Festivals and Their Meaning
Revised translation by Matthew Barton
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This is an anthology of 30 of Rudolf Steiner's most detailed descriptions of the primary Christian festivals. Together they form a picture of deeply held, truly joyful, celebration of events that are cosmic and universal, not secular and specific. The cycle of the year is seen as a living organic development that embraces not only the human being but all creation as well. Steiner sees the traditional form of these Christian holidays as having once bespoken the newest revelation of human evolution. Now, the full cosmic significance of these moments requires new understanding and new forms. If you would like to comprehend the meaning of the festivals from an anthroposophic point of view, this is the cornerstone book.
Easter - An Introductory Reader
An important aspect of Steiner's lifework was his goal of making the festivals of the Christian year come alive for modern people. To this end, he have many lectures and encouraged artistic performances, as well as joyous celebration. I have personally found his discussions of the festivals to be among the most meaningful throughout my life. I'm delighted to see this series in print and believe they will go a long way to increase both understanding and joy.
In this introductory reader, Barton collects excerpts from Steiner’s many talks and writings on Easter. It also features an editorial introduction, afterword, commentary, and notes.
- Can we Celebrate Easter?
- The Earth and the Cosmos
- Rising Sun
- Nature and Resurrection
- Golgotha, the Central Deed of Evolution
- Easter, a Festival for the Future
Whitsun and Ascension - An Introductory Reader
Matthew Barton collects excerpts from Steiner’s many talks and writings on the festival of Whitsun (Old English for "White Sunday"). Also known as Pentecost, the forty-ninth day following Easter Sunday commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit on the disciples. The book also includes Steiner's discussions of the Ascension of Jesus Christ forty days after his Resurrection.
Whitsun and Ascension: An Introductory Reader features Barton’s editorial introduction, afterword, commentary, and notes.
- Rising to the Clouds, Tethered to Earth
- Suffering’s Open Door
- All One to Alone to One in All
- Human Freedom and the Word
St. John's - An Introductory Reader
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Here, Matthew Barton collects excerpts from Steiner’s talks and writings on the festival of St. John’s Day, celebrating the nativity of St. John the Baptist. It is one of the oldest festivals of the Christian church. The birth of John the Baptist is a part of the Christmas cycle, since its date falls exactly six months before (or after) Christmas, thus being celebrated on June 24 as a fixed festival (unlike the movable festivals related to Easter).
St. John's: An Introductory Reader also features Barton's introduction, afterword, commentary, and notes.
- Midsummer Dream, the Earth Breathes Out
- Finding the Greater Self
- “He Must Increase, I Must Decrease”
- Creating Vision
Michaelmas - An Introductory Reader
In this introductory reader, Matthew Barton has collected excerpts from Steiner’s many talks and writings on the subject of Michaelmas, one of the key spiritual festivals of the yearly cycle. The volume also features an editorial introduction, afterword, commentary, and notes.
- Sinking Earth, Rising Spirit
- Michael and the Dragon
- Michael, Spirit of Our Age
- Toward a Michael Festival
From the Work of Rudolf Steiner
Volume 7 in the Original Little Series
Helmut von Kügelgen
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To our eye, Helmut von Kügelgen has succeeded in putting between two modest covers the deepest, most useful and most beautiful thoughts, essays, imaginations, verses and observations of Rudolf Steiner on the subject of Michaelmas and the Archangel Michael. This is a heart-opening, invigorating anthology.
- How to Use This Booklet
- Anthroposophy and the Human Gemüt
- Michael's Battle with the Dragon
- Twelve Verses from the Calendar of the Soul
- Michaelmas Verse
- The Michael Festival in the Course of the Year
- Enthusiasm and the Consciousness o fthe Waldorf Teacher
- Healthy and Ill instead of True and False
- The Fine Weaving of the Spiritual in the Material
- The Battle of Michael Described for the Waldorf Teacher
- Truth-Wrought Pictures of Michael and the Growth of Human Freedom
- On the Genesis of Evil
- Threefolding and the Michael Festival of the Future
- Easter and Michaelmas
- Trust in Spirit Bring Michael-Strength
- Michael's Ascent to Time Spirit and His Battle with the Dragon
- The Art of Education: Bulding the Vehicle in which Michael Will Ride into Our Civilization
- On the Being of Michael - His Gaze - Rejection of Nationalism
- The Message of Michael
- The Equilibrium Between Lucifer and Ahriman through Christ
- A Picture of Equilibrium
- On the Mystery of Michael
- From the New Testament
#10 of the Little Series
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Deepen your understanding of the human heart as expressed through St. Martin. This lovely little book offers legends, history, insights into the life and meaning of St. Martin. With its contents in your heart, your next November 11 Lantern Walk will be a source of richness and renewal. Truly a beautiful book.
