Appendices Relevant for the Understanding and the use of this Book

Erik Lemcke (Association for Social Development, International)

Social Ecology in Holistic Leadership

ISBN: 978-1-80043-841-5, eISBN: 978-1-80043-840-8

Publication date: 24 February 2021


Lemcke, E. (2021), "Appendices Relevant for the Understanding and the use of this Book", Social Ecology in Holistic Leadership, Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 135-239.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021 Emerald Publishing Limited


  • A.1: Short Historical Background of Social Ecology

    • Lievegoed Impulse and Social Ecology as the Names of the Method

  • A.2: Anthroposophical Spiritual Terminology

    • A.2.1 Introduction to Anthroposophical Methods and Terminology

    • A.2.2 Occult Science

    • A.2.3 Inner Spiritual Development through Esoteric Schooling

  • A.3: Social Ecology and the Systemic Methods

    • A.3.1 Bernard Lievegoed and System Theory

    • A.3.2 System Theory and Social Ecology

    • A.3.3 System Theoretical Methods in Relation to the Three Subsystems

  • A.4: Overview of Exercises

    • A.4.1 Initial Presentation and Group Forming Exercises

    • A.4.2 Observation Exercises

    • A.4.3 Listening Exercises

    • A.4.4 Teambuilding and Collaborative Exercises

    • A.4.5 Vision Building Exercises

    • A.4.6 Looking Back Exercises

    • A.4.7 Conflict Resolution Exercises

  • A.5: Seminar Programs and Support Material

    • A.5.1 Teambuilding Seminar – How to Work Efficiently in Groups and Communities

    • A.5.2 Dynamic Judgment Building Seminar: Using the Lemniscate

    • A.5.3 Initiative Taking Seminar

    • A.5.4 Organizational Development Seminar at a University and/or an Institute

    • A.5.5 Basic Training Seminar in Conflict Understanding and Resolution (2–3 days)

    • A.5.6 Outline for a Mediation Meeting between Two People

    • A.5.7 Personal Development and Personal Qualities to Master as a Facilitator

    • A.5.8: Seminar: Working with your own Biography – Your Life's Story

A.1 Short Historical Background of Social Ecology

Lievegoed Impulse and Social Ecology as the Names of the Method

Bernard Lievegoed, a Dutch medical doctor, had for a number of years successfully been running a school for handicapped children. In the early 1950s, he was asked to help a group of employees with problems in the industry. Based on this experience, he gave a number of lectures on which training was necessary for the employees in the Dutch industries. Based on these activities came a request from the Faculty of Social Economy, University of Rotterdam, for Bernard Lievegoed to take over a chair in a new institute of Social Pedagogy. 1 B. Lievegoed wished for a worldwide institute not only based on books but also based on true life situations. In 1954, Netherlands Pedagogic Institute, NPI was formed as an independent institute with its own status and government integrated in the University of Rotterdam. He ensured that a non-profit consulting and research institute was attached to NPI.

As soon as in 1947–1948, a group of students studied social science based on the work of Rudolf Steiner's social lectures which they tried to apply in their field of studies. Lievegoed joined them a number of times, and many of them became co-workers when NPI was founded.

Originally, Bernard Lievegoed wanted to call the new venture ‘Institute for Social Ecology’ and the discipline Social Ecology, but in 1954 this was not be accepted by the university, since the expression was unknown. Instead, the discipline was named Social Pedagogy. 2

Lex Bos – one of the funding fathers of NPI – has always thought of the methods as Social Ecology since it for him is about finding the laws behind what happens in the social realm. The methods should be based on a holistic perspective, based on understanding, and be conscious of life and the development processes in organizations and human beings. 3

“The starting point of Social Ecology is respect for and a clear understanding of the phenomena of life: in the organic realm, in man and in society.” 4

For both Bernard Lievegoed and Lex Bos, the focus of Social Ecology is to explore and find life conditions for the healthy development of people, groups, organizations, and society.

NPI focused primarily on Holland until the beginning of the 1970s where the faculty members took the political decision of spreading their ideas, experiences, and concepts to other parts of the world. In fact, they divided the world between them. In some places, the method was named the NPI method, and in other places it was named Social Ecology. Lex Bos went to Brazil and gave lectures which became the foundation to a very well-established group of consultants there. Others traveled to South Africa and began their work there. A Center for Social Development was established in the UK which for years trained people from different places in Europe and other parts of the world. The organization SEA – Social Ecology Associates was established and was meant to be a body for people/organizations working in different countries such as Australia and Sweden.

The Nordic work with Social Ecology was started by Hans Brodal, who after being trained in Social Ecology in the Center for Social Development formed SEA Sweden in 1974. A few years later, Leif Nilsson and Hester Renoulf become co-workers in SEA. They started a Nordic Education Center for Social Ecology in Dormsjö, Sweden. The Social Ecological impulse came to Denmark in the 1980s where Bent Engelbrecht – who owned the consultant company Ankerhus – began to work with SEA Sweden.

In the mid 1980s, I was a member of an Anthroposophical study group which focused on Rudolf Steiner's social lectures. During these studies, I was introduced to the work of Bernard Lievegoed and NPI. In 1986, I attended my first seminar on Social Ecology and became so fascinated that I immediately decided that this was my vocation. Late in 1986, Bent Engelbrecht, Leif Alken, Steen Hildebrandt, and I took the initiative to establish Institute for Social Ecology. Bent Engelbrecht had already established Ankerhus as a consulting company, and we decided to continue with Ankerhus as the company name for our daily operations. In 1987, I became one of three co-workers in Institute for Social Ecology. In the beginning, there was a close co-operation with SEA Sweden and Lex Bos from NPI who gave a number of interesting and important seminars, last but not least about the Lemniscate or Common Judgment Building. I got most of my training in Dormsjö, Sweden. I attended three, seminars each lasting three weeks, later supplemented with a number of week-long seminars.

In 1979, the international network Association for Social Development, ASD was established for consultants working on Bernard Lievegoed's impulse. 5 The membership criteria were that their work was based on a spiritual understanding gained from Rudolf Steiner's Anthroposophy and the impulse of Bernard Lievegoed. The members also had to belong to an institute working on the basis of this spiritual impulse.

In 1987, a change took place in the policy for ASD. From then on, the consultants, being members of ASD, could be independent consultants as long as they were professional consultants working based on the Bernard Lievegoed impulse. Today, there are about 130 members of ASD from very many different parts of the world; many from European countries and from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, South America, especially Brazil, and from USA and Canada, and from Russia. ASD hosts an annual conference where the ASD members meet about a relevant theme related to spiritual and organizational developments based on the trend and experience among the members. ASD is a non-profit organization, and the government body of ASD is a facilitating group. I became a member of ASD in 1990. In 2014, I became an emeritus ASD member.

A.2 Anthroposophical Spiritual Terminology

Purpose and Introduction

My purpose is to give the readers who are interested in the cosmic spiritual images behind the Social Ecology methods an introduction to Rudolf Steiner's Anthroposophy.

I will try to cover many of the main spiritual images which are related to Social Ecology, but Rudolf Steiner has given more than 6,000 lectures and written 28 books in the period 1883 to 1925. Therefore, what is described here must not be taken as a fulfilling description of Anthroposophy. Also, I shall not give a list of all Steiner's books but just a reference to a number of them.

As Anthroposophy is not a religion, it is not something you have to believe in. Rudolf Steiner has very clearly said that you should only connect to an image in Anthroposophy when you can do it based on your own healthy thinking.

When you cannot relate to an image, put it aside. Do not think that it cannot be so, but think that at the moment it does not resonate with your thinking. Maybe it will be so for the rest of your life; maybe one day you will be able to integrate the spiritual image in you. When I began reading Anthroposophy in the early 1980s I did as described. At that time, I, e.g., considered myself an atheist, and every time Rudolf Steiner mentioned Jesus Christ I put the image aside.

Anthroposophy is a combination of two words: Anthropos meaning human being and sophia meaning philosophy or divine wisdom. Anthroposophy may be regarded as Spiritual Science. Rudolf Steiner's intentions were that Anthroposophy was to be considered as scientific as the science we have in Natural Science. But the method for justification and proving truth in Spiritual Science is different from the method in Natural Science.

Tips for when Reading this Chapter

Tip #1: This part introduces the reader to most of the methods and terminology necessary for a good and basic understanding of Anthroposophy in relation to the content of this book

Tip #2: I recommend the reader who is interested in the cosmology behind Anthroposophy including Higher beings in Christianity to continue with A.2.2, chapter Occult science (A.2.2).

Tip #3: For the reader who already treads the inner path of personal development, I recommend to continue with A.2.3, chapter Inner spiritual development through esoteric schooling (A.2.3).

A.2.1 Introduction to Anthroposophical Methods and Terminology

Rudolf Steiner as a Spiritual Teacher and Practical Inspirator

During all cultural periods, esoteric schools have existed where the pupils were given spiritual knowledge with the purpose of initiation to obtain a connection to the cosmic/spiritual world. These schools were kept secret to worldly people and one could only obtain this knowledge if one was accepted as an esoteric apprentice. Rudolf Steiner shared a lot of this secret knowledge in his open lectures many places in Europe and other places around the world. Many consider that what Rudolf Steiner really brought to humanity was the ability to translate spiritual images and knowledge of the cosmic world to a language that can be understood by modern human beings.

Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925) began giving his spiritual lectures about the cosmic world around 1900. In the first period until around 1914, he developed Anthroposophy. Anthroposophy is as mentioned also named Spiritual Science and is considered a counterpart to Natural Science. Natural Science focuses on understanding the physical laws, but lacks an understanding of the spiritual laws, which from an anthroposophical perspective lie behind everything. The spiritual laws in the universe are as real as the physical laws. But one has to develop "organs" in oneself to be able to connect with the spiritual laws. To do this, one has to be on an inner path of initiation. 1

Around 1914, different people with special professional interests began to put questions to Rudolf Steiner about what impact it would have on a profession when integrating anthroposophical images in it. This resulted in lectures given to teachers about Waldorf schools and Steiner kindergartens, to farmers about the biodynamic methods, to doctors about holistic anthroposophical medicine, to architects about holistic architecture, and so on. What Steiner gave was not only theory, but practical guidance and very specific instructions on the holistic implementation of what he stated. This can be observed today in the large number of institutions and professions whose work is based on Anthroposophy.

In 1923, there was a renewal of the Anthroposophical Society, and at that time Rudolf Steiner laid the foundation to the school of spiritual science The Anthroposophical High School which can be considered a university for the renewing of the old mysteries. His intention was that it was to consist of three classes, but he only managed to develop and give the First Class before his death in 1925. To become a member of the Anthroposophical Society, you only have to be in sympathy with the concept presented in Anthroposophy.

You may decide to go one step deeper and be an esoteric pupil and use Anthroposophy as a path to initiation. Knowledge about this is partly to be found in the open lectures and in the meditation exercises, but you may also decide to be part of The Anthroposophical High School. If you wish to become a member of The Anthroposophical High School, you must have studied Anthroposophy and you must see yourself as a representative of Anthroposophy. The material related to the First Class has only recently become accessible for the public.

If you have a striving for spiritual development and not only consider Social Ecology as a method, you may consider supplementing the Social Ecology methods with meditative exercises as a path of inner spiritual development, as a way to transform yourself. In that case, the Social Ecology methods described will not just become a method, but become a part of your own inner practice. If you do this, you will gradually turn yourself into an instrument, you will develop inner organs based on your developmental process by living and practicing Social Ecology. It can be steps on a way to spiritual initiation.

Key Words in Relation to the Picture of Man in Anthroposophy


A karmic understanding is an integrated part of Anthroposophy. As human beings, we have already lived many times on the Earth and we will continue to incarnate in many more lives. We only incarnate as human beings. We can never incarnate as an animal.

As human beings we are on an ongoing path of development where we from life to life digest whatever we have met in one life to obtain learning possibilities to take with us into our next life. We are on an ongoing transformation of our lower unredeemed parts toward our Higher Being 2 /Higher Self, our Higher Self or Higher Ego is what we through many lives have the possibility to become. 3 To reach this higher stage is the purpose of our incarnation processes. To reach this stage, we have to transform our Lower Self. We have to transform all negative qualities which more or less are a part of every human being. In Anthroposophy, we name these untransformed parts of us our Double or our Doppelgänger; in Jung's terminology our Shadow. Our Double is considered to be an existing living being which follows us from our birth to our death.

Karma is not considered a punishment, but a possibility of in a next life to redeem situations where we in a former life have not acted in our best way, but have hurt another human being and created a karmic situation, which we have to settle in a future life.

Karma and Esoteric Christianity

Church Christianity as we know it today does not accept an understanding of karma. In the Christianity of Rudolf Steiner, karma is totally integrated. This Christianity can be considered Western Esoteric Christianity, where you always talk about Jesus Christ. Jesus as a human being in which the highest cosmic being The Son, Christ incarnated for three years from the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist when Jesus was 30 years of age until the crucifixion when Jesus was 33 years old.

In Church Christianity, you are totally forgiven for your sins by Jesus Christ. In Esoteric Christianity through the karmic laws, you yourself are responsible for in a later life to redeem whatever you have wronged in a former life. In a later life, you will have a number of karmic meetings, where you again have the possibility to redeem – to do the right thing – to settle what you earlier have wronged. Your sins not only hold you back in your development but have also negative consequences for development of the Earth, as part of your sins affect the development of the Earth. These karmic consequences Jesus Christ takes unto himself.

The Interaction between the Spiritual World and the Physical World

As human beings, we live in both the spiritual world and the physical world. But with the level of consciousness we humans have today, very few of us are able to see into the spiritual world.

In our day life, we are in the physical world with our day consciousness, but every night when we fall asleep we are in the cosmic world and look back at the day that has passed to pick out learning points from that specific day. Rudolf Seiner recommends that we every night before falling asleep look back on our past day. You do this from the end of the day back to the beginning of the day. You sense in images without judgment the different happenings. When you fall asleep your Individuality (Table 3) and your astral body enter the cosmic world to have a nightly meeting with your Guardian Angel. Making this looking back just before you fall asleep is the best preparation for the nightly meeting with your Angel, with whom you look back every night to harvest from past day. The next step in the meeting with your Angel is a sort of a planning process focused on what you should do the following day. When you wake up in the morning, a veil has gone down and you have forgotten all the decisions you have made for the forthcoming day.

If you do this systematically, you may consider this as part of your esoteric training as you will be preparing the manner you are to meet your past life situations after you have passed the Threshold – your death.

In the period after our death, we live in the spiritual world. In Anthroposophy, we see death as passing a threshold from the physical world to the spiritual world. We are in fact born again in the spiritual world. When we are born again, we pass a threshold again, this time into the physical world.

In the physical world, we have the possibility of meeting new things, to try new life conditions, to be challenged in new areas, to redeem karmic incidents from former lives, etc. Living on Earth is our possibility to develop our Individuality to a higher level. Life gives the possibility to learn. Learning and development is the purpose of our life on Earth. We can learn as long as we live. So, life is an ongoing possibility to learn and transform.

The Human Being from an Anthroposophical Perspective

The Threefold Human Being

As described in Fig. 1, the threefold human being consists of the physical body, Soul, and Ego or Individuality. The Soul has the following elements: Thinking, Feeling, and Will.

Let us look at what is characteristic for the three elements:

In our Thinking – which is connected to our nerve system – we are mostly conscious/awake. We reflect, we resonate, we use logic, and we judge. We live in the area of Thinking during day time. In our area of Feeling, Rudolf Steiner says we dream. We don't use logic, we have an inner feeling of what is right. We let our heart be the one to decide what must be done, we live in sympathy and/or antipathy. Our heart is a sense organ. In our Will which is physically connected to our limbs and our digestion, we sleep. We are not conscious of what is going on, we react, we act. We are not conscious of how our digestion or any part of our physical body functions.

The Fourfold Human Being

A human being as a fourfold being consists of four parts/entities (Table 3): Our physical body, our etheric body, our astral body, and our Individuality – our Higher Ego.

Our physical body we inherit from our parents. Our physical body is connected to our constitution and is the first thing we observe in another human being.

Our etheric body or our Life Forces are our foundation for being alive. The Life Forces are currents within us which penetrate all organs in our physical body. Clairvoyant people can see the currents of these Life Forces. When an organ is ill, the Life Forces in this organ are diminished and the current does not flow properly. The etheric body is connected to the four temperaments of a human being. The purpose of a temperament is to act as an adjusting force between what we have inherited from our parents and what we personally bring from the spiritual world. The temperament is the helper in this adjustment.

Our astral body gives colors to our character and is closely connected with our Soul life. It is the driving force behind our actions. It is our Feelings that go in all directions from hate to love, from sadness to happiness, etc. The astral body is connected to the seven Planet qualities (Fig. 22). The Planet qualities are determined by the time spent in each Planet's sphere on our incarnation path from the spiritual world to the physical world. The Planet qualities may be considered gifts or hindrances in our development, i.e., things which benefit us or things we have to transform.

The Individuality is our Ego which is the eternal part of us. That is what we develop from one life to the next. Our Individuality is connected to our horoscope, i.e., the 12 constellations of the Zodiac. Our birth horoscope may be considered a gift or a hindrance for our development. Qualities that benefit us or qualities to transform.

“Constitution, temperament and character are formed out of the past, out of old karma. The Individuality strives for new karma. It is not content to rely simply on old attributes. It wants to add something new.” 4

Our Connections with the Other “Kingdoms” on Earth

In Greek times, the philosophers said that four Kingdoms (Table 3) existed on the Earth: Minerals, Plants, Animals, and Humans. How they are connected to the fourfold human being we can describe as follows:

Minerals only have a physical body. There are no Life Forces or Astral Forces in a Mineral, and it has no Individuality. It does not reproduce, it does not feel or think.

A plant has a physical body, you can touch it, you can analyze its physical condition, and it is alive. It has etheric body/Life Forces, it can reproduce, it even has – in many situations – the possibility of recovering from physical damage. But it does not feel or think. It is these Life Forces that we human beings need from the plant as our nutrition.

Like a plant, an animal has a physical body and an etheric body plus an astral body or Soul Forces. An animal can feel pain, it can feel anger, it can feel happiness, it can feel connection to another animal and also to human beings. As animals are much more specialized and adapted to special life situations than human beings, their astrality is much stronger than what we observe in human beings.

Human beings have their Individuality or their Ego plus the other bodies mentioned earlier. It is our Individuality that makes us conscious, makes us able to think, reflect, learn, and develop. It is the Individuality that we must develop through life on Earth, and through the process of incarnation it is brought from one life to the next.

Human beings are born with an Individuality which normally is fully incarnated by the age of 21. It develops differently from person to person.

Based on this we can make Table 3 : “Kingdoms” on Earth , with the following combinations.

Table 3.

“Kingdoms” on Earth.

Minerals Plants Animals Humans
Physical body X X X X
Etheric body – Life Forces X X X
Astral body – Soul Forces X X
Individuality – Ego X

The Four Temperaments Described from an Anthroposophical Perspective

The old Greek philosophers have already described the temperaments (Table 4). 5 They describe the temperaments based on their relation to the four elements:

Table 4.

The Temperaments Related to the Four Elements.

Temperament type Elements Description
The Choleric Fire Hot and Intensive
The Sanguine Air Movable
The Phlegmatic Water Rhythmic and thick floating
The Melancholic Earth Dark and heavy

When the forces of the Individuality or the Ego primarily master the other parts of the fourfold human being, you see the choleric temperament. The choleric temperament is connected to the blood. In a human being where the Ego is spiritually active, the blood circulation flows more actively. This force becomes visible in strong Ego forces. It is the circulation of the blood which is the basis for the aggressive and the strong will impulses in a choleric person.

When the forces of the astral body primarily master the other parts of the fourfold human being, you see the sanguine temperament. The sanguine temperament is connected with the nerve system and gives a tendency to ups and downs in the Soul activities of Thinking, Feeling, and Will, which can lead to a lively imagination. If the Astral Forces are too strong, the person will be interested in one thing and very quickly drop that interest to go to the next interesting thing. These waves up and down in the imagination make it difficult for the person to stick to one thing, and the person will go from one life impression too the next.

When the Life Forces or the etheric body primarily master the other parts of the fourfold human being, you see the phlegmatic temperament. The phlegmatic temperament is connected with the gland system or the fluid system which strive for balance in the inner life. The phlegmatic person strives to live a very pleasant life. This means that a phlegmatic person in moderate degree turns his/her attention outwards.

A person is melancholic when the physical body masters the other three elements. When the forces of the physical body master the other parts of the fourfold human being, you see the melancholic temperament. The physical body is the denser part of a human being. If that is the master of the other parts, the person feels that he/she does not master the instrument or the physical body. This inability to master the physical body is the reason for the pain and suffering a melancholic person constantly feels. This mood comes due to the resistance from the physical body against the inner well being of the etheric body, the mobility of the astral body and the goal orientation of the Ego.

The different temperaments are visible in the appearance of the physical body of a person. I shall not elaborate on this here.

The temperaments begin to be visible in children at a very early age, and in Waldorf schools the teachers base their work on observations aiming to harmonize the temperament of the children.

Our temperaments follow us through this incarnation. One of the temperaments is often stronger than the others. What we can do is harmonize our temperaments, but not try to get rid of specific temperaments. 6

Planetary Qualities

When a human being is on its way to incarnate on Earth, he/she receives different qualities depending on what he/she has to learn and develop on Earth.

