Author Charles Kyd Camphill Communities Ontario, Canada President of the North American Council
Every year in the spring season, the NAC holds its annual conference. We make an effort to hold the event in a different place each year across this vast North American continent. It has travelled through Canada, the U.S. midwest, New York, New Hampshire, and this year Pennsylvania. Our theme was; I and the World, Finding Healthy Balance In Community, and it was attended by more than 100 people from as far away as Hawaii, California, Wisconsin, from the Ontario Provinces of Ontario and Quebec and as far east as the Atlantic shore of Massachusetts. Almost all the member communities were represented. In the traditional manner we gathered on Friday for a festive supper and an evening presentation from the host community. On Saturday we had the fortune to start the day with an address by Jan Goeschel, one of 3 members of the leadership of the world wide Anthroposophic Council for Inclusive Social Development in Dornach Switzerland. He spoke to the theme with imagination and humour and gently encouraged us to find the right attitudes to what can look like overwhelming issues in today’s world. How can we live on the earth together? What needs to change? How can we differentiate between the perception and reality in the news? How can we find resonance with the natural rhythms on the global, community and individual levels? He suggested that each of us can contribute in small ways towards such a goal by how we approach each of our daily activities; with intentionality, with determination to do a task well. Jan gave the example of preparing a meal and bringing meaningful conversation to such an event. Attention to the details. Throughout the day Saturday we broke up into small artistic groups and took up different activities relating to the theme. At the end of the afternoon we came back together in a plenum form where everyone had an opportunity to contribute from our group experiences and accomplishments. After a Mexican style supper it was off to an evening of dancing with a local group of musicians who led us in contra style dances. A great evening! On Sunday morning some of us attended religious services at a neighbouring Camphill. In Camphill Village Kimberton Hills the Festival of Offering service is a regular Sunday event. Back at Whitsun Hall in Camphill Soltane we ended the morning and the conference with the Annual General Meeting of the NAC which aside from some perfunctory agenda items, was mostly graced with sharing from all the places represented at the conference. We created a detailed imaginative image of the collective work of the many places and made a space for everyone to contribute their piece of the picture. In addition, our delegate to the International Council, Anya Hobley, added to the tapestry we wove with a detailed description of her time at the conference in Dornach last October. At the end of the morning, we were treated to a hearty lunch and made our fond farewells to all our old and new friends. We left looking forward to the next conference with some ideas of where we would like to have it. A few observations from the hosts’ perspective: from Sabine Otto, Camphill Soltane -It is daunting to anticipate the arrival of ca. 100 people. But the culture of this conference is one to be admired! -A “can do” attitude from those who come. “Can do” meaning: we deal with the comforts and discomforts of this adventure. So many smiles! -Such a joyous atmosphere among the participants. People were happy to be together, to give support where and as needed. Old friendships restored and new ones kindled. -Striking was a deep sense of inclusion. That extends to the workshop leaders, who did so well with working with their groups! -Lastly, what a gift to us as hosting community. Thank you
Author Christina Chang Is the founder and Director of Lokelani 'Ohana in Maui, Hawaii
Lokelani 'Ohana is honored to sponser the 16th Saori Center in the United States on Maui, Hawaii. "SA" of SAORI has the same meaning as the first syllable of the word "SAI" which is foud in Zen vocabulary. It means everything has its own individual dignity. And "ORI" means weaving. Why did the remarkable Dana Allen bring Saori Weaving to Lokelani 'Ohana in 2007? Because Dana, who himself is an artist and weaver, worked with friends with different abilities and has a passion to share free expression. The results are awe inspiring.
This free-style form of weaving, which originated in Japan, is all about exhibiting one's true self through expressive, no-rules weaving. Saori, which means a process to uncover the hidden power of creativity, was founded by Misao Jo, who discovered through a missed warp thread that there is unique human value in a non-machine-like facbric. Saori is based on the Japanese aesthetic of Wabi-Sabi, or the acceptance of imperfection. Whatever is woven is perfect as it is: broken and repaired warp threads, lumpy selvedges, whatever... These irregularities represent the uniqueness of human-made woven cloth as compared to a "perfectly" woven cloth. Imperfections, on all levels, are to be embraced. Most of all, Saori encourages inclusion of anyone who wishes to weave. Lokelani 'Ohana partnered with Easter seals of six years and Ka Lima O Maui for 12 years holding classes for the first six years at the Cameron Center and said Agencies day program centers. For the last six years, the classes are being held at the Lokelani 'Ohana Farm. Clients choose the products they want to make and Dana with other volunteers sew their weavings into their dream creation! We have endless gratitude in our hearts for Dana, Mihoku in MA who brought it to the US, and Miaso Jo for bringing the wonderful free style of weaving "Saori" to our lives!
