Exploring The Word In Colour and Speech

A Synthesis of Anthroposophical Speech and Painting Therapy

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Larissa St
Ringwood 3134
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The Dare

The following is an example of a story-in-motion for a child who needed courage and concentration. It was presented over a few months work, always beginning at the beginning and carrying through to the new verse or movement sequence to be learned. An illustration of a scene was also made by the child and one by the practitioner.

It is given as a service for understanding the story-in-motion, which was first conceived and demonstrated in 1992 in Wandin Springs, Victoria. Since that time, many ‘stories’ have been developed; each one is individually suited to the therapeutic situation.

Sequences and poetry for adults is linked together by dramatic gestures, song and movement.

- Katherine Rudolph

On the evening of the day before the dare, we were journeying to the northwest, the Canadian Rockies, mountains of rugged granite cliffs and the caves of the great brown bears.

Grandfather’s cabin was far from the village of Mineola, where the train was chugging in at last. There was Grandfather’s old jeep, and as the train whistled a last farewell, we two crossed the platform and hopped up to the front seat for the bumpy drive to Raven’s End; the old homestead was built out of timber in the fashion of days long gone by – a real log cabin.

Grandfather, in his red-checker neckerchief and faded overalls, nevertheless hobbled ahead of us and beckoned us in to a supper of soup and scones. The holiday was on!

That night, sitting around the hearth, the dare of adventure was voiced. It was an old tradition at each of our yearly meetings, that Grandfather would voice his dare. One year it had been ‘to climb to the eagle’s nest on the jagged cliff at High-Crossing’. Another time, we had ‘caught a Night-Peacock-Eye moth at Hawthorn Glen’. This time our holiday adventure was ‘to get photos of the great brown bears awakening from hibernation’. A brand new camera was already packed, before we said, “I dare!”.

The next morning we awoke to the sound of the old clocking chiming 8:00:

Tick-tock, tick-tock

Time is passing in motion

Morning, noon and midnight chimes

Wind the clock and tell the time

Hours and hours are left behind

On the Tick-tock

Tick-tock, tick-tock

Time is passing in motion”

No school today. “Let’s speak the verse of affirmation and be on with it”:

Grandfather was ready with porridge. Provisions were packed, and we were ready for the dare. My red leather boots were snake-proof and polished to a sheen.

“Red for courage,” said Grandfather. “Here is your magic staff, passed down from generation to generation. One of its properties is making whoever touches it immediately invisible. Take this with you to the cave of the bears and DO NOT FEAR. My experience has always been that the staff works and holds true, even amidst a den of mountain lions. If you meet the woodcutter, greet him for me. You are to climb the ‘Blackberry Crag’ above the cave to the right of the brook. There is a crack in the rock through which the sun shines today, at equinox time. From there you can see into the cavern of the bears which I discovered in my youth. If the photos turn out well we shall send them to the ‘Natural Science Journal’.”

So, off to the trial down the magic trail we left without ado. Everything is strange in Grandfather’s woods:

When we reached the babbling brook, we found that the stream welling up was much like a fountain!

‘Slinging, slanting and jingling

The wonder fountain sprinkles spray

The wonder fountain sprinkles

A slinging, jingling, slanting spray.’

Then, indeed, turning to the right, they spied the cliff of the bear cave, covered with blackberry brambles and practically impenetrable. Perhaps an axe would cut through to the top. It would take hours to return and get one…

But look at what happened: The woodcutter arrived. “Grandfather says hello.” With that, his axe began cutting blackberry brambles to clear away a track to the top of the crag, where finally, the cleft in the rock was revealed:

At length, it was possible to climb the jagged crag and peer down into the bear cave. But where did that woodcutter go? He seemed to have disappeared as fast as he had appeared. “Well, thanks anyway!” I shouted into the distance.

There was enough room to hold the camera right in the cave and plenty of light from the spring sun. What to our wonder, the bears began to stir and the bears awakening dance began, after which they danced the spring greeting. This is what they did:

‘Head to your right

Head to your left,

Roll to your right

Roll to your left,

Stretch your right arm

Stretch your left arm.

Bend right elbow and left knee.

Bend left elbow and right knee.

Crawl right elbow and left knee.

Crawl left elbow and right knee.

