Some reflections on the Melbourne Choreocosmos workshops 2009/2010
by Doris Maria Spitzner
“It changed my life!” – these words from Lynne Klugman rang in my ears when I participated in the first Choreocosmos workshop with Robert Powell in January 2009. After six days of intensive Eurythmy based on the zodiac signs plus the accompanying lectures I started to feel too: this is a life-changing experience!
I thought I already enjoyed quite a rich spiritual life: being a member of the Anthroposophical Society, the School of Spiritual Science, attending several study groups, listening to lectures by invited guest speakers, and celebrating the festivals; all this in addition to my home studies, readings, and meditations.
So, when I read the announcement and saw the flyers for the workshop, there were some inner reservations at first: Do I need this? Is it real Eurythmy, real Anthroposophy? Cosmic and sacred dance, the Divine Feminine…it all sounded quite strange to me.
But during the workshop my doubts quickly dissolved: I found in Robert Powell not only a true Anthroposophist and Eurythmist, but also an honest scientist and a real servant of Christ.
So why was it different compared to other very good lectures and workshops I had attended in the past?
For me it was as if I was entering a familiar house, but there were doors I hadn’t seen before, open doors, leading me into new rooms. New views appeared, new insights, new possibilities of experiences. Even the space I had known before was illuminated, became clearer and more colourful. The workshop was life changing because it was life giving!
There were two aspects I found to be the most powerful ones: The activation of my will through Eurythmy movements and the immense love and energy bond that was created between us as quite a large group of like-minded people. This “harmony of feeling”, which Rudolf Steiner so often mentioned, built the vessel into which higher spiritual beings could enter. Of course, the presence of Robert Powell was a big help for us but we didn’t become dependant on him. After the workshop, out of our own free will and wish, we formed a group and met regularly to practise, exchange our thoughts and feelings, and deepen the work we had done with Robert.
Other people, who couldn’t attend the workshop, joined us and we felt with joy how much we grew together as a real community, in the spirit of Anthropos-Sophia.
At the end of 2009 Robert returned and I decided to do the zodiac workshop again. It was by no means a mere repeat; I was able to go even deeper into the experience, and in his lectures Robert presented a wealth of new information and insights.
This was followed in January 2010 by the workshop on the Foundation Stone meditation and then the workshop on the planets. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend both.
Every day of the workshop comprised a morning Eurythmy session, followed by a lecture where we could also ask questions. The afternoon was structured the same. For me, being an observer of Eurythmy for most of my life, either in the audience or at the piano, it was pure joy to do it myself now. For each of the 12 zodiac signs and the 7 classical planets there was a certain form, which we danced in a circle, accompanied by the appropriate eurythmy gestures and sounds given by Rudolf Steiner. For each of the zodiac dances the corresponding verse from the Twelve Moods by Rudolf Steiner was recited before we started. Robert used rich imagery and cosmic correspondences to support our movements. He showed us the connection between the chakras and the planetary gestures, and encouraged us to imagine the corresponding colours. Through the repetition of the planetary and zodiacal forms and gestures in the circle, I often entered into a meditative
state where I started to feel a deeper spiritual connection with each zodiacal sign and planet. Ever and again Robert made us aware of the fact that with these movements we enter the etheric realm and thereby we can connect with the being of Christ and Sophia. In addition to the work with the zodiac and the planets, we did movements to sacred prayers and texts. Robert told us that his very first Choreocosmos workshop focused on sacred dance, moving prayers to Eurythmy forms and gestures. I found the sacred dances most powerful, providing a lot of inspiration for my work at home. For all the dances (cosmic and sacred) a most wonderful dimension was added by the thoughtfully selected classical music played by two great pianists: Marcus Cox and Marcia Burchard (Marcia being a guest from the USA). Through this our hearts and souls were deeply touched and moved, and it didn’t matter so much if the form we danced sometimes wasn’t perfect: the music lifted us into higher realms. Robert, as a great teacher – balanced, warm, human, humble, yet with inner strength – never put any pressure on us. If we didn’t understand something initially, it was patiently repeated, and he gave us time to learn.
In his lectures Robert brought various aspects of Anthroposophy into connection with one another – Christology, astrosophical star wisdom, cosmology, world evolution, and so on.
He used star wisdom in relation to cosmic events (past, present, and future) and gave insights not only into world history but also was able to draw a clear picture of current events and problems, including the appearance of the antichrist, global warming, the significance of 11 September 2001 and the ensuing wars, and the dangers of technology – at the same time, though, opening up positive perspectives for the future. In his scientific work Robert is a dedicated seeker for the truth, which we need if we are not to be helpless in an ahrimanic world aiming at global rulership perpetrated through lies and deception. He gives us hope and offers us help, showing us the tools we need in order to go through these dark times. One of them is the Choreocosmos work, connecting with the etheric, connecting to Christ, the counterforce to all the evil that may come toward us. And on this path we can also find our way to Sophia, the Divine Feminine counterpart to Christ. Moreover, through Christ and Sophia we are able to find a relationship to the Father-God and the Mother-God, our long-forgotten Earth Mother, who is waiting in the depths of the earth for our call to be able to participate with us in creating a sustainable future.
The Choreocosmos work is a new initiative having its roots clearly in Anthroposophy and Eurythmy. New initiatives are so important to keep Anthroposophy alive, that is does not become rigid, dogmatic, or crystallised. Rudolf Steiner stated in the third volume of his Karmic Relationships lectures (Complete Works vol. 237): “This is indeed written in the karma of every single anthroposophist: Be a person of initiative…”
This work shows a path toward transformation of our soul to become a microcosmic replica of the forces of the Divine Sophia. Therefore Robert dedicates his work to Sophia. Having founded the Sophia Foundation in North America in 1994 and having given workshops in Europe for more than thirty years, he has now founded – with our collaboration here in this land – the Sophia Community in Australia.
With this a triangle connecting three continents is formed, of which the southern point – Australia – will play an important role in the future.
Robert Powell understands his work as representing Eurythmy as a spiritual path, a path to the Spirit through movement, which gives Eurythmy – normally considered as a performing art – a new focus. He also emphasises the importance of community building, whereby a space can be created for spiritual beings to connect with us in our activity.
In his lecture The Influence of Spiritual Beings on Man (Complete Works vol. 102), Rudolf Steiner says: “It will lie in the souls of human beings themselves whether or not they give as many as possible of such higher souls (third hierarchy) the opportunity of descending to man” and “The more that associations are formed, where feelings of fellowship are developed with complete freedom, the more exulted beings will descend”
I found that the Choreocosmos workshops and lectures nurtured my whole being: through the lectures and books, the thinking (spirit); through the prayers and the music, the feeling (soul); and through the movement, the will (body).
For me the newly founded Sophia Community in Australia is like a new study group that enriches and enlivens my spiritual life and with this gives me strength to meet the outside world with courage, confidence, and joy.
I thank Lynne Klugman that she was inspired to bring Robert Powell to us here in Australia. And I thank Robert Powell and his wife Lacqnanna for coming and sharing their work with such love and dedication.