The Matter of Britain and it's Destiny

The Spirit of English

Monday 29 July 12am - Friday 2 August 11.59pm

With Andrew Wolpert

The Heritage of Arthur and the potential of The Knowledge of the Grail

What secrets lie in the rocks, the hills, the caves, the valleys, the forests, and the rivers of Britain? What traces of the ancient, Irish culture and the Hibernian Mysteries can we discern in our yearning now to know the meaning of life and of our lives?  How do the megalithic monuments, the Celtic heritage and legends of Arthur live in our consciousness?  What does Blake mean when he asks if those feet in ancient time walked on our mountains green?  Why was it to Britain that Joseph of Arimathea brought the cup that had sustained him?  What happened to the Celtic Soul while the Romans occupied this island? What is this distillation of so many languages that became the English we know today?  Why did materialism take such root in England?  What were the themes that Rudolf Steiner spoke about during his visits to England?  How do the present political and narrow-minded nationalist interests constrain a vision of what our island identity is?  Why did you choose to be born wherever you were born?  What does the land of your birth give you, and what is it waiting for from you? 


The fallen nature of language and maybe particularly of English, the seemingly unavoidable pervasiveness of materialism, and developments such as nanotechnology and transhumanism do indeed threaten our unfinished human evolution.   All this, together with the exploitation, brutality, injustice, oppression, discrimination, suffering and want that are visible everywhere on a global scale are severe challenges to a not-yet-lost vision of what the human being can be and how we can live together.  That vision lives as an attainable reality in what Rudolf Steiner described as Knowledge of the Grail, a term he used again and again at the end of his book Occult Science, synonymous with what anthroposophy can become when we live it.  The metamorphosis of Britain’s Arthur and his reflective relationship to the Sun is our world responsibility actively to bring about a new relationship between the Earth and the Sun.


This Summer Course will be an opportunity to work together on some of the material that lies at the heart of what is known as The Matter of Britain.  We will work on the lectures Rudolf Steiner gave about the Hibernian Mysteries, the Arthurian and Grail streams, Parzival, and the challenges for us in this Grail Wisdom.  There will also be the chance to go to the galleries, museums and theatre in London. This delving into history will lead to questions about what lives as expectation and possibility for now and for the future out of the culture of this island, in the English language, and in the wider world beyond Britain.


The Course will run from 9am to 4pm at Rudolf Steiner House, 35, Park Road, London, NW1.  The fee is £400 (£360 if you book by 15th March).  Participants are expected to find their own accommodation in London, we can help with suggestions. If in order to reduce the cost of your accommodation you are willing to contact (and be contacted by) other applicants with a view to sharing accommodation, please indicate this, your email address will then be shared with other applicants who are also interested in this possibility. 

For enquiries and an application form please write to


There are two additional excursions following this course in London.


In addition to these five days in London, we are offering the chance to travel together in England and Ireland to further explore these themes in some of the places intimately connected with these historical events.  The intention is not to find the old magic that may still be there, but to cultivate a consciousness of what we can bring to these places. What that may mean for us today and into the future arises out of our responsibility for the potential of what Rudolf Steiner calls the Knowledge of the Grail.


Excursion to Avebury, Glastonbury and Cornwall

4th – 9th August


We will visit Avebury, West Kennet Long Barrow, Glastonbury, Tintagel, St Michael’s Mount, stone circles and Dolmens. At Tintagel we will explore the topography and geology of this sacred place that links the Arthurian and the Grail streams, and where Rudolf Steiner noted the dramatic interplay of the elements.  How stone circles relate to The Round Table, and what this can become for our communities today, and walking over slate and granite to visit the sacred sites connected with Michael and Mary will all be part of our work during these days.


Excursion to visit Megalithic and early Christian sites in Ireland

12th August – 23rd August


The Megalithic “gallery tombs” and stone circles, the magnificent High Crosses and early Christian sites remind us how close this culture was to nature and the elements in this still largely unspoilt, remote, wild Atlantic landscape. The organic and almost seamless transition from the Hibernian Mysteries to the Celtic early Christian Church lives powerfully in the beauty of the sea, the rocks, the earth and the light, and in the enduring stones and their powerfully sovereign setting in the ground.  The suffering in the subsequent religious, political and social history, and the vibrant cosmopolitan realities of the culture in Ireland today will all be part of what we experience on this excursion.


The travel and accommodation arrangements and the cost of these additional tours will depend on the number and wishes of the participants.  If you are interested, please let us know by 1st March so that we can plan together and make bookings.


Although there is a connecting and continuing theme through these three courses, each of them can be taken separately.  The efficient management of the logistics of the second and third options depends on early responses, please!