Developing new ways of seeing and doing
There are many areas of professional practice where Anthroposophy has inspired unique forms of individual and social expression, including in the creative arts, natural sciences, architecture, contemplative practices, finance, social entrepreneurship, religious renewal, and in research.
A directory of these activities in Australia is being collated for the website, but for now, just an overview.
The practice, development and contemplation of the arts is central to Anthroposophy. But there is no one anthroposophical approach to art, other than that of creativity. However, the aim is not creative self-expression but rather transcendence of self and a transformation of material substance towards the spiritual..
Steiner emphasised the role of arts in overcoming materialism and as a force for individual and social renewal. Therefore, the arts play a focal role in education and therapy, as well as in personal and professional development in any sphere of human activity.
In Australian scene, there are well-established vocational trainings and professional practices in the performing arts, including eurythmy, music, the visual arts and architecture. A list of these organisations is currently being collated.
Goethean Science, or Goethean phenomenology as is is sometimes called, is perhaps the most distinctive methodology associated with Anthroposophy. It is a phenomenological approach to natural science that studies the qualities of the natural world, allowing the researcher, through a rigorous training of the sense perceptions, to understand and intuit the wholeness inherent in the world of nature. Goethean Science is therefore a qualitative approach to science, one that originally has its foundations in the research of poet and scientist Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832).
Anthroposophy is not a religion, but Rudolf Steiner did inspired a movement for the renewal of modern Christian life that has become the Christian Community. The Christian Community is a worldwide movement. It is not an ‘anthroposophical church’, although it is the only Christian church that recognises Anthroposophy as a inspiration for the broadening and renewal of theology.
From the beginning, The Christian Community has been an independent sacramental community, without attachment to any existing church or ecumenical movement. It brings together individuals in its communities who seek to become Christians in a form appropriate for our time.
Ongoing research is central to the anthroposophical movement, where the spiritual dimensions of everyday questions are explored and knowledge and practice are deepened. There is the School for Spiritual Science, an institution intended to be an esoteric school for spiritual scientific research and study that is centred on meditative activity. Each branch has the details of groups who meet regularly to consider central questions of contemporary humanity and anthroposophy. The School of Spiritual Science has both a general section and specific professional sections for the different disciplines. There is also a Youth Section whose intention is more in communicating, networking and sharing.
There are also many individual researchers working out of or inspired by Anthroposophy, often teaching in higher education providers around Australia. These researchers in particular seek to investigate and understand spiritual science in the context of the modern world and build connections to the traditional fields of research found in universities.
Social development, transpersonal studies, biographical work and astrosophy are just some of the other initiatives active around Australia, usually taking form in specific projects or embedded in trainings. You can read about these projects in the local branch newsletters available for members. Local branches also have information about related activities in their area.
Photo credits: courtesy of Fiona Campbell