Celebration of Rudolf Steiner’s 150th Birthday in Europe

Steiner-Jubilee-StampAll over Europe there are currently public exhibitions in major art museums, public lectures, radio shows, and articles in all major newspapers in honor of Rudolf Steiner’s 150th birthday.  A special train, the “Rudolf Steiner Express” visited all major stations in Rudolf Steiner’s life, and three somewhat questionable Steiner biographies by non-anthroposophists have reached the public.

Recently departed Portlanders, Yumiko and Siegward, were lucky to be able to spend the weekend of Feb. 25-27 in Dornach.  An amazing festival in honor of Rudolf Steiner’s birthday took place there.  Everyone was invited to participate and received free tickets, while donations could be made.  There were buffets and refreshments, long lectures by Virginia Sease, Sergej Prokofieff, Peter Selg and Marcus Schneider, and many wonderful eurythmy performances.  The Saturday evening eurythmy performance with dramatic light effects, acting and speech choir on the stage had a very modern feel which would have been equally at home on a major city stage.

Most amazing was Friday evening when we left Virginia Sease’s lecture and to our surprise found the whole Goetheanum surrounded by 1000 lights, one for every Waldorf school on earth, and soon 300 orange glowing fire balloons rose to the heights above the Goetheanum, cheered on by the over 1000 attendees of the conference.

On Sunday afternoon, there was another public event with speakers from many areas of public life.  Many visitors had to be turned away for lack of room in the great hall of the Goetheanum. A representative of the local Swiss government described how the initial suspicion of the locals, which culminated in the burning of the first Goetheanum, has changed to steadfast support and protection of the Goetheanum as an icon of culture, even if one does not agree with the ideas of anthroposophy – in the spirit of spiritual freedom as an ideal of Swiss constitution, in contrast to the outlawing of anthroposophy in Nazi Germany.  Then Otto Schily, the fomer minister of the Interior of Germany, gave a remarkable talk about the need for true sources of humanity as found in Rudolf Steiner’s anthroposophy in light of the history of inhuman atrocities anywhere in the world, closing with a meditation verse from the first mystery drama.  In the closing podium discussion, a history professor from the University in Basel, specializing in economics, and Gerald Häfner, a member of the European Parliament, agreed that inhumanity results today from many laws and society structures and that R. Steiner had given us hope with his new ideas of a threefold society.

The evening closed with a public buffet, an exhibition of Steiner’s art works including the representative of humanity and a scene with Lucifer and Ahriman from the first mystery drama played out in front of the sculptures.  We all left invigorated with the feeling that Rudolf Steiners work is now truly reaching the awareness of public culture.

With warm greetings to all anthroposophically interested in the Portland area,

Siegward and Yumiko

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