Three Doors to the Future: seen through the lens of Social Therapy and Therapeutic Education: Education, Social Life and Work

Acesta Inclusive Conference Programme                        

May 10th – 13th Emerson College

Please see the programme attached separately and the notes below.

This is a very full programme so that we have something of interest for everyone.  Please don’t feel you need to come to everything, but we would ask you to stay with the groups of your choice where possible.


Workshop choices:

There are three craft workshops with RMET craft masters:

Clay with Claude Frere-Smith

Felting with Lone Helliwell

Green-woodwork with Chris Helliwell

Then there is Goethean Observation with Michael Evans

Anthroposophical Meditation and Spiritual Research with Inessa Burdich

Eurythmy and the Foundation Stone Meditation with Sigune Brinch

Singing with Gregers Brinch

Local Sussex bluebell and forest walks with Simon Blaxland-de Lange

All workshops take place three times (Friday morning, Friday afternoon and Saturday afternoon) except bluebell walks which will happen twice (on Friday and Saturday afternoon).

Please choose your workshop when booking as it is important for us to know what materials and spaces we need to prepare for you.


Letter to conference participants regarding the School of Spiritual Science.

Dear friends,

This conference will have 3 presentations related to the School of Spiritual Science. This is in an attempt to inspire and enrich the conference with the content of the Class lessons which Rudolf Steiner gave in the last years of his life to members of this then newly established School. Membership was granted to individuals who were willing to take Anthroposophy seriously as a path for spiritual development and who were willing to stand for Anthroposophy in the world.  The Mantras given during these lessons were intended to be kept within the School and Steiner gave some simple rules on how this should be done so that they were not shared without appropriate care and consciousness.  Membership of the School was also subject to a few simple rules which included a period of familiarisation with anthroposophical teaching outside the School. Attendance of the lessons was subject to the presentation of the blue membership card.  The lessons Steiner gave were not shared in print with the membership but were made available later to class holders or class readers to read to members, emphasising the importance of the spoken word.  The Mantras were written down by members in their own handwriting to bring their own will into play.

During the past century the Mantras have, as was inevitable, leaked out of the School and are now available on-line and in print and so are the lessons as Steiner gave them.  This has made it possible for everyone to study and work with the material in the way they see fit.  This has raised concerns that this could lead to misuse of these very meaningful and inspirational words and of reducing their relevance for today and their power to do good. Hence the School of spiritual science is seeking new ways to make the Class accessible and relevant so it can inspire and support those who are seeking to develop themselves and acquire better and more accurate perception and understanding of the world beyond the sense perceptible.

At this conference there will be an introductory talk by Peter Hanrath which is open to all delegates on Friday morning. This talk will be followed on Friday and Saturday morning by a free rendering of lesson 7 and 11 by Diana Pauli and Simon Blaxland de Lange. These two lessons will be restricted to class members to comply with current arrangements within the School.  In order to facilitate those who are not yet members of the School but who really want to experience the conference in its totality to attend, it will be possible to join the school during the conference.  To make this as meaningful as possible we will issue temporary cards on Friday after the evenings event to those who engage in a personal conversation with one of the class holders present and feel after this conversation that it is right to go ahead and take this step. In preparation for this it would be very helpful if you would consider before the conference whether you would wish to have this conversation and join the Class. It may also be helpful to have a conversation with the Class holder in your locality. It is often in one’s biography that the answers for the question of joining the School are found. Reflecting on your biography and where you find yourself may be a helpful starting point for the conversation.  If you wish to discuss this with one of us before the conference than this can also be facilitated

We look forward to seeing you

Warm regards,

Peter Hanrath

On behalf of Simon Blaxland de Lange, Diana Pauli and Joan Sleigh 


Joan Sleigh is a member of the Vorstand of the International Anthroposophical Society at the Goetheanum in Dornach.  She spent many years in Camphill in South Africa and is Karl Königs granddaughter.

Jon Geelmuyden is a member of STAG (International Social Therapy Work Group) and has lived and worked in Camphill and been responsible for the Camphill Training in Scandinavia for many years and lives in Norway.

Hartwig Ehlers is also a member of STAG and comes to us from North Germany where he was founder member of a Camphill Social Farm and the Social Farming Biodynamic Training.

Thomas Ehlers is founder of Petrarca and teaches at the University of Kassel.  He is responsible for the Social Farming European network.

