Sunday, August 26, 2007

Christian Community in Scarriff, County Clare
Programme for Autumn 2007, Regular Services and Gatherings
Sundays: The Act of Consecration of Man
2nd September, 7th October, 4th November, 9th December at 11 am
There will be a crèche during the Act of Consecration. Please ask Audrey Flynn
The Service for Children at 10 am, dates as for the Act of Consecration of Man.
Sunday Family Gatherings at 10 am, All gather to sing in the chapel. Afterwards, there is a story or gospel reading for the children, whilst the adults remain in the chapel for a reading of the Gospel, the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer followed by a short discussion on the Gospel. Afterwards everyone gathers in the kitchen for bring & share refreshments.
All Sundays from 9th September on, except when Tom Ravetz is visiting
Special programme for Michaelmas 30th September and the four Sundays in Advent
Other Events: Talks by Rev. T Ravetz on Saturday evenings at 8 pm followed by singing
6th October The Father-Ground of our Being
3rd November The Son-Creating and Becoming
8th December The Spirit-God in the Creation

Confirmation Classes at 4 pm on 2.9., 7.10., 4.11., 9.12.
For more information on Gospel readings, visits and other activities contact
The Rev. Tom Ravetz, 22 Baylie Street, Stourbridge West Midlands UK DY8 1AZ,
Phone: 0044 1384 377 190 and whilst in Ireland: 0876 486 617. Email:
Or contact the Congregational Correspondent Anne Benham,

Monday, August 20, 2007

Harvest Home in Dingle

I had the great good fortune to be in Ireland for Lughnasa again this year, the midpoint between St Johns and the Michaelmas equinox time. If the four great festivals of the year, Easter, St Johns, Michaelmas and Christmas are turning points, the lesser known four festivals in between can be seen as archways, moving into something new. They are the beginnings of the four seasons according to the farmers’ calendar, and as the Celts would have celebrated. Here in Dingle they are still alive.

Samhain or Halloween begins the year with winter when the harvest is finished. Imbolc, the time of St Bridgid and Candlemas, when the sap begins to flow again, brings the first inklings of spring. Bealtaine, or May Day, ushers in summer. Nature is in full bloom and Lughnasa, the first of August, is the beginning of the harvest season (autumn).

As a clown working out of anthroposophy I feel my mission to be one of gathering inspiration from nature, from spiritual and elemental beings and the rhythms of the year. These can be transformed with humour through the performing arts as a gift to human beings. The overwhelming amount of love that arises through my work with people as a clown can then be transformed and brought back as a gift into nature and into the festivals of the year.

I celebrated St John in Stuttgart with a group of clowns and speech and drama artists working therapeutically. It was the time of year when the human being expands furthest outward into the cosmic worlds, ‘losing oneself’ as Steiner describes so beautifully in the Calendar of the Soul. We were working with themes such as the clown as a bridge between nature and human beings, periphery and centre and the artistic transformation of the heart. I always see the red clown’s nose as significant. The nose is the heart of my face. When I put on my nose I step into my heart’s centre.

I brought these inspirations of the St John’s meeting with me when I came home to Ireland for the summer. Meditating further on the Calendar of the Soul I became newly aware of the amazing dance the soul takes when moving around the circle of the year. Approximately around the first of May one begins to arc outward into cosmic worlds. After St John, when the outer sun is at its zenith, the arc begins curving back. From Lughnasa until Samhain we are walking in step with the natural world around us and after that the soul arcs inward to the inner sun, at its zenith at Christmas.

On the day of Lunasa I met with Peadar, a friend who is deeply connected to the stories of Ireland and just back from playing the flute in Chartres Cathedral.He takes people to the holy places of Ireland, giving story-rich, poetic and musical tours of introduction to the living land. In Ireland geography and history are one. The traditional place to go to at Lughnasa is Mount Brandon, the last place in Europe from which to see the setting sun. We had attempted this last year with Sophia Murphy and Tertia Schwartz. Due to Mount Brandon being covered in cloud we had climbed a lower mountain where we did the Halleluia in eurythmy, led by Tertia, and Peadar played his flute.

This year we climbed Mount Brandon. It was just the two of us. Other people had planned to come but stayed away because of heavy rains and clouds in the morning. When we crossed Conor Pass the peak of Mount Brandon was clear and beckoned to us. It is a steep and difficult climb. The ground is covered in springy turf and heather and the stones seem to be loose. I went up barefoot and the higher we got the less solid the earth felt beneath my feet. The mist closed in on us, swirling past like white horse ghosts galloping up the slope. Sheep looked as us with curiosity. Peadar told me stories of Lugh, from whom Lughnasa has its name and I told him the ones I knew from Ella Young’s The Wondersmith and his Son. We thought we got a glimpse of the sun through the now thick clouds.

I whistled to see if the sun would come out and he called it with his penny whistle. It seemed to be playing hide and seek with us, teasing us. At the summit windows opened up in the clouds to show us the spectacular valleys 1000 feet below on either side. It seemed impossible to me that there was a solid mountain below me. It felt as if we were standing on a cloud. Peadar invoked the four directions and then the centre—also having been working on the theme of periphery and centre these days. I read the Calendar of the Soul verse for this week (Nr 17) and then we played music. I inwardly left an offering on the mountaintop, a harvest of love gathered through my work. The sun was still peeking out at us the moment our backs were turned, making us laugh. We turned and bounded like goats down the mountain, singing loudly, our hearts full of all the sense impressions of the adventure. The harvest is now begun—and the process of waking up which will culminate at Michaelmas.

Deirdre Goodman lives in Leipzig, Germany and Dingle, Ireland. She is a clown performing in hospitals and touring with stage performances. She herself trained with Liederclown Frieder Noegge. Inspired by his attempt to bring anthroposophy into living experience she has developed her own method clowning and for training clowns. Deirdre also specializes in workshops for therapists, teachers, actors and parents
. For further information:

Suggested reading: The Wonder Smith and His Son, Ella Young, Floris Books
Celebrating Irish Festivals, Ruth Marshall, Hawthorn Press
Archangel Lecture, Rudolf Steiner

Photograph courtesy of Susanne Hartung