Carrying the Foundation Stone elements within our hearts
A report from the General Secretary, presented at the AGM of the General Anthroposophical Society in Dornach on 31 March to 2nd April 2023.
My presentation at the Goetheanum AGM last week had the intention to give an idea of the vastness and the uniqueness of Australia, and also to show you a common thread across hemispheres and cultures.
Australia’s geographical place in the world
Australia’s soil mass spans more than seven and a half million kilometres. The whole of Europe and the UK could fit within its boundaries. Australia’s most southern state Tasmania is closer to Antarctica than it is to our most northern city Darwin, greater than 3,00 kilometres away. Antarctica is 40% bigger than Europe and Antarctica holds space for us under the starry constellation of the southern cross. We share these phenomena with South America and South Africa and New Zealand. Antarctica has an ocean circumpolar current, the strongest in the world, vital for the whole earth’s health as it keeps the land frozen. The emperor penguin survives these harsh conditions, a flightless bird so different to the polar bear of the north.
Australia’s coastline ranges from gentle sandy beaches to steep dolomite rugged cliff faces. The landscape varies from rugged mountains to vast desert plains. There are deep lakes and wide dry river beds. Tropical and temperate rainforests. The contrast of climate is great, bushfires, droughts and flooding and cyclones are frequent in this ancient land. The environment is often harsh and builds a certain resilience in the people.
Uluru, once known as Ayers Rock, lies in the heart of the country and is sacred to the original people of the land. A certain pulse can be perceived by anyone who walks the perimeter and opens their senses, one can feel the pulse of the land and hear the ancestors whispering. The aboriginal songs, stories and dances speak of creation and the seasons, the flora and fauna. Respect and gratitude are at the core and in the rhythm. Australia was home to the Aboriginal people for tens of thousands of years before European settlers came. They were the caretakers of the ancient spirit of the land and at one with the cosmos. One of the oldest cultures with strong spiritual traditions. Perhaps held for the benefit of the whole planet.
This Southern land breathed for eons and was outwardly unaffected by the activities of the North (hemisphere) until 235 years ago. The impact of colonisation still bears deep wounds within our society.
The challenge is to learn from each other, honouring the past but being in the present so we can create a future fellowship of humanity.
The early Anthroposophists in Australia
To the early Anthroposophists, life in Australia was a pioneering adventure. The distances of thousands of miles between communities brought challenges. The flexibility of mind and soul was required as European rules and order did not necessarily apply. In the landscape of the southern hemisphere, the elemental beings were different. With Christmas in mid-summer and Easter in the Autumn, one has to journey deeply within for new forms for festival celebrations and contemplations.
Anthroposophy, a movement just taking on form, was meeting something ancient, sounding from the past and not to be ignored. The personal quest of the Anthroposophist is to hold a strong and seeking inner life not connected to the northern seasons. This is now thoughtfully expressed in Waldorf education in Australia.
Carrying the Foundation Stone within our hearts
So the sun simultaneously sets over the current Goetheanum in the west as the same sun rises in the east in Australia.
As Anthroposophists, we have in common, from all directions, the north, south, east and west. We have the Christ, Sophia, and Micha-el, we have the spiritual hierarchies and we have the will for ‘the good to become.’ (from the Foundation Stone Meditation).
Across the whole globe, we have the same spiritual task: to carry the building blocks for the spiritual Foundation Stone Meditation within our hearts. Freely, we are building, together, a spiritual-social vessel, for the temple of humanity.
This may sometimes seem remote in these times of fear and division. Still in the wake of the Covid crisis, polarity prevails from all directions on Earth.
May we all heed the call and with joint efforts enable this temple.
General Secretary for the Anthroposophical Society in Australia
Thanks to Michelle Forbes and Lynn Klugman for their wisdom sharing.
Photo credits: courtesy of Universal Images Group