Ruskin Mill is a prime example of how an organisation can be based on anthroposophy and yet neglect to provide this information for anyone who wishes to find out about it.
“We value relating with openness…” they say.
It sounds good, doesn’t it? But it is window dressing. There is no openness. There is secrecy.
Search for the word anthroposophy on their site – no results. And yet the whole shebang reeks of it.
The college provides education for young people;
“…through training in the areas of arts, crafts, agriculture and environmental sciences, with particular reference being given to the indications and insights of Rudolf Steiner in these areas”.
It is up to parents to work out that the “indications and insights” were provided by a mystic who fantasised about an imaginary spiritual world with demons, gnomes, and reincarnation, and dreamt up the idea of stuffing cow horns with manure to make veggies grow better.
The history of Ruskin Mill is described from its inception with the Gordon family in the 1960s, and the courses subsequently developed;
“…what was soon to become the Living Earth Training course. The Living Earth Course combined biodynamic agriculture in a market garden with the craft curriculum sourced from the Arts and Crafts movement, the insights into human development provided by Rudolf Steiner….
“This curriculum, the so-called Descent into Matter, accessed the four elements of Earth, Water, Air and Fire through the three Kingdoms of Nature…
“…This vision has remained at the heart of the Trust’s work ever since”.
The concepts used are out-dated; the four elements correspond in modern science to the four states of matter: solid, liquid, gas and plasma; and modern biology textbooks use 5 or 6 kingdoms rather than three. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingdom_(biology)#Summary
Not since Haeckel, (a German Biologist and contemporary of Steiner) have there been 3 kingdoms.
Descent into matter? Well, for most people that means absolutely nothing, but for the anthroposophists, (and the Theosophists and the Rosicrucians) it is to do with descending from the spirit world. (Here’s another take on it).
The founder of Ruskin Mill college is clearly immersed in anthroposophy himself, and travels to lecture on the subject, and works alongside others equally devoted to Steiner
Why this reluctance to explain or even mention anthroposophy? It makes people suspicious – at least people who know it exists.
The founder of the college describes his intentions, these are not on the front page of the website, but hidden away – and still no “A” word.
“Aonghus Gordon’s spiritual intention is the opportunity of re-creation of culture from the inside out for young people who are in need of specialist educational re-integration. This intention is particularly informed by John Ruskin’s visionary picture of the renewal of culture through arts and Rudolf Steiner’s spiritual picture of human development.”
On this website the crafts are described as “anthroposophically inspired”. Why not on the Ruskin Mill website? It may be that this college do not think the information is important – shouldn’t it be for parents (and the local authorities who usually foot the bill) to decide this for themselves? We know students are involved in the biodynamic rituals which take place at Ruskin Mill (from comments here on the blog) and we are also told the students are treated using anthroposophical medicine.
If there was transparency here there would be a description of anthroposophy on the front page of the website and an explanation of how and why it is used on young people.