kosmosjournal.org/kj_article/rethinking-economics/

I have written about Steiner’s economic ideas in the past. The above link is a good place to start to understand what those are. As artists we still have some part in the economic sphere Though we are spiritual laborers like priests and educators, and must think differently about how to fund art without compromising the freedom we need in the cultural sphere.