Research 2011

Unlike the natural sciences, spiritual science is still developing its research methodology. Threefold's Researcher in Residence program provides researchers the opportunity to dedicate substantial time to high-level collaborative investigations in the etheric realm.

Living Questions

Exploring the Role of Individual and Community
in Spiritual Scientific Research

September 30–October 2, 2011

We live in a golden age of science, and benefit from an unprecedented technical mastery of the physical world; yet each day brings news of more social upheaval, economic catastrophe, and environmental disaster. The search for solutions seems only to yield controversy and dispute among elites representing competing scientific, ideological and theological world views.

Dorothea Mier

Frank Chester

Clearly new insights, new approaches, and new methods are needed to uncover constructive solutions to the world’s problems. The insights of a spiritual scientific world view are needed today more than ever.



Images of the 2011 Conference

Video and slideshow images by Natt McPhee


Reflections on the Symposium

Reflections of Ani Hanilius: Coming together at that special time of year when Summer has faded and the crispness of Autumn is rustling in the leaves, a group of spiritual scientific researchers met in the Red Barn of the Threefold Community and began an exploration of living questions. We came from all walks of life, with different focuses, passions and expertise. We each brought interest and together created a mood of thoughtful participation and engagement. Read more...

Reflections of Evan Paul: I Think — that the symposium was catered toward the thinking capacity. Speakers broached heavy subjects on the cutting-edge of their fields, creating discussions that cut straight into deep thought about the meaning of the heart, the fundamentals of conversation and the creation of open spaces. Read more...

Reflections of Branko Furst: First of all, I would like to thank you for organizing the Living Questions conference within the framework of the Michaelmas celebrations. Read more...


Andrea Baker

Andrea Baker, originally from southern California, is a recent graduate of the School of Eurythmy in Spring Valley, where in her first year, she discovered an interest in seasonal nature arrangements. She enjoys working with others to create an experience of Nature as the ultimate artist.

John Beck

John Beck is editor of the newsletter of the Anthroposophical Society in America, being human, online at Previously he was general manager of the NY Open Center in Manhattan, worked for Chase Bank in technology and communications, and headed city-owned stations WNYC radio and tv in New York City and public radio WGBH in Boston. He's completing a book on millennial perspectives on our present situation.

Frank Chester, an artist, sculptor and geometrician who lives in San Francisco, has taught art for more than thirty years in high schools and colleges. Inspired by the work of Rudolf Steiner, Frank’s explorations of the relation between form and spirit have led to the discovery of many previously unknown geometric structures. He has taught sacred geometry at the Waldorf teacher training program in San Francisco, and presented his research at conferences and Waldorf schools in the United States and Europe. Frank is a Researcher in Residence at Threefold Educational Center (2010-11).

Jonah Evans

Jonah Evans received a BA in Psychology and worked with addiction and psychosis before entering the Seminary of The Christian Community in 2004. Ordained in 2008 in Germany, Jonah led a congregation in Johannesburg, South Africa before moving to the Christian Community in Spring Valley, NY.

Lachlan Grey

Lachlan Grey is a fabricator and installation artist working with innovative space design. He works through an artistic collaboration called the New Forms Project, which explores the idea of “Sacred Aesthetic Technology” through alchemical imaginations, adventure travel, mixed media creations, and social sculpture.

Rosa Scarlette Henderson

Rosa Scarlette Henderson grew up on a biodynamic farm in New Zealand with a love of landscape and art and trained later as a photographer. She has spent the last four years working with the Youth Section, in community development and finding her own community traveling the four corners of the earth with her camera.

Seth Jordan

Seth Jordan graduated from Connecticut College in 2003 with a major in Philosophy. After working for various nonprofits, Seth helped found Think OutWord in 2008. He has organized and taught at conferences, as well as consulted individuals and groups, in America, Europe, and Asia.

Michael Judge is a history graduate of the University of Maryland where he also studied geology, anthropology, and archaeology. He has earned public education certification with the State of Maryland, holds a Waldorf Teaching certificate, and a Spacial Dynamics Certificate. He is a lifelong student of modern science and has been a student of spiritual science for over 32 years.

Robert Karp

Robert Karp has been a leader in the local food and sustainable agriculture movement for over fifteen years and has been a student of Rudolf Steiner's spiritual scientific research for three decades. Robert is currently the Executive Director of the Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association and is the founder of New Spirit Farmland Partnerships, which builds connections between organic farmers and social investors.

