52 Weeks - by Laura Summer
This book is a workbook. It is designed not to be read but to be drawn and by being drawn, to provide an experience of the cycle of the year.
As modern people we live with very little relationship to the cycle of the year. Central heat and cooling, electric lights and modern transportation allow us to be fairly comfortable in any season and therefore unconscious of the great breathing cycle of the earth. The verses of Rudolf Steiner’s Calendar of the Soul provide a meditative path for experiencing this cycle. The exercises in this book were developed in relation to these verses but this is not a book of illustrations. Rather by drawing or painting them, the artistic exercises are designed to provide the student with an experience of inner movement during the year; the breathing in of the earth in winter, the out breathing into summer and the subtle variations, spirals, reversals and lemniscates of the process.
When I first encountered Rudolf Steiner’s Calendar of the Soul, I tried to understand it as separate verses, one for each week. Looked at this way it was most often incomprehensible to me. Although occasionally the verse seemed to fit something, either in the seasonal situation around me or in my inner condition, as often as not the verse seemed arbitrary when looked at alone. Three years ago I started to try to penetrate the calendar as a continuous sequence. Each day I read the verse and then held it inwardly for a few moments. At the end of the week I took a pencil and drew a gesture to represent the movement that that verse holds. As the year progressed I noticed that the movement of one verse leads to the movement of the next and all together they form an intricate breathing and weaving. When my first year with the calendar came to a close I decided to continue working with it meditatively for another year to try to experience this breathing/weaving more clearly. At the end of that year I began to create a drawing or painting exercise for each verse. Each exercise is an attempt at giving the participant an inner artistic experience of that week’s perspective in the weaving of the whole. Each week’s exercise has both a relationship to the world outside and to one’s inner world. I hope that by following these exercises in relationship to the calendar verses the participant will gradually become aware of this overall weaving/ breathing and it’s relationship to the exercises. At that point the participant will be able to develop their own exercises, of which I am sure there are unlimited possibilities.