Grevillea flower, probably Grevillea "Pink Surprise".

Advent greetings – and summer is here!

A time for renewal

After months of wild weather, cold and flooding across the country, we hope summer’s advent finds you out enjoying nature. Whether it is walking, gardening, swimming or just soaking up the warmth and birdsong, our unique Australian environment offers a vibrant energy that refreshes the soul and enlivens our senses. Being in nature brings both inner and outer renewal.

Renewal is also a keynote of Advent. As we prepare for the great festivity of Christmas and and the new year, we may find it a good time in the busyness to do some internal housekeeping, reflect on the trials of the year, and put away its disappointments. This can give us space to listen to what speaks to us from the future. 

Advent can be a pivotal time of the year. So, for this final post for the year, and in the spirit of reflection and review, we have listed some opportune events that both look back to the old while turning our attention to the new. 

100 years on from the burning of the 1st Goetheanum, revisited

Reconstruction of the first Goetheanum interior

In the first newsletter of this year, we heralded a program of arts events and lectures specially for the commemoration of the centenary of the burning of the first Goetheanum in Dornach on New Year’s Eve, 1922. There have been some wonderful presentations and courses on the art embodied in the Goetheanum – the ceiling motifs, columns, glass windows and architecture – both online and on-the-ground throughout the year. But this work has also brought questions: How do Steiner’s art and architectural impulses relate to the current world? Have they become merely historical phenomena whose outward forms no longer have meaning to modern people, or do they still hold inspirations for the future?

Transhumanism and Art

The potential of the forms and motifs of the first Goetheanum as a counterbalance to the increasing trend towards transhumanism[1] is another question that has arisen during the year’s courses and lectures: How can we balance the creeping encroachment of the virtual worlds of digital technology, which threaten to reshape our social and cultural activities according to the commercial needs of Big Tech? Should the Arts strive against this development or see what opportunities may exist within it? Can practice of the Arts even humanise the digital environment? Such question are sure to remain a highly relevant in the coming years. 

From the Burning … What lives now?

If you have somehow missed taking part in the year-long program on the artistic impulse of the first Goetheanum, there are still opportunities to tune in. From The Burning … What lives now? is a series of lectures at Rudolf Steiner House, Sydney that will culminate on New Year’s Eve. Some lectures from this series are online, so check the program here if you are not in the Greater Sydney area and would like to attend. Please contact John Pater for information about recordings of earlier lectures.

New Year’s Eve vigil

On New Year’s Eve, there will be special events to conclude this commemorative year. The Tasmanian Branch will host a hybrid event – online and on-the-ground – of lectures and eurythmy in the afternoon. Please contact Cole Bradshaw, the branch secretary, for more information about zoom links and venue. For those in Sydney, there will be an all-night vigil at the Christian Community Church in Balmain. Please download the flyer for the details of the program.

There is also a collection of videos on YouTube about the spiritual history embodied in the murals on the ceiling of the first Goetheanum available. These practised-based webinars work deeply into the content through drawing and contemplation. Contact Fiona Campbell if you would like more information on how to access this collection.

Jane Bradshaw’s visit to Dornach

General secretary Jane Bradshaw holding an umbrella stands in front of a chalk drawing of the Goetheanum in Dornach

Jane Bradshaw in front of a graffiti Goetheanum at Dornach railway station

The issue of transhumanism was also a theme of the recent country representatives’ meeting in Dornach. Other topics that arose were cultural diversity and membership development, a topic dear to Jane Bradshaw, our Australian representative. Jane would like the Anthroposophical Society here in Australia to be seen as welcoming, visible, and enabling the right forms for all interested peoples to enter.

You can read the full text of Jane’s report on her time in Dornach on the General Secretary Reports on the website.

Advent Online

Starting today! Our American friends at the ASA are hosting Advent: The Birth of Light in Darkness on the deeply empowering seed-thoughts that are planted during this. at the very accessible time of 3.00pm AEDT on Friday 2 December. You can register for this series here.

For those who love art and images of the Madonna, Fiona Campbell is offering another art contemplation hour on Sunday 18 November at 5.00pm AEDT. Called Wonder Before the Face of God, this short webinar features the icon artworks on the theme of the Annunciation of modern Ukrainian artist Ivanka Demchuk. The contemplation employs the practice of beholding, an intuitive approach to engaging with the works. Entry is by donation; download the flyer to find out more. The webinar will also be recorded for personal use over Christmas.

From Advent to Christmas

The path to Christmas starts in Advent and some branches are starting early this year! Both the Canberra Branch and the Vic Branch are having their annual Christmas gatherings on Sunday 11th December with lectures, reflection, music and celebratory food, so if you are in either location, let them know and you will be most welcome to join them! Details can be found on their branch pages.

For other states and territories, please check in with your local branch coordinators to find out what’s happening. You can find their contact details here.

And as Advent to Christmas and the Holy Nights is one of the great festivals in the Christian year, the different congregations of the Christian Community around Australia also have full Advent and Christmas programs. Have a browse of their website under Congregations to find local events.

The 12 Holy Nights Online

Throughout the Holy Nights, theologian Martin Neeme-Samson is again offering a daily contemplation and conversation on the theme of the Sophia at 7.00pm AEDT from 25 December 2022 – 5 January 2023. The sessions offer the nurturing aspect of a retreat, ideal for a quiet resetting of our souls for the work in the coming year. The evenings will also be recorded for personal use over Christmas.

Don’t forget to check Events to find out about new courses and activities coming up next year.

And finally …

Whatever your circumstances and wherever you find yourself, we hope the light of this special festival shines on you and your families. 

Be safe, be well and of good cheer!

The Editor 


[1] transhumanism advocates the enhancement of the human condition by developing and making widely available sophisticated technologies that can greatly enhance longevity and cognition.


Feature image: Photo by David Clode on Unsplash
Photo credit: Interior of the first Goetheanum, reconstruction, Creative Commons from Rosmarie Voegtli
Photo credit: Courtesy of Jane Bradshaw