In water-colour painting, as applied and synthesized from indications given by Rudolf Steiner, I bring learning experience beginning in the years 1979- 1984, when I received the Diploma from The Goetheanum Painting School. My tutors were Gerard Wagner, Elisabeth Wagner, and Erwin Thomalla. After teaching and therapeutic experience in Sydney and Melbourne, I again returned to Dornach, to complete a therapeutic Diploma in 2001. I am thankful to this experience for, all my later work in water-colour painting, and the various other colour mediums applied to therapeutic work.
Colour wisdom consciously learned and applied. Many people who have created the foundations for colour therapy have now passed over. The teachings of J.W. Goethe, Rudolf Steiner, Gerard Wagner, and Erwin Thomalla have helped me; indeed, the colour itself is the teacher of healing, notwithstanding all the techniques of painting or psychology that may exist. Henni Geck, Hilda Boos-Hamburger, Margaretha Haushka, Lianne Collot-d’Herbois. In Sydney and Melbourne, Anna Kundert, Margaret Piper and others have helped to prepare and carry the grounds for colour therapy. It must be remembered that all of these people I just mentioned are now across the threshold. Those who have passed over are united now in the spiritual world. Any errors, misjudgement or misunderstandings that have occurred are in the past, so to speak; the spiritual world creates the remedies in the course of reincarnations to come.
I was initially amazed in 1999, when Gerard Wagner died and I saw the Notice at the Goetheanum, stating that two members of the Anthroposophical Society were in the three-day process of death at the same time. Collot d’Herbois and Gerard Wagner were together in a sense, to go on in their journeys to the life-between-death-and-rebirth. What is the meaning of such an event? How can it help us unite in the battle for the good, in which therapy plays such an important part?
There are many other points of view now in universities today, relating to Art Therapy. We gather the fruits and plant new seeds of understanding, so that all truth may come to light.
Being true to myself, I must add that Anthroposophical Speech Formation & Drama in which I earned artistic-pedagogical and therapeutic diplomas, also form a part of my particular destined path.
It is of interest to me that both Gerard Wagner, himself, and Erwin Thomalla, a painting teacher, originally fromPoland, had enthusiasm for the study of Speech Formation and Drama in the early part of their work. Frau Elisabeth Wagner, who is alive and painting in Dornach, studied Sculpture and later, Eurythmy. Since my return to Melbournein 2004, my work has existed as an individual initiative called
EXPLORING THE WORD IN COLOUR AND SPEECH
THE METAMORPHOSIS OF THE EYE
The EAR and the LARYNX have metamorphosed into the eye in the development of the human being. The EAR has metamorphosed into the INNER- EYE. The LARYNX has been metamorphosed into the OUTER EYE. This is an indication given by Rudolf Steiner in the Natural Science Papers. As such, it has been the guiding line of my therapeutic path since the early 1980’s. I first came upon this indication in a book by Albert Steffen, called The Artist and the Fulfillment of the Mysteries.
In the course of Human ART one can observe an alternation between observing inner and outer manifestations. There has been a continuous balancing of outer and inner, sense world and soul world, impression and expression throughout the epochs of art. It can be seen as a therapeutic balancing of human vision. The sense world was first observed and painted on cave walls by the Aborigional Initiates. Earlier, the etheric world was experienced. Now we strive to paint and understand that etheric world and its forming forces, having now become over-materialised, so to speak. Through the balancing of extremes, mankind will finally come to conscious clairvoyant vision, an evolved state of being at which time there will be further metamorphosis. It is altogether a healthy progression, although relatively slow to progress.
Of course the inner and outer eye generally seem to be working together in everyday life. However, painting can be a meditative activity, alternating between two processes.
