Dear Friends of CfA:
So much has transpired since we last wrote to you a month ago! The unimaginable has become fact,
the impossible common practice. This is true of Waldorf schools and institutes just as it is of virtually all human activity at the moment –– from cultural practices and public policy making to
private home life and the care of children. Almost overnight, Waldorf institutions the world over––including us at CfA and our partners at Antioch University New England––have removed
courses or converted them into online classes, supplementing them by all manner of creative and practical solutions. By our actions we demonstrate the flexibility and boundless good will of the human spirit.
Like so many other people working in Waldorf schools and institutes, we at CfA are learning a lot
about what does and what does not work in a virtual setting, and these lessons are helping us map
out options for the coming summer, specifically a new line-up we are calling “Renewal Online 2020:
Serving in the Interval” as well as our Waldorf High School Teacher Education Program. Click here
to read the latest plans for Renewal Courses; click here for latest news on the high school
In the meantime, we offer you a link to a new interview with the leading physician Michaela
Gloeckler, one of our featured presenters this summer. In her inimitable way, she offers
simultaneously lofty and down-to-earth perspectives on the worldwide coronavirus pandemic. Click
here to read her interview.
We are still expecting to open new hubs of our foundational Explorations Program in Southern
New Hampshire and in Alaska next fall, as well as new groups of our Building Bridges program in
Arizona and perhaps Jacksonville, Florida. Due to the coronavirus outbreak, we have extended the
registration date for these groups to July 1. Register here for Explorations and here for Building
Mindful of the financial disruption that the current pandemic is wreaking, we are inaugurating new
approaches to financial assistance for our summer programs. Click here to read about our new
fund for financial assistance.
Meanwhile, be well and stay in touch –– even if, for now, the contact has to be held back at a
distance of six feet!
Douglas Karine Torin Milan Rachel
Center for Anthroposophy
May the events that seek me
Come unto me;
May I receive them
With a quiet mind
Through the Spirit’s ground of peace
On which we walk.
May the people who seek me
Come unto me;
May I receive them
With an understanding heart
Through the Spirit’s stream of love
In which we live.
May the spirits who seek me
Come unto me;
May I receive them
With a clear soul
Through the healing Spirit’s Light
By which we see.
––– adapted from a verse by Adam Bittleston
Update on our Programs for Summer 2020:
With heavy heart we have decided to forego offering face-to-face Renewal Courses, as we have done
for the past twenty-one years. But, as with most portals, the closure of one door makes possible the
opening of another. For this summer, then, we are offering a new sequence of courses we are calling
Week I: Sunday 28 June – Friday 3 July
Week II: Sunday 5 July – Friday 10 July
In making music, one note is juxtaposed with another, creating a unique interval that bridges both
notes while being distinct from each. In this sense, this summer’s online courses will serve as bridge
from Renewal Courses, as they were in previous years, to what they will become in an as yet
undefined future setting.
In short, here is a chance to meet in the “interval” that has arisen between the face-to-face
experiences of past Renewal Courses and those new human encounters we are already planning for
future years. In the potent opening that can arise between remembered past and imagined future,
we can together create something meaningful and harmonious in the noisy tumult of these
In brief, we are offering online versions of the following:
In Week I:
Separate grades-specific courses for each year 1 through 8 (Part 1)
Teaching Mixed Grades (Part 1)
In Week II:
Separate grades-specific courses for 1 through 8 (Part 2)
Teaching Mixed Grades (Part 2)
Michaela Gloeckler’s seminar on “Healing Impulses and the Call of Destiny”
Karsten Massei’s workshop on climate change
Linda Bergh and Jennifer Fox’s biography workshop
Jamie York’s course on projective geometry
Robyn Brown’s course on curative education
The grades-specific and mixed-grades courses will be spread over two weeks in order to limit online
time each day. Tuition for an online course will be reduced to $395. The course on “The Human
Encounter and Community Building” with Torin Finser and Carla Comey will be offered face-to-
face during the middle of the next school year. The remaining Renewal Courses previously
advertised for this summer will not be offered at this time. Roberto Trostli (science) Meg Chittenden (music) will participate again this summer, and we are planning evening short lectures by Christof Wiechert.