Christmas - An Introductory Reader
Christmas collects excerpts from Steiner’s many talks and writings on the significance of Christmas. This volume features an editorial introduction, afterword, commentary, and notes by Matthew Barton.
- Christmas in a Grevious Age
- Christmas and the Earth
- Delving to the Core
- The Child and the Tree
- Toward a New Christmas
Christmas - Volume 3 of the Little Series
From the work of Rudolf Steiner
Compiled by Helmut von Kügelgen
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These little books created by Helmut von Kügelgen are just amazing - each and every one of them was compiled with an eye toward the soul needs of teachers. The outcome is that each and every one of them carries within it such warmth, such heart-opening goodness, such hope and love, that they meet not just the needs of teachers, but of all of us.
Christmas is densely packed with meditations on the meaning of the seasons, the Gospel stories of Christmas, prayers and verses of resounding simplicity and richness, even a St. Nicolas celebration for children by von Kügelgen makes an appearance.
The tenderness and depth of Christmas is of a nature that extends well beyond a time of year -- as, in fact, the original Christmas has done.
- How to Work with This Booklet
- The Four Different Accounts of Christmas in the Gospels
- Universal Verse for the Earth
- The Gospel of St. John
- The Christmas Conference 1923/1924
- Christmas Verse
- Verses from the Calendar of the Soul
- The Etheric Body as a Reflection of the Universe
- Wisdom, Power and Love
- In Praise of Love
- The Armour of God - Verse by Angelus Silesius
- Universal Verse for Our Earth
- Freedom and Peaceful Collaboration
- Isis, Sophia and Maria Unified in Love through the Child
- Forces of Child and Forces of Eternity
- The Birth of Christ in the Human Soul
- The Christ-Impulse throughout History
- Peace on Earth
- Summer and Winter/New Year's Eve and the Holy Nights
- Verses by Angelus Silesius
- The First Gift
- The Nicholas Messenger
- Apocalyptic Advent Gospel - Gospel Texts for Advent, Christmas time, Epiphany and Beyond
The Dream Song of Olaf Asteson
An Ancient Norwegian Folksong of the Holy Nights
Illustrated by Janet Jordan
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This legendary folk song came to light in 1850, when a member of the clergy named Landstad first heard it in a lonely valley of Telemark, Norway. The epic narrative—whose origin is lost to time—tells of a young man who slept for twelve days and nights during the deep winter. When he finally awoke, he shared the wondrous sights he had seen.
I can remember reading this folksong together with friends during the Holy Nights almost 30 years ago - it is a memory I treasure. There is something deeply profound and deeply beautiful to be found in this story - something that will stay with you always once it touches you.
This edition of The Dream Song of Olaf Åsteson is illuminated by Janet Jordan’s striking paintings, which give new life to this timeless legend and help modern readers connect more intimately with its profound meaning.
Gazing into the Eyes of the Future
The Enactment of Saint Nicholas in the Waldorf School
with contributions from Doal Samson and David Mitchell
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David Tresemer has given us a beautiful and thoughtful consideration of the Festival of St. Nicholas as it is enacted in Waldorf schools. I've always loved this festival and have seen how much it means to the children (of all ages) when it is enacted for them with sincerity and understanding. It is as thought the original gift of St. Nicholas were passed along to all of them, imbuing the walnuts and fruit with the gold that is love. In this little book, Tresemer captures it all.
