While we were sitting with Seth in the café in Dornach, a lovely lady walked up and introduced herself. She had met Seth at an event, and she recognized us from our Have Seeds page online, which was rather surprising for both of us. Johanna Ruster-Michail was her name. She was attending a conference at the Goetheanum, and we agreed to meet later at the Youth Section with Seth joining us.
As we sat together, Johanna first wanted to hear our story, which was a first. We were so used to starting off with why we want to meet others and to hear their stories that to have someone ask us ours was so surprising! So, we shared the background of Have Seeds as well as our own hopes and intentions, and it was a lively thought-filled back and forth over coffee.
To Johanna, anthroposophy is a source of real and true life. As a child, her family doctor was an anthroposophist, and her mother very enthusiastically encouraged her to enter into a study of curative eurythmy which seemed more about her mother than she herself at the time.
Years later after Johanna went to a eurythmy performance with Dr. Wolf outside of Munich, she realized that it was of her own interest and started to study eurythmy. She also taught at the Waldorf school for a time, but it was not such a good experience for her. At this time, Johanna felt confronted with the opposite of the anthroposophical world, experiencing divisions that led her to leave the whole of anthroposophy for a while. In her heart, she always knew that Rudolf Steiner was her teacher and that anthroposophy was her path. Before she dies, she shared, she has a will to go into eurythmy again.
From age 17 – 19, Johanna lived in the United States as a hard-working au pair in three different families. (She says she could write a book about that alone!) After she returned from California, she attended a language school to study English and Spanish. During her time at the school, she had back problems and went to see the curative eurythmist she had known in my childhood. Johanna remembered in the dress of a typical anthroposophist in lilac and robes, but when she met her again as an adult, she wore modern clothes (a pair of white jeans) and had changed her attitude altogether. Those curative eurythmy sessions were quite helpful, and the eurythmist eventually suggested that Johanna go see a Eurythmy performance, which led to her studying Eurythmy. This was at age 21.
(Johanna says that she always had remarkable changes at those 7-year-cycles. When she was 28 she got pregnant, and when she was 35 she separated from her husband.)
To Johanna, Rudolf Steiner’s work means everything. It is the world, the #1 remedy. Anthroposophy is healing. Her question is how she can do it better so as not to lose the ecstatic faith that she can do something. She is interested in everything out of anthroposophy. Johanna has a dream of a farm-based community with lots of inter-relational research taking place.
Healing seemed to be a theme running through this conversation, whether it be in relationships, art, or agriculture. She has a great interest in Tanya Baumgartner’s work, where there is a practice/research of working with eurythmy and seeds:
“By working in a focused way with these archetypal gestures, eurythmy tries to establish new relationships with, and insights into, nature, the human being and the cosmos. The enlivening movements of eurythmy therapy have proven to be very beneficial, and can enable us to enter into resonance with the formative dynamic principles at work in plants and animals. In this way it is possible to develop a new connection with the forces that give rise to form, something so far denied to modern science.” (http://www.institut-artenova.ch/en/institut/background/)
Through Baumgartner’s work, Johanna also found inspiration in Dr. Hiscia, who works with pharmaceutical/botanical remedies. (http://www.vfk.ch/hiscia/)
Just before we met, she had heard about work with colors and about eye-healing eurythmy. This was new to us as well, and we were so glad to hear about it. In the future of healing, we have to work with colors. Johanna expressed appreciation for the work of Katrin De Quero, whom she had met on the previous day. She is a eurythmist who works out of the Plant Colour Laboratory in Dornach, which was founded by Günther Meier in the 60s and is now run by coworkers under the name Anthro-Color Pflanzenfarben. To share a consideration of how students have met this work, we share a quote by Iain Hunter from a 2011 offering:
“A few days later, I met with Mrs. Meier here in Dornach. Her passion for the plant colours, and the integrity of her beliefs concerning them, impressed me. She believes strongly that only a moral attitude in the making of these colours will ensure their survival as an impulse coming from spiritual science. Both she and Mr. Zastrow stressed to me the importance of the ‘laboratory table be-coming an altar,’ which is something Rudolf Steiner said; the importance of cultivating devotion in this work.”
Johanna holds a vision of a film showing a beautiful new world with a threefold civilization. Her hope is that through all of our connections we can find a way to present the ideas found in Threefold. People could then see what life would be like in a threefold society. It is organized, completely logical, and we need it. However, she doesn’t want people to think that threefolding is a system. All can relate to it. She feels like we are preparing for something yet to come. No longer married and with her son grown, she finds herself meeting the world in a new way, and questions of how we all relate to one another are at the core.
In 2009, Johanna attended a Basic Income conference that really inspired her towards looking at Threefold as a way for the future. Christoph Strawe has founded a magazine, Sozialimpulse (http://www.threefolding.net/magazine.html), that meets her question of building a larger worldwide network of interest. The magazine Wired can also speak to what is happening out in the world, and we need to build these connections for the future. The human being is not an egoist needing competition. We want to work together to achieve something.
Seth and Johanna struck up a conversation about the ideas coming forth out of the Singularity Movement, which was the first time Elizabeth and I heard of this being spoken of in depth. It was really incredible to hear what is coming forth in the way of a materialistic spirituality that seeks to enter into a technological utopia. Looking around afterwards to understand better what these two friends were speaking to, we found a quote from the Daily Grail to share here:
“Here we can find signs of what I think is the inception of a materialist religion (of sorts), replete with charismatic leaders and transcendence of death. The latter perhaps is a driving force – without the ‘crutch’ of a religious belief in an afterlife, the Singularity becomes the salvation of the materialist facing their own mortality (this certainly seems to be how it is in Kurzweil’s case). An interesting bit of speculation might be to consider the (fringe science) possibility that consciousness lies beyond the brain (a la transmission theory), and that it not only survives death, but is in fact set free from the body by the experience. To borrow an analogy from the mystical literature, could ‘Singulatarians’ in fact be the equivalent of a caterpillar desperately trying not to become a butterfly?
Johanna loves activities to make a better world. She also loves horses and great architecture. She loves encountering Robin Mitchell’s offerings on Facebook and is inspired by how he comports himself always. She calls him the Watchtower, the Vorbild of netiquette.
From the moment Johanna walked up and introduced herself to us at the table in the Goetheanum, we felt nothing but totally inspired by her forward looking approach to how we can be a greater part of the wider world, finding like-minded interests that are just waiting to be uncovered. Lovely she is, and we felt totally met in our own seeking and look forward to future possible collaborations.