StarFire Research Group
For two decades, a group has gathered annually to discuss the intercommunication of stars, earth, and humanity. We share discoveries, and try out ideas. The long conversations that we have often open up entirely new ways of perceiving the world within its cosmic background.
At times this group has grown to twenty, and at times has included a handful who have followed each other’s careers over this period of time. Often we build swiftly on each other’s observations, and our conversations become wellsprings for important revelations. Sometimes we disagree, and we have to hash out our varying views to get closer to the truth. The main organs of communication of research are through this site and through the Journal for Star Wisdom.
The foundational pillars for this group are three: 1.) Anthroposophy – the philosophy pioneered by Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925), and continually developed by others. Anthroposophy understands each human being as spirit expressing through soul manifesting through a divinely-designed body. This contrasts strongly with the materialistic tendencies of our time. From an anthroposophic point of view, it becomes more important to understand the influences of the unseen – though this "unseen" is being seen by more and more people.
2.) Astrosophy – "Star Wisdom" – from astro (star) – sophia (the divine principle of wisdom), an intelligent form of astrology (from astro, star, pattern, logos), rooted in astronomy (astro, star, naming or describing, nomy). This approach uses the sidereal approach – equal-size constellations that one can see in the heavens – and traces its roots to the ancient School of Zarathustra.
3.) Esoteric Christianity. We experience in our time a growing polarity between a rise in atheism – the matter that we see is all that there is – and an increasing fundamentalism in many religions – dogmatic certainty about how the world was formed and where it is going. "Esoteric" means hidden or not in full view – we are interested in the living being of the Christ-Light, and how that is working with individuals, humanity, and the earth.
William Bento’s article on the three pillars, from the Journal for Star Wisdom 2012, is in our Research section.
The giants upon whose shoulders we rise up to the stars include Rudolf Steiner (mentioned in #1 above), Elizabeth Vreede, and Willi Sucher. The StarHouse in Boulder served as a meeting point for many years, more recently at Rudolf Steiner College, in Fair Oaks, California.
Many aspects of this website arise directly from the conversations and activities of the StarFire Research Group.
Let us introduce ourselves, the ones in the core, and our closest associates:
** To our Star Wisdom friends: It is with great sadness that we tell you that William Bento, Ph.D., one of our major Readers, crossed the threshold on June 5, 2015, just before his 64th birthday. He had created many different relationships with many clients as a psychologist, a mentor, and one who consulted the workings of the heavens (astrosophy—astro, star—Sophia, wisdom). He nurtured the development of psychology at Rudolf Steiner College, where he worked for several years. He wrote Lifting the Veil of Mental Illness, contributed to Signs in the Heavens: A Message for Our Time, contributed to The Counselor…As If Soul and Spirit Matter. Every year, many would await his Holy Nights Journal that tracked those important nights between December 24 and January 7, helping many find insights into the year past and the year to come. His final achievement was the establishment of APANA (Anthroposophic Psychology Associates of North America), for which he gathered an excellent faculty who will continue to offer this program in the United States. **
William Bento, Ph.D., has worked in the field of human development for more than thirty years. He is a recognized pioneer and a published author in psychosophy (soul wisdom) and astrosophy (star wisdom) and travels extensively as a speaker, teacher, and consultant. Dr. Bento is presently the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at Rudolf Steiner College in Fair Oaks, California, and works as a transpersonal clinical psychologist at the Center for Living Health in Gold River, California. His involvement in guiding social therapy seminars for Camphill Communities has been well received over the last two decades. He is currently writing a book, Psychosophy: A Primer for an Extended Anthroposophical Psychology, to be published by SteinerBooks. He is the author of Lifting the Veil of Mental Illness: An Approach to Anthroposophical Psychology, as well as Holy Nights Journal and Meditation Cards & Booklet on the Eightfold Path (available from Rudolf Steiner College Bookstore), and (with Robert Schiappacasse and David Tresemer) Signs in the Heavens: A Message for Our Time, about the comets Hyakutake and Hale-Bopp and their crossing of the mysterious and ominous star Algol. Dr. Bento offers his unique approach to astrological chart readings here.
