Eleanor Merry

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Eleanor Merry (17 December 1873 in Eton, Berkshire, UK 16 June 1956 in Frinton-on-Sea, Essex, UK), was an English poet, artist, musician and anthroposophist with a strong Celtic impulse and interest in esoteric wisdom. She studied in Vienna and met Rudolf Steiner in 1922 after becoming interested in his teachings. She went on to organize Summer Schools at which Steiner gave important lectures, and was secretary for the World Conference on Spiritual Science in London in 1928. [1]

Eton, Berkshire town and civil parish in Berkshire, England

Eton is a historic town and civil parish in the ceremonial county of Berkshire, but within the historic boundaries of Buckinghamshire, lying on the opposite bank of the River Thames to Windsor and connected to it by Windsor Bridge. The parish also includes the large village of Eton Wick, two miles west of the town, and has a combined population of 4,980, reducing to 4,692 at the 2011 Census. Since 1998 it has been part of the unitary authority of Windsor and Maidenhead.

Frinton-on-Sea seaside town in the Tendring District of Essex, England

Frinton-on-Sea is a small seaside town in the Tendring district of Essex, England. It is part of the parish of Frinton and Walton.

Rudolf Steiner Austrian esotericist

Rudolf Joseph Lorenz Steiner was an Austrian philosopher, social reformer, architect, and esotericist. Steiner gained initial recognition at the end of the nineteenth century as a literary critic and published philosophical works including The Philosophy of Freedom. At the beginning of the twentieth century he founded an esoteric spiritual movement, anthroposophy, with roots in German idealist philosophy and theosophy; other influences include Goethean science and Rosicrucianism.

Contents

Biography

Early years and marriage

Eleanor Charlotte Kynaston grew up in a liberal educational environment, her father being the well known classical scholar and professor of Ancient Greek, Herbert Snow aka Kynaston. [2] It was only at the age of 13 that she began to attend a regular school. This was also when she began to take a passionate interest in music. Two years later, her father became Deacon [ clarification needed ] of Durham, so Eleanor grew up close to the beautiful cathedral. She was able to read the manuscripts that were kept in the monastic library, walking up and down amongst the Norman columns of the cathedral and experienced something of a real, concrete history, something completely different from what she read in her schoolbooks. It was the myths and legends that captivated her, and she learned by heart Tennyson’s King Arthur. The stream of scholars and theologians that entered their house fed her spiritual longings.

Deacon ministry in the Christian Church

A deacon is a member of the diaconate, an office in Christian churches that is generally associated with service of some kind, but which varies among theological and denominational traditions. Some Christian churches, such as the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Anglican church, view the diaconate as part of the clerical state; in others, the deacon remains a layperson.

Durham, England City in England

Durham is a historic city and the county town of County Durham in North East England. The city lies on the River Wear, to the west of Sunderland, south of Newcastle upon Tyne and to the north of Darlington. Founded over the final resting place of St Cuthbert, its Norman cathedral became a centre of pilgrimage in medieval England. The cathedral and adjacent 11th-century castle were designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986. The castle has been the home of Durham University since 1832. HM Prison Durham is also located close to the city centre. City of Durham is the name of the civil parish.

As she grew up, she sought a career as singer, wanting to study music and art. At 19, she left home for a course of study in Vienna, which led not only to a fine command of the German language and development of her musical skills but also placed her in a kind of artistic-aesthetic inner crisis. Soon after her return to England, she married the well-known Oxford surgeon Merry, to whose professional commitments Eleanor Merry was to devote much of her energy besides the rearing of their son and daughter.

Vienna Capital city and state in Austria

Vienna is the federal capital and largest city of Austria, and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primate city, with a population of about 1.9 million, and its cultural, economic, and political centre. It is the 7th-largest city by population within city limits in the European Union. Until the beginning of the 20th century, it was the largest German-speaking city in the world, and before the splitting of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in World War I, the city had 2 million inhabitants. Today, it has the second largest number of German speakers after Berlin. Vienna is host to many major international organizations, including the United Nations and OPEC. The city is located in the eastern part of Austria and is close to the borders of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary. These regions work together in a European Centrope border region. Along with nearby Bratislava, Vienna forms a metropolitan region with 3 million inhabitants. In 2001, the city centre was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In July 2017 it was moved to the list of World Heritage in Danger.

