An Anthroposophical Biography of KP Kev the Poet (as of Sept 2015) #steiner #anthroposophy

Rudolf Steiner’s belief was that human life falls into seven year phases and that each of these phases helps with specific areas of development in the four-fold body of man which progressively incarnate one after another. The spiritual side of me is intrigued by this, however the scientific, cynical skeptic in me does think you could divide life into phases of any length of time. But so much of Steiner’s belief’s, regardless of their clairvoyant source, have been consistently and scientifically proven to be either true or effective that the balanced pragmatist should probably give him the benefit of the doubt. Despite the clairvoyant source of most of Steiner’s beliefs he appears to have been correct about so many things – from child development to bio-dynamic farming – even if we can’t always prove why his theories work it appears that we can usually prove that they do.

According to Schaefer in ‘Why On Earth’, “Another insight that Rudolf Steiner brings to this picture of development is the idea that up until the forties, every human being is, from a certain perspective, recapitulating the evolution of human consciousness in general. He suggests that all of humanity is now developing what he calls the consciousness soul, in a way parallel to the phase of individual soul development that takes place in the years from 35 to 42.”

These are the divisions and the titles for the phases that Steiner perceived. Here I shall merely give the titles, and I shall expand on each of them and how they relate to my own life throughout this article.
Age 0 – 7, the Moon Phase

Age 7 – 14, the Mercury Phase

Age 14 – 21, the Venus Phase

Age 21 – 35, the Sun part 1 The Sentient Soul

Age 28 – 35 the Sun, part 2 Intellectual Soul

Age 42 – 49, the Mars phase

Age 49 – 56, the Jupiter phase

Age 56 – 63, the Saturn phase

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Age 0 – 7, the Moon Phase

The first 7 years of a child’s life are the formative years, these lay the foundation and are therefore one of the most important phases (if not the most important phase). These years are associated with the Moon.

Steiner believed the Moon was central in giving form to the Earth.

In the first 7 years each cell in the body changes quickly as the child grows and bones harden. In this time the child goes through 3 development stages ß resisting gravity to become upright, gaining control of the larynx to develop speech and harnessing perception through the senses in order to start actively thinking. In the early years we are largely motivated by instincts; protection, love, support and the avoidance of pain. This is occurring while we are laying the foundations to incarnate our later bodies and create the template that will later allow us to think, feel and perceive our individuality.

Steiner also believed that in this time the physical body needed sustenance to be ready for the next phase, the arrival of the etheric body. The child should be given a safe framework in a safe routine, both emotionally and physically, so the child can develop healthily in freedom and comfort. Children learn through imitation in the first 7 years, so the influence of the adults around them is important.

Around the age of 3 the perceptive abilities are developing and the experience of ‘self’ as an individual occurs. This could be considered the first ‘crisis’ – the dawn of the ‘ego’, a separation from ‘the all’. The first experience of self is often the earliest memory that people have, can have a profound impact and sometimes gives a hint at the future personality of that person as an adult.

Self reflection – I do not remember much before the age of 7. I was quite an analytical child, my earliest memory is of my father and my uncle carrying a piano into the house. I remember generally feeling unappreciated and underestimated by adults when I was young. I grew up in North London, with both my parents (they wouldn‘t split up until my early twenties) and an older brother. I remember wanting nothing more than the freedom to play. I was forced to learn the piano at quite and early age. I did not want to practice, I wanted the freedom to play. It was not until my first piano exam (grade 1) a year later that my piano teacher would discover that I had not learned to read music, I had been learning to play all the early compositions by ear. This may have been the start of a pattern in me fighting for freedom, refusing to conform and finding ways to circumvent rules and systems.

In the first seven years “the physical foundations of the bodily constitution for life are being laid down, and the child’s spiritual individuality, albeit unconsciously, is gradually moving into this growing, forming body. During this tie the child is very open and impressionable on every level, and learns everything through imitation. Early intellectual learning, over-stimulation, and the unnatural forcing of any skills disturbs this delicate process. The first three years are critical in this respect, as during this time the child is learning to walk, talk, and think with memory.” Dot Male, from ‘The Parent and Child Group Handbook’

Self reflection – Soon after 7 I would be quite a philosophical child even though I would not always have the vocabulary yet to express my thoughts and ideas.

Age 7 – 14, the Mercury Phase

Steiner highlights the change of the child’s teeth from milk to adult. This signals the end of the body’s most intensive phase of growth. Steiner believed tghat now the life forces are liberated and receptive to learning. From 7 – 14 the childs internal, feeling and emotional life become central. During these years the child moves away from imitation.

Particularly from the age 10 the child moves away from initation. The thymus gland shrinks as growth slows, which allows more analytical thinking. As the thymus shrinks the sexual organs develop further and the turbulent hormones and subsequent impulses of puberty begin. Now the individual looks for an authority to guide them through this rocky road. In these years the child is likely to be receptive to an inspired teacher.

