The European Transcendental Satsanga, and the forming of the Western 
ashram-like village:
 Mysticism and spiritual community growing through individual spiritual 
experience, to living room 'satsanga' gatherings, to meetings, to intentional 
community...
 


 

 
---In FairfieldLife@yahoogroups.com, <dhamiltony...@yahoo.com> wrote :

 Interestingly as it has happened in time, as many of these spiritual communal 
villages located in America liquidated their communal assets at a point in 
their own histories their meeting houses often followed a different path from 
the productive assets of the villages. 
  Subsequent to sale their central artifact of mystical heritage as their 
village meeting houses have often ended up outside the bounds of what may have 
become their modern museum interpretation, the meeting houses even coming in to 
the hands of denominational forms of institutional religion. Such seems a 
life-cyclical fate of transcendentalism.
 

 One of the best ironies now in this 'meeting house' history is the Harmonist 
brick meeting house in Economy, Pa. now being owned subsequently by a Lutheran 
church, the church of persecution of these transcendentalists fleeing from 
Europe. http://www.stjohnsambridge.org/ http://www.stjohnsambridge.org/ . 
  A close second, the old Zoar brick 'meeting house' being presently owned by 
United Church of Christ goers. Both of these old meeting houses presently 
sitting outside the bounds of and not necessarily included on tour 
interpretation of these old communal spiritual villages within the respective 
State Historical Society museum presentations. 
  Also, the original brick meeting house of the Community of True Inspiration 
at the hamlet of Ebeneezer in New York (current day West Seneca, NY) is now 
operated presently as a Catholic Church is another example of transcendentalism 
spiritually forgotten and overlooked for religious form. From Ebenezer, NY The 
Community of True Inspiration as a spiritual communal group subsequently 
settling as the Amana Colonies in Iowa. In present day Amana several of the 
meeting houses are in the hands of the present day Amana museum collection of 
buildings for interpretation. 
 


 

 #
 
 Excerpts from:
 The German Pietists:
 Spiritual Mentors of the
 German Communal
 Settlements in America
 Victor Peters
 Professor of History
 Moorehead University
 Moorehead, Minnesota
 

 Published in:
 Communal Societies, The Journal of the Communal Studies Association

 
 http://www.communalstudies.org/communal-societies-vol-1-1981 
http://www.communalstudies.org/communal-societies-vol-1-1981
 

 

 Paracelsus, 1493-1541
 The dream of a New Jerusalem where there are no rich and poor,
 where there is no war and violence, and man is "whole" in body, mind,
 and spirit - the formation of the communal colonies in America was
 nothing less than an attempt to realize, with God's help, this dream. In
 Paracelsus we find a harbinger, a religious-social precursor and advocate
 of this new, God-sanctioned order.
 

 His full name was Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim, but he
 called himself Paracelsus. Of Suabian-Swiss background, Paracelsus
 grew up with the rich folklore and folk-wisdom of his homeland. Like
 his father he became a physician, but he was also a naturalist, a chemist
 and philosopher.
 Like the German-American communalists, Paracelsus held that this
 new order could come about only through "an inner renewal of man."
 

 

 Kaspar von Schwenckfeld, 1489-1561
 Schwenckfeld was a contemporary of Martin Luther. His talents
 and productivity at first impressed Luther, but when Schwenckfeld advocated
 radical doctrinal changes, Luther turned against him. Schwenckfeld
 was born in Silesia and died in Ulm. He spent much of his life
 being hounded from state to state in his native Silesia, in Thuringia, in
 Hesse, and in Alsace. Although he never founded a church, he had many
 followers and some of these emigrated to Pennsylvania in 1734, where
 they did organize as a church. Known as Schwenckfelders they held services
 in a family setting and did not observe the rites of baptism and
 communion until the end of the 19th century.
 