His/her path down to Earth goes through the different planetary spheres of the Universe and gets planetary qualities based on the time the individual spends in that planetary area. These qualities are connected to the astral body of that person.

These astral or planetary qualities are visible in the way we act in our daily life in relation to other people. It becomes visible when we interact with other people, e.g., in group work and in the way a person can act as a manager. 7

In the following outline of Planetary qualities or Personal qualities in a creative group, the Planet name of the specific Planet is mentioned and after that there are a few supplementary characteristics of each Planet (Fig. 22).

Fig. 22. 
Planet Qualities and Personal Qualities in a Creative Group.

Fig. 22.

Planet Qualities and Personal Qualities in a Creative Group.

Saturn: People with this quality always look for a deeper meaning behind things. The Saturn quality is often seen in people who are research orientated. Saturn people have a vision of the future and always make connections between the future and the past, and are very orientated toward where they want to go. When they have a plan, they want to stick to it. When they have an agenda, they want to follow it. They dislike improvisations and free-floating processes. They can be considered fossilized, and they do not like small talk and jokes.

Moon: The Moon mirrors the Sun. People with Moon qualities rarely give their own opinions but mirror what other people say. They are good at looking back and extract learning points. In meetings, they often sum up and take the minutes. They are very time conscious. They like routine jobs and often refer back to how things used to be done. People with Moon qualities are often very pleasant and easygoing people, but the downside is that it can be difficult to know what the person stands for.

Jupiter: Jupiter is the Planet of wisdom. People with Jupiter qualities think in grand pictures, are idealistic, have very high ideas, have the ability of getting the general idea, and of seeing the big picture in a situation. They are systematic and very clear and creative thinkers. They often have leading positions in an organization. They see through a situation without getting personally involved. Other people can consider them cold and arrogant and without humor. A person with Jupiter qualities can in a mature age transform this quality to real wisdom and compassion.

Mercury: Mercury is connected to the metal quicksilver, which means movability and flexibility. People with Mercury qualities are filled with new interesting ideas. They are very adaptable to a situation and quickly sense what is needed. They are aware of how to change a stuck situation by using their sense of humor, little stories, and jokes. Mercury people can be very good intermediates. Sometimes their flexibility becomes so strong that you cannot be sure whether the said is the truth. They can lack structure in their way of acting and can create chaos. But chaos can also redeem a situation and bring totally new perspectives.

Mars: Mars is connected to the warrior, who wants to take charge of the situation. They take a lot of space, are loud and very clear in expressing their opinions, and tell others what should be done and how. They are typical leaders, are entrepreneurs, they not only have the ideas of how to do things, they also have the will to transform make ideas to projects and realities. They are not afraid of conflicts and are willing to bring difficult things out into the open. They have a lot of energy and are very convincing and even aggressive in their way of handling a situation. This can create tension and relation problems in an organization.

Venus: Venus is the feminine, loving, mild, and caring quality. Beauty and sexuality are also part of this quality. This quality is supporting, gentle, listening, and filled with compassion. It has a genuine interest in other people and is good at putting questions to people and situations. If the quality becomes too strong, it can be suffocating.

Most people have two or three strong qualities. The qualities are both gifts and burdens. Gifts when they are used at the right level in different situations in life. Burdens if they are too strong in specific life situations. So, one of our life tasks is to use them in the right balance in different situations; to hold back the qualities that are too strong, and to decide to develop the lacking qualities, e.g., if my Mars quality is too strong and my Venus quality is underdeveloped, I can decide to develop my Venus quality and hold my strong Mars back. Working to find the right balance in the planetary area can be a lifelong task of transformation.

So far, I have described six Planetary qualities, but there is a seventh Planetary quality. The Sun. That is the ability to use the right level of all the qualities in any specific situation. I don't know whether any person masters this Sun quality in all situations, but when you work together in a group with all the different qualities presented, it can be the challenge and possibility to integrate and balance all the qualities.

Counterforces in Anthroposophy

Ahriman and Lucifer

In Anthroposophy, we do not talk about evil, we talk about Counterforces. Counterforces which do their best to make the human being forget the spiritual path that we are on (to develop our Higher Self) through many lives in accordance to the spiritual impulses from Christ.

The Counterforce of Ahriman represents the highest intelligence in the world, and has been very active since around 1500, and given the impulses to development of natural science which is the basis for most of our existence today. 8

We should be very grateful for what the Ahrimanic beings have given us as they are very closely related to our daily life. But there is a price: Ahriman makes us believe that a spiritual world does not exist. An Ahrimanic saying is: “Religion is opium for the people”. 9 Ahriman wants us to have the understanding that we have this one life and that we all should get the most of it. The Darwinism and science we know today is inspired by Ahriman. We can describe Ahriman as a very cramped being with skeleton-like features.

Ahriman finds ways to influence human beings through anxiety, fear, and hatred – e.g., when we as individuals in our societies fear acts of terror, become anxious about losing our jobs, or nurture a baseless hatred of foreigners or fear of virus infections. We give these Ahrimanic forces power over us, and we become easier to manipulate. This situation causes many of us to insist on strong leaders who provide populist solutions. This is exactly the scenario that we see in many countries today.

Ahriman can think the brightest thoughts and can imagine everything with the highest intelligence, but does not see things in a holistic perspective. Ahrimanic intelligence is without wisdom. That is why many fantastic things after some time end up being devastating for us and our Planet, e.g., the use of fossil fuel has increased our living standard enormously the last 200 years, but now we begin to realize that it simultaneously almost has destroyed our Planet through CO2 emission.

Lucifer as a Counterforce tries in a different way to prevent the human being from further development of its Higher Self from life to life. Lucifer gives the human being very optimistic and positive images. He tells us that we are already perfect, that we are beautiful, that we have already finished our personal development, tells us that we do not need further development, and do not need again and again to incarnate on Earth, and tells us that we can remain in the spiritual world as we are. If we are seduced to listen to Lucifer this way, we do not develop ourselves – through the Christ impulse – to what we can become through many Earth incarnations. Luciferic beings are highly developed beings and are described in the Bible as the snake that seduced Eve to take a bite of the apple which resulted in Adam and Eve being expelled from the Garden of Eden.

As the Ahrimanic forces are very strong in our time, the Luciferic forces were very strong in the time of the Renaissance and Baroque. We can thank Lucifer for the inspiration to all the beautiful creations which were made in those times.

In our time, Lucifer and Ahriman in many ways work closely together to prevent the human being from walking the path of inner spiritual development. They are very efficient Counterforces hindering us in finding this path. They use television and computers. Ahriman's intellect is the basis for the technology in television, internet, computers, and artificial intelligence. Through these Ahrimanic techniques, the Luciferic entertainment overloads us with glamor and shows. This Luciferic entertainment seduces us and prevents us from taking responsibility for our own inner development. It requires hard work and dedication to walk the inner spiritual path of self-development. It does not require much for most of us to be entertained.

Polarities in Relation to Resistance to Change

This chapter is an expansion of what is written in P1.1.1: Resistance to change in the threefold Picture of man.

When there is a need for change in a life situation, the human being often meets this situation with two types of resistance based on Soul qualities, constellation of temperaments, and Planet qualities. One polarity meets needs for change with great skepticism and great concerns and establishes a row of defense mechanisms for not accepting the need for change. The other polarity goes into life situations with strong wishes for change and the tendency of accepting everything very positively and often uncritically with the risk of regretting later.

The challenge in a situation of change is to find the right balance between the two polarities: to find the right balancing point between not accepting everything or rejecting everything through a healthy process of judgment; to find balance between not being seduced and not being too skeptical. This striving for balance and finding the middle between the two polarities is connected to finding the path to Christ in the middle between the polarities of Lucifer and Ahriman.

One can describe what happens in a change situation as a combination of the three Soul areas: Thinking, Feeling, and Will and how one lets these Soul areas be influenced by Luciferic or Ahrimanic Forces. The challenge in a situation that requires change is to open one's Mind, Heart, and Will and to reach healthy judgments through a connection to the forces of Christ (Table 5).

Table 5.

Resistance to Change in the Area of Thinking, Feeling, and Will.

Lucifer Healthy Judgment through connection to Christ Ahriman 10
Thinking Naïve
Easy believer
Open Mind
Healthy judgment
Feeling Sympathy Open heart
Daily intuition
Inner resistance
Will Overconfidence
I am invincible
I think nothing can go wrong
Open Will
I stand up for what I find is the truth

Meeting Changes Influenced by the Luciferic Forces

The way you in a changed situation meet the Luciferic forces in the three mentioned areas is quite different from the way you meet the Ahrimanic forces. In the Thinking area, you will act very naïvely, as you will be tempted to find whatever new thoughts, ideas, and proposals that come up fantastically interesting. You will say “Yes” immediately without really thinking through the situation and its consequences.

In the realm of Feeling, you let the forces of sympathy be your guides. If you like a person, you tend to forget to investigate and to put the right questions to find the substance in the situation. These forces of sympathy can be very strong and Luciferic. If you love the idea behind the change, you accept it. If the idea is put forward by a person you already have faith in – sympathy – you accept it.

In the realm of Will, you are willing to act in blindness. You do not analyze the idea; you immediately say “Yes, let's do it.” You jump into action; you put your strong Will into the change project with the risk of realizing later that maybe you should have understood the situation on a deeper level before acting. But now you have to live with the consequences.

Finding the Balance in the Three Areas

This is your challenge in any change situation: to go into to the situation with an Open Mind, an Open Heart, and an Open Will.

In the Thinking area, you reach the Open Mind by being open to everything; to be open and not let your old ways of thinking and your experiences keep you away from new perspectives, but it is also important not to be naïve. You investigate carefully the situation from many different perspectives and let your mind be open so it can reach a healthy judgment in any situation.

In the Feeling area, you reach the Open Heart by listening to everything that is happening with empathy, making sure that you do not let any of your antipathy forces disturb your heart thinking. But you must at the same time be aware and not let your heart run over with sympathy hindering you in staying in the middle. This can be very difficult, as we dream in our heart region. We must not listen to a situation only with empathy; we must listen with love and compassion.

In the Will area, you reach the Open Will by accepting that the situation can be fearful, by accepting that things can go wrong when you act immediately. It requires a lot of courage to act. The word courage comes from the French word “coeur” which means heart. So, to act with an Open Will requires that you in your heart find the courage to go through the fear of an act. You have to have the courage to let go and throw your security away. S. Kierkegaard formulated this so beautifully in this sentence:

“To dare is to lose one's footing momentarily. Not to dare is to lose oneself.”

A way to increase your ability to reach healthy judgments in change situations is to use the Six subsidiary exercises as part of your own inner practice. 11

Social Threefoldness/The Threefold Society

During the First World War, Rudolf Steiner reflected deeply on how a healthy society based on democracy and social responsibility could be developed. Based on his spiritual research and understanding of what was needed in the future, he found that neither a capitalistic nor socialistic system would lead to a democratic society based on social justice and fairness.

Already in 1905, Rudolf Steiner formulated in Anthroposophy and the social question GA 34, the fundamental law of the social life as:

“The well-being of a community of people working together will be greater, the less the individual claims for himself the proceeds of his work, i.e., the more of these proceeds he makes over to his fellow workers, the more his own needs are satisfied, not out of his own work, but out of the work done by others.”

Rudolf Steiner sometimes expressed it in the form of the following way:

“The healthy social life is found

when in the mirror of each human soul

the whole community is shaped.

And when in the community

the virtue of each one lives.”

In 1919 and 1920, he published his findings in The social future and the renewal of the social organism where he describes society as a threefold social organism, where society consists of the three independent realms with very specific characteristics, roles, and laws connected to them. 12 The goal for the three realms is that a mutual balance among them exists.

The cultural realm comprises a free self managing spiritual life. The cultural life in society (art, science, religion, education) must be based on Freedom. Freedom for each individual to learn, develop, and use his/her ability and skills in accordance to what will lead to the highest individual development of that person's qualities. This means that the school system must be free of state control. All families, not only the wealthy ones, must be able to choose between a variety of schools based on these ideals. This is the basis of The Waldorf Schools which are inspired by these ideals. The school system in society must stimulate thinking and creativity in each individual. This will lead to a population of creative people who can inspire the other realms in society with new ways of doing things.

The economic realm covers a free associative self managing business life. The task for economical life is to fulfill the needs of society and establish business life with industries and businesses that produce what is needed in society. Economical life or business life must be established based on its own rules and laws. Business life retrieves its creativity and ideas from cultural life.

In a company, work must be organized in such a way that every individual has the possibility of using and developing his/her special competences and creativity. By organizing work this way, you will acquire not only the highest productivity in the company but also the most motivated workers.

There are a number of very radical thoughts in relation to this realm

  • In the economical realm/business life, the task is not to accumulate profit for the owners as we see it today where the few very rich all over the world become richer and richer. The surplus from business in the economical sphere must return to other parts of society to establish new business organizations or as donations or funds to support cultural and educational institutions.

  • Business life is ideally organized in associations or cooperatives with neither state nor individual ownership. Steiner talks about user rights, where the most skilled people have the right and responsibility to run the business as long as they are the most qualified. When they no longer are the most qualified, a new person takes over the responsibility for the next period.

  • Associations can be regarded as a group of people who share the same destiny. Some as suppliers to the company, others as members of/employed in the company, and others as customers of the product delivered/produced by the company. Companies and people in an association are mutually dependent of each other. You can even regard them as a karmic group.

  • Another radical thought is that you are not paid a salary for your work, as labor is not regarded as a commodity that can be sold as you sell a produced commodity. If you are part of an organization – an association – which is organized this way, you are paid based on your or your family's needs and not based on what you do in the organization. The same rule goes for management/directors.

The legal realm, the policy realm, consists of the issuing of laws in society and function of making them complied. The basis for the legal system is to develop a democratic socially fair system based on equality in relation to each Individuality. One of the tasks of the legal system is to make sure to provide a mutual balance between the three realms securing that one of the realms does not become too powerful with the risk of becoming destructive to the society.

Social Threefoldness in Relation to Freedom, Equality, and Brother-sisterhood

The ideal from the French revolution got a new and more specific meaning in relation to the three realms of society. Rudolf Steiner was aware of the risk that if the ideal was used in the wrong realm, it would lead to destruction:

The Economic Realm

If freedom were applied to the economic realm, it would lead to unregulated capitalism where economy and business thinking would dominate the political realm through lobbyism, and we would end up with an economic system which is not based on social fairness, but instead exploits people as it is often seen today in the free market capitalism – the liberal system. The ideal to be applied in the economic realm is brother-sisterhood which means that the task of economic life is to fulfill the basic needs of everyone in society in a fair way.

The Policy Realm

If freedom were applied in the political sphere, it would mean that votes could be bought, and one could buy political influence which leads to corruption.

If brother-sisterhood were applied in the political sphere, it could lead to state socialism, state control over the economic life, and regulated plan economy as observed in the communist countries.

The ideal to be applied in the policy realm is equality, meaning that every individual is treated the same way based on equality in the law.

The Cultural Realm

If equality were applied in the cultural realm, it could lead to state socialism where political agendas would dominate the cultural realm as observed in the communist Soviet state system with no freedom of development of individual competences and skills.

The ideal to be applied in the cultural realm is freedom, giving all people the possibility of developing his/her inner potential and skills.

The Influence of Social Threefoldness

After World War I, Rudolf Steiner was very active in developing and creating a new Germany, based on the ideas of social threefoldness in co-operation with a number of highly profiled politicians. In the end, the initiative failed.

Following the failed initiative, the principles of threefoldness were most often implemented in specific anthroposophical organizations as Waldorf schools and associations connected to biodynamic farming organizations. The principles based on Anthroposophy were also used in the foundation of banks, e.g., Triodos Bank in Holland and Merkur Bank in Denmark.

Bernard Lievegoed has included threefoldness in his work in relation to organizational development and analyses. 13

In connection to Nicanor Perlas's work in developing an Agenda 21 plan for the Philippines, he gave threefoldness a new dimension in his book Shaping globalization, 2000. 14 , 15 His work focuses on how to transform from elite globalization to conscious sustainable development.

As you can see in his Fig. 23 p. 156, he operates with the three sectors, but he describes the cultural system as synonymous with civil society which includes both the individuals and CSOs and NGOs as cultural organizations working for climate issues and sustainability. Nicanor Perlas names the organizations in the cultural sector Civil Society Organizations or CSOs.

In his focus on the problems in relation to elite globalization, he argues that it leads to destructive influence in the economical sphere – the business areas – in its close and sometimes corrupt relation to the policy and government sphere, last but not least in developing countries.

He argues that to achieve sustainable development, seven different dimensions must be developed.

Fig. 23. 
Threefolding and Sustainable Development.

Fig. 23.

Threefolding and Sustainable Development.

To reach this level, there must be a balance between the three spheres, which means no sphere can have a destructive influence on the other sphere, e.g., in new legislations the voice of civil society must be heard and included on the same level as the voices from the economic realm for the government to develop a healthy democratic sustainable society (Fig. 24).

Fig. 24. 
Sustainable Development Principles.

Fig. 24.

Sustainable Development Principles.

Nicanor Perlas expanded these seven dimensions with a number of principles of sustainable development which you can see in his figure. 16

After the financial crisis of 2008 and as climate issues become increasingly urgent, you can see that many CSOs and NGOs strive to find society models where sustainability is in focus, as described by Nicanor Perlas; a society model where there is less focus on growth and more awareness on reducing the level of CO2 and an increase in respect for nature and the planet.

A.2.2 Occult Science

Major Planet Periods in the Development of Planet Earth

One of the basic books in Anthroposophy is Occult science – An outline, 1962, where Rudolf Steiner describes the cosmology of the Universe and the Earth including the higher beings, who are involved in creating the different Planet periods of the Earth.

In total, Planet Earth will go through seven incarnations/periods, and every Planet period consists of seven big and seven smaller periods. Planet Earth has already lived through three incarnations prior to Planet Earth as we know it today (Fig. 25).

Fig. 25. 
Planet Earth's Seven Phases of Development.

Fig. 25.

Planet Earth's Seven Phases of Development.

The first Planet period is named the Old Saturn and was created in ancient times. You must not imagine a physical planet as we know our Planet Earth of today. Rudolf Steiner's description is that if you were to pass through Cosmos – where the Old Saturn was – you would only feel an intensified warmth. In Old Saturn, the first germ to the physical body of the human being as we know it today was given by higher beings. Then Old Saturn was dissolved and there came a long resting period.

Then came the next Planet period named the Old Sun. It was still not a physical planet. It was characterized by air and light which are the germs of the etheric body of the human being. This again was created by other higher beings. At the end of the Old Sun, the human being consisted of the germs of the physical body and the etheric body. Then the Old Sun was dissolved and there came long resting period.

After this long resting period came the Planet period named the Old Moon. It was still not a physical Planet. It was characterized with a fluid consistency which is the germ for the astral body of the human being. This again is given by other higher beings. At the end of the Old Moon, the human being consisted of the germ of the physical to body, the etheric body, and the astral body. Then the Old Moon was dissolved and there came long resting period.

Then came the fourth Planet period which is Planet Earth which is the physical material planet as we know it today. At the end of the Planet Earth period, the human being will consist of a physical body, an etheric body, an astral body, and an Ego or Individuality. Before this can happen, there are different periods where Planet Earth relives the former states of Old Saturn, Old Sun, and Old moon. In these periods, the human being becomes physical and materialistic with a physical body, an etheric body, and an astral body. These stages will not be described. We are now in the fifth of these seven periods which also consist of seven smaller periods. I shall go directly to the description of the periods after the Atlantean Water Catastrophe – which happened in the fourth of the smaller periods – as they are very much connected to our understanding of the human being as we know it today. The task to be achieved during the whole Planet Earth period is to develop the Individuality or the Ego.

The Post-Atlantean Cultural period consists of seven phases, and we in our time live in the fifth Post-Atlantean Cultural period. Each of these periods lasts around 2,100 years. Already in the Atlantean period, there were mystery schools, and human beings were in close contact with the higher beings of the spiritual world. The human being at that time had an atavistic clairvoyance and was in many ways closer connected to the spiritual world than to the physical world.

In the end of the Atlantean period, the most developed people from the seven mystery schools emigrated from Atlantis and founded new mysteries in different places on the planet. The most advanced people emigrated to areas in the Himalayas and India and created new mysteries there. This is the beginning of the first Post-Atlantean Cultural period, in Anthroposophy named the Ancient Indian Cultural period. The atavistic clairvoyance was increasingly diminishing, and the human being longed back to its contact with higher spiritual beings. In this period, it was through meditation and exercises that yogis strived to find their way back to their lost clairvoyance which they longed for. They gave us the Vedas and Bhagavad-Gita. 17 What they created is to a great extent the basis of what we today find in the different eastern ways of meditation and yogi exercises. In Anthroposophy, this period is named the period for the development of the etheric body.

The second Post-Atlantean Cultural period is named the Ancient Persian Cultural period. People in this period began to get a closer connection to the sense world of the Earth and the materialistic world. They became farmers and grew crops. The Zarathustrian culture of Persia is directly connected to the Sun. The god they worshiped was the Sun god Ormuzd or Ahura Mazdao, who conquered the dark Ahriman. 18 In Anthroposophy, this period is named the period for the development of the astral body.