Self reflection – I do not remember much from this period of my life. I was still in North London with one older brother and two parents. I hated school (I went to a state school) even primary school and I hated anything that restricted my freedom. I remember shortly after I went to secondary school and I started to get homework I realised that secondary school was worse than primary school and I theorised that life just got worse and worse. It may have been a self-fulfilling prophecy to a certain extent but I preferred University to school due to the increased freedom and the rebellion in my mid twenties could be considered an attempt to prove that theory wrong. I started studying Religious Education when I started secondary school at age about 11 and religion, philosophy and variious “theories about eternity” became a lifelong obsession. I read the Tao Teh Ching when I was 12 and it is still one of my favourite texts.

Age 14 – 21, the Venus Phase

During this period the moral consciousness of the adolescent is formed to the extent that it can be expressed. We become more conscious of our emotions, a more removed or separate perspective is possible allowing the teenager to approve or disapprove of society, culture, politics etc. This can manifest as conflicts and/or alliances within the family, or in political activism. New sexual impulses develop, both physically and emotionally.

Due to these new powerful emotions many develop an interest in poltics and/or spirituality at this age. It may be a time of finding oneself, finding your path, and testing boundaries. It may be a testing time but it is usually memorable.

Self reflectionI left home to study English Literature and Philosophy at Keele University in Staffordshire aged about 19 years old. I didn’t expect to like university because I didn’t like school but it was very different, I was happier than I had been since early childhood, my course wasn’t five days a week, I had time to read other books on other subjects and found more like-minded outsiders who shared my political beliefs and spiritual values. Until this time my life was more or less void of people who shared my interest in politics or spirituality. I also grew creatively and started to perform in front of crowds for the first time.

The “Summer Fullness” arises from age 21 – 42 (21 years, three 7s.)

According to Signe Eklund Schaefer, “throughout these next twenty-one years, this blooming, blossoming, summertime of life – indeed the phase most influenced by the Sun – we find ourselves on a road of self-discovery and self-definition. Although the way may wind through clouds and darkness, the Sun stays high in the sky, offering warmth and light for our self-searching.” Schaefer goes on tp say “these are the years of our soul deepening, when our inner life is enriched by the emergence of our individuality. In these years we are challenged to take up our own process of psychological maturing. We wake up into our unique soul existence, becoming ever more responsible for our own feelings, thoughts, and deeds. Rudolf Steiner elaborates upon this process in referring to the development of what he calls the sentient soul in the years from twenty one to twenty eight, the intellectual, or mind, soul between twenty eight and thirty five, and the consciousness soul from thirty five to forty two.
Age 21 – 35, the Sun part 1 – Sentient Soul

This is a time when careers are often founded and long-term relationships are cemented. We start to notice and appreciate intuition, insight, and discrimination. Unresolved issues and/or trauma that was experienced during previous phases may have resulted in behaviour that will no longer be tolerated by society, behaviour that would be considered immature by this stage. For example psychotherapist Nick Duffell explains the condition of “privileged abandonment” as such as when socially priviledged children have to swap a family-based childhood for boarding school or some equivalent. “They must speedily reinvent themselves as self-reliant psuedo-adults. Paradoxically they then struggle to properly mature, since the child who was not allowed to grow up organically gets stranded, as it were, inside them. In consequence, an abandoned child complex within such adults ends up running the show. This is why many British politicians appear so boyish. They are also reluctant to open their ranks to women, who are strangers to them and unconsciously held responsible for their abandonment by their mothers”.

Self reflectionWhen I was about 22 I graduated from university and started temporary work in various offices in London. I didn’t particularly want to, I believed that was what my parents wanted for me, a ‘normal’ office job. My creative side had no outlet and my life had no meaning or purpose. Within two years I was suffering from depression. Aged 25 I had found a community within the UK festival scene that appreciated my lyrics and my spirit. I moved to Bristol to focus on my creative side and so I could busk without embarrssing my mother. I left London and moved to Bristol. I had been getting depressed working temp jobs and after a summer of performing poetry at festivals that summer I decided I would move to either Brighton or Bristol and focus solely on performance. The I-Ching said “the South-West will be fortunate”. Decision made. It was fortunate.

This decision would affect every aspect of my life dramatically. In Bristol I would meet musicians, artists and activists who would become my friends. While living in the west I would meet Druid’s (and became a Bard of a Druid Order, knighted a bard in Stonehenge on the Spring Equinox of 2006) and I would meet Buddhists, I attended meditation sessions at a Buddhist centre in Bristol and read many books on Tibetan Buddhism) and in Glastonbury I would meet Sufis – I took part in a Sufi chanting circle and became a fan of Sufi poetry – and during this period I also met Hindus – I became a part-time Amma devotee and see her every time she visits England and I chant Hindu songs, bhajans, occasionally in ritual singing sessions called Kirtans. These meetings and experiences would all modify my own spiritual beliefs and spiritual practices which became a patchwork of whatever resonated with me at the time and remains with me to various degrees now.

During this period I also cemented my reputation as a poet, singer, writer and performer.