The concept of the eye as a metamorphosis of the ear and the larynx can help to understand a balancing process in painting therapy. The ear has metamorphosed into the inner eye that contemplates colour and retains the echo of complementary colours. It is a passive experience in which one awakens to what has just been painted, quietly taking in the whole of the painting at once. This contemplation of colour is always a kind of hearing process. Both the ear and the inner eye are receptive. A person who may be too active in the limbs, maybe too warm, needs this moment of contemplation. Rushing into the next stroke, one may miss the beauty and quality of perception that will allow the following brushstroke to create balance.
The earthy Melancholic, the watery Phegmatic, the airy Sanguinic and the firey Choleric: all the human temperaments can be seen as coming out of the forming forces or the etheric being that gives life to our physical substance. This comes from the same realm as the ocean of colour being. Each temperament needs to find balance. Discovering colour we learn to know ourselves and understand others. However we begin where we are, in our own temperament , as in therapy, and from thence, go on to explore other temperaments by means of the Colour-Word in a social-therapeutic sense.
Certain persons have a constitution that is one-sided in nature. They are drawn down into the metabolic, blood circulationpole. They need to be more in control of their movements. The metabolism may tend to dominate their consciousness. An extreme example of this state is known as Hysteria.
Painting on a dry surface is a help to these persons if they have the patience to let it dry again before continuing. Starting where they are, in the limbs, one can apply the principle ‘Fire fights fire’. A fire or a blossoming plant, where mixed, or impure colour become consumed by the pure red to create a balance, can be therapeutic for them, as well as the process of eventually cooling them down with the blues. One must not be afraid of creating shades of browns, and grey in this process. Learning to work with such colours actively and objectively is therapeutic when applied at the right time; although mixed-colour can certainly be brought into balance with other rainbow colours besides red. When colour dissonances are brought into balance they create drama in painting.
A kind of treatment, using the red of the consuming-flame against cancer in the metabolic system, was initiated by Erwin Thomalla in the 1980’s. This has been of benefit against tumours.
Deaf persons can ‘hear’ the colours in a way. They can usually feel and see more deeply in compensation for their loss of hearing. Painting is very helpful for them. The spoken vibrations of intoned vowel sounds that are related to the colours can also be experienced while deaf persons are contemplating colour. The retina always hears, in a sense.
Persons with severe rheumatic conditions who are allowed to contemplate clear coloured glass, and rest directly afterwards, see the complementary colours involved, sometimes they actually fall asleep afterwards. When they awaken, they are often much restored and less depressed. This therapy initiated by Marianne Altmaier in Germany, also uses the inner eye quality as healing. Cancer patints also benefit from similar treatment with colour light. The strength of the life forces can be augmented, also using the inner eye experience.
STANDING BACK FROM A PAINTING AND ALLOWING THE COLOUR TO REFLECT BACK AND HEAL SHOULD BE ENCOURAGED. THIS RELATES TO THE INNER EYE.
Now in the outer eye, is metamorphosed from the larynx. The cilia muscles that move the lens are the same as those that move the larynx. The outer eye sees and follows the movement of the brushstroke. It is an active process whereby one is focussing and refocusing constantly. For someone who is too much in the head, one-sided toward the upper pole or the nerve-sense system, tending towards coldness, seeing-rather than hearing, the process of movement has to be encouraged. This kind of person might gaze at a painting for hours before making one brushstroke. It might be hard for them to change what is already there. First hand knowledge about the truths of the colour world, through painting, helps them to dispel doubt. The extreme conditionof this sort is known as Neurasthenia. Many persons who are intrinsically attracted to painting may tend towards such a condition. They may be encouraged to use more water, if necessary.
Shortly we will understand how, in painting the relatively cold nerve-sense process is warmed by the higher individuality, by the Ego’s blood forces. In the case of a sclerotic condition, the person may not even have enough strength to move the brush without having a wet surface to paint on. Painting red is especially warming to people with an acquired head- injury. They need to have more circulation in the head.
Painting is communicating. One can speak with the paintbrush, and indeed in the case of mute-autistic persons, this can be a saving grace.
A poetic story that I wrote and illustrated for mute-autistic children is called Leaves of the Lady’s Green Mantle. A sequence from this story is exhibited here.