The third Post-Atlantean Cultural period is named the Egypto-Chaldean Cultural period. The people connected to the Chaldean, mysteries developed a deep understanding of the stars and astronomy. The Egypto-Chaldean Culture was a very rich culture around the Nile delta. The society was built around a Pharaoh and mystery temples with initiated priests. In parts of this period, the Pharaoh and the priests continued to be initiated on a level giving them direct contact with higher beings in the spiritual world and through that achieving answers from the spiritual world on how things were to be. There were initiation rituals where the pupils after long preparations in the temple could be initiated. These types of initiation rituals were performed by a Hierophant and 12 helpers. The initiation lasted 3,5 days where the pupil to be initiated was out of his physical body and in the spiritual world with his astral and etheric body. On returning, he would be initiated and clairvoyant. But already in the Egypto-Chaldean Cultural period, the mystery temple began to degenerate. In Anthroposophy, this period is named the period for the development of the sentient soul.

The fourth Post-Atlantean Cultural period is named the Graeco-Roman period and lasts from around 700 bc to around 1400 ad In this period, the human being sank deeper and deeper into the materialistic world. From the Graeco-Roman period, you see all the beautiful sculptures worshiping the human body. There were mystery temples and gods and an understanding of an afterlife, but it was more a shadow life in the spiritual world. A known saying was: “Rather a beggar in the physical life than a king in the afterlife.” The mind and thinking in those days were developed at a very high level represented by Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. It was the time where conscience first was observed in the human being. The turning point which began to lead the human being away from sinking deeper and deeper into the materialistic world was when the Cosmic Christ incarnated in the human being Jesus in the beginning of our time. Within the next approx. 300 years, Christianity was the major religion in Italy, and over the next 1,000 years it spread to all countries in Europe. It was the time where cathedrals were built and a number of monasteries, e.g., the Benedictine and Dominican were formed. The Catholic church had a very strong influence on everything that went on in Europe at that time. In Anthroposophy, this period is named the period of the development of the Intellectual and Mind Soul.

The fifth Post-Atlantean Cultural period began around 1400 ad, and we now live in this period. This period is the period of the development of our Consciousness Soul. 19 Today we still have about 1,100 years left to develop it. The Consciousness Soul will not be fully developed before around 3500.

This has been an era of great changes and new ways of exploring both outer and inner life. It is the time where the Europeans explored and “conquered” the world, and Europeans emigrated to other parts of the world. The Catholic church was with the Greek and Russian orthodox church the main Christian religion in the beginning of that time, but the whole Christian belief system was soon to be challenged by, e.g., Luther and natural science. Up to this era, art and science were integrated and based on Christianity. Natural science separated more and more from Christianity, and very many scientists today consider there to be very little connection between natural science and religion/spirituality. More and more people have become atheists and consider religion to be superstition. Many people have an existentialistic perspective of life as they believe there is no afterlife and that we live only this once. This leads to the thinking that everyone of us must get the most out of this one life. This can lead to the greediness we observe today.

Natural science is the basis of research and universities today. We can be grateful for this in relation to the highly developed materialistic world we live in today. But there is a price for this. Today we are beginning to be aware of a number of severe challenges as e.g., climate changes and exploitation of the natural resources of our planet. The awareness of this has led to a growing number of people all over the world finding sustainable solutions as an alternative to the mainstream market orientated thinking and doing. Some people do it on a scientific, non-religious understanding of the world based on their own personality, their Daily Ego. A growing group of people are beginning to find their own religious platform. Some find it through eastern inspired religion/practices, others find it through Christianity, as you can find it in, e.g., Esoteric Christianity given by Rudolf Steiner.

As mentioned earlier, the task to be achieved by human beings during the whole Planet Earth period is to develop the Individuality or the Higher Ego to the level of the Consciousness Soul. This is meant to happen during this fifth Post-Atlantean Cultural period. The challenge we have is to develop our Higher Ego in full freedom, and it is up to each one of us whether we wish to listen to the impulse coming from our Higher Ego or whether we wish to listen to impulses from our Lower/Daily Ego. The Daily Ego can be a two-edged sword. There is the risk for every individual that we only listen to the egoistic part of ourselves. This will lead us away from the development of our highest potential. The more contact we have with our Higher Ego, the more we strive for moral and ethic judgments based on our free will and love, the more we develop our Consciousness Soul to its highest potential. In this process, more and more people will acknowledge that behind the materialistic natural laws are the spiritual laws.

When the fifth Post-Atlantean Cultural period ends an additional two Post-Atlantean periods will come. These will not be described. 20 Then there will come three longer Planet Earth periods after which Planet Earth will dissolve followed by a long resting period.

Earlier in this chapter, I have mentioned that Planet Earth will go through seven incarnations/periods. This means that there are three more major Planet periods to come before Planet Earth has fulfilled its incarnations, and the human being has developed itself to its highest potential, which is Spirit Man of which we in our incarnation today may develop the germ during the age of 56 till 63. 21

Higher Beings in Christianity and Anthroposophy

A number of spiritual beings exist in Cosmos which are on a higher development level than we human beings. They have different roles in Cosmos and in the development of life on the different Planet periods and their beings – including the human being – on Planet Earth. They have no physical form, but all cultures and religions on Planet Earth have known of them under different names. Some of the religions have created physical images of these beings whereas in other religions depicting is forbidden. The names used in Anthroposophy for the higher beings are the same as the ones found in the Bible, and the beings are depicted in some Catholic churches.

They consist of three Hierarchies of beings and above them is the Trinity of the Father , the Son, Christ and the Holy Spirit .

For readers who are interested in Esoteric Christianity, I can recommend many of Sergei Prokofeiff 's books.

In relation to the beings in the First and Second Hierarchies, only the names will be mentioned. The higher beings in the Third Hierarchy will be described.

The First Hierarchy consists of:

  • Seraphim: Spirits of Love

  • Kerubim : Spirits of Harmony

  • Trones : Spirits of Will

    The Second Hierarchy consists of:

  • Kyriotetes : Spirits of Wisdom

  • Dynamis : Spirits of Movement

  • Exusiai : Spirits of Form

    The Third Hierarchy consists of 22 , 23 :

  • Archai : Spirits of Personality or Spirits of Time

  • Archangeloi (Archangels): Spirits of Fire or Folk Spirits

  • Angeloi (Angels): Sons of Life

Unfolding of the Third Hierarchy


Angels are the higher beings closest to the human being. Every human being has an Angel which is in close contact with us, both when we live in the physical world and when we are on the other side of the Threshold. In some traditions, our Angel is called our Guardian Angel. It guides us through life and is a role model for what we one day can become. It takes care of our ideals, it carries our Higher Ego from which we via our Angel can receive impulses in our daily life. An Angel is an etheric being, it has no physical form, and it is on a higher level of development than the human being.

Our Guardian Angel is full of love and compassion. Every night when we sleep and our Ego and astral body are in the cosmic world, we go through a looking back and a looking forward with our Angel. Together with our Angel in the looking forward, we make moral decisions of what we should focus on the following day. When we wake up, a veil has gone down and most of us are not aware of our decisions, and we live our life based on our own judgments during the day. In the looking back, we review how well we have behaved in accordance to our decision/agreement from the past night. No matter how well we have lived up to our former agreements, our Angel forgives us for the wrongs we have done.

In our daily life, our Angel normally does not interfere, but there can be situations where we could lose our life and be killed if we for instance took a plane, train, or car. In these cases, our Angel sometimes creates a situation where we change our minds on what we have planned or normally do. There are plenty of examples of that. This may happen if it is not yet our time to leave this life.

Our Guardian Angel follows us from life to life. It inspires us in the process of transforming our astral body and Sentient Soul to our Spirit Self. 24

When we pass the Threshold, our Angel helps us find our way in the spiritual world. This task is easier for the Angel the more we have connected us to spiritual concepts and the divine world in our earthly life.

On our way into the next incarnation, the Angel guides us. It helps us come into our hereditary stream, our family, and parents. It also helps us arrange karmic meetings in our Earth life with people we have to meet at certain times during our life.


Archangels are beings which are one level above the Angels. On our way to Earth, they give us the ability to speak and to develop our language. They are also called Folk Spirits, which means that they give us qualities that we need in the geographical area we are born into. They are not connected to one specific human being, but are connected to a group of people: Danes, Frenchmen, Germans, etc. They are not only connected to the nation, but to the conglomerate of different people groups or tribes that are part of a nation. The Archangel perceives rise and fall of people groups. They incarnate in the springtime of a people and withdraw in its decline.

In our time, Archangels work on the development of the germ to the Life Spirit, a transformation of the etheric body, of the human being. The Life Spirit is closely connected to the development of spiritual inspiration.

There are a number of Archangels which have a special role as Time Spirits (Archai) during the Post-Atlantean periods. Every one of them is the leading Time Spirit for about 300 years. There are seven of these, and they are known by their names from the Bible. Three of the most known are Raphael who is the Guardian of the Art of Healing, Gabriel who among others is known as the Herald of the Birth of Jesus to Maria, and Michael.

Michael is already mentioned in the book Bhagavad-Gita, where he had a great battle in heaven with the Counterforces.

Michael's role is to lead the human being away from the ancient clairvoyant wisdom to consciousness, so the human being one day can find its way back to the divine through its own spiritual striving. Michael leads Man from one level of consciousness to the next.

In former times, Michael was the countenance of Jehovah and gave through Moses the impulse to “I am” in the evolution. Through this, man became more intelligent, and this leads to a complete change in the consciousness of the Hebrew people.

At the time of Golgotha – when Jesus Christ was crucified – the Moon age of Jehovah passed into the Sun age of Christ. At this time, Michael became the servant and countenance of Christ.

The mission of Michael is to illuminate the forces of knowledge in Man. Michael brings to the human being knowledge and illumination, which makes it possible truly to understand the deed of Christ.

Michael is the ruler of intelligence and has the mission of building a civilization based on the Consciousness Soul. In 1879 there was a great battle in the spiritual world, where Michael won over the adversaries in heaven. Michael drove the intelligence down to Earth. This is the beginning of Michael's new period of leadership, which focuses on the development of the Consciousness Soul.

The great ideal in the period of the Consciousness Soul is the marriage of true spiritual experience with a life of pure thought and idea. The life of pure thought is of the very nature of the Consciousness Soul and imagination is one of its higher faculties. Michael works both in the supersensible experience of the human being and in its life of thought and ideals.

Rudolf Steiner has given many lectures about the mission of Michael and what is necessary to create a new mystery school based on the impulse from Michael. In the chapter on Rudolf Steiner, the foundation of School for Spiritual Science is mentioned. 25, 26


The beings of the rank of Archai are the most developed beings in the Third Hierarchy. They have had many different tasks in the Post-Atlantean period. They are called Spirits of Personality since the lowest part of their being is the “I”.

In the time between death and a new birth, the Hierarchy of the Archai works on the development of the human form. Prior to our birth, we get the ability to raise and stand from the Archai some time after our birth. They give us our personality including moral aspects. In relation to the different races of Man, there is an Archai as the Spirit for each race.

Archai are also called Time Spirits. They are the Guiding Spirits of Civilization periods, and they influence national character and temperaments.

Archai are also called the Spirit of Age. If we look at the way our world has been organized, we find that each age has a number of people over whom – for a specific period – a Time Spirit holds sway. Side by side with this Archai and subordinated to him several Folk Spirits work – Archangels.

Time Spirits sometimes intervene in the field of Folk Spirits – Archangels. For instance, when a part of a nation suddenly is detached and forms a new nation.

Especially in the first four Post-Atlantic periods, there were several Archangels who developed into the rank of Archai. But there are also examples of important Archangels that for a specific mission renounced to step into the rank of Archai.

An important example – not least for anthroposophists – occurred shortly after the Christian impulse was given to humanity. People living in Hungary, south Germany, and the Alps, and people who were spread toward the north east of Europe, had the Celtic Folk Spirit as their Archangel. This Archangel – who could have ascended to the rank of ArchaiSpirit of Personality – renounced this rank and remained on the stage of Archangel. This Celtic Folk Spirit became the Spirit of Esoteric Christianity and was the inspiring being for those teachings and the work with the impulses underlying Esoteric Christianity. The true Esoteric Christianity including the Mysteries of the Holy Grail and Rosicrucianism comes from these inspirations.

We know Michael as an Archangel, but in reality, he has developed one step further and has achieved the rank of Archai.

In our time, Archai work on the development of the germ to Spirit Man, a transformation of the physical body of the human being.

Conflicts and the Occult Significance of Forgiveness

When we meet each other in daily interactions, we normally meet each other based on our Daily Ego and can in glimpses meet each other in the areas of our Higher Ego. When tension and conflict enter a relation, we tend to meet each other more and more through our Lower Ego, our Double or “Doppelgänger”. 27 We can end up in a situation where it is both our Doubles who constantly fight each other, and in this situation, we are totally trapped by the conflict and see only the dark side of the other party (Fig 26).

Fig. 26. 
In a Conflict Situation, the Trap lies between the Lower Egos.

Fig. 26.

In a Conflict Situation, the Trap lies between the Lower Egos.

The task in conflict resolution is to bring new light into the situation by using awakening questions, tools to reach a healthy judgment, bring consciousness into the situation, and to lift the communication level to a professional level where two Daily Egos are to deal with each other and maybe even in some moments see glimpses of the other person's striving intentions and Higher Ego.

In Anthroposophy, we do not, as mentioned earlier, talk about “bad energies” between people in conflict. What happens is – from an anthroposophical perspective – that we in social situations create real living beings. When you come into a room where two people live well together, you feel a pleasant atmosphere. When you enter a room where people have had a heavy discussion – a conflict – many may feel coldness and an unpleasant atmosphere. This is because people in discussion have created Conflict Beings which remain in the room even after the fighting people have left the room. 28 Rudolf Steiner names these beings Specters, Ghosts, and Phantoms. They are real living beings, and as all beings, they want to stay alive, and what they live on is conflicts. In conflict situations where one person tries to redeem the situation by offering a positive proposal, it often happens that the other person rejects it. This is the Conflict Being in action. To stop a conflict, you have to starve these conflict beings, which means not to give them nutrition. What creates them can be described as bacteria. 29

In the spiritual world, there are nine higher beings above the human being. The inner Earth has nine layers of earth which have great and devastating effects on the human being, among others earthquakes. This is described in a series of lectures by Rudolf Steiner in 1906. 30 Based on these nine layers of the inner Earth, Fredrich Glasl has developed his Conflict Staircase.

Sergei Prokofeiff gives some very interesting perspectives about what true forgiveness is and which spiritual consequences it has in relation to karma. 31

True forgiveness is about what you can do to forgive a person who has wronged you, and how you through the karmic laws of the universe in a next life have to meet a situation where the wrong deed can be outbalanced by this person. In relation to a wrong deed which you have inflicted on another person, you have to meet the karmic consequences in another life.

To reach true forgiveness of another person that you have wronged, you have to go through the following steps:

True interest is an aspect of tolerance

See the good and positive sides of the other person. Be tolerant toward another person instead of being trapped in an antipathic perception of the other. Try to see the striving and the Higher Ego of the other person.

Forgiveness is a higher degree of tolerance: it is to overcome yourself

Let your Daily Ego be illuminated by your Higher Ego. It is egoism that holds you back from forgiveness. You have to sacrifice this egoism to be able to forgive. When you do that, your astral body can begin to transform into your Spirit Self.

Perform an active deed

Based on your own free will you have to put as much good into the world as the other person's wrong deed has taken away from the world by having wronged you. You can only do this through compassion and love, and it can only happen based on an impulse from your Higher Ego. True forgiveness in this dimension is very difficult to grasp and practice, but Prokofeiff gives in his book mentioned above a number of examples of true forgiveness.

Every night, you meet your Angel – who carries your Higher Ego – with whom you night after night make an agreement about what to do the following day. And day after day your Daily or Lower Ego does something else. Your Angel forgives you all the same each night.

Forgiveness in a Karmic Perspective

There are two types of karmic consequences:

Subjective karma from which we have to redeem ourselves to be able to develop to higher stages. This is the type of karma in question in relation to true forgiveness.

Objective karma is related to the consequences for the development of Cosmos to higher stages. Even if we have caused this karma, we don't have the force or the possibilities to redeem the cosmic consequences. They have to be redeemed by Christ as the Lord of karma.

Through True Forgiveness we can be Helpers of Christ

We can begin by looking at what happens if there in our next life is need for a karmic compensation for a wrong deed. Higher beings in the spiritual world have to arrange our next life in such a way that we at a point of our life reach a situation where we meet the people we have wronged earlier, giving us the possibility of redemption. It requires a lot of spiritual forces to plan and arrange each individual life this way.

If we manage true forgiveness, we have given up our rights for compensation in a next life, and thereby we release the enormous forces required by the Higher Hierarchies to arrange this karmic meeting. These released forces can be used by Christ to transform the iron hard law of karma to spiritual grace.

If we manage to reach true forgiveness, we can work together with Christ and we can in our inner say: “Not I, but Christ in me.”

We can go from compassion to love to forgiveness and back to compassion in a cyclic way:

Anthroposophical Spiritual Biography Work and Life Stories


This chapter includes the spiritual terms relevant for biographical work and can be regarded as a supplement to P5.2: Working with your own biography – your life's story.


Some of the most fascinating aspects you can focus on in relation to yourself are questions like Who am I? and How have I become the person I am today?. Biographical work gives a person the possibility of obtaining a better understanding of these important questions. A personal biography reveals a lot about the meaning of each individual's life on Earth in the present incarnation and the areas in which a person has chosen to develop. Biography work helps individuals put events and happenings in their lives into perspective, sometimes even into karmic perspectives. Working with your own biography can give you a holistic life perspective and can give you a better understanding of your mission and task in this incarnation.

What Happens in the Spiritual World Prior to your Physical Birth

In a specific moment (the midnight hour) during your stay in the spiritual world, you decide to incarnate again. With higher beings, you begin to plan your next incarnation to create the best possibilities to develop your Higher Self further.

You select a country to incarnate in and the language you will learn as a child. You select your parents. You plan your karmic meetings with people where redemption is needed based on what happened in your last lives. You find your mission, your tasks on Earth in the coming incarnation, and karmic meetings are arranged with people with whom you share the same mission and tasks.

On your way from the midnight hour to your incarnation, you pass through all the Planet spheres. You stay for a longer or a shorter period of time in the different Planet spheres depending on which gifts and challenges you have to work with in your next incarnation.

In the end of this planning process, you are ready to be born. At that moment, you have a meeting with Christ, and at the end of this meeting, a veil goes down. After your birth on Earth, you have forgotten all about what happened in the spiritual world including the planned karmic meetings and your tasks and mission on Earth. This is necessary, otherwise you could not act in freedom in your next life on the Earth.

From a life in the spiritual world, you then cross the Threshold to the physical world. In Anthroposophy named death in the spiritual world and birth into the physical world.

Description of the Different Seven-year Life Phases

In the course of a person's life, the human being develops the different members of his/her bodies one after another in the succession of the seven-year periods:

“First the three bodily members: the physical body from birth until seven years of age, the etheric body from 7 till 14, and the astral body from 14 till 21. Then the three Soul members: the Sentient Soul from 21 till 28, the Intellectual or Mind Soul from 28 till 35, the Consciousness Soul from 35 till 42, and finally – yet only as a premonition – the three spiritual members: the Spirit Self from 42 till 49, the Life Spirit from 49 till 56 and the Spirit Man from 56 till 63.” 32 (Fig. 27

Fig. 27. 
Planetary Phases in the Biographical U-model.

Fig. 27.

Planetary Phases in the Biographical U-model.


Development of the Three Bodily Members

The Physical Body from 0 to 7

This is the period where the child uses all forces to develop its physical body. In this period, the child gets a lot of gifts from the spiritual world and from its surroundings. When a child has crossed the Threshold from the spiritual world to the physical world and is born, it is still more in the spiritual world than in the physical world. In the first period, the child is on its way to incarnate on Earth which happens for the first time around the age of three where Thinking enters the life of the child. It is the time when the child begins to say I instead of me. The full incarnation of the Individuality takes place in different stages until the person becomes 21.

This seven-year period is under the influence of the Moon with all its repetitions and regenerating forces.

The Etheric Body from the Age of Seven to 14

In this period, the etheric body or the life body is developed. If parents are aware of the importance of loving authority and healthy rhythm, they give great gifts to their child. Gifts which stimulate the child's thinking ability later in life and stimulate its fantasy in this period. These gifts lay the foundation for artistic skills and movable thinking later in life.

Stimulating the etheric body in this period leads to strong Life Forces which is the basis of a good and healthy life in later periods in life.

The human temperament is connected to the structure of the ether body. 33 This period is under the influence of Mercury with all its life and creative forces.

The Astral Body from the Age of 14 to 21

The last of the bodily members, the astral body is developed in this period. The astral body can also be named the “color of the Soul” and is connected to the seven different planetary qualities as described earlier. Your astrality can drag you in very many directions from total happiness to total despair. One day, you can be totally in love, the next day everything is dark, and life is hardly worth living. Your growing life of Feelings drags you in all directions. It is not only your capacity of Feeling that awakens, but also your ability of Thinking and of being logical. This period is the last part of the incarnation process of your Individuality in relation to what you bring with you from earlier lives. Your Individuality is fully incarnated when you reach the age of 21.

In this period, it is possible to get a glimpse of the spiritual world revealing your intentions and focus in this life, get a glimpse of the decisions you made before you were born.

This period is under the influence of Venus with all its love and social relation forces.

Development of the Three Soul Members (Fig. 27)

  • The Sentient Soul from the age of 21 to 28.

    In this period, the astral body is via the Individuality/the Ego transformed into the Sentient Soul which leads to a richer inner life free from the egoism of the astral body. The Ego creates its own Soul instrument. In the process of transforming the astrality into the Sentient Soul, the Feeling life is more balanced than in the former period.