 Schwenckfeld's beliefs and writings strongly influenced Bohme and
 the Pietistic movement. He preached Absonderung (separation), a term
 used by critics of the state church. Contained in this term was the belief
 that the Separatists were the "true church," while the state church was
 "Babel." Schwenckfeld also believed very strongly in divine inner inspiration,
 which superseded even the Bible as a directive in a person's
 life. He opposed baptism and communion as empty ceremonialism, and
 taught that simplicity in life as well as in church service was "the best
 adornment for the spirit." Though Schwenckfeld espoused the cause of
 education, he opposed speculative philosophy. According to him, man
 should not seek beyond the Scriptures for the meaning of life. Positive
 experience and the inner illumination of the spirit would provide the
 right answers.
 

 An examination of the philosophy and religious thinking and practice
 of the German-American communal societies, in Pennsylvania,
 Missouri, and Iowa, shows strong and undeniable traces of Schwenckfeld's
 influence on them.
 

 

 Jakob Bohme, 1575-1624
 

 The laws of nature are God's
 commandments; he who lives
 according to them needs no
 other commandments, for he
 fulfills God's will.
 

 You fight about religion but there
 is no discord in religion, there are
 only many talents and through all
 of them speaks one spirit . . . just
 as the earth produces many plants
 and flowers, and she is the mother
 of all of them, so God's spirit
 speaks; the true church of Christ
 
 needs no commandments.
 

 As the earth works and supplies 
 nourishment to the tree that 
 it grows, so the tree works on 
 its branches ceaselessly, so
 that it will bring forth much 
 and good fruit
 

 If a tree does not bring forth good fruit the fault 
 lies often with the cold, heat, mildew, worms and
 insects,
 

 

 When young he produces little
 fruit . . . the older it gets,
 the sweeter is its fruit.
 

 The true heaven is everywhere,
 including the place
 where you walk and stand; if
 your spirit grasps the inner
 being of God and leaves behind
 the material world, it is in
 heaven.
 

 The reason why they now quarrel
 and fight, spoil land and people,
 is only an empty shell without
 fruit, and only does great harm
 to the world. No party has a
 just cause, they all fight in
 God's name but no one is prepared
 to do his will. If they
 were true Christians there would
 be no war.
 Jakob
 
 Bohme
 

 -of Bohme: he "wanted
 
 to dissolve the contradictions and the dissonances of life into harmony."
 


 "If a tree has faded leaves," he writes,
 "you know there is lack at the root."
 
 Jakob Spener
 

 
 Jakob Spener (1635-1705)
 

 Spener as the "Quietist"
 (Heartfelt Longing for a God Pleasing
 Convalescence) In this work Spener laments the material distress of
 the age — plagues, hunger and war — but he is even more concerned
 with the spiritual misery that exists within the church. "Our poor
 churches." he writes, and then accuses the clergy of formalistic
 ceremonialism and arrogance. "If a tree has faded leaves," he writes,
 
 "you know there is lack at the root."
 
 

 August Hermann Francke (1663-1727)
 Francke was concerned with propagating a "personal piety"
 the inspiration that had given the world the bible,
 continued to reveal itself through individuals, a belief much like the
 acceptance of the Werkzeuge (instruments of God) of the Amanas.
 

 Francke never lost his tolerance for people who had not undergone a
 similar experience as he had.
 


 Francke saw the poverty and the need around him and began an
 engagement in religious oriented social work at Halle, which in scale
 and effectiveness drew attention to it from all parts of Germany.15 In
 1694 he began a program of feeding the destitute. It was so successful
 that donations came in and Francke opened an orphanage in 1695. In
 1698 he started a work-food program for students. Orphans and needy
 students, in return for work could earn room and board and also get an
 education at Francke's preparatory schools on location. By 1700,
 thousands of boys and girls, as well as older students, worked and
 attended school at Halle.
 

 [ European spiritual Ashram Village as intentional community...]
 

 In order not to have to depend on donations Francke organized
 economic enterprises that paid for the extensive social program and also
 provided the necessary economic base for the building program that
 included schools, dormitories and orphanages. Though Francke retained
 control over them, they functioned as a Stiftung (Foundation).
 

