Easter has never fascinated me as christmas. There are lots of interesting peculiarities about anthroposophical christmas, but the main event really is easter — or the so called mystery of Golgotha or the events of… (or whatever — the air is heavy to breathe with all the highstrung phrases). It’s the pivotal event in earth evolution and for humanity. It’s right smack in the middle of the present cultural epoch or evolutionary cycle, providing a turning point, so to speak. Nevertheless, it never held the same fascination for me as christmas, with its occult christmas tree decorations and advent spirals. However, as it is easter now and the Golgotha mystery is such a big deal in anthroposophy, it seems quite appropriate to say something about it. As it happens, I just read the section on Steiner’s christology in a dictionary on western esotericism.
For Steiner, Jesus Christ was essentially the divine Logos incarnate. Christ is the spirit of the sun who descended to the earth in order to redeem not only mankind but the earth in general. According to Steiner, mankind has fallen prey to the forces of evil, that have made him mortal and have thrown his diverse “bodies” into decadence. In order to revitalize humankind, Christ had to taste death himself and bring the ultimate sacrifice, thus becoming the “inner sun” or spirit of the earth and restoring its sense and purpose. According to Steiner, through the blood of Christ after the Crucifixion the whole earth began to shine. [Hanegraaff (ed), Dictionary of Gnosis and Western Esotericism, p 81.]
There’s a lot on the ‘mystery’ of course (it would make some sense to treat it only as a mystery rather than as something real, for sure… but that’s a personal preference and nothing to do with what’s actually the case). The Rudolf Steiner Archive is full of lectures — and, if you read german, there’s even more. Much of it is, unsurprisingly, about the importance of the event for the evolution of humanity and humans beings. In this context, he also talks a lot about planetary evolution — the incarnations, and so forth. Stuff you will also know, by now, from the reading of Rosicrucian Wisdom! This is sample from a peculiar little lecture you might want to read, at least if you’ve got nothing better to do (it’s not actually an easter lecture, but it fits in this context):
By recognizing the Sun as a Spiritual Being, it was possible to connect a conception worthy of man with the beginning and end of the earth. The conception of Jesus, who was Christ’s abode, renders possible a conception worthy of man in regard to the middle of the earth’s development, and from there will ray out towards beginning and end that which will once more make the whole cosmos appear in a light that gives man his place in the universe. We should therefore envisage a future in which hypotheses concerning the world’s beginning and end will not be constructed on the basis of materialistic, natural-scientific conceptions, but in which the point of issue will be the knowledge of the Mystery of Golgotha. This will also enable us to survey the whole cosmic development. In ancient times, the Christ was felt to be outside in the cosmos, where the Sun was shining. A true knowledge of the Mystery of Golgotha enables us to see in the historical development of the earth the Sun of the earth’s development shining through Christ. The Sun shines outside in the world and also in history — it shines physically outside, and spiritually in history; Sun here, and Sun there.
(When waldorf schools claim to be educating for freedom, what Steiner says about freedom in this lecture is worth keeping in mind, e g: ‘From birth to death, man lives in a real world unknown to him, one which cannot ever give him freedom. It may implant in him instincts which deprive him of freedom; it may call forth inner necessities, but never can it enable him to experience freedom. Freedom can only be experienced within a world of pictures, of semblance.’)
On easter friday (good friday), many years ago, my little brother was born. I didn’t enjoy it then; I’d rather have had a new toy or, even better, a dog or a rabbit. I never saw the point of babies, and I didn’t care one bit for that new, odd creature. It’s a different thing now. I’m so very happy he’s there. If he weren’t, I’d have to cope with our parents getting older and eventually ceasing to exist (I can barely say the word). All on my own, a thought which, quite honestly, makes me freak out. I wouldn’t be up for that, although I guess it’s a dire prospect for anyone. Not that that is the only benefit of siblings, but clearly it’s one of them. It’s not something you think of when you’re seven and a half, though.
