Welcome to the Winter (or Summer, depending where you are) issue of New View. This is the issue that spans the Holy Nights, a time of reflection on what has been and what may come as the New Year beckons.
As we went to press for this issue, mailed out a few days before Christmas, the news broke about the terrible slaughter by gunfire of 20 children and 6 adult women at a school in Connecticut, USA; killed by a 20 year old youth who then took his own life. His own mother had been one of the victims. One of the themes that lives in the Holy Nights is the slaughter of the innocents by King Herod. Herod was trying to find and kill the Jesus child spoken of in the Matthew Gospel, appalling enough, but what was driving this young man in Connecticut to commit such an act? Whilst this will no doubt bring the whole debate about gun laws in the USA forward again, we also have to ponder on the soul condition of a person who can do this. This is not an isolated incident, nor are these seemingly random acts confined to the USA, although a number of such incidents have occurred there over the years. These are tragic events.
A strong theme in this issue has grown around the plight of the ash tree, as disease threatens to wipe out most of them across western Europe in the years to come. This sorry malaise is symptomatic of a poor relationship much of humanity has today with the whole of nature. Yet it is within our compass to change this. Whilst we are assailed by challenges on all sides, both personal and in our wider society, there are nonetheless green shoots of hope and renewal; we just have to be awake for them. The words of the playwright, Christopher Fry, in his play The Sleep of Prisoners (1951), express this far better than I can:
The human heart can go to the lengths of God. Dark and cold we may be, but this Is no winter now. The frozen misery Of centuries breaks, cracks, begins to move; The thunder is the thunder of the floes, The thaw, the flood, the upstart Spring. Thank God our time is now when wrong Comes up to face us everywhere, Never to leave us till we take The longest stride of soul we humans ever took. Affairs are now soul size. The enterprise Is exploration into God. Where are you making for? It takes So many thousand years to wake, But will you wake for pity’s sake!
The contributions in this issue range far and wide and deep; all touched by Steiner’s work. It is my hope that herein is something of value for anyone, if they can take a moment to read, with care, that which the community of contributors have shared. And now and again a leaven of humour sparkles forth to accompany that journey.
As a new year opens out, I would like to thank all the authors, artists and poets who have contributed to the issues this past year. And a special and grateful thanks to the readers, without whose generosity we would not have come this far.
The road ahead is a little unclear, we need new equipment, we would like to create a stronger presence on the internet, but funds are lacking for either of these projects at present.
But, whatever the future holds, I wish you well, wherever you may be.