As I live in Brazil, the pandemia gave me the opportunity of attending Hotam Karma Workshops online. It was a blessing and I thank ‘Hotam School’ for giving us this opportunity.
There are some words that I can use to express my experience with the workshops: amplify, enlarge, deepen, connections, discoveries, insights.
With the warm guidance of Orna, Yael and Lital, I could understand my biography from a complementar perspective and even be grateful for hard experiences I passed in my life. The workshops brought me new knowledge about different aspects of karma and broaden the understanding of my own karma and its connection to macrocosmic views.
I want to express my deep gratitude to our great teachers and Hotam school. Without all of them, I still lost my orientation and lived my life in the dark. This course gives me a ladder to shift and transform my attitudes about suffering into joy. I can now embrace my destiny with hope, trust, and faith that God always has a big plan for us. Thank you so much.
Chinrinee, Bangkok, Thailand
Karma studies, an inner journey
Throughout the studies of Karma, I was able to enter in the depths of myself, to navigate through my biography and recognize what I had to live as an imperative in this life. Along with that, I was capable of give a name to the hard feeling that permeated my story, the same one repeatedly came to meet me for many years
Through several questions that allowed an internal dialogue with myself, I was able to understand how that hard feeling was connected to me and discover the spiritual message behind it.
I was able to perceive what things I did to avoid that hard feeling and understand how my “clothes” or “envelope” protected me, so I don´t get in touch with that main feeling.
I observed when these hard feeling came to meet me for the first time. That is when I took the little Karmic thread, that gave me the chance to understanding the close relation between that hard feeling and the evil that lives in me.
I met the effect of my actions, I observed how viscerally gestures appeared to defend myself when I felt hurt, and I could see the being- entity that lived in me.
The intimate encounter with this being, who lived in me, experientially transformed the sentence “the wound belongs to you” and from that moment on, my paradigm changed. I was able to jump from psychotherapy to spiritual work, first with myself and then with others.
The greatest gift that this journey gave me, was being able to appreciate the encounter with pain as part of the spiritual path that allows transformation, very different from what psychology taught me. Many years I entered into my story and my pain, without understanding the reason of my wound. Today after a couple of years of loving encounter with karma, I could see how what hurts me is part of my deepest individuality and that it also belongs to me, like a “balance gesture” for what I committed in my past incarnations. Today I see how this wound, which many times still hurts me, I brought it to this life as a key, that allows me to transform my darkest parts.
Every day I learn a little more on how to walk with the pain that is presented to me, when I find myself in a situation that touches that painful part. I have learned to accept it without entering a victimization. For many years my wound had a life of its own, and was a tyrant with me, my wound managed my life, and that kept my circle of eternal return of my wound and my evil, my personal ouroboro a live.
All this work beyond changing my paradigm in an experiential way, brought me the gift of awareness and a new ability to perceive. Today this allows me to go along with my clients from another place, a place with a spiritual approach to life, being a more cleaner mirror and vessel, so I can accompany them with their own awakening.
Andrea Faria do Amaral
I’ve been going over my notes of the sessions with Orna and am constantly touched by the depth and the insights that are renewed when I read them. This greater consciousness of my own double and karmic issues (becoming ever more alive and real in me) are also bearing fruits.Working with recent clients I’ve become aware that this sense for karma you’ve talked about is slowly being born, that I find myself developing a sense for this, opening up the space for this and these questions even when we’re not directly working with these aspects.
Also, I’ve become aware of the mirroring in my own life of the issue surrounding the traumatic birth of my first child at the age of 28 which led me to question and study the foundations of medicine as science and to change my view about the human being in quite a radical way and the issues we are facing today with this pandemic (I am now 50) which again for me involve the issues of medicine, science and a certain view of the human being. It’s as if what I went through at 28 was preparation and strengthening for the challenges we are facing now and I am somehow in awe of the way in which these threads are woven in our lives. I am now able to understand the events that happened at the age of 28 in a richer and more complex way.
Andrea Faria do Amaral, Biographical counsellor and psychotherapist in São Paulo, translator and assistant in the community studies group of Brazil
I would like to express my path traveled during the year in the workshops and modules of the Hotam school.
My name is Carolina, I am 64 years old. Throughout my life I went through an intense path full of experiences, with many movements. Always with a great nostalgia for not reaching the place that would quench the thirst in my soul a bit.
Thanks to hearing the message from a friend, Hotam School comes to meet me, I am very grateful for the generosity and veracity with which this path can be traveled, and how close the whole team is.
