Royal support for anthroposophy

His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales lives in Gloucestershire and appears to support anthroposophy. From biodynamics to anthroposophical medicine he has links to various organisations based on the Steiner belief system.

There’s not much to do except provide the links and information for anyone who doubts that anthoposophy (based on a racist theory of reincarnation with “Aryan” as the goal) has friends in High Places. Given his propensity for writing letters to parliament I wonder whether he has written in support of the Free School bid – it would explain why the application is receiving attention in the face of substantial evidence against it.

Read on for the nitty gritty.

This is from the end of year report from The General Anthroposophical Society; Anthroposophy Worldwide 2006  in an article about the Society in great Britain (page 8)

“Prince Charles and Biodynamics

Prince Charles, the heir to the throne, has adopted some biodynamic principles at his country home. He has been a wonder- ful supporter of many cultural initiatives which one would recognize as inspired by Michael. “

 

In 2010 the Youth Section of the Goetheanum Newsletter reported on Emerson College;

“All the first year students have now gone on placement, to various farms, from Prince Charles’ Duchy Home Farm to farms in Scotland, Norway, Italy and even Nepal!”

The link has gone for this one, but the NNA News Network Anthroposophy reported the following;

“LONDON (NNA) – The Prince of Wales has begun adopting some biodynamic farming practices on his Duchy Home Farm close to his Highgrove estate in Gloucestershire. The farm, which is already run on organic principles, has started planting some vegetables in accordance with biodynamic principles.”

Anthromedia said

Biodynamics has a lot going for it,” David Wilson, who manages the Dutchy Home Farm, told the Sunday Times newspaper last week. “We are beginning to use some of the principles to decide when we plant some vegetables. If the moon is waxing we plant some seed species and if the moon is waning, others.

 

 “There is no doubt that if we plant certain seeds at the right phase of the moon they grow quicker and produce more vigorous plants,” he added

 

There have been courses in Biodynamics at Duchy Home Farm;

http://www.organicfoodee.com/lifestyle/biodynamic/

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Laurens van der Post was a mentor and close friend of Prince Charles, and Godfather to Prince William. Variously described as a “seer” and a fraud, he wrote about Rudolf Steiner as “creative, lucid and valid”. He visited the Goetheanum in Dornach.

***************************************

Anthroposophical Medicine

Prince Charles ran a charity, the Foundation for Integrated Health which was controversial and closed in 2010 after allegations of fraud and money laundering led to the arrest of a former official.

One of the trustees is also a trustee on the Crossfields Institute, a local Anthroposophical organisation: http://www.crossfieldsinstitute.com/text/MemandArts.pdf  (page 10)

Anthroposophical doctor, Dr Peter Gruenewald (also spelt Dr Peter Grünewald)  was a GP Associate of the Foundation for Integrated Health. Dr Gruenewald is also a trustee of the Anthroposophical Association Limited, the workhorse of the UK’s national body for Anthroposophy, the Anthroposophical Society in Great Britain.

One of the Prince of Wales Foundation for Integrated Health Trustees – Simon Fielding is the Founder Chair of the Anthroposohical Health Professions Council

http://www.ahasc.org.uk/media/3376/link-simon%20fielding%20talk.pdf

and also a trustee for Crossfields Institute (based locally in Nailsworth)

http://www.crossfieldsinstitute.com/staff.html

http://www.charity-commission.gov.uk/ShowCharity/RegisterOfCharities/ContactAndTrustees.aspx?RegisteredCharityNumber=1026800&SubsidiaryNumber=0

The Prince’s Foundation for Integrated Health is now the  College of Medicine

David Peters, Professor of Integrated Healthcare of Westminster and one of the Directors of the New College of Medicine said the following:

“Homeopathy took me into Anthroposophical Medicine, and I explored it during the three year I spent in the Camphill Aberdeen Community, living and working with children who had special needs. Rudolf Steiner’s work had a huge influence on my approach to holistic medicine. at about the time I left Camphill I met a great healer whose name was Major Bruce Macmanaway. Working with him and his family in their centre in Fife I realised for the first time the extraordinary power of touch. In the late 1970s I spent some time in Holland looking into Anthroposophical family practice there, and found that it was quite possible to work creatively and effectively with natural medicine and artistic therapies inside mainstream medicine. This confirmed my decision to train as a Family Doctor”.

***********************************

There are links with The Scientific and Medical Network, David Lorimer, Wrekin Trust and Temenos Academy.

