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Eurythmy

Eurythmy is one of Rudolf Steiner's proudest achievements. To better understand what Steiner says about eurythmy, you should read his self-titled "A Lecture on Eurythmy" Not always one to boast, Steiner says:

EURYTHMY has grown up out of the soil of the Anthroposophical Movement, and the history of its origin makes it almost appear to be a gift of the forces of destiny.

Steiner, Rudolf. A Lecture on Eurythmy, 1923

Clearly, Steiner felt that eurythmy was something very special, and of great importance. As such, eurythmy is a tool of Anthroposophy used to reveal and bring about a certain "spiritual impulse" in our age:


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For it is the task of the Anthroposophical Movement to reveal to our present age that spiritual impulse which is suited to it.

I speak in all humility when I say that within the Anthroposophical Movement there is a firm conviction that a spiritual impulse of this kind must now, at the present time, enter once more into human evolution. And this spiritual impulse must perforce, among its other means of expression, embody itself in a new form of art. It will increasingly be realised that this particular form of art has been given to the world in Eurythmy.

Steiner, Rudolf. A Lecture on Eurythmy

When your child practices eurythmy, they practice an art-form designed to elicit a specific spiritual impulse in themselves and others.

Eurythmy as Visible Speech

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eurythmy

Every Waldorf student practices "eurythmy." Eurythmy is a type of body movement that results in "visible speech." Philosophically, it acknowledge's a person's capacity to communicate through non-verbal gestures. Eurythmy is made up of discreet movements that represent various phonetic sounds. Steiner says eurythmy is "art." While eurythmy has often been compared to modern dance, martial arts (e.g. tai chi), physical therapy, and performance art, eurythmy is none of these things.

There are many pictures of eurythmy on the net.

You can find more information on eurythmy at eurythmy.org.

See what Rudolf Steiner says about eurythmy at the Rudolf Steiner Archives using Google: eurythmy site:elib.com

There are also some great articles on eurythmy at WaldorfResources.org.

Eurythmy Gestures

The following information is intended for informational purposes only. Before you undergo any treatment regarding your (or anyone else's) personal health, please consult with your board-certified physician (M.D.), and your qualified eurythmist.

Eutrythmy Gestures and Curative Applications
From "Eurhythmy as Visible Speech: A Somatic Approach to Language"