It has been a great confirmation and inner experience, each exposed topic has been recognized. Uncovering the veil of illusion, sometimes it has been hard, the whole journey has led me to a deep calm, there is no longer nostalgia, although sometimes it hurts and I accept little by little the gift of resignation and the uncertainty of the future.
Thank you Orna I love your spirituality, truthfulness and great generosity, Thank you Yael I love your sweetness full of depth, thank you Vered I love your presence that shelters. Thanks to this place of spiritual development, it is a source for the soul.
Cristina Pfeifer Montaldi Chile – New Biographical Threshold
When I received the dates to enroll in the last module of “Practicing Karma” Training, I felt a tingling in my stomach, and a dizziness in my head, something in me very strong told me that I should be in Spain to attend the module in person, but the contingency of humanity due to Covid-19 indicated that this was practically unfeasible.
The first 4 modules were given on line, and due to the time difference between Chile and Spain, I had to be in front of the computer at 4 am (sometimes at 3 am) to start each day. What I experienced in each of these modules had brought a fundamental complement to all my personal biographical work and for the biographical accompaniment. The 5th module was the deepening and integration of what was given in the previous modules, with all the more reason, I felt that I should do it in person. There was a relationship between the forces of the world and my process. In the world there was a lack of freedom, it was not posible to go from one place to another, a lack of confidence, what is behinde this pandemic? The handling of it by the authorities?
The trip seemed crazy, the borders in Chile were closed, you could only get in and out for very exceptional reasons, and I thaought, if they give me permission to leave Chile, that will be a sign, a first step to trust that the spiritual world is full of wisdom.
I was in a deep conviction that I´m facing a new biographical threshold and that I had to make all the earthly movements necessary to go to Spain, and then release and trusting that all that would come, would be meaningful to my concerted spiritual evolution before incarnating.
Throughout the year 2020 this threshold was being developed, I made several decisions that implied releasing acquired commitments and that at the time were meaningful. The confinement at home due to quarantines generated awareness that these commitments acquired, in the present, diverted me from my need to stay with what is essential, at the same time doubts lurked in me. Do I have to let go of these commitments or is it that I am being selfish or comfortable? Or am I being altruistic because “I should be”, or to feel loved?. What are the sacrifices that I have to make from now on to move towards, what I have to develop?. When making decisions I did not have a certainty of the good, nor of being on my evolutionary path. Little by little I realized that it was good to feel uncertainty, this next evolutionary step in my biography had to do with acquiring full confidence of what is coming of the spirit world.
The image that comes to me again and again is that I have to fly from the hill on which I am standing, something in me whispered to me that I have wings on my back that will unfold the moment I jump into the void, however I am not sure of having them, I have to take the risk and jump first. Again I realize that the way is to let go and trust, that everything that comes will be given by a direction full of wisdom. Steiner’s verse “We must eradicate from the soul all fear and fear that the future may bring ……” has accompanied me all this time and I have felt it very vividly.
The days before the trip I felt in the void, loneliness, and the exile of security, Saturn reappeared, in what way can I know that this is really to my evolution? How far could a will of mine be, believing that Was it from my spiritual self?, Or from the spiritual world?, And it comes along with fear, courage, which allowed me to sustain fear, insecurity, emptiness. I know that I am facing a new threshold and that “practicing karma” is a very true reality.
The rungs of the ladder that I have to climb build up as I take a step forward, a step and the step is assembled, there is no armed ladder towards the future, I have to trust the mystery of the biography.
Very strongly I felt this new threshold, much of my biography I have delved into knowing myself, healing myself, resignifying areas of pain, educating myself, finding deep meaning in life, and putting will at the service of the understandings that were emerging at each stage. However, the earthly and the spiritual world somehow still remained separated, the fears of what could come from the spiritual world and that it would hurt me were still present, however in this practice my I was understanding it from a new place.
Throughout this process, a space of emptiness and loneliness was generated, on the one hand, and at the same time in that same space to feel, “everything is fine”, “everything is according to plan”, I have felt full of fears and heroic at the same time, two very different sensations with the same sun that illuminates them.
It has been a journey towards the conquest of a greater inner freedom, towards the confidence of the wisdom of the spiritual world.
I am Margarita Chimeno, I live in Madrid and my first contact with Orna was in 2018, we would meet again a year later. At that time, I was interested in trauma treatment. I had received knowledge about karma in my training as a Biographer, but that knowledge had not been internalized.
Orna gave me another way of looking at traumatic suffering and made me want to know more. Their training not only provides data, knowledge is acquired by experiencing it. Among everything learned in this annual course, I highlight a new look inward as a guideline to face any life experience, the confidence that the spiritual world is always with us and the enrichment of my counselling biographical and therapeutic work to my clients.