She learnt about Theosophy at the beginning of World War I when a copy of the “Secret Doctrine” of H.P. Blavatsky was sent her by persons unknown. As she read it, she felt as if guided by some unseen hand, and studied further works of Annie Besant and other Theosophists. After the war, she was made aware of Rudolf Steiner’s Knowledge of the Higher Worlds. In January 1922 she met Daniel Nicol Dunlop in London for the first time. He was reading a lecture of Rudolf Steiner’s to the anthroposophical group there. A few months later, her husband died of pneumonia, after which she had her first personal conversation with DN Dunlop. Dunlop was still fired up with gratitude over his meeting with Rudolf Steiner some few weeks previously.

Theosophy (Blavatskian) religion

Theosophy is an esoteric religious movement established in the United States during the late nineteenth century. It was founded largely by the Russian émigrée Helena Blavatsky and draws its beliefs predominantly from Blavatsky's writings. Categorised by scholars of religion as part of the occultist current of Western esotericism, it draws upon both older European philosophies like Neoplatonism and Asian religions like Hinduism and Buddhism.

World War I 1914–1918 global war originating in Europe

World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.

Annie Besant British socialist, theosophist, womens rights activist, writer and orator

Annie Besant, néeWood, was a former British socialist, theosophist, women's rights activist, writer, orator, and supporter of both Irish and Indian self-rule.

Meeting with Rudolf Steiner

She thereupon took part in the conference “Spiritual Values in Education” in Oxford [3] that August, where she met Rudolf Steiner personally for the first time. She saw him first in a corridor and by his gait and the manner in which he looked at her, she had the impression: “He knows where he is going.”

She assisted D.N. Dunlop in the preparation of the subsequent Summer School in Penmaenmawr the following year, where a further conversation with Rudolf Steiner took place in which he recommended to her the new techniques in painting that had been developed under his guidance. She was soon exhibiting publicly in London and elsewhere. He also advised her to form as strong a bond as possible with Dunlop. This summer school, devoted to the theme “The Evolution of Consciousness” was felt by Steiner to be a milestone in the development of the anthroposophical movement.

Penmaenmawr town and community in Conwy County Borough, Wales

Penmaenmawr is a town and community in Conwy County Borough, Wales, which was formerly in the parish of Dwygyfylchi. It is on the North Wales coast between Conwy and Llanfairfechan and was an important quarrying town, though quarrying is no longer a major employer. The population of the community was 4,353 in 2011, including Dwygyfylchi and Capelulo. The town itself having a population of 2,868 (2011).

Eleanor was present at the founding of the new General Anthroposophical Society at the Goetheanum in Dornach, Switzerland around New Year 1923/24. It is likely that the theme of the ensuing Summer School at Torquay in 1924, “True and False Paths in Spiritual Investigation” (GA 243). stemmed from a conversation she had with Rudolf Steiner on this occasion. [4]

Later years

In her further work in Britain after Rudolf Steiner’s death, she wholeheartedly supported D.N. Dunlop’s efforts to create an open, inclusive and at the same time spiritually founded continuation of the anthroposophical work. She acted as secretary of the anthroposophical World Conference in London of 1928 and wrote a play around the figure of King Arthur for the youth conference initiated by David Clement in Glastonbury in 1932. More immediately than anyone, she experienced the dramatic events affecting Daniel Dunlop between 1929, when he became General Secretary of the Anthroposophical Society in Great Britain and the spring of 1935, when he was expelled from the General Anthroposophical Society and died a short while later. After his death, she maintained intimate friendships with her half-sister, Marna Pease, Walter Johannes Stein and particularly Eugen Kolisko, whom she helped to build up the School for Spiritual Science, wrote numerous articles for their magazine “The Modern Mystic”, and wrote down the biographical notes Kolisko dictated to her. In the 1940s she led a painting school together with Maria Schindler as well as working with her on the book Pure Colour (1946), leading to large public exhibitions.

Eleanor Charlotte Merry died on 16. June 1956 in Frinton-on-Sea, Essex.

Published work

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