The “Living Gold” conference for congregations and priests from North and South America took place on Vancouver Island, July 21-29, 2012. The final number of participants was 196, which included fifteen priests, ten children and five Camphill companions. From Canada there were 75 (some only part-time), 53 from the USA, 32 from South America, and also a diverse group from Germany, the UK, New Zealand, South Africa, the Netherlands Antilles and the Philippines.
The venue was a private boarding school with beautiful grounds and ample room in the chapel, dining hall, classrooms and dormitories. Surrounded by this gracious setting, we could be grateful that such an institution feels a mission of service to the wider community, and generously offers their campus and facilities for rent to groups whom Shawnigan Lake School recognizes as serving “the greater good.”
As diverse as both the group and the daily themes were, there was an uplifting sense of overall harmony. The lectures built upon each other, which was remarkable when considering the speakers did not know what the others were going to say. We followed the role that gold has played in relationship to Man, society and the Earth. This is a path from the exalted heights of the sun to the depths of indiscriminate greed and environmental destruction, but also included the subtle significance in medicine and the shift in consciousness expressed in the art history of the Renaissance. Finally, we came to a consideration of gold as an eternal value in the development of human culture and its balance through the forces of iron. The mysterious future transformation of gold in the New Jerusalem presented a radiantly hopeful perspective of our participation even now in this alchemical process.
The selection of two workshops from the 30-plus offerings was for many a very difficult choice! An array of artistic, conversational and experimental possibilities presented opportunities to learn and to get to know a few people more deeply. There were also daily discussion groups to develop and clarify the content of the lectures, and the cultural events in the evenings were enlivening and delightful displays of artistic merit, information sharing, wit and joy. They enriched the community-building impulses that worked strongly throughout the conference. Each day began and ended together before the altar, and the conference participants strongly appreciated the substance of spiritual nourishment that came through the powerful interweaving of the divine and daily life through the Word.
The keynote speeches are available by sending an email request to firstname.lastname@example.org.