I Am for Going Ahead: Ita Wegman’s Work for the Social Ideals of Anthroposophy
“Ita Wegman is not only an inspiring genius of Anthroposophy, but she is also a healing genius of anthroposophic medicine. Perseverance, courage, greatness mark her being” -Emanuel Zeylmans van Emmichoven
With great empathy, delicacy, and directness, Peter Selg recounts, in three lectures, the moving story of Ita Wegman and her relationship with Rudolf Steiner in the context of the development of anthroposophic medicine and the formation of the Medical Section of the School for Spiritual Science. Steiner had suffered patiently until the right person—Ita Wegman—arrived to guide spiritual science’s healing mission into the medical field. In the fall of 1920, Ita Wegman founded a medical clinic in Arlesheim. From then on, she and Steiner worked together, both medically and spiritually, gradually unveiling a karmic working relationship unique in Steiner’s life. Thus the stage is set.
“By taking in the war-traumatized children we will not lose sight of our task in curative education, on the contrary, it is the actual realization of this task, and if one cannot see that, one is not going forward with the big strides of time. I assure you that I will not fall into small steps; I want to stay with the big strides.” -Ita Wegman, Aug. 20, 1942
The second lecture focuses on anthroposophic curative, or therapeutic, education: “the social center, the heart even, of Ita Wegman’s ‘Medical Section’; To make a commitment to children with severe obstacles in their incarnation, out of spiritual insight into the human being and the wider karmic context, and to make this commitment as a group of people working out of a Christian-religious impulse” this was for Ita Wegman the true anthroposophic medicine.”
Dr. Selg then describes Dr. Wegman’s heroic efforts to create a true community of physicians working anthroposophically out of Steiner’s indications and in the spirit of Christ; how she looked after her colleagues, always seeking to wake them up “to the destiny of their own being.” She also tried to resist all that was happening in Nazi Germany, never forgetting Steiner’s warning: “In the future, the Anthroposophical Society will be faced with the crucial decision of whether responsibilities will be met or not.” This is the heart of this wonderful book—the inner struggle to make love responsible.
Foreword by Michaela Glöckler
1. “Jubilation in the spiritual world”
Rudolf Steiner and Ita Wegman
2. “To build up and strengthen these islands is my endeavor”
Ita Wegman and the Curative Teachers
3. “I do not want to interfere in any way with anyone’s freedom”
Rudolf Steiner and the Physicians
About the Author
Peter Selg was born in 1963 in Stuttgart and studied medicine in Witten-Herdecke, Zurich, and Berlin. Until 2000, he worked as the head physician of the juvenile psychiatry department of Herdecke hospital in Germany. Dr. Selg is now director of the Ita Wegman Institute for Basic Research into Anthroposophy (Arlesheim, Switzerland) and professor of medicine at the Alanus University of Arts and Social Sciences (Germany). He lectures extensively and is the author of numerous books, many of which have been published in English.
Dr. Michaela Glöckler has been Leader of the Medical Section at the Goetheanum, the School of Spiritual Science in Dornach, Switzerland since 1988. She attended the Waldorf School in Stuttgart, then studied German language, literature, and history in Freiburg and Heidelberg. She studied medicine in Tübingen and Marburg and trained as a pediatrician at the community hospital in Herdecke and at the Bochum University Pediatric Clinic. Until 1988 she was a colleague in the children’s outpatient clinic at the Community Hospital in Herdecke and served as school doctor for the Rudolf Steiner School in Witten, Germany. Michaela has many publications in German, many of which have been published in English.
Margot M. Saar studied at the Universität des Saarlandes, at Open University, UK, and at Institut für Waldorfpädagogik Witten Annen, Germany. She is an experienced translator and interpreter in specialty fields (education, medicine, philosophy, anthroposophy, homeopathy, anthroposophic medicine, general science). She has been a foreign language teacher at Michael House School Derbyshire, UK, a teacher of foreign languages and philosophy, exam officer, and upper school mentor at Michael Hall School, East Sussex, and translator of technical manuals and legal contracts, international correspondence, office management at Hüls Troisdorf AG Witten Germany. Margot has translated numerous books for SteinerBooks, including Peter Selg’s 7-volume biography of Rudolf Steiner.
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