In the café of the Goetheanum we sat with Markus and Andrea Weder, who are both eurythmists in Austin, TX. They envision a community space for art and taking up spiritual questions. Our conversation was so encouraging as this youth-and-wisdom-filled couple is meeting a question we worked with throughout our journey: “Where are the fruits of Anthroposophy willing and able to go out into the world?”
Dottie met Andrea and Markus at Elderberries Café in Los Angeles during a conference formed by Truus Garaets and the Social Science Section, where Orland Bishop, Matre Matt Sawaya, and Seth Jordan were speakers amongst many of the youth from YIP, the Youth Initiative Program in Järna, Sweden. The Social Forum was seeking wider involvement with others past an affiliation with Anthroposophy: Where is spirit living in the world and how can I meet others seeking to make a difference through their artistic and cultural endeavors? They both attended a Monday Night Threefold Study group led by Caleb Buchbinder at the café and sought to share a eurythmy event they hoped to create out of an open space in downtown Los Angeles called the Los Angeles Eurythmy Project.
Markus emphasized the need to listen into what wants to become. What is asked from the future? How can we invite the young people into the present? Andrea spoke about the transformative forces that are available in art. After attending the Waldorf School, she searched for a year and found an arts training course. She then studied sculpture in Germany and eurythmy in London. It was in the United States that she became a performer and teacher for 23 years. Markus and Andrea came together by chance in Spring Valley, NY 21 years ago. Sitting with them, one is constantly struck to the core by the openness and depth of pondering living between them.
They have taken up work with Youth Section along with Elisabeth Wirschung. The youth are really at the center of their work. Markus and Andrea spoke of young people developing the tools to perceive where they belong, finding a house of belonging. For seven years, the two worked in curative education with autistic youth. “You must get it out of them.” Annemarie Ehrlich said, “Do not stuff them. Unlock it.” There is a wisdom in what has been developed. Community building activity appeals to young people
They had formed a eurythmy training where they have had half Brazilian and half American students. It was a place of karmic happenings, and they envision a new concept of eurythmy training. It is important to invite teachers with competence even if the style varies. It is important to have strong teachers, but the teachers are free in their approach. The concept of freedom is something that lives very strongly in this couple. The Weders believe it is important to honor the feedback of the students and shape the course accordingly. In that way, the training is owned by the students. As the students experience different approaches from the instructors, they can find their own way into the work.
Markus spoke about the Resurrective power of a spiritual path of development, the power of the human soul, and of the spiritual presence in the human being. At age 17, he felt revolutionary but had no life goal. He landed in an anthroposophical institution for the handicapped. At that point, he left school and never went back. In reflection, Markus recognizes of the presence of Michael in his life.
Andrea found herself at home in anthroposophy. So much is in progress, in process. Her hope is to become a human being fully available to what she’s supposed to be. At age 14, she had a friend at a different school, and when she met the people there, she thought, “Those people are beautiful!” She then met six or seven of the teachers, and it felt like a real human encounter. This was the Waldorf School, and she was able to transfer.
Andrea and Markus believe that we need a way for people to become wholesome and present. So much is covered up, and we meet others to uncover it. The building of a new substance happens between people. This other person can guide one to the abyss where it is possible to find oneself, to become fully human.
It is hard to let go of concepts, and we need a rich knowing. With activity we can warm our thoughts. What we think can lead us to a doorway. Then we have to live it. Love has the possibility to give us a sense of how and when we are in the right place with the right people.
Markus spoke of the importance of helping one another to find the gateway of love. We can offer an invitation to share, to invite the other into one’s life. We must ready ourselves to share and not hold onto things for ourselves. We can create a new substance. Our task is to step into the time of becoming creators. If we don’t invite the young people, we don’t invite the future. We need intergenerational communities. Too often, we can see the older generation of anthroposophists who simply want the young blood to continue what they’ve always done. Can we create the space for them to find their own authentic way?
The first anthroposophical book Markus read was How to Know Higher Worlds. He also read Ita Wegman’s Aus Michaels Wirken: Eine Legendensammlung. Andrea read Steiner’s Credo when her foster mother gave her the book when she was 15. Rudolf Steiner said hello to her through Credo, Andrea said. She then found new friends through joining the youth group of the Christian Community.
It was not surprising at all to hear whose work they find inspiring, as across the board they speak of reaching out into the wider community. They are both inspired by the work of Michael Fields (http://michaelfields.org/), formed by Christopher and Martina Mann in Wisconsin. This group works with the future of agriculture through partnerships and collaborations with the wider community while encouraging the next generation of sustainable agriculture. Markus and Andrea are also really appreciative of the Inter-Sectional conferences coming out of the School for Spiritual Science.
The Weders’ current focus is in Austin where they work with a high school eurythmy troupe and teach in a teacher training program. They carry a parallel interest in education and guiding the youth towards opening up further to the capacities they are seeking to develop. Andrea and Markus have been touring in the U.S. for 10 years while also traveling to Europe for a couple of months each year with up to six people.
They would like to bring into the community a center where arts and anthroposophy can live. Their vision is of a true cultural center. Truly, they are planting the seeds for something new in this work whose time seems to have come. During the Holy Nights this year, they are in Los Angeles seeking to firm up the offering they aim to bring forward downtown and are hoping to meet up with Dottie and others to seek where the support may be.
We asked them if they have a question they are carrying, and they said that their question is for others: “Dear brothers, dear sisters, where are you?” We know that our brothers and sisters are not only anthroposophists.
We cannot say enough of what a deep pleasure it was to sit across from these two in the halls of the Goetheanum. They are striving so valiantly in this work, and it is so incredibly touching to meet the enthusiasm they carry deep in their hearts for the progress of mankind.