It has been a year of intense personal discovery and enlargement the approach to Biography. I am grateful to be able to continue the path started by Orna and all her wonderful team, Yael, Vered, Eszter along with my dear translator Nuria. Thank you very much for everything.
Hi friends, my name is María José and I live in Barcelona (Spain), I have taken the course “Practicing Karma”, for me initially it was an inconvenience that it had to be done online, but I want to say that it has been very helpful, very well coordinated from the Hotam school and a great translation job from my Spanish colleague Nuria, since I do not understand or speak English.
It has been a great process of learning and very important understanding, both for me at the level of personal growth and in the acquisition of tools to accompany my clients in their biographical process, the closing face-to-face meeting has been wonderful. Grateful to the Karmic process. And the teaching team great professionals.
This year, with the phenomenon of Covid spreading around the globe and the gift of zoom connecting people far and wide, the teaching and way of working of the Hotam School as presented through Orna and Yael has been able to touch people worldwide. Since December 2019 I have taken part in most of the Community Studies offerings.
The Hotam School has a unique way of doing Biography Work by starting with concepts that Steiner gives, for instance, about the Hierarchies, the creation of the worlds, repeated earth lives, karma and destiny, the play of good and evil, our four bodies, our souls, the possibility for freedom and awakening to the Spirit — and asking how or where do we find these reflected in our lives. It is remarkable the way their teacher, Zvi Brigger, and they have been able to make these often difficult concepts accessible and in direct relationship to a human life.
I always look forward to the meetings. Each meeting is stimulating and yet manageable in that the content is well planned and organized; they do not bring too much at once — two or three nuggets to chew on and digest. The integration happens slowly through repetition and recapitulation. Then each idea is brought home by our being given questions about our self and our life to contemplate. The questions are often not easy to answer and we are not given as much time to contemplate them as we might like. But the questions are not meant to be ‘answered’ as if there was a final answer. They are meant to stimulate and awaken (bring to life) something in you, spontaneously, before you can think too much. They have the effect of bringing something into movement; movement that can be a little unsettling while it is enlivening. Made even more alive by sharing what arises for us with others in small groups and in whole group conversation. We are invited to be honest with ourselves and authentic. Orna and Yael model that honesty and authenticity by sharing pieces of their lives with us as examples, The work goes on invisibly in deeper layers of one’s being in the days that follow. I counsel people and often I am able to bring key ideas from the classes to someone which allows them to see something in a new way.
It has been great working and sharing with people from around the world, some that we have previously met at International Biography Conferences and others who we recognize as being part of this growing community of Spirit Light workers. Even over Zoom we are able to experience a connection that grows with each meeting. I highly value what Orna and Yael bring and how they bring it. It is clear that they are in service to the work; it is not about them. Through them the work is alive and touches deeply. Many thanks to them and their teacher, Zvi Brigger for making this work available.
Karma Studies as a Path of Development of Higher Faculties
Sarah Putnam, Ph.D.
When asked what his mission was, Rudolf Steiner once answered: “Reincarnation and karma.”[i] A student of Steiner’s spiritual science will understand this not to mean theorizing, guesswork, or hazy mystical speculation, but rather a process of rigorous spiritual research based in higher human faculties. This kind of research requires a fundamental development and transformation of our individual capacities in order to experience the spiritual forces at work in the life of our fellow human beings. Although it may take us many lifetimes to acquire the faculties of an initiate such as Rudolf Steiner, we can begin to develop these faculties through disciplined spiritual work.
Early in my biographical training, I proposed (and was encouraged by the trainer) to research the places in which Steiner mentions biography. It was, of course, a fool’s errand. Anthroposophy is all about the human being. The foundation books[ii] and thousands of lectures are filled with references to human life, to biography. Even those writings that do not explicitly mention biography are about the human life.
How often, as you were reading Intuitive Thinking As A Spiritual Path, did the thought arise that Steiner was explaining your life, personally? How frequently did you recognize some aspect of yourself in Esoteric Science (“I was like that as a child/adolescent/adult!”)? If these questions strike you as puzzling, bewildering nonsense, you are not alone. More probably, you are like my friend who said “Every time Steiner mentions Old Saturn, Old Sun and Old Moon, my eyes glaze over” (MEGO). The MEGO experience was also common in Steiner’s day, and Steiner addressed it in more than one lecture.