Emma Craigie (sister of Annunziata Rees-Mogg who campaigned for public funding of homeopathy) was the main advisor of the SWSF. Craigie spearheaded the campaign for 25 Steiner schools to become Free Schools (Emma sent all 4 children to Meadow Steiner School, Bruton. )

Their father William Rees Mogg was also a member of the Scientific and Medical Network .

The Scientific and Medical Network is described here by the Science group of the Anthroposophical Society as one of their partners .

David Lorimer was president and is now programme director . Lorimer also authored ‘Radical Prince’, published by Floris books (an Anthroposophical publisher).

The Scientific and Medical Network have their own journal the Scientific and Medical Network Review. A speech by Prince Charles is on page p15.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Lorimer  (author of Radical Prince, The Practical Vision of the Prince of Wales) http://www.steinerbooks.org/detail.html?id=086315431x and   http://www.deepspirit.com/sys-tmpl/radicalprince1/ both anthroposophical publishers.

David Lorimer is also executive vice president of the Wrekin Trust: The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions describes the Trust;

“Wrekin Trust. A New Age movement established in Britain by Sir George Trevelyan (1906–96), who became an advocate of ‘alternative spirituality’ after hearing a lecture on Rudolph Steiner’s anthroposophy in 1942. The Trust was established to encourage the exploration of the spiritual nature of humans and of their universe through residential courses, conferences at New Age centres and elsewhere, and through publications.”

Trevalyan also taught at Gordonstoun (we do not know whether he taught HRH) and was invited to Highgrove for a private meeting with Prince Charles.

Clarence Harvey, the former Vice Principal and Acting Principal of Hereford Waldorf Academy is also connected to the Wrekin trust, who are also working with the Scientific and Medical Network.http://www.wrekinforum.org/wrekin_forum/rtrlo.html

RETREATS

The Wrekin Forum periodically brings organisations together to hold focused retreats, such as the “Soul in Education” empowerment retreat facilitated by Janice Dolley (Development Director of the Wrekin Trust / Wrekin Forum and founding member of the Soul in Education series of conferences) and Clarence Harvey (Martial Artist and coordinator of the Triangles in Education Network) in February 2008;

PARTICIPATIVE SPIRITUAL INQUIRY

One of the most successful ‘social technologies’ available today is the process of co-operative inquiry developed by John Heron and Peter Reason. Based on a collaboration of two Associates, The Scientific and and Medical Network and Oasis, the Wrekin Forum has started a series on inquiries into aspects of the nature of spirituality.

 

HRH wrote a book and also a film came out called Harmony. I have been told it reads like a celebration of Anthroposophy in all but name; the book calls Steiner ‘a philosopher’ and praises the Transition Town Movement which was set up by a former Steiner pupil Rob Hopkins.

****************
HRH is the Patron of Temenos Academy  “an educational charity in London which aims to offer education in philosophy and the arts in the light of the sacred traditions of East and West.”

On the Temenos Website there is a message from HRH The Prince of Wales;

The work of Temenos could not be more important. Its commitment to fostering a wider awareness of the great spiritual traditions we have inherited from the past is not a distraction from the concerns of every-day life. These traditions, which form the basis of mankind’s most civilised values and have been handed down to us over many centuries, are not just part of our inner religious life. They have an intensely practical relevance to the creation of real beauty in the arts, to an architecture which brings harmony and inspiration to people’s lives and to the development within the individual of a sense of balance which is, to my mind, the hallmark of a civilised person.

The principles for which Temenos stands are rooted, in my mind, to the interests of our children and our children’s children and to the world they are to inherit from us. This concern for our traditions is not to deny progress. It rather represents a care to do what we can to ensure for future generations the survival of civilised values and the maintenance of that vital thread of the continuity of tradition that links past and future.

In the great spiritual traditions of the world it is understood that wisdom and compassion go hand in hand. But it is also understood that following this path requires both courage and conviction. I admire the courage and conviction of all those who are prepared to challenge the deadening effects of the ‘industrialisation’ of life itself, a process which carries no sensitivity to the qualities which go to sustain a truly civilised and harmonious society. I pray that the wise and compassionate work for which Temenos stands will prevail. I myself will do all I can to help, preserve and encourage it.

 

Some people may be impressed by the support anthroposophy enjoys from Royalty, especially if they are inclined themselves to see nothing wrong with promoting anti-science and pseudoscience at the expense of education and healthcare with a rational scientific basis, and if they do not understand the rather unpleasant details of the creed.