Age 28 – 35 the Sun, part 2 Intellectual Soul

At this age the changes are more subtle, the development and the focus is increasingly turning inwards and this is often the age where creativity is most active. Researchers, and inventors tend to make their greatest advances in these years due to a mix of physical confidence combined with the wisdom of experience. Buddha, Mohammad and Jesus Christ were all around 35 when their spiritual journeys reached their zeniths, Steiner was particularly interested in the role of Christ. According to Steiner’s beliefs the Jesus Child was inhabited by The Christ around the age of 30 which enabled him to work on the biography of mankind as a whole, and at the age of 33 and a third (in the Mystery of Golgotha) during his crucifixion and subsequent resurrection he raised the spiritual potential of humanity in general.

Self reflectionAged 27 I became aware of a teaching and community called Balanced View. Balanced View is a training in the nature of the mind, like a secular form of Buddhism. When I first encountered the Balanced View teaching I was in a confident place because I had successfully avoided and replaced the things that brought up my anxiety and depression, I had avoided my parents, I had avoided jobs that force me to socialise with people that didn’t share my political opinions and by living with artists, activists, political people and spiritual people I had surrounded myself with people who supported me and my ideals. Which had positive results in the short term, but these positives were temporary. I could still not live with people I disagreed with or work with people I disagreed with without encountering anxiety or anger and/or depression. When I first encountered the Balanced View teaching I rejected it, because I did not think that I needed it, and after curing my depression by moving to Bristol (and effectively avoiding and replacing anything outside my comfort zone) I was highly suspicious of any organisation that offered help (I am suspicious oforganisations in general)- I attended the very first Balanced View classes that were held in Bristol but I dropped out partly, due to my over-confidence that was solely based on avoiding things that tested me, but also because the format reminded me of school and, if I haven’t already made it clear, I really hated school.

Around aged 32 I started volunteering at a Steiner school and discovered the one vocation other than writing and performing that provided satisfaction.

Aged 33 I was enjoying a creative high although I rarely earned much from being a performance poet and singer I was well respected. Then about 34 depression and anxiety came back as I was forced to face some of the things I was avoiding. Relationship issues, the deaths of friends and friends who descended into insanity. Facing these things had led to further growth however and I have increased the number of situations I can face without anxiety and I have increased the number of situations I am willing to endure anxiety for. I returned to the Balanced View training and community to help me with these issues. Part of my ability to deal with anxiety was improved by attending trainings organised by Balanced View, and my decision to return to that training and community. Part of it was healed by moving back to London and healing my relationship with my parents who had split since I moved to Bristol.

I am yet to reach the next phases in my own life but I will give a brief description here. 42 to 63 is described in ‘Why On Earth’ as the “Autumn Light and Shadow”, and she goes on to say “to experience the clarity of autumnal light that shines on an inner-world-space is the promise, or at least the invitation, of these next twenty-one years. But this will not happen without my effort… the first twenty-one years of our life were devoted to preparing our body as a worthy vessel to receive our eternal “I”. In the next large phase our soul has the opportunity to deepen and mature.”

Age 42 – 49, the Mars phase

If we have experienced an inner awakening and an enhanced sense of self -responsibility we are likely to feel energetic and self reliant, if not – more arguments, asserting power and criticising others. A ‘second puberty’.

Age 49 – 56, the Jupiter phase

A “sigh of relief”, a wider and wiser view, “for many it brings a second peak in one’s creative life. We may feel a renewed inner vitality; and it is now possible to view our own experiences and the world… with greater objectivity.” ‘Why On Earth’.

Age 56 – 63, the Saturn phase

“There is now a growing inclination to look back on the life we have lived so far. From deep within our will, resound questions about what we have left undone, or what still remains for us to do.” ‘Why On Earth’ It appears to be a time we may choose to tie up loose ends.

In conclusion, the Sophia Institute summarises it’s Anthroposophical Biography course thus –

Lesson 1: 0 – 7 Childhood/physical body/willing – Moon
Lesson 2: 7 – 14 Grades school/childhood/etheric body/feeling – Mercury
Lesson 3: 14 – 21 High school/college/etc./adolescence/astral body/thinking – Venus
Lesson 4: 21 – 28 Sentient soul age – Sun
Lesson 5: 28 – 35 Intellectual soul age – Sun
Lesson 6: 35 – 42 Consciousness soul age – Sun
Lesson 7: 42 – 49 Spirit self age/transformed astral body – Mars
Lesson 8: 49 – 56 Life spirit age/transformed etheric body – Jupiter
Lesson 9: 56 – 63 Spirit man age/transformed physical body – Saturn
Lesson 10: 63 – old age/wisdom

Maybe try analysing your own life from the perspective of Anthroposophical biography. The cynical, scientific skeptic in me does consider that you could divide life into phases of any length of time, months or years, and you are likely to find a correlation and could assign any name or heavenly body to each of these phases. But the open minded, pragmatic in me is aware that plenty of Steiner’s other claims have been scientifically proven to work even if we don’t know why, from the A-Level grades of Steiner educated children to the yield of biodynamic crops. I have difficulty with what often appears to a blind following of Stiener’s philosophies. However despite the clairvoyant source of most of Steiner’s beliefs he appears to have been correct about so many things – from child development to bio-dynamic farming – that it would seem wise to give him the benefit of the doubt concerning the rest unless or until given substantial reason to think otherwise. So, maybe scientifically test this theory on yourself?

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