ACTIVELY PAINTING, MOVING THE PAINTBRUSH, SEEKING BALANCE IN COLOUR AND MOVEMENT IS A HEALING SPIRITUAL ACTIVITY, CONNECTED TO THE OUTER EYE.
In the activity of painting, there is a two-foldness; one part of us knows the outer view of order and direction,(the right sequence, the right technique, for example), while another part of us feels the inner mood the right colour gesture.
My experience in Visual Art Therapy, since 1984 has been mostly involved with Curative Education, Persons with Acquired Head Injury, Geriatrics, Adult Education, -- and Children, in conjunction with my work : Exploring the Word in Colour and Speech. Later we will view some examples of the work.
In this lecture, I will be giving a general overview. I will be primarily, focusing on the aspect of Visual Art Therapy. In the 21st century, individual research is an integral part of each therapist’s work. Therapy often has grown out of the impulse for self-healing, as well as out of love for the health and well being of others:
1 ) First I would like to give credit to the universal world of the planets those principles out of which Art is born.
2) The Second part will be an overview of Truth, Beauty, and Goodness in relation to therapy.
3)The third part will be a practical process containing Nine Basic Steps for an individual or group. These are mostly based on the Leading Thoughts for Documentation, given to me by MarianneAltmeier who was earlier the leader of the Visual Arts Section at the Goetheanum.
4) Then a few prints will be shown and you will also be invited to look at the exhibit of work provided here.
THE UNIVERSAL WORLD OF THE PLANETS
In Spiritual Scientific Painting, Saturn and the Moon, set the stage. Mercury carries medical understandings concerning physiological aspects in the human being that have a direct bearing on research into Painting Therapy. Mercurial Study also concerns the Natural Scientific processes in the kingdoms of animal, plant and mineral. Much is still to be discovered concerning these interrelationships for the benefit of therapy. In Venus live principles of beauty and social harmony in colour manifestations.
There is much drama in the colour world. The role of the Colour ‘Red’ in the sequence of the Nine Nature Sketches given by Rudolf Steiner is a key to how these sketches reveal the forming forces in colour. Red is also the key colour for the spiritual-soul influence of the planet Mars in its dynamism and its connection to the art and therapy of Speech and Drama, in the new compassionate courage that heals.
Now let us say that for process of training the colour-wisdom involved in painting therapy, we are deeply influenced by the planets Saturn and Moon, the father and the mother in a sense. One cannot apply deep understandings of colour for therapeutic purposes without first experiencing this wisdom. All of our techniques are empty without the conscious understandings involving colour itself. The faculty of Gnosis, first hand intuitive knowledge exists in the Saturn principle though Jupiter’s higher mind may be necessary to comprehend its implications:
‘In the beginning there was the Word’. The Saturn evolution marks the beginning of the creation of the human being.
During my first week of painting with Gerard Wagner, he said quite cryptically, after gazing at my painting, ‘Study the Categories of Aristotle.’ I almost fell over, and was so amazed that I could not even think to ask, ‘Why?’. Now I know how deeply connected these categories are with the ordering influence of Saturn. But that would be another lecture.
The order of the rainbow, beauty and moral justice in the workings and weavings of colour: such principles create the realm of the artists, the art-pedagogues and art therapists who work in Anthroposophy.
One must primarily hold everything in abeyance to begin studying the spiritual scientific evolution of the human being in Steiner’s Occult Science ; the initial contemplation of Steiner’s painting sketches, whether it be the Nature Sketches, Motiv Sketches, or Pedagogical Sketches also requires this free-will decision to be open-minded. One might say, ‘They may or may not represent true colour understandings, but in order to begin, I must allow myself to believe in the possibility that they do.’ For myself, and many others, the sketches have become a basis for dynamic artistic and therapeutic colour understandings: each sketch unfolds into a world of research for art and therapy.
Now the Moon being is a planetary vibration intrinsically connected to painting. The Moon evolution coincides with the birthplace of the soul or astral body in the human being. It is a Planetary Seal representing the Soul-Organ of the painter in its a evolutionary aspect. The soul in a wider sense, becomes the instrument in painting; We paint with our astral body, according to the understandings in Rudolf Steiner’s Art in the Light of Mystery Wisdom Colour is made visible on the two-dimensional surface which represents the etheric world of living, forming-forces behind the world of man and nature! The Moon nourishes and nurses the painting, providing the right colour medicine, the curative means of asking the painting directly, ‘What do you need now your unfolding? What will make you feel better? What will help the process of becoming? And the choice of colour bears much potential for healing in painting therapy.
In relation to giving painting: artistically, therapeutically and for pedagogical purposes it is of great value to respect the individual’s freedom. To let a person come to colour understandings out of that person’s own initiative, and to know when to give a teaching instruction is an ability that gradually grows. To answer questions, speaking in terms that will be understood, not to impose a concept if is not yet time for it to be taken in as nourishment for the senses, not to give too many indications at a time; all this is to be learned in the process of development. In chapter 9 of Steiner’s Philosophy of Spiritual Activity, these words are written:
‘Freedom! Name that comprises all the most cherished aspirations of human kind, and makes me the slave of no one. You don’t merely lay down the law arbitrarily. You await what my moral love itself will acknowledge as law - for in the face of every merely imposed law, it will feel unfree.’
Indeed, all the planetary qualities play their role to a greater or lesser extent. Venus, for example, is also active in the Phantasy of Illustration for Fairy Tales, legends, and so forth, in the aspect of beauty itself, as well as in the social harmony, that is revealed in the colour world. Jupiter in its aspect of Logic is revealed in choosing a sequence of colour in the process of metamorphosis.
In this lecture I can only give a few aspects, a possible overview of the scope of our topic. It does not represent the scope of my individual work, as I said before, but it does represent that part most related to Visual Art Therapy.
B. ANTHROPOSOPHICAL ART THERAPY
TRUTH, BEAUTY, AND GOODNESS
What does this mean, particularly for one having a foundation training in the Goetheanum Painting School methods?
In order to understand this theme I would like to explore a little about
The meaning of Art in relation to Therapy
1) Art is the manifestation of a human ability or developing talent, as opposed to a natural world phenomenon. J. W. Goethe would agree. We are talking about human artistic creativity in colour and form. We cannot claim to create the beauty of the bush, for example…Yet man and nature are in great need of eachother. In the etheric ocean, the colours can weave harmoniously forever, but we humans must come in touch with this artistically and therapeutically. Colour wants to become human in Mankind and Nature: We will touch on this theme of the healing power in colour in our experience, today and how it can benefit therapy and unfold in the training of the therapist.
2)Art in Creative Therapy rests upon the therapists activity of applying the universal principles of colour and the formative processes to the healing impulse for the needs of the individual person who is to benefit from the therapeutic art. Balance and well being for the body and soul are to be gained through the process. Patience, good humour, tact and right judgement are to be maintained throughout the process to be of service.
3) Now what can be said about THE TRUE?:
TRUTH lives in the laws of colour related to Goethean Science, Goethe’s Theory of Colours was Rudolf Steiner’s preliminary research. In depth understandings about colour can be made visible in the process of studying the progression of the colour wheel, in Goethe’s colour experiments, and especially for us, in Steiner’s 22 Sketches for painters and the 5 Pedagogical Sketches. In the understanding of our own reactions to colour, for example the warmth and the coolness, and how they reflect and reveal our dispositions is a key to self-knowledge and knowledge about others. We reveal our selves to us at every turn, in every brushstroke. Learning to Know-Ourselves through colour ultimately brings forth what each individual has to give. Each person’s gift will flow forth from a mastery of the abilities being trained through the application of consciousness. Sometimes this process can involve more than one art. The arts are like brothers and sisters. They help one another in therapy, as well.
Truth and Wisdom come together in the Light of the World. This can become evident in the choice and sequence of the colours, for therapeutic work and research into metamorphosis, or in the way of interpreting feeling into colour in sequences, involved in illustrative art. Two paths of initiation are Metamorphosis and Interpretation. Is a warm colour or a cool colour more appropriate? Shall we choose lustre-soul colours or picture-making colours? Is this painting more musical, does it illustrate something, or reveal a spiritual-scientific metamorphosis? Five years of training begins the process of knowing.
When more than one person can gather in a painting session, and each one acknowledges the colour truth that is being shown, there is an intrinsic healing quality related to human thought experience as perception. In a world where there is so much value placed on subjective likes and dislikes, this uniting factor is very important. As a question of proportion in colour this is often the case. For example the amount of out-breath in yellow for a certain proportion of vermilion-red centre has been agreed on within millimetres in seven or eight groups of people in my experience. This dispels doubt in the human being about the existence of universal truths. Fortunately, it happens again and again. Another instance concerns agreement about the feeling mood or metamorphic possibilities brought about by a specific sequence of colours. This spiritual scientific art and therapy ….
Certain basic truths of being, like the concept of body, soul, and spirit have been distinguished since Plato’s time; three-foldness as in the Upper Pole (nerve-sense system), The Middle (rhythmic system) which is the realm of all art, and the Lower Pole (metabolic system) was first made clear by Rudolf Steiner.
There is also a more inclusive fourfold view of the human being, that I will review, including:
1)The Physical body, which would be lifeless without the life-forces. 2)The Etheric body, the body of forming forces,
3) The Astral body, which is made up of 3 elements of the Soul of the human being:
The sentient soul, for the sentient perception without which Art would not be possible! The intellectual soul, for concepts, ‘brain thinking’. And, the consciousness soul, which allows one to understand in depth, not out of book-knowledge, but from one’s own faculties. (The consciousness soul allows our present evolution in art to be possible. It is no longer necessary to be talented in order to do art, but it is a question of applying the conscious will for the understanding colour world truths. So-called ‘Talent’ can metamorphose through this activity.
In the inner-consciousness soul, as we can study in a book called Theosophy, by Rudolf Steiner, there is a divine spark, known as the EGO. It carries the fruits and the karma of our earlier incarnations. The EGO is the fourth key to a fourfold viewpoint. It opens up into the spiritual faculties of imagination, inspiration and intuition. This fourfold viewpoint is a touchstone for documentation, used to help to evaluate the qualities of each person undergoing therapy. One can thus describe each person using these objective criteria that are valid for all human beings.
What other elements of truth make up the viewpoint of Anthroposophical Art Therapy? A spiritual-scientific medical study of physiology belongs in this realm of necessary truth, as well. For the doctor, there is often a question of what artistic therapy to choose. The study of Physiology can play a part in making this choice:
The PONS as Conveyer of Artistic Activity
It is the, PONS, a tiny link or bridge that is adjacent to the medulla of the brain, which links the activity in the physiological process to several healing arts.
While painting, the relatively cold nerve-sense process is receiving sense impressions; it is being warmed with the blood’s Ego forces through the pons. The Ego, as we know from Steiner’s Art in the Light of Mystery Wisdom is the instrument used by the poet for creative activity. Thus, the Colour-Word can be communication in a deep sense.
In the process of creative writing, there is an interchange between sense and nerve systems whereby the waves of nerves ‘roll’ into the senses, yet do not change into sense impulses.
In Rudolf Steiner’s lecture of May 5, 1918 in GA 271 is the teaching about the pons in its relation to other arts as well; because of its interesting connection to speech and music, which we are also experiencing in this conference, I will mention further effects of the arts on the physiology of the human being. The arts are interrelated.
In Speech and poetry the Ego is the instrument, as the Soul or Astral body is the instrument in Painting. Speech Formation in one activity that helps creates order in the realm of the Soul Development.
In recitation (that is, speaking epic and narrative works), the inhaled air penetrates into our body through the breathing rhythms, into the movement of the cerebral fluid, which also fills the spinal cord, right into the nerve- sensory apparatus of the brain, where the organ of the eye is connected. This can ultimately be very beneficial to create balance in a constitution where the metabolic system is overactive. Picture-making colours are important here.
The breathing rhythm presses, so to speak, against the organs of mental representation. The metre, derived from the breathing plays into the verse. The colour world glows behind this. In declamatory speaking, utterances straight from the heart, the will impulse is linked up. The inner fire in the breath stream strikes up into the brain, and descends through the spinal cord down into the whole of the blood circulation. Our will-nature is mainly bound up with exhalation. Someone whose constitution is oriented to the nerve-sense system can ultimately benefit by coming out of the head more into the limbs. Lustre colours may help.
In musical therapies a link is made between the spinal fluid and the brain where the blood pulsates in such a way that, conducted by the brain fluid, it vibrates the brain nerve. The whole circulatory system is involved in composition. Musical paintings do not usually have an illustrative aspect, but are all interweaving colour.
When we follow Steiner’s indications we an understand something of the therapeutic quality in each art. There are always exceptions to each rule, but one may say that Speech and Sculpture generally may tend consolidate the etheric body drawing it down into the physical, as does Form- drawing and Goethean drawing from nature. Painting and Eurhythmy generally can help to lift the etheric body, thus allowing a person who may be too earth-bound to soften up a bit. The following is a verse for painters from Rudolf Steiner, which strengthens the Soul:
Paint to me, O Muse.
Paint to me, O Strength of Heaven.
Carry the Soul for me;
Bring the Soul into my hands;
That in my hands, you may guide the brush.
The Colours of the Rainbow are related to various physiological processes in the human organism. The warm colours work on everything connected with the metabolic system; shades of purple and blue correspond more to the nerve-sense processes. Green brings harmony between the two, as it is related to the quality of the rhythmic system.
In painting, there is a healthy orientation to be experienced not only in the balancing of centre and periphery, and right and left, but in the balancing of the above, middle, and below within the two-dimensional space of the painting. This is knowledge that underlies therapeutic painting even before colour wisdom as such can become visible.
What is BEAUTY. Why is it therapeutic?
BEAUTY as a healing quality can be made manifest. This we are exploring presently throughout the conference. Traditionally, the ideal of art is aligned with beauty more than with truth and goodness. In fact, all art is primarily experienced in the middle sphere, in the world of feeling. Goethe speaks of the colour world coming to being between light and darkness. Feeling has a harmonising effect, between thinking and willing. The asthmatic, the astral body works too deeply from the head into the breathing. One can say the asthmatic has become too blue in the middle. Leading from the cooler colours into the warmer ones allows the metabolic forces to gain ground. The cool-red and the blue can mesh in violet sunset hues, where we all begin to breathe out into the night, and are thus able to waken to a healthy in-breath of pure morning air.
What is beauty? How is it related to feeling? The feeling soul is like a weaving sea of colour. Floating in balance, it is a living Chaos, in the Greek sense. This is a desirable state to reach in painting. But according to Steiner, it does not equal beauty. BEAUTY is achieved when Cosmos, or the order of the World-All is brought to this Chaos. A constellation of points of order, allows us to pluck the flower out of Chaos! This can mean finding the trunk of a tree amidst the green, or discovering moments of drama in a painting.
Colour dissonance brought into harmony creates beauty. Just enough pure colour for the mixed colour in a blossom, for example. The counterparts of proportionate Measure, Number and Weight are brought into balance. We feel these qualities with our sentient soul being.
Finding oneself capable of creating beauty is a healing experience. The more one has to strive for it, the greater the joy in its fulfilment.
