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
Animals and Their Destiny
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Our time is one that has fostered a tragic relationship between human beings and nature, making it a very good time revisit Karl König's voice of conscience, a voice that spoke with compassion about the intertwined destinies of man and all twelve phyla of animals – the invertebrates (protozoa, coelenterates, echinoderms, tunicates, molluscs, worms, arthropods) and vertebrates (fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals). His was a courageous, somewhat out-of-step voice in the climate of neo-Darwinian thinking of the early 1960s when these lectures were given. However, in the context of the moral dilemma provoked by recent developments in genetic engineering and the increasingly urgent calls for a reassessment of current attitudes towards the animal world, his thoughts and insights resonate with the concerns we all carry in our hearts.
König sought to place a new understanding of evolution alongside the orthodox view, and his radical approach still challenges the scientific mainstream in ways that offer food for thought to the open-minded student. These seminal lectures invite the reader into a landscape of perception and insight that can engender a new moral imagination towards our evolutionary brothers, the animals.
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 on Science
An Anthology of Goethe's Scientific Writings
Jeremy Naydler, editor
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Goethe on Science is a delicious walk through Goethe's scientific premises, methodology, and conclusions. I found an enormous amount to contemplate, much that opened my eyes to the unfolding of nature around me. I also found that this is a difficult book to put down for very long. I have often set it on the shelf, only to return in a few moments for yet another taste of a way of looking at the world that combines the beauty of poetry with the rigor of science to arrive at conclusions that behold the Spirit.
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.
In Partnership with Nature
Softbound with unbound full-color plates
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This is a fascinating book, one that is as much an artistic presentation of the natural world as it is a considered ecological treatise on the interrelationships and unique attributes of individual species and environments of nature.
Bockemühl's goal is to allow us to experience the unity of beauty with scientific fact, of science and art -- in the process, it is his conviction that we will develop our own sense of how to respond with care to the needs of nature in those instances when our own needs impact the environment. In short, he has composed In Partnership with Nature in the hopes of reuniting beauty, truth and goodness -- for the love of the world.
This is a book that is a treat to have on one's bookshelf -- and to go back to time and time again to discover and rediscover it's gems. Very highly recommended.
The Rhythmic Power of Water
Brimming with full-color and black-and-white photos and drawings
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What is the true nature of water and does it have memory?
By working with the rhythm and flow of water, can we increase its life-giving power?
Water is not only fundamental to life but is essential for the cycles and changes in nature. John Wilkes asserts that water is the universal bearer of whatever character we put into it. Consequently, the way we treat water is crucial to our own health and to the well being of the planet as a whole.
Working with his remarkable invention, the Flowform, Wilkes uncovered many mysteries of water and, in the process, created an art of great beauty. His lifetime of applied research into rhythms and water, fully revealed here for the first time, has startling implications for such topical issues as farming and irrigation; food production and processing; water treatment and recycling; and health and cosmetic products.
The author includes a history of Flowform research as well as the most important, up-to-date developments in this research around the world. He also includes informative appendices on metamorphosis, Flowform designs and applications, and the scientific and technical aspects of Flowform research.
Flowforms is a groundbreaking, lavishly illustrated book, revealing both the beauty of Flowforms and their broad range of applications.
- Water and Rhythm
- Rhythm and Flow: The Water Cycle
- Experimenting with Water
- Discovery of the Flowform Method
- In Flowform and the Living World
- Järna: the First Major Flowform Project
- The Next Generation of Flowforms
- The Metamorphic Sequence
- Research with Cascades
- Flowform-related Developments
- The Flowform throughout the World: An Illustrated Survey
- Present and Future
- Appendix 1: Metamorphosis
- Appendix 2: Flowform Types, Designs, and Applications
- Appendix 3: Scientific and Technical Aspects
- Appendix 4: Virbela Rhythm Research Institute
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.
Embryology and World Evolution
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In these remarkable seminars, König traces the preparatory steps that every human being has to tread in forging an earthly 'house' fitting for the spiritual to incarnate into the physical. Wonder builds on wonder as we begin to recognise the wisdom with which we human beings are fashioned; it turns into awe we we see how intimately we are interwoven with the evolution of our earth. Indeed, we recapitulate its earlier stages in our own unfolding from the moment of conception onwards.
König succeeds in bringing vividly alive a subject normally confined to the academic laboratory. What might be thought dry or difficult here becomes exciting and challenging, and we are left with a new and deeper understanding of our significance for the future of this beautiful, fragile planet.
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 Plant - Vol. 1
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The Plant, in two volumes, is a classic, loving study of the plant world, the fruit of a lifetime of patient and detailed observation of nature. Volume 1 begins with the flowering plant, then turns to the living face of the earth before moving on to consider the threefoldness of the plant and the image of the human being.
I think you'll enjoy these books - whether or not you garden or farm. I have found that they offer enormous food for thought and gave me a basis for a renewed and expanded appreciation of the miracle of the natural world.
The Plant - Vol. 2
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In The Plant, Volume 2, Grohmann adds further plant descriptions and extends the cosmological viewpoint presented in Volume 1.
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.
Essays on Modification of the Clouds and the Language of Clouds
Luke Howard, FRS and Ernst Lehrs
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In 1832, Luke Howard taught the Western World how to distinguish one cloud from another, giving them names and moving us all a bit further toward the science of Meteorology. Goethe recognized his genius and dedicated a poem to him. Ernst Lehrs refers to him as a "true reader of the book of Nature."
Both Howard's and Lehr's essays are invaluable resources for teachers of elementary meteorology. A teacher who can convey Howard's way of seeing clouds to the students will have given them a living approach to the world of nature. No small thing, that.
With an Afterword on the Art of Joseph Benys
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In 1923 Steiner predicted the dire state of the honeybee today. He said then that in fifty to eighty years we would see the consequences of mechanizing the forces that had previously operated organically in the beehive, such as the practice of artificially breeding queen bees. The fact that over sixty percent of the American honeybee population has died during the past ten years and that this same phenomena is occurring around the world should urge our attention to the importance of the issues discussed in these lectures.
Rudolf Steiner began this series of lectures on bees in response to a question from an audience of construction workers. From physical depictions of the daily activities of bees to the loftiest esoteric insights, the lectures describe the unconscious wisdom contained in the beehive and its connection to our experience of health, culture, and the cosmos. They are essential reading for anyone interested in understanding the true nature of the honeybee, as well as those who wish to heal the contemporary crisis of the beehive.
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.