Conference at Heartbeet Lifesharing
By Tiemen Woutersen (with major contributions to
this report from the speakers).
On October 9-10, 2004 we met at Heartbeet Lifesharing, in Hardwick,
Heartbeet is a 160-acre biodynamic farm that provides respite and
a permanent residence for developmentally disabled individuals.
Hannah Schwartz and Jonathan Gilbert manage this farm. This was
the 5thconference that has been organized by this group, which plans
bi-annual conferences. Although these gatherings focus on youth,
there is no limit set for participation. Anyone who feels drawn
to the content of the conference may take part in the weekend.
This time the theme of the conference was An Introduction to Rudolf
Steiner’s Spiritual Scientific Research into the Nature of
Christianity. Recommended reading was the lecture cycle by Rudolf
Steiner on the Gospel of Luke. Four lectures were offered.
Steve Usher gave the first lecture of the conference and presented
an overview of Rudolf Steiner’s lectures on the Gospel of
Luke. He began with the observation that it is difficult to speak
of Christianity in our time because civilization has developed enormous
prejudices toward it. The materialistic scholarship of the 19th
and 20th centuries propounds ideas such as, “there never was
an historical Jesus,” or alternatively there was such a “simple
man of Nazareth” who has managed, by some amazing sociological
formula, to capture people’s fantasy for two thousand years.
More recent prejudices run the spectrum from, “Christianity
is the religion of closed minded right-wing people” to “Christianity
is the tradition that created a disregard for the environment and
a will to dominate the world.” It is much easier to speak
to a spiritually minded audience about Buddhism than about Christianity.
After a request to put prejudice aside and imagine we were about
to hear something completely new, the following thought was presented:
a central concept to grasp esoteric Christianity, is that, a solar
being, a being from the Sun known as the Christ, united Himself
with the body of Jesus of Nazareth at the Baptism in Jordan. For
the next three years, this Solar being lived upon the earth as a
man. Those three years are rightly understood as His embryological
period. At the Mystery of Golgotha, when Jesus Christ died on the
cross, the Christ was born into the earth and since then He has
been the Spirit of the Earth Who will remain with men for the rest
of earth evolution.
The history of these events consists, on the one hand, of the preparation
of Jesus to be a worthy vessel for the Sun Christ and, on the other,
of the life of the God-man, Jesus Christ, Who for the three years
walked the earth, and Who continues to work as the Spirit of the
The Gospel of Luke, if investigated by means of spiritual science,
reveals deep and moving pictures of both aspects of this history.
The lecture considered many details including the roles in the unfolding
events of the Gautama Buddha, Zarathustra, the founder of the ancient
Persian religion, and the Adam Kadmon soul. It also considered a
central aspect of Christianity, namely, that Christ brought the
power of love to the ego such that the ego could overflow with love.
Love existed before but only at the level of the astral body and
soul. Christ made it possible for love to become a possession of
the ego and this has the greatest implications for the future.
Els Woutersen then spoke about “Christ and Inner Development”.
The Gospel of Luke and the Gospel of John were written out of different
levels of perception into the supersensible world. Whereas the “eyewitnesses
and ministers, or servants, of the Word” wrote the Luke Gospel,
the Gospel of John describes the mysteries of Christ as imbued with
the Inner Word or Logos.
The old Christian path of initiation was based on the Gospel of
John. On this path there would be an intense preparation that would
lead to the development of certain feelings to a very high degree
and to an experience of the seven different stages of Christian
initiation. The events that are described in the Gospel of John
then became an inner experience of the soul. This path is now only
accessible to those who have developed their feeling life to a high
The Rosicrucian path of schooling is a further development of the
Christian path of schooling appropriate for this time. We are able
to perform our outer duties and activities and let everything that
we develop spiritually flow into the physical plane. By developing
a strong and living thinking to a high degree along this path, we
can use our thinking when we have perceptions in the spiritual world.
Because one does not see luciferic or ahrimanic beings in the sensory
world, one is not led astray by them and can develop a healthy strong
thinking without being distracted or confused.
When we are prepared to enter the spiritual world we will meet two
guardians. The Lesser Guardian of the Threshold is mostly made up
of the results of our own past actions, feelings and thoughts. After
we have recognized in this being the things from which we need to
free ourselves, we meet the Greater Guardian of the Threshold. The
Greater Guardian of the Threshold will become the ideal toward which
we strive. If we can inwardly feel that the Greater Guardian is
the ideal toward which we strive, then we recognize that the Greater
Guardian is the Christ. The Christ is the great ideal of humanity
on earth and we can only unite with Him when we have offered up
our own gifts and talents so that all humanity has reached the same
Sherry Wildfeuer gave a talk entitled, “How Can I Find the
Christ in and for Myself?” She began by acknowledging that
the rejection of Christianity so common to spiritually striving
young people today is a healthy reaction to the popular versions
distorted by sentimentality, dogmatic morality, or academic materialism.
