Report on the Intensive Study week 2016
Intensive Study Week – an African perspective
by Wendy Lilje
Situated on the southernmost tip of Africa, we in our biodynamic world live a rather schizophrenic life – from the small but financially strong Eurocentric society to the large, very poor and uneducated African society – where we try to meet a growing demand for biodynamic product from the first, and a real need (but no demand) from the other – all with a total of three (yes – three!) Demeter farms and a handful of so-called biodynamic operations where even the organic standards have not been met – and this in an environment of no legislation or control – resulting in a soup of wild claims, mis-information, and alarming lack of knowledge.
With this as my background, the subject of this Intensive Study Week – Shaping the Future- spoke very strongly to me and I soon found myself trudging up the road from Dornach Tram Station, suitcase in tow, searching for my guest house. My heart opened with each step – the quiet, clean and beautiful surroundings – the amazing architecture – all the way up to the Goethanum (missed the guest house!), with light snow adding to the magic of it all.
Finding out that the study week was to take place in the Glass House (directly opposite the famous Heizhaus chimney) was enough to send me into more thrills of delight. After a brief introduction we embarked on the U process (developed by Otto Scharmer but strongly based on Rudolf Steiners principles) – a group of about 20 people, facilitated by Ueli Hurter, Jean-Michel Florin, Johannes Wirz and Ursula Hoffman.
I enjoyed the very down to earth manner in which the content was presented (suiting my farming nature) and yet everything so strongly related to the spirit world (suiting my thirst for real knowledge). It was refreshing to have esoteric spiritual concepts spoken about so normally.
With a few English speaking participants the talks needed translation from the German, done very competently and sometimes hilariously by Johannes Wirz. Although it slowed the process a bit, it also seemed to help to deepen the content, as most of us could understand both languages to a certain degree.
With dialogue walking in pairs, and world café type discussions in groups, the process became quite complex where your own question is seen from so many different aspects, and where you yourself dialogue around other seemingly non-related questions, often bringing a whole new insight into your own question.
When we reached the lower cusp of the U process after the ‘letting go’ process, we were taken on a silent evening walk through the forest, further and further up the hill until we reached the open sky of the Dorneck ruins, to experience the setting of the sun, the stars and the lights of the city below. The walk reflected and added to our inner process and allowed us to physically experience an opening up to the spirit world. We took this experience into our sleep and the next day we embarked on the upward movement of the U process – letting the new in and then working with it. A truly wonderous experience.
Another important part of the week for me, was the connection to the others in the group. A real bond of friendship could not be avoided when working in pairs and groups, discussing each others questions, describing each others art works and very importantly having a coffee and cake together (delicious & freshly baked by Therese, the Section secretary), not to mention attempting some Eurythmy together……
It was a gentle and delicate process for me - my question developed slowly – becoming real (crystallizing) – then disappearing, and again appearing in a different form. The magic of creating a clay sculpture where the form was living really in the hands, was astounding for us all.
I came away, not with any mind altering revelation but with a quiet secure sense of knowing how to proceed.
My final night in Dornach was sad as I realized I did not want to leave. I managed to fit in a quick last shopping at the Speisehaus, filling my suitcase with Demeter products to take home (WOW! Demeter mustard! Demeter coffee! WOW) and, feet dragging, I walked down that road again, to the Dornach Tram Station.
Intensive Study Weeks 2016
Shaping the future - Intensive study weeks 2016
The Intensive Study Week „Shaping the future“ is travelling! From 11 – 15 January 2016 the Intensive Study Week will be held in French for the first time. It will be organized by the MABD and take place near Munster in Alsace.
The Intensive Study Week will be „back“ in the Glashaus and take place from 28th of February to the 4th of March 2016 at the Section for Agriculture at the Goetheanum. For the second time, this workshop will be held in German and English.
The intensive study week is a workshop for people who are active in the organic or the biodynamic movement and who want to take a new creative step for their farm, organisation or enterprise.
The intensive study week is based on the U-process developed by Claus-Otto Scharmer and the work is run using mainly dialogue methods. Each participant will work with his/her own question or project. In this way, the method for shaping the future is learned as well as concrete solutions for the current situation are found. In-depth contributions out of anthroposophy on the method and on topical issues complement the work and provide impulses for it.
The number of participants is limited to enable intensive exchange and cooperation.
For further information and registration contact: