For this year, at the 10th edition, we proposed ourselves to wander, to wander together through soul, social and nature spaces, going from ourselves to meditation and spiritual research. The Youth Symposium at Simeria Veche (Romania) this year took place during August 22-31 and included a trip on the beautiful Romanian Retezat Mountains between August 26-28. Dirk Kruse from Germany and Constanza Kaliks, Elizabeth Davison and Lisa Seidel, International Youth Section of Goetheanum (Switzerland) joined us in our initiative. The Symposium gathered 50 participants and organizers from Romania, Germany, Brazil, Poland, New Zeeland, UK (Scotland) and Netherlands. It included all-together seminars of soul observations with Dirk Kruse, discussions, workshops like: Clay modelling (Ioana Viscrianu) and biography art (Camelia Oprea), Dialogue about the inner intentions and big questions about the world (Constanza Kaliks and Lisa Seidel), Astronomy and stars knowledge of the old Egyptians (Bogdan Szabo), Theatre art – exercises of fantasy (Ioana Fărcăşanu and Alexandru Ceplinschi), and also exercises of Bothmer gymnastics (Elena Alexa and Alexandru Ceplinschi), eurithmy (Flavia Tomescu), being all the time surrounded by songs and free initiatives.
The workshops were oases of creation, reflection, experiences and dialogue. At Theatre art – exercises of fantasy we searched through speech and movement our own expression in the relation with the other. Theatre has the gift of carrying ourselves through experiences. This way we came with the idea to wander on this big maroon, strong horse, letting our reins away. The place where we dismounted has crossed any tales of imagination, as all of us touched the inspired dimension of the other. We’ve seen a new world born in front of us, a newly created Universe, fantastic and true. We’ve discovered creativity as a spring gushing out of a hidden mountain. All we have to do is never stop the climbing.
At the astronomy workshop the participants tried to reach in themselves the veneration the old Egyptians received any Sun rising. If in the myth of Isis and Osiris we can find something about the star Sirius and Orion Constellation, this is not a correlation without significance, it has to do with the soul attitude of the man those times. The old Egyptian didn’t reflect intellectually about those things, he extracted the knowledge in years of contemplating the stars. We have tried to reconstruct a solar system to high-light: the Moon phases, conjunctions and opposites between planets, the Zodiac constellation etc. The Sus was rising the earthy sky, for the old Egyptians under the image of Khepri, Ra or Atum, to submerge at sunset in the under Earth darkness, where he was waited by Seth upon the world of the snake Apep. After the 5 meetings we made a little representation of those things and in the same day 4 rainbows appeared in the sky as a vow between the Skies and Earth.
The clay modelling workshop went from clay modelling to soul modelling when meeting the other, ending with a workshop of biography art. We made an inner trip to the origins of our lives’ patterns, letting them meet artistically to each other in social drawing in peers, and to transform or heal themselves.
The dialogue workshop started from experiencing through thinking the individuality and the world, the point and the periphery, the line and the curve. We have talked about Nicolaus Cusanus (1401-1464), known for his profound mystical writings about Christianity, particularly on the possibility of knowing God with the divine human mind. He considers that, in his normal thinking, the man needs to treat with constant oppositions, but this is not possible when you want to reach the Divinity with the mind. To reach the Divinity you need to unite the opposites, the opposites need to become one. One becomes the biggest number of all. In the next days of the workshop we talked about aspects that give individuality, aspects that give humanity in general, and in the last day we argued pro and against upon two social themes that challenge us (female genital organs mutilation and blood revenge), trying to wonder about the justice of our intentions and actions in the world.
Under the motto “Wandering”, inspired by the poem of Lucian Blaga, we’ve started our trip in the evening of August 22, asking ourselves what is that carries us in this knowledge. The guiding image was the story of Parsifal, the wanderer searching for the Grail. Guided in movement by Elena and in exercises by Alex we have put in the middle of the circle a little part of the nature representative for what we are now and what we are longing for.
In the first day of the Symposium Elena and Alex opened the space with exercises from Bothmer gymnastics. Then it followed the presentation of an exercise-game which continued the whole period, the exercise of the guardian angel. Each of the participants and organizers wrote their names on piece of paper and the names were anonymously extracted from a bowl. This way each one of us became invisible, anonymous, guardian angel of another person. We come to make nice gestures, secretly, unknowingly to the person in our care. Our soul journey started conducted by Dirk with reflections upon thinking and remembering. We started from a thought – Who am I? What would I want the others to know about me? - and a memory – the memory of the home feeling. Based on those we asked ourselves: what happens when I am thinking / remembering? How is time when I am thinking / remembering? How is the thinking / remembering? How is the feeling that comes with the thinking / remembering? Does it have a dignity, how is that dignity? Can we compare the process of thinking with the process of remembering? What is the difference? Next we joined small groups and talked about our experiences in the exercise. The second part of the day the participants split in workshop groups according to their preferences.
The second day, after the waking up through Bothmer exercises with Alex and singing with Ioana, we continued the process of knowledge with Dirk, concentrating upon the social space between us. The theme was the awareness about the space between, the space of the surroundings and for what comes down to it from the future. For this Dirk proposed to experience by singing. This way we experienced through singing three different social spaces. We wondered what we create when we sing. What would happen in social life if we would bring any of what we created in our singing? Would it help the social process? Would it paralyse it? We shared our experiences in small groups. The day continued with workshops. In the evening we sang and joked near a big camp fire.