Inessa Burdich is a Russian scientist teaching and helping the practice of Anthroposophical Meditation and Research, She is Russian and lives in Germany

Dr. Peter Hanrath is a medical doctor at the Blackthorn Trust and is a class reader for the School of Spiritual Science in this conference

Dr Michael Evans is a medical doctor and was a founder-member of Park Attwood Clinic. He presently lives in Stroud

Constantin Court works, teaches and does research at Ruskin Mill Educational Trust

Claude Frere-Smith is a potter and clay-work teacher with Ruskin Mill Educational Trust

Lone Helliwell is a felting Teacher with RMET 

Chris Helliwell is a Greenwood Teacher at RMET

Wendy Cook is a cook and nutritionist, writer and lecturer on food and nutrition

Liehsja Andrea is a professional harp player and teacher in Sussex

Sigune Brinch is a eurythmist and leader of the Eurythmy School at Peredur

Gregers Brinch is an international composer, singer and teacher of music

Dr.Diana Pauli works with Colour/Light therapy and works at Sunfield School and is a reader for the School of Spiritual Science in this conference.

Simon Blaxland-de Lange is a social therapist and therapeutic music teacher, he is a member of the Council of the Anthroposophical Society in Great Britain and reader for the School of Spiritual Science in this conference

Paulamaria Blaxland-de Lange is a member of STAG and represents ACESTA on ECCE. She is chairman of ACESTA working closely with Edeline Lefevre and Piet Blok to maintain and develop the Association and the collaboration between Great Britain and Ireland, with Europe and the wider world

Preparatory notes by Paulamaria Blaxland -de Lange for the Introduction to the ACESTA Conference May 10th-13th
Three Doors to the Future, seen through the lens of Social Therapy and Therapeutic Education: Education, Social Life and Work

These three doors: Education, Social Life and Work, can we use what we develop through our work as a lens to perceive and create a sustainable and better Future: to a renewed Culture, Religion, and Science?

What makes a door? A door has a threshold, uprights and a lintel. It can be shut, locked or opened and through it, what awaits may be glimpsed.

We may decide to go through it or to shut it again. We may find it locked.

What and how do we see?

What will this future hold?

Can we co-create?

Environment, towards a new Culture
What is under our feet, how do we engage with what is around us? How can we in our places begin to create an environment that can become the threshold towards a new Culture through the transformation of substance; by the way we work with our hands; through the arts and crafts; through the way our feet walk the Earth and the way we are responsible for our land, our food and our geographic knowing and medicinal substances.

Relationship, towards a new Religion
How do we build these uprights so that we create a true meeting place in our organisations; where all arises through Relationship; a place where past and future touch; where one can meet the Other and where the art of dialogue and conversation can form the basis for a new Religion, and the bringing about of new social and legal forms.

What opportunities for learning and development do we shape in our places? How do we become spiritual scientists and reflect our relationship with the infinite, with the starry heavens, with the Gods? How do we learn?  reflect?  think?  perceive?  observe?  How do we recognise/initiate/inspire  a new Science? A new Spiritual Science?

The Stars once spoke to Man

It is World destiny that they are silent now

To become aware of the silence

Can become pain for Earthly Man


But in the deepening silence

There grows and ripens

What Man speaks to the Stars

To be aware of the speaking

Can become strength for Spirit-Man

Class lessons 1, 7 and 11; The Foundation Stone Meditation

And The Earth becomes a Sun (Star) with Man as Organ of Perception for the Gods and the 10th hierarchy/ the Transformation of Substance
Paulamaria Blaxland-de Lange 2018

Notes from lectures given by Joan Sleigh:

Social Therapy as Impulse for transformational thinking: towards a new spiritual science.

Introduction to all three lectures:

The three fundamental human attributes develop within the first three years of childhood. These lay the ground for what is truly and exclusively human, right into the physical bodily structure, yet can only be developed within the surroundings of a human community. They come into being a) through the innate motivation and uncompromising intention (instinct?) of the child itself, b) through imitation of the human beings around, and c) through the guidance of the highest spiritual beings.

I. Uprightness

Standing, walking, orientation in space
Physical bone structure, posture, freeing of the hands from necessity of locomotion and feeding

4 lower senses
muscle development
meeting gravity and physical surroundings

Impacting on world engagement with surrounding.
Learning to know self in relation to surroundings.

18th Century

II. Speaking

Communicating, naming,
making soul contact to surrounding
Formed in the larynx and speech organs in the mouth, as well as the rhythmical system

4 middle senses
exploring inner experience,
meeting, living surrounding,
developing relationships

World impacts on self, learning to know world through own inner experience relationships!

19th Century

III. Thinking

Logical connections, building mental images, mind development through building concepts
Developed within the structure and functioning of the brain and nerve-senses

4 higher senses
naming, exploring hidden connections, momentary becomes universal

Knowing surrounding.
Recognising in self.
World and self meet in understanding beginning of self-awareness and memory.

