Site Map: MAIN / A Reader's Journal, Vol. 2 This Page
Reminiscences of Rudolf Steiner
Like Us? Subscribe to Receive a Monthly Email
Reminder of New Reviews & New DIGESTWORLD Issues — CLICK
Three marvelous Russian artists share their personal memories of the time they spent with Rudolf Steiner. Andrei Belyi was a prominent Russian poet, novelist and essayist. Assya Turgenieff was the wife of Belyi and did the engraving on the blue, green, violet, red, and peach-colored windows of the second Goetheanum (See Below). She used an engraving tool designed by Rudolf Steiner after a dentist's drill -- the deeper she cut into the glass, the more light poured through. At right is a reproduction of Ganymede, one of the windows that she engraved an image upon. One can only imagine the beauty of the light pouring through the artwork of this colored glass. Margarita Voloschin, was a Russian painter of distinction when she began working under Rudolf Steiner's direction on the first Goetheanum. She returned to Russia during the Revolution and only made it back to Dornach the day after the first Goetheanum burnt down and was never able to see her efforts in the finished building. Pull up a chair, pour yourself a hot cup of tea and listen as these great artists share their reminiscences of Rudolf Steiner. Nothing that Steiner himself wrote can quite prepare you for the experience of the man Rudolf Steiner that the delicate sensibilities of the Slavic heart will soulfully share with you.
Was this an easy thing for them to do? Listen in on how Andrei Belyi (Bee-ay-lee) begins:
[page 7] Nothing of what I record here can convey a really true impression of Rudolf Steiner. More than once I attempted to write down my recollections, but each time it has ended in a fiasco. . . . After this threefold shipwreck of my 'intention-filled attempts,' I have decided on an informally sketched disorder of impressions of the Doctor, and I shall indiscriminately collect together important and minor reminiscences.
Steiner had a stern face -- it is the only way to describe it if one deals with his photographs. Rarely does one glimpse even a hint of a smile on that face. When we got our first Schnauzer, I named him, Steiner, because he had a stern face that reminded me of Rudolf Steiner. Belyi tells us that behind that stern face was an incredible kindness. Kahlil Gibran once said, "Work is love made visible." To Steiner his love was made visible in his work, not in his words or his face.
[page 8] I only want to express his irresistible kindness. Its force did not express itself in gestures or spoken words, he never said, "I love, I feel." He made love visible indirectly, a faintly noticeable glowing sun-warmth around his mouth, around his eyes, that outlasted years and bore fruit in moments of despondency. He had, as it were, a therapeutic smile; the countenance blossomed in the abundance of perfect love into a barely discernible rose-exuding fragrance. He only 'bestowed' a smile, but one felt that one had nothing of the kind to give him in return. He had the gift of 'the smile' -- though he was never a charmer -- the faculty for direct expression from the heart. A giant of the power of kindness! His smile could have had a smothering effect had he not tempered it down when necessary. Many knew his sunny smile; we spoke of it. One must speak about it, for not a single photograph of his reflects it.
Steiner was like the officer who carries the "football" -- the briefcase with the nuclear launch codes chained to his arm for the president of the USA -- what he carried was so important that his face expressed the very importance of his precious cargo.
[page 29] Steiner carried with him something stern and great, something so great that he appeared stern. He could not put down this greatness that he carried within himself - anywhere. Imagine something like this: Someone comes from a distant land with an immense, precious load. He comes to give it away, but it becomes evident that those who are to receive the priceless gift have no place ready where he can lay it down.
The "place" for this gift has been cluttered up during years of drowsiness; the failure of the recipients foils the purpose of the gift. And this someone must remain standing with his precious burden although he almost breaks under its crushing weight. He must hold onto it though he thirsts to put it down for the sake of the others.
Steiner was no Hamlet -- he was never indecisive when it came to life. He never poured energy into those who let their fatigue speak for them, such as when Belyi told him, "My energies are failing; circumstances are against me." He ignored Belyi's complaints, knowing that Belyi's "soul had not yet sufficiently matured in comprehension."
[page 11] However, in moments when life took on forms that were expressions of happenings within the soul, when the question of "to be or not to be" posed itself, then Steiner resolutely intervened in the course of providence with a courageous, energy-bestowing "Be!" And the collision culminated in catharsis.
Below Belyi gives us a sharp example of such a catharsis that followed a long period of "severe mental struggles" accompanied by "reproach" in Steiner's countenance. Belyi later figured out that Steiner "wanted me to uncover the root of the evil within myself by my own efforts."
[page 11] One day during a concert, an image of myself arose before me; full of bitterness I was ready to give up. Suddenly, in the first row, Steiner rose and looked right at me in such a way that this moment of self-recognition became enlightening.
Steiner always showed up at the right time, and was nowhere to be found at other times, even though you knew he was all over the place and you lived right across the street from him. This phenomenon reminded Belyi of Steiner's words:
[page 12] When an inspiration becomes active within us, our muscles pull us all on their own to the right spot where destiny awaits us.
The term MPD or "Multiple Personality Disorder" does not account for the normal human being who has multiple personalities roaming about within in a regular order. It's only when there is no center "I am" directing traffic of the multiple personalities that we can rightly use the term MPD to refer to someone. Steiner appears as multiple personalities with a strong central "I am" to Belyi:
[page 13] Steiner's elasticity, his ability to change within half an hour, was unbelievable. He possessed the gift of coordinating the expressions of many personalities, all living within him, into a unity, into an organization of personalities, a collegium. This collegium of personalities, out of which each individual one revealed itself freely and sincerely without limitations, was distinguished by a perfected individual style. The individuality was none other than the higher self of the Doctor . . . [his] 'Manas'.
This next paragraph takes lyrical flight and must not be omitted from our eavesdropping on Belyi's afternoon tea conversation.
[page 13] The 'Manas' of the Doctor -- it is the snowy brilliance in front of the abyss of the firmament. But the Doctor moved about freely on all the soul levels below Manas, in the zone of the tempests as well as on the flowering meadows. From the dimension of storms he threw lightning bolts, he gathered flowers on the meadow; these zones were always alive in him . . .
Steiner could be hard on people at times, such as when students came late to classes in spiritual science at the Goetheanum. He said very clearly in his reasons from excluding them from the class, "either one wants to come or one doesn't want to come, but under no circumstances is one allowed to disturb the concentration of those present. He who does not understand this proves that for him the time to work esoterically has not yet come." This idea of knowing when the time is right shows up again when Belyi's wife, Assya Turgenieff, tried to pluck up the courage to ask Steiner a question, "Herr Doctor, must I . . .?"
[page 85, italics added] "You must?" he interrupted me. "You must nothing at all. Ask yourself whether you want to, then you ought to as well, for want and ought are one and the same -- one and the same," he repeated. So my question remained unanswered.
