Rudolf Steiner's weekly meditations

Artistic Response

Here is my artistic response to this week's Soul-Calendar-23 meditation verse by Rudolf Steiner. For a brief introduction to this project, please see the blog post for week 49, which is when I started this..

Soul-Calendar-23 meditation

Rudolf Steiner's original soul-calendar-23 meditation
September 8-14

Es dämpfet herbstlich sich
Der Sinne Reizesstreben;
In Lichtesoffenbarung mischen
Der Nebel dumpfe Schleier sich.
Ich selber schau in Raumesweiten
Des Herbstes Winterschlaf.
Der Sommer hat an mich
Sich selber hingegeben.

My translation:
There subdues autumnally itself
The senses’ stimulation-urge;
In light-revelation blend
The mists’ muffled veils themselves.
I myself observe in space-widths
The autumn’s winter-sleep.
The summer has to me
Itself sacrificed.

See also

*As I don't want to infringe any copyright, I am offering my own, literal, translations here. There are many excellent translations available at but keep in mind that most translations lose at least some of the various possible meanings that lie within the original German. Starman's translation tends to be the most literal

My interpretation of the soul-calendar-23 meditation

In this verse our attention is drawn again, very explicitly, to the outside world, but also to our relationship with it. The verse speaks from the first-person perspective. I notice that my senses' thirst for stimulation by the colours and forms of nature is waning, as if autumn itself lives within them. Here in Scotland and in particular where I am just now, on the ilse of Lismore off the West Coast, the weather is very autumnal. It's mostly overcast, very blowy, there are wirls of mist drifting across the sea and intermittently the light breaks through, still with warmth, but never for long. It seems as if the light is moving further away from the earth, while the veils of mist, which seem to muffle the worlds' sounds, mix with each other and are thus occasionally lit up. A picture of what is happening within me? Moments of clarity about the darkness that swirls within my sould and that obscures the path towards myself?

When I peer out over the see, or when my eyes gaze into the distance towards the clouds and I try to sense into what is happening to the living earth in this place at this time of the year, I can vaguely sense a drawing to sleep, as if the cosmos beckons nature to begin its descend back into the earth, to draw in its energies for the coming winter-tide. And more and more I may realise that the precious gift of summer's sun indeed lives on within me, while outside of me it is almost entirely gone. So there is this potential transformation of myself, this rebirth of myself, made possible by the gift of summer. To consider that the summer has sacrificed or given itself up to me fills me with awe. In the German, the summer is more personified than in the English: Summer has sacrificiced himself (rather than itself) to me. There's food for thought. Are the seasons then actual spiritual beings? Has the Being of Summer sacrificed himself for my benefit? We all know that most living creatures on the earth directly or indirectly need the sun to live. But do we really know it? Can I tune in more gently, more deeply, beyond this easy knowing, towards a felt sense of my kinship with the sun? Perhaps the very nature of my higher self is of the same substance as the being of the sun and perhaps the season of summer is the messenger, the gift-bearer who sacrifices himself each year in order to help us, human beings, come closer to knowing ourselves for what we truly are.

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