Welcome to the Michaelmas issue of New View magazine, as autumn approaches in the northern hemisphere whilst south of the equator spring beckons. The cycle of the year goes on.
Rudolf Steiner was clear that the Spirit in whose name the Christian festival at this time of the year is celebrated is also the Spirit of our Age. Micha-El – ‘who is like God’ in ancient Hebrew (as much a question as a statement). The only one identified as an Archangel in the bible. For Steiner, Michael bears the countenance of Christ. Much to ponder on.
Before reading these words you will have seen the front cover image, a familiar one, no doubt, to readers well versed in Steiner’s anthroposophy and perhaps some have even seen this wooden sculpture whilst visiting the Goetheanum in Switzerland. I had the good fortune to spend time with this piece of art, for that is certainly what it is, some years ago. I can still recall the mood it called forth in me, the will to understand what its forms were conveying and the quiet, yet enormous, strength, that the central upright figure, carried. Art never ceases to amaze me as to how, using materials found in the world, an artist can bring them into new relationships and forms to open a doorway into the soul of the onlooker, to stir feeling and engage thinking. This group sculpture did all of that and continues to do so even though we (it and I) are now many miles apart and much time, measured here on earth, has elapsed since we had a direct communion together. I think there is a great hope expressed through this sculpture; that it will be possible to go forward, humanly, against all that works against that progress. So much wisdom is wrought into the wood and it remains a work in progress (just as we are!) for Steiner was never able to complete his full intentions for it in his lifetime.
But themes are present. The ‘Representative of Humanity’, the central figure, holds a balance between the opposing forces that, if left unnoticed and unfettered, would destroy a truly human future. This issue of New View explores, in different ways, the dynamic of this balance and the recognition of the intentions in particular of the being beneath the central figure, the one Steiner said would have a bodily incarnation at the beginning of the third millennium, who he named as Ahriman. Ultimately, things will only go well for humanity if this being is fully recognised, for that takes away its power for hidden, opaque, manoeuvering for its own aims.
The front cover and the articles in this issue are, in part, to help meet this challenge and show how much we each can take a step towards the capacity of the central figure, representing the very best of you and me. The sculpture is a gift to us all. At the moment you need to travel to the Goetheanum to fully appreciate it. Perhaps, in the nearer future, might it take a journey to other places and be seen and experienced more widely?
Writing from the USA, Allison Neumann shows us the background, focused in California, that brought about the rise of the ‘corporation’ – and the inspirations behind it – which we are now faced with, in West of the West: The Isolation of the Human Being Through Corporate Power.
Richard Bunzl, also with reference to the sculpture, looks at these two mighty beings that we have to bring into balance and contend with, in Lucifer and Ahriman – An Introduction.
We then feature two salient Excerpts from Rudolf Steiner’s Mystery Dramas: Encounters with Ahriman as translated by Richard Ramsbotham. It is not necessary to know the plays in order to make an understanding as to what is at stake here.
Except You Become As Children finds Benjamin Cherry writing from Taiwan, reminding us of the wonder and creativity that we can access to meet the trials of the present age, that fresh child within us that can bring forth the ‘new’ in a moral way.
Ahrimanic Counter-Images in The Age of Michael by Nigel Gilmer, writing from America, reveals the gesture of the manifest challenges we now face.
With The Trinity of White, Red and Black: An Imagination for the Creative Middle Space Karin Jarman explores the qualities of the archetypal relationship of these colours present throughout time and cultures.
Peter Taylor offers insights gained from his scientific research concerning climate issues in Climate Watch. This is followed by an interview with biodynamic forester Nick Raeside in A Life with Trees and Forests that also has insights on climate and clouds he fully experienced whilst in the Amazon rainforest.
Alliance for Camphill – Founding a New Community informs us of a trust wishing to sponsor new communities, written by its chair, Julian Haxby.
The Anglo-Russian Antagonism Part 2: The 19th Century ‘Great Game’ continues the series by Terry Boardman to help inform the reader of the background that has led to the unfolding of current events in the world.
A little known work by William Blake is explored in Weaving in the Widths of Space and in the Depths of Time by Maarten Ekama, which, through Greek legends and Blake himself, has much to say about our present condition as incarnate human beings.
Trevor Dance completes his exploration into Steiner’s book The Philosophy of Freedom with The Enjoyment of a Good Book – Part 2. The only work that Steiner said would survive him in the future.
I hope you find much to inform and quietly inspire in the pages of this current New View issue.
Tom Raines – Editor.