In The Being of Art, a story by Rudolf Steiner, a woman who forgets the physical cold in a winter landscape lives on because she can appreciate beauty. Her expression ‘How beautiful everything is’ actually warms her limbs and preserves her life, even in a sleep where she meets a messenger from the spirit who comes out of the sunset and declares, ‘YOU ARE ART’.
In her inspiration, she is able to makes herself one with the various arts. The abilities she gains when involved with the Phantasy of painting are therapeutic as well as artistic: The first ability is, ‘In that which would otherwise be lifeless and soulless, she would become able to recognise the soul quality… the fleeting colours touched by the rising sun, the hues of lifeless nature, you will teach human beings to hold fast.’ In creative work experienced through painting the elements, a soul quality in landscapes has evolved. It can be especially valuable for those who need to experience the nerve-sense being in the outside world. This kind of person may be oversensitive to outside events, and have too much feeling and in-breath. Through the forming forces, the innermost in the colour experience is drawn out to the surface. They may learn to appreiate the outside world by experiencing how colour shapes the world.
The second ability attained by the woman has to do with how the meeting of the past and future can bring forth an equilibrium in the middle. Rudolf Steiner bring Da Vinci’s ‘Last Supper’ as an example from the realm of imagination. This theme has been often painted by anthroposophical painters.
Red can be experienced as motion come to rest, the past and blue can be experienced as the future. In the sketch ‘Light and Darkness’ sometimes known as ‘Lucifer and Ahriman’, one has the therapeutic meeting in the green of the middle being. In the midst of change, be sure to stay in the centre. This can be a therapeutic indication for persons in crisis in the study of biography, for example. Recapture balance in time and rhythm. Capture time in space. A minute or a century can be concentrated in a single moment in portraiture. Of course this is not a beginning exercise; rather, it is a step along the path. Movement and soul become recorded on the countenance as expression. Emotion may be made evident in the countenance through the art of colour. This can be done with indications from one of the pedagogical sketches given by Rudolf Steiner. Now for a patient who finds it difficult to express feeling, the painted visage becomes animated with colour communication. Seeing this first hand can be of great therapeutic benefit in the course of training. Doubt is overcome. Colour wisdom can be perceived objectively; this is healing for modern day civilisation.
The Good is revealed in the understandings of social life that an occur within a painting. That is, studying the workings and weavings of colour entails a long, perhaps never-ending process of discovery, as manifested in the deeds and suffering of light. Clues to problem-solving are presented to us, for example in the Sketches of Rudolf Steiner. The challenge is in discovering these clues as they appear to us in our work as therapists, and interpreting them correctly at the right moment in individual therapy.
Making use of the colour wisdom for social regeneration became a project from time to time for Gerard Wagner in the curative task of painting murals or making paintings for schools and public institutions. We even studied the problem of healing paintings for prisons, hospitals, and so on. To heal an illness one strives to restore balance to the whole human being. Gerard Wagner once said that to paint a healing painting, one might first create an imbalance in the above, middle or below. In any case we disturb the perfection of a pure white surface by means of the first brushstroke; we always must create a preliminary imbalance. A disturbing imbalance can be brought back into balance as a painting exercise. Placing each brushstroke in balance with the preceding one, can thus heal the ailment on the painting, at least. Then, hang the painting in the appropriate space, ( a hospital ward, for example). A new kind of therapeutic artwork will eventually evolve.
In social life, art can enter and help bridge the gap in family problems, and social rehabilitation. The Philosophy of Freedom by Rudolf Steiner speaks of the motive and the driving force. Groups who really want to meet and see ‘eye-to-eye’ might seek therapy by painting together.
The Good is in the act of healing itself, be it with an individual person, group therapy, in medical institutions, curative education, geriatrics, education or colour work in the study of biography, or social renewal. We may glean the means from the rainbow, the etheric ocean’s colour-glorying, but applying that social wisdom to the human condition is essential for mankind’s development.