The Table of Contents:
- Gazing into the Eyes of the Future
- The Light in the Eyes
- The History of Saint Nicholas
- Responses of the Various Grades
- St. Nicholas in High School and the Gift of Fruit and Nuts
- Rupert, the Dark Side, and the Demonstration of Karma
- A Final Comment from Nicholas
- The Teacher's Perspective by Donald Samson
- Nicholas and Rupert - a Story Told by David Mitchell
Christmas Plays from Oberufer
Paradise Play|Shepherds Play|Kings Play
Edited by Hélène Jacquet
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This isn't exactly "inner work," but the faculty and staff of many Waldorf schools do perform these plays as gifts to their community. They are my favorite festival tradition in the Waldorf movement - do enjoy!
For hundreds of years, ordinary people in the small Austrian village of Oberufer on the Danube gathered in the local tavern at Christmastime to perform these plays for their neighbors. With their roots lost in medieval times, the plays gradually evolved to incorporate a unique blend of folk humor and profound reverence in their celebration of the birth of Jesus.
The Paradise Play, acting as a preface, presents the expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise, but with the promise of future salvation through Christ. The Shepherds Play portrays the birth of Jesus in a stable, where he is sought out by a group of shepherds. The Kings Play depicts the visit of three wise kings to the birthplace of the King of Humanity, as well as the murderous attempts by Herod to thwart Jesus' mission.
This revised edition of the plays—suitable for both amateur and professional players—offers a clear layout of the texts, greatly elaborated makeup and director’s indications, stage and lighting directions, and detailed costume designs.
Includes eight pages of color illustrations.
Stories for the Festivals of the Year
Told for Children
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I had never heard of this little treasure of a book until a few weeks ago. In fact, I had never seen a copy until those I had requested sight unseen arrived at my door.
It's been a long time since I was in a community where simple yet deep and beautiful stories were told at festival times -- Irene Johanson has brought that all back to me and offers it to anyone who opens her book. Although these tales for the Christian festivals are indeed told for children, it is hard for me to imagine anyone who could listen to or read these stories without loving them.
Most of the stories are quite short, which is good not only because they can be told at bedtime, but because there is so much imaginative gold contained in each that these small portions allow the heart to wrap itself completely around the stories and lets the mind imagine each one to the fullest.
- Easter, Ascension and Whitson - 9 different stories
- Legends about St. John (the Baptist) - 10 stories
- The Marriage of the King's Son (for Michaelmas) - 3 stories
- The Animals' Joy at Christmas - 6 stories
- Star Legends for Epiphany - 6 stories
- Holy Week - 6 stories
A Christmas Story
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This gentle and imaginative story was woven by König from experiences undergone by a community of handicapped children and their helpers when a child in their midst had died.
Also contained in this volume is the report of a journey, which König undertook in 1961 to several European towns connected with the tragic life of Kaspar Hauser, whose extraordinary being had for so many years been an inspiration to him in his work with handicapped children.
Plays for Christmas
In general, the plays are to be performed by teenaged and adult actors.
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Plays occupied a special place in Karl König's creative life. He didn't write them as 'works of art,' rather, he wrote them when a special constellation within the community in which he lived inspried him - a constellation of people and events within the festival being of the year. For him, they were a way of bringing the spiritual impulse of the time into direct connection with human beings and their lives.
Plays for Christmas contains:
- A Play for Advent
- A Little Christmas Celebration
- A Community Christmas Play
Plays for Ascensiontide
In general, the plays are to be performed by teenaged and adult actors.
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Plays for Ascensiontide contains:
- Evening in Emmaus
- The Cup of Zarathustra
- Quo Vadis, Domine?
Living Passages for the Whole Family
Celebrating Rites of Passage from Birth to Adulthood
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Shea's latest book is a treasure for any family, any time. Throughout its more than 300 pages, she offers up celebrations for more than 20 of life's most important moments, many of which I have never witnessed anyone celebrating before. Her love of life and love for the human heart shine joyously on every page - Living Passages is itself a celebration of the steps we all must take along the pathway that is our life.
I believe that this book is destined to breathe healing life into the world long after all of us have moved on to other realms - it is just that powerful, just that love-filled. It is my fondest hope that it finds its way into hearts and homes everywhere, and becomes a source of renewed joy, hope and love to all who are touched by its goodness.
