Friday, 5 April 2013

Enchanted World

Yesterday i began tidying the classroom and was going to do the music curriculum, however, on the way out, i discovered that there was a short lecture on Elemental Beings being held in the hall later in the evening. I love the elemental beings. Being of aisan origin, that spirits help us do everything - e.g. Spirited Away and Ponyo and Totoro, etc - it is not an impossible leap for me to make. The world is a luminous, numinous, sacred place and we are indebted to the invisible ones who look after us tirelessly.

I could spend the entire day rambling on and on about how this affects my day to day, but specifically, i wanted to hear the anthroposophical take on this. There were two things i took away from the incredible lecture by Dr Basil Wilson. First, that the nature spirits love to be cherished. They are enlivened in our honouring of them through festivals. Secondly, that we have a duty to work with them - they are the offspring of the heavenly beings who were enchanted into matter as these spiritual beings could not work on the physcial substance of the earth. So they perform a sacrifice for us - they feed us, clothe us, keep us warm. They make it rain, etc. All in service to us. And therefore we should treat them with respect as well as love them.

So the most obvious manifestation of this in Waldorf schools are the gnomes, less obvious are the undines, sylphs and salamandars. I love all of them. To see them, we use imaginative thinking, which was recommended by Goethe. This is not just sitting there and fantasising about things. It is observing very closely and then developing an archetype using your imagination. So it is imagination rooted in a reality. It is fascinating.

I asked two quetions: first, how do we work with children to give them a consciousness of this. The answer was do not, but let them play and discover these worlds for themselves. Give them the opportunity to play in streams, with the soil, with fire, look at the clouds. Secondly, i asked, conservation is so science based. It purports to save nature but does not work in these dimensions. It complete neglects this aspect. How do we return the sacred to nature in conservation? Dr Wilson, who is a neurosurgeon said, speak with absolute sincerity about the elementals. People will see that you really do believe in them, that you believe their existence and perhaps a door will open for them too. Oh i did ask one last question: can the elementals be reached through the arts? do we honour them through art? Through high art, he said. I suppose he was thinking Bach rather than Marilyn Manson. Art that is good for the soul. Beautiful poetry, music, - they love music we were told, especially chimes and bells. Which reminds me of the windchimes most Asian households have.

There was a lot more as well, but these were the main things i took away from it.

A world just filled with Bacon's science - where nature is tied down and tortured into revealing her secrets vs a world which is numinous, which allows the possibility for a two way flow of mutual respect and kinship. Which does not end where our sense do, but creates a cycle whereupon we are able to work with the past, present and future in ways thought of, for as Hamlet said, There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy, Horatio.

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