To make this about waldorf — since what would be the point if everything here weren’t about waldorf? — he got out lightly. My education had fucked up so badly by the time he had started kindergarten that when I left he left too. There wasn’t anything to stay there for. But that path had been intended for him, of course, as it had been for me; we were meant to stay for all those 15 years. Happily! That was the idea. But reality does not always follow the plan, and with these kinds of educational environments — that include, in a sense, a ‘community’ — you can’t do it half way. You can’t remove one child and leave the other behind (it’s that cultishness, perhaps, that prevents this). As I’ve understood it, he was put on the waiting list for the waldorf school — you had to be on the waiting list for years to be guaranteed a place — on the first day after easter. Tuesday, presumably. It all must have seemed quite bizarre to me — both the arrival of that not so nice little thing and the fact that they wanted to put him in that school –, but of course back then I knew of no other kind of education. All in all, I think he was all right there, during the year (or perhaps it was two) he stayed there. I used to pass the kindergarten yard occasionally, and he seemed happy enough. He’d come running. I was so much older by then. So much older than him.
Oddly, I don’t actually know much about how to celebrate easter. As with midsummer and — what are they called? — traditional swedish cray-fish parties, I don’t know how it’s done in Sweden, so don’t ask me about swedish traditions! We used to have for easter — and still have, in fact, if they’re possible to get hold of — these chocolate eggs from a finnish company called Fazer. They are filled, you see, entirely filled with chocolate, and not a bad kind of chocolate as so many easter eggs. And the chocolate filling is inside a real egg, where the egg white and yoke have been removed. I can’t think of any other easter tradition. Gifts, of course, for children. But no church, and no mystery of golgotha. No tears, but no particular joy either. No mysteries, only the easter bunny. We still cling to the easter bunny. He’s an important character in the canineosophical cosmos, thus a being imbued with higher truth, presumably important for canine evolution. Perhaps there’s a Mystery of the Easter Bunny? What do you think?
Today is good friday, though, so how about some pain and suffering? No, I’m just kidding. How about dealing with some inanities instead. As for this (blog) being all about waldorf, or even all about anthroposophy (although that is far more interesting, which also goes for the connection between anthroposophy and waldorf), I think it’s worth realizing that my life is not. And that when people imagine I care a lot about their personal grudges and their fights — whether these grudges and fights are real or imaginary (I’m particularly fed up with the invented ones) — and that I care so much about them that I’m going to fight their personal issues for them, that I’m going to promote what they do or whatever else they want me to… that’s when they go seriously wrong. I want to write a blog about things that interest me. That’s it. That’s where my commitment to this begins and ends, I have no further obligations — neither to waldorf critics nor to the waldorf movement. Sometimes I’m happy to do things because the topics interest me — for example, I do like stuff that has to do with anthroposophy and waldorf or anthroposophy and medicine (or other similar topics). But I am not going to get caught up in people’s private, personal grudges and ravings against some or other particular Steiner school. Especially not in these circumstances. In particular when I don’t believe people are acting rightly, but not even if I thought they were. I’m not obligated. I’m not involved. I have things to do, things that mean something to me. This is not to say I don’t want to hear people’s ideas and suggestions and thoughts and experiences — I do. I just don’t want to be pursued and attacked for failing to support them or for not wanting to engage with them or for disbelieving them. I no obligations to react in a certain way. Expectations (some of which are clearly dreamed up) don’t confer obligations on me.
There are other things I don’t particularly care about: believe it or not, I don’t lie sleepless at night worrying about the UK free schools reform (or even swedish waldorf free schools, imagine that!). I believe it’s interesting to look at how these Steiner schools and the Steiner movement present themselves and I think it’s interesting to see how they handle that — seemingly much dreaded — anthroposophical connection. But other than this — it’s not a personal concern for me, and will never be. I’m not in it to serve a cause. Neither the situation in the UK nor any other topic that somebody else cares for nor any situation that bothers somebody else are necessarily my responsibilities. Unless I want to do something, it won’t get done by me, so if you think I have obligations, well, you’ve got to think again. As I’ve said numerous times before — I’m not offering counselling, I’m not offering support, I’m not offering help, I’m not going to cry your tears for you or wipe your nose or kiss your feet. I’m not offering an army to battle Steiner education either. (I wouldn’t even want one, were I able to assemble it.) The only thing I do offer is a blog about things I enjoy writing about. So anybody who’s afflicted by delusional expectations should immediately learn how to overcome them — for the benefit of everyone. In short: I’m not in a war, I’m not in somebody else’s actual or invented fight, I don’t write for any purpose other than enjoyment (if and when possible) — and, most importantly, I don’t write to put a stop to waldorf education or anthroposophy or any such cause. Whatever you think. I just am not. If you want to organize that war, please don’t expect anything from me. Please go ahead and crucify yourselves. It is, after all, the right time of year. But don’t try to taint me with your silly martyrdom.