    Here, there is a difference between men and women. Women are able to develop their Sentient Soul at a higher level than men, as they often live more in the space of feminine Feelings. Men often focus more on masculine qualities such as goals and results.

    All the three periods of developing Soul qualities are under the influence of the Sun.

  • The Intellectual Mind Soul from the age of 28 to 35.

    The etheric Life Forces in this period begin to detach from the physical body and are via the Ego used to develop the Intellectual Soul or Mind Soul. The forces of the Mind Soul have to be developed alongside the Intellectual Soul, otherwise the Intellectual Soul can become abstract, dry, and bureaucratic.

  • The mind soul represents the social pole, opposite the pole of thoughts......... Mind soul without intellectual soul leads to social chaos. 34

    This is the period where you are on the bottom of the world of matter.

    Around the age of 33, many receive wake-up calls in the form of outer happenings or severe life crises, which give the person the chance to begin focusing on existential life questions.

    All three periods for the development of Soul qualities are under the influence of the Sun.

  • The Consciousness Soul from the age 35 to 42.

    Through a transformation of the physical forces the Consciousness Soul is developed. The Consciousness Soul has to do with moral objectives that can direct the will, helping it to reach moral and meaningful actions.

    According to Rudolf Steiner, we live in the cultural period of the Consciousness Soul. Here, the mission of the human being is to develop our Consciousness Soul through many lives for its capacity to reach moral and ethical decisions based on our free will and love. So, development of our ability to reach healthy judgments in our life situation is the practice needed for holistic development. The building of healthy judgment can be trained by the use of Lex Boss's Lemniscate.

To develop your Consciousness Soul to its full capacity, you have to take the spiritual path. You can begin by studying the anthroposophical lectures by Rudolf Steiner and use some of his recommended meditation exercises. 35

Also, in this period, you can get a glimpse of the spiritual world and to understand whether you are on your right path toward the decisions and intentions you made before you were born.

All three periods for the development of Soul qualities are under the influence of the Sun.

The Germ to Develop the Three Spiritual Members (Fig. 27)

The germ to the Spirit Self or Manas develops from the age of 42 to 49, Life Spirit from 49 to 56, and Spirit Man or Atma from 56 to 63. Your spiritual members are not fully developed during your Earth incarnations, you merely lay a germ to these future spiritual qualities.

Spirit Self from the Age of 42 to 49

When you have reached 42, it is possible to begin to transform your Sentient Soul into your Spirit Self or Manas. The Spirit Self is closely connected to your development toward spiritual imagination. Before you can reach a full development of your Spirit Self, your Consciousness Soul must be fully developed.

In the period from 21 to 28, you have your first possibility to develop your Sentient Soul which women in this period often manage to develop to a higher level than men. In the period from 42 to 49, you mirror the periods focused on your astral body and your Sentient Soul. This period again leads to new possibilities to develop your Sentient Soul. Many men use this possibility to further develop their Sentient Soul. This means that men in the period 42–49 and women in the period 21–28 often develop the same Soul qualities, and based on this there is often a strong understanding of and an attraction between men in the age of 42–49 and women in the age of 21–28.

Rudolf Steiner talks about your Double as an existing being which one could say is closely connected to your Lower Self and areas in you which you have the possibility of changing during your life time. In the period 42–49, you are often confronted with your own Double and the Double of others. This must be considered a gift – if you are not aware of your Double, you are not able to change consciously – and a possibility of reaching an awareness of areas that you have to change or transform on your inner path toward personal growth and spirituality.

This period 42–49 mirrors what happed in the period 14–21 as well as the period 21–28. A healthy development is related to what happened when the foundation of the astral body and Sentient Soul was laid (Fig. 27).

This is the period where many people feel that they are in a middle-age crisis. This period can be very turbulent. Many people feel that something new is needed, but it can be hard or challenging to find what must happen. So, for many, life is filled with crises – based on meeting their Double – and filled with new activities and changes in their life situations. They have a lot of force to start a new path in life. These initiatives are related to the influence of the planet Mars.

Life Spirit from the Age of 49 to 56

In this period, it is possible to develop the germ to Life Spirit or Buddhi which is under influence of the planet of wisdom, Jupiter. This happens through a transformation of the Intellectual Soul or Mind Soul to Life Spirit. Life Spirit is closely connected to the development of spiritual inspiration. A healthy development in this period is related to what happened in the period from 7 till 14 where the foundation for the etheric forces was laid.

This period 49–56 mirrors what happened in the period 7–14 as well as the period 28–35. A healthy development is related to what happened when the foundation of the etheric body and Intellectual and Mind Soul was laid (Fig. 27).

In this period, it is also possible to get a glimpse of the spiritual world to understand whether you are on your right path toward the decisions and intentions you made prior to your birth.

Spirit Man from the Age of 56–63

In this period, it is possible to develop the germ of Spirit Man which is under the influence of planet Saturn. This happens through a transformation of the physical body and Consciousness Soul into Spirit Man. Spirit Man is closely connected to the development of spiritual intuition.

This period 56–63 mirrors what happened in the period 0–7 as well as the period 35–42. A healthy development is related to what happened when the foundation of the physical body and Consciousness Soul was laid (Fig. 27).

Planet Saturn is connected to the skeleton. This is why you in this period get all the deep questions in relation to how you have managed your life, and what you want and need to do the rest of your existing life. According to Rudolf Steiner there are many things – especially in relation to spiritual development – which are not to be understood before you are in this period of life.

From the Age of 63 and Beyond

After the age of 63, you have had most of your karmic meetings to dissolve old karma. Most of the meetings – in relation to karma – you have after this period is with people you are to meet in a next life and with whom you are going to do something with. Here you can be given the possibility of working with some of the impulses that may be important for you in your next life.

If you are on a spiritual path, you can deepen your spiritual work in relation to both your Soul development and spiritual development through study and meditation.

The period after the age of 63 is not described much by Rudolf Steiner.

Group Work and Exercises during a Biographical Seminar

All exercises are related to specific periods in your life where you develop different parts of your physical body, your Soul qualities, or spiritual qualities. The exercises in the period from birth to the age of seven where the physical body is developed focus on your physical surroundings. The exercises from the age of seven to 14 where the etheric body is developed focus on rhythm and traditions. The exercises from 14 to 21 where the astral body is developed focus on a person who meant something to you as an ideal or anti-ideal, and so on.

When you attend a biographical seminar, it is best to have three and a half days for the seminar. The reason for this is that you thereby have three nights together with your Angel to digest the results from the seminar both in relation to yourself and to the other participants in your group. Before you fall asleep, you do a looking back of what you have heard from the others and end with a looking back of what your have told yourself. This increases your consciousness both in relation to the others and to yourself, and helps you reach a deeper understanding of which gifts you can give to the others in relation to their future and also in relation to your own plans of action.

A two-day program is described in Appendix A.5.8: Working with your biography – your life's story, p. 237. The program lasts only two days because it is very difficult for most participants to give this type of seminar more time.

A.2.3 Inner Spiritual Development through Esoteric Schooling

The Art of Looking Back in a Spiritual Perspective

The art of looking back is described earlier. 36 The spiritual background for looking back are these different types of looking back which happen in your daily life and when you cross the Threshold to the spiritual world in the moment of your physical death.

Life after Death

When you after your physical life cross the Threshold to the spiritual world, you harvest and digest whatever you have experienced when you lived on Earth. In the spiritual world, you do this harvesting together with higher beings.

As long as you live, your physical body and etheric body are joined together, and the moment you die, not only your I and your astral body but also your etheric body leave your physical body.

When you have crossed the Threshold, you look back twice.

The first looking back – or review – happens immediately after you have crossed the Threshold. The Life Forces leave your physical body during about 3,5 days. In this period, you make what can be called the small looking back at your life: going backwards from the end of your life to your birth. Here, your will perceives images of your whole life, you will see whatever happened as a kind of “film”. Some spiritual schools name what happens here a “déjà vue” of your life. When the Life Forces have left you, it is only your corpse in the form of flesh and physical substance which remains on Earth.

The second looking back – or review – happens during a period that lasts about a third of your earthly life. Here, you move to a new period in your life after death. In many eastern spiritual streams, this period is called Kamaloka. This is the period where you lay the foundation for the karmic meetings in your next life. Kamaloka is also called the great looking back. Here, you again look back at your life from the moment of your death to the moment you were born on Earth. In this looking back, you not only perceive the different situations as pictures, you also relive the different episodes you have had with other people. You do not relive them from your own perspective but from the perspective of the other people. If you have caused pain and problems in another person, it is this person's feelings and the pain you have caused him/her that you relive. Being in Kamaloka and being confronted with the consequences of your deeds in your former life can cause you a lot of pain. This is an awakening experience which makes you realize that you have not acted in the best way in that specific life situation. You reach the conclusion that a redemption is necessary in your next life. This is the background for a karmic meeting in your next life. Whatever you do has karmic consequences which have to be redeemed in a next life. You should not see this as a punishment but as a possibility of further development of your personality in a coming life.

So, the first part of your being in the spiritual world is a looking back period. Then comes the preparation for your next life. This is the period, where you in co-operation with higher beings, digest and take learning points of whatever has happened in your past life. After that comes the period where you begin to prepare and focus on what is to happen in your next life.

As you prepare a new incarnation, you arrange the karmic meetings in your next life and you establish the mission of your next life. You plan what you have to learn and develop in your next life. You select the country you are to be born in and your parents based on the challenges and learning possibilities that are necessary for your Individuality to develop further in your next life.

Then comes the moment where you again cross the Threshold and you are born into the physical world. You are again incarnated on Earth. In the moment of birth, a veil goes down, and you remember nothing of what you have planned prior to your coming incarnation.

This happens because every human being has to learn to master two major qualities over many lives: One is love, and the other is freedom. If you could remember everything you had planned with the higher beings, you would not be free, you would do what was planned. Instead, a veil goes down, and you therefore continuously have the freedom to make your own choices and decisions. You have to develop your ability to make healthy judgments based on your inner moral and conscience. Learning to judge is the path to freedom. You have the free choice to act, to redeem old karma, or to create new karma. You have the possibility of following the intention of your Higher Self to fulfill your mission on Earth or the opposite. It is totally up to you how you use your life. Do you use it to learn and develop toward your Higher Self or do you follow the inspiration from the Counterforces and your lower instincts? Do you follow the unredeemed parts of your Individuality?

Your Individuality follows you from life to life. In the first period after birth, you still live mainly in the spiritual world. It takes time to adjust being in a physical body, and your Individuality does not begin to incarnate in you before you reach the age of 2,5 to 3. Your Individuality, your own Ego, is not fully incarnated before you are about 21 years old.

Meditation and the Quest for Initiation

Meditation and Contemplation Exercises

Rudolf Steiner describes the importance of meditation in the following way:

“Thus, meditation is the way which also leads Man to knowledge, to the contemplation of his eternal, indestructible, essential being.” 37

If you wish to follow an inner quest of enlightenment/initiation based on anthroposophical meditation, exercises must be a fully integrated part of it. 38

Many of Rudolf Steiner's works contain different meditation exercises, but it will take us too far away from the subject to describe all the specific exercises here. Instead, I refer to Part 5.1.2, chapter Meditation and contemplation, the exercises and the way of meditation given by Arthur Zajonc. 39

Every individual has to find his/her own meditation practice based on what resonates in the individual at that specific time of his/her life and level of inner development. But there is one thing Rudolf Steiner recommends everyone to be aware of – he calls it the golden rule of meditation:

“For every one step that you take in the pursuit in higher knowledge, take three steps in the perfection of your own character.” 40

This rule is sometimes formulated in this way:

“Every time you take one step forward in your meditative development you have to take three steps forward in your moral development.”

The Path of Initiation through Development of the Two-, Sixteen-, and Twelve-petaled Lotus Flower

The last part of this chapter is only recommended for people who have a strong will to work seriously on their inner development including the cleaning of their chakras (the lotus flowers) based on meditation and contemplation. 41

Rudolf Steiner emphasizes in his book Knowledge of the higher worlds and its attainment:

“How is it achieved? That for full conscious entry into the spiritual world, it is not enough just to develop higher sense organs in the astral body (the lotus flowers), but it is also necessary to master certain processes in the denser etheric body.” 42

This mastering of the etheric body is done in three phases and creates a center near the heart for the currents of the etheric body. Following is an overview of the first of the three phases, and after that Phases 2 and 3 will be unfolded.

Phase 1: Development of the Two-petaled Lotus Flower

Selected spiritual exercises create a temporary center in the head, or more precisely, in the region around the two-petaled lotus flower (between the eyes above the root of the nose). This occurs through the development of vibrant and flexible thinking, which increasingly frees itself from external sensory input. Rudolf Steiner indicates what such training is required in the following way: It begins with selected exercises primarily to deepen and intensify intelligent and rational head Thinking. These exercises make the Thinking free and independent of all physical sensations and experiences. The Thinking is concentrated on a single point which is completely under the person's control. This creates a provisional center for the currents in the etheric body. This center is not yet in the heart region but in the head region. For clairvoyants, it can be regarded as the starting point for movements in the two-petaled lotus flower.

Phase 2: Development of the Sixteen-petaled Lotus Flower

The next chakra to focus on is the sixteen-petaled lotus flower located in the larynx. Rudolf Steiner says that it is through certain spiritual activities linked to the sense organs that we today can develop this lotus flower. We are told that eight of the 16 leaves of this lotus flower were already developed when we were in Paradise, but after the expulsion they were darkened.

Today, we face the possibility of developing the remaining eight petals of the sixteen-petaled lotus flower in a conscious way – see chapter: Unfolding Phase 2: The sixteen-petaled lotus flower: p. 180.

After having formed the etheric center in our head near the two-petaled lotus flower, we must strive to transfer it to the region of the larynx. This will enable us to control certain streams and movements in our etheric body. This illuminates the Soul space around our body and forms a membrane network around our etheric body separating it from the outer etheric world.

Transferring the spiritual focus of our etheric body from our head region to the larynx gives us the possibility of true spiritual perceptions – an experience of imagination from the spiritual world.

Phase 3: Development of the Twelve-petaled Lotus Flower

The next stage of this development is to transfer the provisional center formed in the larynx to the heart region of the twelve-petaled lotus flower. When this happens, Man is able to enter the true spiritual world. Now, Man sees a new significance in everything as it speaks to him from its essential being.

When this happens, Man both gets the ability to enter the spiritual world and to achieve the capacity of clear judgment of his super sensible experience. A connection is created between these higher worlds and our sense perceptible world. This capacity of clear judgment is a necessary condition for the modern path of initiation. Be aware that there is a great difference between an Initiate based on Anthroposophy and a Guru. A Guru, in most eastern development systems, requires that you follow blindly in full obedience. An Initiate based on Anthroposophy gives moral guidance which you can choose to follow, or not, in full freedom.

A Path toward Personal Initiation

Both Rudolf Steiner and Sergei Prokofeiff describe the steps to be taken on the Rosicrucian path of initiation as described above. But for many – including me – it is very difficult to achieve the inner transformation strived for based on this guidance. Personally, I have often felt that I had a need of a more clear and personal guidance from a person, who has walked the path of initiation. In 2016, I met a person in Denmark, Jan Brahm, who bases his path of initiation on the platform of Rudolf Steiner. He has developed it further based on personal research and last but not least on the research of the two occultists, Valentin Tomberg and Willy Seiss. Both are deeply rooted in Rudolf Steiner's spiritual images and have supplemented them with their own occult research. Valentin Tomberg gave among others a 97-week inner development contemplation and meditation class for a small group of people in Holland during World War II, The course of the Lord's Prayer. 43 It gives a week to week description of what to focus on and what to achieve in relation to transforming our astral and etheric body. Week 12 in Volume 1 in The course of the Lord's Prayer, pages 74–94 contains a very fine description of the individual lotus flowers. Willy Seiss has deepened the knowledge of the chakras. He has written Chakra-Werk in 37 series in German. 44 Jan Brahm has written a very fine introduction to the works of Valentin Tomberg and Willy Seiss, The Christological path of schooling – A sketch over its first phases. 45 Unfortunately, the book only exists in Danish.

Unfolding Phases 2 and 3

In this section, I refer to Rudolf Steiner's Knowledge of the higher worlds as well as to Valentin Tomberg, Willy Seiss and Jan Brahm. This section includes a reflection in relation to the development of the the sixteen-petaled lotus flower in relation to the methods of Social Ecology. These reflections are developed together with my former colleague Sigrun Hardardóttir. This section ends with a description of the six subsidiary exercises for development of the twelve-petaled lotus flower, the lotus flower of the heart.

Unfolding Phase 2: The Sixteen-petaled Lotus Flower

The challenge in developing the sixteen-petaled lotus flower goes far back to ancient times as mentioned above. Today, it is our task through meditation, contemplation, actions, and moral living in our daily life to bring the eight of the 16 leaves to full bloom. When this happens, the eight darkened leaves will also unfold fully. Rudolf Steiner has given an exercise for this in his “Weekday exercises”, one exercise for each day plus a summary. The following description is as Rudolf Steiner has described them, adjusted with comments from Valentin Tomberg and Jan Brahm.

This chapter will first describe each exercise followed by a description of how to meditate and work with the exercises as a daily inner task.

Description of the Weekday Exercises – the Lotus Flower of the Word 46

1 Saturday: The Right Meaning/Imagination

To be aware of your imaginations. Only to focus on important thinking. Gradually to train your thoughts to distinguish the essential from the unessential (distinguish the thoughts from your Higher Ego from those from your Lower Ego). Distinguish the eternal from the perishable, the truth from sheer meaning.

2 Sunday: The Right Judgment/Right Decision

You should only make a decision after having fully considered the situation even in relation to the smallest thing. You should avoid all thoughtless actions and deeds. Behind everything you do, there must be a well-considered reason and everything else should be omitted. Judgments must be made independently of sympathy and antipathy.

3 Monday: The Right Word – the Right Speech

Speak neither too little nor too much. Do not speak without a reason. Omit speaking for the sake of speaking. Rather be quiet. Speak only of what is significant. Neither too many nor too few words. Try to ennoble the conversation.

4 Tuesday: The Right Action

Your actions must not be disturbing for your fellow men. If you act out of your inner conscience, you must consider how your actions can be performed for the benefit of the whole. You should try to adapt your actions in accordance to your fellow human being. You must refrain from actions that are disruptive or are in conflict with what is happening. You must adapt your actions so they insert themselves harmoniously in your environment. You must carefully consider the consequences of your every action. You should act out from yourself. To act demands insight and steadfastness. This has effect on the foundation of consciousness.

5 Wednesday: The Right way of Living – Life Management

You must learn to live in harmony with nature and spirit. To look at and evaluate all sensory perceptions based on inner quietness. You must neither be hasty nor be lazy. You must organize your life in such a way that it becomes a means of working for higher development and act accordingly, so your Higher Self becomes the leader of your life.

6 Thursday: The Human Quest

This is the day for your acknowledgment of harmony. You must test your abilities and act in accordance to the self-knowledge you have reached. You do not carry out what is above your abilities, and you do not fail to do anything that lies within your reach. You set targets based on high ideals and obligations. Example: Let the weekday exercises become a habit and be able to advise and help your fellow man.

7 Friday: Learning from Life – Striving to Learn from Life

To learn as much as possible from life. To have the attitude that whatever happens around you is an occasion to gather experience. If you have failed, it is a chance to learn and to perfect it later in life. Every incident is either uplifting or disruptive for a human being. You collect a treasure of experience which you use in subsequent decisions and actions.

8 Know Yourself – Sincerity and Honesty

You are recommended to use these exercises simultaneously with the daily inner meditation. You must from time to time glance carefully at your inner to verify your experiences and principles in life. This way verifying your livelihood, see your failures and imperfections, your duties, and your goals in life. You must discern the essential from the inessential in life and form a solid basis for your moral development.

Recommendation on how to use the Weekday Meditation Exercises and Work with these Exercises on a Weekly and Daily Basis as an Inner Meditation Task

Anyone who has tried these exercises knows how difficult is to go through them day after day. To come through them, I recommend the following over an eight-week period: The first week you meditate on the first exercise only (Saturday). The following week you meditate on Exercise 2 and continue likewise the rest of the six weeks.

You meditate in the evening before falling asleep, and you go through your looking back with the question in relation to the weekday in mind. 47

When the first eight weeks have passed, you continue to use the weekday exercises every day in relation to that specific week day including the looking back exercise prior to falling asleep.

Unfolding Phase 2 through Social Processes

The previous chapter describes how to develop the sixteen-petaled lotus flower through daily meditation. In my work with Social Ecology, I have for many years, together with my colleague Sigrun Hardardóttir in danSET consulting, lived with the following question:

“Isn't it so, that the methods used for the development of social qualities between people approximate the methods required for development of the individual petals of the sixteen-petalled lotus flower?”

We based our reflections on whether it not only is through our individual work with the weekday exercises but also through the development of our social skills and inner moral development that we have the opportunity to develop the remaining eight petals in the larynx. We do not consider the following as truths but as thoughts and reflections, which you are welcome to give further consideration or to challenge.

In the following description of each of the seven development areas, the description by Rudolf Steiner of each exercise is the basis for our reflections in relation to our potential for development in the Social Ecological way of working. That means that development is both based on our work with organizational and personal development in client situations and on what Rudolf Steiner has described in his description of the week days exercises.

