The Secret Language of Form
Visual Meaning in Art and Nature
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As background information for anyone teaching art, The Secret Language of Form just can't be beat. The pleasures of discovery that lie within this book are so exhilarating that you may want a cup of soothing herb tea alongside so that you won't interrupt yourself too often by jumping up and singing for happiness.
Van James has explored form as it emerges from nature and finds its way into art and from there into the human soul. His journey into the heart of meaning as we humans find it among the many forms Creation has given us constitutes a tour through an Earthly-Cosmic landscape that is at once always grounded yet never removed from spiritual reality. Hundreds of photos, drawings, and paintings greet you to illustrate each illuminate each of the author's observations; and, to evoke wonder and awe in your own heart. This is a feast of beautiful awakening.
Visit this book again and again, to study closely, to keep at hand for those times when inspiration seems far away, for surely you will find it anew within its pages.
Part One: The Formative Nature of Art
- Primal Images
- Archetypal Images
- Curve and Straight Line: The Alphabet of Form
- Point and Dot: Origin
- Circle and Spiral: Wholeness and Eternity
- Chevron, Zigzag and Lattice: Patterns of Humanity
- Ladder, Spine and Tree: The Ascent
- Symmetry: The Lawfulness of Balance
- Cross and Swastika: Death and Transformation
- Archetypal Themes in Art<
- Mandala: Picture of the Universal Self
- Labyrinth and Maze: Journey to the Center of the Universe
- Thread and Knot: The World Weaves
Part Two: The Formative Art of Nature
- The Essential Gesture
- The Open Secret
About Formative Forces in the Plant World
Dick van Romunde
Original Drawings by Elly van Hardeveld
Translated by James Lee and Jannebeth Röell
Hardbound, Dust Jacketed, Beautifully illustrated on semi-gloss paper
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This is one of the most unusual and beautiful books we have ever carried -- one of those rare books that is so filled with wonderful things to discover, and so well conceived, and so very, very well printed and bound that just holding it in your hand is enough to convince you that it is a treasure, in fact, something to be treasured for years and generations to come. It's as though what is inside the covers is so powerful and true that it reaches out to you before you lay eyes on the first words.
Dick van Romunde was a Waldorf science teacher who felt that part of his task on earth was to show his readers the natural world, seen through eyes trained by Goethe and Steiner. And what a warm and fascinating journey he takes us on! Plant by plant, we look with him and listen as he tells us what he has found to be most significant, most at the heart of that form of life. It's as though we were invited on a field trip with a naturalist who is as wise as he is learned, and who just loves to share what he knows.
This is a book that is lavishly illustrated -- in general, you'll find tasteful, elegant color drawings on every other page; yet, it is the text that keeps pulling my eyes away from the truly beautiful drawings. Yes, I know. I can hardly believe it either; in fact, I can't think of another instance where something this has happened. But van Romunde's insights and observations are so very engaging that I simply can't take my eyes off them, even when I want to.
This is a book to cherish and return to over and over.
And by the way, the translation is as elegant as van Romunde's work deserves -- clear, clean English that flows like a river across the author's thoughts.
Perceiving Plants - Experiencing Elemental Beings
The Influence of Gnomes, Nymphs, Sylphs and Fire Spirits upon the Life of Plants
Dick van Romunde
Translated by James Lee and Jannebeth Röell
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Perceiving Plants was originally written as an introduction to Rudolf Steiner's Man as Symphony of the Creative Word (newly titled in English as Harmony of the Creative Word). From there, van Romunde expanded it and the result is this amazing little book in which the author teaches us how to become sensitive to the nature beings that sustain and effect plant life.
Whether you begin next to a favorite potted plant or out in a beautiful meadow, you'll find van Romunde teaching you things that will forever change the way you look at the natural world -- and will probably forever change your life. For, once we become truly awake to the helpful nature spirits, it is very difficult to go on as though they didn't exist, as if what we did really didn't matter.
Perceiving Plants offers us a uniquely joyous awakening to both the nature spirits and our own responsibility. A lovesong to both plants and the beings who create within them.