Brian Gray trained as an architect and has taught at Rudolf Steiner College in Fair Oaks, California, since 1981. He has taught classes to aspiring teachers in Waldorf schools around the world on such topics as the creation of the world and cosmic warmth from a spiritual perspective, sacred architecture, and the constitution of the human being, as well as various aspects of star wisdom (Astrosophy) related to biography, life cycles, karma, and reincarnation. A student of astrology since 1967, he has interpreted astrological charts for thousands of people and offers regular classes in observation of the stars and in Esoteric Christianity. Brian has discovered hidden astrological keys in several important works of literature, from the Parzival story of the Grail Knights to many parts of the Bible. He is the author of an upcoming "astrobiography" of Rudolf Steiner, Unfolding Destiny. He also teaches courses in the San Francisco and Los Altos extension programs of Rudolf Steiner College.
Claudia McLaren Lainson is a teacher and Therapeutic Educator. She has been working in the field of Anthroposophy since 1982, when she founded her first Waldorf program in Boulder, Colorado. She lectures nationally on various topics related to spiritual science, human development, the evolution of consciousness and the emerging Christ and Sophia mysteries of the twenty-first century. Claudia is the founder of Windrose Farm and Academy near Boulder. Windrose is a biodynamic farm and academy for collaborative work in Anthroposophic courses, Therapeutic Education, cosmic and sacred dance and nature-based educational programs. Claudia most recently founded the School for the Sophia Mysteries at Windrose Academy.
Sally Nurney - read about Sally here.
Robert Powell, Ph.D., is an internationally known lecturer, author, eurythmist, and movement therapist. He is founder of the Choreocosmos School of Cosmic and Sacred Dance, and cofounder of the Sophia Foundation of North America. He received his doctorate for his thesis The History of the Zodiac, available as a book from Sophia Academic Press. His published works include The Sophia Teachings, a six-tape series (Sounds True Recordings), as well as the following books: Divine Sophia-Holy Wisdom; The Most Holy Trinosophia and the New Revelation of the Divine Feminine; The Sophia Teachings; The Mystery, Biography, and Destiny of Mary Magdalene; Elijah Come Again; Chronicle of the Living Christ; Christian Hermetic Astrology; The Christ Mystery; The Sign of the Son of Man in the Heavens; The Morning Meditation in Eurythmy; and the yearly Journal for Star Wisdom, as well as other works published by Sophia Foundation Press. He translated the spiritual classic Meditations on the Tarot and was cotranslator of Valentin Tomberg's Lazarus, Come Forth! Robert is coauthor with Kevin Dann of Christ & the Maya Calendar and The Astrological Revolution, and with Lacquanna Paul coauthored Cosmic Dances of the Zodiac and Cosmic Dances of the Planets. His most recent book is Prophecy – Phenomena – Hope. He teaches a gentle form of healing movement: the sacred dance of eurythmy (from the Greek, meaning "harmonious movement"), as well as the cosmic dances of the planets and signs of the zodiac, and through the Sophia Grail Circle, he facilitates sacred celebrations dedicated to the Divine Feminine. Robert offers workshops in Europe, Australia, and North America and, with Karen Rivers, cofounder of the Sophia Foundation, leads pilgrimages to various sacred sites of the world: 1996, Turkey; 1997, the Holy Land; 1998, France; 2000, Britain; 2002, Italy; 2004, Greece; 2006, Egypt; 2008, India; 2010, Grand Canyon, Arizona.
Robert Schiappacasse has been a student of Rudolf Steiner's Anthroposophy for more than thirty years. He developed a deep interest in humanity's relationship to the world of the stars and, in 1977, began studies with Willi Sucher, a pioneer researcher in the field of Astrosophy, or star wisdom. He presents at conferences and workshops on star wisdom themes and other anthroposophic topics. He is coauthor with David Tresemer and William Bento of the book Signs in the Heavens: A message for our Time, about the comets Hyakutake and Hale-Bopp and their crossing of the mysterious and ominous star Algol at the end of the twentieth century. Robert most recently worked with David Tresemer on the book Star Wisdom & Rudolf Steiner: A Life Seen Through the Oracle of the Solar Cross. He also coauthored articles with David Tresemer, including “The Chain Reaction Experiment”; “The Signature of Saturn in Christ Jesus’ Life”; and “The Signature of Pluto in the Events of Christ Jesus’ Life.” (See articles in the Resources section.) He is a regular contributor to the Journal for Star Wisdom.
David Tresemer, Ph.D.,- read David's biography here.