With this type of response, the answer came only years later, whether to Belyi or to Assya or to others whom Steiner interacted with on a daily basis in his life.
Andrei and Assya were married and later divorced. I have no idea when this occurred in relation to their interactions with Steiner, but you can read this next passage by Andrei and judge for yourself whether Steiner's attitude towards marriage may have had an impact on their decision to separate.
[page 16, 17] In daily life he [Steiner] was free and independent, and he welcomed all independence. It was whispered that he destroyed marriages. This criticism, like any distortion, was not altogether unfounded. The falsity of middle-class marriage that is no marriage at all, but an arrangement upon a sexual or economic basis, made him indignant. Ungenuine middle-class marriages burst at every seam when they came in contact with Anthroposophy. He did not take people who separated out of a love of freedom and drag them back by the ears into marriage. Every true marriage he greeted with enthusiasm.
In this next passage we catch hints of Steiner's multiple personality organization, how he blow hot and then cold to all who observed the matter only on the physical plane.
[page 28, 29] The Doctor of this evening after the meeting lives in my recollections as a radiant, joyful person, almost like a child; perhaps I have never experienced him so cheerful as then. But the Doctor of the meeting remains in my memories as one who threatens, icily and without pity. Such icy contempt as on that evening I, anyway, had never before witnessed. The interval between the icy coldness and the cheerfulness was the time it took to walk from the Dornach hill down to the Villa Hansi, exactly five minutes. And in these five minutes Steiner's being had transformed itself. During the meeting he was one personality, in his home a totally different one. Both had revealed themselves in absolute independence of each other, sincerely and completely; the point at which they met lay, if one wants to put it that way, beyond the field of our gaze above the storm-zone -- in the brilliance of snowy white summits, in Manas!
This next image of Steiner carrying the Holy Grail in front of him wherever he went reminded me of the legend of St. Kevin, an Irish saint who practiced the cross vigil with his arms extended so intensely that when a pair of birds flew into it, he kept his arms extended until they had built a nest, laid eggs, hatched the young ones, and flew away.
[page 30] All through his life, the Doctor carried the Grail before him. As he walked and even as he slept, he lifted up his tired arms supporting the Grail. This is the reason for the tone of sternness and the seal of suffering, an unbearable suffering caused by the impossibility of bringing to realization what he carried within himself. This sternness was, in a manner of speaking, the background of all the expressions of his soul. All these expressions had the effect of being out of keeping with the background of his life's mission. Everything peripheral stood out with particular sharpness and seemed so foreign that it gave me an inner shock; and the more he behaved in an outward manner, the more severely I felt shaken.
Steiner understood egotism and was not intent on extirpating it, but rather of directing it in the proper direction. He did not throw out the baby with the bath water, only the bath water. He dried and cleaned off the baby Ego (the youngest of the four human bodies of physical, etheric, astral, and Ego), making it sparkling clean and ready to tackle the job of the Spirit head on.
[page 30, 31] Rudolf Steiner felt that the battle with self-love was not a matter of destroying the roots of egotism, but rather of correcting its deformities. Egotism is rooted in the ego, the ego in the spirit; the forces of the ego are submerged, compressed into the individual person. In a positive development, egotism becomes purified of its poison by virtue of the ego's discovery of itself in the place where formerly it had only found a "you" or a "he"; now the "you" could become the "I". The ascetic mortification of egotism by means of moral dogmas, mere dogmas, is equivalent to the maceration of sex through self-chastisement. The discovery of the point at which egotism is justified, Steiner saw as the goal of our wrestling bout with the realm of the personal. "Even though someone," he said, "may have started along the path to. truth out of petty egotism, that is not so important. It is only important that when he enters the sphere of truth, he either leaves it or, if he decides to remain there, must relinquish his limited 'personal life'!"
This explains why, for a time, he not only tolerated pronounced egotists in his vicinity, but even turned his chief attention to them. He believed in the alchemy of self-knowledge; he knew that in some cases the path to truth leads through the visible emergence of a hidden vice. He had more understanding for sins born of activity than for those of laziness, indolence and prosperity. Occasionally weird, strange people turned up in the Anthroposophical Society, and he tolerated them as long as they did not inundate the Society. Of them, too, he expected the miracle of transformation.
Whether weird, strange people inundate the Society today in the absence of Steiner's intolerance, I'll leave as a homework exercise. Often in my interactions with members of the Society, I've felt like telling them to get their crown chakra out of their root chakra and laugh a little. Not surprisingly they act as though Herr Doktor would have never told them such a thing!
[page 31] He did not tolerate any self-satisfaction in merely following traditional virtues. He was in the habit of saying, "It is better to think wrongly than not to think at all," by which he meant the ethics, not the logic involved. He considered thoughtlessness the worst of all sins. The thought that comes to a stand-still is a habit; a habit that stagnates is an instinct; the firmly rooted instinct is death. Steiner wanted to liberate at least our thoughts in order to halt the death process in ourselves. All stagnation he considered retrogression and deterioration; and this deterioration begins with the feeling of self-satisfaction in traditional virtues.
In his opinion, some anthroposophists had "not been thinking" if they believed that through Anthroposophy everything would become clear and readily surveyable. He had stormed against such "exalted spirituality" in Dornach: "It just won't do -- to have you running about constantly with such blissful faces and meditating, meditating, meditating! You could at least organize a group to further your education! Or simply sit down together and laugh a little and parody each other!"
Belyi claimed that the question of greatness was not appropriate in Steiner's case, that he had seen many a "great person" in his life "in whom he had not discovered anything special." This next metaphor is apt -- I cannot think of a better one myself. If any one wonders how Steiner writing and lecturing 100 years ago can have any effect today -- "after all, he's only a drop in the bucket of all that's been written and said about the spiritual world" -- then one should keep in mind Belyi's splendid metaphor of the barrel of gunpowder:
[page 48] The spark that falls into the powder barrel is tiny -- the powder barrel is large. The Doctor is the tiny spark that causes great upheavals.
This next piece of advice is one that I whole-heartedly agree with. I and find Belyi's statement of the case very compelling and would like to share it with you. "There is too much of speaking about the Spirit" and not enough of the "Speaking with the Spirit." That would be my synopsis of his point. To speak about the Spirit is to deaden the Spirit. The Spirit is pure process and to laden it with content is to leaden it, to fill it with materialism. In the next passage, I would replace the adverb "concretely" with "directly" so that the point is driven home without a mixed metaphor that we must speak in the Spirit at all times if we would communicate the Spirit.
[page 49] Rudolf Steiner has often repeated: we speak about the spiritual path, we speak about the spirit; we speak continually about, about and about something. This about is too little. We must attempt to communicate the spirit concretely. Speaking with spiritual ability about the spirit only drives the spirit out and is a detour to materialism. He himself spoke otherwise. And entirely otherwise when he spoke about the Christ.
And entirely otherwise when he spoke through his heart about the Jesus Child in the manger.