Non UK residents may not be aware of the prince’s reputation for favouring all kinds of supernatural nonsense, and for using his position to try to influence decisions made on high.

For anyone who has done enough research to find out what anthroposophy really is, such support is worrying. We must assume, given his associations, that HRH is informed about the tenets of this belief system, and be suspicious of the motives for some of his activities.

 

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16 comments

  1. alan

    Good work! I wonder who this nutter thinks he’s a reincarnation of? (And I’m not joking.) Harmony is worth checking out – ghosted or ‘co-written’ by Tony Juniper and Ian Skelly, both Cambridge-area figures, on whom this is worth reading, if you haven’t already seen it.

    I;

  2. alan

    Let’s be blunt – a dangerous nutcase cult has got their man in as secretary general of NATO and they may soon have their man on the British throne.

    Why do people think the Tories decided to give public money to ‘free schools’ (in the current meaning of that term) in the first place, let alone allow the Mighty Org to accredit schools and, unlike all other state schools, not teach the national curriculum? That’s serious influence, that is.

    (Actually I’m no fan of the national curriculum, and I support the position that it’s up to parents to decide on their children’s education, and I am a strong supporter of the right to home educate, but these aren’t the point and the question still stands.)

    I wish the people who run Mumsnet could stand up to the Steiner cult. The Steinerites are all mouth and no trousers where legal threats are concerned. I heard of a case where parents withdrew their child from a Steiner school and the administrators demanded money for the rest of the term’s fees, and threatened to send in debt collectors. The parents responded by threatening to go public about the school, which backed down faster than homoeopathically oiled lightning.

    • alan

      Stoltenberg was prime minister of Norway for 9 years and his successor as Labour Party leader is also a Steinerite. The Steiner cult has at least one person in almost every elite family in Oslo. There are many connections that, unfortunately, shouldn’t be talked about publicly at the moment.

      I’m currently looking at the Kristiania bohemians. Don’t worry, I don’t mean the ‘hippie’ quarter of today’s Copenhagen! Kristiania was the old name of Oslo and this milieu did its thing in the 1880s and 1890s. Steinerism was big among them. May I ask a question?

      Does the style of <a href="”>this painting look ‘Steinerite’ to anyone?

      • Jim

        I know nothing of Stoltenberg. There seem to be two ways of looking at it. He may be one of those who pass through Steiner schooling unaffected by it in which case, given the poor education he would have received, you have to admire his achievement.
        Or, as you seem to be implying, he is an active anthro with an agenda and a position of power. I really have no idea which.

        • alan

          Well Jim, I do have an idea, and Stoltenberg is active and so is his successor as Labour Party leader, Jonas Gahr Støre. Stoltenberg went elsewhere for a few years so he could pass some exams, but with his family background he was always going to get on. He sent his own children to the same Steiner school he went to, which as I have said plays a very important role for the Oslo elite. Cults concentrate special efforts on those with pull or who will get it. Several members of the Stoltenberg family are or were signed up and active – not just Jens, but his father Thorvald (who was defence minister and foreign minister etc.), his geneticist mother Karin and his sister Camilla who runs Norway’s Institute of Public Health and has been involved in epidemiology, research biobanks and provision for those called autistic. I am not just going by what is in the public domain,

  3. Nick Nakorn

    Steinerites (according to some of the teachers I’ve met) don’t approve of the use of line or the colour black. They also prefer ‘wet-on-wet’ techniques so, even if Edvard was a follower (was he? – I have no idea) his technique is not at all Steineresque by ‘modern’ UK standards at least.

    • alan

      Many thanks Nick for your attention on this. You are quite right about the colour black. But this can’t be fully disposed of with reference to contemporary Steiner schools in Britain. The context was that of a cultural scene in Kristiania (Oslo), after Philosophy of Freedom but before the foundation of the Anthroposophical Society. The large wavy areas, the small number of colours used and the depiction of the face as a blank template (cf. gnome dolls) made me think. Part of this version of The Scream was done in oil, which doesn’t allow wet on wet in the way that watercolours do, which weren’t popular in Norway at that time. (In any case, isn’t black banned only up to age of 7 or 14? I’ll have to check that out.)

      I am only speculating of course, but I think there may be something in this – in the context of this painting’s production and in the way cultists have viewed and still view its meaning and relevance.