Our farm grows biodynamic cotton which we gin to stuff pillows and seat belt covers and to weave with.
Daniel Norton, founder of Village Home, a non-profit supportin over 7,000 people, mostly women, to gain independence thru selling their beautiful handmade crafts through 17 stores around the world, invited Lokelani 'Ohana to feature their crafts and arts in his "Village Home" store at Queen Ka'ahumanu in Kahului, Maui. This opportunity has empowered participants to weave and create beautiful products to sell in the store participant said proundly she is famous because her picture and weaving are at the store. We are happy and free to say we are gratefully exhilarated!
Takeshi Suesada Has been a long-term coworker in Triform Camphill Community for many years.
Michaelmas, Michaelmas the time to show both courage and form Look well around, inside you must wake Trees may shake, I shall stand the storm
In these simple Michaelmas songs, the essence of Michaelmas is well described. There is much darkness in the world we live in. Michaelmas time reminds us how we need to "be awake" and have "courage and form" to face many challenges. Since Michaelmas is not a familiar festival for many new volunteers, we spent time to introduce the festival. We sang Michaelmas songs from the middle of September. During the morning gathering on Monday, September 24, we heard a short introduction about Michaelmas. We also had a festive evening gathering on September 25th, where we sang Michaelmas songs and heard what we would do for this year's Michaelmas in Triform. This year, we focused on spraying the biodynamic spray called the Harmonizing Spray of Hugo Erbe. According to the website of Josephine Porter Institute (JPI), "the Harmonizing Preparation is intended to serve as an expression of gratitude to the elemental beings." The Harmonizing Spray "helps to make it possible for the higher beings (the warmth, light and air beings) and the lower elemental beings (the water and earth beings) to work together again harmoniously for the restoration of fertility to the earth." (Quote from JPI website, the Harmonizing Preparation) The ingredients of the Harmonizing Spray is egg white, honey, cow's milk, (red) grape juice, sunflower oil, cooking salt, and whole wheat. These ingredients could produce bread and wine, what was shared at the Last Supper. On September 28th, Friday, there was an opening ceremony of Camphill Academy in Camphill Village Copake. Not everyone from Triform attended, but a number of people went. Camphill Academy in Copake has the opening ceremony near Michaelmas to make the ceremony part of Michaelmas festival. On September 29th, we stirred the preparation from 1pm. From 2pm to 4pm, we sprayed the original Triform property and also the Stewardship property. At 5pm, we all gathered at the new property Triform purchased in 2017. This new property connects the original Triform property and the Stewardship property. We call this property, Pegasus property. We had our Michaelmas community meal there. Triform day students worked on a large painting of St. Michael. The art work was about 8 feet times 7 feet. It is wonderful when students and coworkers work together to prepare an art work for festivals. The bakery also created a small Michaelmas art work made of bread dough. The bread was displayed as part of the harvest table. The evening was beautiful. The mood of the meal was wonderful. It was a perfect day to eat outside with everyone in the community. We had the Bible Evening later in the evening. One of the volunteers commented how much he enjoyed the conversation. The Festival of Offering was celebrated on Sunday morning.
Daine Kyd Has been a long-term coworker at Camphill Community Ontario for many years.
