See thou, mine eye,
The Sun’s pure rays
In crystal forms of Earth.
See thou, my heart,
The Sun’s Spirit-power
In Water’s surging wave.
See thou, my soul,
The Sun’s cosmic will
In quivering gleam of Air.
See thou, my spirit,
The Sun’s indwelling God
In Fire’s abounding love.
(From one of Rudolf Steiner’s notebooks – Autumn 1924)
Barbara Anne Rapson 14 April 1953 – 27th March 2013
In Barb’s last days, she lay in her bed, watching the waxing moon from her window, reflecting on the beautiful powers of that rich light. I visited her and was so aware that even as she lay there, she was filled with care for the other, organising their time and what they needed to do, and teaching and sharing. It isn’t easy to leave the world, where a grandchild is still so young and your family still need you, Barb took the moments she could, and provided all that was possible for those around her and prepared herself for her next steps.
I met Barb many years ago, when she decided her younger son Thomas needed some Rhythmical Massage treatment, at the Melbourne Therapy Centre. We met again some years later in the Michael Centre, when she appeared at the door to look after the first Rhythmical massage training group I ran in Australia. Barb was the custodian then of the Michael Centre, and she emanated an instant comfort of efficiency, keen intelligence and orderly warmth.
Barb joined the next Rhythmical massage training in 2002, which developed over time into a small destiny group of herself, Veronika Gudenus, Lorraine Birse and Kerry Carlill. We would meet at the Marymount Catholic Centre in Sydney for a retreat, and work solidly through practice sessions, and have lectures from visiting doctors, homeopaths, art therapists and eurythmists over the next 4 years. Barb would set up her writing desk and absorb at a steady pace. Learning massage is demanding in concentration, both mental and physical, and we would have many sessions of falling over laughter as a relief, especially with the help of Barb and Kerry who had an especially close understanding on the course. Barb’s sense of humour was monumental and her understanding of Anthroposophy had a gravitas which carried others through. Some may have despaired at times of getting through these years of training, whether technique wise of financially. As Veronika recalls, Barb would say it was “just a matter of getting organised”.
Friends and colleagues of Barb have talked about her open straightforwardness, giving feedback when requested and open. Barb took her responsibility to communicate to members of both the Society and AAMA and was prompt with information needing to go out, and ensuring information was shared as needed.
Barb loved the philosophy and depth of Anthroposophical spirituality. She was prepared to give her time and effort to reaching her goals of finishing her remedial massage training, her rhythmical massage training, and then working in the Melbourne Therapy Centre through her late 40’s and 50’s. Barb has massaged 100’s of people since her training. At the Centre her goals continued – the development of the Centre with its high standard of renovation to becoming a centre of excellence for the environment and the quality of care given by all practitioners and administrative staff. She had great love and understanding for all who worked there.
One of her concerns shared with me was the succession plan for Rhythmical massage in the Melbourne Therapy Centre.
I recognised in Barb a woman of many talents, as with the rest of the massage people I have trained. I asked Barb if she could take on the administration of the large conferences we ran for the Australian Anthroposophic medicine association, the Kolisko conferences between 2002-2009, and she without trouble, transferred our manual system, which was beautifully set up by Monika Bebb, into MYOB. Barb was a wonderful companion to have at the conferences, and international medical trainings, where we would often sit together as she worked on mysterious things, and I just enjoyed the sheer comfort of being beside her.
During our work Barb would often receive texts or calls from Dave, her husband, updating her on the latest World Cup scores, or local Soccer games in Melbourne, and I was always delighted that this lovely friend could revel in the physical as much as the spiritual. This theme within medicine of the physical emanating in the spiritual and the spiritual in the physical was essentially a theme Barb herself was a living example of.
Alongside the massage work, the Therapy Centre Board work, the AAMA work, Barb had yet another task she felt she was called to take up, that of the Branch Treasurer role for the Victorian Anthroposophic Society in 2009, and Branch Secretary in 2010. How could one woman manage so much? At times, it was overwhelming, however, Barb quietly paced herself, conserved her energy when possible and gained much energy from being with her beloved family. Her delight in watching the Therapy Centre and gardens develop into being a place of inspiration gave her a lot of joy. Barb was a peace maker and used these skills often, combined with her ability to know her own limits.
Barb was taken home after her passing, with the help and support of her siblings, and immediate family. Irmhild Kleinhenz and Pippa White looked after her physical preparations. Barb’s mother spoke of the loving care she observed to enable Barb to be kept at home for three days as she had wished, watched over and kept in company.
Barb leaves behind a family of two sons, Leigh and Thomas and a daughter, Yvette and a grandson Adam, their spouses/partner and of course Dave, her husband who we thank for supporting her through all the endeavours and time Barb has given the Anthroposophic movement, and her friends.
Sue Scott, Rhythmical Massage, Sydney
Dr. Paulo Moraes, Melbourne Therapy Centre, with the warmest of thoughts also from Dr Michaela Gloeckler, Head of the Medical Section, Switzerland,
I first met Barb Rapson in December 2002 when we commenced our Rhythmical Massage training in Sydney with Sue Scott. I did not know what to make of Barb at first; however, over the weeks and years that followed, she showed us her wonderful sense of humour and her extraordinary understanding of Anthroposophy.
Sometimes, when I would ask a question about something we were reading, Barb would turn her head and look at me over her glasses (thinking: what planet is she on) and make some dry comment which would make us all laugh. Then she would proceed to answer my query, and we all knew that we very fortunate to have Barb in our group because of her knowledge and willingness to share it.
Barb was a very caring person and very sensitive to people’s needs in our group of therapists.
I shall miss Barb very much, but I am sure will feel her looking over my shoulder and telling me to “just get on with it”.
Bye Barb and thanks for being my friend.
With Love from Lorraine Birse