[page 50] With what a clear, loving smile he spoke of the Jesus Child who, in the power of his helplessness, lay in the manger upon which Ahriman's sword was shattered. -- Then he was entirely heart. . . .
When the First World War broke out, the students of Rudolf Steiner represented all of the major nations involved in the conflict: British, German, Poles, French, and Russian. The arguments about who was right followed the themes put forth in the newspapers and everyone looked for Steiner to tell them who was right. They waited in vain for him to tell them the truth, but instead he only pointed to the untruths spread by the press. Still they waited for gesture to help them make sense of it all. Andrei tells us it came in a workshop (Schreinerei) they all attended. Steiner poured out the spirit of the various countries and transformed the atmosphere from one of war to one of peace.
[page 56] One such gesture lay for me in his five lectures concerning the essence of culture which he held in our Schreinerei in November. They contained living representations from Italian, French, English, and German culture Campanella, the 17th century in France, the German "Frenchman" in Steiner's depiction, Leibnitz, Shakespeare, Newton, Schiller, and Goethe. An image of Russia arose -- the Russia that is striving towards the future, the kingdom of the spirit. Everybody was enthused the French, the Austrians, Germans and Russians. The Doctor had succeeded in smoothing the waves of nationalistic passion by pointing out the unity that all great culture has in common. In the light of his words we once again turned to one another; the oppressive atmosphere was transformed. Later on other infections appeared, but the nationalistic fever was once and for all overcome; from then on, the members of the various nations at war with one another lived in peace.
This next passage is rather cryptic, but again Belyi soars in a lyrical flight of fancy and communication that is breath-taking. Any one who has read works such as Steiner's "Riddles of Philosophy" has experienced what it's like to be put into lush pasture after lush pasture, to be exposed to such nutritious verdure that its very exuberance of choices completely confound one. Surely Steiner is the shepherd who makes us to walk into these green pastures . . .
[page 66, 67] I want to repeat so as to make it unmistakably clear: The Doctor had brilliant things to say about Gnosis and the Christ; that is well known. But anyone who has not himself experienced Steiner cannot really form any idea of what took place in our hearts: "He was more heart than head." He was inspiration, not only imagination. His words about the Christ were inspirations -- heart-thoughts that transformed hearts more than the heads.
When the Doctor spoke about the Christ, his head was silent; he spoke out of the sun-filled heart. The words of his lecture cycles on Christ are like an exhalation - not of oxygen, but of carbon dioxide, the symbol of mysterious life processes. . . .
The doctor stood "close to the door," but not to this door, the wooden door toward which the heads turned. One ran one's head against the wood - and lost consciousness. But there was another door - the heart -- and it was to that door he called us. . . .
You might think, "Nonsense! What doors is he talking about?"
I speak of those doors through which you shall not enter as long as you have not changed your whole world. One must speak of it differently, without the acrobatics of theoretical knowledge, without Ahriman, without ahrimanizing, without the condescending smile that has become customary meanwhile in our circles.
That is how Steiner spoke, and so, too, his student Michael Bauer. "Thou art our letter, written in our heart," says the apostle. -- Without the language of the heart -- silence. . . .
The Doctor and the Christ theme: In the end, everything that he has said leads toward the theme of "Christus." All the gifts he brought to unfolding are, with infinite reverence, offered up to the Christ theme. The multiform unfolding of anthroposophical culture is Steiner's "silence." The Doctor traveling from city to city -- the Doctor who builds bridges from the social question to art, from art to natural science, from there to the tasks of pedagogy -- is the Doctor who is silent concerning the essential. This culture is a brilliant tapestry of outlooks, of vistas that can cause dizziness. One cannot help but ask, "Is all this splendor meant to be a field for man's activity?"
The field of Christ is one of the magnificent fields that this Good Shepherd, Rudolf Steiner, has led humankind into, and we are free to graze or to turn our noses away and wander off in search of other pastures. It is a choice that we freely make. If we remain in this Christ-filled pasture, he leads us to the great I Am of Christ coming to Earth in the Jordan to fill the empty chalice of the perfected human body of Jesus. In a nearby pasture he leads us to gain nourishment from the hill of Golgotha where the great I Am of Christ pours its germinating Spirit into the engendering body of the Earth, changing its destiny forever, making it into the Body and Blood of Christ, the first Communion for all of humankind.
What about Christmas, you ask, isn't it a pasture we are to visit? Actually it is two pastures that we must visit. In the first pasture a star appears in the East which the Magi follow to worship the child in whom their great Teacher is born. In this pasture written so eloquently of by the Evangelist Matthew, we observe as the father Joseph is told in a dream of the birth of a son.
The second pasture resides on the hillside where shepherds are watching their sheep and the Glory of God shines down upon them and the Angels tell them of a child born in a manger. The mother Mary is told that she is full of grace and twice-blessed, as the Evangelist Luke writes, "Hail Mary, full of grace, Blessed art thou amongst women and Blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus."
These are the two Christmas stories of two Jesus children that have mendaciously been blended over the centuries into one story for the ease of telling. It is a pasture of commercially prepared fodder from which vital living nutrients have been squeezed. Adrei Belyi tells us of recalling the Christmas of 1915 in Dornach.
[page 71] The theme of the Gospel of St. Luke resounded within me once again during Christmas of 1915, in Dornach, in connection with the Oberufer Christmas plays. Two different mysteries, two different stories, were presented on the stage. In one, the eerie one, the Wise men from the East appeared, as did Herod the devil; in the other, the shepherds in the field. The lecture proceeded from the second play. Again, during the lecture, the same guileless warmth and gentleness revealed itself: the countenance of the shepherd. The Doctor spoke about the "owner" and the "shepherds." The owner, the innkeeper, turns Mary and Joseph away from his door. Mary gives birth in a stable to which the shepherds come. Two human types become apparent: the "owner" or innkeeper and the "donor," the shepherd, who protects the soul from egotism, regardless of the form in which it may appear. The Doctor called upon us to worship at the manger with the Child, humbly like the shepherds.
One Child (the Jesus descended from the priest Nathaniel that St. Luke writes of) comes from the Earth mother Mary and is worshiped by humble shepherds on their knees; the other Child (the Jesus descended from the great judge and king, Solomon, that St. Matthew writes of) comes from the stars and is heralded by a great Star shining in the East. This fulfills the words of Psalm 85: "Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven." In a nutshell, these are the two Jesus stories, adapted from page 195 of "The Two Jesus Children" by David Ovason.