Goethe & Palladio
Goethe's study of the relationship between art and nature, leading through architecture to the discovery of the metamorphosis of plants
David Lowe/Simon Sharp
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The poet, dramatist, novelist, and scientist, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe had to wait many years before he was able to travel south to Italy, "the land where the lemon trees bloom." He had gained success in several fields, but he had a sense of being trapped and confined and felt a need for light. Italy would give this to him in a number of ways.
Taking as their basis Goethe’s Italian Journey, the authors of this fascinating and unusual study explore how Goethe’s experience of Palladio’s architecture influenced his view of the relationship between art and nature in general and, in particular, helped him form his understanding of metamorphosis, leading to his discovery of the “archetypal plant.”
In his carefully written account of his travels, Goethe seems to oscillate between experiences of architecture and experiences of nature. In nature, he searched for the "archetypal plant," the essential form whose metamorphosis through time would produce the plant we see in its cycle from seed to fruit. In the art and architecture of antiquity and in Palladio’s classical reformulation of it, he tried to understand the purpose and function of artistic creation.
Until now, no one has put these two together. David Lowe and Simon Sharp show for the first time how these seemingly unrelated subjects are related—how the living geometries and volumes of harmoniously proportioned buildings, the “great idea” of architecture, can lead to the intuition of similar principles in nature.
David Lowe and Simon Sharp have worked together for twenty-one years. One of their first projects was the recreation of Goethe’s Italian Journey. They have given numerous workshops and presentations on the subject in the U.S. and U.K., including The British Museum, the German Embassy, and the Edinburgh Festival.
This is must-reading for anyone interested in Goethe's ideas on plants and metamorphosis.
Secrets of the Skeleton
Form in Metamorphosis
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In this book, we are not dealing, as is usually the case, with statements that are, in my opinion, established facts.... The artistic part that lives in some form in each human being can be used as a means of observation. Thus, it is possible to observe things that would escape those who take the purely analytical, scientific approach.... It is of prime importance to discover a certain order, a plan, in the multitude of shapes. To achieve this, we must study the skeleton as a whole. For our purpose, it is also necessary to study the shape of a number of bones in a new way and by mutual comparison.
—L. F. C. Mees
In this seminal study of human bone forms, Dr. Mees reveals the skeleton as an articulate work of art. But who is the artist? Using a blend of phenomenological observations and artistic intuition, the author carefully explores the anatomical facts of the human skeleton, with the beauty of many bones impressively described and illustrated through numerous parallel photographs and illustrations.
Dr. Mees discovers numerous intriguing correspondences of form, especially between bones of the lower body and those of the skull. Interpreting the gestural language hidden within the skeleton from the background of Rudolf Steiner’s spiritual science, the author reaches startling conclusions concerning those correspondences — conclusions that support the reality of reincarnation and the concept of a body of formative forces, or what some call the human “etheric body.”
The book also contributes a discussion of polarity and intensification — the essential laws of metamorphosis, as discovered by Goethe and revealed in his writings. Mees clarifies the various types of metamorphosis as characterized by the living realms of plant, animal, and human, and this, in turn, sheds new light on the creationist vs. evolutionary controversy, as well as several other contemporary spiritual dilemmas.
A Guide to Naked-eye Observation of the Stars
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This is the astronomy course I always wanted to take, but could find! Davidson takes us outside, has us look up at the starry wonder overhead, and then tells us what we are seeing. In the process, he also treats us to myths, legends and history, and even includes a whole chapter of poetry about the stars! Wonderful!
- The Stars - I
- The Stars - II
- The Sun
- The Moon
- The Planets
- The Copernican Revolution
- Comets and Meteors
- The Southern Hemisphere Sky
- The Stars in Poetry
- Astronomical Events
- Technical Data
- Astronimcal Symbols
- Star Maps for Observers at the Equator
- Useful Materials and Publications
- Some Famous Individuals in the History of Astronomy
- Glossary of Astronomical Terms
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The exercises in this book reveal the secrets of space. With over 200 instructive diagrams, Lawrence Edwards presents a clear and artistic understanding of the intriguing qualities of non-Euclidean geometry.