The last day before the mountain trip was opened by Alex and Elena with rhythms. Ioana continued the harmonizing through singing. Under the guidance of Dirk, we continued the process of knowledge of the spaces, this time with the nature. We took the first meditative exercise proposed by Rudolf Steiner in How to achieve knowledge of the higher worlds?: growing and fading. Comparing green leaves with faded leaves we wondered: how is the vitality, the feeling, the dignity, character of what appears in the meditative process? If you need to express all in a gesture, what would that look like? If we need to express all in a sound, what would it sound like? After this we observed the living forces in a lightly place with young trees, trying to see imaginatively the mild forces, to feel inspiringly the soul forces of the place and, at the end, to experience, intuitively, how is to actually be that place. We shared the experiences in the discussions groups and the workshop processes continued. The day ended with the presentation from the clay workshop, the presentation of a small theatre improvisation the participants of the theatre workshop prepared and a small piece of opera, interpreted by Andreea Grădinaru, accompanied by Mihai Mihăiescu and Cristina Simion.
In the morning of 26th of August we started our trip on the mountain. We took with us the advices to be awake and open on our road: to experience profoundly the forces, feelings, our presence in the nature and to think what stories we could write out of those. Nature from the heights whelmed us in a harmonious way, even to little details. We started our climbing from Râuşor singing and we spent the night at Genţiana chalet (1672m altitude). The next day we continued our climbing up to Bucura Peak (over 2000m altitude) and the going down to the Lake Bucura, the biggest glacier lake in Romania. The third day we came back and shared our experience on the mountain, a transforming experience which consolidated us as a group. We started to trust each other and we sprouted the seeds of a new understanding. Impressions:“I don’t think I remember the life out of this group; I don’t remember what I was doing before.” “It seems it was so long before, what was I doing before this? What am I going to do after? It is like coming home.” “When we went down to Bucura I realized I was lost, because on the way I wasn’t thinking anymore, just observing. I was lost, somehow suspended and I had the feeling that I know nothing and I am completely ignorant.” “The trip on the mountain was good for me because I am proud of myself now. I don’t know how the courage came, but it was a very profound feeling. I want to thank everyone for it.” “When I was out there, I was amazed by the landscape and I felt home. I didn’t feel the need of words. It was something different. I received so much and I am very grateful. Thanks to the entire group for the wandering, I hope I can go back to my life, which is very different now.” “I was on the Retezat Mountains before on many occasions, but this time I wasn’t amazed by the landscape, but by all of you. It wouldn’t cross my mind that 45 persons would climb the mountain together and over 30 of us got up there. It is incredible for me.“
We ended the day singing the same song we started our trip on the mountain: We Shall Overcome, so proud that we fought our fears and let us carried over by one another.
The seventh day of the Symposium was opened by Flavia with eurhythmy exercises. Camelia introduced a self-knowledge exercise in which we expressed, in peers of two, our personal limits and the doors those limits opened. For the first time in the groups of discussions the idea of “open space” appeared and the question how can we create an open space in social life. How can we open the space between us, how can we meet each other in an authentic way, not just in the Symposium, but also after, in everyday life? Those were some of the questions of the participants. The workshops continued and the day ended with dance and night café.
We spent the last day of the Symposium observing the nature. We went to the dendrological reservation of Simeria, we analysed and compared plants. In the second part of the day we made a social drawing. Some of the participants had the initiative of a sensorial theatre and carried each of us on an initiation trip with our eyes closed. Beyond the new sensorial experience, we’ve learned about how we believe, trust or let ourselves carried in experience. The evening ended in guitar rhythms.
In the ending day, instead of “good bye”, we took a partner as a meditative subject. We worked in peers guided by Dirk an exercise in which we’ve experienced love for the other, no matter that the other is a person, an organization, a plant, an animal or another meditative subject. In the last part the facilitators presented their workshops, the participants shared their thoughts about the Symposium, we revealed ourselves as angels and we hugged. Impressions about Symposium:“This Symposium was like warmth in the heart and I’m going to keep it here.” “Through you I found my inner peace.” „I discovered another dimension of the light and of the world.“ “For the first time I felt here that the person besides me feels the same as I do. And I felt all the people in me, somehow.” “This year everything was more lifely, connected, I lived in action, people wanted to be in a stronger connection to each other. There was the desire to stay in the circle and communicate, to be in action, rhythm and music.” “This is a centre of change, but in the same time we become ourselves centres of change wherever we go from now on. It is a beautiful feeling to be taken as you are, listened and understood, and I feel the need to keep this feeling as much as can until it becomes unverbal. I want to go in the world and share this feeling with everyone.” “The question I came here with was “what is happiness and where can I find it?”. My question found the answer, I found happiness here.”
The Symposium this year had the purpose to create a social space open and free, in which we can let the experience itself be our mentor. We became actors in action, present in the experience. All our meetings had the purpose of forming a mutual substance on which we can support ourselves, keeping permanently in our awareness our truth and what are we wandering for, trying to unite with the highest possibility of the future the experience “Wandering” can bring. The events were flowing in a rhythm-flux which has grown daily from the substance and the experiences of each one of us, and this substance-flux carried us in the wandering, helped us go over personal limitations and find ourselves. Maybe the most beautiful gift at the end was a song inspired by our experience together. Although we, the wanderers, sing this song constantly in our hearts, we can share with you only the lyrics, the same as some thoughts about the experience will give only a little imaginative piece of it.Flame of sight Sight of soul Find your height Soul in all Caring beat Never dim Forever spin Spiral, spiral, spiral in… Hand in hand you’ll understand What it’s like to roam the land Time is sand it’s not a brand Sit down with us when you can’t stand Sit down with us when you can’t stand Sit down with us…
(Song writen by Sebastian Catană; interpreting Ioana Fărcăşanu, Maria Popescu, Sebastian Catană and Radu Poiană)
Article by Alexandra Vasilache with contributions from Ioana Fărcășanu, Camelia Oprea, Mioara Gheorghiu, Bogdan Szabo