But we digress, the subject is Andrei Belyi describing Steiner as he lectured forth on the Gospel of St. Luke. In that Gospel he discusses in depth the two Jesus children and how the Christ event proceeded from the fulfillment of the prophecy in Psalm 85 -- how the physical cross on Golgotha can be seen as the suffering of Jesus raised by the Christ Spirit crossed by Christ submerged in Jesus. Jesus Christ crossed by Christ Jesus. Let us read Belyi's splendid summary of the dénouement of the Deed on Golgotha:
[page 72, 74] So his countenance appeared as he contemplated the Jesus Child, the one who was the chalice into which the Logos poured itself. The childlike clarity united in his features with a suffering that I cannot describe and before which all words fail. Only a person who suffered as the Doctor did could, in some instances, be a pure-white little child. And later on also when he spoke about Jesus of Nazareth, who hid himself away in a carpenter's shop until his thirtieth year and knew a suffering never before known by any living person - there shone behind the pain, the same modest smile. With a hesitant, almost embarrassed smile, the Doctor also said that Jesus bore a mark upon his face; and when we beheld the mark, we began to love Jesus. The dying embers of the melting pain before which all suffering paled, awoke our love; this pain exercised a gentle force of attraction upon us.
The theme of unspoiled love wove itself into the theme of inexpressible suffering. Through inexpressible innocent suffering, the child was to become a chalice for the Logos, who in turn took upon Himself a different, equally innocent suffering for the sake of the whole world. Jesus' suffering in seeing his fellow men possessed by devils crossed itself with the anguish of Christ, Who innocently took upon Himself the horror and pain of self-constriction into the personality of Jesus. This cross of suffering forms the basis for the three-year-long biography of Christ Jesus. Christ submerged into the personality of Jesus; Jesus, borne aloft by the Christ force, became Jesus Christ. The Doctor pointed to the cross of two-fold suffering, to the agonies in both relations: Jesus Christ and Christ Jesus. Before 'its union with the Logos, the personality of Jesus experienced I the black-hole of the world within the center of his "I," his ego; I the world abyss, a concept commensurate with that of the Copernican universe. Jesus prior to the baptism -- an "It," . over which the Ahriman-emptied universe is torn asunder. So -- under the double cross of "Jesus Christ" -- while the "Christ," Who in freedom had left the realm of spirit-light in order to be drawn into the narrow hole of personality, had to endure the horror and pain of an incomparable constriction, beside which any form of insanity would be -- a nothing. He had to endure this torture so as to become "Christ Jesus," so that He could live within Jesus.
Two crosses: "Jesus Christ," "Christ Jesus." The moment of the baptism in the Jordan: the realization of both crosses in one cross - the cross on Golgotha -- the concrete process of Christ's being born into the earth. Steiner points to the crossing of two paths of suffering - never before pointed out that merge into a third. For the first time, he points to the cross on Golgotha from a vantage point that even remained hidden to the apostles: as a shaking to the foundations of divine and human destiny. "Gods" and "Men" must perish in order to arise to a new potential, not only human and not only divine, that justifies everything that is: not only the humanness of man but also the divinity of God. The new form of life, the only possible form, now still only a seed, will in the future be concretely born, a sign of the incarnation of "this" into "that" and of "that" into "this": Christ Jesus and the world, "I" and nature,. "Spirit" and history and theory.
When Steiner spoke about Jesus Christ, the love for the defenseless child reverberated in his words. But when he spoke about the Christ - chaste glowing pain, suffering born of love, love born of suffering crossed one another, in his words.
No one has brought about anything similar to what Rudolf Steiner gave rise to when for the souls of human beings, he developed his Christology. Here was no knowledge in the ordinary sense of the word. It was a love overflowing all forms, a suffering overflowing all forms.
The mark that he bore on his countenance at such a time, "I," was an expression of his state of consciousness that awoke the listeners from their sleep.
He stood before us in stern silence, in the outer court of his words on the Christ.
The next writer we come to is Belyi's wife, Assya Turgenieff, who worked on the woodcarving of Steiner's monumental 27 foot high statue called The Group. In the 9 o'clock position is a figure called the "Little Ahriman." It is this figure Steiner is commenting on below. Notice the reframing he does on what constitutes beauty -- something is beautiful if it is true to its nature. Steiner spoke these words in 1915 and predicted the ugliness that will soon infect art during the 20th Century in the form of Picassoesque cubist paintings and its modern art descendants. Cubist art is chopped up life and full of deadness. Representing life with deadness is ugly by Steiner's definition.
[page 91] "He is a beautiful man," Dr. Steiner encouraged me at my work. "Beautiful is: when the ugly is made ugly. Then it is true. One will have to reckon more and more with ugliness in art."
Wood sculpture is something I know a little about from experience. About thirty years ago I was determined to learn to carve a human figure and was getting nowhere until I discovered the book "Sculpture in Wood" by John Rood. His suggestion was never to create a detailed sketch of a wood sculpture in advance -- you stand the risk of venting all your creative energy on the sketch and having nothing left for the wood. He recommended a simple, broad-brush outline of the figure on the block of wood to begin with and to let the figure emerge during the carving process. I was skeptical that such a simple approach could work, but to my amazement, it worked for me the first time I tried it. Rood's advice allowed me to learn all kinds of new things about carving in the round on my own. Those crude sketches on the piece of wood allowed my creativity to emerge directly from the wood.
Steiner suggests something very similar to Assya Turngenieff, as she reports in the passage below.
[page 97, 98] . . . Rudolf Steiner did not set up a dogma, nor a theory of art; he only gave advice that was practical. If it were taken and acted upon, one learnt much that was new and could work out new applications of it for oneself. . . . Very much was made clear to me by a casual, barely indicated sketch of Dr. Steiner's. I have never seen it since. He had done it for the sculptor, Miss Maryon.
I have drawn the sketch from memory. It represented a woman bending towards a group of children (see illustration). It was shadow-like, yet the whole figure and movement were there. Moreover, one had the feeling that the figure could move, bend more, or stretch out its hands further. It left the spectator free. It also left the artist entirely free to alter details at any moment until the whole picture was completed. A definite outline would not have allowed this. One of the first discoveries one makes when using this method is that an outline drawn in advance is enslavement. An artist who starts his picture by fixing the outlines deprives it of the purely artistic element and weakens its effect. By seeking form without contours, he is able, up to the moment of completion, to compose his picture in the element of creation, in the process of becoming -- "Werde-element."
Then he suggests something new to me, at least not something I was aware of at a conscious level anyway, but it made immediate and complete sense to me as a wood sculptor. It was something that I had encountered wordlessly in the wood in the process of carving: you do not mark off edges where two planes meet, but rather you carve the two planes and observe where the edge emerges during the process of carving the two planes.
[page 100] "You must make a plane (Fläche) and direct all your feelings and attention towards it, and then do the same with the other planes," Dr. Steiner often said to us when we were carving the architraves in the Goetheanum, "and you must wait eagerly, and in suspense, to see what sort of a boundary will emerge between the two planes. You should never determine this in advance."
