The Anthroposophical Society in Australia (ASinA)

 General Secretary Report 2023-2024


I begin by expressing my gratitude to all for your continued membership and your deeds of good in the world.

I hope that each member can know and feel they are a world society member.

What is the General Anthroposophical Society?

The earthly vessel for Anthroposophy is named ‘The General Anthroposophical Society’ (G.A.S.) and originated from a profound esoteric and exoteric deed of Rudolf Steiner 100 years ago.

Everything on earth needs a body, a physical expression, such as our General Anthroposophical Society (GAS). 

I quote Sergei Prokofieff concerning the Society:

A completely new social initiative with a task, in our time, to make manifest to humanity an archetypal picture of a community of human beings, that is not only capable of withstanding Ahriman as he comes into the flesh but also of bringing a completely new Community Building principal to realisation in the world, one which Ahriman will have no access.”  “This principal task of the Anthroposophical Society is to enable this ‘social archetype’ which alone can protect humanity from complete social catastrophe in the future, brought about by the growth of evil in Earthly evolution.” he then speaks of four streams of goodness, The Rosicrucian, the Manichean, the Grail stream and the stream of the Templars. Not as before but renewed in the modern Michaelic spirit of the times’ (from The Encounter with Evil).

The task of the General Secretary

What does being the General Secretary, the Australian representative of such a Society, mean? I often ask myself this. I know I cannot represent all members, nor all streams in their individualities.  I can only trust that by my holding of the membership and the country organism in my heart and my meditative work, the best interest for the ASinA is represented at the Goetheanum. 

I consider bringing the different karmic groups together as part of my task. When I first started this role, three and a half years ago, I knew my task was to build bridges.

An inward gesture has dominated our world: I don’t need to explain to you the myriads of reasons for this; we have all lived through the pandemic and its subsequent compliance, separation and survival attitudes. The repercussions are still apparent. Trust has been broken.

In more recent times I have observed that Australia has ‘opened up’ again to a more outward gesture. Changes in communication styles mean many options. Sources of information are now varied, electronic communications are abundant, and you can find your special interest and coworkers in a myriad of places. The spiritual law of becoming a ‘general human’ does mean, however, overcoming our ‘special interest’ and looking outward, which more aligns with the futuristic community-building impulse that is needed.

In this consciousness soul age, we must ensure that the ‘holy power’ we are gifted with, that which is entrusted to us, develops into altruism and not into egoism. We must avoid imposing our will on others.

Trust must be at the centre as we exchange thoughts with our fellows. Trust in the best intention of the other. 

This self-development can only be achieved by looking outward to the other, to those we don’t naturally feel comfortable with. Here we find the different streams as we overcome our antipathy. In courage and tolerance and through a deep interest in the other and the world, we find ourselves and become a bridging force. This community-building gesture develops empathy and creates fertile ground for the much-needed wisdom of the ‘so-called dead’ so that they can reach us. Spiritual-scientific language and community spirit are the language of the so-called dead and those not yet born. It lights up their experience, and our human-loving attention and living-thinking form this bridge of exchange.

The role of ASinA

In Australia, in the last few years, the ASinA resources have been focused on honouring Steiner’s deed of 100 years ago. Remembering, celebrating, and awakening seeds for the future. Beholding the call for the two most important domains of Anthroposophy to come together – Christology and Cosmology. The goals are not just a century old but are part of the millennia of humanity’s development (Prokofieff CW 357[1]).

This 2024 AGM and the accompanying lectures and activities are part of the whole reality of our lively spiritual community.

As General Secretary, there are many tasks. They may not be formed in a ‘position description’ but nevertheless my character is that I am attentive and receptive and take responsibility for the health of the Australian Society. As your representative, I endeavour to keep a broad view.

Please know that I genuinely invite your perspectives and ask for your research so that I might share it with others.

The wider context

Jane at the General Secretaries Meeting in Dornach, 23 April 2024

At the Goetheanum, I participate in myriads of discussions. I witness genuine worldwide striving.

As ‘co-chair’ of the Country Representatives (C.R) Group, I assist with forming the agenda and managing the meetings twice yearly in Dornach over several days.  This group is not only an earthly one but an esoteric connection that is consciously building.  It is multicultural. Our first meeting of the year includes the General Assembly and there are meetings with the global treasurers, the Vorstand and Section leaders, and coworkers. The Youth section hosts an evening meal with us. The youth are refreshingly enthusiastic, and their presence is tangible.

The Vorstand and Section leaders express gratitude to our C.R. group, as we are seen by them as an ‘advisory board’ of sorts. A gateway for them to a world society as Steiner intended. This is reciprocal.

Thank you for wanting, for willing, the General Anthroposophical Society.

There is a project at the Goetheanum, that supports this gesture. It has been running now for three years with Johannes Kronenburg at the lead. It is now named 100 +1 i.e. 100 years plus 1. The gesture is that of wanting/ willing Society, focus includes supporting the School of Spiritual Science, encouraging cooperation with professional working fields, creating a place of free association where people can meet each other, meeting the public discourse in the right way, and, most of all, being a welcoming culture with a clear presentation of what we do and why we do it as anthroposophists. 

The conversations at the Goetheanum are complex and varied. The German/English language barrier is still challenging for me and takes deep concentration.