We look forward to hearing from you soon. Meanwhile we are working hard to prepare a
carefully thought-out framework that will include some Renewal ingredients to help us bridge what
we have come to cherish as Renewal from past years and hope to rework in future years.
In the meantime, we will need your support to spread the word, in order for us to meet this
year and in years to come.
With gratitude and best wishes for your protection,
CfA Director of Renewal Courses; Renewal Online 2020
A Verse for Our Time
In light of the past month, I have acquired a new appreciation for those who were responsible for
laying down the railways tracks during the great expansion to the West over a century ago. Like
these intrepid workers, we are nailing down the rails even as the train is impatiently steaming up
By now, word has gone out that we are not going to be able to meet face-to-face in Wilton for the
summertime sessions of our Waldorf High School Teacher Education Program (WHiSTEP). The
campus where we normally meet will be “off limits” until the fall, and other summer courses
running in tandem with ours have now opted to go online. We are therefore in the process of
converting at least a portion of our high school training program to online courses, with the option
of holding some face-to-face seminars later in the year.
Each year, our summer begins with a week of Renewal Courses, followed by a further three weeks
of training courses. Fortunately, some of the previously advertised Renewal Courses of particular
relevance to high school trainees will be converted into online seminars this summer, with the result
that these will still be available, albeit in “virtual” form. Indeed, some new online offerings may open
up as the palette of options takes shape.
The entire team of the WHiSTEP faculty have pledged to make themselves available this summer in
whatever format is needed. This means that, following the first week, we will be able to offer much
of the program as described earlier in the syllabi for this year.
We are still working on the details of content and schedule, but in outline Paul Gierlach will lead the
morning course on Study of Man as well as his upper-level subject seminar in history. Other subject
seminars will be led by the same faculty as last summer. A detailed outline of the daily schedule will
be published later in the spring. As it happens, there will be no new first-year cohort starting this
As one might expect, we will need to find a new way to integrate the arts, since there is no
satisfactory way to render certain artistic experiences––drama, eurythmy, or sculpture, for
instance––on a virtual platform. That said, we are exploring some new ideas with Meg Chittenden
(singing) and Laura Radefeld (hygienic eurythmy exercises) to see what could be offered through the
media of the performing arts.
Since many participants in this program have already been teaching this spring in Waldorf high
schools, we will set aside some time to compare notes and learn from one another how to make the
best pedagogical use of digital technology without falling victim to it.
An Interview with Michaela Glöckler, M.D.
conducted by Yair Atala, from “Campus A”
Campus A: Currently we find ourselves in times of much change, and it is taking place at a rapid pace. Which is why we find it important to be able to speak to you again now.
We are wondering what is currently happening with us. Why are we so taken by surprise by this virus, individually and as a society, and why are we reacting in such an unprecedented way?
Dr. Glöckler: I can understand your question very well. Because, on one hand we are already familiar with the flu viruses, which recur each year. And we are apt to ask ourselves what makes the Corona pandemic so unique. We have known about viral strains since the 1960s. Their detection required extremely high-definition electron microscopes. But in the meantime the virus research has made enormous advances. And we know that the Corona viruses are a whole family or group of viruses. Up until now, the SARS virus has become particularly well-known. And even back then (2003) everyone was fearful, given that it is also an acute respiratory infection, that it would take on similar forms to that which we are currently experiencing with the Corona Virus. This was what we feared during the SARS epidemic. However, this did not occur at that time. Which is also quite interesting.