The line is deadening. I would have had no idea what that meant when I was first carving at age 28, but I experienced it as I carved. I found for myself the lively freedom of form that the absence of line allowed to emerge as I carved into my wood blocks. "Only in intellectual subjects is the line really in place." was how Steiner said it. When I was 28, intellectual subjects with lines in place was my sole way of understanding the world. Wood sculpture began the process of moving me into Steiner's way of understanding world. Thus, it came to be that by the time I met Steiner's works at the age of 50, I was somewhat ready for what he had to say about understanding the world. Here's how Assya puts it:
[page 100] This applies equally well to drawing. Abandoning the definiteness of the line brings in an element of the unexpected, of the unknown, that demands greater alertness and more inner activity. If one really succeeds in working by this method, it brings about a liberation from what is so destroying in art the fact of being bound fast to an intellectual conception coming from the head. It concentrates and deepens the consciousness of an activity in feeling itself, with which one experiences the contrasts of cold and warmth, lightness and heaviness, and fashions the forms out of this inner touch. These are not thought out in advance, but are directly created.
Any one who has studied a second language knows how daunting it would be to attend a lecture in that second language. Margarita Voloschin was a native Russia and learned German as a second language. She was concerned about her ability to understand Steiner's lecture in German. Steiner must have picked her uncertainty as he talked about Helen Keller in his lecture. If Helen, who was blind, dumb, and deaf, could learn from a teacher, then certainly Margarita could learn from a teacher speaking German.
[page 112] As he began his lecture, I was happy to find that I could follow quite well, for I had been very doubtful whether my German would prove adequate. Rudolf Steiner spoke in detail about the education of Helen Keller, blind as well as deaf and dumb, and about the efforts of her gifted teacher, and he pointed out that most men are deaf, dumb and blind in the spiritual world but may develop organs of perception for this objective world by means of a deliberate schooling.
Mariya Yakovlevna is the patronymic form of Maria von Sivers, by which Andrei Belyi referred to her in the book. Maria was later to become Rudolf Steiner's wife. Here is Voloschin's memory of her around 1917 and a 1906 photo of her from page 118. She was clearly a force in the creation of the new art form called eurhythmy.
[page 117] Next to Rudolf Steiner, however, in the center of the circle, stood Marie von Sivers, later the wife of Dr. Steiner. I have already described her appearance. Each time that I saw her, I was moved again by her beauty. Her eyes kept their radiance until her death at an advanced age. Only in the high mountains can one experience such a blue. -- Alpine air surrounded her. The cold and purity of a crystal united in her with the fire of enthusiasm. She was royal and unapproachable, although she in no way placed herself above others. She had a childlike immediacy and sprightly, sparkling humor. Above all, she was an artist. After completing her education in Germany and in Paris, she had wanted to become an actress. To begin with, however, she sacrificed her art to the theosophical work, only eventually to find her way, under Rudolf Steiner's guidance, to a new art of speech formation, that seeks to give back to the spoken word its original, creative life.
No one was more aware of Steiner's significance than Marie von Sivers. Yet she stood at his side, independent in judgment and ready to take initiative on her own. For this reason, she was then probably the one person to whose judgment Steiner ascribed an inner validity.
In this next passage, Voloschin ponders a question that I have often pondered myself as I struggled through the pages of Steiner's "An Outline of Occult Science." How is it possible for us to understand these remote descriptions of the formation of the cosmos on one hand? And yet, how strangely familiar and right all these descriptions seemed to be as if they had been written in me as a palimpsest of the spirit hovering below the threshold of sight until my reading pulls them into view.
[page 117, 118] Rudolf Steiner stood before a blackboard; we sat in a half circle around him. It grew dark while he spoke, and the lamps were lit. He spoke about the spiritual stages in the development of the earth and of man. I often asked myself what capacity in us enables us to follow these descriptions at all, as those remote conditions of earth evolution, and those early stages of human consciousness, were so little like anything we know today. I had to marvel that there are still pictures, still words in our language which can describe them. Yet these descriptions spoke strongly to me. Was it because something of these past worlds is still in us, still around us, and is now lifted into the light of consciousness through the spoken word, as something related to us from the beginning, part of our own original being? Man himself, united with the universe from the beginning of creation and only gradually separating himself from it, is he not to be deciphered like a hieroglyph in which the whole world is secretly hidden? Is he not a fruit of the past, in which, at the same time, a seed of the future lies? It was borne in on me that I was no accidental guest on earth, but co-responsible, one who could become a co-worker in the deed of redemption.
For me, as a physicist, intellectual concepts were a living reality when I studied them as a youth. To come to understand them as dead things required Rudolf Steiner, who also studied them in his youth, to communicate to me how in its own youth, humankind had to become enchanted with intellectual concepts as a necessary part of growing up and becoming free human beings. Voloschin, for her part, hated what she saw as dead intellectual concepts, and yet she also came to understand their value through the teachings of Rudolf Steiner. In his teachings he built a bridge between the scientists and the artists, between logical thinking and imaginative thinking, and healed a schism that has no reason for existing from now on.
[page 118] The myths, in which I had lived since childhood, revealed themselves now as living reality. An earlier stage of consciousness had dreamed reality in pictures. It was a relief to me to think that man's involvement in matter, right down into our dead intellectual concepts -- which I so hated, and experienced as evil and wished to flee -- that this descent is a necessary step in human development, without which man could never become free.
In this next passage Voloschin explains as well as anyone the puzzling start Steiner made with the Theosophical Society, and she makes the point that even his opponents and detractors owe him a debt they are mostly unaware of.
[page 120] The fact that Rudolf Steiner, this scientific spirit, led a branch of the Theosophical Society, at first estranged me. I came to understand that he did so because in this circle he found people who were serious about following a concrete spiritual path. He wished to show them the path which was appropriate for our time, a path which was the logical further development of the natural scientific method. When he accepted the leadership of the German Theosophical Society, Steiner made it a condition that he should pursue his work in complete independence and that he should be free to teach a spiritual science that originated in his own, independent, spiritual investigation. It was from this source, and not out of tradition, that he also developed his Christology. What Steiner brought forward was something entirely new for our age. Since then, much of what he wrote and spoke about has influenced our culture -- whether people are aware of it or not. Indeed just those who feel themselves obliged to oppose Rudolf Steiner's teachings, frequently owe him the more living understanding of the very dogmas they represent.
When I studied neurolinguistic programming (NLP) we were taught that the word not is a dead intellectual concept by a curious technique. "Don't think of a pink elephant," we were told in a workshop. Then the leader asked someone, "What was the color of the elephant?" While intellectually we could strive to follow the instructions given, the living reality of the color pink evaded all our attempts to remove it. It demonstrated that by inserting an appropriate not in a sentence you could create images in people that were the very opposite of what you seemed to be saying, especially those who were schooled in intellectual concepts, which was generally the majority of those present in the workshop. For example, a salesman may say this while pushing a contract and a pen under his client's nose, "There's no need for you to sign this right away." The client imagines signing it right away and will usually say, "Why not?" and sign it. As we learned to use this technique consciously to help ourselves and others, we discovered that people out in the real world used it all the time to hurt themselves and keep themselves from growing. For example, the woman who wakes up thinking, "I do not want to have another headache today." She creates the image of the very thing she does not want and has the same trouble removing the thought of headache as we had of removing the color pink from the thought of the elephant.