Edward Kiewra

Edward Kiewra is a native New Yorker who currently works for IBM in Burlington, VT on Silicon Photonic devices, or optical computing elements. His formal education is both in Chemistry (BS), and Chemical Engineering (BS, MS, PhD). While he still practices Chemical Engineering on a daily basis, his nightly hobbies include recreational mathematics – which may help explain some of his behaviors. While he holds dozens of patents and papers, he is most proud of his 3 teenage experiments, Edward, Lydia, and Peter, who question what they are told, as every good child should.

Marcus Macauley

Marcus Macauley, a Seattle-born pianist and composer, teaches music and accompanies for the School of Eurythmy and for the Eurythmy Spring Valley Ensemble, as well as for singers and instrumentalists in Rockland County, NY and Manhattan. He has studied composition at the Eastman School of Music, explored aspects of Goethean science, anthroposophy, and social threefolding through independent study and in connection with Think OutWord, and spent a year as a co-worker and music director at Camphill Soltane, Glenmoore, PA.

Ray Manacas

Rafael Manaças is Executive Director of Threefold Educational Foundation where he has been stuck for the last two centuries. He has had previous lives as a musician and textile salesman, and helped to found École RS de Montréal and was active in the early CSA movement and various other social catastrophes throughout the 60's and 70's of the last century.

Dorothea Mier was born and raised in England, where she studied piano at the Birmingham School of Music and the Royal College of Music. She received her eurythmy training at the Lea van der Pals School in Dornach, Switzerland where she subsequently taught for 17 years. From 1959-1980, Dorothea performed and toured with the Goetheanum Eurythmy Ensemble under the direction of Marie Savitch. From 1980-2005, Dorothea led the School of Eurythmy in Spring Valley, NY. With the Eurythmy Spring Valley Ensemble, she has toured throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. In recent years her teaching has taken her to Japan, South Africa, New Zealand, and Brazil.

Sampsa Pirtola

Sampsa Pirtola is an Arts Manager, Multimedia and performance Artist from Finland. He went to the Waldorf School of Helsinki and has Studied Arts Management, Organizational Leadership, and Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management. He has functioned as the manager of the world’s most unknown Art-Time cleaner Immanuel since 2004. He is presently on the 2011 Immanuel world tour The Birth of the Transmodern.

Michael Ronall

Michael Ronall is an instructor in Foundation Studies and Waldorf Teacher Education programs. He recently presented a conference on metamorphic thinking sponsored by the Traveling Speakers Program of the Anthroposophical Society in America.

Robert Sandstrom

Robert Sandstrom received his degree in Industrial Technology Engineering and began his career at AMOCO (now BP) Research Center. Since 1984 he has been at the IBM - T.J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, NY, working in the Physical Science Department in the areas of: exploratory cryogenics, high temperature superconductivity, optical planer waveguides, single-electron transistors, carbon nanotubes, diblock copolymers & nanoparticles, and most recently, on the IBM-KACST ultra-high concentrated photovoltaics Saudi Arabia joint partnership. He has received seven IBM Invention Achievement Awards, 20 issued patents, and has authored or co-authored 83 journal publications and papers.

Jorge Sanz-Cardona

Jorge Sanz-Cardona developed an architectural design practice in New York City, then moved to Rockland County, NY to create his painting and graphic design studio. One of his recent commissions was to create the altar painting of the Christian Community in Chestnut Ridge. He is currently represented by the 78th Street Gallery in Santa Fe, NM and recently had a solo exhibit at the Centerpoint Gallery in NYC. He has also created numerous brochures, book covers and logos for the anthroposophical movement, and has given a number of lectures on the evolution of the arts and their influence on developing imagination.

Joaquin Tan

Joaquin "Jake" Tan pioneered anthroposophic medicine and pharmaceuticals in the Philippines in 1993; he co-founded the first Waldorf school in Manila and the Anthroposophical Group in the Philippines in 1994. His book Healing Ourselves from Medicine was published in 2011.

Katrina Tan

Katrina Tan, an artist and writer from the Philippines, is deeply inspired by how much Good there is in the universe and seeks to portray as much of this Goodness as she possibly can in her art. She works with oil on canvas with recycled wood, and upholds themes like life after death, awakening to one’s purpose in life, light amid darkness, spirituality over materialism, enlightenment, hope and love. Katrina has illustrated two children's books, The Seed Babies and The Story of Caterpillar, Snail and Ant, and her articles have been published in the Philippine Star, Pacifica Journal and Lilipoh.

