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Look at What We Can Become

Portraits of Five Michaelic Individuals

Neill Reilly

124 pp.  
6" x 9"



Published:  May 2019


Neill Reilly presents portraits, rather than biographies, of five remarkable individuals:

  • Fritz Koelln
  • John Fentress Gardner
  • Lee Lecraw
  • Marjorie Spock
  • William Ward

These are short, subjective, affectionate sketches. The author relates fond remembrances of five departed souls in deeply personal portraits that are nevertheless meaningful even for those who have never heard of these people who chose a life of service. Readers can test the facts presented here and determine their usefulness as inspiration for living a better life. If the author seems too fond of his subjects, he readily pleads guilty as charged.

The term Michaelic refers to the qualities expressed by the Archangel Michael, who fights the dark forces that work to suppress human hope, goodness, loving kindness, and true community. Michael is often depicted as armored and resolute, giving no quarter to evil. He is intimately connected with Christ as Earth’s guiding light. Each of these five individuals represents a well-lived, Michaelic life. Like the cover image on this book, the Archangel Michael assumes a balanced stance, with one foot restraining the head of Satan and his sword at the ready. Such balance and focus is critical to all human endeavors, especially those connected with one’s spiritual life and contributions to education and society.

These five brief portraits offer inspiration to all those who aspire to live a more Michaelic life, one that pours much-needed loving kindness and selfless service into our world for the future.

Reviews & Endorsements:

Neill Reilly's concise, well written and very rewarding book is a work of philosophy contained within a set of interesting and affectionate profiles of teachers involved in Anthroposophy and Waldorf pedagogy. These five engaging profiles are the springboard to examine big questions, based on Anthroposophy and the writings of Rudolf Steiner.

These five highly evolved individuals are limned with great care and precision and allowed to speak to us through the stories of their lives as well as through their writings and those of Rudolf Steiner himself to create a meditation on lives well lived, the meaning of life and death, and the transformations developing in the Michaelic Age in which we live.

As a contemporary and friend of Neill at Bowdoin (and of the author of the fine forward, Bruce Murphy), I did know Professor Koelln (and was taught by Professor Karl, also an anthroposophist), although I myself had never studied the subject in any depth.

I was delighted, therefore, to find this book was not only a set of delightful profiles (and judging by my knowledge of Prof Koelln, very accurate), but a larger meditation on Anthroposophy, aging ,death, intelligence, transformation, and courage. It is a philosophical whole worth reading and rereading.
It is particularly resonant for anyone, like myself, entering (in the words of Leonard Cohen) the foothills of old age. It is a discussion of the good life, lived courageously and how such a life (or lives) may end triumphantly.

You will like and admire these people, and learn good lessons from their stories. You will learn about the work of Rudolf Steiner and the Waldorf schools, and about Neill and Bruce, and their lifelong study of great questions (and answers).

Buy this lovely book (it is well illustrated, too) and annotate it. In the margins, you will record many insights. A fine book, worthy of its author and of the people who taught him well.
- Charles D. Wick ,

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    Related Titles by Subject:

    Anthroposophy: Biography & Autobiography ; Arts & Literature: Biography & Autobiography and Esoteric: Biography & Autobiography