What prompted this was Voloschin's remembering a game that Leo Tolstoy invented with his siblings.
[page 122] But to stop thinking about a particular theme was not so easy. Leo Tolstoi tells about a game which he and his brothers and sisters had invented: one had to go into a corner and not think about a white bear.
In the next passage Voloschin talks about a lecture she attended and describes how Steiner pulled a mayflower from a bouquet and used it to make a point. I had read and reviewed a book containing that lecture and scurried to my shelves to locate the book. Scanning the first several chapters, I couldn't find any reference to a mayflower, so I read more carefully the first chapter and sure enough, he talks about a flower without calling it a mayflower. First the passage by Voloschin, and then the pertinent passage from Steiner's first lecture on the St. John's Gospel in Hamburg.
[page 123] On the first evening he spoke about the prologue of the St. John's Gospel, "In the Beginning was the Word"; in doing so he took the mayflower out of the bouquet that stood on the table before him and spoke somewhat as follows: just as this mayflower arose from its seed, and the seed is hidden in the blossom, so is the world and is man arisen out of the Word; it was originally a silent world, for man was first mute, but the Word was hidden within him, as, in the blossom, the seed is hidden. And the Word began to sound forth from man: "I am."
[page 27, St. John's Gospel] In order that this may be quite clear, let us make the following analogy. I have here a flower before me. This corolla, these petals, what were they a short time ago? A little seed. And in seed, this white flower existed in potentiality. Were it not there potentially, this flower could not have come into existence. And whence comes the seed? It springs again from such a flower. The blossom precedes the seed or fruit and again in like manner, the seed, from which this blossom has sprung, has been evolved out of a similar plant.
Margarita Voloschin's husband, Max, visited her in Hamburg during that time and attended some of Steiner's lectures on the Gospel of St. John. He asked a question about Judas, asking if whether Judas by taking on the guilt of the betrayal made possible Christ's sacrifice and was thus the actual redeemer.
[page 124] Rudolf Steiner rejected this idea; he regarded it as unsound, unhealthy. Judas did not understand the essence of that which Christ brought the world, and expected that Christ would gain the victory over his enemies by magical powers. By his betrayal, Judas wanted to bring about the earthly triumph of Christ. Our materialistic civilization, Rudolf Steiner said, stands under the sign of Judas. Just as Judas went and hanged himself, so will our civilization destroy itself. --
Steiner respected the Russians, especially Tolstoy, who carried idea of brotherhood that will be realized in the future during the sixth or Russian cultural epoch, some 1500 years in the future. Some Russians asked him about the role of Dostoyevski.
[page 126] Steiner replied: "Tolstoi has more 'carrying power'; the impulse which works through him is an impulse of the future. His thoughts are limited, he is often foolish, but just his mistakes and weakness show that we must see in him an impulse which has come too early into the world and is, therefore, still unripe. With such personalities, we must recognize their weaknesses as the shadows of their greatness. Many a sentence of Tolstoi carries more weight than a whole library." Of Dostoyevsky, Steiner once remarked to this effect: "He stands as a, penitent, in sackcloth and ashes, before Christ on behalf of all humanity."
During July Voloschin followed Steiner to Oslo and in this next passage describes for a summer night in Norway in the hills outside of Oslo.
[page 127] The next day I wandered through the vast, ancient woods. Bushes of wild roses, thickly covered with pale rose blossoms, stood beside gray, mossy birches and severe, dark pines. The air was light and transparent as in the high mountains. In the evening, I went to the school barrack. The wooden walls, against which sat silent, blue-eyed Norwegians, were decked with fir branches and little red flags. At half past nine the sun shone brightly through the big window and illuminated a bouquet of wild flowers which stood on the desk. Outside, one saw the silver waters of the fjord with its many wooded islands, and a little bird mixed its song with the words of the lecture.
In the daylight nights, I could not sleep. I wandered through the countryside. Every flower was clearly visible, even colorful. The sky was a delicate silver blue. The clouds, in which the moonlight and at the same time the reds of sunset and sunrise shimmered, seemed like spirit visions; the sober trees appeared to be musing. All was light and transparent. One hardly felt the weight of one's own body and wandered as a spirit among spirits. I always had the feeling that a god, whose power I felt pulsing through me, strode with me through these woods.
The question about the task of the Jewish people Voloschin admits was one that had concerned her a lot, so she took good notes when that question was put to Steiner and reports that he spoke approximately as follows:
[page 128, 129] It is difficult to speak about a topic which rouses the emotions strongly. Spiritual scientific truths permit of no sympathy and antipathy if they are to be rightly absorbed. The Jews developed intellectual, associative thinking. This enabled man to become an independent personality. The same folk, through generations, prepared the body which could become the bearer of Jesus. The Christ, who had become man, brought redemption from the death-bringing separation of the human being from the divine. As the Jewish people, however, did not take up this impulse, the capacities which they had developed became retarding powers. That which clings to the past -- the power of the blood ties on the one hand, an intellectualism, hardened within itself, on the other -- hinders progress. But under certain circumstances, the Jewish people can also act as leaven, as a fermenting yeast. These points of view do not apply to the individual, for the single soul undergoes development and uses an incarnation as a member of a particular people only as a necessary step for its own evolution.
My friend, Howard Weingarden, paints the way that Voloschin describes below. His paintings are transparent layers of colors and realities which seem to rightly interpenetrate each other. Here is her conversation with Steiner on the subject of painting.
[page 129] He asked me, among other things, if I were sketching here. I felt in no way moved to draw from nature and described to him how my painting hovered before me in crystalline, transparent, interpenetrating surfaces. The colors should be freed from the objects, but not in a meaningless chaos, as happens so often in modern painting. Steiner said, "I understand you; that is right."
About art and lectures, Steiner advised what we might call the "tea bag" approach. Voloschin prompted his reply by asking about what she saw as the "artist's paradox" -- that what "comes from the conscious is no longer artistic."
[page 130] "I too," said Steiner, "when I have a special lecture to give, do not determine in advance what I shall say, but steep myself in a certain mood, out of which I then speak."
This next question she asks Steiner is a great one and receives a great answer. It is a pertinent question because the secrets that Steiner brings to the light of day have been considered for thousands of years to be better taught in clandestine mystery schools. Essentially, he says that what constitutes coffee table talk as a seed today will only blossom forth and yield fruit in a future epoch. "Who knows how apple trees are contained in one seed?"
