About the Conference, Terry Boardman

I am a freelance lecturer, author, and translator (German, Japanese), married to a Japanese, with one 28 year-old son who lives in Tokyo with his wife and two young daughters. I have been a student of anthroposophy since 1981 and joined the Anthroposophical Society in 1983. Born in Wales in 1952, I grew up in an old Roman city in England. I graduated in history from Manchester University in 1973 and soon afterwards, moved to Japan. My life has been about communication, language, history and music. I have gradually come to understand that the encounter with all that “Rome” means, 2000 years ago, in the Middle Ages, and today, has been a leitmotif of this life of mine. Rome is a cross, and from this cross there is a resurrection. I had to move all the way to Japan to begin to understand that.

I first came to Prague in 2004, on a holiday with my family. I am of the generation of westerners that grew up in the Cold War and never thought of going behind the 'Iron Curtain' as it was always called in those days. As a result, most of my generation were more familiar with East Asia or the Eastern USA than with Eastern Europe. But having spent 10 years of my life in Japan, having travelled in other parts of Asia, and recognising that the East-West question was part of obviously my destiny, I felt it was time to discover the East of my own continent! So in 2004 my wife and I decided to go first to Prague, which we'd heard so much about, and which our 16 year old skateboarding son told us repeatedly had become one of the main skateboarding centres in the world (Letna Park).

But looking back now, it seems no accident that our visit coincided with my own first visit to the biannual Kaspar Hauser Festival in Ansbach, not so far from Prague, and I soon discovered that a line connects Kaspar's birthplace of Karlsruhe, the Nuremberg-Ansbach area, where he spent all of his mere 5 years of public life, and the Karlstejn Castle region. Karlstejn was created by Karel IV, who, according to Rudolf Steiner, was the last initiate Holy Roman Emperor. Karel also had an important connection to Nuremberg. We thoroughly enjoyed our holiday in Prague but it wasn't until four years later that I was to go to Prague again, this time invited by Czechs. In the meantime I had become engrossed in the Kaspar Hauser story; my second book (2006) was written about him, and together with two friends, Richard and Markus, I had been involved in an event at Emerson College in England which we called the Rose Cross in Europe Conference. We each took a different theme, and I presented mine about Kaspar Hauser. Vladimir Havrda, whose wife was studying Eurythmy in England, came to that conference and took the initiative to ask us three to do the conference in Prague, as he felt that its themes were something that was needed in Middle Europe and especially the Czech Republic, both of which, he thought, were experiencing something of an identity crisis. Well, “identity” is for me the key theme of the Rose Cross Conferences. “Who am I?” “What is my destiny?” Why am I here in this place, this part of the earth?” “What is the destiny, the task, of this place?” “What is its contribution to Europe and the world?” Such questions.

Vladimir's bold suggestion was answered by his friends in Prague who then said “Yes!” and invited us to come, and happily, we've been coming every year since, learning and deepening our experiences, making friends. There is a historical connection between Bohemia and England that goes back to 1381, almost to the time of Karel IV; through princess Anne of Bohemia, it unites the spiritual streams of John Wycliffe and Jan Hus. This has sometimes led Czechs to look to the West and to England for inspiration over the years because they felt something in common with what was there. But in more recent times, since the early 17th century, the connection has not always been a happy one; the West has let the Czech people down badly at least three times (1618, 1918, 1938) and many would say something similar has been going on since the end of communism in the early 90s. I see the Rose Cross conferences as an opportunity, in the heart of Europe, to consider what it means to live as an individual in the East, the West, and the Middle, and to try to understand these three, their gifts and their shadows, so that we are not deceived by the trickery of the shadows but may benefit rightly from the gifts. The streets of Prague are paved with black and white. In English, the word LIVE backwards is EVIL, and many have noted that the reverse of ROMA is AMOR. Each rose carries its own cross, which are its thorns, and they are there for a reason.

Terry Boardman - lecturer, Stourbridge, England, www.threeman.org