For most of my life I have been asking questions about education. I have explored newer forms of education: Montessori, Waldorf, Sudbury, and homeschooling philosophies. This brought the motivation for starting two private schools, and the motivation for studying all kinds of cosmic topics: astrology, spirituality, meditation, religion. How to improve the conditions of life here on earth has become the main focus of my writing and creative activities and yet our institutional systems are the least receptive to such changes. To learn more about my journey with it and why I talk about education issues on an Astrology website, check out my Education article on Linked In.
Why Teachers Need Astrology
We have to ask the bigger, cosmic questions in order to understand our tasks as educators.
For thousands of years, man has studied the movements of the stars and planets and deciphered meaning from them. In this search for the meaning of life, we have created stories and employed science to understand our genesis and existence. This is no less true today.
Being a teacher, I translate this directly toward the question of how we should educate our children and improve circumstances for future generations. This question might not seem related to the previous ones, but the line of human evolution is comprised of links between what we think and believe about ourselves, to what we hope for our children and aspirations for future generations. This unseen chain links our beliefs to the past, present, and future and form our experience of life.
How Education Relates to Cosmic Questions
The work of building a school makes visible our spiritual and political belief systems and institutionalizes it outwardly. A school can be a powerful vehicle to better the lives of many others, but it can also subjugate and traumatize whole generations, much like a nuclear family that is dysfunctional. (Think of the Native Americans being forced to learn English ways and customs in schools as an example of how schools have become weapons.)
Self-knowledge and the expression of our beliefs in organizations and group systems effects the way we educate, the way we conduct courts of law and government, and the way we provide healthcare, among other institutional functions. If we want to change our current institutions, then we must start with ourselves and our belief systems and apply them to educate constructively instead of destructively.
We must make contact with the deeper, cosmic questions that are at the root of our existence and through conversation, and hone in on a collective definition that our particular community generates.
The average man or woman still must work to food, clothe, and shelter himself and to navigate the fortunate or unfortunate circumstances he or she is born into. Making time for the search for meaning usually falls far below in priority to survival.
We all must deal with the consequences and decisions of past generations in terms of economy and history in our communities. One of my favorite quotes is, “Do what you can with what you have where you are,” and that has been my motto. So, even though life if full of things to be done just to survive, each community, family, and individual still must answer these questions of meaning for themselves. Astrology and cosmic and religious studies are all fields of study that attempt to answer these.
In the work of caring for one’s physical needs in this life for food, clothing, and shelter, one must also carve out the time to the search for truth for himself, and make meaning of one’s life. If we can do this, the prize of true inner freedom awaits, but very few truly and deeply desire it, and fewer still are really able to sacrifice for it. I have been faced with that dilemma too, sometimes in very painful ways, but I urge anyone to keep searching for truth and meaning with whatever means you can, as if one is an eagle, scanning with laser focus on the target.
Not everyone will enjoy, need or want to go on a hunt for cosmic truth. But, if others find it helpful, I am honored to contribute my stories because ultimately, untold stories are wasted pain and we need one another in order to progress.
More on Rudolf Steiner’s Views on Education
If you are not familiar with Rudolf Steiner, and you are a practicing teacher, I strongly encourage you to read some of his writings and lectures regarding education. Here is a broad summary from my own understanding.
How do we educate a child?
START WITH BIG QUESTIONS
First, ask the bigger question, “What is a human being?”
Steiner’s basic idea is that a human being can be viewed as both 3-fold and 4- fold.
THINKING, FEELING, and WILLING, or, if you prefer, head, heart, and hands, and these have been outlined with corresponding and distinct stages of human physical and spiritual development.
See Threefold Human Diagram – Anthroposophical Medicine
The four-foldness of the human shows through these four bodies: physical body, etheric body, astral body, and ego – each of these is also the focus of successive seven year cycles.
It makes sense because we don’t come into the world with all of our powers of thinking ready and available to us at birth. A pony is able to stand moments after birth, but humans, the thinkers of the animal world, do not think right out of the womb. It takes many long years for our thinking to develop and mature. Humans develop these three realms of thinking, feeling and willing in distinct, SEVEN YEAR STAGES and this is important to the thought about how to EDUCATE a child AND it relates to the wisdom of the stars and it evolves in a sequence through the four bodies in order of (1) physical- (2) etheric- (3) astral- (4) ego.
SEVEN YEAR STAGES
From ages 0-7, we are developing our WILL, or the use of our hands, our limbs, and the ability to exercise our intent to “do,” “to act,” “to create,” out of our own volition.
From ages 7-14, we are developing our FEELING, or the ability to make meaning out of what lives in our mood life, our emotions.
From ages 14-21, we are developing our THINKING, our judgement, our abstract mind.
By age of 21, we have the ability then to focus on a fourth aspect of the human being, the entrance of the ego, or the “I,” the assertive, adult identity that can stand as one. The ego is not fully matured until much, much later, taking perhaps 3 seven-year cycles to emerge as mature, thus the age of 42 being an excellent age for someone to begin to have the ability to take office as President!
During these stages, Rudolf Steiner offers a particular area to serve as a focus for that stage in terms of educating a developing human being. The focus tells what to emphasize and provide at that stage. It tells what to surround a developing child with during that stage that will enable the child to grow towards freedom and wholeness.
7 year cycles are an expression of Saturn. See the Cosmic Timeline
Seven Year Stages Explained
|0-7 years||Will||Goodness||A very young child must be shown the goodness and safety of the world through the model of his or her caregivers. “My world is safe.”|
|7-14 years||Feeling||Beauty||An older child must encounter beauty, harmony, and experience wonder and bliss through the realm of feeling. They must experience both beholding and creating beauty. “The world is wondrously rich and beautiful.”|
|14-21 years||Thinking||Truth||An adolescent must encounter representatives of truth through materials, exposure to ideas or idealism, and/or models and mentors to fashion their lives after. “We can stand for truth in the world.”|
Waldorf Education and the Cosmic View of the Human Being
With this broad picture of “What is man,” Steiner made some decisions about how to design an educational path for a growing child using the good, the beautiful, and the true as headings. This evolved as an educational program known today as Waldorf Education.
A child is not an adult in miniature. This is a mistake that many businessmen and scientists that don’t work with children make about children. A young child is vulnerable and susceptible to many influences of the adult world around them until they are fully mature. They rely on adult protection and love until they are able to protect themselves.
Not everyone will undertake an in-depth study of Steiner’s Anthroposophy or seek an expensive Waldorf teacher certification like I did, nor should they. But, I do encourage teachers and parents to simply consider these questions in regards to your own views on education:
The Big questions
What is your definition of a human being?
How does a child become a fully realized adult and how do we support that process through education?
How do (or how should we) we promote healthy human development in the caring of the young?
How can we become a truly free society of fully-realized adults?
How can humanity reach its full potential and break out of its destructive patterns?
By looking at these questions from the outset, we can direct our progress more thoughtfully toward our end goal. Then take a look at some of the innovative thinkers in education, like the book, Thrive by Valerie Hannon.
how teachers can work creatively with the planets
Click on the heading above to reading more about what each planet can signify in your chart as a teacher.
using astrology creatively to better understand our students
Click on the heading above to read more about using the sun-moon profile to build stronger relationships with students.