Spring is in the air, sunshine, lambs, kids and calves appear in the fields engendering a sense of joy and hope. Earlier this year, in the northern hemisphere’s late spring, I paid a short visit to France at the invitation of the French general secretary, René Becker. René was, for many years, a dairy farmer working biodynamically, and still lives on the property in a thousand-year-old stone farmhouse he is restoring. We visited the ruins of what was one of the largest monasteries in France, in the nearby town of Cluny. Founded in 910AD by the Benedictines, it was largely destroyed during the French revolution and later much of the building was sold off so that today only a section remains. It was shattering to stand before the ruins, imagine its beauty and the life within, and recognise the human beings’ capacity for destruction. Violence and destructive forces are around and within us. We experience it today as ancient statues, Bamiyan and cities such as Aleppo tumble through human deeds, as individuals drive or gun innocent people down, in the hate rhetoric amplified by the media, in the many impulses that would divide human beings. The media often feeds the sensational but divisive factors can be active anywhere in the world. Less news worthy but necessary for evolution are the healing, bridging and uniting elements. It is interesting to follow China’s response to North Korea. It appears in this situation that they have strived to bring people to the table, to curb the rhetoric and potential aggression.
In May, I visited China to attend the Asia Teachers Conference near Mt. Emei, Sichuan. Most of the over 600 participants, were from China. Amazingly it ran without a hitch, the work ethic ensured that the days were long and the participants well engaged. Waldorf education in China is on the increase with new initiatives arising almost every week. The task of those supporting teachers on the ground is enormous. Along with education, the BD work is growing and there are at least three eurythmy training initiatives. During the conference, we saw one group of second year students perform. Very special was having the opportunity to share an evening performance with five other professional eurythmists from China/Australia, Taiwan, Japan, Germany and NZ. Culture, language and music provided a profoundly rich and diverse evening. I cannot help but think of the contrast of beauty, art and culture against the ugliness, violence and divisiveness in the world. It is wonderful that we have a group of eurythmists in New Zealand working towards an artistic performance in 2018. As I write we are preparing for the AGM and the visit of Bodo von Plato. This will be Bodo’s first visit to New Zealand. In the days that he is with us he will have diverse experiences, from the AGM to a marae, meeting with people in the world of business, meeting and speaking to members and friends, sharing work on the School of Spiritual Science and catching a glimpse of this beautiful country. I hope many of you have an opportunity to meet with Bodo and that the experiences he takes back, will strengthen our connection with the Goetheanum and be valuable for the work there. They too need hope for the future!