The Easter Astrosophy Conference held at the Goetheanum in Dornach, Switzerland, marked the inauguration of many new relations between those who are working and interested in the development of a New Star Wisdom, and the Mathematical-Astronomical Section of the Goetheanum. It was the first such meeting held and sponsored by the Astronomical Section in which the work of Willi Sucher and others began to be looked into in depth. It was also the first time several key questions concerning the relation of the New Star Wisdom to the Goetheanum could be asked and answered by responsible people. For most participants it was the first meeting they had with others who are active in this field. The following is a brief description of those who attended and the main topics of discussion and some results of those discussions.
We were fourteen in number from many parts of the world. Dr. Georg Unger hosted the meetings and represented the Astronomical-Mathematical Section of which he is the current leader. Present also from the section were two co-workers; Peter Gschwind from Basel, Switzerland, and Wim Vierson from Dornach. We were all very pleased that Jörgen Smit, a Vorstand member and the current leader of the Section for the Youth was able to attend all our meetings. He showed a keen interest in our discussions and expressed a desire to keep in contact with the progress of the New Star Wisdom in the future. Other middle Europeans at the talks were Thilde von Eiff, a Waldorf school teacher from Stuttgart, Germany. Suso Vetter, also a Waldorf teacher and long time co-worker of the Mathematical-Astronomical Section was part of the group, he is responsible for the Star Calendar which is put out by the Astronomical Section. Leo de la Houssaye from Zeist, Holland is doing practical work with Astrosophy in connection with backward children, and was an active participant of our talks.
From east Europe, Poland to be exact, we were pleased to share our talks with Dr. Konrad Rudnicki. He is a professional Astronomer studying at the Goetheanum. He always added an element of warmth and sincerity to our talks and his open attitude was most appreciated.
From England came Hazel Straker, a long time co-worker of Willi Sucher and devoted teacher of the new relation of man to the Stars. Her long experience in this field was always in evidence when she spoke, and her sincere good will helped bridge some tense moments. With her came Peter Treadgold. His house has served for years as a gathering place for star meetings in England. Robert Powell was also in attendance. He is the editor of the “Mercury Star Journal.” John Meeks is currently teaching astronomy at Emerson College, Sussex, England. He was at one time a co-worker of the Mathematical-Astronomical Section and served as translator during the conference.
From North America came William Bento, an American living in Canada. He is a long-time student of Astrology and a personal friend of many of the leading Astrologers of our time. He expressed concern about the trends in Astrology today and how Spiritual Science can turn a genuine interest in the stars, shown by the upsurge of popularity in Astrology, on to a path leading to Michael and not to Lucifer. I myself went as representative for the Foundation and also for Willi Sucher. My interest was to present Willi’s point of view and also to gain answers to what I saw as key questions concerning the relation of the work to the Mathematical-Astronomical Section as it has been in the past and might be in the future. The highlights of our meeting form what follows.
Dr. Unger’s opening comments came in the form of two questions which served to set the mood and direction of our discussions. The two main questions which were of prime importance were, how far have we come in achieving results in the New Star Wisdom, and how can we work with individual horoscopes?
The first question, how far have we come, is of course a fair one. It was generally acknowledged that as soon as one begins to speak of a New Star Wisdom or a renewal of Astrology one very quickly comes primarily to the work of Willi Sucher. This work is the main body of research in this field. Of course that does not imply that others have not also begun to work towards the renewal of Astrology, but as far as the amount of work and depth of understanding, Willi Sucher is essentially alone. Thus the conference rapidly became a discussion of the work of Willi Sucher. In trying to answer the question, how far have we come, the specific details of the existing body of knowledge were discussed.
We started our discussions with the Heliocentric or Sun-centered world picture. From the start the group met with great questions and concerns over this approach. It was felt by some that the work went far beyond reasonable support out of Spiritual Science. The understanding for this approach was generally lacking among our group. I was given the task of leading a discussion on the Heliocentric world view during one of our evening sessions. Together with those who had some understanding of the approach, particularly Hazel Straker, we tried to explain why we felt this approach to be vital as a world view, even needed by modern man. I gave specific details of the indications given by Rudolf Steiner and tried to show the connections between those suggestions and the development of the Heliocentric world view (in subsequent newsletters those thoughts will be presented). Some progress was made, at least we could all see that the idea of maintaining a Heliocentric picture is indicated in the work of Rudolf Steiner, and that it does serve modern man in the present stage of evolution. We could not all see the therapeutic value of such an approach, and questions like these will have to be gone into in future meetings.
The Geocentric picture of the universe (Earth-centered) was, on the other hand, met with much more of a wide-spread acceptance. The basis for this approach had been set forth in detail by Rudolf Steiner and Dr. Elisabeth Vreede. Willi Sucher continued these beginnings and put them to practical use. As the acceptance was generally acknowledged we did not spend a great deal of time on this world conception but simply outlined the subjects which it is felt can be served in a direct way through this approach to the stars. The subjects are Eurythmy, Medicine, Agriculture, Curative Education and Anthroposophical Cosmology and Astronomy.
During one of our evening discussion groups we tried to come to a deeper understanding of the term “Astrosophy.” From the lecture cycle on “Pastoral Medicine” Rudolf Steiner gives a clear progression leading ultimately to the stage of direct contact with living Spiritual Beings and the highest step of initiation. This stage of Intuition is what Rudolf Steiner refers to as Astrosophy. The seriousness of this fact makes the use of the term Astrosophy as an everyday word questionable and it was suggested by Dr. Unger that as a more common every day term “New Star Wisdom” was more appropriate.
Finally let us look at the second question Dr. Unger raised. In reference to individual charts it was felt by all that each request had to be dealt with on a personal basis. The idea of setting up a “practice” to council and give advice was rejected by those present as not appropriate to our modern age. This does not place a taboo on charts, just that one should not make a business of Astrosophy. Dr. Unger reminded us all at this point of a statement made by Rudolf Steiner in reference to the dangers one faces when working with another’s stars. He said, it is possible to interfere with a person’s Karma when using Astrology. This statement applies all the more to the New Star Wisdom and should be taken very soberly and seriously by anyone who looks into the stars of someone else. In this connection, it was agreed that asterograms (charts) should whenever possible be done in collaboration with a physician, curative educator or teacher. These thoughts are guidelines for conduct proper to this vital work, but should not be seen as hard and fast rules or dogma.
(Note: Willi did many charts in collaboration with doctors that dealt with a range of illnesses, such as eye diseases, MS, etc., as well as those of the special needs people. The charts he did on these adults and children were heliocentric, and he mentions that in several places in his publications. For example, in The Changing Countenance of Cosmology, chapter 3, Roads to a Modern Cosmology and Astrosophy, he writes: “…another discovery, which was reported in a German periodical… concerns down-syndrome children, a special category of special needs children. A medical doctor in Czechoslovakia, who was originally very skeptical toward the whole idea, eventually decided to cooperate with an astrologer. They worked out the birth charts of 50 down-syndrome children and 150 of their brothers and sisters who had the same mothers. First, the geocentric approach gave hardly any clues, but in employing the heliocentric approach, they were stunned by the results. They discovered that in all 50 of the charts of the down-syndrome children Mercury was in “bad” aspects, according to astrological concepts, for instance, in square (90° distance) to Venus.”)