Lex Boss's Lemniscate is used in connection to several of the following descriptions, as the Lemniscate is an instrument to reach healthy judgment. 48

1 Developing the Right Idea, the Right Thinking, and the Right Meaning

In Social Ecology, you are trained to observe accurately. You are trained in the art of observation so you objectively – in relation to the sphere of Thinking, Feeling, and Will – can describe a particular social situation (field B in the Lemniscate). 49 Through observation, you train yourself to become an observer. Train yourself to dispassionately obtain the truth and thereby form the right concepts and ideas in a social situation.

In the Lemniscate, it is in field C that you connect the concepts of observation. To apply the right concepts, you can train yourself to use moral intuition to connect with the spiritual ideas and the world of concepts behind the observed.

Specifically, we work on reaching the right imagination, the right Thinking in the following exercises 50 :

  • Listening on three levels

  • The Common Picture Building painting exercise

2 Developing the Right Judgment/Right Decision

Much of the training in Social Ecology is used to develop the individual's judgment- and decision-making capacity. Using the Judgment Building phase of the Lemniscate (movement from field C to field D), you can begin to formulate the principles and concepts behind what should happen. You assess what you want to bring into the future. In field D, you vision a future ideal or a number of future scenarios of what you wish for. The Will element must be included in the decision. Afterward, you use moral fantasy in a dialog with the ideal. Through this dialog, you assess the consequences prior to your final decision. Once this is done, the decision is made.

3 Developing the Right Word – The Right Speech

In Social Ecology, people are in several ways trained in the quality of speaking the right word. In group processes, we often use the method where each participant has a few minutes alone to prepare what he/she wants to say about a particular issue.

In the supportive conversation, the quality of careful deep listening – before responding – is trained. People are encouraged to ask themselves the following questions: What does the other person need to hear right now? What can I say to help the other person further?

In a supportive conversation, you use questions from the different fields of the Lemniscate to help a person find answers to his/her questions. In this situation, the right word is to begin with the right question. You can choose to listen to what has been said, and instead of answering immediately, you can form inner pictures and live with these pictures until you receive a message that you want to forward to the speaking person.

In Social Ecology, you are trained to speak to someone in accordance with his/her temperament, planet qualities, and age.

The right word in a supportive conversation is that one word/question which the person needs to hear at the specific moment in a specific situation.

4 Developing the Right Action

In Social Ecology you can ask yourself the following question before you act: What matters? and then act upon what the situation calls for.

In the Lemniscate the acting-phase is the motion from field D to E. Here you can apply moral technique to find the best way of applying what has been decided into practice.

5 Developing the Right Way of Living – Life Management

In Social Ecology, you can achieve impulses to develop these areas by working with your biography. Upon completion of your biography, you can reflect on your habits and rhythms for thereafter to decide how to organize life with habits that support a healthy lifestyle. Through biographical work, you can reach an understanding of how the individual seasons affect your life rhythms.

It is recommended that anyone who works with Social Ecology is on a personal spiritual path of development where they work on transforming themselves, and strive to realize the person they can become. This can happen by increasing their ability to reach a healthy judgment, and through meditative work.

6 Realizing Your Human Quest

In Social Ecology, this can be realized by working with your biography. In biographical work, you attempt to get closer to an understanding of who you are as a person by working to uncover patterns and finding options. You work on finding your task and mission in life. You work to realize what life expects and demands of you right now. You work on obtaining a deeper self knowledge and through that finding higher goals which you can achieve or aim to realize.

7 Realizing Your Ability of Learning from Life – Striving to Learn from Life

One of the key pillars in Social Ecology is to be reflective and develop yourself as a learner. The method of looking back is one of the main tools to develop as a learning human being. Looking back is recommended after each day. Looking back is used after a seminar day. Looking back is used at the end of meetings. Looking back is used in connection with focusing on values, attitudes, and goals. Looking back is one of the most important means to develop both the employees and the organization. There are many different types of questions to focus on in a looking back session. All the questions are developed from the mode that one has to learn from what one encounters in life. In a social situation, one will often continue to meet the same thing again and again until one has learnt what is to be learnt from that particular situation.

In a social situation, it is often so that one in a specific situation does not know whether one has done the right thing or not. A confirmation may come on a later date.

To work with your biography and learn from it is a way to learn from the life you have lived.

8 Striving to Know Yourself – Sincerity and Honesty

In Social Ecology, you often start a process by looking at the present time (field B and C in the Lemniscate) before moving on to the future. In field B, you can begin to observe specific happenings which have occurred in your life. In field C, you extract concepts and life principles on what has been observed. Then you assess whether there is harmony and whether you have lived in accordance with your life principles.

When working with Social Ecology in an organization, it is recommended to use this method. When doing so, you focus on the values that you act out from in your daily work by putting questions such as: Do I live by my values? Do I live by my principles and goals? Can I recognize my values in my daily operations?

Biographical work and meditative work are a striving to get to know yourself in such a way that you can come closer to the human being you have come to Earth to become, a quest to find the karmic tasks – the mission – you have come down to Earth to redeem.

Unfolding Phase 3: The Twelve-petaled Lotus Flower: Focus on Heart Thinking and Development of the Etheric Heart

The aim of Phase 3 is to intensify the development of the six subsidiary exercises given by Rudolf Steiner. 51 , 52 The six subsidiary exercises are: control of thought, control of action, perseverance, tolerance, faith, and equanimity which leads to the unfolding of the twelve-petaled lotus flower.

Description of the Six Subsidiary Exercises

1 Control of Thought

To master your world of thoughts, you begin to focus on a very simple physical thing, e.g., a pencil. As you do this, you empty your mind from all other thoughts. First, you think of all the physical material that is part of the pencil. After that you connect everything to that pencil that in a natural way can be related to it. Don't let any other things/thoughts come to your mind in the five minutes the exercise is recommended to last.

To attain the right effect of this exercise, you end the exercise by concentrating on your head and your spine in a way as if you would let a feeling of inner steadiness and security stream through these parts of your body.

2 Control of Action

In this exercise your Will, ability to act, and take initiative is increased if you every day for a month carry out an activity at a specific time which is not part of your daily routine. You plan to do an unimportant action, e.g., move a thing, e.g., a plant from one point of your windowsill to another, and move it back again next day. During the course of this month you can add one or two other unimportant activities to your training.

During this exercise, you fill your two-fold lotus flower with a power of initiative and in the end of the exercise you let this feeling of initiative stream from your head toward your heart.

During the course of this month, it is important that you sometimes carry out the first exercise, so the results you have achieved during the course of the first month do not vanish.

3 Endurance, Perseverance (Steadfastness)

This exercise focuses on achieving inner quietness in any situation you may come across during a day. You carry out this exercise during the course of a month. No matter what you meet during the course of a day – it could be pain or it could be joy – you do not let your Soul become over exited, be filled with fear, or filled with joy. You should not let the Feeling of your inner life swing from one extreme to the other, but let your Soul be in inner balance.

You do not need to worry about your Soul becoming dull and boring. Instead, you will feel that your Soul is cleansed from swinging in all directions.

By the end of these exercises, you may the feel stream from your heart toward your hands and feet and finally toward your head.

4 Patience and Tolerance

In this exercise, you train yourself to see the positive side of everything you meet. You train yourself to be tolerant opposite to being critical toward what you meet. That is not equal to not judging anything, but judgments must come from an objective striving to understand what is going on and not just be based on your own personal opinion. You try to see things that are imperfect in a positive way instead of blaming and being critical. The best way to describe this quality of the Soul is through a Persian legend about Jesus Christ, who while walking with his disciples saw and smelled the corpse of a dog on the side of the road. All the disciples turned away from this awful sight. Only Jesus Christ stopped, looked at the dog and said: What beautiful teeth this dog has. While the others only saw the ugliness, He sought for beauty.

If you in a month strive to see all the positive sides, you can reach a mood where you feel that your skin is permeated from all sides and that your Soul is opening up for secret and subtle things in your surroundings. When this feeling comes, you can let it stream toward your heart and from there toward your eyes and out into the room in front of you. To reach this mood, you need a lot of concentration. This is not possible if you are too affected and passionate in you feeling area.

5 Openness, Trust, and Faith

You continue with the other exercises, while you in the fifth month begin this exercise focusing on openness and trust. When you hear anything new you have to be totally open in your mind for new experiences, new knowledge. Let the possibility of it being true to be open, do not let your earlier experiences block the possibility of it being true.

The example Steiner gives is that even if a person comes and says that a specific church tower during the night has begun to lean to the side, you let the possibility be open even though it is against all laws of nature.

If you master this openness, you will notice in your Soul a very subtle Feeling. You may try to sense this Feeling in your surroundings and let it stream through all your senses: through your eyes, ears, and skin. It creates a positive space around you, which is life-giving for your surroundings.

6 Balance in Life, Equanimity (Inner Balance)

During the sixth months, you may try to switch between all the five exercises above in a systematic way. Doing so, will result in equanimity in your Soul, and you will notice that all areas of dissatisfaction in relation to what you meet and what happens will disappear. You will perceive a state of inner balance and quietness in your Soul.

Recommendation: How to use the weekday meditation exercises and how to work with the exercises as weekly and daily inner meditation tasks.

It is recommended to use one or more of the six virtues parallel with your meditation work for the weekday exercises.

The Final Mastering the Etheric Body

Working through these three phases of initiation leads to the last movement of the provisional centers of the etheric body. The last of these movements happen by working frequently with the six subsidiary exercises which lead to the unfolding of the twelve-petaled lotus flower. At the same time, the center of the etheric body is moved from the region of the larynx to the region of the heart.

For full maturity of the etheric organ in the region of the heart, Rudolf Steiner adds another quality: the love of inner freedom or the longing for inner liberation. Sergei Prokofieff quotes Rudolf Steiner when describing a person that reaches this stage:

“Once these attributes become an inner habit, the individual frees himself from everything that is connected only with faculties of his personal nature. He ceases to view things from his own special standpoint, and the limits of his narrow self which fetter him to this standpoint disappear. The secrets of the spiritual world are able to enter his inner self. This is liberation.” 53

“Transition of the provisional centre to the region of the heart finally enables a person to achieve the capacity of entering the spiritual world, to achieve the capacity of clear judging his super sensible experiences; to penetrate the mystery of the spiritual connections between these higher worlds and our sense-perceptible world. What is described earlier is a necessary condition to tread the modern path of initiation.” 54

This transition to reach knowledge of the higher worlds, or you could say to strive for initiation is – as I have mentioned earlier – very difficult without personal guidance from a person, who has already walked this path of initiation. Rudolf Steiner was very well aware of this as he in his Knowledge of the higher worlds, 1904, GA 10 wrote the following:

“Two things apply in this area. First, the one who strives earnestly for higher knowledge will not shy away from any hassle or obstacle when it comes to finding an initiate, who can introduce him to the higher secrets of the world. On the other hand, one must trust that the initiated will in any circumstances find the disciple if there is a serious quest for knowledge of the Higher Worlds.” 55

A.3 Social Ecology and the Systemic Methods


To give a short overview of System Theory based on the work of Bernard Lievegoed and Friedrich Glasl.

A.3.1 Bernard Lievegoed and System Theory

The Social Ecological Method also known as the Lievegoed Method is a System Theory Oriented Method and can be considered an alternative to mainstream-related methods of facilitating and OD consulting. The methods have been developed and tested in practice by professional consultants in many countries around the world over the past 60 years.

From the beginning of his work with organizational development based on the Social Ecological methods, the NPI methods, Bernard Lievegoed focused on the importance of System Theory for management. The title of the first part in his book The developing organization, 1973 is: The importance of system theory for management. 1

In the following, a few of his perspectives/reflections in that chapter are extracted.

Lievegoed claims that it now (1969) is a necessity to integrate the social subsystem together with the economical and technical subsystem in business and management theory and to take the growing complexity of all social structures into consideration. He claims that it is necessary to become familiar with the laws of development of social structures. Management can study these laws and make them comprehensible and predictable. The first step in this direction is to free oneself from the actual situation in one's own organization and learn to think in concepts of developing systems.

He continues by saying that “system” is a word that signifies coherence between several elements that organizations can be regarded as systems whose parts function together in a related way, and concludes that:

“A system is a totality of related elements, concepts or variables selected by man.” 2

Lievegoed continues in Part 1, page 18 with: The Importance of system theory for management, and in chapter two, page 21, he writes: Thinking in models as a basis for modern management. 3

In chapter three Lievegoed focuses on: Transforming systems into models. His conclusion on page 38 is:

“Thinking in systems and models of organizations is the algebra of organization theory.”

In chapter four, page 44: The concept of development, he writes in his summary in relation to development:

  • Development is a discontinuous process, is irreversible, and takes place in time

  • The time process follows the sequence of: general initial model, differentiation, and integration in a model of greater complexity

  • It is a process which takes place step by step, whereby earlier steps or levels may remain as subsystems in a dormant state

  • Thus, development leads to the formation of a layered structure.

A.3.2 System Theory and Social Ecology

In a tender situation to a Danish university, danSET and the consulting company Ankerhus A/S were in 2004 asked to document that the methods proposed were part of the System Theory. They asked us to document the following in relation to the Social Ecological methods:

  • The methods used had to be based on System Theory and be holistically oriented

  • The development processes used were based on the need of the employees

  • The employees were involved in the development process

  • The employees became anchored in the change processes and this way became motivated and engaged

  • The methods were process oriented

  • The methods were dialog-based

  • The methods were bottom-up and top-down oriented

  • The university would introduce managers to procedural thinking

  • The consultants had to be process oriented, focused on ownership, and anchored in the whole organization.

Based on this requirement, we chose to refer to professor Friedrich Glasl and Bernard Lievegoed's book Udviklingsledelse, 1997 where chapter 1 is a scientific explanation of the most important elements in organization development methods including references to the theoreticians who had influenced System Theory. 4

Table 6, above, is an overview of the seven most important elements in an organization which again are grouped in three subsystems. 5

The following Table 7 6 characterizes the different steps of development toward System Theory. The figure also shows the methods of Classical Techno-Structural organizations and the theories of the Psycho-Social oriented organizations. Table 7 is a subset of that figure and focuses on the range of the different system theoretical methods in relation to the three subsystems.

Table 6

Three Subsystems and the Seven most Important Elements in an Organization

Subsystems Elements
Cultural subsystem 1. Identity
2. Policies, strategies, programs
Social subsystem 3. Structure
4. Humans, groups, climate, management
5. Functions and organs
Technical instrumental subsystem 6. Processes
7. Physical resources

Source: R1. Glasl and Lievegoed (1997).

Table 7.

System Theoretical Methods in Relation to the Three Subsystems.

System Theories
Cybernetic oriented Contingency theoretically oriented System evolutionary theories
Cultural subsystem Values, ethics, culture, policies, strategy, development
Social subsystem Network based on rules
Learning and adaptability
Rules and functions
Environment Deterministic
Situation oriented management
Network autonomy

Situation oriented management
Job enrichment
Technical instrumental subsystem Rule-based processes
Machine models
Soft technology
Researchers and authors of management literature Achoff, Ashby, Beer, H. Ulrich, Bleicher Burns/Stalker, Fiedler, Gabele, Kieser, Lawrence/Lorsch, Staehle, Woodward Bleicher, Emery/Trist, Greiner, Kirsch, Lievegoed, Malik, Mintzberg, Probst, Pümpkin, Riechmann, McWhinney

Source: Glasl and Lievegoed (1997).

A.3.3 System Theoretical Methods in Relation to the Three Subsystems

In our offer to the university, we wrote that we based our solution on the systemic methods in relation to the contingency theoretical orientation in the system evolutionary theories. Also, that it was especially the holistic oriented organization development methods as developed by Bernard Lievegoed in the NPI since 1954 which would be used. As you see in the Table 7, the Lievegoed methods belong to the main stream of holistic oriented System Theory, where the thinking is systematic, not linear, intuitive, phenomenological, dynamic and process oriented.

Social Ecology or the Lievegoed method is a dialog-based way of consulting, where the starting point is the existing customer situation. Where through a shared research – through Common Picture Building – a common acknowledgment is achieved of the existing situation which through Common Judgment Building leads to the most meaningful solutions for the involved people in a given situation.

One of the specific methods is the dynamic decision model, the Lemniscate, developed by Lex Bos, Holland. The theory behind the model is documented in Judgment formation groups, 2014, which is a translation of two of most important parts of Lex Bos's doctoral Thesis. 7

The Lemniscate is a dialog tool as well as a coaching tool and a tool for development of visions, strategies, and goals.

The recommended Contingency Theoretical and System Evolutionary NPI methods include a wide range of evaluation tools as double feedback loops, looking back methods, and decision follow-up tools. Tools which make quantitative as well as qualitative follow-up possible.

The methods are not expert oriented, they are holistically oriented, and the facilitator functions as catalyst and coach.

The employees are involved in all parts of the development process, and focus is on personal development as part of the change process.

A.4 Overview of Exercises

Purpose and Introduction

This appendix shows a variety of exercises that can be used as inspiration when you as a facilitator design your own seminar processes or programs. All described exercises have been used in specific training or client situations, but not all exercises are used in the selected program-examples in A.5. To make it easier for you as a facilitator to select what is relevant in your situation, every exercise begins with a short description of the purpose. Some of the exercises described are only relevant for one type of seminar/situation, but many of them are useful in a number of different seminar situations. The specific exercise must always be adapted to a specific process. For many of the exercises, time is specified for the different elements. This should only be regarded as a recommendation and must be adapted to the situation. In relation to a few of the exercises, the spiritual concepts for understanding an exercise are described.

A.4.1 Initial Presentation and Group Forming Exercises

Initial Presentations at the Beginning of a Seminar – Presentation (Two and Two)


Getting to know the other participants.

Get the first training in interviewing, listening and presentation.


As a facilitator, you don't have to use all the questions, and you can supplement with your own.

Interview your counterpart based on the following:

  • Name, where are you from?

  • What is your favorite interest?

  • What are you working with now?

  • What are you dreaming of doing in the future?

  • Why are you attending this seminar?

  • Why is it important for you to strengthen your ability to work in groups?

  • What are your expectations of these days?

  • Why is it important for you to strengthen your ability to cooperate?


Step 1: (5 minutes)

Milling around on the floor, find one you do not know, and form groups of two.

Step 2: (6–10 minutes depending on the time available)

Sit down and interview your counterpart based on the questions given in the instruction.

After 50% of the time has passed swap roles.

Step 3: (30 seconds per presentation if the presentation takes place in plenary). If the presentation takes place in smaller groups, interview one of the participants in the group and present what she/he has told within 1–2 minutes.


A fast way to get glimpses of the other participants' interests and intentions.

Milling around without Sitting Down


Dynamics and movement in the group letting everyone see each other.


When the facilitator says Stop moving around, interview the one you meet by asking:

  • Name, where at you from?

  • What is important for you to achieve from this seminar/event?

  • Why have you decided to come?


Step 1: (3 minutes)

Milling around, look friendly, meeting the others' eyes.

Step 2: (2–3 minutes)

Stop in front of a person you do not know.

Get to know him/her based on the listed questions.

Step 3 and 4: (5–15 minutes)

Milling around 2–3 times more, meet a new person and exchange information.


A fine way of making a new group learn a bit about each other in a quick way.

Morning Greetings – Creative


Creates a good mood and warms everyone up very quickly.

Instruction and Process

Everyone stands up and greets the nearest person (that you do not already know) as if he/she was an old friend you have not seen for a very long time. Greet with all the warmth and openness you have in you.


Lots of laughter, humor, and hugging.

A Lottery Group Forming Exercise – Spiritual


A fast and random way of letting people create working groups.


You have in advance prepared a bag/hat with the same number of drawings/symbols as there are participants. The number of equal drawings/symbols is the same as the number of people you intend to have in each group.


Every participant in the seminar takes one drawing from the bag without looking at it. People with the same symbol form a group.


The forming of groups happens very quickly, and you end up with mixed groups, where some know each other and some don't. Maybe of some groups consisting of only male or female.

A.4.2 Observation Exercises

Observation of a Physical Object – Creative


This exercise will increase your ability to see what is around you and to learn that you can see very many different things in even very simple things.

Instruction and Process

You use a stick, e.g., a small branch from a tree. You ask the participants to sit in a circle and to pass the stick around for observation. Each person has to mention one detail on the stick whilst holding it. That detail should not have been mentioned before.

Group Size

7–12 participants per circle.

L2b Process

The branch is sent around in the circle four times.

Round 1–3: In these rounds, you are only permitted to stick to facts of what you can observe/see, e.g.,

  • One end of the stick is thicker than the other

  • 3 cm from the thickest part there is a red spot

  • And so on

Round 4: Use your imagination and mention one thing, e.g.,

  • I see a flagpole

  • It is a spoon

  • And so on


You will learn that things can be observed from many more different angles than you yourself are able to, and that all angles are valid. You will expand your observation skills and your fantasy by listening to other people.

A.4.3 Listening Exercises

Listening on Three Levels – Based on a Small Story from a Daily Life Situation


To train the participants' ability to listen by focusing on one of the three levels: Thinking, Feeling, or Will.


When we listen in daily life situations, most of us are not aware of on which of the three levels we are listening.

In this exercise, you train your listening ability in general, and in group meetings by focusing on one of the three areas, Thinking, Feeling or Will. You only listen to one of them and afterward you give feedback on that one level.

How do you Listen to the Different Levels in a Group Meeting?

Do you focus on listening no the Thinking level/the content level in a group meeting:

  • Do you most often listen to the content of what has been said?

  • Are you afterward able to give a precise feedback of what has been said without mixing your own thoughts, ideas, and arguments into the summary?

