About the Summer Weeks

Methods of spiritual perception in Nordic nature

Summer Weeks “Spiritual Ecology” – What is at stake?

Natural science is in deep crisis today; destruction of the environment and audio-visual assaults on the individual’s mind and heart express a fundamental lack in our understanding of the ‘living’. Without the connection to nature, including nature within us, science becomes sterile and narrow-minded; more and more susceptible to being manipulated by things such as short-sighted economic interests.

Is science today traveling to its own end; dogmatically barren and intolerant of the pure sensorial perception of nature, which was once the very base and source of inspiration for its culture-forming power? Can we get it back on track – a track where wonder, questioning and self-reflection are guiding the researcher? Should we venture to the sources of western fascination for science and nature research; a walk to the ‘Mater Materia’?

For the druids and Hiberno-Scottish monks this was the path of their initiation: standing upright through wind and weather, recognising themselves as part of the creative resistance of yet unfinished evolutionary powers in nature. With this path of knowledge as a background, the Celtic-Christian monks built the first sun crosses and churches in the land of the Viking – long before the pope’s envoys could gain a foothold. Ireland-Scotland, in the north of western Europe, and Norway, in the west of northern Europe, are culturally bound together, sharing rough, almost overwhelming forces of nature. To what extent can this experience and knowledge of nature actually be accessible to modern consciousness, as part of an inner training in consciousness? If a ‘baptism through the elements’ is possible, no place could be better than on the island Iona and between the Fjell and Fjord in Norway: In the elementary forces of the bedrock and the water, in the exuberance of light – everywhere one can feel invited to experience nature in its spiritual, living-being essence. Imaginations and inspirations are as if spread out in the landscape, sometimes accentuated here and there by stave churches.

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The perception of nature in Scandinavia has found a very fertile ground – one that hasn’t been ploughed yet! How can we proceed from here?

Rudolf Steiner’s specific suggestions regarding the development of the Nordic folk culture and spiritual ecology are at hand. There have also been significant initiatives like the seminars given by Jochen Bockemühl and Hans-Christian Zehnter and the ‘School of Nature’ among other things with a first seminar on research into formative forces by Dorian Schmidt, but also an anthology ‘Spirituell Økologi’ and dialogues with the deep ecology of Arne Næss.

Since 2015, a number of courses for empathic observation of nature and spiritual ecology have taken place. Antje and Dorian Schmidt have made important contributions; regular training in the study of formative forces (Empathic Food Testing and nature observation) is active and growing.

The summer week ‘Methods of Spiritual Perception’, which took place for the first time in 2016, evoked enthusiastic acclaim by participants and dialog partners alike. In 2017, we expanded on this same ground, reaching even further with an extended two-week program, in an even more spectacular landscape, yet in the same laid back, dialogic, summer-holiday atmosphere: under the wide sky and in open perception, with a big heart and focused thoughts. Then, in 2018, we moved even further north into the midnight sun, on an island north of the polar circle. and now, in 2019, we leave Norway for the first time, but stay in the land of the midnight sun: together we will spend the midsummer weeks on the most special archipelago of the Solovietsky islands in the White Sea, Russia, just aboarding the mythical land of the Kalevala in eastern Karelia.

Some interviews and written statements from participants in 2016 can be seen here. In 2017, we recorded the Nature Spirit Festival whereas the soundtrack of the outdoor interviews got spoiled by a lively wind ?. These videos may give you a feel of what can happen when people, folk souls and the beings of the land – the little and the majestic ones – meet eye to eye, in dialog mode. We kindly invite you to be part of that dialog of the living!