The North American Council held the yearly conference this year in the province of Quebec, Canada, at Maison Emmanuel. I felt so happy to see so many old friends, meet new friends, and to experience the energy of the people and places across the continent: from east to west and all the way to Hawaii! We must have been 80 people! Val David, where most of the conference was held, is a picturesque and quaint French Canadian village north of Montreal in rocky, hilly terrain. Maison Emmanuel has a home, a craft and coffee shop, all there on the main street. Members of their community work in a pottery nearby. We met in an old church that is next door to the convent a few doors down from Maison Julia and the coffee shop. The convent has recently become a Waldorf School, and the school community was kind enough to let us use the classrooms for the artistic activities. Everything nestles together on the street very nicely! The weather up there in the Gatineau Hills was rainy and cold! But nothing could dampen our spirits. Mary Small welcomed us with a wonderful meal created by their café staff, and then she gave a talk on the arts based on a lecture by Carlo Pietzner. I had never really understood that lecture, but I feel that I understand a lot more now thanks to Mary! We practiced the arts all Saturday… Painting, drama, music, poetry, dance, eurythmy and spatial dynamics… it was fun and exhilarating! I did skip some activities though, because I wanted to spend time with my old friend Inge Sell, who was the founder of Maison Emmanuel. We have known each other for many years and it was beautiful to reconnect. We found we had a lot to share as we talked about our lives and about the changes and growth in the places we started. On Sunday we met at the Maison Emmanuel farm property where there are several beautiful homes. It was cold and rainy again, and there were too many of us to meet inside one of the large houses for the Sunday gathering, so we met outside! That was an experience! For me there were many memorable experiences as we celebrated art and community through the time together. One thing in particular stood out for me. Both languages, French and English, were spoken. Everything was shared first in one language and then the other so no one was left out. The quality of listening and the opportunity to live into the other language for a time was very special. I had a wonderful meaningful time. And I know my friends from Camphill Ontario were smiling the whole weekend. I am looking forward to next year. Where will we go? What will we talk about and do together?
Johannes Schlitz Completed Camphill Academy Social Therapy Training Course in Camphill Communities California
Joining a Camphill community is an exciting opportunity. When I joined Camphill communities California I had a to learn to live in community and be part of an unconventional social formation while carrying out the task of caregiving to which I was a novice. I was glad to join the community’s training program when offered the opportunity. I thought that it would be nice to balance the practical work with a formalized learning process. Looking back, I can only express gratitude because this decision enabled me personally to get the most out of my Camphill experience. Over time, the Camphill academy became a very clear way for me to attain a Bachelor’s degree through the accumulation of college credits, but more importantly it became a resource for my work and helped provide perspective and guidance in community life and life in general. Camphill is a place where each aspect of life is imbued with consciousness. We attempt each day to walk through our community mindful of our surroundings and the social intricacies of community life; this requires the cultivation of openness and willingness to live in a way that allows for healing and social wellbeing. In community, we strive to live in a way which brings out the best in each other, we strive to recognize each other’s humanity. It is the social therapist’s task to perceive the potential in the other and hold it quietly as a guiding light for the unfolding human being. The social therapy training attempts to cultivate this attitude as the therapeutic backdrop of social therapy and the work in the adult communities. The Camphill academy’s training in social therapy is a community integrated course designed to support individuals in carrying out their task in the Camphill communities. The Social Therapy training offers a rich array of subjects ranging from various components of Anthroposophical study to artistic engagements through music, Eurythmy, visual arts and drama. The training organically flows into community life and in many instances, extends to the entire community. Whether it happens through drama or Eurythmy performances, or through student projects, the community is involved. Social Therapy at its heart seeks to teach the art of living so it is no surprise that the training takes place in community life. The student projects, which are different each year, come to fruition in many different ways. The first-year students are asked to partner up with another community member and explore a new activity through a project. In the second-year students are asked to help an individual explore and share their biography. After several months of regular meetings, the project concludes in a festive sharing of the biography among invited guests. The third and final project is a research project connected with the final thesis of the social therapy training. There is a lot of freedom within the parameters of these projects and in many cases the community is directly involved. These projects create meaningful activity and often times fulfill a community need or add to the wealth of community experience. Anthroposophical study is another corner stone of the training. In the course of the training students study “Theosophy”, “How to Know Higher Worlds”, “Esoteric Science” and “The Philosophy of Freedom” by Rudolf Steiner. Each year one of these works is studied in a study group setting where students and instructors explore the works alongside. Each week students are responsible to prepare the reading and have discussions with the group based on summaries given by the students. Each year the students get to be part of retreats and all students have the opportunity to experience another community. Students get the chance to have weekend retreats exploring different themes through intellectual and artistic avenues. These retreats range in subjects from inner life and meditation to cosmic evolution and embryogenesis. From a student perspective, I can say that this training has added a whole new level of understanding and appreciation to my experience at Camphill. I am able to appreciate my task and the different ways in which we work at Camphill based on this personally transformative social therapy training.