6th Conference for a Culture at the Threshold

Programme and Booking Form (Pdf)

The Gate of Death and the Gate of Birth

1st to 3rd December 2017


Please note: the conference will additionally be translated into French!


… Not only do we pass through the gate of death as immortal beings, we also enter through the gate of birth as unborn beings …
(Rudolf Steiner CW 297, P. 206)

In our time it has become difficult to pass through the gates of birth and death with courage and confidence. Entering a new realm of consciousness as well as unknown surroundings at these thresholds of human biography, means new challenges for us which can manifest as fear and insecurity. A pregnancy without fear and a natural birth are not a matter of course any longer. Numerous preventive medical checkups in the form of prenatal evaluations of the developing child using increasingly differentiated technological instruments make visible what is naturally secluded in the intimacy of the womb. This induces fear and insecurity.

Prevention becomes preoccupation with the child. At the other gate of life we experience equal challenges: fear of death, but also a longing for death with the demand of assisted suicide and active euthanasia, as well as questioning the significance of the duration of palliative illness. As pregnancy guides us through birth into life on earth, the moments of death will lead us across the threshold into the spiritual world. Also a sudden death may have announced itself and in retrospect it may not have been so unannounced after all. The preparation for these thresholds, as different as they are in their direction and quality, also shows surprising similarities. Today these processes of transition demand active, positive accompaniment and support, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

The sixth Conference for a Culture at the Threshold at the Goetheanum will take place in cooperation of the General Anthroposophical Section and the Medical Section.

We are inviting trained personnel and their coworkers, as well as parents, and all of those involved and interested in such questions, to participate actively in the lectures, the work groups and an exchange of experience at this conference.

Joan Sleigh: For the organizing committee 
Matthias Girke, Georg Soldner:
 Executive Council at the Goetheanum, Leadership of the Medical Section of the School for Spiritual Science a the Goetheanum




Programme (Pdf)

Work Groups

Work Groups – Deepening in Conversation

1. How does an Anthroposophical Hospice work ? DE Katrin Klatt and Burkhardt Mattes, M. D., Christophorus Gemeinschaftshospiz, Berlin

2. Anthroposophical Ways of Dealing with Grief DE Anja Girke, Urszula Dera, Irene Sorowski; Christophorus Gemeinschaftshospiz, Berlin

3. From Heaven to Earth : How to consciously create this Threshold. Where do Children come from ? How to develop a Conscience to lead them into the Challenges of our Time ? DE Bettina Mehrtens, Arlesheim, School and Kindergarten Waldorfteacher

4. Pregnancy and Natural Birth DE Katharina Guldimann, Midwive at the Ita Wegman Birth House Arlesheim

5. After Dying everthing changes – Accompanying the Deceased after Death DE / EN Michael Bruhn, Zürich, Priest of the Christian Community

6. Palliative Medical Care DE Philipp von Trott, M. D.; Doctor for Internal Medicine, Oncology Center of the Hospital Havelhöhe, Berlin

7. Touching Thresholds – Practicing to accompany the Process of Death DE Päivi Lappalainen, Lahti, Finnland, Coordinator for the Needs of the ones nearing the Threshold

8. Uprightness as a Motif of Creation. The little Child, a Being of Creation DE / EN Claudia Grah-Wittich, Frankfurt/Main, Early Support at « the hof » in Niederursel

9. Guidance at the Thresholds of Death and Birth DE Mechtild Oltmann-Wendenburg, Berlin, Priest emerita of the Christian Community

10. Touching at the Thresholds by Rhythmical Massage and Rhythmical Ointings according to Dr. Ita Wegman DE / EN Unda Niedermann, Bern, Rhythmical Massage Therapist

11. Motifs in the Fairy Tales at the Thresholds DE Annemarie Geiger, Buchenbach, Fairy Tale Researcher

Artistic Groups

12. Eurythmy to the Conference Theme DE / EN Gia van den Akker, Italy, Eurythmist and Teacher

13. Eurythmy to the Conference Theme DE Erdmute Worel, Arlesheim, Curative Eurythmist

14. Speech Formation to the Conference Theme DE Gerti Staffend, Dornach, Speech Artist and Teacher

15. Painting to the Conference Theme DE Dagmar Brauer, Dornach, Art Therapist according to Dr. Margarethe Hauschka

16. Painting to the Conference Theme EN Erma Thomas, London, Painter and Art Therapist according to Liane Collot D’Herbois

17. Germinating and Fading within Music DE / EN Regula Utzinger, Musician, Art Therapist, Music Therapist at the Clinic Arlesheim and Hospiz im Park Arlesheim