If you are not able to do this, those to whom you are referring will have no basis for their own judgment. They will only hear your opinion.

Do you focus on listening on the Feeling level/the relation level in a group meeting:

  • Do you most often listen to what is going on within the story teller?

If you listen to the mood in the group, you listen on the level of Feeling. This means that you after the meeting will refer: It was a fine meeting due to the good mood, there was a lot of joy, and so on. Or maybe you come back and say that it was an awful meeting due to quarreling and so on. But those to whom we are referring do not get any impression of what was said during the meeting, as the summary primarily is relation and Feeling oriented.

Do you focus on listening on the Will level/the process level in a group meeting:

To listen to the Will impulses in a situation is not very usual for most of us. When you listen to the Will, you do it by observing the body language (e.g., the pointing finger, the voice being strengthened, hammering on the table, slamming a door, the look in the eyes). You may try to observe the Will impulses behind what is being said. You may listen to sentences like: We will doWe must doWe have already doneIt must be so

Most of us may be good listeners on one level or maybe two, but few of us have experience in listening on all three levels. You may train your weakest level by focusing your listening ability on that level in this exercise.

This exercise is classical in Social Ecological training, but you must do it more than once to reach an understanding of it.

Group Size and Roles

The best group size is four, though seven participants in a group is acceptable.

A is the story teller. He/she tells a small story (max. 5 minutes) from daily life, a story where he/she was irritated, angry, exited, e.g., when he/she got a parking ticket or when he/she was pushed in a queue etc.

B listens on the Thinking level – the contents in the story.

C listens on the Feeling level, both in the story and to A while he/she is telling the story.

D listens on the level of Will, the Will impulses, both in the story and while A tells the story.

If there are more than four participants in the group, two of them may listen on the same level.


Four stories are told, and feedback is given to all stories (15–20 minutes for each round).

The shift between the stories must be fast (no small talk or commenting).

Timing per story:

A the owner of the story tells his/her story – 5 minutes.

B, C, D sit around the story teller.

B Listens and gives feedback on the Thinking level.

C Listens and gives feedback on the Feeling level. It must be done as follows: e.g., When you told us that your dog was run over you were sad and cried.

D Listens and gives feedback on the level of Will. It must be done in the following way: e.g., When you told us about …… you hammered your hand heavily in the table and said it must never happen again.

A gives feedback based on what he/she has heard – 5 minutes:

  • To B: Confirming: Yes, that is what happened or No, you have added or omitted something.

  • To C: Yes, that was my feeling in the situation, but this feeling I could not recognize. Do the same in relation to Feeling while telling the story (e.g., Yes, you are right it is still painful to remember what happened)

  • To D: Yes, I can recognize my body language both in the situation and in my way of telling the story. You are right I had these Will impulses, but that one I do not recognize.


Through this exercise, you learn to be more conscious when working together with others, and you will strengthen your listening abilities in a holistic way.


If you want to master this way of listening, it is recommended that you continue your training when you participate in daily meetings. During most meetings, there are parts of less interest and involvement. Instead of just dropping out mentally, it is recommended that you make a conscious decision to listen to the dialog based on either Thinking, Feeling, or Will.

Listening and Observation Exercises focusing on Different Dimensions in a Group Meeting


Train your ability of listening to what is going on in a group work/meeting by listening on the level of:

  • Thinking, Feeling, or Will

  • Content, Relations, and Process

  • The seven different personality qualities


Exercise description:

This exercise can be used as a next step in listening on three levels.

A dialog group is asked to have a meeting focusing on a specific theme. The rest of the group sits around the dialog group forming groups A, B, and C, and listen on the three levels Thinking, Feeling, and Will.

This is a classic in Social Ecology exercises, but to learn you must do it more than once.

Group Size and Roles

In total, there must be at least six people in this exercise.

One group has the dialog – three to five participants.

Groups A, B and C observe the dialog.

A listens on the Thinking/the content level: Is it clear what they are talking about? Is there information enough to look at the contents/the topic from different aspects?

B listens on the Feeling/the relation level: What is happening in the relation between the group members? Is someone taking too much space? Is there anyone who is too dominating? Is everyone involved in the dialog? Are there tendencies of ….? Is there humor and a good mood in the group?

C listens on the Will/the process level. The process in the meeting, the road they take from start to finish of the meeting. How was the time divided between agreeing on a theme and the dialog about the theme? Did they manage to reach any conclusions? Did they use questions to reach an understanding? Did they build on each others' contributions or did they continuously come with their own perspectives? Were there turning points that changed directions? Was there a division of roles in the group?

If you have more than 12 participants, you may divide them into two or more groups.

It is ok to have more than one person listening to especially B and C.


  • Step 1. Group dialog around a selected theme (10–15 minutes). The theme may be selected prior to the group work or as part of the group work.

  • Step 2. Looking back questions for the group participants:

    • How well were you feeling in the group?

    • Were you listened to?

    • Were your ideas heard?

  • Step 3. Feedback to the dialog group. The people from the dialog group only listen.

    • A gives feedback on the Thinking level

    • B gives feedback on the Feeling/relation level

    • C gives feedback on the Will/process level


By doing this exercise, you will be more conscious in working together with others and strengthening your listening abilities in a holistic perspective.

An Alternative way of using this Exercise is to Focus on Seven Different Personality Qualities

This exercise can be used as an independent exercise or as a supplement to the exercise focusing on Content, Relations, and Process.

One part of the group is asked to have a meeting focusing on a specific theme.

The other part listens to the seven different personality qualities (Fig. 4). 1

Group Size and Roles are Slightly Different from the Description above:

In total, there must be at least six participants in this exercise.

One group has the dialog – three to five people.

The other participants are observers – three to seven people.

You may let them make their observations in different ways:

  • You may let everyone observe all participants in the dialog group and ask them to identify a specific quality in one of the group members when observed.

  • You may let one observer focus on one person in the dialog group and ask him/her to identify one of the seven qualities of the observed person when observed.

  • You may let one observer focus on one of the seven qualities of any one of the members of the dialog group.

If you have more than 12 participants, you may divide them into two or more groups.

It is ok to have more than one person listening to the same qualities.


  • Step 1. Group dialog around a selected theme – 10–15 minutes. The theme may be selected before the group work or as part of the group work.

  • Step 2. Looking back questions for the group participants

    • How well did you feel in the group?

    • Were you listened too?

    • Were your ideas heard?

  • Step 3. Feedback to the group from the observers. The people from the dialog group only listen. The feedback may be focused on:

    • Which of the seven personality qualities did you see in the group and at which time during the meeting?

    • Were there people, who often showed a specific quality of the seven personality qualities?

    • Which of the seven personality qualities were observed most often in the group?

    • Were one of the seven personality qualities lacking in the group?


By doing this exercise, you will begin to be aware of the consequences and importance of the seven different personality qualities in a group.

Listening and Observation in Relation to Supporting Conversations


A deep listening and observation exercise. 2

Helping a person to understand a situation in his/her working life on a deeper level.


Group size: Four participants.

A: The person with a situation that leads to a question. A sits in the center.

B & C: Questioners.

D: Helper, time keeper, and feedback.


Step 1: 15 minutes.

A: formulates a written question – visible to the group – in relation to the situation and tells his/her story.

B & C: listen to the story. They are permitted to put questions for the sake of understanding and are not permitted to make comments or suggestions.

D: is time keeper and ensures that the rules for B & C are kept (D: may interfere) and must be prepared to give feedback.

Step 2: 5–7 minutes.

D: gives feedback based on what he/she has heard when the 15 minutes have passed.

  • What were the key elements in the story?

  • Were there turning points in the story?

  • How did the questions from B & C help to deepen A's understanding?

  • Were any changes in A's feelings observed?

D: puts the following questions to A:

  • Which of the questions from B & C were helpful?

  • How was it to be listened to by B & C?

  • Have you reached new insights?

  • Has your question changed? Do you want to rephrase it?

B & C: give a short feedback in relation to how it was to be listener.

A: is asked whether he/she wishes to rephrase the question.


With the question and story, A reaches a deeper level of insights about his/her own situation behind the question in focus. The rest of the group is trained in their ability of listening, observing, and putting questions.

A.4.4 Teambuilding and Collaborative Exercises

Common Picture Building – Painting Exercises – Creative – Artistic


To introduce the efficiency of Common Picture Building in group work and to create a dialog process which avoids discussions and interruptions in group work.


By painting a picture and describing it, the participants reach an understanding of how it is to be in a Common Picture Building phase where only one person speaks at a time.


Every person paints a picture based on a question. Then the group – one by one – lays his/her picture on the table. Prior to the next picture being put on the table, the others tell one by one about the painting on the table. Every round ends by the painter giving his/her comments on what he/she has painted and on what new insights he/she has gained from the comments received from the others.

Detailed Description of the Exercise

  • 1. The work is carried out in groups where everyone begins to paint with block crayons on a piece of A3-paper. 3

  • 2. The painting is carried out based on a question in relation to the existing situation in the organization, e.g., Paint how you perceive the internal co-operation in the organization today (approximately 15 minutes for the painting)

  • 3. Then comes the Common Picture Building phase, where one person at a time places his/her picture in the middle of the table (the other pictures have the blank side up).

  • 4. The person on the left side of the painter begins to describe what he/she sees in the picture – often in relation to specific colors and figures in the painting. In this phase, the painter is not permitted to make any comments or confirmation, or to answer questions. Having finished the description, the teller looks at the person sitting to the left who takes over.

  • 5. The next person now describes the picture on the table. Having finished the description, the teller looks at the person sitting to the left who takes over

  • 6. When everyone has given his/her comments to the painting, it is time for the person who has painted the picture to give comments on what he/she has painted. He/she comments on which new insights there have been based on the comments from the others.

  • 7. Now a new person places his/her picture in the center of the table, and steps 4 to 6 are repeated.

Comments to the Process

It is often very surprising for the participants to see and hear how close they come to a good description of the situation in a process like this.

Based on the time available and the number of participants in each group, it can be necessary to shorten the process. Therefore, it is only the first three to four participants who have a full round. After three to four participants, the process can be shortened by letting the last painters themselves talk about their painting.

This painting exercise can also be used as part of a Vision Building process.

After this painting exercise, the next step is Common Judgment Building based on the information from the paintings.


The group has in a very short time received a lot of information on how the participants have considered the situation in relation to a specific question. They have been trained to listen to each other without interruptions and discussion.

Building a Tower with Pipe Cleaners – Creative – Artistic


This exercise gives the participants in a group who do not know each other the possibility of making a simple physical exercise together and subsequently reflect over the patterns in co-operation and the role of each individual.


When at a seminar you have newly formed working groups, this is a good exercise to start out with.

You introduce the exercise as a “competition” between the different groups. The building process has to take place in total silence. The best group will get a prize.

You appoint an evaluation committee who will choose the winner of the competition. If there is an organizing group of the seminar, they could be the judges.

Criteria for the Judgment

  • Stability: the tower must be able to stand by itself

  • Size: the higher the better

  • Creativity

  • Beauty

  • Co-operation: all people in the group must be involved, and the work must take place without speaking.

Group Size

4–5 participants.


  • Step 1. Introduction to the exercise including purpose and criteria for judgment

  • Step 2. Every group receives a packet of pipe cleaners and has 20 minutes to build the tower

  • Step 3. After building, they make a self evaluation of their way of co-operating during the building process based on the criteria for judgment

  • Step 4. Questions for learning as a next step in looking back at the process:

    • How well did we manage to involve everyone in the task?

    • Were there some who took too much space?

    • Did someone step out physically or mentally?

    • Which of the criteria did we strive to achieve?

    • Did we find out who had which skills to do the job?

  • Step 5. The committee evaluates the towers based on the criteria, gives feedback to the groups based on the selected criteria, appoint a winner, and give a prize to the winning team.

  • Step 6. Plenary sharing of learning points.


By putting the stress of competition on people in an unknown situation, you give the individual the possibility of learning their way of coping with others and working together with others.

A.4.5 Vision Building Exercises

Vision Building through Story Telling and Guided Meditation – Creative


To create a common vision for a group by letting each participant create their vision for an ideal working day in the future, and then have them present their vision to the group.


The facilitator guides the group through a vision building process with a number of questions aimed at helping each participant to create inner pictures.

Group Size

For the guided visualization, there are no limits.

For the sharing, the participants do this in smaller groups.


Step 1: Visualization process for all participants.

Examples of guiding questions:

  • How do you get to work: do you walk, bike, drive, or take public transport?

  • What/whom do you see/meet on your way to work?

  • How does your workplace look?

  • Whom do you meet when you enter your workplace?

  • How do you greet your colleagues?

  • What is the first thing you do when you arrive at your workplace?

  • Which type of work are you engaged in?

  • Which tasks do you work with?

  • Whom do you work with?

  • Which results do you see from your work?

  • How is the physical environment in your workplace?

  • How is the working environment?

  • How is the balance between working time and spare time?

Step 2: Sharing your vision in your working group.

Use Common Picture Building to create a common vision.


This exercise gives a creative basis for Common Judgment Building of a new vision for an organization or a department of an organization.

Vision Building through Painting – Creative – Artistic


An efficient and fast way of creating a vision is to let every participant paint his/her picture of the future – his/her vision.


See the description of this exercise under the heading Appendix A.4.4 Common Picture Building – painting exercises – creative – artistic.

A.4.6 Looking Back Exercises

Most looking back exercises are described in chapter P1.4: The art of looking back: p. 10.

Looking Back at the End of a Meeting – End of a Day or End of a Seminar

These exercises are described in P2.1.1, subchapter: Looking back at the end of a meeting: p. 21.

The looking back process is driven by selected questions.

The Use of a Logbook – to Look Back and to Learn


To help a person catch all important points and ideas in a training program/process.

Introduction and Process

A captain on a ship writes in his logbook 4 containing all changes of course during the ship's travel and all other major events. It is a legal document.

In a logbook, you write everything of importance, e.g., observations, reflections, ideas, learning points, things you wonder about (including question to work with and understand later).

When you attend a number of seminars for professional development, it can be a good idea to begin on a logbook at the first seminar and to note all major learning points, ideas, and other important reflections that you want to remember from every seminar.

When a development process in Social Ecology includes a number of seminars, the use of a logbook is introduced in the beginning of a seminar. As a facilitator, you may propose the participants to use the logbook after every exercise and note their reflections. Looking back at the day and filling in the logbook is often combined with the time where you reflect on what has happened during a seminar day. If looking back is not part of a seminar you attend, you may include that yourself.

You may also decide to use a logbook in your daily working situation as a systematic way of documenting all learning points during a day, week, or year.


When you begin to use a logbook to look back, you will make it a habit to extract learning points based on situations you have met. You will increase your ability of learning and formulating learning questions to yourself and to others.

Looking Back in Connection to Rudolf Steiner's Weekday Meditation Exercises


Using the weekday meditation exercises as part of your weekly and daily inner meditation work, it is good practice to look back on a specific question in relation to the past day before falling asleep. 5

Instruction and Process

After having used the week day exercises as described in Appendix A.2.3, subchapter: Recommendation on how to use the Weekday meditation exercises. I can recommend you to end your daily meditation with a very specific looking back question for that day.

The following are examples of possible questions of focus for the evening's looking back. They are examples from my personal practice, and maybe there are even more relevant questions for you.

1 Saturday: The Right Meaning – Imagination

Today, have I in my thoughts been able to distinguish the essential from the non-essential?

Today, have I been able to distinguish the truth in what I have heard from the mere opinion?

2 Sunday: The Right Judgment/Right Decision

Today, have I managed to avoid all thoughtless actions and deeds?

3 Monday: The Right Word – The Right Speech

Today, have I talked too little, or too much? Have I talked without reason?

Have I tried to ennoble the conversation that I have been involved in?

4 Tuesday: The Right Action

Today, have I acted in a way that has been disturbing for others?

5 Wednesday: The Right way of Living (Life Management)

Today, have I had sensory perceptions that have disturbed my inner quietness?

6 Thursday: The Human Quest

Today, have I set myself targets based on high ideals and obligations?

Have I failed to do something that lies within my reach?

7 Friday: Learning from Life – Striving to Learn from Life

Today, have I gathered experience from everything that has happened?

Today, have I learned and harvested as much as possible?

Which incidents have been uplifting for me today, and which have been disruptive?

8 Know Yourself – Sincerity and Honesty

Have I from time to time cast a glance into my inner self, and have I carefully verified my experiences and principles of life?

Have I from time to time deduced the essential in my life, and have I formed a solid livelihood based on moral development?


Using these types of questions, every day will make you more and more aware of specific challenges in you relation to others and in your own development.

A.4.7 Conflict Resolution Exercises

These exercises can be used in open conflict training seminars.

Conflict Escalation in a Heated Discussion where you try to Convince your counterpart to have your opinion


To illustrate how fast a discussion may escalate into a conflict situation.


You select a topic where two people have/or are willing to have different, strong opinions, e.g., Is smoking indoors to be forbidden? Are climate problems created by humans? Or any other topics that people can have strong opinions about.

Group Size

Two people volunteer to take the discussion and use all arguments to convince the counterpart.

The rest of the group observes what is happening between the two in the discussion.


  • The discussion lasts 5–7 minutes

  • Debriefing begins with the two participants in discussion (5–10 minutes)

    • How was this discussion for you?

    • How did you feel?

    • Etc.

  • Debriefing by the observers (10–15 minutes)

    • Were they trying to understand each other?

    • Were they listening to each other?

    • Were they repeating the same argument?

    • Were their feelings visible in the discussion?

    • Were there signs of frustration/irritation?

    • Were there things that surprised you?

    • Could it have been a discussion from real life?

    • Etc.

Your feedback as facilitator (5–10 minutes).

End by asking the discussion partners to shake hands or give a hug.


Begin to get an understanding of how fast a conflict can develop to a deeper layer, where the discussion moves from the topic discussed to focus on the person.

Understanding Conflicts and Conflict Resolution


The purpose in this exercise and group process is to focus on the dynamics in conflicts. To widen your understanding of the reasons of conflict, and to give you a creative process that helps the conflict owner to understand his or her conflict situation. You will be trained in using the Conflict Staircase (Fig. 18) as a diagnosing tool, you will obtain an analyzing tool to identify bacteria in a conflict. Based on this, you will understand the forces you see in conflicts, and also which types of conflict you are in.


All of us run into conflicts during our life.

How we meet them, how we tackle them has a lot to do with out temperament and attitude in life, but also with knowledge about mechanisms in conflicts.

In a community, conflicts can be devastating but can also give new life.

In this exercise we work with conflict in communities/organizations – not between couples – not between you and your beloved.

Total Time

Between 45 and 70 minutes for the different steps.

A: Reasons for conflicts

Dialog in pairs: a 7-minute talk – shared in plenary – summaries on flipchart.

What reasons can you find for a person in communities/organizations to end up in conflict?

B: Understanding a conflict – painting

Introduction: Here we will work with a specific conflict which each of you have been part of. You work in groups of 4–5. Each of you will paint your conflict in focus.

Instruction for painting: Think of a conflict that you have been part of in your communities or working life – and paint it (10–15 minutes).

Sharing in the group.

All participants show and comment their paintings to the group one by one – maximum two minutes each.

The group selects one of the conflict episodes for a deeper understanding:

C: Conflict diagnosing of the selected conflict (total 15 min)

The conflict owner describes the conflict:

  • What has been said and done?

  • What keeps or kept the conflict alive?

  • What have I done to stop the conflict?

  • What has the counterpart done to stop the conflict?

Conflict Staircase diagnosing (10–15 minutes):

When you are in the middle of a conflict, it can be very difficult to see what is happening and to see that there is a way out.

Use the Conflict Staircase developed by Friedrich Glasl as the diagnostic tool. 6

Diagnosing questions to the whole group:

• On which step of the Conflict Staircase do you consider the described conflict to be on?

• Can you identify a core question behind the described conflict?

Questions to each individual:

• What from this conflict can I recognize in my conflict?

• On which step on the Conflict Staircase have you been in your situation?

Following steps D to E can be included if there is time or can be included at other times during the seminar.

D: Lecture: Bacteria in a conflict: (total 10–15 min) 7

  • The gossiping bacteria

  • The fixation bacteria

  • The persuasion bacteria

  • Bad agreements

E: Forces working in conflicts:

Examples of forces in a conflict:

Mistrust, cheating, lying, no fair play, tricks, etc.

F: Type of conflicts 8

Lecture and individual question:

Is it a cold or a warm conflict?

Outplaying and Analyzing an Existing Conflict between Two People


To create a training and learning situation where a person in conflict gets two other people from the group to act and play out his conflict and through that give the rest of the group the first possibility to make a conflict analysis.


Total time: 45–70 minutes for the different parts.

NB: It is important that there is a facilitator to lead the group through the different phases. Based on this, the best results are achieved when it is played plenary.

Two people play the conflict. The rest of the group including the conflict owner are observers.

A person who is involved in a conflict and willing to share, selects/asks two participants whether they will play his/her conflict episode. After a briefing from the conflict owner, they play it out plenary. Then comes a debriefing phase.

Group Size

Two people play the conflict, the rest of the group observes and analyzes.


  • Introduction of the exercise (5–10 minutes)

  • The conflict owner is found and introduces the two people in the selected conflict episode (10–15 minutes)

  • Role-play of the conflict episode by the two persons who have been introduced to the conflict (7–10 minutes)

  • Debriefing of the three involved people (10 minutes)

    1. Question to the role-players:

      • How did you feel in your role?