In any case, the reason we are experiencing such a unique situation now (with Covid-19) is due to certain complications. As was the case with SARS, most of the people who become infected are not even aware of it, while others have light flu-like symptoms. And then there is a certain number of people from the “high-risk-group”, but also other individual cases, who develop a very dangerous lung infection. It is so dangerous because the fine connective tissue between the alveoli (in the lungs/bronchial tubes) becomes swollen and inflamed, and this restricts breathing capacity, so that a person experiences something akin to suffocating due to lack of air.
Of course, this also creates panic. Even the thought – “I could fall into panic due to lack of air… I could suffocate” – frightens many people. Which is why I can very well understand why, worldwide, there is a somewhat panic-fueled reaction and all social interaction is being shut down.
On the other hand, it is known that we can come to terms with a virus only by means of so-called herd immunity, whereby a great majority of people has been infected by the virus without becoming ill and has thus acquired immunity – we humans as a herd, so to speak, would need to acquire immunity. And by means of a specific vaccine, which we, as of yet, do not have.
In this regard, I hope that as soon as the spread of the virus slows, we will rely on herd-immunity and power up the public social life and the economy, while, at the same time, making an attempt to financially prioritize -which we’ve started doing world-wide in the past few weeks – putting money into emergency medical care and everything that goes along with it, rather than subsidizing the economy.
Campus A: This time around it is so unique because although we are certainly fearful and in panic, we are, above all, compelled to have a sense of solidarity with our fellow human beings, especially with the high-risk group.
Dr. Glöckler: Yes, but we are capable of protecting the high-risk group in a targeted way.
Acquiring herd immunity does not mean infecting the high-risk group. On the contrary. The high-risk group should be unbelievably well-protected. However, the so-called healthy people who do not belong to the high-risk group, they should return to work, and meet each other, etc. and thereby, with light symptoms to no symptoms, immunize themselves against the virus. For if a certain percentage – 70 to 80% – of the population has been immunized, that protects the rest of the population. And if people who have acquired immunity then interact with the high-risk group it is no longer dangerous.
This is, so to speak, a different way of thinking, a different strategy. And I find it so important because particularly elderly people, lonely people, or sick people who are in the hospital or in a nursing home – if they can’t receive any more visitors – will also die, suffer or develop depression. We must be incredibly careful in considering how many people, especially elderly people, are being harmed tremendously by the banning of visitation rights, with the goal of perhaps saving a few others. I see massive ethical issues that arise in consequence of the visitation bans. That is why I advocate: protect the high-risk groups, intensively support health care -we should not spare any costs in health care – and, otherwise, allow young people who have a good immune system to become immunized.
Campus A: By means of ever day social interaction?
Dr. Glöckler: By being together, by working together, by socializing, by participating in cultural life, attending events, by dancing, and so on. Yes, precisely!
Campus A: Many of us are asking about the significance, from a spiritual point of view, of the fact that Covid-19 is an illness affecting the lungs and that it is a pandemic.
Dr. Glöckler: Well, the lung is a very wonderful organ that connects us with the entire atmosphere of the earth. It is the most social, most communicative organ that we have. For example, when people are in a room together they mutually breathe in the air that the other just breathed out. We rarely make ourselves conscious of this. Via the air we are not only connected with all of humanity, but we are also connected with all of our sins and offenses, in view of environmental pollution. We must not forget that the majority of lung complications have arisen in the most polluted metropolises – not in the countryside. We are ruining the air we breath and should not wonder that the lung is less and less able to cope with the bad air we are producing. What I am trying to say is that, if the lung is increasingly confronted with air-pollution, arising from our industrial way of life, there comes a point where the lung is no longer able to cope. At this point the lung becomes more susceptible. And I certainly do see a correlation.
Although we have done much to improve the air in the past few decades worldwide, it is not enough by far. Furthermore, the air we breathe has not only a physical aspect. We experience – by way of speech, music, light – everything that the air bestows upon us. Sunlight is only visible due to the atmosphere. The air makes light visible. And the air is vitally essential for life, and the air transports speech, music, and all sorts of wonderful things.
