Sunday 9 June

Anthroposophy in Hawkes Bay

Newsletter 23-24                     

Calendar of Coming Events-- Diary Dates

In the Rudolf Steiner Centre, 401 Whitehead Road, Hastings
unless stated otherwise.

(** see below for more details.)

  • Friday 14 June. 7 pm.  Leading Thoughts 91 to 93.
  • Saturday 29 June 7 pm. MidWinter Festival. David Urieli will speak
  • Saturday 6 July 9:30 to noon, School of Spiritual Science, mantra 16
  • Wednesdays 3, 10, 17, 24 July.  7pm. Conversations on the Foundation Stone Meditation 

Angela Hair writes: 

“I joined Robin & Diana Bacchus, and four others keen to learn, on Friday evening. 

  • Friday 7 June 7 pm. Start of a series of fortnightly public evenings on "The Essence of Steiner Education - an introduction to the Anthroposophy of Dr. Rudolf Steiner." led by Robin Bacchus

Robin is such a gentle and articulate teacher, with such knowledge and wisdom to share about Anthroposophy. I spent the next day thinking about all the senses we have beyond sight, taste, feeling, smell and hearing. I reflected on birds that have grown wings instead of hands and arms, and horses that have grown a hoof from the middle digits. I hope you will join us on Friday 21 June, 7-9pm, at Steiner Centre for Robin’s second sharing of Steiner wisdom. Diana prepared a lovely spread of food and drink at 8.30pm so we could recharge, before driving home."

QUOTE from Rudolf Steiner speaking in Oxford, England.

Child Development – overcoming heredity

It is easy to say man undergoes development during his lifetime, and that he develops in successive stages.  But this is not enough.  Yesterday we saw that man is a three-fold being: that his thinking is entirely bound up physically with the nerve-senses-system of his organism, his feeling is bound up with the rhythmic system, particularly the breathing and circulation system, and that his will is bound up with the system of movement and metabolism.

The development of these three systems in man is not alike.  Throughout the different epochs of life, they develop in different ways.  During the first epoch which extends to the change of teeth—as I have repeatedly stated—the child is entirely sense organ, entirely head, and all its development proceeds from the nerve-senses system.  The nerve-senses system permeates the whole organism; and all impressions of the outside world affect the whole organism, work right through it, just as, later in life, light acts upon the eye,

In other words, in an adult light comes to a standstill in the eye, and only sends the idea of itself, the concept of light, into the organism.  In a child it is as if every little blood corpuscle were inwardly illumined, were transfused with light—to express it in a somewhat exaggerated and pictorial way.  The child is as yet entirely exposed to those etheric essences, (effluvia), which in later life we arrest at the surface of our bodies, in the sense organs, —while we develop inwardly something of an entirely different nature.  Thus, a child is exposed to sense impressions in a far greater degree than is the adult.

Observe a concrete instance of this: take a person who has charge of the nurture of a very young child, perhaps a tiny baby; a person with his own world of inner experience.  Let us suppose the person m charge of the child is a heavy hearted being, one to whom life has brought sorrow.  In the mature man the physical consequences of the experiences he has been through will not be obvious, but will leave only faint traces.  When we are sad our mouth is always a little dry.  And when sadness becomes a habitual and continuous state, the sorrowful person goes about with dry mouth, with parched tongue, with a bitter taste in the mouth and even a chronic catarrh.  In adults these physical conditions are merely faint undertones of life.

The child who is growing up in the company of the adult is an imitator; he models himself entirely on the physiognomy of the adult, on what he perceives: —on the adult's sad manner of speaking, his sad feelings.  For there is a subtle interplay betwixt child and adult, an interplay of imponderables.  When we have an inner sadness and all its physical consequences, the child being an imitator, takes up these physical effects through inward gestures: through an inward mimicry he takes up the parched tongue, the bitter taste in the mouth; and this—as I pointed out yesterday—flows through the whole organism.  He absorbs the paleness of the long sad face of the adult.  The child cannot imitate the soul content of the sorrow, but it imitates the physical effects of the sorrow.  And the result is that, since the spirit is still working into the child's whole organism, his whole organism will be permeated in such a manner as to build up his organs in accordance with the physical effects which he has taken up into himself.  Thus, the very condition of the child's organism will make a sad being of him.  In later life he will have a particular aptitude for perceiving everything that is sad or sorrowful.  Such is the fine and delicate knowledge that one must have in order to educate in a proper way.

This is the manner of a child's life up to the changing of the teeth.  It is entirely given up to what its organism has absorbed from the adults around it.  And the inner conflict taking place here is only perceptible to spiritual science; this struggle which goes on can only be described as the fight between inherited characteristics and adaptation to environment.

We are born with certain inherited characteristics. —This can be seen by anybody who has the opportunity of observing a child during its first weeks or years.  Science has produced an extensive teaching on this subject.  — But the child has more and more to adapt itself to the world.  Little by little it must transform its inherited characteristics until it is not merely the bearer of a heredity from its parents and ancestors but is open in its senses and soul and spirit to receive what goes on at large in its environment.  Otherwise, it would become an egotistic person, a person who only wants what accords with their inherited characteristics.

Now we have to educate people to be susceptible to all that goes on in the world: people who each time they see a new thing can bring their judgment and their feelings to meet this new thing.  We must not educate men to be selfishly shut up within themselves, we must educate men to meet the world with a free and open mind, and to act in accordance with the demands of the world.

Thus we must observe in all its details the inner struggle which takes place during the child's early years between heredity and adaptation to environment. Try to study with the utmost human devotion the wonderful process that goes on where the first teeth are replaced by the second. The first teeth are an inherited thing. They seem almost unsuitable for the outer world. They are inherited. Gradually above each inherited tooth another tooth is formed. In the modelling of this tooth the form of the first tooth is made use of, but the form of the second tooth, which is permanent, is a thing adapted to the world.

I always refer to this process of the teeth as characteristic of this particular period of life, up to the seventh year.  But it is only one symptom.  For what takes place in the case of the teeth conspicuously, because the teeth are hard organs, is taking place throughout the organism.  When we are born into the world we bear within us an inherited organism.  In the course of the first seven years of our life we model a new organism over it.  The whole process is physical.  But while it is physical it is the deed of the spirit and soul within the child. And we who stand at the child's side must endeavour so to guide this soul and spirit that it goes with and not against the health of the organism.  We must therefore know what spiritual and psychic processes have to take place for the child to be able to model a healthy organism in the stead of the inherited organism. We must know and do a spiritual thing in order to promote a physical thing.


IV.  Body Viewed from the Spirit - GA 305.  Spiritual Ground of Education - Rudolf Steiner Archive (

Posted: Sun 09 Jun 2024