There are many conversations themes, such as:

  • Connecting to the countries not represented at the table: China, South Korea, Taiwan, East Africa, Malaysia and Vietnam. This year Israel, Ukraine and Russia were missing from our meetings but sent their warm regards and continued to work and study in their countries.
  • Building a cosmopolitan society while maintaining diversity, and individualism.
  • Considering the possibility of a 3rd W War. There is a real fear for many in Europe and this is spoken of publicly, especially on social media. We note that war can never be justified by speaking of peace to come. Ethical consideration focuses on what we do, not the consequences of what is done.

I quote Brene Brown: ‘if we don’t transform our shadow, we transmit it’.

Financial security at the GAS 

‘The house is full’, is the expression used. One conference finishes and another begins. In the Goetheanum there are more than 200 co-workers; positions have been reduced but the work continues. People have more tasks and are diligent. Despite the deficit, the financial report was accepted with confidence. It is worth noting that although membership is down 1.5%, new members were > 1340 and deaths > 600. (I am encouraged that those members across the threshold are still active and supportive of our striving on earth.) Total membership is 40,734.

Motions coming to the Vorstand for the General assembly (AGM) are many and varied.  To assist with ensuring the time and focus and broad participation to address them all, international forums were commenced in 2023.The Forums are face-to-face and on Zoom, and so continues a deep consultative initiative, with more than 20 topics under consideration:

  • There were two Asia/Pacific Forums in our time zone during 2023 and there is a plan to have more with a special focus on our local issues.
  • Consideration for all the trauma and hurt from the past that sometimes drives the actions of individuals.
  • Some of the Forum groups brought motions to the GA; others shared their initiatives – one such initiative is to enable easier participation of international members in their time zones and with local identified questions.
  • I have made contact with this group and will keep you informed
  • New participants are encouraged.

ASinA Circles

In Australia, it has been four years since the branch representatives first met over two weekends to collaborate and reflect on our individual and shared experience of our Anthroposophical Society in Australia.  Out of these meetings, I initiated discussion groups called Circles for the ASinA: Constitution, Communication, Events, Membership and Youth.

The branch representatives have met regularly since then. Last year we met face-to-face at the Hobart AGM event. We have met on Zoom twice since. As part of the AGM weekend, the branch representatives met again to continue conversations as a form of council.  It is quite a soul journey to meet, no doubt a karmic one, as partial strangers but knowing the golden thread of the Michael School that holds us. We are called to engender a mood of pondering and reflection in the becoming of the future. We avoid jumping to conclusions and judgments and are flexible enough to shift from a fixed point as things around us develop. There are questions relating to the branch representatives’ relationship to the Management Committee, where decisions are made, and what decisions ought to go to the whole membership. Are we a democracy, a republic or in-between?

I thank the branch representatives and their committees for their reports, newsletter and striving activities.

What of the Future?

Forums in Australia will take the form of a conversation model.

Member forums were developed in Dornach after the 2023 General Assembly, starting a healthy step forward. Considerations, such as, how members of the Society worldwide could be included in the voting process. To vote in a purely virtual form without sufficient information and adequate exchange is not a solution on its own.

A suitable space where all relevant topics can be discussed worldwide is needed. To enter a process that enables us to develop well-founded judgments and action-oriented approaches. Topics for the forms would include, not just the Society, but the Anthroposophical Movement.

ASinA Communications

Mark Gallagher continues to support the Australian newsletter in whatever form it takes. As G.S. I need a place to share my work and news with members. The trial of an e-copy journal continues. In the Journal in early 2024, Lauren Vogel produced a pictorial document with lecture content from the Christmas Conference Celebration in Melbourne. 

Membership registration: thanks to Graham Long for years of managing the database and communications. His report was presented.

The ASinA website is professionally managed by Fiona Campbell with artistic flair. The website has many viewers globally and last year I answered 42 member enquiries- 20 translated into membership. There were also 35 random enquiries. People looking for initiatives, contacts, study groups, and medical practices. We set up a members’ directory where you can share your business or initiative.

Management Committee update

The Management Committee (M.C) has had changes again, such is life. People come and serve their best and then leave for a myriad of reasons. I thank them all.

Serving on the committee since the last AGM in May 2023:

  • Tracy Taylor, newly appointed Public Officer, resigned.
  • Judith Howard, the treasurer, finished her role after great attention to detail through her dedicated financial literacy.
  • Deborah Neale, chairperson, stepped back.
  • Peter Fern also stepped back a few months later. He also stepped back as Branch Rep in WA after more than 20 years.
  • Therese Flynn steps back today as a Public Officer and treasury support.
  • Anna Stover steps back after more than three years of service. Anna initially helped the M.C. as an administrative assistant. This role was identified as a need for creating a transparent, cohesive way of working and storing documents. She then joined the committee.

Deep gratitude to you all and then to those who courageously stepped in, Helen Vogel, (Chair) James Wishart and Leanne Sarah (Treasurer).

Let us go forward from the future together.


In gratitude,

Jane Bradshaw  
13 May 2024


[1]  Prokofieff, S.O., 2014. May Human Beings Hear It! The Mystery of the Christmas Conference. Temple Lodge Publishing.


General Secretaries Meeting 23 April, 2024 in the Goetheanum