News - Sunday 18 December

Branch News – Sunday 18 December

Week 50, 2022

Events in brief (*details further down)

          This week to Sunday 25 December

  • Guided Tours of the Exhibition are on:
    • Monday        19 December,                      from 5 - 6 p.m.
    • Wednesday  21 December, from 2 - 3 p.m.
  • Summer Festival Wednesday  21 December. 7 - 9pm
  • Sunday 25 – may you enjoy a peaceful and warmly social Christmas Day.

Over the Next Months:

  • Guided Tours of the Exhibition are on:
    • Wednesday  28 December, from 2.00 - 3.00 p.m.
    • Thursday      29 December,                      from 5.00 - 6.00 p.m.
  • Commemorating the loss of the First Goetheanum:
    A gathering on New Year’s eve, Saturday 31 December from 3:30 to 7pm 
  • Talk by Dr Richard Drexel. 7pm Saturday 14 January 

*  *  *  *  *

  • Fire/Smoke Alarms

Recently Centre smoke alarms were going off randomly.  They have since been professionally checked and reset.

If you are in the Centre and experience a false alarm and need to turn off the alarms, use a broom stick to press upwards on the centre of the alarm to silence it.  Then, please, report the event to Robyn Hewetson. 021-2178688.

* * * * * * * * * *

  • Opening of Exhibition of
    “Art Related to the First Goetheanum”

On Saturday 17th, visitors entered the Centre to find a beautifully presented exhibition of Art Related to the First Goetheanum.

After a festive afternoon tea, Marjorie Theyer welcomed everyone and read a Verse (see below) and explained that Hans Mulder, who was scheduled to be the main speaker was indisposed by Covid and could not come.

Robin Bacchus gave an illustrated talk giving some background to the Goetheanum, (designed by Rudolf Steiner as an earthly home for the spirit of anthroposophy: Anthroposophia, but, as a building, was in existence for less than 10 years).  His two themes were:

  • Rudolf Steiner’s artistic architectural impulse;
  • The evolution of architectural monuments/temples through the ages.

Michelle Vette gave some reflections on her first visit to the (second) Goetheanum as General Secretary and her experience of the preparations happening in Switzerland and elsewhere around the world to commemorate the First Goetheanum.

Then followed contributions, comments, anecdotes and questions from those present.


The Coloured Windows

Based on some notes since by Hans:  

In the first Goetheanum the windows were different.  (As they were in place when the building was burnt, they were destroyed.)  The drawings by Rudolf Steiner for the windows were interpreted in a symbolic  way by the artists creating the first windows.  The windows of the second Goetheanum were more in line with the wishes of Rudolf Steiner as they were etched by Assya Turgeniev for the second Goetheanum using a different technique – a carborundum drill using a diagonal side-stroke as suggested by Rudolf Steiner.  It is images of these that are on display on the windows of the Centre as part of the exhibition.

Dr Steiner was very adamant that the art work, particularly the windows, should never be explained – that the viewer had to let the pictures work into themselves. 

So, everybody has a different experience.

Rudolf Steiner wanted the art of the Goetheanum to speak directly to the viewer without intermediary explanations. 

Rudolf Steiner:

Sometimes I had to show visitors the Goetheanum personally.  Then I used to say that all “explanations” of the forms and colours was in fact “distasteful” to me.   Art does not want to be brought home to us through thoughts but should rather be received in the immediate sight and feeling of it”.

Also, the technical etching process was very different than for the windows in the first Goetheanum.

What can be done is to look at the description outlining the themes for each of the windows.

The First Goetheanum was destroyed by fire on New Year’s night, 1922-23”.

Several months after the burning Rudolf Steiner showed his resolve to continue by giving this verse:

“Made out of Nature’s materials,
The Goetheanum wanted to speak through its forms
Of the eternal to the eyes of human beings.
The flames were able to consume the matter.
Henceforward Anthroposophia—
Her edifice formed of the Spirit—
Shall speak to the inner soul of the human being
In words of fire, tempered by the flames—
The flames of the Spirit.”

In three different ways Anthroposophy was pictured in the first Goetheanum:

  • through the windows,
  • through the paintings on the ceilings
  • through the mystery plays. 

So, the glass windows are part of the whole.  So, it is good to start from the whole.

*   *   *   *   *   *

  • Social Ethic Verse translation

John Allison writes:

“Many years ago, I was able to look, with Ken Friedlander and other Hohepa colleagues, at a correct translation of The Social Ethic verse.  We hoped that the new translation would become better known in time in the English-speaking world, but the old version is still used.  The German is:

Heilsam ist nur,wenn

Im Spiegel der Menschenseele,

Sich bildet die ganze Gemeinschaft

Und in der Gemeinschaft,

Lebet der Einzelseele Kraft.

The translation that is often used today starts with the phrase:

 The healthy social life is found when in the mirror of each human soul the whole community finds its reflection.
This is an impossible idea and certainly not healthy.
Imagine trying to understand the issues of every institution in NZ!
My brain would explode!  Or what about carrying all the relationship problems of my whole town?  
No sleep for me!  
The reality is each person only reflects a small part of the whole and that is fine and not a problem.
This is not the message of the verse. 
The key lies in the two words

Menschenseele and Einzelseele meaning the human soul as archetype on one side and the individual soul on the other.  So, the meaning is this:

It is only healthy
When the whole society is formed
In the mirror of the Human soul.

As a threefold being, society is built up as an image of the threefoldness of the human soul in thinking, feeling, willing; nerve-sense ,heart-lung, metabolic-limb; in the Cultural, Rights and Economic life.  We have a healthy society when each sphere is separate, and freely influences the other spheres.

This is only an attempt, there are other ways to translate but the meaning is clear.
Then comes the other part:

And when, in each community 
The virtue of the individual soul
Is living.

Here it is Gemeinschaft, not ganze Gemeinschaft, Einzelseele, not Menschenseele.
Morality is individual as taught in the Philosophy of Spiritual Activity, where he calls it Ethical individualism.”
John Allison

It is only healthy:
When the whole society is formed
In the mirror of the Human soul.

And when, in each community 
The virtue of the individual soul
Is living.


Posted: Sun 18 Dec 2022