18. Forming Stages of Embryology (Clay Modelling) DE / EN Christian Breme, Arlesheim, Sculpturer and Waldorfteacher

19. The Metamorphosis from Mars to Mercury (Clay Modelling) DE Astrid Oelssner, Dornach, Sculptress and Teacher


Matthias Girke

Doctor for Internal Medicine at the Hospital Havelhöhe in Berlin. Executive Council of the General Anthroposophical Society at the Goetheanum and Leader of the Medical Section of the School of Spiritual Science at the Goetheanum in Dornach, Switzerland

Mechtild Oltmann-Wendenburg

Priest, emerita, of the Christian Community, Berlin Prof. Peter Selg, M. D. Doctor for Psychiatry for Children and Youth; Director of the Ita Wegman Institute for Anthroposophical Basic Research in Arlesheim, Switzerland; Professor for Medical Anthropology at Alanus University for Art and Social Sciences, Bonn, Germany; Professor for Anthroposophical Medicine at University in Witten-Herdecke, Germany

Georg Soldner

Pediatrician and Co-Leader of the Medical Section of the School of Spiritual Science at the Goetheanum in Dornach, Switzerland

General Information

The Gate of Death and the Gate of Birth
6th Conference concerning Death Conference of the General Anthroposophical Society at the Goetheanum
from Friday, 1 to Sunday, 3 December 2017
Booking closes: Friday, 17 November 2017

Conference fees
with sponsorship1: CHF 200, with meals CHF 250
regular price: CHF 120, with meals CHF 170
concessions2: CHF 100, with meals CHF 150

1 Should you be in a position to pay an additional amount, this would help to cover the costs of the conference and support the work of the section.
2 Concessions apply for students, schoolchildren, OAPs, the unemployed, those in training, military or civil service and people with disabilities who receive bene ts. Proof of status has to be submitted with your booking form.

Conference meals
Conference meals (vegetarian with dessert) include 1x lunch and 1x evening meal at CHF 50 in total. Bre- akfast (2x) can be booked separately at CHF 30. The other meals cannot be booked separately. We regret that food intolerances cannot be catered for.

Parking permit
For the period of the conference: CHF 11 (not right next to the Goetheanum building). If you have a disability, please display your disability badge in your car.

Methods of payment/confirmation
On receipt of a group application, the respective institution will receive the account for the group. Subse- quent bookings can only be applied for and paid on an individual basis.
Credit cards (all countries): The full amount will be charged to your credit card as soon as your booking has been processed. You will receive postal or email confirmation of your booking and payment.
Invoice Switzerland: Confirmation of booking and an invoice will be sent to you once your booking has been processed. Please note that we only send out invoices up until 10 days before the beginning of an event. After that, payment is only possible by credit card or on arrival.
Invoice Eurozone: Confirmation of booking and an invoice will be sent to you once your booking has been processed (Euro account). Please note that we only send out invoices up until 14 days before the beginning of an event. After that, payment is only possible by credit card or on arrival.
Other countries: Once your booking has been processed you will receive a confirmation by post or email. The amount due will either be charged to your credit card or you can pay on arrival. Bank transfers are not possible.

Please note that the conference fee must be paid before the conference starts.

Conference tickets: Tickets can be collected at the Reception until half an hour before the conference starts, also if you pay on arrival. We accept cash (Euro and CHF), VISA, MasterCard, ec-direct and Postcard-Schweiz.

Cancellation: Bookings may be cancelled free of charge up to 14 days prior to the beginning of the confe- rence (17.11.2017, date of posting). After that, 50% of the conference fee will be charged. Meals, breakfast, parking permit and group accommodation may be cancelled free of charge up to 1 day prior to the begin of the conference (30.11.2017). Cancellation on the day when the conference begins or failure to attend are subject to a 100% invoice total. Substitutes will be accepted at no extra cost.

Cancellation insurance: Subject to a payment of 5% of total costs (CHF 10 minimum) full cancellation insurance can be taken out to cover illness (including dependent children and partner), job loss and force majeure. Please ask for our terms of insurance or visit www.goetheanum.org/6053.html.

Data processing: All data will be electronically recorded and filed.


The Goetheanum is situated south of Basel in the Swiss Jura. As a cultural venue that includes a theatre and a study, research and conference centre it offers around 700 events every year. The listed building is seen as an impressive example of organic architecture.


By train
At Basel Swiss Station (SBB) take train S3 (destination Laufen) to Dornach-Arlesheim, then local bus no. 66 to bus stop Goetheanum (travel time c. 30 mins)

By tram
From Basel Swiss station (SBB) take tram no. 10 to Dornach-Arlesheim station, then local bus no. 66, to bus stop Goetheanum (travel time c. 50 minutes).

By car
Leave the motorway Basel – Delémont (H18) at junction Reinach Süd and follow signs to Dornach, from there follow signs to the  Goetheanum (travel time from Basel centre c. 20 mins).

By foot
Walk uphill from Dornach-Arlesheim station, following signs. Walking time c. 15 minutes


For more information about accommodation close to the Goetheanum go to Visitor Information.