CALENDAR OF THE SOUL ”pictures of the inner year” exhibition

THE “CALENDAR OF THE SOUL” BY RUDOLF STEINER WITH 65 ORIGINAL DRAWINGS BY DR. KARL KÖNIG AND 52 PAINTINGS BY THOR IVAR OLSEN

We are delighted to present a unique exhibition of original drawings by Dr. Karl König as well as Thor Ivar Olsen during the conference related to the anthroposophic Soul Calendar verses. The exhibition from Karl König shows all 52 pictures of the weekly verses, drawn in 1940 in the internment camp for so-called “enemy aliens” on the Isle of Man, England. Additionally, there are 13 medallions on the Metamorphosis of the Cross, depicting the harmony of the four seasons throughout the year using the Soul Calendar verses. These meditative drawings are a highlight and can serve as a guide to a deeper understanding of the verses of the Soul Calendar.

Rudolf Steiner- cover design, March 1925
Picture by Thor Olsen
Picture by Karl König

ABOUT THE “CALENDAR OF THE SOUL

The ”Calendar of the Soul” are fifty-two meditative verses, one for each week of the year, written by Rudolf Steiner. They reflect the gradual changes of the soul during the year in relation to the seasonal rhythms in nature.

Becoming aware of the synchronicity in the rhythmic life of the human soul and the earth is a deepening step towards our heeling relationships with nature and the earth.

Many are familiar with Rudolf Steiner’s work The Calendar of the Soul, the book of fifty-two weekly meditative verses that run from Easter to Easter. Few, however, know anything of its history. In 1918, an edition of these verses with a short introduction by Steiner appeared as the thirteenth of the “Colorful Waldorf Astoria Booklets,” tiny books packaged with Waldorf Astoria cigarettes and intended for soldiers in the trenches. The project was an initiative of Emil Molt, the owner of the cigarette company, an anthroposophist, and a close friend of Rudolf Steiner. It also appeared in a series of books edited by Molt’s friend Hermann Hesse, intended for German prisoners of war. Neither edition was available to the public through bookstores. The form in which it appears today derives from the 1925 edition, which appeared only a few days after Steiner’s death. This was the first printing of the verses in their current form as a commercially available edition.

With inspiration from the “Calendar of the Soul, Dr. Karl König (1902 –1966) who was an Austrian physician who founded the Camphill Movement, an international movement of therapeutic, intentional communities inclusive of those with special needs or disabilities and based on the principles of Rudolf Steiner, and Thor Olsen (1950-2002) born in Norway, worked as a Waldorf teacher, art teacher and artist in Scandinavia, have each created fifty-two pictures related to each calendar verse. These drawings will be exhibited in original at this event with workshops and discussions. The pictures in combination with the verses are intended to explore the inner connection between the rhythms of the human soul and the natural world. Read more about Rudolf Steiner, Dr. Karl König and Thor Olsen below.

Rudolf Steiner

Rudolf Steiner was born on February 27, 1861 in what is now Croatia and died on March 30, 1925 in Dornach, Switzerland (www.goetheanum.org). His monumental projects of drafting an alternative science, a new pedagogy, new perspectives in medicine and agriculture, have entered into the spiritual heritage of the present time. They live in today’s cultural life as an impulse and an inspiration. The philosopher, scientist and Goethe scholar, Rudolf Steiner, developed anthroposophy as a ”science of the spirit.” An individual path of spiritual development, its fruits are visible in art, social forms and practical initiatives such as Waldorf Schools, bio-dynamic agriculture, alternative banking institutions, medical clinics, hospitals and centres  and thousands of  of organisations, businesses and institutions worldwide.

Rudolf Steiner
Rudolf Steiner- cover design, March 1925

“The soul will be able to notice that inner forces wait to be awoken through participation in the reality of world development, as it takes place within the flow of time. Only then will be revealed how fine but significant the threads are that connect the soul to the world into which it has been born.” From Rudolf Steiner’s Foreword, 1918

Karl König

Dr. Karl König (25.9.1902– 27.3.1966), physician and founder of the international Camphil Movement, came from a modest Jewish background in Vienna, where he studied zoology, biology and medicine. Early on he found a deep inner connection to Christianity. His search for answers to the question of evolution and the nature of life forces led him to intensively study Goethe and later anthroposophy. (Read more at https://www.karlkoeniginstitute.org/en/index.asp)

His meeting with Dr. Ita Wegman in Arlesheim, Switzerland gave him the direction for his future work and life. After assisting her in the Clinic in Arlesheim, he became one of the pioneers of anthroposophic medicine and curative education. With a small group of colleagues, he founded a pioneering therapeutic intentional community on the estate of “Camphill” near Aberdeen, Scotland, which has since given its name to a world-wide movement for curative education and social therapy, with over 140 intentional communities worldwide. König strove to develop and implement anthroposophy in countless practical directions in life, always keeping the life forces, healing and questions of development in the individual and society in the foreground.

Dr. König and the Calendar of the Soul

Intensive studies conducted with a group attempting to overcome the confines of imprisonement during internment by spiritual activity lead to the color drawings of the 52 verses in 1940. These artistic imaginations show a profound meditative depth of spiritual symbolism. König was one of the first students of Anthroposophy to explore the fourfold structure of the Calendar of the Soul. The impression of these accords, their musical characteristics and their connection to the first Goetheanum in Dornach, Switzerland, revealed new images to him. A path of metamorphosis of the cross in the cycle of the year became the subject of 13 x 12 further pictures, to which he wrote explanatory texts. He gave many lectures to encourage the co-workers of the growing international Camphill Movement to follow such an inner path. Later he took this theme further, but did not manage to finish a planned publication.

Thor Ivar Olsen

Thor Ivar Olsen (1950 – 2002) was an artist, teacher, philosopher and medical educator. He was born in Trondheim, attended Waldorf preschool education in Copenhagen and the pedagogical/artistic line at the Rudolf Steiner Seminary in Järna. He worked in Järna and in Dalarna, both as a class teacher and therapist. At the beginning of the 90s, every Thursday after the teachers’ college in Annaskolan, he painted a picture for the current text in Rudolf Steiner’s weekly language ”The Soul Calendar”. The entire series of 52 watercolors is exhibited in connection with the conference.