[page 131] "I can not understand why you present the greatest secrets, for instance, about the hierarchies, to people who then make it coffee-table talk. Isn't something lost to the spiritual world when this happens?" In the Russian church the names of the hierarchies were spoken only once each year in a special service, at which moment everyone kneeled and bowed their heads. Rudolf Steiner answered with great earnestness somewhat as follows: "Only in another cultural epoch, will one see what will have been brought about in the souls by the truths which they now receive. The occultist must go to work in the same way that nature does. Nature is prodigal. Out of millions of herring eggs only a few become fishes -- all the rest are lost; that is a mystery. And if only half a man takes up what I have to give, I shall have fulfilled my mission." And he repeated: "Only half a man." I was shattered by the expression of pain with which he spoke these words.
Next she visits the Bau or Goetheanum (the first one, which was all wood construction) and describes the sculptural forms in wood of the architraves, pillars, capitals and bases.
[page 136] Crystal-like planes fashioned organic forms. One form flowed out of another and led to the next. One form vouched for the other, completing and perfecting it. The tripartite windows formed a unity. The steps of the stairways, spreading out like watery circles, rose before one in an inviting manner. It was as though in manifold gestures a being was disclosing its love, a love which encompassed and penetrated everything in a living metamorphosis. Here the soul breathed freedom.
In the next passage she describes Rudolf Steiner working on the wood sculpture and what he says to her about edges and planes in space. Two titles for a book on wood sculpture suggested themselves. First: "A Dialogue with Wood" -- because one cannot have a monologue with wood when one carves, always the wood talks back as it reveals things to the sculptor during the process of sculpting itself. Second: "Curious About the Edges" -- this one tickles me a bit with its double meanings. One does not carve edges, but carves planes and must remain curious as to where the edges will finally place themselves when one is done carving.
[page 137] I was told that on the previous day he had himself begun to carve. He climbed up on a box before a capital and began to work. We stood behind him. I could see his profile and his hands. For a long time he chiseled in silence. His face was concentrated and happy as though inwardly he were listening to something beautiful. It was like a dialogue with the wood. Cautiously and unfalteringly he took away the wood in layers, as though he saw exactly the limits of the form hidden within it. and as though he only wished to free it from the superfluous material. Then he said something like the following:
"In sculpture, one must feel the planes. one must be mindful of the planes in space, just as the plants in their growth follow the direction of the planes in space. In sculpture the edges must exist only as a result, as limits; they must not previously be determined. One must be curious about the edges; that helps a great deal."
I must admit I feel more at ease in discussing wood sculpture than painting, and yet I can sense the deep wisdom in his point below that shadows and darkness be used to create the feeling of a fertile source or something very deep. (His point about space and form being created purely through color we will visit in more depth below. )
[page 140] I asked how I should paint. "I wish you to remain quite free," he replied. In speaking of a particular small study, Dr. Steiner said that he wished it to be carried out in the cupola, because there, space and form are reproduced purely through color. "It is living, not rigid." I was interested in the place chiaroscuro, shadows, would have in the painting we were striving for. His reply was, "Darkness should not be used for shadows in order to reproduce the sculptural form, but only to convey a psychic impression; for example, it might be used for something that produces in the feelings the effect of a wellspring or something deep."
Margarita expressed her concern to him that the wings of her angel and archangel stretched far over into a neighboring artist's territory in the cupola she was painting on. "That does not matter," he said. "In the spiritual world things do not stand side by side; they penetrate each other. In painting also the the forms can interweave, the colors should be transparent, should have depth." (Page 141) Again this description reminds me of Howard Weingarden's fine paintings.
[page 141] Five or six of us composed our individual sketches into a whole, in a small model of the cupola. Aside from this, each one worked in his atelier on the forms of his composition in their anticipated size. We painted with plant colors upon wooden slabs, which were properly primed. Dr. Steiner attached great importance to a white luminous ground which should act as a source of light, and to a transparent painting medium. The colors should not be applied thickly at one time. They must get their strength through many layers, one upon the other. This gives depth and luminosity. For one who had previously painted only in oil with opaque colors, this technique meant a very great reversal.
"Painting must not give the effect of planes, it must create a space, in order that the walls may be annulled," Dr. Steiner said.
In painting the dead intellectual conception appears in the form of a line or lines. Look about you in nature and there are only gradations, not sharp lines. Only in the products of civilization does the sharp lines emerge from our intellectual conceptions. It is to this idea Steiner refers when he says that line in painting is a lie. Abstractions, intellectual concepts, are like something dead -- they are frozen in time and space and do not move. They can only represent the past -- what was -- never the living present which ever moves into the future -- what will be. As such the use of line in a painting is not suitable to suggest movement in space or time. This is something that Steiner knew in no uncertain way. He even went so far as to suggest that the presence of lines in a painting keeps the dead from being able to experience it.
[page 141] On one occasion, evidently to give me courage, Dr. Steiner praised my Egyptian who, over life-size, sat upon his throne. I then asked him what he found good about it. He showed me a place around the mouth that was painted, mosaic-like, in definitely transparent planes placed side by side and superimposed one upon the other. "It should come into being out of the inner gestures of the colors."
"Line or stroke in painting is a lie," said Dr. Steiner. He spoke of line as of something dead, as an abstraction. I think I heard him say, although I cannot now repeat it exactly, that for the dead who perceive painting, line acts as a hindrance.
How does one paint an angel, an archangel? The difficulty seems unsurmountable, but the presence of so many angelic beings in paintings indicates that painters through the ages have somehow managed. Voloschin shares her dilemma with us and the revelation that came to her about how one goes about such a task -- that angels are only able to reveal themselves to us through such intuitive activity as that of painting. That reminds me of a story. One Halloween night Del and I were at a benefit on Harmony Street. Del saw a painting of a white angel on the wall and bid on it in the Silent Auction. When the bids were opened, she had won the bid and we went together to collect the beautiful painting to take it to its new home. To our chagrin, we discovered that she had not purchased the white angel painting after all, but some future angel painting to be created by Jim Leasure, the artist. This did not sit well with our intellectual conception of what it meant to bid on a painting that we desired to purchase, win the bid, and then "lose" the painting! Those were our "lines", if you will, drawn in the sand, drawn on a contract that we thought we had entered into, and we were faced with having to erase those lines, and start with a blank slate, a clean white canvas, onto which some artist we had never met would paint an angel painting over which we had no control. -- Or did we? Del called Jim and scheduled an appointment with him for a sitting. He explained how he would paint our angel painting: she would sit across from him and he would intuitively pick up her angel and then he would paint it for her. Suddenly, instead of being chagrined about not getting the white angel painting from the wall, we became excited over getting a painting of Del's own angel as it inspired Jim to paint it. The result of the work is shown at right. Note the Ram symbol in the lower left corner which represents Del's astrological sign, Aries. She is a triple Aries and this is her Aries Angel as received intuitively and painted by Jim Leasure. The painting exudes the vibrant colors of spring and is filled with interlacing planes of light and color.