But it also transports the sounds of the animals – the tormented sounds coming from our agonizing industrial livestock farming. This is also carried in the air and we take it in with our breath – the suffering of animals. I also find there is a link between how we treat animals and the fact that the viruses that are most prevalent in the animal kingdom have developed the ability of cross-species transmission. More and more frequently, we are faced with the fact that the viruses are able to cross the boundary between animal and human… in order to call our attention to the animal kingdom – I cannot say it in any other way! We live and breathe with the animals in the same, shared natural environment, and yet we handle them in such an unworthy, undignified manner – we could not conduct ourselves any more disgracefully. – With only a few praiseworthy exceptions!
Campus A: We belong to the same ecosystem. Dr. Glöckler: Yes.
Campus A: And now I have another question: Let us say I belong to the high-risk group. What can I do to build up my resistance to this new virus that we, as of yet, know so little about?
Dr. Glöckler: Well, if we think along the lines of integrative medicine, there are different levels we can consider: First of all, the physical level, which is now being practiced worldwide. We call such preventative measures “exposition prophylaxis” – this includes: social distancing, (hygienic rules), etc. Basically, it means that one exposes oneself to the virus as little as possible. For example, by wearing a face mask when interacting with people in the high-risk group, such as in hospitals. Basically, certain physical measures can be taken, by means of avoidance.
However, I find it most important to look at which factors come into consideration when it comes to strengthening the immune system in general. And here it is first of all very, very essential to have sufficient sleep – but also a healthy diet and a good work-life balance, which includes getting enough physical movement. It has been found that even a half an hour of deliberate, brisk walking outdoors immediately stimulates the immune system – joyful walking… not slinking around in a depressed state!
We must not allow ourselves to underestimate these completely everyday activities – sleeping, eating, moving.
Then, there are also some very good eurythmy exercises. Eurythmy is very beneficial for those who are familiar with it. Meanwhile there are also video clips on how to learn certain eurythmy exercises that can be of help.
Then, most crucially (beyond the physical) we must consider building up resistance at the level of the soul (the mental-emotional level).
Campus A: The psychosomatic…
Dr. Glöckler: – Psycho-neuro-immunological. Since the 1970s, it has been well established that our immune system reacts positively to positive, good feelings such as: joy, devotion, humor, thankfulness, appreciation. Positive feelings in human relations have an immediate, stimulating effect on the immune system, whereas fear and depression impair the immune system, as do hate and any negative feelings.
However, one more very important thing just came to my mind, regarding the physical level of building resistance to a virus: a good treatment of fevers, “fever management”, is often neglected when people get the flu. This not only pertains to prevention, as you asked about, but also concerns treatment. Of utmost importance in the treatment of viral infections is that the fever symptoms are handled correctly. Because fever is the body’s only weapon for killing off viruses. But many people do not know this. And fever-suppressing drugs and antibiotics tamp down this natural immunological reaction of the body, thereby harming the immune system.
Campus A: For example, Ibuprofen?
Dr. Glöckler: Yes, for example. Meanwhile, there is evidence that one should substitute Ibuprofen with other products, because it has been shown to be harmful. But the thing is, that none of these other products is much good either. And as a doctor, I would recommend the use of such products only if the body is unable to control the fever! Otherwise, one should use physical means to practice healthy fever management.
But there is one more important point regarding prevention on the soul level (mental-emotional level). Some people ask: well, how can I generate positive feelings now while I am sitting alone at home? One can pray and one can meditate. In this way there can arise devotion, and these feelings put us in a good mood. We can light a candle. We can read something that connects us with spirituality, with our notion of God, with higher beings, with eternal thoughts, or with dear loved ones who have passed away. Because, although we cannot see thoughts with our eyes, they are precisely our invisible bridges into the spiritual world. And to renew a connection with the realm of our thoughts – I find that so important.