Repeat crawl right-left.

Repeat crawl right-left.

Repeat crawl right-left.

Repeat crawl right-left.


Jig apart right, left, right.

Jig together right, left, right.

Shake hands right,

Shake hands left.

Shake hands right,

Shake hands left.’

“Wow, we did it! Grandfather’s photos for the ‘Natural Science Magazine’.” Rejoicing, we laughed and played at the spring without realising that the bears were really awake, and outside the cave, staring hungrily at us. Suddenly, a growl made it apparent – “Quick, grab the magic staff! Ho, look, the bears don’t see us anymore. We are really invisible. They are looking about anxiously. Don’t laugh or they may hear us. Let’s go!…”:

The rills always led to Grandfather’s cabin. The sun was beginning to set. We threw open the door and pranced in. The hearth fire was still burning and there was Grandfather. “Hooray, we took the photos on equinox day. This should be a headline. Well, here they are, right here! Uh, oh – we forgot the camera!”

“You what?” Grandfather was astounded. “Part of the dare was to be awake and aware.”

It was too late now. We would have to wait until early tomorrow morning. But what if something happened to our precious camera? So, after a sleepless night, we woke and said the ‘No Fear Prayer’:

‘When I see the sun,

I think: God’s spirit.

When I touch my hand,

God’s soul lives in me.

When I take a step,

God’s will works in me.

And when I see a human being,

God’s will lives in him.

It also lives

In animal, plant and stone:

No fear can ever reach me

When I think: God’s spirit.

When God’s soul lives in me

When God’s will is working in me.’

Again, the ‘Path Before Me’ opened up for us as we trudged on to the ‘Bear Crag’:

And back at the brook that bubbles and rhymes in the woods at equinox time, we found the camera, just where we had left it. Safe in the knapsack were the precious shots of the bear’s awakening dance. No bears were around, so we played at sword fighting for a while:

Forge me with fire

A sword for my smiting

Fright to my foes

And flames for my fighting

Shape me a shield

Both forceful and fierce

Stalwart and steadfast

To fend against fears’

Turning just in time, we saw a bear coming at us. Dropping everything in a thrice, we scrambled up the nearest tree. High in the upmost branches, we were safe. With pounding hearts we hear the bear’s growling and grumbling.

All morning we were waiting, before he at least clambered off downstream to catch fish. Too bad we didn’t have the camera then!

We got back down and had a wary lunch of scones, cheese, apples and fresh spring water. We were wide awake a few minutes later, when the bear indeed came back and grabbed our magic staff! He blinked out of sight, but we could hear his heavy breathing as he approached us: “Quick, the old tree limb; take it and turn ‘round and ‘round; and we might have a chance of knocking him down. The knights of old used to fight like this if they had no weapons.” A heavy crashing sound was followed by the bear tumbling over in plain view.

Dashing for the staff, we grasped it just in time. What a relief. The bear had just gotten to his feet. We were invisible once again. No sound did we make for a long time. The bewildered bear appeared to have lost interest. From some distance away came another growl, and he must have gone off to find his brother.

“Now the knapsack, the camera intact; we’ll have to celebrate now, and give thanks.”

So we headed down to the seashore which was not far to go with the magic staff:

The rollers were coming in billowing and splashing on the shore. “Let’s go back to Grandfather’s over the rollicking dunes.” The path from there we already knew. It’s only to be tread at all by laughing with every step, twelve times three, for the starry heavens:

1. Ha, ha ha

2. Ho, ho, ho

3. Hi, hi, hi

4. Ha, ha ha

5. Ho, ho, ho

6. Hi, hi, hi

7. Ha, ha ha

8. Ho, ho, ho

9. Hi, hi, hi

10. Ha, ha ha

11. Ho, ho, ho

12. Hi, hi, hi

Back with the camera went we! And when we returned to the cabin and told Grandfather about everything, he roared with laughter himself. Finally, he calmed down and said: “It took some fast thinking and quick action to get out of that dangerous predicament with the camera and all. We’ll know in a few weeks if the photos have been accepted by ‘The Natural Science Magazine’ with an account of your brave deed. But for now, we can relax and have the rest of this grand holiday.

Hip, hip, hooray; Hip, hip, hooray; Hip hip hooray!!!!