Someone might well ask: ‘Why do these anthroposophists bring up these ancient matters today? We certainly do not need to concern ourselves with such things. We have enough to do with what is going on in the present. … … .. what was once set into the stream of time continues to come to fruition even today. What was brought into being in the time of Saturn development did not exist simply and exclusively in that era. [iii]
A person who aspires to self-knowledge … must ask .. [themselves] what happens in those other worlds in which our higher self .. lives and this is none other than what has been said about the different incarnations of the earth, and everything else that spiritual science tells us. [iv]
Intuitive Thinking As A Spiritual Path and Esoteric Science are considered difficult by many long-time anthroposophists. Yet, they contain the heart, the gold, of anthroposophy, the essence of the human being. And they are essential to the study of what it means to be a consciously living, striving human being, moving steadily toward the destiny which you, in collaboration with the gods, laid out for yourself between lives.
Having developed our intellectual or mind soul capacities in a previous epoch, most human beings now in incarnation can propound various theories and explanations for any given life event. Most of us are able to adroitly analyze how our quirks, poor decision-making, and personal failings are the result of some fault in our family, our culture, or blow of fate. However, we are called now to bring in something higher, consciousness soul, and to nurture the tender sprout of imagination and the seeds of intuition and inspiration. In order to fully incarnate the consciousness soul, we are learning to function from a higher capacity, that of experiencing the spiritual world at work through us. Valuable as theories and analyses can be, our task now is to work from the spiritual world in a conscious and disciplined way.
We are living in what the Greeks called the kairos – the right moment – for a “metamorphosis of the gods,” of the fundamental principles and symbols (…) So much is at stake and so much depends on the psychological constitution of modern man (…) Does the individual know that he (and she) is the makeweight that tips the scales? – C.G. Jung[v]
Hotam School for Biographical Counseling has created a program for working consciously to develop the capacities needed to research an individual’s karmic biography, to locate and follow the thread of the higher self in a client’s lifepath. Not a training in techniques or creating charts, helpful as those tools are, this is ‘graduate work’ in biographical counseling, using the spiritual capacities of both counselor and counselee in investigating the underlying meaning, the thread of connection woven through an individual’s life. Thus empowered, each individual can free their potential for greater awareness, their capacity to direct their life course, and recognize their own life’s mission.
As we study karma, any assumption that it has to do with cause and effect for the purpose of punishment or retribution is quickly banished from our thinking. Understanding our karma as a path that we have prepared for ourselves leads us to deeper self-knowledge. According to Steiner, as we work with karma “Life becomes much more tranquil and intelligible”, a kind of memory is awakened, a feeling that “In former times you prepared this for yourself!” [vi] “Our whole life of feeling will be transformed.”
“The right attitude towards earthly existence will certainly awaken memory, only it is a memory belonging to the heart, to the life of feeling, that must be developed, not the kind of memory that is composed of thoughts and concepts.”
Karmic study leads to moral maturity, to forgiveness and compassion, and finally to heart-centered selflessness in our relationships, to love. Working with our karmic biography awakens and kindles our will toward self-transformation. It is a work with the past, in the present, for the sake of the future of earth and the human being.
[i] See Jürgen von Grone, Rudolf Steiner und Karl Julius Schröer, in: Mitteilungen aus der Anthroposophischen Arbeit in Deutschland, Vol. 15, Part 1, Easter 1961. Quoted in T.H. Meyer, The Bohhisattva Question: Krishnamurti, Steiner, Tomberg, and the Mystery of the Twentieth-Century Master, 1993 (2010), p. 100.
[ii] The foundation books of Anthroposophy are generally considered to be How To Know Higher Worlds, Theosophy, Intuitive Thinking As A Spiritual Path, Esoteric Science, and (sometimes included) Christianity As Mystical Fact.
[iii] Rudolf Steiner, The Inner Aspect of the Saturn Embodiment of the Earth, Berlin, October 31, 1911, p. 2. In Inner Experiences of Evolution, 2009.
[iv] Rudolf Steiner, The True Attitude to Karma, Vienna, 8 February 1912. In Esoteric Christianity and the Mission of Christian Rosenkreutz, 2000 (2005), p. 243.
[v] Carl Gustav Jung, Civilization in Transition (R.F.C. Hull, Trans), 1970. In H. Read, M. Fordham, G. Adler, W. McGuire (Series Eds.), The Collected Works of C.G. Jung (Vol. 9).
[vi] The quotations in this paragraph are taken from Rudolf Steiner, Intimate Workings of Karma, Vienna, 9 February 1912. In Esoteric Christianity and the Mission of Christian Rosenkreutz, 2000 (2005), pp. 247-250