Description Curative Application
/b/
"The archetypal Eurythmy gesture for /b/ is created by reaching with both arms backwards, deep and low, and then imagining oneself to take hold of a long cloak. One then pulls this cape forward, in a rounded gesture, to form a round 'mantle of protection.' One experiences an inner fullness, which presses outward against the force of compression coming from the rounding arms; there is thus a tension which is ready to burst when the lips open apart with the /b/. Being a labial sound,there is much tension in the hands of the gesture."
  • "Thin-skinned" (emotionally)
  • Skin problems
  • Cell maintenance,
  • emotional, boundary issues
  • treatment of trauma
  • regulating of kidney and bladder functions
  • bedwetting.
  • reducing migraine headaches.
/d/
"The first is done by lifting one or both arms, and then directedly pointing them at something, reaching across space towards an intended goal. The second is done by lifting both hands to the height of the head, and then pressing them both firmly downwards along the length of the body, into gravity and heaviness, while one feels that the head is becoming freed and lighter. Being a dental sound, there is much consciousness in the fingertips of the gesture."
  • consitipation
  • Production of digestive enzymes
  • heart conditions.
/t/
"The Eurythmy gesture for /t/ is tremendously large. One starts with the hands low, at the hips, with the palms turned outwards, and then lifts symmetrically upwards, gathering an enormous armful of space. One feels that one is reaching towards the stars, reaching towards God, towards what is great and inspiring. At the highest point, the arms curve together, the backs of the hands are laid against one another, and the entire harvested dynamic is directed downwards, landing on the top of the head in a point. Alternately, the /t/ can be directed anywhere in space, taking accumulated energy and directing it towards a point, touching a vividly imagined goal. As with its partner dental sound, /d/, there is much tension in the fingertips of the gesture."
(See /d/)
/f/
"The gesture /f/ is forceful. The arms are pulled back behind the body at chest level, by bending the elbows strongly. This causes a strong inhalation of the breath, and makes one feel like a taut bow ready to let an arrow fly. Then the tension is released, and the arms shoot forwards. The power of the gesture passes through the chest, and unfolds the arms all the way to the outmost fingertips. Being a labial sound, the gesture culminates in the hands."
/s/
"The Eurythmy gesture for S is strong and serpentine. As is typical for dental sounds, the gesturee creates tension throughout the length of the arm, culminating in the fingertips. The arms feel like whips, which carve curved forms through space, as they sinuously wind upwards and downwards, either symmetrically or asymmetrically."
  • flatulence
  • gastric cramps
  • diarrhea
  • hemorrhoids
  • reduce libido and organic appetites
/m/
"The gesture for M requires a condensation and concentration of effort. It can move in any direction, upwards, downwards, forwards, backwards, in, out. The essential aspect of the M is that the arms feelingly move through space, tasting it as they go. Their effort condenses space, so space seems no longer to be empty but to be filled with substance. The /m/ movement culminates in the hands, as is appropriate for the labials."
/n/
Unknown
  • most useful in treating diarrhea
/r/
"The gesture for /r is a vigorous rolling. In its classical form, it describes a 360 degree circle down, backwards and upwards, over the head, and descending again into the front space. Being a tongue sound, the movement engages the entire arm, from the shoulders to the finger tips. Its form varies in different languages: in German and in other languages in which the /r/ is 'rolled,' the entire circle is engaged, but in English only the upper curve is active, corresponding to the abbreviated pronunciation. The guttural /r/ of Dutch uses more the back portion of the circle."
  • brings things into vigorous motion
  • regulating sleep
  • regulating breating
  • regulating bowell behavior
  • relieving cramps and tightness
  • alleviating the stiffness of arthritis.
/l/
"The /l/ is the most liquid and flowing of all the sounds. It describes an entire cycle, but only certain parts of it will be emphasized in any word, corresponding to whether it follows or precedes a vowel in a word. The arms are held out to the sides, at shoulder height, with the palms down. The arms move downwards and inwards, as if moving along the sides of a large ball. When they come together at the bottom of the arc, they are heavy, as if in gravity or darkness. They then overcome heaviness by lifting up through the central axis of the ball, like a rising fountain. The movement culminates when the hands come together at the top of the fountain and then unfold to the sides, open to the space above like an unfolding of grace."
  • blood and lymph movement
  • stimulates liver functions
  • depression
  • stiffness and breathing (see /r/)
  • constipation
  • stimulates the fluid production of exocrine glands.
/k/ "The gesture is expressed in the upper arm, where one has the strongest muscles. The arms are lifted into a preparatory position, and then explode outwards or downwards with a short, sharp movement."
  • constriction of the bowels.
  • consolidateing inner strength
  • defective formation of the teeth
  • asthma
/a/
far
"The gesture for Ah is made by letting the arms grow symmetrically out into an open angle, the size of which can be experienced to be the same as the angle of the opening of the throat. This can be in any direction, but it is created by the experience of wonder and awe, and by a feeling of having the content of the world flow into one's heart."
  • openness and clarity
  • Works against greed and selfishness.
/e/
late
"The gesture for /e/ is created by touching oneself, and feeling oneself at the point of contact. The classical /e/ is created by bringing one arm over the other, and crossing at the forearms. This mirrors the narrow angle created in the mouth when pronouncing the sound."
  • boundaries and limits
  • clarity of decisions.
/i/
bee
"The gesture for /ee/ is a long straight stretch, from the tips of one hand to the other. This feels like the narrow straightness of the breath as it is exhaled in speaking the sound, and is accompanied by a feeling of being drawn into polarities and awakening to oneself holding the balance between them."
  • posture and balance
  • Strengthens the individuality
/o/
poke
"The gesture for /o/ is a large rounding of the arms, mirroring the rounding of the lips. One feels drawn out of oneself into relationship with something outside of oneself, as in love."
  • warmth and loving connections.
/u/
cube
"The gesture for this, the vowel most far forward in the mouth, is made by bringing the arms close together and parallel to one another, as if in making a tube. In so doing, one feels oneself contained and yet able to flow forth in whatever direction the tube flows."
  • power to feel rooted

Questions for Parent's Night or School Tour

Questions on Eurythmy

  1. Is it OK if my child studies different forms of dance? Ballet? Country? Tap? Folk? Urban? Ethnic?
  2. If eurythmy is visible speech, what are the children saying? Do they know what they're saying?
  3. Do the children ever spell words in Eurythmy? What do they spell? Do they know what they're spelling?
  4. What sort of science-based medical research has been done on the efficacy of therapeutic eurythmy? If it's so effective why haven't I heard of it? How long has it been in practice?
  5. Is therapeutic eurythmy studied in American medical schools?
  6. Might Waldorf prescribe additional eurythmy practice for my child? Would this cost extra money?

You can print out the Master Checklist for parents, and bring it with you to school.

Discuss your thoughts on Eurythmy in the OpenWaldorf.com forums!

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