For the past four weeks I have been taking an online course on Birth Chart Construction based on the teachings of Willi Sucher. It has been both interesting and bewildering and I am left with even more questions than when I began, and we have one more class yet to go!
This course comes in addition to on-going weekly phone mentoring for the past three years with Darlys Turner from the Astrosophy Research Center in Meadow Vista, California. Darlys was a student of Willi Sucher’s and my current book study with her of the Introduction to Astrosophy by Willi Sucher has lasted since February of this year. This online course is led by Jonathan Hilton, also a board member of the Astrosophy Research Center, based in New York.
Jonathan was also a student of Willi Sucher’s, he spent a month in Willi’s home in 1971. Darlys Turner spent four years with Willi once a week and helped with editing his works.
Willi Sucher was a young student of Rudolf Steiner and an anthroposophist. About 60 participants are enrolled in Jonathan’s course, some coming from all over the world, some of which are enrolled in the Psychosophy Courses at Rudolf Steiner College to my understanding. This is the first time Jonathan has offered this type of course online and it may be one of the first of its kind to have taken place in this way – exclusively online. I have been honored to be a part of it. My Great Oak School teaching colleague, Becky Stemper joined me in taking the course.
My motivation for taking this course comes from working in a Waldorf School with children ages 7-14, and a desire to understand the complex needs of students we serve. It is my hope that the study of the birth chart can provide a source of inspiration and insight for child study and adult biography work.
The course outlined steps to a process used by Sucher which involved the creation of several different types of charts. The first chart is based on the moment of birth, the second chart is based on the moon at the time of birth and maps the prenatal development of the child from the moment of conception to the moment of birth, and the third chart is known as the Spiritual Nativity, and uses the moment when the Lunar Nodes are in the same position as the moon at birth to gain an imagination of the person’s philosophic disposition or attitude as outlined by the Cosmology Courses. All told, the whole process of chart creation takes many hours. Jonathan (and Sucher)recommended hand calculation as a practice and meditative contemplation, or an attitude of “holy awe,” when placing the imagiantion of a human life before oneself for study. Sucher also used three additional heliocentric charts and practiced the exercises Steiner recommended for willing, thinking, and feeling.
I feel I am finally being rewarded with a few hard-won nuggets after three years of taking western astrology courses, reading western astrology as well as Steiner books, working with mentors, and learning what amounts to an entire “foreign language” of symbols and terms, not to mention beginning the practice of constructing charts. I am finally beginning to come to some sort of ground level understanding of how western astrology differs from Astrosophy (Sucher) and Anthroposophy (Steiner). But as yet, there is still much more to know, learn, and practice. So therefore, even though I am beginning to understand how these differ, I am still at the beginning.
Now my questions center upon the following:
- Is there an astrologically sound and yet anthroposophically-based practice or approach to the study and understanding of the birth chart that would provide a source of inspiration for constructive use within child study and the art of Waldorf teaching? Does this exist already? Who is practicing this currently?
Along with the “how” questions about chart construction, there come others, mainly dealing with ethics and privacy in relation to the school environment.
- How can we incorporate star wisdom practices soundly, ethically, and transparently with our community if we choose to do so at all?
- How do we educate ourselves as a faculty and educate our community to demystify it?
- Is it possible to seek an understanding of the cosmic forces at work in a human life with integrity and openness and at the same time protect the diverse spiritual/religious beliefs, and along the same lines, the cultural diversity within our community?
- How do we honor the privacy of children and their families in a school setting?
- Can star wisdom be applied in the every day workings of a Waldorf school, and if so, what are the best practices?
- What are the limits? The pitfalls? The potentialities?