by Diane Rowley, Portland, OR
In 1911, Dr. Felix Pipers, an Anthroposophical physician, approached Rudolf Steiner to work with him in treating children and adults. Dr. Steiner suggested the use of a series of Madonna images primarily painted by the Renaissance artist, Raphael. This series has become known as the "Madonna Treatment" and is used as a therapy in Camphill Communities and other therapeutic settings. The essence and importance of the series lies in the particular sequential order as well as the composition of the pictures. The 15 images, often accompanied by lyre music, have a regenerative force, enlivening the human being.
In honor of the Advent season, this remarkable healing Madonna Series was offered to the Portland community on December 2. Before showing the 15 images, a short presentation was offered by local art therapist, Cheri Munske. Music written specifically for this series by John S. Clark and Christof-Andreas LIndenberg was played on the lyre by Diane Rowley between the silent viewing of each picture.
This unique meditative and devotional experience was offered a second time, again accompanied by the lyre, at the end of the Holy Nights on January 6, with a longer, more in depth presentation about the relationship of the series to the 5-pointed star, etc. Those in attendance were gratefully nourished by the timeless images and the ethereal music of the lyre.