Anthroposophy is a spiritual science first conceived and developed by Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925), whose theory, in its essence, is based on the concept that man is a spiritual entity, whose form unfolds into four bodies: the Physical, Vital, Anemic and the I Organization. Through them we express our will, our emotions, feelings and thoughts. The balance between these bodies is deeply connected to our health and well-being.
Steiner was inspired by Wolfgang Von Goethe’s Color Theory and scientific vision. Goethe was a great german artist, poet, naturalist and scientist, of the eighteenth century. From this inspiration Steiner conceived a new therapeutic practice that articulates artistic creation to the principles of Anthroposophical Medicine. The new therapeutic concept is called “Artistic Therapy”, and has, therefore, been developed by doctors, artists and scientist from the beginning of the twentieth century until our days.
Nature and Cosmos
Artistic Practice, such as conceived by Anthroposophy, has been methodically organized to work on a therapeutic frame. Theoretical and practical knowledge of the arts is an important step within the therapeutic process, because it is the constant artistic exercise that challenges and allows us to become agents of our own transformation. Painting, drawing, modeling and sculpting are the main expressions.
We use either the wet-on-wet or veil painting methods. Wet-on-wet is used mostly for children, the elderly and the infirm, since it has a loosening and strengthening effect on the etheric (or life body) while healing and strengthening the soul forces. Veil painting was introduced and used extensively by Rudolf Steiner in his own work, and he recommended the use of veil painting as an ego-strengthening, therapeutic modality as well.
Drawing is essentially black and white work—studies of line and form, and of the dynamic interplay of light and darkness.
The drawing process uses techniques such as Observation, Geometric, Dynamic, Charcoal, Pastel, Hachure and Formdrawing as its main resources of creation.
Modeling and Sculpting
Clay is earth and water, physical and etheric substance. It is also foreign substance, cold to the touch, formless and resistant. To make it ours, we must transform it and imbue it with our own ego. The more we “work” the clay with our hands, the more plastic it becomes, warm and yielding to our touch.
Finding the particular balance of substance, water and warmth is will- and ego-strengthening. Using various beeswax-based modeling compounds, and carving in wood, stone or plaster, add to the therapist’s repertoire.
Final Notes on Artistic Therapy
Artistic Therapy is a therapeutic practice that makes large use of art principals aiming to promote changes through artistic experimentation, it is mainly a non verbal type of therapy. The process experienced through Artistic Therapy is one that develops the sense of perception, of self-awareness, thus leading us to a state of emotional and physical well-being. Its indicated to those who suffer from physical illness, emotional imbalance, as well as, self-development.