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Educating the Soul

On the Esoteric in Shakespeare

Paperback
July 2016
9781906999926
More details
  • Publisher
    Temple Lodge Publications
  • Published
    8th July 2016
  • ISBN 9781906999926
  • Language English
  • Pages 234 pp.
  • Size 6.25" x 9"
$22.00

“The power of Shakespeare lies in his evidently conscious knowledge, skill and understanding of how to work with the alchemical potential in the human soul in the crafting of his plays. Each play is made as an exquisitely unique transformative device for the education of the soul.”

“Books carry on conversations across the thresholds of time and space,” writes Josie Alwyn in her introduction. This book is the fruit of her “conversation” with Brien Masters—a collaboration that began more than twenty years ago, when she was learning to be a Waldorf teacher. They open their discussions with the broader theme of the role and mission of drama in human development, before focusing on the central topic, the potential for metamorphosis inherent in Shakespeare’s plays. This creative, birth-giving, transformative essence of Shakespeare—the esoteric core of his work—is vitally important to our time, they suggest, and contributes to the ongoing cultural education of the human soul.

Published to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, Educating the Soul offers an overview of Shakespeare’s journey as a playwright in the context of evolving human consciousness. The heart of the book features nine essays on Shakespeare’s most performed plays. Just as the middle act of a Shakespearian drama gives a point of transformation, so these essays represent the central, unfolding dialogue that took place between the writers as the book developed. This section is followed by an in-depth study of Hamlet, which sees the story as a learning process, deeply strengthened by the primary character’s own education and changing consciousness. Finally, the book explores the theme of transformation through The Tempest and in relation to the archetypal “tree of life.”

Accessible to all, the motifs of the various chapters in this book are woven lightly together, enabling the reader to follow the contents in sequence, or to dip in and pick up the threads at any point.

Published to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, Educating the Soul offers an overview of Shakespeare’s journey as a playwright in the context of evolving human consciousness. The heart of the book features nine essays on Shakespeare’s most performed plays. Just as the middle act of a Shakespearian drama gives a point of transformation, so these essays represent the central, unfolding dialogue that took place between the writers as the book developed. This section is followed by an in-depth study of Hamlet,which sees the story as a learning process, deeply strengthened by the primary character’s own education and changing consciousness. Finally, the book explores the theme of transformation through The Tempest and in relation to the archetypal tree of life.

C O N T E N T S:

Introduction by Josie Alwyn

PART ONE: The Mission of Drama and Its Alignment with Music Drama and Mystery Drama
  —Brien Masters

PART TWO: Shakespeare: Courier for Man at the Threshold
  —Brien Masters

PART THREE: Essays in Transformation:
• “A Mote Will Turn the Balance” The Part Played by Demetrius in A Midsummer Night’s Dream
  —Josie Alwyn
• “Play’s the Thing” in Childhood and in Shakespeare’s Staged Vision of the Consciousness Soul
  —Brien Masters
Romeo and Juliet: Grace or Rude Will?
  —Josie Alwyn
• Shakespeare and the Bigger Bang
  —Brien Masters
Twelfth Night or What You Will
  —Josie Alwyn
• What Are We Fighting for Now?
  —Brien Masters
Hamlet and Faust
  —Rudolf Steiner
• An Introduction to Hamlet and the Education of the Soul
  —Josie Alwyn
• Shakespeare’s Metamorphic Stride from Iago to Iachimo in Dealing with the Problem of Evil
  —Brien Masters
• The Coast of Bohemia
  —Brien Masters

PART FOUR: The Tempering of Hamlet’s Soul
  —Josie Alwyn
Act 1. “Who’s there?”
Act 2. “What do you read, my lord?”
Act 3. “To be, or not to be...?”
Act 4. “How stand I then...?”
Act 5. “—is’t not perfect conscience...?”

PART FIVE: The Tempest and the Tree of Life
  —Josie Alwyn

Notes
Bibliography

Josie Alwyn

Josie Alwyn was born in London in 1951 and lived most of her life amid the South Downs in Sussex. She was educated at Lewes Grammar School and Sussex University, graduating with an MA in English Renaissance Literature and Drama. Doctoral research led her deeper into the classical and medieval streams of thinking that flow into Shakespeare’s writing, which introduced her to the work of Rudolf Steiner. The beginning of family life in 1984 opened vocational pathways into Steiner education, first in the Brighton Steiner School and at the London Waldorf Teacher Training Seminar with Brien Masters, then at Michael Hall Steiner School in Forest Row as Upper School English teacher. Josie is currently codirector of the London Waldorf Seminar and a Steiner-Waldorf Schools Fellowship adviser. 

Brien Masters

Brien Masters, Ph.D., was qualified as both a state and a Waldorf teacher and taught everything from music to math to map reading. He taught around the world and acted as a consultant to government ministries. He wrote numerous articles and several publications for use in schools. His doctoral thesis is a critical appraisal of Waldorf praxis in the light of Rudolf Steiner’s original educational ideas. Brien Masters was director of the London Waldorf Teacher Training Seminar, as well as a seminar in Gran Canaria, the Canary Islands. He died in October 2013.