William Blake, The entrance of Christ into Jerusalem, 1800.

"Perhaps the Knife Tower in Rheinflelden got its name because it "cuts" the Rhine's floodwaters, so to speak: it has a triangular ground plan and is built out into the riverbed."

"I feel my life has been an ongoing conversation with anthroposophy, history and the pressing needs of the times. Anthroposophy makes history personal. It shows us how history is related to the unfolding spiritual man we carry within us. Quite suddenly we realise that the stories, the myths, the strivings of man through the centuries, through the differing time epochs, reflect our own individual spiritual and psychological development." 

– Richard Cooper, Rheinfelden 2021

Gottardo Scotti - Triptych of the Madonna of Mercy, 1460/80

Zechariah 14: 8 And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be.

The View from Rheinfelden

Collaborative Initiative

There is a dynamic in life, when the time comes, of hearing the call; – of recognising that call in resonance with others; and then acting on it. We look intently to connect with like-minded people. If you hear  that call too – contact us for collaborative initiatives, associative economics, and working together on anthroposophy. Events take place in Rheinfelden, Switzerland and Online.

Tintoretto (Venice): Lucifer / Ahriman and Christ: 

There is so much that could be said to Tintoretto and Venice, but I shall restrict myself to a few comments on this painting. It reminds me of Rudolf Steiner's stating of the fact that Christ is crucified between representatives of Lucifer and Ahriman. As with those who are on a spiritual path, what does this mean that three perspectives have to die, to be sacrificed on the path and on the world stage? – That we have to experience the crucifixion of each?

On the spiritual path, we slowly come to differentiate. Only by learning to 'die' and transform Lucifer and Ahriman, can we come to experience our own crucifixion in Christ, who has to also die. As long as we cannot 'accept' Christ's death we shall always stay strangers to the deeper spiritual process, and will therefore be thrown back to the Luciferic or Ahrimanic pole. As seen in the painting, the figure to the right of Christ, as Lucifer regards the mystery, while Ahriman as the figure to the left, is directed to the outer senses; yet only Christ centre stage, can embody, unite and take responsibility for all through his death.

There are some wonderful additional aids to our spiritual process in this painting. I will mention just a few.

Consider the man's gesture to the left holding the twirling flag dressed in black, and compare him with the man to the right, contorted on the cross, with the rider steering the horse forwards. These are two gestures toward the spirit: one inward, one outward to the senses. Then we see this intriguing group of women beneath the cross. The lady in red faints, as our soul falls into sleep at the contemplation of the spiritual mysteries. She is consoled by our 'waking soul powers', – her consoling friends. 

The gazes of the men and spears held vertical, around Christ, looking up in wonder at him on the cross, show the awakening of the ICH. Quite beautifully Tintoretto's colouring creates an etheric world within his forms and composition. Look at the almost 'moonlit' landscape in the background, below the horizon: its pinks, purples, and yellows, and sky of dark blue and indigo.

 When we follow these more transparent etheric colours, it is Christ's halo that leads and centres our gaze, it draws our attention, sovereign and gold-like, it prompts our inner perception to move deeper into the colour. With our feeling thus etherically magnified, so to speak, we come to understand why critics often speak of the 'exhilaration' of Tintoretto's work.

Tintoretto thus provides three experiences I will characterise here: astral and etheric colour work differentiated as two distinct 'layers' or colour worlds. This achievement is framed by his mastery of composition and setting: the scene is put together reflective of the weight, movement and the gravity of the narrative. Finally we may reflect on the quick brushwork. Look at the two swipes of white on the sleeve of the man holding the ladder: such painterly ease of technique can be found throughout. It is this impulsiveness of brushwork that gives Tintoretto a lightness, a living breathe that flows through and lifts these narratives, gestures and forms into real living imaginative experience.

The 'exhilaration' of Jacopo Tintoretto, the synthesis Titian's colouring and Michelangelo's drawing.

"This man painted all things in all modes 

He himself became all sorts of painters,
he was one for all. No other age will produce another like him
From this time forward he will be one for all.
Though Tintoretto did not bring Active figures to life 
Yet he was not less than Pygmalion
Who brought to life but one,
For from his soul to thousands he gave life unending."

By M Antonii Romiti I.C. p. 257 Life of Tintoretto, Carlo Ridolfi.

Etheric Experience

The Roman goddess Diana was, in Greek Artemis was often depicted as a maiden with bow arrows and hounds, in the forest, of the hunt.  

In Ancient Greek times the myths would have been expanded upon to the pupils of the mysteries. 

Rudolf Steiner describes how students of Ephesus would walk around the glades, paths and groves, with the sea to one side and the temple to the other. 

Their intimate conversations of spiritual teachings, perceptions of the twilight and the natural world around them, they would then carry with them, as a kind of soul preparation, into the nights where the spiritual world would speak to them. 

It is fascinating to reflect that John the Evangelist and Mary mother of Jesus spent their last years in Ephesus, a meeting of the old and the new mysteries. 

In contrast, to the times before Christ, John and Mary at Ephesus would teach from their personal witness of Christ’s deeds and life on earth and revelation of the future meaning for the world of his resurrection.  

The Butterfly Meditation

On the note sheet Steiner's archive number 5852 this formula is executed as a separate meditation, which is presented there as a preparation for the Butterfly Meditation: 

"I – still in myself
A – one opens up to the world, which says a lot
O – the angels come, and give their hands
U – the second hierarchy follows, and flows around you with light
E – the first hierarchy comes and burns you in fire."

Catch the butterfly
Send him to icy heights
Where the dreams of the world prevail.
He becomes a bird to you
Yet then you have only done
Half the work.
Dive the bird
Into the sea depths (I A O U E)
Where the will of the world prevails.
The bird drowns,
Now you still have work to do,
The bird's corpse
Burned it in a fire to purify.
Then consume the ashes
And you are
The light in world darkness."

Rudolf Steiner: What I speak from my physical body is appearance - I must speak from my etheric body, to penetrate into reality:

1. You spirits under the earth press on the soles of my feet.
– I walk over and away from you.
2. You spirits of moisture caress my skin.
– I press you out in all directions.
3. You spirits of air fill my inner being.
– I connect myself with you.
4. You spirits of warmth ensoul my inner being.
– I live in you.
5. You spirits of light spiritualise my inner being
– I think with you.
6. You spirits of (chemical) powers paralyse my powers
– I want to overcome you.
7. You spirits of life kill my life.
– I await you in death.

So I am, that says this, in the etheric body.
– And you can come: colours, sounds, words
of the etheric world.

Rudolf Steiner for Ita Wegmann, October 1923.