Can you be an anthroposophist and not care a lot for eurythmy? I posted this delightful image on facebook. It’s from the most recent Anthroposophy Worldwide newsletter, containing some stuff about the annual meeting last weekend.
See page 4 (make sure you enlarge the pdf image, it is quite good). Supposedly (if I’m guessing correctly), these are the national societies’ general secretaries conferencing. They’re making a ‘t’. Described by Steiner:
The Eurythmy gesture for /t/ is tremendously large. One starts with the hands low, at the hips, with the palms turned outwards, and then lifts symmetrically upwards, gathering an enormous armful of space. One feels that one is reaching towards the stars, reaching towards God, towards what is great and inspiring. At the highest point, the arms curve together, the backs of the hands are laid against one another, and the entire harvested dynamic is directed downwards, landing on the top of the head in a point. Alternately, the /t/ can be directed anywhere in space, taking accumulated energy and directing it towards a point, touching a vividly imagined goal. As with its partner dental sound, /d/, there is much tension in the fingertips of the gesture. [OpenWaldorf]
I find the image rather entertaining, in a certain sense even… charming. But also scary. If somebody asks me what anthroposophy is, I might show them this picture. No, just joking. Or perhaps not, it sort of sums it up.
This is one aspect of eurythmy which creeps me out, and very similar to what kids have to do. In the basic exercises, everybody stands around or moves around, performing the same gestures — mindnumbing gestures, I’d say, but I guess people might feel differently about that. But everybody imitates the same thing. I’ve never had an easy time doing that. I still feel awkward having to clap my hands when everybody else does. I understand it is required and I obey, but it feels… awkward. I would never run a marathon, that’s for sure.
So I thought, well, this is a funny picture. I made some jokes to myself about it.
But then, on our evening walk, while mr Dog was watching out for easter bunny, I got back to thinking about this image. And I thought: what if somebody is an anthroposophist but doesn’t like eurythmy? Perhaps you’re at a conference but you just don’t feel like making a ‘t’ movement when everybody else is? Perhaps, while having coffee during the break, you’d say to some of the other anthroposophical big-wigs that eurythmy is not your cup of tea? Perhaps it just makes you feel awkward and although you understand the reasons for it — eurythmy, that is — it just doesn’t do it for you?
Honestly, I do wonder. Can you be an anthroposophist and never do eurythmy? Are there anthroposophists who avoid eurythmy?
(I’ll leave comments open. I really do want to know.)