We are not alone in our striving. To quote Albert Steffen in his book Goethe’s Spirit of the Forming Forces:
“The human being bears within himself the same Creative Word that fashioned his body. He can feel the power of inspirition inherent in it. At the same time, he experiences his own weakness, illness and mortality.
In this way he allows the Creative Logos, those beings who reign in the realm of the Word, to perceive the imperfections of earthly experience, of human destiny, of the whole evolution of history, which the human being is part of, and for which he must help carry the burden of guilt.
The honest admission of how little the human being alone can come to a transformation (even when he promises, again and again: ‘That which lies within my capacities, I vow to do.’ – opens up the possibility for the Creative Logos to reveal and mediate new impulses through which the human being, in turn, becomes strengthened.”
(The awakening to this is part of the learning process. As thinking, feeling and willing interpenetrate in our human activity all the time, so truth, beauty, and goodness interweave in their various qualities for Creative Therapy. The individuality of each therapist is thus unique.
WHAT IS THE PROCESS OF ANTHROPOSOPHICAL ARTISTIC THERAPY IN ITS PRACTICAL APPLICATION?
Physical and psychological diagnoses should be studied, preferably in collaboration with an anthroposophical doctor. What the patient expresses should always be carefully noted. The following 9 points should come into consideration.
1. Is the therapeutic environment comfortable?
2. Is one-to-one therapy better, or is group therapy more suitable?
3.What is the time frame considered? (A rhythm of two sessions per week is often recommended) How much time for each session?
4. What is the general, then the more specific physical description.
5. A further description
a) The etheric being, the sense of life, the temperament, the movement,
b) The astral being, the state of soul, observations
c) The Ego being, and the individuality of the human being should be described as far as possible during the whole process.
6. Then, comes the Process involving the Therapy Itself -- meant to benefit the life-bodily, soul-spiritual development of the person involved.
[In my work this may include colour work, coloured-clay work and the modelling of platonic solids. ( My individual path in recreation therapy, as I said has also been evolved to bring together elements of Speech-Formation and Drama, when applicable to the needs of the patient.)]
Each therapist must work to apply the faculties and understandings which, he or she can best master; this is a matter of individual destiny.
7. As the course of the therapy continues the following seven-fold process occurs - the colours involved are seen as in an archetypal case:
a) Receiving - The Beginning Phase—SATURN, Blue mood
b) Uniting - The Support Phase—SUN, White mood
c) Deepening - The Phase of Conscious Confrontation—MOON, violet
d) Standing firm - The Phase of Maturation of the Self—MARS, red
e) Independence- The Phase of Self-Orientation—MERCURY, yellow
f) Letting go - The Phase of Gaining Strength—JUPITER, orange
g) New Birth - The Phase of Individual Creativity—VENUS, green
THESE PHASES ARE ALSO CONNECTED TO THE Evolution
THE COLUMNS OF THE GOETHEANUM GREAT HALL. They are also related to the intervals in Music. The phases REPRESENT A THERAPEUTIC PERSPECTIVE OF THE ENTIRE EVOLUTIONARY PATH OF THE HUMAN BEING. (IN ANOTHER LECTURE, THIS ASPECT MAY BE EXPLORED MORE THOROUGHLY) See Der Kunsttherapeutische Prozess, Marianne Altmeier
The respective colour sequence may not necessarily be used in each case. Other sequences are certainly possible. The colours, as I said show the evolutionary process of the human beings evolution. It is also not necessary for each patient to fulfil all of the phases. Some children, as well as many challenged people may remain at the Support Phase, but they still benefit from the therapy.
8. A Long Term Goal may be set and reconsidered at intervals. In therapy, the process of time and the moments of progress are often unpredictable.
9. Finally there is the Prognose. Should the therapy be resumed after a pause? What is the therapist’s intuitive understanding. What may be projected for the future in collaboration with the doctor. Should there be a pause? Should another therapy be brought into consideration?
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------This has been meant to be an overview only. The aforementioned experience should be documented in each case, and referred to in later considerations. Internal Progress Reports can also be of great benefit.