The elements of geometry are points, lines and planes, together with Space and Nothing. In Euclidean geometry, we observe these as if we are point-centered beings concerned with extensive measurement. In non-Euclidean, or projective geometry, we are 'planar' beings observing spatial relations, free of measurement, as dynamic and transformational. According to the author, this is a polar opposite vision of intensive space, and it reveals remarkable secrets. Edwards invites the reader to discover these secrets through practical exercises in creative geometry.
Triangle, Circle and Soul
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Harry Kretz has taught geometry in Waldorf schools for many years, pondering why the study of points, lines, planes, and three dimensional forms so powerfully holds the students' interest and desire for further exploration.
Moses wrote that God created man, a living soul. Plato wrote that God geometrizes. If the sould is thought of as the threefold principle of life - thinking, feeling, and action - and the triangle is a form with three sides, is there a connection? The author's dream experience seems to say 'yes.'
A fascinating exploration - full of things to ponder. I've had a few "geometric" dreams in my life (many years ago now) - I still remember them vividly. They were among the handful of dreams I've had where I felt myself immersed in understanding, where things were explained that I couldn't quite "get" in broad daylight. Almost uniquely, this understanding stayed with me after waking, and is with me now. Harry Kretz had many more such experiences -- I think his sharing of them can offer much which enriches.
The Creation of Flowing Forms in Water and Air
Preface by Jacques Cousteau
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Sensitive Chaos presents one of the most enthralling, marvelous, even sensuous journeys into life on Earth. The destination? Nothing less than eye-to-eye contact with the conjunction of living creation with the matter of our Earth and beyond. Theodor Schwenk's groundbreaking work stands as vivid testimony to the interconnectedness of all life and to the living heartbeat of the Earth itself. This is a wonderful book - one I have turned to many times over the 20 years since I first found it. Please do give yourself the same opportunity. Beyond outstanding!
The Dynamic Heart and Circulation
Edited by Craig Holdrege
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Based on years of Goethean science research, the essays in this book provide a dynamic view of the heart and circulatory system, providing a wealth of factual material that a teacher can use for his or her blocks. This book will also be useful to anthroposophical and holistic health practitioners, as well as to scientists interested in a Goethean approach to human biology.
The Spirit in Human Evolution
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Martyn Rawson, seasoned Waldorf teacher and biologist, takes the reader on a journey into modern anthropological thinking from the perspective of a spiritual scientist.
- Self-knowledge, Truth, and Goodness
- Contextual Thinking Versus Reductionist Thinking
- Anthroposophical Anthropology and the Developing Human Being
- First Steps
- Lucy, Flatface, and Friends
- Working Man
The Living World of Plants
A Book for Children and Students of Nature
Dr. Gerbert Grohmann
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This book can be thought of as a distillation of Grohmann's extensive two-volume study, The Plant. Here, the material is presented in a way that will engage both younger students and the adults who teach them. I find that in many ways, The Living World of Plants, is much more powerful in its capacity to evoke awe at the truly amazing world of plants than his more detailed presentation in The Plant. If you are not conversant with the plant world, but would like to be, this is the book for you. An excellent source book for teachers of all grade levels, whether in school or at home. Can be useful as a reader for children grades 5 and up.
The Light Course
First Course in Natural Science: Light, Color, Sound - Mass, Electricity, Magnetism
Translated by Raoul Cansino
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Rudolf Steiner's course on light, which includes explorations of color, sound, mass, electricity, and magnetism, presages the dawn of a new worldview in the natural sciences that will stand your notion of the physical world on its head.
This "first course" in natural science, given to the teachers of the new Stuttgart Waldorf School as an inspiration for developing the physics curriculum, is based on Goethe's approach to the study of nature.
Acknowledging that modern physicists had come to regard Goethe's ideas on physics as a kind of "nonsense," Steiner contrasts the traditional scientific approach, which treats phenomena as evidence of natural laws, with Goethean science, which rejects the idea of an abstract law behind natural phenomena and instead seeks to be a rational description of nature.
Steiner also refutes the mechanistic reductionism practiced by scientific positivists. He emphasizes the validity of human experience, pointing toward the revolution in scientific paradigms going on today that reclaims ground for the subject - the human being - in the study of nature.