Campus A: And perhaps, through meditation and a connection with the spiritual world, one can receive something from the spiritual world during these times that will help one to discover new opportunities in the world… Which brings me to my next question: How will this crisis affect us – not only regarding the outer consequences, but regarding new possibilities?
Dr. Glöckler: Well, I hope very much, along with very many other people, that when this is all over, we do not think that our way of life prior to Corona was super and that we can now just carry on in the same fashion. I sincerely hope that economically, in the way we do business, and ecologically, in the way we treat nature, something changes. I hope that we do not simply relapse into the way things were before. That is actually my greatest wish.
And even though many things are now functioning digitally and, due to isolation, digitization has gained major impetus, it is very important that we make it clear to ourselves that digital technology in not healthy for the neurological development of children and adolescents. They need to spend their developmental years in the real world before they accustom themselves to the virtual one.
And I am very actively engaged in this area (see ELIANT), because the ability to think independently requires 16 years of healthy brain development. In fact, the frontal lobe needs 15 to 16 years to develop to the point where one possesses the capability for self-control and independent thinking. In order not lose sight of this, we will have to think carefully and pay much attention when the current lockdown comes to an end. We mustn’t allow ourselves to suppose: “We no longer have a need for many of the things in the real-world. Now one can induct children and youth straightaway into the online world.” – That would be very bad.
And last but not least, in the name of pandemic-management, the move towards a total surveillance is currently being rehearsed – this is simply a fact – up to the point of enforced lockdown and monitoring us via our cellphones. Whether this takes place anonymously or not, everyone knows the gravity of such a practice. We must be very vigilant regarding our free, democratic values, so that, with this pandemic, they don’t go down the drain.
Without wanting to stoke fear, there is one thing that I do wish to emphasize. It is something that Joseph Weizenbaum – who helped build up practically the entire computer industry in the USA, and who played a pivotal role in the development of the computer at MIT – said in 1984 (Orwell year) during an interview in Germany. It is printed in a small book that is still very relevant today, entitled “Kurs auf den Eisberg” (On course for the Iceberg – the responsibility of the individual under the dictatorship of technology, 1993) And even back then in 1984, the interviewer asks whether or not computerization and digitalization is an enormous facilitator of the surveillance state, the Orwellian State. And Weizenbaum answers: of course it is. We’ve been working systematically towards this goal, for only with the computer is total surveillance possible. Then Weizenbaum says: but – and this is the big but – we should realize that humanity has managed to create the most appalling surveillance states even without use of the computer. He says that he would not be concerned about the future of computers and the surveillance state, if humans had developed sufficient morality. Because, then they would be able to employ the technology in a good way and use it to defend democratic values. Weizenbaum says very succinctly: the appalling form of the computer-driven surveillance state will primarily be a consequence of human beings who no longer wish to defend their freedoms and no longer take any interest in their freedom.
And I find this to be the most important point for the post-Corona times: that we reflect upon our core values of freedom and dignity, that we apply the surveillance state in a good manner, and that we employ it only for the security and protection of the population – and not to expand the government’s power and authority.
Campus A: Technology and digitization can sometimes lead us to us become less responsible; isolation also has such effects. And on the part of the State, there is also not the proper feeling of responsibility towards human beings and towards its citizens, but just a pure desire for power. Dr. Glöckler, we thank you very much for you time. Perhaps you have few parting words for us at Campus A and for those listening?
Dr. Glöckler: Yes, of course, I wish you all the best for the times that will come post-Corona. I myself belong to the high-risk group – my lifetime is limited. So naturally I am thinking primarily about the young, and I am always glad to do what I can to encourage them to become engaged in their unique future challenges. Each and every person is needed who has a vertical backbone and for whom truth, love, and freedom are essential human values.
All that is transitory
Is but reflected;
Here is effected;
Here it is nigh;
The Eternal Feminine
Draws us on high.
––– closing “Chorus Mysticus” from Faust, Part II
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe