An Epic of Our Age with Global Reach and Its Secret Connections to Waldorf Education
Why Parzival? endeavors to explore and uncover the overarching cultural, educational, and spiritual significance of Parzival from an anthroposophical perspective. The growing call of the elusive Grail in the age of the consciousness soul—in which we find ourselves irrevocably embedded—speaks directly to the evident needs of our fast-changing times and to the evolving future. Wolfram von Eschenbach’s Grail saga addresses the challenges of the contemporary individual, while awakening and reconnecting those inner destiny forces to the respective local and global communities through a series of grand imaginations. Studying this step-by-step journey of initiation has been a staple in Waldorf High Schools from the very beginning, and periodically it makes sense to remember why it was chosen and what it has to offer to the young person and our increasingly complex contemporary global society.
The Mermaid of
Swannie’s life is changed forever when she saves a beached dolphin. In gratitude, Matmaka, the thankful dolphin, drops hints about her unique heritage. How does he know? Swannie is holding out hope that her father who went missing during a raging storm might still be alive. Could the dolphin be helpful in locating her father? Before returning to the ocean, Matmaka sends her on a quest to find the way to the Golden Secret, which ultimately leads her to Amarvin Island, where mermaids once frolicked before they fled from Nairamba, the monster serpent that feeds off greed and lies. What will it take to free the island of its many troubles so that the mermaids may safely return to Amarvin? The people, animals, and nature spirits Swannie meets on the way are willing to help, including Feliciana, her new friend from school. Will it be enough?
"A remarkable fantasy that features life-affirming themes for both kids and adults." —Kirkus Reviews
True and Fictional Stories
Fringe Locations is a collection of 17 distinctly diverse tales from three continents and decidedly contrasting settings, which bring to life a wide variety of characters from all walks of life: from a girl caught in a sandstorm in South Africa’s interior, a boy who shot his girlfriend, an environmentalist who refused to be silenced, a lawyer who flew to the Yucatan to find peace of mind, to stories from Müller’s life: meeting the poet Allen Ginsberg, befriending a concentration camp survivor, going on a pilgrimage to the active volcano Stromboli in Italy, and his multifarious hitchhiking adventures over a ten year period. Though fictional, many of the stories in Part One are based on true events. The autobiographical accounts in Part Two are all true, save for some slight creative deviations. Together the stories traverse frontiers and probe the deeper levels of what it means to be human in this wonderfully variegated world of ours. Each story reflects, on some level, the indomitable striving of the human spirit, in both grand and small ways. They are astute vignettes of the human condition, encompassing loneliness, socio-political injustices, sickness, sorrow, death, love, companionship, redemption, succumbing, and overcoming.
Rounding the Cape of
ROUNDING THE CAPE OF GOOD HOPE begins with Henry the Navigator who was largely responsible for initiating Europe's seminal voyages during the Age of Discoveries. It continues many years later with the recruitment of sailors and the crew's subsequent naval expedition under Bartolomeu Dias. This imaginative account of that first voyage down to the southern tip of Africa has many dramatic and humorous moments, including a storm, love relationships, and a mutiny. I wrote this play for my class of 25 seventh graders, wishing to give them the opportunity of presenting dramatically what they were also covering in the curriculum.
The Waldorf Main Lesson
The so called “Main Lesson,” which starts off each and every day in Waldorf Schools around the world is the most enduring and consistent innovation in Waldorf Education and is its signature difference that distinguishes it from other educational systems.Right from the movement’s inception in 1919, Stuttgart, Germany, this long morning lesson, where the focus is on one subject for a block of time spanning a number of weeks, has formed the foundation on which the rest of the pedagogy stands. What are its enduring qualities? How is it structured? Why is it given such a pivotal position in Waldorf education? How do teachers utilize the time at their disposal? What are its lasting benefits? When and how does the structure change according to the needs of the lower, middle, and high school students? Who determines the structure? How can Rudolf Steiner’s unique pedagogical gift be applied in the most optimal manner? These and many more questions are addressed in The Waldorf Main Lesson. Müller examines multiple facets of this mainstay of Waldorf education, hoping that it will encourage and help readers, especially Waldorf teachers, to arrive at their own deeper insights and perspectives on the Main Lesson and its far-reaching significance.
The Black Madonna and the Young Sculptor:
Mythic Dimensions of
Long before the majestic cathedral of Chartres stood on top of the granite promontory overlooking the forests of the Carnutes, the site was a sanctuary where druids congregated from all over Gaul to worship the virgin about to give birth. To this day Chartres is home to one of the most revered Black Madonnas in the world, but its foundations reach far back into ancient Celtic culture. In The Black Madonna and the Young Sculptor, Celtic traditions, which the conquering Romans tried to suppress, merge with nascent Christianity, still swaddled in its receptive innocence.
It is 99 A.D., many centuries before the town of Carnotum became Chartres, Bryok, the druid, asks a young sculptor to carve the new Black Virgin, after the old one was viciously destroyed. Caradoc accepts, not realizing what perils await him. Questions arise: who is the veiled woman who leads him to the secret grotto where he is called upon to carve the new virgin? Who is trying to prevent him from completing his task, and why? And, most importantly, who is the Black Virgin and how should she be depicted? These and other questions precipitate a quest to the coastal Mount Tombe to find answers from the seven hermits, and to Lutetia in search of an abducted woman whose face he’s never seen, but who has found a place in his heart.
"A sometimes turgid, sometimes beguiling fantasy of spiritual awakening through creativity." —Kirkus Reviews
... see full review
Do You Love Your Teachers?:
Memoir of a Waldorf Teacher
Do You LoveYour Teachers? is a distinctly personal account of Müller’s life and work as it relates to Waldorf education. It follows a number of different threads: First, the memoir searches for the seeds of his vocation in his childhood, boyhood, and youth, and how – through his unfolding biography – he was led to becoming a Waldorf teacher.
Secondly, but closely related, it explores how his life has shaped him into the kind of teacher he has become, such as the effects of growing up in apartheid-ridden South Africa or his stint as a rock musician. His own education in various public and private schools plays an especially important role, as it underscores some of the troubling aspects of modern educational practices, which ultimately prodded him to pursue a career in Waldorf education.
Thirdly, the memoir focuses on his experience as a teacher, which spans over three decades and makes up the bulk of the book. Do You Love Your Teachers? offers parents, teachers, and anyone who has an interest in Waldorf education an accessible account of what it means to be a teacher in a Waldorf School.
The Invisible Boat
Discover three friends, in a fast-moving, sometimes dangerous tale of cooperation between the powers of the earth and the powers in young hearts. Solutions are possible with open-minded listening, careful planning and undaunted courage. A perfect read aloud book for children ages 7-10 and a great chapter book for anyone 10-99!
"A delightful, compelling fantasy adventure sure to win fans." —Kirkus Reviews (starred review) ... see full review
The Invisible Boat and the Molten Dragon
Ever wonder about the living beings who drive the wild untamable fires in the west? Here is a tale that makes pictures for us all of the powerful beings driving such natural events forward! These are important pictures to draw us closer to nature in a different way from our ordinary thinking.
The children who helped the elemental world to clean the water and release the water sprites from the Binagatorials in The Invisible Boat I, are called upon once more in this tale of suspense and adventure to help our living earth to tame the Molten Fire Dragon. Using their invisible boat, a gift from the beings of the earth and their grandfather, they navigate to the place of most need on the planet — the center of the raging fires in the West. The dwarfs of earth show themselves only to those whom they can trust not to dismiss them as imaginary.
"A fine tale with well-conceived quests, strong characters, exciting confrontations, and a delightful resolution." — Kirkus Reviews ... see full review
Drops on the Water:
Stories about Growing up from a Father and Son
DROPS ON THE WATER traces the similarities and differences between distinct generations in their unique geographical environments. From the suburbs and fairgrounds of the United States to the majesty and beauty of the Swiss Alps, from a beach in Nicaragua to a gun Plantation in Zululand, these stories jump between Europe and America, East and West Coast, and the African continent. They trace the inheritance of World War II, of German nationality, of the shock of a friend Friend’s suicide to a classmate’s overdose. The anxieties of early love and rural small-town life are balanced against changes seen in the familial sphere across generations. Apartheid inequities, corporal punishment in strict prep schools, a friend's illicit affair with an African maid, hitchhiking barefoot, and a scheduled ping-pong match with the Prince of Liechtenstein, all coalesce in a book that brings to life the circumstances that bind its authors to history, family, generation, and place.
They’ve done it. Co-writers Eric and Matthew Müller have managed to capture those oh-so-enigmatic moments in a life—those moments that seem as ephemeral as all the others but, for whatever reasons, have attached to the soul like burrs, pulsing with a life of their own, even as years pile on and the children bewildered by the adults in their lives turn into adults themselves. The structure of Drops on the Water is a winner. The chapters are brief, anchored by a single memory, be it streaking naked through a South African shopping mall, facing death on the side of a cliff, or watching one’s father get a haircut. These simultaneously personal, yet universal, utterly recognizable incidents have been delivered to the page with perspicacity, humor, and a poet’s eye. With chapters alternating between the perspectives of the two authors, the dual life-journeys of father and son weave together, casting new light on each other’s lives, as well as our own. My hats off to the two Müller men.
~Glen Berger – Song of Spider-Man:The Inside Story of the Most Controversial Musical in Broadway History
Meet Me at the Met
Eric G. Müller’s classy title, Meet Me at the Met, invites readers to follow a rich tale of romance, idealism, scandal, and emerging self knowledge. The book has a double story—the living of a life and the process of writing that life—both tales narrated by a high-minded, vain, passionate, confessional man who is determined to write it all until he can understand it. He delights in the arts, teaches at a school near New York City’s beloved Metropolitan Museum, and reveres the treasures there. Each time he wants to recall and record an episode from his life, he goes to the Met and chooses from among its famous galleries a different “office” to write in. Having grown up near the Met myself, I particularly enjoyed the passages where various parts of the museum’s immense collection are precisely and appreciatively described. In this absorbing fiction about inspiration, personal growth, and the capacity for mature awareness, Müller has woven an enticing tapestry of pleasure, pain, aspiration, and love.
~ Gertrude Reif Hughes, Professor Emerita, Wesleyan University
The book is delightful, original, and idiosyncratic. It is completely original.
~ Andre Gregory of "My Dinner with Andre" fame is an Internationally renowned director and actor
Rites of Rock
Eric G. Müller's succulent Jeremiad of rock rings necessary bells. The insidious commercial culture of rock, indubitably megalomaniacal, present and past, is his subject. The author doesn't bandy with religion to make his spiritual points, he goes right to the boss, his own presciently audible inner voice, which never stops pestering his fledgling attempts at self destruction. Charging at a good clip through a mindscape of devilish villains, sublime goddesses and the walking dead, he makes it experientially clear that, for a musician, salvation is in the music or nowhere, certainly not in the absurd trappings of success. His observations on the art of music are deeply intuitive and fully educated. This book feels like it just had to be written and Müller took fifteen years to do so gracefully, poignantly and with unquestionable sincerity.
~ Robert Hunter, chief lyricist of the Grateful Dead
Life Poems for My Students
The writing of birthday verses gives the Waldorf teacher a unique opportunity to capture an essential characteristic of each student. In our time when so much emphasis is put on the evaluation of academic achievements, the verses offer a refreshing and imaginative portrayal of the child’s interests and capacities, which serve as a source of strength for the coming year. The themes of these poems reflects the curriculum, from fairy tales in first grade, through to Nordic, Asian, Egyptian and Greek myths, and the Arthurian legends in later years.