 The operation of the Stiftung, including government and administration, was
 paternal-democratic and not unlike that of the German communal
 societies in this country. Among the enterprises Francke organized were:
 a publishing house, a hospital, diverse farm operations, including
 vineyards and orchards.
 Built outside the city limits of Halle, Francke's ambitious and
 successful operations not only attracted attention, but also drew some
 criticism by former donors who felt that poor people and orphans had no
 business to live in what seemed luxurious surroundings. A description of
 the setting provides some insight into the care and planning that went
 into Francke's projects:
 

 . . .gardens, meadows and lawns provided the occupants of the
 dormitories with space for recreational walks and play. The
 rooms in the buildings had high ceilings and ample window
 space. They were built so that fresh air, light and sun could
 come in morning, noon, and evening.
 

 Great emphasis was placed on the health and sanitary habits of the
 young. The educational program encompassed the liberal arts,
 industrial training and professional preparation, religion, and the
 practical training in communal responsibility and harmony. Francke's
 work was well known to such men as Rapp and Keil. Not only did the
 writings of Spener and Francke, the founders of German Pietism, serve
 as spiritual sustenance to them, but the Halle enterprises were models
 
 in the successful operation of communal undertakings.
 


 Gerhard Tersteegen (1697-1769)
 

 Described as a "quietistic
 Pietist" Tersteegen said of his own writing that its purpose was "to
 awaken, to revive, to strengthen a secret life in Christ." This
 
 introspective approach to Christian living struck a responsive chord
 


 Count Nikolaus von Zinzendorf (1700-1760) 
 

 was directly involved
 with the founding of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
 

 Like the leaders of the German communal societies Zinzendorf had an
 implicit faith in God and himself. He died with these words: "I have
 submitted to the will of my Lord, and He is satisfied with me."
 The picture of Zinzendorf presented here does not do justice to the
 man. There can be no question of Zinzendorf's altruism and religious
 zeal and devotion. But he never forgot, and did not let others forget, his
 high station in life. In many ways this also held true for men like Rapp,
 Baeumeler and Keil, who retained firm leadership of their respective
 groups to the end of their lives. Their position in the community, their
 lifestyle, and their process of decision-making was in marked contrast to
 
 that of the Hutterian leaders.
 

 Johann Heinrich Jung (1740-1817),
 better known as Jung-Stilling.
 

 The word "Stilling" comes from the
 (Biblical) "stille," meaning "quiet." 
 

 Jung-Stilling on one occasion listed his favorite Scriptural passages.
 These account not only for his name but also for his popularity among
 Pietists generally and communalists in particular. The passages are:
 

 And that ye study to be be quiet (in German, stille), and to do
 your own business, and to work with your hands, as we
 command you. Thess. 4:11
 

 . . .that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness
 and honesty. Tim. 2:2.
 

 Whose adorning, let it not be that outward adorning of
 plaiting the hair, and of wearing gold, or of putting on of
 apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that
 which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and
 quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. Pet.
 3:3-4.
 

 Jung-Stilling's two main leitmotives in life were Naechstenliebe and
 Selbstverleugnung (love of neighbor and self-denial). These themes were
 ever present in his literary works. They no doubt often served to
 reinforce the faith of his Christian readers, including wavering society
 members who did not always find the task of living in communal
 
 togetherness easy.
 

 The lives, ideals, and writings of these early German Pietists give an
 indication where most of the German-American communal societies,
 especially their leaders, received much of their sustenance, comfort, and
 encouragement. It was in Pietism that they found their spiritual roots.
 
 -VICTOR PETERS, The German Pietists:  Spiritual Mentors of the German Communal 
Settlements in America,
 

 

 The new Jerusalem . . . where thee will not be harmed by pagen,
 Turk or stranger, for the whole world will be one, and will
 have no enemies. ~Paracelsus
 

 iteration:
 
 

 

 Communal Societies, The Journal of the Communal Studies Association

 
 http://www.communalstudies.org/communal-societies-vol-1-1981 
http://www.communalstudies.org/communal-societies-vol-1-1981 
 

 

 #
 

 And, Rudolph Steiner  1861-1825
 



 

 Buck writing, on FFL:
 The European Satsanga, and the forming of the Western ashram-like village: 
Mystical
 Spirituality from individual spiritual experience to living room satsangas, 
public meetings, and intentional community... spiritual movements in iteration.
 

 om
 

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 .
 

 


 

 

 

 

 
 








































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