Arvia MacKaye Ege / Pioneer for American Anthroposophy

At our Section meeting on December 2, 2023, I gave a presentation on Arvia MacKaye Ege. This presentation is part of our ongoing Section study of the MacKaye family. For a related video, watch the previously posted Section video introduction to Arvia’s father Percy MacKaye: “Percy MacKaye & Our American Drama.”

In her memoirs about the Christmas Foundation Conference (The Experience of the Christmas Foundation Meeting 1923 by Arvia MacKaye Ege; Adonis Press, 1981), Arvia tells us how she climbed up on some woodworking machinery to claim a perch inaccessible to older, more mature spectators — a perch where she could see and hear the proceedings. She reminds me of the character Fable in the Novalis fairytale of Eros and Fable, a fairytale that the Section celebrated last year on New Year’s Eve. If you recall in that tale, Fable is the plucky young female spirit of Poetry who takes the initiative and travels high and low, far and wide, in service to Beauty and to the World.


It is important to note that Arvia came of age during and after World War One. Like many young people of today (or any era), Arvia felt that new spiritual initiatives were urgently required for the health and well-being of humanity and the world. She was part of the Youth Movement that we hear so much about. She went to Europe to foster social change and renewal.

While she was in Germany, she seized the opportunity to visit Dornach, where she encountered the ruins of the first Goetheanum.

Her initial encounter with Rudolf Steiner in a lecture in the Carpentry Hall inspired her to return to Dornach as soon as possible. And because she returned, she was one of the few Americans – the only young American woman — to witness the Christmas Foundation Conference.

In our meeting, we talked about her experience and her subsequent experience of the etheric Christ.

Here is an reading from the book Arvia MacKaye Ege, Pioneer for Anthropophy (Adonis Press, 1995) written and compiled by Arvia’s sister Christy Barnes in which we find Arvia’s account in her own words of an out-of-body spiritual experience that occurred in 1930 at a time of crisis and illness.