I had my own experiences, my own thoughts, my own desires and also my own purposes for doing what I’ve done and what I still do. I’m not asking anyone of you to make anything of that, in concrete terms — in fact, I wouldn’t want you to. Take it for what it is, read what you want to read or enjoy reading. But understand that just because you are acting in all sorts of relevant and irrelevant ways against your Steiner waldorf schools or anthroposophy, for real or perceived or even imagined personal slights, I’m not going to. Neither on your behalf, nor on my own. I’m pretty content not to have a fight on my hands.
that was yesterday — today it snows again!
So, where was I? I thought about things, you know. About this writing business. My own writing — and, well, the writing of things, in general. And what it does to experience and memory. I wrote long before I had the blog. Most things I write never end up on the blog (one might even wonder if the worst things end up here, but I don’t know if that’s true). I see myself, and my experiences, through what appears to be ever more layers of fiction. It’s good, it’s what happens, it’s transformation and, if you’re going to write, consistency is overrated anyway. I don’t bear many grudges anymore — things have changed, people have changed, I have changed. Writing, the way I’ve done, you’re bound to create and recreate yourself and your past, to the point where nothing can be trusted, not even ‘yourself’, what- or whoever that is. This isn’t said to encourage you to take me less seriously. I am serious, when I’m not playing around. You take every word as seriously as it deserves — I take fiction very seriously myself. I’m aware that some people have problems distinguishing fiction from fantasy, and that some people don’t realize how much of what we tell ourselves about ourselves is a kind of fiction anyway. Or, more to the point, how much of what we think we know about ourselves is reconstruction and reconstructions of reconstructions trying to find who we were and what happened to us. It’s like chasing ghosts. (Or, as mr Dog would perhaps put it, chasing supersensible bunnies. It all ends in deep mystery, like the quest for the elusive easter bunny.)
But things happen over time. Even to who you are. And if you keep writing — mixing autobiography, thoughts, ideas, knowledge and fiction — for decades, that’s going to have an effect. Of course, thinking is enough, no writing is necessary. It’s just that when you write, you are in a position to more consciously notice what happens as there is a kind of record of the process. (People who don’t write might have to hope for — or perhaps dread — access to the Akashic records!) The consequence is not a production of lies, mind you. It’s very different from that. But how do you imagine I can retell the ‘same’ stories over and over again without recreating them in my mind, over and over again, every time with small differences? How do you imagine someone can ask themselves who they were and who they are without subtly changing the perception of who they were and who they are? How do you suppose any of this can be happening without inconsistencies occurring, or even without actual transformation taking place? How much is ever left of the actual event or the original state of mind? How accurately do we report on ourselves, on our experiences or anything else that involves us, for example our relationships to other people?
The bottom line is, I’ve come to think, that the way I see my present and past self — and the role of my experiences — is much more dependent on who I conceive myself to be today. In this moment. That, to put it plainly, is a different person than a few years ago, or even (subtly so) yesterday. There’s a line to follow from then to now, but on the way here, you’ll find inconsistencies. You’ll find that the line is broken and mended and, like a rope, tied together to fix it and make it hold, should somebody pull on it. But it’s quite fragile still. It’s more incoherent than this post, and that’s saying a lot.
So, happy easter. You pick and fight your own fights and bear your own grudges, don’t count on me to assist you. You nail yourself to your own homemade cross and relish your own crucifixion; it will make you feel all the more important, I’m sure. I won’t even look.
I’m busy sacrificing myself and my memories to the hungry pitbulls of the present.
(A real happy easter to most people — I will look at you and listen to you! Because you’re interesting.)