    2. Question to the conflict owner (5–10 minutes)

      • Could you recognize yourself and your opponent in the play?

      • Was what happened typical for the real situation?

      • What new aspect did you see in the way the episode was played?

  • Debriefing from the rest of the group based on the following questions:

    1. Problem definition

      • What happened?

      • What do you see as the conflict issues?

    2. Feelings during the conflict

      • What expression of feelings was shown during the play?

    3. Choices and possible solutions

      • Were there solutions or choices to be seen during the play?

    4. Negotiation and agreements

      • Did they manage to reach any agreement about what to do in the future?

This debriefing can take place plenary (15–20 minutes) or begin in smaller groups of three prior to sharing plenary.


Gives everyone an increased and higher awareness and understanding of mechanisms in conflicts.

Light and Shadow in Conflicts – Spiritual


To create awareness of which level the person you are addressing in a conflict is on, and how you raise your consciousness again and are able to see the whole human being.

Instruction and Process

In Appendix A.2.1, the Lower, Daily, and Higher Egos are introduced on page 140, subchapter: Karma.

The Lower Ego is named your Double by Rudolf Steiner or your Shadow by Carl Gustav Jung.

The Higher Ego is what you can be become when you are fully spiritually developed. See more in A.2.1, subchapter: Conflicts and the occult significance of forgiveness, p. 165.


  • Which level of the other person do you address when you are in a conflict?

  • What happens in your Thinking, Feeling, and Will when you are in a conflict?

The following process will raise your consciousness when, e.g., you are in a conflict.


Focus on a “deep” personal conflict, and go through the four steps in Fig. 28. Explore the problems/conflict areas step by step as they reveal themselves:

Fig. 28. 
Steps 1, 2, 3, and 4 in Conflict Awareness.

Fig. 28.

Steps 1, 2, 3, and 4 in Conflict Awareness.

Step 1: What is the conflict about?

Step 2: Involve the area of Feeling

When you said ........ I felt ........

Step 3: Create possible solutions

Step 4: Negotiation

Use of the Method as a Facilitator in a Mediation Situation

As a facilitator, you may focus on the different steps one by one during a conflict resolution process.

Use of the Method in your own Life Situations

In a looking back situation:

  • How did I act?

  • Did I act in a light or shadowy way?

  • Have I done things that gave the situation energy?

  • When was my Shadow/Double activated?

In a conflict situation:

  • What did I do to make my counterpart get a glimpse of my Higher Ego?

  • What did I do to bring movement into the perspective of my counterpart?

Angels or Devils as Advisors in a Conflict – Creative – Spiritual


If you consider yourself a spiritual person, you have the chance to discover whether you listen to your Higher Ego or to your Lower Ego:

  • Do you, in a heated discussion, do your best to bring positive arguments?

  • Do you listen?

  • Or are you more interested in winning the discussion at any price?


You ask for two persons to step forward who are willing to be opponents in the discussion.

As a facilitator, you can suggest one topic for the discussion, or alternatively let them choose between three topics.

You introduce the exercise and ask four volunteers to play angel or devil. An angel and a devil for each opponent. Two persons on each side.


A total of 35–50 minutes.

  • After the introduction, put two chairs facing each other and let the opponent take place

  • The angel stands behind the opponent's chair. The devil or snake lies on the floor close to the opponent.

  • The role-play/discussion (5–10 minutes)

    • The angel: Gives advice that can lead to an understanding of the other person and that brings a satisfying solution for both people.

    • The devil: Does his/her best to sabotage, to create distrust, and to become the only winner.

    • The discussion partners decide which of the two advisors he/she wants to listen to during the discussion.

  • Debriefing of the players (5–10 minutes)

    • Who were you most tempted to listen to?

    • Why did you make that choice?

    • How satisfied are you after the play?

  • Debriefing of the angel and devil (5–7 minutes)

    • How was it to act the angel/devil?

  • Debriefing of the rest (10–15 minutes)

    • What did you observe in the discussion?

    • Were there things/formulations that changed the situation?

  • If you have the time, you can let another pair play the two roles.


Be aware that you in a true conflict situation may be more conscious of the consequences of your own attitude to conflicts and to the counterpart involved in the discussion.

A.5 Seminar Programs and Support Material


This appendix gives examples of different types of seminar programs or process overviews which can be used as inspiration when you design your own seminar processes or programs.


All the processes or programs described have been used in specific training or client situations. As the programs are meant for instructors/facilitators, most of the seminar programs also include the purposes, the working questions and the exercises used during the seminar. Based on the instructor program, a participant program is also designed which does not include working questions or other guidelines to run the seminar. The participant program is not included in the following and is a subset of the instructor program. Most of the exercises in the program have a detailed description in A.4. I highlight one exercise Vision Building through painting – creative – artistic which gives basic training in Common Picture Building. The groups are recommended to use the methods of Common Picture Building in most of the Social Ecological programs.

Individual Programs

A.5.1 Teambuilding Seminar – How to Work Efficiently in Groups and Communities

Facilitator Program for a 2 ½ Day-seminar Program

Seminar Purpose

  • To improve the understanding of what is needed to run efficient meetings and groups with good results for yourself and the group

  • To learn about the basic principles when working together in groups. You will get a number of tools which will improve your ability to take part in dialogs constructively. You will increase your ability to be heard and your ability to listen to others. You will be involved in a number of teambuilding exercises. You will increase your ability to observe what is happening and to learn from your observations.

Day One 16:00–19:00

16:00 Welcome and introduction

16:30 Check in and initial presentation including expectations

  (Appendix A.4.1, exercise: Initial presentations at the beginning of a seminar, p. 193)

17:00 Common Picture Building

  Present an overview of Common Picture Building and Common Judgment Building

  (P2.1.1, subchapter: Dealing with the different agenda points, p. 20)

  Group exercise based on relevant questions:

  What are the biggest challenges in our organization today?

  How is the co-operation in our organization?

18:00 Short break

18:10 Picture of Man

  Short presentation of the Picture of Man in Social Ecology

  (P1.1 The Picture of Man in Social Ecology, p. 1)

18:30 Looking back at the day

  Short presentation of the principles of looking back (P1.4.1, subchapter: Looking back during a seminar, p. 12)

  One or two looking back questions:

  What was important today?

  What resonates in you?

19:00 End of the day

Day Two 09:00–18:00

09:00 Introduction to the day. Questions from the night.

09:15 Lecture: Efficient group work and meetings

  Types of groups, content, relations, and processes

  (P2.1, chapter: Different types of groups, p. 17 and P2.1.1 The ability to run efficient meetings, p. 18)

10:00 Coffee break

10:15 Training in group work – first part

  A minimum of one dialog group is formed, and three groups make observations based on Content, Relations and Process

  (Appendix A.4.3, exercise: Listening and observation exercises focusing on different dimensions in a group meeting, p. 199)

12:00 Lunch

13:30 Feedback from group work

14:00 Deep listening – listening on three levels

  (Appendix A.4.3, exercise: Listening on three levels, p. 197)

15:00 Coffee break

15:15 Practical co-operation exercise – ball exercise

15:45 Training in group work – second part

  Switching of roles. Those who observed are now in the dialog group. The others are divided into three groups and make observations based on Content, Relations, and Process

  (Appendix A.4.3, exercise: Listening and observation exercises focusing on different dimensions in a group meeting, p. 199)

16:45 Co-operation exercise in building a tower

  (Appendix A.4.4, exercise: Building a tower with pipe cleaners, p. 204)

17:45 Looking back at the day

18:00 End of the day

Day Three 09:00–16:00

09:00 Introduction to the day – questions from the night

09:15 Lecture: Personal qualities in a creative group

  (P2.1.4 Seven personal qualities in a creative group, p. 24)

  Individual exercise: What are your major qualities? Which qualities do you lack?

  Sharing two and two

10:00 Coffee break

10:15 Training in group work with focus on personal qualities

11:30 Lecture: Elements in a mature group

  Freedom, Equality, and Brotherhood

  Pitfalls in group work

  (P2.1.2 Pitfalls in group work, p. 22)


  Which pitfalls do you see when working together?

  Sharing of experiences two and two

12:00 Lunch

13:30 Deep listening on three levels – as Day 2

  (Appendix A.4.3, exercise: Listening on three levels, p. 197)

14:30 Questions that have emerged during the seminar. Which questions do you have in relation to the lecture?

  Coffee in the group

  15:30 Looking back at the seminar

  Individual preparation:

  What do I take with me from the seminar? What have I learned?

  Which dialogs have been important to me?

  What has been fulfilled in relation to my expectations?

  Sharing two and two

  Sharing plenary

15:50 Rounding off the seminar

16:00 End of the seminar

A.5.2 Dynamic Judgment Building Seminar: Using the Lemniscate

Common Judgment Building: Training in the use of the Lemniscate

Seminar Purpose

  • Understanding the different dimensions of the Lemniscate

    • Common Picture Building, Common Judgment Building and Common Decision Making 1

  • Training in supporting conversations

  • Training in development of visions

  • Training in observation

  • Training in working with questions

Day One 16:00–19:00

16.00 Welcome and introduction

16.20 Morning greetings

  (Appendix A.4.1, exercise: Milling around without sitting down, p. 194)

16:30 Check in and initial presentation including expectations

  Group forming: four to five participants per group

  (Appendix A.4.1, exercise: A lottery group forming exercise, p. 195)

16:45 Lecture 1: The Lemniscate used in a supporting conversation

  (P3.1.3 Using the Lemniscate as a dynamic model in supporting conversations, p. 42)

17:30 Short break

17:40 Training in observation – exercise given by Lex Boss

  (Appendix A.4.3, exercise: Listening and observation in relation to supporting conversations, p. 202)

18:40 Looking back at the day

  Short presentation of the principles of looking back

  (P1.4.1 The art of looking back, subchapter: Looking back during a seminar, p. 12)

  One or two looking back questions, e.g.,

  What was important today?

  What resonates in you?

19:00 End of the day

Day Two 09:00–18:00

09:00 Introduction to the day – questions from the night

09:15 Lecture 2: The Lemniscate in relation to organization development and vision building

  (P3.1.2 The Lemniscate used as a model of phases in practice, p. 36)

10:00 Coffee break

10:15 Training in supporting conversations

  Plenary demonstration of questioning from the different fields in the Lemniscate

  (P3.1.3 Using the Lemniscate as a dynamic model in supporting conversations, p. 42)

11:45 Feedback from group work

12:00 Lunch

13:30 Observation exercise 1

  (Appendix A.4.2, exercise Observation of a physical object: p. 196)

14:00 Common Picture Building based on the Lemniscate

  Step 1: Focusing on the past

  (Introduction based on P3.1.2 The Lemniscate used as a model of phases in practice, p. 36)

  The group formulates a question they want to work with in relation to the past, e.g.,

  How does co-operation function in our organization/group today?

  Alternative question in the case of a mixed group from different types of organizations, e.g.,

  How do I perceive my working place today?

14:30 Creative exercise focusing on Common Picture Building

  (Appendix A.4.4, exercise: Common Picture Building – Painting exercise, p. 203)

  Every participant paints his/her picture in relation to the question (approx. 15 minutes)

  Coffee break during group work

15:30 Common Judgment Building of the past

  After painting, the group shares the painted pictures as described followed by a dialog and conclusion phase where the results are documented on flip-charts (P3.1.2, chapter: The Common Judgment Building phase – the path from B to C, p. 39)

16:30 Common Decision Making and Vision Building

  Step 2: Focusing on the future

  Reformulate the question making it focus on the future

  Create a vision of the future in relation to the question – Field D

  (P3.1.2, chapter: From the past: Common Judgment Building, to the future: Common Decision Making – the path from C to D, p. 40)

  Train your imagination by story telling:

  Tell a story about an ideal working day in the future in relation to your vision

  (Appendix A.4.5, exercise: Vision Building through story telling and guided meditation, p. 206)


  • Formulate your vision

  • Formulate your goals

  • It is a good idea to use moral imagination to evaluate the consequences of your decisions

  NB: In relation to creating the new reality – Field E – it is now time to make your implementation plan. This topic is not dealt with in this seminar

17:30 Feedback from group work

17:45 Looking back at the day e.g.,

  Which learning points did I have today?

  Were there areas where I felt resistance?

18:00 End of the day

Day Three 09:00–16:00

09:00 Introduction to the day – questions from the night

09:15 Lecture: Temperaments

  (P2.1.5, subchapter: The four temperaments, p. 28)

  Individual exercise e.g.

  What is your major temperament?

  Having this temperament, what are the consequences for you?

  Sharing two and two

10:00 Coffee break

10.15 Observation exercise 1

  (Appendix A.4.2, exercise: Observation of a physical object, p. 196)

10:45 Common Picture Building

  Lemniscate training in the group

  Consider reorganizing the groups according to their interest

  Step 1: Focusing on the past

  The group formulates a question they want to work with in relation to the past

11.00 Painting exercise A5

  (Appendix A.4.4, exercise: Common Picture Building – painting exercises, p. 203)

  Every participant paints his/her picture in relation to the question (approx. 15 minutes)

11.20 Common Judgment Building of the past

  After painting, the group shares the painted pictures as described followed by a dialog and conclusion phase where the results are documented on flip-charts

12:00 Lunch

13:30 Step 2: Focusing on the future

  Reformulate the question making it focus on the future

  Create a vision of the future in relation to the question – Field D

  (Appendix A.4.5, exercise: Vision building through painting, p. 207)


  • Formulate your vision

  • Formulate your goals

  • It is a good idea to use moral imagination to evaluate the consequences of your decisions

14:30 Focus on outstanding questions to the lecturer – coffee in the group

15:30 Looking back at the seminar

  Individual, e.g.,

  What new ideas have I got?

  What have I learned?

  What can be used immediately?

  What has made me reflect/wonder?

  What has been fulfilled in relation to my expectations?

  Sharing two and two

  Sharing plenary

15:50 Rounding off the seminar

16:00 End of the seminar

A.5.3 Initiative Taking Seminar

The seminar focuses on individual initiative taking, and can easily be adjusted to an initiative group focusing on a common initiative. 2


  • Introduce and train the participants in the Seven Seamarks model for initiative taking

  • How to learn from old initiatives

  • How to be aware of pitfalls in initiative taking

  • Resistance to change

  • Give an understanding of how to plan and review new initiatives

Day One 18:00–21:00

18:00 Welcome

   Introduction and expectations

   Forming of groups of four to five based on the following criteria:

  • Coming from business life

  • Coming from a public organization

  • Coming from CSOs or NGOs

18:30 Model for initiative taking

  Lecture about the Seamark model for initiative taking

  (P4.1.1 Seamarks as a model for initiative taking, p. 48)

19:15 Break

19:30 Focus on an old initiative:

  Select an old initiative for learning

  Each individual:

  • chooses an initiative and paints it (20 minutes)

    (A.4.4, exercise: Common Picture Building – painting exercises: p. 203)

  • refers to the painting and prepares a three-minute talk about the initiative based on the Seamark model (15 minutes)

  Group work:

  One person in the group describes the initiative based on the painting and your preparation

  The others put questions for an understanding of the initiative

  NB! Next morning, there will be time for the rest of the group to work with some of their initiatives and to extract learning points from their initiatives

20:45 Extract learning points from the day and look back at the day, e.g.,

  What was new for me?

  What did I learn about initiative taking today?

21:00 End of the day

Day Two 9:00–18:00

09:00 Introduction to the day – questions from the night

09:15 Potential pitfalls in initiatives – lecture

  (P4.1.2 Pitfalls in initiative taking – the 12 dragons, p. 52)

09:45 Group work in relation to old initiatives

  Group work for the rest of the group:

  • 1. Describe the initiative based on your preparation from yesterday

  • 2. The others put questions for the understanding of the initiative

  NB! Divide the time evenly and finish one person at a time

11:05 Break

11:20 Process to extract learning points and pitfalls from old initiatives

  Individual preparation for all, e.g.:

  What functioned well/less well?

  Which pitfalls could I identify in my initiative?

  What should I have done differently when working with my initiative?

  Where did my weaknesses become visible?

  How can I strengthen my initiative capabilities before my next initiative?

11:35 Sharing learning points in the group

11:50 Sharing selected learning points plenary

12:00 Lunch

13:15 Focus on new initiatives

  All prepare individually:

  • 1. Choose an initiative you want to realize

  • Prepare yourself to tell about the initiative based on the Seamark model including focus on pitfalls

  Group work one person at a time:

  • 1. Describe the initiative based on your preparation

  • 2. The others put questions for the sake of understanding the initiative, both in relation to the Seamarks and the risk of pitfalls

  All prepare individually:

  • 1. How can the initiative be strengthened?

  • 2. Prepare for a reviewing process tomorrow

  NB! Information and questions: The review will take place in new groups

17:40 Extract learning points and look back at the day:

  What have I learned from my way of working with an old initiative?

  Where do I need to increase my consciousness when I prepare a new initiative?

18:00 End of the day

Day Three 9:00–16:00

09:00 Introduction to the day – questions from the night

09:15 Resistance to change – lecture

  For an introduction

  (P1.1.1 Resistance to change in the threefold Picture of Man, p. 2)

  (For more information see Appendix B1.1, Table 9: Resistance to change … in Theory U and in the Lemniscate, p. 246)

  (For the forces in relation to resistance to change see Appendix A.2.1 Polarities in relation to resistance to change, p. 150)

10:00 Review

  Form new groups (four to five people per group)

  Review process:

  • One person in the group presents his/her initiative

  • One person is the harvester: Writes everything down that has been said to the presenter

  • The rest of the group puts questions for the sake of understanding and makes comments

  Review time per person:

  • 5–7 minutes to present the initiative

  • 7–10 minutes for questions, comments, and tips

  • Total time 15 to max. 20 minutes per person

  The presenter answers the questions that have been put by the group and does not go into argument or defense

  After the review the presenter says thanks and the harvester gives his/her comments to the presenter and a new person is reviewed

11:15 Adjustment of the initiative

  Individual work:

  • Adjustment based on recommendation and on the comments from the harvester

  • Possibly, give the initiative a title

  • What is my next step to realize the initiative?

11:40 Short plenary presentations of the initiatives

  Three minutes' presentation per initiative:

  • Title

  • The essence of the initiative

  • What am I grateful for in the process?

12:00 Lunch

13:15 Social entrepreneurship – lecture

  Introduction to social entrepreneurship

13:45 Initiatives waiting for me – lecture and group work


  Which initiatives are needed in my surroundings?

  With what can I contribute to strengthen the taken initiative at my workplace or in my surroundings?

  Which initiatives are waiting for me?

  Group work:

  Sharing and tips for initiative taking

14:30 Break

14:45 Extract learning points and looking back procedure

  Individual preparation based on comments (15 minutes)

  • Which tips and ideas concerning initiative taking can I take with me?

  • What are my thoughts in relation to initiative taking?

  • What was new for me?

  • What resonated in me?

  • Where did I feel resistance?

  • What can I go home and use immediately?

  NB: Select three of the questions to cover in my looking back process

  Share in groups of two (20 minutes)

  Share in a circle – plenary (20 minutes)

  • What was most important for me?

  Sharing learning points based on the dialogs in the groups of two

16:00 End of Seminar

A.5.4 Organizational Development Seminar at a University and/or an Institute

Focus and Purpose for the Seminar

  • To focus on the existing and future organization of the institute 3

  • To establish a basis for common values and basic beliefs for the institute

  • To create common pictures for the most important areas and activities needed to develop a well functioning institute

  • To focus on the existing and future internal co-operation in the institute

Day One 08:45–18:00

08:45 Morning coffee

09:00 Welcome by the institute director

09:10 Welcome and introduction by the facilitator

  Focus and purpose of the seminar

  • To focus on the existing and future organization of the institute

  • To establish a basis for common values and basic beliefs for the institute

  • To create common pictures for the most important areas and activities needed to develop a well-functioning institute

  • To focus on the existing and future internal co-operation in the institute

  The role of the facilitator: To make the participants co-operate differently from what they normally do. To change some of the participants' co-operation habits and patterns, and introduce the participants to a number of tools that can be used to strengthen the daily co-operation.

  Working methods during the seminar:

  To listen to and build on each other's contribution to Common Picture Building, Common Judgment Building, and Common Decision Making

  Seek/obtain agreements for these working methods.

09:30 Morning greetings

  You all stand up and greet the person standing closest to you as if they were old friends you have not seen for a very long time. Greet with all the warmth and openness you have.

  (Appendix A.4.1, exercise: Morning greetings: p. 195)

09:40 Presentation in the groups.

  Groups of five to seven are divided before the seminar by the planning group, so they are balanced in an optimal way for the process based on a mix of different positions, competences, and types of personalities

  The plenary is organized in “islands”, and the participants are placed at tables for the different groups

  Examples of questions and focus:


  Working areas

  What do I appreciate?

  What is important for me – privately and workwise?

10.00 Coffee break

10.15 Step 1: Focus on the past

  Focus on internal co-operation today

  Paint: How do I perceive mutual respect in our internal co-operation? (20 minutes)

  Each participant tells about his/her painting to the group

  Give examples and have a dialog about the internal co-operation

  (Appendix A.4.4, exercise: Common Picture Building – painting exercises, p. 203)

11.15 Continued group work in relation to the co-operation today

  Presentation of the methods Common Picture Building and Common Judgment Building

  What functions well in the internal co-operation?

  What does not function well?

12.15 Plenary group work presentation

13.00 Lunch

13.45 Step 2: Focus on the future

  Co-operation and internal relations in the future

  How can the mutual respect between all co-workers be strengthened in the future?