      Munch did four versions between 1893 and 1910. Today the painting is usually known as The Scream, but its actual title was The Scream of Nature. I don’t think he meant he was dying to do a pee! :-)

      Munch’s biographer Alf Boe (I haven’t got hold of the book yet but am quoting from quotes on the net) writes:

      Munch seems never to have developed a fully cohesive philosophical system, but after the turn of the century his thinking turned increasingly to a consideration of the great cosmic powers, and to using them as basic themes in the monumental series of pictures done for the University of Oslo. It seems likely that he was attracted to Rudolf Steiner’s philosophy, as well as other thinkers and writers who inspired the vitalism that flourished in painting and literature immediately preceding World War I.

      Poor scholarship indeed (“it seems likely”), but it would be a mistake to underestimate the influence of Steinerism in Oslo, including through channels which don’t get talked about (or asked about) much.

      Steiner lectured in Oslo in 1909, including on images of the apocalypse. Oslo Steinerites to this day revere the sites at which he did so and the places where he lived.

      Here’s a painting by Munch from 1900:

      And we know of the Steinerite fixation on the Isenheim altarpiece, which along with Goethe’s colour theory is one of the favourite topics they send cult members with appropriate pasts and envisaged futures to do their PhDs on.

      I also refer to Jostein Saether’s Living With Invisible People: A Karmic Autobiography (which sane people would say indicates mental illness but which is promoted in Dornach as really useful). The Steiner cult certainly has artistic arms – not just its Art Section at the Goetheanum but also outposts elsewhere. Saether talks about how at First Class lessons he “sketched the trials of the soul at the threshold of the spiritual world usin as examples paintings by Edvard Munch”. Here is an example of Steiner-influenced architect Imre Makovecz giving weight to the idea of the ‘call of nature’.

      I know from Norway that a lot of memes get passed down in a very esoteric way in the proper meaning of that term. Since I’m always most interested in what I don’t already know ( :-) ), I’d be interested to hear people’s thoughts on the concept of “three pillars” and how it functions in the Netherlands.

  4. Helen

    I found an Anthromed article about melancholia where Markus Treichler examines Munch’s psyche in detail and mentions;
    “As he grew older, Munch managed to overcome his
    father’s pietistic religiosity, delusional at times, which
    had always been with him in his fear of life, by gaining
    insight, from his spiritual thoughts, into a supersensible
    world of the spirit. “It is the ‘land of crystals’, the astral
    world of the stars, into which human beings enter after
    death, to live on as an immaterial entity invisible to people
    on earth”
    and also quotes Munch;
    “I did die before, when I was born. The actual
    birth, called death, still lies ahead …Death is the beginning
    of life—it takes one to a newcrystallization. I was always
    inclined to think that nothing is lost. We are crystals,
    we dissolve and then grow into new crystals.”
    So I guess the anthros think there is a connection.

    • alan

      Thanks very much for this, Helen. Yes, melancholy indeed. This is very interesting, and suggests that I’m going in a useful direction here. Most Steinerites in Oslo must surely know of the Steiner-flavoured interest in this painting. It’s the most famous painting in Norwegian history, and versions are used all over the place in Norway, including to represent the culture of the nation itself. And yet people in Oslo outside the cult have shrugged their shoulders when I’ve asked about a possible Steiner connection, even though they, like everyone in Oslo, have heard of the Steiner school. Makes me wonder about how calendrical festivals too are perceived in that country by different markets.

  5. Jim

    I agree the Munch picture has only a slight resemblance to the approved Steiner style. Also the date is a bit early – the first version is from 1893, some time before anthroposophy emerged as a distinct cult.
    The quote Helen gives just seems to be the vague “I am a part of all I see” stuff that artists and poets like to come up with. I blame Schopenhauer.

  6. Chris P

    I wonder who promoted The Scream of Nature to the position it holds in Norwegian national PR?

    What’s considered a great painting doesn’t happen by accident. E.g. dealer (sorry, ‘advisor to collectors’) Bernard Berenson created the category of ‘Old Masters’ in the 1890s.

    And whatever you do, don’t paint a picture and say it’s ‘art brut’: the term belongs to a museum in Lausanne, Switzerland – or possibly it’s leased to them by the estate of Jean Dubuffet, but in any case it’s private intellectual property.

    Just a thought!

    • Helen

      “What’s considered a great painting doesn’t happen by accident.” – yes, who says what is great and what isn’t? As soon as some commodity has a high price, it seems to become desirable to own. I would pay a fair bit not to have some “great paintings” on my walls. The Sistine Madonna, for instance.

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