Inside you will find:
- Creative ideas for celebrating contemporary rites of passage from birth to age 21
- Guidance for making soulful connections to secular rites of passage in the 21st Century
- Over 20 rites of passage ceremonies for infants, children, youths and adults
- Over 30 songs to honor life transitions
- Ideas for celebrating birthday passages
- Guides for imparting age-appropriate rights and responsibilities in a young person's life
- Soulful wisdom & encouragement for parents
- Ideas for parents and caregivers to reclaim and heal life passages from the past
Integrating the Days of Awe and Chanukah into the Waldorf Grades Curriculum
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For anyone who has been wanting to learn more about the Life within Judaism, and especially for those who have wished for more help in presenting some of the traditions within a Waldorf context, this joyous book is here to help. Filled with enthusiasm, beauty and love, you really can't do any better as a place to learn and glean ideas. The cover picture of Marc Chagall's Blue Violinist is a mere hint of the delights and joys within. Clearly, Erica Jayasuriya loves these traditions and has found a wellspring of beautiful ways to share them with children.
The Cycle of the Year as a Breathing Process of the Earth
Lectures by Rudolf Steiner
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Human beings must attain an esoteric maturity in order to think not merely abstractly, but to be able to think so concretely that they can again become festival-creating. Then it will be possible again to unite something spiritual with the cycle of sense phenomena.
- Rudolf Steiner (in The Cycle of the Year as a Breathing Process of the Earth)
In these five lectures given at Easter in 1923, Rudolf Steiner lays a foundation for celebrating the Christian festivals - Christmas, Easter, St. John's, and Michaelmas - in a fully conscious way. He begins by describing how the festival year evolved over long ages from the cycle of inbreathing and outbreathing that the forces which are the Earth's soul element carry out in relation to the cosmos. He reveals the deep relationship of humankind to the Earth's seasons, to the time of the solstices and the equinoxes, and through the festivals of the seasons to the Christ Being. The esoteric realities behind the festivals are also discussed in relation to subearthly and superearthly forces, the ancient Mysteries, St. Michael's activity, morality, and the arts.
Four Seasons and the Archangels
Translated by Pauline Wehrle
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These five lectures are among our favorites. The beauty of Steiner's portrayal of the activities of the archangels Michael, Gabriel, Raphael and Uriel at the four pillars of the year is breathtaking. These lectures picture the alchemy of the cosmos, human beings, plants, animals and minerals moving together through the all the forces of elemental nature to find the balance point of the Earth's true goal. Highly recommended as another key doorway to understanding the cosmic significance of the turning of the year.
The Easter Festival in the Evolution of the Mysteries
Translated by Brian Kelly
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These four lectures will go a long way toward explaining the truly human - as distinct from specifically religious - significance of what the Christian religion celebrates as Easter. Steiner traces the pre-Christian origins of this festival and shows it to be grounded in cosmic-earthly reality has been experienced by humanity throughout time. I think you'll find this perspective to go deeper than most accounts of the history of various festivals. More importantly, I think you'll find it freeing.
The Legends and the Facts
Eleanor C Merry
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In this volume, Eleanor Merry applies her remarkably wide-ranging knowledge of world religion and mythology to the Easter story. She focuses on three legends: that of The Holy Grail and Perceval; an old Irish legend, and the legend of Faust.
With the Sun, the Moon, and Nature forming a continuous background to her ideas, Merry draws out the common themes that lead, ultimately, to the Christian Easter story.
The Mystery of John & the Cycle of the Year
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The enigma of the two Johns (the Baptist and the Apostle) has be the source of much contemplation, discussion and debate for many centuries. Karl König opens new vistas of understanding and possibility with these lectures that begin with Rudolf Steiner's insights and then go on to elaborate and develop the relationship of St. John the Baptist to St. John the Evangilist. He further unfolds their joint relationship to the cycle of the year, giving fresh meaning to the celebration of the Feast of St. John at midsummer.
These lectures are beautiful and deep, worthy reading any time of the year.