meditation

The Power of Sleep to Unite Nature, Art, and the Senses

And this, our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything.
— William Shakespeare

Several years ago, I enrolled in a course in Eco-Art Therapy. This transformational counseling and self-discovery tool takes the participants through a nature-based discovery practice with the senses as a guide. The activities and the reflection take place over two days, so that the participant can sleep before reflecting on the experience in their journal.

What I discovered transformed the way I experience nature in a way that is difficult to explain. This method of connecting with the wordlessness of nature through self-expression creates a connection between your inner and outer life.

On a heart level, Eco-Art Therapy is a window into one’s soul that allows you to build a map to your most natural knowing self. Every lesson takes on new meaning as nature provides the answers you seek.

Rudolf Steiner understood the power of nature, art, and healing well. He realized the potential of sleep to unite us with the spiritual world through the digestion of the day's experiences when combined with the spiritual world. The idea of being aware of your senses can be hard to describe, which is why artistic expression can be a better window into a sensory experience. It can quiet the thinking mind and awaken the spiritual self.

This week, we bring you ways to experience the soul nourishment of the arts, through some of our favorite books and invite you to get out into nature and listen to her call.

To arrive at a truth or to create beauty that reflects the order and harmony of the Creator, we must always begin humbly, in ignorance and ugliness. By striving out of ignorance and ugliness toward the true and beautiful, both scientists and artists can bring new, creative forces into the world. Neither memorizing data nor copying a beautiful drawing engages the true imagination of students as does drawing a flower from life. It is precisely this lack of an active, striving inner creativity that can result in the frequently overwhelming feelings of anxiety and alienation experienced by so many people today. As a counterbalance, education must—in all areas of knowledge—increasingly focus on the personal creation of what, through its beauty, speaks truth and through its truth radiates beauty. 

Drawing from the Book of Nature is about both drawing and the natural world of plants and animals. It is a valuable resource for teachers, students, and anyone who wants to develop a capacity for artistic observation of natural phenomena.

Dennis Klocek provides a refreshing combination of depth and clarity, offering a wealth of insight into the lives that constitute living nature. The text is supported by easy-to-follow lessons that help the reader bring the kingdoms of nature to life on paper. This book is a resource through which teachers, students, and others can find their own way toward reuniting with beauty and truth. 


Winter Solstice Meditations

Breathing the Spirit

Breathing the Spirit

Winter Solstice Meditations

by Rudolf Steiner

Earth blocks the sun,

forces of vision compel

from earth’s elements

liberated sight.

Christmas 1922



See the sun

at deep midnight

use stones to build

in the lifeless ground.

So find in decline

and in death’s night

creation’s new beginning

morning’s fresh force.


Let the heights reveal

divine word of gods;

the depths sustain and nurture

the stronghold of peace.

Living in darkness

engender a sun;

weaving in substance

see spirit’s bliss.


Berlin, December 17, 1906

A Path Towards Contemporary Meditative Practice

Lessons of the Michael School

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Long unavailable to the general public, these “esoteric lessons and mantras” represent Rudolf Steiner’s final word on the appropriate spiritual path for those who desire to engage in a contemporary and initiatory meditative practice, a path of self-knowledge leading to world knowledge, enabling anyone earnestly willing to enter into the experience and understanding of the spiritual realities that surround us.

From his earliest days in the Theosophical Society, Rudolf Steiner, hoping to create a society of meditators, worked diligently toward this goal with a limited number of individuals in what was then called “The Esoteric School.”* In one form or another this School endured until the First World War, after which, except for a few meetings, it ceased to exist—until the re-founding of the Anthroposophical Society over Christmas/New Year 1923/24, when it was reborn, now under the aegis of the Archangel Michael, in a quite different form as The First Class. (There were to be two more classes, but Rudolf Steiner died.)

In his lifetime, Rudolf Steiner insisted that the Lessons not be printed in any form. But over the years, so many pirated versions containing multiple errors and falsifications appeared, that the decision was made to print an official version, but access to it was severely limited. Rudolf Steiner certainly believed, however, that esoteric knowledge and teaching should not be withheld from the general public but be made generally available to anyone who sought it—as this edition is.

These Lessons, given and appearing under the sign of the Archangel Michael and thus sometimes also called “the lessons of the Michael School”—or the “Michael Lessons”—must be reckoned as one of Rudolf Steiner’s deepest gifts to posterity. Though the path the Lessons present is “esoteric,” no one should for this reason feel excluded. Indeed, anyone who has found sustenance in earlier works such as “How to Know Higher Worlds” or “Theosophy” should feel themselves fully prepared and invited to enter the transformative world of the Lessons.

As Thomas Meyer writes in his introduction to the present edition:

The prerequisites for taking this path are a will fired by a healthy common sense and a healthy trust in the human capacity to develop and enter into the field of spiritual knowledge.

The path described here stretches over nineteen lessons, or levels, that will perhaps be challenging to many seekers. It is however a secure path. Those who enter upon this path strengthen themselves to meet the dangers of self-illusion, such as grandiosity and vanity.