Jordan Walker

Jordan Walker helped organize the 2011 Research Symposium as special projects coordinator at the Threefold Educational Center. He has a Masters degree in elementary and special education from the New York City Teaching Fellows and recently completed a six-month research grant at the Goetheanum in new forms of adult education, a record of which is online at

Symposium Schedule
(Subject to Change)

Friday, September 30

9:00am Piano Meditation and Eurythmy
9:15am Welcome by Jordan Walker and Ray Manaças
10:00am Break
10:30am The Social Dimension of Spiritual Research: An Exploration by Robert Karp
12:00pm Lunch; Introduction to Open Space Technology
2:00pm Research Perspectives: Concurrent Presentations
  Seth Jordan: Threefolding Today: How the World Has Taken Up Anthroposophy's Forgotten Task
Frank Chester: Chamber Architecture: The Geometry of the Body as Temple
Michael Judge: Human Evolution-Spiritual Science and Material Science
3:30pm Break
4:00pm Conversation groups
5:30pm Dinner; Open Space Meetings
7:30pm Collaborative Learning and the Contemporary Scientific Research Landscape by Edward Kiewra and Robert Sandstrom of IBM Laboratories
9:00pm Eurythmy and Piano Meditation

Saturday, October 1

9:00am Piano Meditation and Eurythmy
9:15am Introduction of the Artists
10:00am Break
10:30am Research Presentation by John Beck: The Past and Future Tasks of Anthroposophy in America through the Lens of the Threefold Verse
12:00pm Lunch; Open Space Sessions
2:00pm Research Perspectives: Concurrent Presentations
  Edward Kiewra & Robert Sandstrom: Insights into the 4th dimension of Space
Rev. Jonah Evans: "And Jesus answered them....You are Gods": Research into the Divinity of the the Human Self
Joaquin G. Tan: Illness as the Revelation of Self: Healing as the Search for Spirit
Sampsa Pirtola: Think, Find, Make - the Art of Arts Management
Michael Ronall: Clairvoyance through Annoyance: The Redemptive Homeopathy of Everyday Troubles
3:30pm Break
4:00pm Conversation groups continue from Friday
5:30pm Dinner; Open Space Meetings
7:30pm A Conversation with Frank Chester and Dorothea Mier: Heart Forces in Movement: An Exploration of Lawful Balance in Geometry and Eurythmy
9:00pm Eurythmy and Piano Meditation

Sunday, October 2

9:00am Concurrent Sessions:
  Class Lesson (membership cards required)
“What Is the First Class of the School of Spiritual Science?” Introduction for non-members
10:15am Conversation Groups Final Session
11:00am Break
11:30am Full symposium group conversation on perceptions gathered
12:30pm Symposium Closing with Eurythmy and Piano Meditation

The symposium has been supported by the Henry Barnes Fund for Anthroposophical Research, which is administered by the North American Collegium of the School for Spiritual Science.

For an account of the 2010 Researcher in Residence program, Click here.


A Research Manifesto

At the 1924 Christmas Foundation Conference, Rudolf Steiner placed spiritual scientific research at the center of the work and mission of anthroposophy. In 1926, Threefold Farm in Spring Valley, New York, was founded as a living laboratory for spiritual science in social threefolding, biodynamic farming, and the arts. Our mission was codified in 1965, when the Threefold Educational Foundation was chartered by the State of New York Education Department “to establish, conduct, operate and maintain conferences, programs of research and adult education in all fields of human endeavor emphasizing the principles and methods enunciated by Rudolf Steiner.”

We recognize that research is not a luxury, it is a necessity—life itself depends on it. However, research, like any living thing, requires a convergence of essential elements in appropriate amounts. These elements include: qualified researchers carrying worthy questions; time and space in which to do research, and means for researchers to live on; and a social and physical setting that is supportive of the researchers’ work. In short, what is urgently needed is for qualified researchers to be paired with appropriate institutional, social and financial support.

Over the past year, Threefold Educational Center has consciously acted on its task as an anthroposophical institution, which is to create and foster the conditions necessary for spiritual scientific research to take place. A series of conferences hosted by Threefold have brought together interested parties from all over North America and Europe, in part to investigate and discuss the nature and meaning of such research in the past and going forward. A community of researchers and a constellation of questions have been identified. We have developed our physical facilities to create appropriate spaces for working, meeting, exhibiting and performing, a process that continues as new needs and opportunities arise.

A major step in this process was the creation in 2010 of the Threefold Researcher in Residence program. Our first Researcher in Residence, artist and geometrician Frank Chester, worked with a team of eleven research fellows at Threefold from September 19 to October 30. Their work culminated in an exhibition at Threefold Auditorium, “Art as Research and Scientific Inquiry as a Creative Act.” The exhibit’s opening coincided with a weekend Symposium on Anthroposophical Research, co-sponsored by the Collegium of the North American School of Spiritual Science and Threefold.

As the Threefold Researcher in Residence program takes shape and evolves, a continuous dialogue with the Collegium of the School of Spiritual Science is intended to ensure that our work harmonizes with the Collegium’s efforts in the same direction.