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Alan speaks in a very symbolic and esoteric manner in some parts of his books. Although they can be read anthroposophically, passages speaking of Atlantis, archangels, gods, etc. do not need to be taken literarily to be meaningful. The more you read, the more you will realize he uses many different religions to express ideas in a symbolic manner and not in a religious manner. His writings are not religious. In some places his writings are meant to refer to religious events in a historical way. In some places he is using religious figures (from Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Paganism, Ancient Roman and Greek Religions, etc.) in a symbolic manner. However, at no point is he promoting a specific religion or speaking from a religious point of view.
I have kept the writing as close to one-hundred percent original so you will also find that he speaks of Australia often and some spelling or manners of speaking may be cultural. Any words I have changed are presented like this: <word>.
Also keep in mind that these books are written by a Waldorf teacher with decades of experience who also studied with a Steiner student himself, so he speaks to an audience that is dedicating their lives to the Waldorf method without exception.
Because of this, all of his views are not reflected in the Earthschooling curriculum and not all of them may be ones you want to embrace or are able to use. In all of Alan Whitehead’s writings the opinions are his own and may not align with Earthschooling or Waldorf Books. In some cases, we will be updating some of these chapters in the future with additional and/or updated information.
Ultimately, however, as I read through these passages I find I can distill wisdom from even those paragraphs that do not resonate with me.
We invite you to read with an open mind and heart and with eagerness to learn and discuss…
A 12-FOLD TRINITY MYSTERY
The 12 Philosophies, the 12 Senses, the 12 Signs of the Zodiac
One of Rudolf Steiner’s most intimate associates was Walter Johannes Stein. As well as many other important functions, Stein was a founding teacher of Steiner’s Stuttgart Free Waldorf School in 1919. As such, he has provided the most comprehensive account – of the time – of Steiner’s teachings on the relationship of the 12 Senses to the 12 Signs of the Zodiac – something Steiner never released publicly, or in total at least. Stein’s understanding has been used by Steiner folk ever since, especially in the realm both normal and curative education. It is the same which your Author has both followed and indeed expanded over forty years, as seen in this book and other (Hathor the Moon Cow, Horns of Hermes, A spiritual Science, A Steiner Homeschool?, Sacred Fauna, Sacred Faces, A children’s Anthologia.)
The following, from a lecture delivered in Glastonbury in 1932, are excerpts of Stein’s both insightful and – Steiner – informed writings on this profound subject. As a bonus, he also relates Steiner’s 12 Philosophies with the Senses-Zodiac. The Doctor did elaborate upon the relationship of the 12 Philosophies to the Zodiac.
“Matter, in the sense that Materialism (the first philosophy) uses the term, does not exist in reality. Materialism is not objective. It is in the same position as the Sense of Touch. … The crab, Cancer, shutting itself off in its shell is the symbol of Materialism.”
“A conception of the world proceeding from the sign of Leo, the Lion, is formed by the force whereby we experience the health and wellbeing of our body, and feel alive. Our Sense of Life enable us to experience the blood forming the body as it streams from the heart. Sensualism is a good term for this (John Locke’s) philosophy.”
“George Berkeley is an advocate of Phenomenalism. His philosophy is constructed on the basis of the sense through which we perceive the movement of our own limbs. …Phenomenalism is the philosophy of the Sense of Movement. …Virgo, secluded from the world, is the sign of Phenomenalism.”
“The Sense of Balance (Libra) leads us to observe that section of the world which is still ourselves but which interacts with the cosmic forces of 3-dimensional space. The philosophy which corresponds to this sense sees objects as existing independently in space – Realism. It is the philosophy of daily life.”
“Scorpio, with its sting, destroys seclusion: the Sense of Smell inhales external substance. It perceived the actions of matter within us. Rudolf Steiner calls this philosophy, which thinks with a sledgehammer, Dynamism. Nietzsche’s (a Dynamist) writing clearly demonstrates that he philosophizes with his sense of smell. He speaks of the scent, of the Sense of Smell, which he develops for spiritual things.”
“The Sense of Taste experiences the penetration of substance into the body itself, but also the processing of matter through our own being. We dissolve what we taste. This experience, expanded into a philosophy, give us Leibniz’s conception of the world: Monadology. …Sagittarius was the name given to this ego force; this directed power of the will.”
“The eye – Sense of Sight – presents us with a spiritual conception of the world. It observes the world in a rainbow. It has access to the surface of things. Capricorn is the sign of this philosophy which leaves it shell – Spiritism.”
“Objects are penetrated by the Sense of Warmth, for warmth does not gather on the surface as does the Sense of Sight. The inner aspect of things is revealed in the warmth which penetrates them. The sign of Aquarius is the sign of such cosmic interaction. Jakob Bohme embraced this philosophy, Pneumatology. He saw the brotherhood of the ensouled cosmos. St., Francis of Assisi experienced the same.”
“the ear listens to the inner vibration of things. Those who expand this sense into a philosophy recognizing the soul element are adherents of Psychism. … Pisces, actually a symbol of the feet, is the sing of the Sense of Hearing, because the soul rests on hearing. …It represents the soul’s last contact with the earth.”
“Aries, the Lamb, represents the bearer of inner meaning; the Lamb who carries the sins of the world. The Sense of Word, by which we understand language, and the meaning or words, stands in Aries. … As the word contains the inner meaning, so the image contains the archetype. That is Plato’s philosophy, Idealism.”
“Taurus is the symbol of retrospective thinking. The head of the bull is looking backwards in all the old depictions. It symbolized the Sense of Thought, the ability to take u a thought which someone else has produced. Expanded into ta philosophy – Rationalism – it is the world view of Moses, who proclaims the Law – thinking as manifest power.”
“The final, highest, sense is the sense which perceives another “I”. This intuitive cognition – the Sense of Ego – allows us to look back at our own being as if it were a number – Mathematism – to embrace the other lovingly.
Pythagoras was a representative of this conception of the world. This way of experiencing the world is the view represented spiritually by the constellation of Gemini, the twins.”
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