The Grade 11s of the Waldorf School Windhoek just completed their 5-day wilderness hike of the Khomas Hochland Hiking Trail in Windhoek’s green belt, walking over 60km with full packs, carrying their own clothing and food. They did so in the full Parzival spirit, with brave hearts, and determined, seeking souls.
“If inconstancy be the heart’s neighbour, the soul will not fail to find it bitter.”
So begins the Legend of the Grail, a long and mysterious journey of a ‘brave fool slowly growing wise.
Parzival is a tale from the mediaeval age. Its themes and imagery explore the very essence of existence and the quintessential nature of humankind. It is woven with archetypal symbology and brings a picture of our spiritual development.
This is a story captured through ancient mystics and discovered and written by Wolfram von Eschenbach dealing, amongst other conundrums, with the lifelong quest of meeting oneself. The search for God, meaning and purpose, the nature of destiny, holding balance between chaos and order, shame and atonement, being hurt and inflicting pain, and the quality of love are all themes that interlace the story. It is through these riddles that young adults start to develop a sense of who they really are, while their own identity can begin to flower and emerge.
Steiner indicated that this legend should be brought to the Grade 11 student and this is done differently all over the world in Waldorf schools. In WSW’s case, it is brought orally as an epic tale told by the fireside amidst a starry night or under a tree in the wild expanse during a journey in the Namibian savannah. Before the journey, students explore their relationship with the nature of spirit and question how forces within our world lead us to free expression or constrictive fear and indifference.
Is there purpose to our existence? What is it? Are our every day interactions and deeds shaping a world that is in harmony with our natural instincts? Are established systems trying to set us free, or dumb us down and trap us in conditioned control?
These are the questions that awaken us to the true task of education—these are the kinds of questions that students had to contemplate as their put one tired foot in front of the other on their journey to find their own Holy Grail.
Returning home from their epic hike, the journey was further continued with explosive artistic expression. Poems poured, paintings were born, essays were written—all of the various versions of each student’s Holy Grail was fashioned into a beautifully bound book.
These books will be presented in an evening of medieval splendour where each student speaks of their trials, tribulations, and triumphs on their own quest for their grail.
The Grade 11 students were accompanied on their Parzival hike by Rein Buyze, a visiting Waldorf teacher who said his heart was warmed by the power of the brave Waldorf students. “They came closer to their true divine selves, equipped with the forces of their own character, strength of compassion, inquiring thinking, and the desire for meaningful contribution in their own way. It is a profound and inspiring transformation to have witnessed.”