20th Century

21st Century



18th Century

Work is replaced through machines + technology


Interaction, muscles become static, repetitive transformation of substance is secondary.


19th Century

Relationships replaced through written world


Spoken word, narrative becomes abstracted, one-direction.


20th Century


21st Century

Intelligence overtaken by information


Knowledge is given, provided. No longer attained, discovered, developed.


Disconnection to Earth: To nature, ecology, environment No connection to nature To surroundings (SMARTPHONES) To health of land Production of food Resources Lack of reality Lack of physical experience of elements

Fear of world impacting on me

Isolation, fear, exile, hunger, homelessness

Disconnection to Society: To social norms & security of community No real face to face connections Ever more difficult to relate Deeper longing but no capacity Humans become images, profiles, no commitment No 2-way communication

Antisocial, timidity, aggression, projection


Disconnection to God: To self + others, to God in self. Self-made bubble of abstracted reality No honest self-reflection Systemised bureaucratic, standardization experiences

Doubt, longing

Neediness, entitlement



World impacts on self


Alternative facts
Opinions + judgements
Lack of feeling
Self-projection on world


Lack of understanding
No way of discernment masks
Struggle to find identity
Lack of meaning in life
Disconnect of world + self

Results in sense of disempowerment

awakening to search for self and meaning, engaging with the disempowerment, owning and transforming it

the search for self and meaning through engagement and self-awareness

fleeing into distraction, illusion, fantasy, masked and abstracted reality, loss of self and meaning

drugs, suicide, suicide attacks, aggression

The human I as tool, as cause of current situation but also, it’s only solution:
Recognition of the human I as bringer and resolver of every challenge and crisis.
The human I as transformer, conductor and integrator.


Stepping into the disconnect

Taking up the task

Digitality has taken the human being as complex living organization out of the centre of working, relating and understanding.

How do we put the human being: body, mind, soul back into the relevance of everything?




Closest to our human daily experience, most consciously aware in the realm of thinking, understanding, knowledge.

What has happened in the field of Education?

Pisa Study in 2000 introduced an expanding Pisa-System in Europe. Within the next 20 years the whole world will be included in the Pisa-System:

Heinz-Dieter Meyer: current educational scientist and sociologist, publisher, professor, lecturer and researcher on the « Role of Civil Society in Education. In his latest book: « The Design of the University: German, American and World Class » he describes in detail what follows here only in point form:

  • Technocratic neutrality » standardization

  • Mental uniformity » spreading spiritual uniformity

  • Focus only on academic, cognitive head knowledge which can be learnt, stored and regurgitated » testable, achievement orientated

  • All unexaminable capacities loose significance » «smart-tools»

  • «Technical« intelligence rather than «holistic» / universal intelligenc » standardization

  • Schools as industries » the industrialisation of childhood

  • Education as a commodity, a product to be designed, produced and sold for clear profit » successful achievement

  • Pupils and teachers measured by reproduceable, systematic achievements

Michael Grimley in a talk on the challenges of childhood described the classroom situations as follows: The overall experience of the children shows

  • lack of sustained attention

  • cramming of facts and disconnected information

  • systems rather than spontaneous experience

  • overwhelm, tension, fear, aggression

  • bodily and psychological pathologies

A general loss of creative play, no hands-on activities, hours of screen time, commercial marketing, targeting and manipulation by the system are the inevitable results

Young people, students as well as adults struggle to find meaning in their lives, live with deep undefinable longing, yet also a sense of urgency, the need to be seen as who they are and the need to manifest themselves. They seem to lack the tools to be able to communicate easily face to face, to explore their own inner longings, questions and needs.


Definition of Digitality:

“The condition of living in a digital culture”, derived from Nicolas Negroponte’s Book “Being Digital”, analogous to modernity and post-modernity.

One of the conditions of living in a digital culture is that we live in a world of images created in a virtual reality. What impact might this have on the process of learning and education?

As we know it the process of learning is stimulated by interest:

  • The child explores the surrounding world through awe, wonder and interest.

  • The child learns through experiencing, then building relationships to objects and contents of his perceptions and experiences.

  • The child understands by connecting the mental images of observed phenomena and forming these into concepts.

Therefore, forming images is a natural, important, purely human process in life

An image is:

  • An unreal representation of something

  • Shows the difference between subject and object

Four successive degenerative phases of images and imaging through digitality:

  • The reflection of a profound reality (sense perception)

  • It masks and denatures a profound reality

  • It masks the absence of a profound reality

  • It has no relation to a profound reality

  • It becomes its own pure abstracted reality

The two-edged sword of Digitality:

Here follows a very brief list of some of effects which are manifesting in Digitality:

  • It can ultimately only reveal what it lacks.