  How is it possible to secure good co-operation and relations between people on different levels and from the different departments in the institute?

  What is not acceptable behavior in the future?

  Document the results of Common Judgment Building on flip charts

15.00 Coffee break

15.15 Decision-making and resource efficiency

  How is it possible to increase our decision-making ability and how can we ensure that the decisions made are fulfilled?

  How can we secure resources efficiency in the future?

  Document the result of the Common Judgment Building on flip charts

16.15 Coffee break

16.30 Presentation of the group work

17.15 Lecture about the temperaments and their importance in co-operation

  (P2.1.5, subchapter: The four temperaments, p. 28)

18:00 End of the day

Day Two 08:45–16:00

08:45 Morning coffee

09:00 Welcome and introduction to the day where the first group work focuses on the following areas and questions:


  What expectations do the employees have for management?

  What expectations does management have for employees?

  What expectations do the different department have for core services?

  Organization development including motivation and responsibility

  What is necessary in the different departments to make them function optimally?

  How to develop a mutual feeling of responsibility and a clear description of tasks and responsibilities?

  How can the institute become a good team with a high motivation and a healthy working environment for both the academic and the administrative personnel ?

  Document the results of the Common Judgment Building on flip charts

  Coffee breaks during the group work

11:45 Presentation of the group work

12:30 Future values and basic beliefs of the institute

  What are the major values, principles, and goals for the future

  a. relation to research?

  b. relation to education?

13:00 Lunch

13:45 c. relation to co-operation and colleagues?

  d. relation to resource priority?

  Document the results of Common Judgment Building on flip charts

14:30 Coffee

14:45 Presentations from the groups

15:15 Anchoring and realization including establishing working groups for the next step in the process

15:30 Looking back:

  What was important for me during this seminar?

15:50 Rounding off the seminar by the institute director

16:00 End of seminar

  After the seminar, all the written work from the different groups in relation to Common Picture Building and Common Judgment Building are to be summed up in a report. This report is used in the priority process to make Common Decision Building based on which implementation plan is developed.

A.5.5 Basic Training Seminar in Conflict Understanding and Resolution (2–3 days)


To train a group of people – from one or several organizations – who is interested in conflict understanding and in ways of solving it. 4

  • To use holistic as well spiritual methods

  • To give the participants a variety of methods to use in conflict situations

Day One 16:00–18:00

16:00 Welcome and introduction to the seminar

  Expectation from the participants: (individual reflection)

  • What can I manage in a conflict?

  • What do I admire in the way people handle conflicts?

  • What do I want to learn?

  Share two and two followed by plenary glimpses

16:45 Individual reflection

  Choose a conflict you have been involved in:

  Write down the most important incidents in the conflict

17:00 Exercise: Conflict escalation

  Which themes are current in society?

  What is discussed amongst people?

  This is to illustrate how fast a discussion can escalate and become a conflict situation

  You select a topic where two participants have or are willing to have different and strong opinions:

  Two rounds with two participants.

  Exercise description:

  (Appendix A.4.7, exercise: Conflict escalation in a heated discussion where you try to convince your Counterpart to have your opinion: p. 210)

17:45 Looking back at the day

  What am I taking with me from this day?

  What surprised me?

18:00 End of the day

Day Two 09:00–18:00

09:00 Good morning and welcome to the day

  Short presentation of the program of the day

  Possible questions from yesterday or the night

09:15 Lecture: Introduction to the Conflict Staircase

  (For the lecture see P4.4.4: The conflict resolution process using the Conflict Staircase, p. 104)

10:15 Break

10:30 Lecture and process in relation to: Understanding conflicts and conflict resolution

  (For the process see Appendix A.4.7, exercise: Understanding conflicts and conflict resolution, p. 211)

  Steps for group work in relation to:

  • A.

    Reasons for conflicts

  • B.

    Understanding a conflict – painting

  • C.

    Conflict diagnosing of the selected conflict

    11:45 Lunch

    13:00 Understanding conflict and conflict resolution. Continued group work – steps in relation to D-E-F

  • D.

    Lecture: Bacteria in a conflict

  • E.

    Forces working in conflicts

  • F.

    Type of conflicts

14:00 Conflict diagnosis 1 – in groups of four

  Select one of the conflict paintings from the morning and perform a conflict diagnosis based on the following processes and questions

  The conflict owner describes the conflict:

  What has been said and done? (10 minutes)


  • Step 1: The rest of the group helps to diagnose the conflict on the basis of what they have heard. They may put questions for the sake of understanding.

  • Step 2: Conflict issue: What is the conflict about? (all + owner)

  • Step 3: Conflict timeline: Place important incidents/clashes on a time line (owner)

  • Step 4: Conflict partner: People who are involved? (owner)

  • Step 5: What is the relation between the conflict partners? (owner)

  • Step 6: What are their basic attitudes toward conflict? (owner)

  • Step 7: On which step of the Conflict Staircase is the conflict? (all + owner)

      What is the key question in the conflict? (all + owner)

  • Step 8: Potential solutions for redeeming the conflict? (all + owner)

  • Step 9: Conclusions and agreements (all + owner)

    1. What is the first step to be taken?

    2. What must not happen again?

  Looking back at the process in the group

  Plenary sharing

15:00 Break

15:15 Conflict diagnosis 2 – in groups of four

  The process is almost the same as Conflict diagnosis 1 – merely with a new conflict

  Select another of the conflict paintings from the morning and perform a conflict diagnosis based on the following process and questions

  The conflict owner describes the conflict:

  What has been said and done? (10 minutes)


  • Step 1: The rest of the group helps to diagnose based on what they have heard and put questions for the sake of understanding

  • Step 2: Conflict issue: What is the conflict about? (all + owner)

  • Step 3: Conflict timeline: Place important events/clashes on a time line (owner)

  • Step 4: Conflict partner: People who are involved? (owner)

  • Step 5: What are the relations between the conflict partners? (owner)

  • Step 6: What are their basic attitudes toward conflict? (all + owner)

  • Step 7: On which step of the Conflict Staircase is the conflict?

    What is the key question in the conflict? (all + owner)

  • Step 8: Potential solutions to redeem the conflict (all + owner)

  • Step 9: Conclusions and agreements (all + owner)

    • a. What is the first step to be taken?

    • b. What must not happen again?

    • c. Which principles can you agree upon to solve the conflict?

    • d. What will you contribute with when you return to your department?

  • Step 10: Follow up: Short lecture about the importance of following up

    • a. When is the right time for a follow up meeting? (all + owner)

    • b. How will you work with the conflict issues prior to that meeting?

    • c. How will you secure that the agreements are not violated?

      Sharing plenary

17:15 Exercise: Listen to your inner voice – Whom are you listening to?

  (one round)

  (For the exercise see Appendix A.4.7, exercise: Angels or devils as advisors in a conflict, p. 216)

17:45 Looking back at the day

18:00 End of the day

Day Three 09:00–16:00

09:00 Good morning and welcome to the day

  Short presentation of the program of the day

  Possible questions from yesterday or the night

09:30 Lecture: Mediation

  (For an overview see P4.4.6 Mediation process between two people, p. 113)

  (For a detailed description of the process and questions see Appendix A.5.6: Outline for a mediation meeting between two people, p. 234)

10:15 Break

10:30 Group exercise:

  Acting and analyzing an existing conflict between two people.


  To create a training and learning situation where a person in conflict makes two other people from the group act and play his/her conflict, and through this give the rest of the group the possibility of analyzing the conflict.

  (For the process see Appendix A.4.7, exercise: Outplaying and analyzing an existing conflict between two people, p. 212)

11:30 Lunch

13:00 Light and shadow

  (For the lecture see Appendix A.4.7, exercise: Light and shadow in conflicts – spiritual, p. 214)

  Group work in relation to light and shadow

13:30 Individual preparation: Select a person with whom you have a conflict:

  Step 1: Define the problem:

  What is the conflict about?

  Step 2: Involve the area of feeling

  When he/she saidI felt

  Step 3: Create possible solutions:

  What could be a solution for me?

  What could be a solution for him/her?

  Step 4: Negotiate:

  What am I willing to do?

  Share in groups of two

14:00 Lecture: Forgiveness in a spiritual perspective

  Remember to talk about self-forgiveness

  (For the lecture, see A.2.2, subchapter: Conflicts and the occult significance of forgiveness, p. 165)

14:30 Break

14:45 Individual work in relation to forgiveness

  Individual preparation – list of names

  • 1. Who needs my forgiveness?

  • 2. Whom do I need to forgive?

  • 3. Do I have specific conditions prior to forgiving?

  • 4. How will it influence my future life if I do not forgive or am not forgiven?

  Possibly share in groups of two – there may be a need for more time

  Select two people and share points 2-3-4

15:20 Conflict or co-operation

  (For the lecture see P4.4.1, subchapter: Conflict or co-operation, p. 95)

15:15 Looking back at the seminar


  List the three most important things that I take with me from this seminar

  What will I do differently next time I am in a conflict?

  How have my learning points from the beginning of the seminar been fulfilled?

  Share in groups of three

  Share plenary – glimpses from looking back

15:50 Closure – maybe with a big whoosh

16:00 End of seminar

A.5.6 Outline for a Mediation Meeting between Two People

Purpose of the mediation.

  • To recreate a good professional co-operation

  • To understand what happened and how the situation developed

  • To make agreements on how similar situations can be avoided in the future

  • To make agreements on how situations can be handled if they arise again

It is recommended to begin the meeting with a clarification of the purpose and a definition of the roles (Table 8).

Table 8.

The Role of the Facilitator and the Involved People.

The role of the facilitator The role of the involved
  • to put questions for the sake of understanding

  • to test/possibly advise

  • to interfere when necessary

  • to stop the process if necessary

  • to speak from their personal point of view

  • to describe what has happened and what is happening in themselves (thoughts and feelings)

  • not to defend themselves or attack the other

  • deep listening

Description of the Mediation Process

The beginning of the conversation:

How did you perceive the co-operation between the two of you prior to the conflict episodes?

  • Step 1. Problem definition

    Select one or two episodes to work through (depending on the time set aside for the mediation)

  • Step 2. Each of the participants give their picture in relation to the selected episodes

    • A.


      • What happened?

      • Has there been any attempt to find solutions?

    • B.

      Perceptions and feelings

      • How did you feel in the situation?

      • What was the trigger point for you?

      • How has the conflict influenced your behavior toward each other?

  • Step 3. Mirroring

    • What have you heard your counterpart say?

    • How do you perceive the situation now?

    • Has anything changed for you?

  • Step 4. Possibly: Short presentation of the Conflict Staircase (Fig. 18)

  • Step 5. Conclusion – possibilities and solutions

    • A.

      What is the basic cause of our conflict?

    • B.

      Possibilities and solutions

      • What is the best solution?

      • Which wishes do you have for your counterpart?

      • What can and will you contribute with yourself?

    • C.

      Summary after conflict resolution

      • Identification of core issues behind the conflict

      • Agreement to secure a future constructive co-operation

        1. What must not happen in the future?

        2. What is necessary to establish a fruitful co-operation?

        3. Principles and values behind future co-operation

        4. Practical agreements to ensure future co-operation

      • How to anchor and make the new agreements a reality in our daily work?

  • Step 6. Looking back at the mediation meeting

    • What was important for me?

Follow-up Meeting

Plan for a meeting after 2–4 weeks to clarify how well the practical agreements have been realized and which changes they perceive in their relation based on questions like:

  • How satisfied are you with the situation now?

  • How well have the agreements functioned?

  • Have there been problems or episodes since the mediation meeting?

  • What needs to be added to your agreements?

  • What else can both of you do to improve the situation?

Based on the first meetings, it will be decided whether follow-up meetings are necessary. It is highly recommended to plan a follow-up process, as there is a risk of falling back to former attitudes and ways of interacting without these follow-up processes.

A.5.7 Personal Development and Personal Qualities to Master as a Facilitator

A specific program for this part is not included as it is primarily the individual exercises and daily practices (described in P5.1: Personal development and personal qualities to master as a facilitator, p. 115) supplemented with your training in the art of listening, questioning, and looking back during your task as a facilitator that can lead to your inner development.

A.5.8 Seminar: Working with your own Biography – Your Life's Story

Facilitator Program for a Biography Seminar Program Given in Denmark

Purpose for the Participants

A biography seminar focuses on your own life situation in the past to plan the future. 5 You will receive a number of lectures describing what happens and what is important for any individual in the different phases of life. The lectures are based on Rudolf Steiner's Picture of Man. You will work with your own life situation in smaller groups based on specific questions in relation to the different phases of your life. Lastly, you will obtain inspiration to find the next important decisions and steps in your life.


This is an example of a two day-seminar program for a Life Story or Biographical seminar. Included is a description of the different exercises used in this program. Every exercise begins with time for a short individual preparation. After that, the groups share their story one by one in equal slots and the group members listen deeply without commenting. The time slot in this seminar is for groups of three. The Biographical seminar is often longer than two days and the group size is often four. In these cases, the seminar includes more exercises in relation to different life situations and life phases.

Day One 09:00–18:00

09:00 Welcome and introduction to biographical work

09:30 Lecture about life phases from the years 0–21

  (For lectures see 5.2.1, subchapter: Description of the Different Life Phases)

10:30 Break

10:45 Introduction to group work and ethics during the seminar

  Exercise 1:

  • How are my physical surroundings today?

    − Do they support my health and wellbeing?

  • Which rhythms do I have today?

    Do the rhythms support my health and wellbeing?

  • Authorities and role models today?

    1. Whom do I admire?

    2. Which values are most important for me?

    3. Who has given me positive affirmations?

    4. Who supports my development as a human being?

    5. Who is holding me back?

12:15 Lunch

13:15 Exercise 2: Relations and meetings with people important for me

  First you write a list with the most important people in your life.

  Then you select one person possibly two of these people, either one whom you consider your ideal – role model – or one whom you have had a difficult relation to (don't select your parents or your partner)

  You describe their physical appearance. Your first meeting. What they have meant to you and how you perceive them today. You finally reflect on what you should be grateful for in relation to having met these people.

15:00 Break

15:15 Introduction to and the beginning of filling out your own Life Chart. This work is to be continued in the evening.

16:00 Exercise 3: Turning points in your life

Step 1: Make a list of turning points in your life

Step 2: Choose one or two turning points to work with

Step 3: Describe each turning point – your feelings, your thinking, and your reactions

  • What happened afterward?

  • What was positive or negative?

  • What you have learned?

  • Which consequences have the turning points had for your life now?

17:45 Ending of the day by reading a verse for reflection

18:00 End of Day

Day Two 09:00–18:00

09:00 Good morning – questions in relation to yesterday or the night

09:30 Lecture: Life phases from the years 21–63

(A.2.2, subchapter: Description of the different seven year-life phases and The germ to develop the three spiritual members)

10:30 Break

10:45 Exercise 4: Decision patterns in your life

 Focus on how you take small and big decision in your life.

 Choose a decision taken in the last years, and reflect on how it is related to:

  Thinking: e.g., lists, information gathering, judgment, planning, which were the guiding principles, etc.

  Feeling: e.g., what did you feel, antipathy/sympathy forces, which were the guiding principles, etc.

  Will: e.g., you will win, you will prove it is possible, it was impulsive.

  • What was my motive?

  Evaluate my reactions:

  • Am I reactive or proactive?

11:45 Lunch

12:30 Transfer from past to future

  Paint three trees on one piece of paper: One tree representing your childhood, one representing your situation now, and one representing your future. Share the paintings in the group.

13:15 Focus on the future

 Step 1. Develop your individual plan of action based on a number of questions:

  • Which important questions do I have in relation to my future?

  • Which important decisions am I confronted with?

  • Which new initiatives am I to be involved in?

  • Do I need to change/drop something in my present life?

  • How can I get a deeper understanding of who I am, and whom I can become?

  • Decide when and how I want to act.

  • Decide which step is the first to take.

  Step 2: Group process including brainstorming and handing gifts to each other

  • 1. One by one: Tell about your plan of action

  • 2. Brainstorming:

  The rest of the group prepares which advices/gifts they want to give

  • 3. Hand over the gift one at a time. NB! Give the advice, shortly and clearly, almost as a command. Don't reveal the reason behind your advice, e.g., You should begin to study again

  Meanwhile the receiver merely writes the advice down without any comments. This way both the giver and the receiver of the advice have full freedom

  Take the material home for further reflection

  • 4. Go back to Step 2: The next person presents his/her plan of action

15:45 Looking back at the seminar – rounding off

16:00 End of seminar


R1. Lievegoed (1991).


R1. Large (1981: 61).


R1. Bos (2005: 46).


R1. Large (1981: 7).


The website of ASD:


Appendix A.2.3, subchapter: The path of initiation through development of the two-, sixteen-, and twelve-petaled lotus flower, p. 177.


R3. Steiner (1904–5, GA 9).


R3. Steiner (1904–5, GA 10).


R1. Lievegoed (1985: 82).


The following is primarily based on R3. Steiner (1908–9, GA 57).


R3. Steiner (1909, GA 57).


The planetary qualities are the basis of the two models, see P2.1.4: Fig.4, p. 25 and P4.3.2: Fig.16, p. 87.


See more about Ahriman in Appendix A.2.2: the chapter beginning with The second Post-Atlantean Cultural period…, p. 159.


Quote by Karl Marx.


P1.1.1: p. 2, where I describe the resistance you meet through the Ahrimanic forces – I shall therefore not deal with it in depth here.


Appendix A.2.3, subchapter: Description of the six subsidiary exercises: p. 186.


R3. Steiner (1919, GA 23).


P4.2.2: p. 59.


Every country in the UN was obliged to develop an Agenda 21 plan for a sustainable future for their country. This task was done for the Philippines by a group of people around Nicanor Perlas.


R2. Perlas (2000: 182–3, adapted).


R2. Perlas (2000: 185, Fig.15).


Bhagavad-Gita is a 700 verse Sanskrit scripture which is part of the Hindu epic Mahabharata, which is dated to around the second century BC.


Appendix A.2.1, chapter: Counterforces in Anthroposophy, p. 148.


Appendix A.2.2, p. 172.


For the description of the following periods see R3. Steiner (1910, GA 13).


Spirit Man is the transformation of the physical body of the human being and is closely connected with the development of spiritual intuition.


R3. Steiner (1924–5, GA 26).


R3. Steiner (1910, GA 121).


The Spirit Self is closely connected with the development of spiritual imagination.


R3. Steiner (1919, GA 194).


Appendix A.2.1, chapter: Rudolf Steiner as a spiritual teacher and practical inspirator, p. 139.


Appendix A.4.7, chapter: Light and shadow in conflicts, p. 214.


R3. Steiner (1908, GA 102).


P4.4.2: p. 98.


R3. O'Leary (2006).


R3. Prokofieff (1991: 44–96, summary).


R3. Prokofeiff (1996: 50).


R1. Lievegoed (1985).


R1. Lievegoed (1985: 123).


See P5.1.2: 118. Here exercises by both Steiner and Zajonc are described. See also Appendix A.2.3, chapter: Meditation and the quest for initiation, p. 177.


P1.4: p. 10.


R3. Steiner (1904, GA 10–1961: 33).


See more in the following chapters.


R2. Zajonc (2009).


R3. Steiner (1904, GA 10–1961: 69).


Phases 1-3 are a summary based on R3. Steiner (1904–5, GA 10) and R3. Prokofeiff (1993:121–2, adapted).


R3. Steiner (1904, GA 10).


R3. Tomberg (2015).


R3. Seiss (1991–2007).


R3. Brahm (2013).


Also called the sixteen-fold lotus flower as it has 16 leaves.


Appendix A.4.6, subchapter: Looking back in connection to Rudolf Steiner's weekday meditation exercises, p. 208.


P3.1: Dynamic Judgment Building by using the Lemniscate, p. 33.


See the description of the different fields of the Lemniscate in P3.1.2, Fig.8: p. 36.


See description in Appendix A.4.3: Listening exercise: p. 197 and Appendix A.4.4: Teambuilding and collaborative exercises, p. 203.


R3. Steiner (1903–13, GA 245).


For a description of the six subsidiary exercises, see R3. Steiner (1904, GA 10).


R3. Prokofeiff (1993: 137).


R3. Prokofeiff (1993: 123, adapted).


First printed in Berlin on October 12, 1909, but the quotation is not included in later editions of GA 10.


R1. Lievegoed (1973: 20), first published in Holland in 1969.


R1. Lievegoed (1973: 24).


R1. Lievegoed (1973: 18, 21, 38, 44).


Udviklingsledelse (1997).


R1. Glasl, Lievegoed (1997: 55, Fig.2).


R1. Glasl, Lievegoed (1997: 64–5, Fig.3, adapted).


R1. Bos (2014).


P2.1.4: p. 24.


Training in observation in relation to supporting conversations and the Lemniscate. The exercise was given by Lex Boss at a seminar in 2001.


The crayons I use are Stockmar Wachsfarben – 16 different colors in a box.


P1.4.2: p. 14 (as an introduction).


For a detailed description of Rudolf Steiner's meditation exercises see Appendix A.2.3, subchapter: Description of the weekday exercises, p. 180.


P4.4.3: p. 100.


For the lecture see P4.4.2: p. 98.


For the lecture see P4.4.1: p. 95.


P3.1: p. 33.


P4.1: p. 47.


P4.2: p. 55.


For a general description see P4.4.4, p. 104.


P5.2.1: The frame and process in a biography workshop, p. 122.