Here is Margarita Voloschin describing her chagrin at the thought of having to paint an angel and archangel and what she learned during the process.
[page 145] "How can I paint an angel or an archangel, when I have never seen one?" I thought. "I don't know how they look." I wanted to have a clear vision before me, which I could then paint. It was a transfer of naturalism into another realm. I wished to confront the spiritual world with the same passive attitude which a naturalistic painter maintains towards nature. I was not conscious that the hierarchical beings, who are active within and around us, are able to reveal themselves just through the intuitive activity of painting.
If the intellect and its concepts comprise a dead space, then the heart and its feeling realm must constitute a living space, a spiritual space. This concept has only recently come alive in me through my readings of Steiner. The heart is presented to us by Steiner in this next passage as an organ for perceiving the spiritual world, and by doing so creating the possibility of a new art of painting. And he tells us that we live in a Black & White world until we find the Christ. It has been curious to me that photography first started with Black & White prints. Only into my teens did affordable color photography come into being. About that same time, television got its start, and once again, it offered us its bounty only in Black & White images. About twenty years were to pass before color television was an affordable reality for all homes. Lucifer and Ahriman have been with humanity a long time as a presence on Earth, but only in relative recent times, through the Deed on Golgotha, has the Christ become a presence on Earth. And with His presence He has brought color to the otherwise Black & White presence of Ahriman & Lucifer that preceded Him on Earth.
[page 143, 144] "If you were able to bring your heart to a standstill, you would soon see what is within you," Dr. Steiner said to one of the painters. The heart of a person, which no longer experiences sorrow and pleasure for its own sake, but knows that feeling is the herald of spiritual facts, becomes an organ for the new art of painting. When the light of day-consciousness penetrates into the darkness of the world of will, the human being, through the essential color experience in his own soul, also experiences inwardly the colors of outer nature. Darkness lightened to blue, light dulled to red, proclaims to him in the realm of nature the "origin of things, the deeds of the gods." "Art is akin to death," Dr. Steiner said on one occasion. "Like death, it removes Maya and reveals 'being'." Set free from the weight of the evolved world into the realm of the evolving-living, color redeems the dead world through the art of painting. By shifting things from their existence in three-dimensional space over into the sphere of planes, painting invests them with a new existence in a new space. In this space the inner human being expresses itself as the outer. The outer world, however, becomes ensouled, becomes an inner experience. Time becomes space. The spiritual light of Lucifer and the heavy darkness of Ahriman become color in Christ.
Do you personally know anyone who has an aversion for strong colors? Chances are that person has a Luciferic personality -- has a penchant for moralizing, is attached to some religious dogma, and is a lover of flights of fancy. Here Steiner explains how this comes about.
[page 144] "Color is the revenge of the gods against Lucifer," Dr. Steiner said to me on one occasion, during a conversation about my work with regard to the healing force of painting. It was only later that the meaning of these words became comprehensible to me. The Lightbearer, who locks up his light in the glow of passion, in a wealth of shades of feeling, within the individual experiences of the human heart, is purified through the objective experience of color and offered to the world. Thus when, out of cosmic space, the Christ-Spirit enters into the heart, then, brought to rest, the Spirit of Separateness (Lucifer) is freed from his imprisonment in the world and becomes pure Holy Spirit. So color can have a healing and salutary effect. (It is for this reason that oftentimes luciferic people have an antipathy for strong colors.)
In the recent movie, "A.I.", a futuristic world was portrayed for us on the screen as a monochromatic world in which few color distinctions exist. The world of 3,000 A.D. was populated by mechanized, but graceful robots who lived in a world of perpetual grayness. The only color appears when a human being shows up in their world. The movie-makers did an excellent job of intuiting the future as what they created on screen matches the predictions of Steiner below as one probable future if we do not learn to experience color rightly in our age:
[page 145] "If the real experience of color is not cultivated in our age, and the mechanistic theories about the nature of color continue to live in mankind, children will come into the world who no longer possess an organ for the perception of color. Life manifests itself through color. But mankind will no longer be capable of seeing the elemental spirits weaving in nature. The world will be gray," Dr. Steiner said.
"Art is the process of destruction of sameness" I wrote in my essay on art. The art with the greatest longevity, religious art, is apt to the one most stultified with sameness. It is appropriate that Steiner should bring a new light to Christian painting, one that allows light to shine out of the layers of the painting as it shines out of the spiritual world, light that creates transparent planes that overlap each other nullifying the presence of the canvas on which they are affixed and opening a space for us where none existed before. If we do this we will recapitulate the evolution of Earth which began as a luminous heat body, evolved into the image of Earth we rest upon today, and will one day evolve into a future luminous body once again. This is the metamorphosis of Earth and this is the metamorphosis of art.
[page 148] Rudolf Steiner gave us the path to a new Christian painting. Like the doctors, the teachers, the actors and other workers in various fields of art and science, the painters have also received from him a legacy, a task. Not only is the realm of art in the human being fructified by the comprehensive, cosmic concepts of Anthroposophy, but also through special instructions to the painters. Already through the technique of using veils of color, the painter holds the balance between the dark, heavy Ahriman and the volatile Lucifer; and through the force within the color, creates a definite, but yet not stiffened, form. Thus handicraft itself again becomes hallowed.
One who, through a long period of soul-culture, no longer considers as dogmatic but as experience, what Rudolf Steiner has said in his color lectures about luminous and image colors, will see in this transition from luminosity to image and from image to luminosity, a priestly, redeeming act for the Earth -- a metamorphosis.
This is an amazing book which I loved reading -- reading it was a visceral experience full of wonderful images and feelings of the spiritual Russian soul encountering Rudolf Steiner as a living human being. What they encountered and described so vividly within the covers of this fine book is the highest form of artwork of Rudolf Steiner, as Andrei Belyi so aptly put it, "the Man, Steiner."
Note: This Book may be Purchased from Adonis Press.
Any questions about this review, Contact: Bobby Matherne
Click Left Photo for List of All ARJ2 Reviews Click Right Bookcover for Next Review in ListDid you Enjoy this Webpage?
Subscribe to the Good Mountain Press Digest: Click Here!
CLICK ON FLAGS TO OPEN OUR FIRST-AID KIT.
Do you feel like you're swimming against a strong current in your life? Are you fearful? Are you seeing red? Very angry? Anxious? Feel down or upset by everyday occurrences? Plagued by chronic discomforts like migraine headaches? Have seasickness on cruises? Have butterflies when you get up to speak? Learn to use this simple 21st Century memory technique. Remove these unwanted physical body states, and even more, without surgery, drugs, or psychotherapy, and best of all: without charge to you.
Simply CLICK AND OPEN the FIRST-AID KIT.