  • It cannot reveal or show any profound reality of beingness or essential nature

  • It allows no spontaneous creativity, rather masked agility in fixed contexts

  • Enables no self-induced control, guidance, initiative or judgement

  • Creates distance, abstraction from itself and reality

  • Holds no opacity: everything is written, complete, finished, no room for the unknowns, for riddles, revelation, magic or mysteries.

The urgent need to rethink impulse and goals of education, has been done by WE and Curative Education and Social Therapy

  • To develop the abilities to lead one’s own life

  • The capacity to develop inner spaces of tranquillity and outer relaxed attention.

  • Finding the wellspring of inner solitude rather than outer distraction

  • Experience of mixed media in education: materials and substances in kindergarten, arts and crafts in primary school, literary styles, outer exposure to world in high school.

  • Child centred learning – the teacher takes his queues from the students, according to their learning skills, experiences, expressions and behaviour.

Therefore ideally, teaching becomes flexible, spontaneous, artistic and creative, without losing its required level of academic competence or intended goals.

Waldorf Education, Curative Education and Social Therapy have set very successful examples for 100 years!

Waldorf Education, Curative Education and Social Therapy as practice ground, pre-study for a modern and future healing of society:

Digitality shows what it lacks.
The pupils show the teaches what they need.
The civilizational illnesses show the pathologies of current life style and abstracted, disconnected reality.

Second Threshold was to face the disconnected self, feel the isolation, longing, vulnerability, homelessness and realize that only change can be personally induced, self-evoked, through practice, change, free choice, real understanding.


To step beyond the known into the unpredictable
New children show new capacities:

  • High levels of sensitivity

  • Very strong self-awareness

  • Need for honesty, authenticity, truthfulness

  • Deep concern for life, nature, suffering

How do we meet these children?

  • go slow, allow them to feel and experience

  • accept them in all their needs and peculiarities

  • deep observation – going beyond the surface of phenomena

  • empowering their identity in relationship to others and themselves

2 ways of deepening:

  1. meditation / contemplation

  2. Penetrating self into subject matter

Overcoming digitality by stepping in and beyond.
How do we develop these capacities?

  • Attention to unknown details

  • Approaching the unknown with courage: how? Where in me?

  • Developing inner creativity: the poetry of life. How? Where in me?

  • Face to face with new research?

  • No need for new knowledge or more knowledge, but questions towards life, others and self.

  • Exploring the hidden riddles of life, the other, the self.

A culture of contemplative and critical enquiry:

A culture of reflective and corrective enquiry

A new science of the invisible

“Whoever experiences the truths of nature within himself in an open, free sense, will be led to spiritual truths through these natural truths.

Whoever allows the magnitude, beauty and dignity of nature to permeate him.

Whoever opens his heart to the silent gestures of nature, that reveals itself beyond good and evil in eternal innocence, opens his spiritual eyes to the spiritual world in which the silent gestures allow the living word to sound, revealing the discernment, difference of good and evil.

Love of nature enriches the true treasures of the soul.”

Rudolf Steiner: Letter to the Members, 2nd March 1924

Social Therapy as an impulse of true Encounter and Conversation – towards a new religious culture


  • post-digital therapeutic «work» need to use body!

  • assisted communication the need to share + express oneself!

  • education is self-education creating the conditions for individualised being.

  • multi-disciplinary levels of experience

  • learning form complex needs

  • the lacks show what the support / remedy need to be.

  • process of healing through including, not avoiding, eliminating or distracting

process of healing through including, not avoiding, eliminating or distracting

  • The Impulse of true encounter

  • Developing empathy

Four levels of Encounter:

  1. Seeing the other with interest: courage, openness, tolerance [ seeing beyond the outer phenomena]

  2. Hearing the other with objective enquiry: gentle courage, acknowledgement, acceptance [ listening between the lines]

  3. Conversing with other with sensitivity: feeling, vulnerability, empathy, devotion. [ re-creating aspects of other within own experience]

  4. ‘Digesting’ the other with willingness to change: feeling touched, transformed, moved, co-responsible. [ knowing + changing self through other]

Empathy is the ability to encounter the other without losing oneself in the other or imposing oneself onto the other.

Social inclusion means recognizing differences as contributions towards an enhanced multiplicity

Solemnity and Risk

I listen without knowing
If what I hear is silence or God.
I listen, but don’t know if I’m hearing
The echo of the empty expanses
Or the attentive consciousness
Which from the edge of the universe
Sees and deciphers me.
I know only that I walk as one
Who is watched, loved and known,
And that’s why I place in the
Smallest act
Solemnity and risk.

Sophia De Mello Breymer Andresen