She shared her own youthful path to agnosticism, which was intellectually
liberating, but lacked substance that could provide nourishment
and insight in the face of life’s trials. For her, it was
a great relief to meet Anthroposophy, insofar as Rudolf Steiner
lays a foundation in his philosophical writings by addressing the
question: How can I know anything for sure? He describes how human
knowledge is the consonance of experience that comes from two directions:
perception and thinking. Two questions we each may ask ourselves
are: 1) What are the perceptions to which I must apply my active
thinking in order to know the truth of Christ for sure? 2) What
thoughts will enable me to perceive Christ in myself? She described
the process of initiation in the ancient Mystery Centers, which
led the striving pupils to die to the temporal aspects of life and
be re-born through the transformative experience of the imagination
of the eternal aspect of being. They taught that the Father God
had sacrificed Himself into the things of the manifest world; that
the Mother dwells in the deep longing of the soul to unite with
the divine; and that the Son of God, or Logos, can be born in the
human soul through this union. Indeed, this birth is our calling
as human beings. In Jesus, the Logos entered not merely as image
but as the actual Power of Love, making this available for all human
beings and for the life of nature.
Sherry spoke of Christ as the Lord of Karma, Who accompanies us
as we die through the painful process of disillusionment and gradually
develop, through our inner effort, those capacities of soul and
spirit, which have their root in the eternal. She shared some personal
and archetypal experiences from her own journey, culminating with
the Imagination of the Woman Clothed with the Sun. And she showed
that we can each find in our own soul the woman travailing in birth,
the child that will shepherd with a rod of iron, the dragon that
would devour the child as soon as it would be born, and Michael,
who would defend the child. Sherry ended her talk by recognizing
the Michaelic deed of Rudolf Steiner, who, through his spiritual
scientific investigation, has offered us truthful thoughts about
the life and history of the being of Christ.
Beth Usher then talked about “Occult Physiology: Blood and
the Awakening Ego”. The evolution of the blood begins with
the warmth of Ancient Saturn. Saturn still exists within us today
as the warmth of our blood. Blood first became warm during the Lemurian
period of Earth evolution. The circulation of the blood appeared
when the warmth ether united with the outer warmth of the physical
Earth. The Ego, which first entered man when he began to breathe
air, works in the circulating blood by way of the warmth organism.
In the new book, Das Herz des Menschen, Dr. H.C. Kummell differentiates
the ego’s activity in relation to warmth and uprightness.
As warmth leads to the inner experience of the self and its inner
identity, so uprightness leads the self in relation to the outer
Blood was originally to have become matter “just to the extent
of being materially perceptible.” As it shot back to the spiritual,
a flashing up of light would have given the human being his only
sense perception: the perception of the ego. This experience would
have given us a highly refined social sense, because the ego was
to have been the sevenfold Jahve, the countenance of Christ, rather
than our single individual ego, standing alone as we know it today.
The Fall from Paradise changed this. As the human being fell, he
left behind the life of his nervous system in the cosmos. The Christ
brought this life from the cosmos back to the human being beginning
at the Baptism. Life returned, though not to the nerve, but to the
Embryology shows that on the nineteenth day the blood begins to
move. This is the first quickening of the incarnating ego. The heart
forms from the moving of the blood. Rudolf Steiner has said “it
is outrageous to speak of a heart pump.” If the blood moves
before the heart, what is the heart for? We can turn to Rudolf Steiner’s
picture of the etherization of the blood for this. Ehrenfried Pfeiffer
speaks of this etherized substance, this new substance that streams
out of the human heart, as that out of which a new cosmos will be
Rudolf Steiner speaks of blood as the real issue in the fight for
an individual’s soul between good and evil. Thinking the wrong
thoughts about the heart materializes culture, even materializes
the heart. Moral ideals stimulate the warmth organism, producing
in the air organism sources of light. By way of warmth, all this
becomes active which we then inwardly experience as the moral. By
returning through the moral to warmth, we come full circle to the
blood warmth from Saturn. This is a new way to think of the circulation
of the blood.
Beth Usher also gave beautiful eurythmy performances of “The
Zend Avesta-Hymn to the Sun” and “The Michael Imagination.”
She also offered two eurythmy lessons.
There were 47 participants from as far as California, North Carolina
and Canada as well as from the mid-Atlantic and New England areas.
The foliage around us was beautiful with deep red, orange, and yellow
leaves; the food that was prepared with organic produce from Heartbeet
Conferences that are truly uplifting are quite rare. What really
helped here was that many participants had lived with the content
for several months; the lecturers were very knowledgeable, the organization
by Rachel and Hannah Schwartz was very good; and the workers at
Heartbeet created a special, moral mood. Together, this formed the
basis for penetrating the Luke Gospel, the mystery of the blood,
as well as the path of inner schooling.
The next conference at Heartbeet Lifesharing
will be May 28-29, 2005. For more information contact Rachel
Schwartz. For more information on Heartbeet
Reports: Heartbeet •
Youth Conference • Eurythmy