An active imagination living in wakeful senses is the only way of overcoming what Coleridge calls the “lethargy of custom.” Thank goodness, then, for poets like Eric G. Müller who show us how it’s done. You are holding in your hand a book, which is a product of just this discipline of imaginatively grasping the fleeting moment. And it is also a demonstration of the equally great fact that any one of these moments is an entry point into the depths and heights of the human spirit. Müller never stints his attention – it is given with equal devotion to pebbles and to great works of art, and with equally tangential effects. In these poems the occasional meets the perpetual in an exhilarating dance that expresses love of life, the quirky individuality of perception and the close kinship between the pilgrim and the rebel.
~ Norman Skillen ~Educator and storyteller
frogs, frags, & kisses:
tanka, haiku, limericks, and
other short poems
Frogs, Frags, and Kisses delights in wordplay and wisdom. Each of its more than two hundred very short poems showcases Müller's wit, depth, and inner struggles. From tanka to limericks, and haiku to little fragments, this author sees the big in the small, the meaning in the prosaic, and the humor in the tragedy. A wonderful compendium of the small, this book will delight with its miniature portraits of a life keenly observed; from sleepless nighttime hours, to pearls of perception, to the naughty thoughts of moguls, artists, scholars or vagabonds. A book to savor and enjoy, in big bites or small.
"frogs, frags, & kisses is a recipe for fun winter reading: a dash of Edward Lear, sprinkle of Ogden Nash, and some soulful stirring.”
April Zipser, author and editor at Prolific Press
"A rich collection of ‘short form poems’: wise, mischievous, and healing. An enticing invitation to enter into play with the small and the big, and at once to ponder well.”
~ Douglas Sloan, Professor of History and Education Emeritus, Teachers College, Columbia University
Coffee on the Piano for You:
Poems from here and there, then and now
Eric G. Müller's writing gives voice to that orphaned part of our human experience: that numinous dimension of life where few of our common words dare to tread. In his new book he traverses a wide scope of subjects and spans a breadth of experiences, taking us through a tour of the themes that have fired his imagination over the last few decades. He illuminates places, quiet spaces, the seen and the unseen, and unsuspected flashes of consciousness with verbal alacrity and a wonderful sense of sound. With playful forms, quirky moments that often elude our attention, and his sheer delight at what language can do to the soul, Müller nudges his readers along with him as he inches us toward that frontier where new possibilities of language can warm, surprise, and inspire us.
~David Anderson, Executive Artistic Director, Walking the dog Theater
"With spontaneous utterances he catches the full movement of the moment. Like the Beats, on the road, he wanders in these poems through Europe and Indonesia with his mouth and his notebook open, writing often, I notice, in the present tense, close up to the world, glimpsing the Buddha in the face of a beggar, noting many a "daily Madonna" in the people he encounters, ever intent on "scooping the water for the wine."
~ Paul Matthews, poet and teacher of creative writing at Emerson College, England, and the author of Sing me the Creation and Words in Place
Truth, Light, & Lies:
72 Meditations in verse
In Truth, Lies, & Light Westerfield registers an intuitive concern for the truthfulness of our time, the ability to distinguish the real from the spurious, and the barriers that threaten to impede the light of understanding to shine out over our vulnerable age. Each of the poems or musings is an act of love, offering imaginations that raise consciousness and show that truth is inevitably linked to beauty and goodness. The poetic meditations are an expression of human striving, rooted in the knowledge that we can only flourish if the world lives in us as much as we live in the world, which means having a freely gained moral responsibility for our natural surroundings and its ineffable otherworldly source.
(Published under the pseudonym Elryn Westerfield)
Tiny Tin Elf
Gracie loves to visit her grandfather on his farm. One day she makes friends with an elf who shows her a secret in the old barn. There she meets the dwarf Keynotteroom who makes her aware of a task that only she can fulfill. When Gracie finds out what is stored away in the barn, and why, she is determined to take action.
Illustrations: Ella Manor Lapointe