Night Vigil

Night Vigil

20 January 2023 Peter Selg 162 views

Article by Peter Selg

This unexpected joy—that so many people came, on this evening, for this night, for the sun at midnight. After the difficult time when the building was so empty, seemed sometimes almost senseless in a world becoming senseless. Suddenly they were there, the friends of anthroposophy, the friends of the building, the friends of Rudolf Steiner and the Society in such large numbers. They were there and they were awake. The great, luminous building received them and embraced them, and they embraced it. There had been fears of attacks following the criticism that arose in all kinds of reports, reports by others and from among our own. Wooden buildings still stand on the Dornach hill, the carpentry building of the Christmas Conference, the room where Helene Finckh typed her notes. The great sculpture group made of wood is still there, the Christ and the powers of evil—so much that can burn. Yet nothing bad occurred. "But where danger is, there grows / What rescues as well." What rescues—in Hölderlin’s words—grew in the night of remembrance during which the old Goetheanum was secure within the new—protected and rescued, in the being of human beings, in their being together.

The friends were present, in such large number, so compelling and honest, so conscious and humble. And many of them so young, having come long distances, from the Republic of Georgia or South America. They formed a Society of the future, of hope, a Society with the countenance of the human being. The Goetheanum breathed; the world Society Rudolf Steiner hoped for and wanted was there. It was there on the hill—and in the consciousness of people throughout the wider world who turned their thoughts to the building, the night and the morning, wherever they tarried.

The tasks still remain—towering, the healthful sense of falling short about which Rudolf Steiner speaks. But also courage for the future in the spirit of hope and of a utopia that keeps the dawn in view, believes in the morning, and builds upon it. According to Rudolf Steiner, during the night of the fire the Anthroposophical Society could be experienced in its hour of need as a reality. One hundred years later it could be again, in remembrance and in the seeds of the new that grew from the ruins despite every denial and negation. "At this time, I often think about the story of Job because I have a very strong sense that it will be for us as it was for him—after so much suffering, everything, and even more than that, will be given to us again, not the same beauty of the building but yet another beauty. For us a second summertime is yet to come. Don’t laugh at this!—I already believe that good times are coming; we so need them—and the world must again have a Goetheanum, no matter how little the world deserves it and, for the time being, how little the world understands it." [1]

[1] (Edith Maryon, for Rudolf Steiner, 11 May 1923)