28 February 2017 – Astro-Weather: Catch the thin crescent Moon below Venus after sunset. The Moon is only a few days old & as the Moon thickens it forms a triangle with bright Venus & fainter Mars
Tonight will also be a great time to get to know Lepus the Hare, one of the sky’s lesser-known constellations. Approximately a dozen medium-bright stars form Lepus, which sits directly below (that is, south of) Orion the Hunter. Lepus has two named stars, Arneb (Alpha Leporis) & Nihal (Beta Leporis)
‘Astrology is astronomy brought down to earth and applied to the affairs of man.’ ~R.W. Emerson
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
“History is the essence of innumerable biographies.” ~ Thomas Carlyle, “
Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) *see essay below
1525 – Aztec king Cuauhtémoc is executed on the order of conquistador Hernán Cortés
1621 – Deathday of Cosimo II de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany
1827 – The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad is incorporated, becoming the first railroad in America offering commercial transportation of both people & freight
1849 – Regular steamboat service from the west to the east coast of the United States begins with the arrival of the SS California in San Francisco Bay, four months 22 days after leaving New York Harbor
1885 – The American Telephone & Telegraph Company is incorporated in New York as the subsidiary of American Bell Telephone
1933 – Gleichschaltung: In Nazi terminology, was the process of Nazification by which Nazi Germany successively established a system of totalitarian control & coordination over all aspects of society, “from the economy and trade associations to the media, culture and education. The Reichstag Fire Decree is passed in Germany a day after the Reichstag fire, issued by German President Paul von Hindenburg on the advice of Chancellor Adolf Hitler in direct response to the Reichstag fire of 27 February 1933. The decree nullified many of the key civil liberties of German citizens. With Nazis in powerful positions in the German government, the decree was used as the legal basis for the imprisonment of anyone considered to be opponents of the Nazis, & to suppress publications not considered “friendly” to the Nazi cause. The decree is considered by historians to be one of the key steps in the establishment of a one-party Nazi state in Germany
1942 – The heavy cruiser USS Houston is sunk in the Battle of Sunda Strait with 693 crew members killed, along with HMAS Perth which lost 375 men
1953 – James Watson & Francis Crick announce to friends that they have determined the chemical structure of DNA
1954 – The first color television sets using the NTSC standard are offered for sale to the general public
1958 – A school bus in Floyd County, Kentucky hits a wrecker truck & plunges down an embankment into the rain-swollen Levisa Fork river. The driver & 26 children die in what remains one of the worst school bus accidents in U.S. history
1975 – In London, an underground train fails to stop at Moorgate terminus station & crashes into the end of the tunnel, killing 43 people
1985 – The Provisional Irish Republican Army carries out a mortar attack on the Royal Ulster Constabulary police station at Newry, killing 9 officers
1986 – Olof Palme, 26th Prime Minister of Sweden, is assassinated in Stockholm
1997 – An earthquake in northern Iran is responsible for about 3,000 deaths
1997 – GRB 970228, a highly luminous flash of gamma rays, strikes the Earth for 80 seconds, providing early evidence that gamma-ray bursts occur well beyond the Milky Way
1998 – First flight of RQ-4 Global Hawk, the first unmanned aerial vehicle certified to file its own flight plans and fly regularly in U.S. civilian airspace
2004 – Over one million Taiwanese participating in the 228 Hand-in-Hand rally form a 310 mile long human chain to commemorate the ‘February 28 Incident’ in 1947: an anti-government uprising in Taiwan that was violently suppressed by the Kuomintang-led Republic of China government, which killed thousands of civilians beginning on February 28, 1947. Estimates of the number of deaths vary from 50,000 or more. The massacre marked the beginning of the White Terror period, in which tens of thousands more inhabitants vanished, died, or were imprisoned. This incident is one of the most important events in Taiwan’s modern history, & was a critical impetus for the Taiwan independence movement
2013 – Pope Benedict XVI resigns as the pope of the Catholic Church, becoming the first pope to do so since 1415
POD (Poem Of the Day)
~The house fills with birds
As i enter the circle of sun
I vibrate the lyrics to their song
As the hawk pauses
Before the eggs in my nest
I call the sparrow
& become a sliver star hanging,
Swift water running,
A lowing cow,
The thought of myself,
In my mother’s forehead
*Mardi Gras, Carnival, Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday, Pancake Tuesday, Fastnacht
The date of Mardi Gras varies based on the moveable feast of Easter, the Full Moon & the Spring Equinox.
The history of a Mardi Gras celebration existed many years before Europeans came to the New World. Sometime in the 2nd Century, usually the ides of February the 15 according to the Julian calendar, Ancient Romans would observe what they called the Lupercalia, a circus-type festival which was, in many respects, quite similar to the present day Mardi Gras. This festival honored the Roman deity, Lupercus, a pastoral God associated with Faunus or the Satyr. Although Lupercus is derived from the Latin Lupus meaning “wolf”.
When Christianity arrived in Rome, the dignitaries of the early Church decided it would be more prudent to incorporate certain aspects of such rituals into the new faith rather than attempt to abolish them altogether. This added a Christian interpretation to the ancient custom & the Carnival became a time of abandon & merriment which proceeded the Lenten period (a symbolic Christian penitence of 40 days commencing on Ash Wednesday & ending at Easter).
During this time, there would be feasting which lasted several days & participants would indulge in voluntary madness by donning masks, clothing themselves in the likeness of specters & generally giving themselves up to Bacchus & Venus. All aspects of pleasure were considered to be allowable during the Carnival celebration & today’s modern festivities are thought by some to be more reminiscent of the Roman Saturnalia rather than Lupercalia, or to be linked to even earlier Pagan festivals.
From Rome, the celebration spread to other European countries. In medieval times, a similar-type festival to that of the present day Mardi Gras was given by monarchs & lords prior to Lent in order to ceremoniously conscript new knights into service & hold feasts in their honor. The gentry would also ride through the countryside rewarding peasants with cakes (thought by some to be the origin of the King Cake), coins (perhaps the origin of present day gifts of Mardi Gras doubloons) & other trinkets.
In Germany, there still remains a Carnival similar to that of the one held in New Orleans. Known as Fasching, the celebrations begin on Twelfth Night & continue until Shrove Tuesday. (In German-America, special “doughnuts” are sold for this holiday, called Fasnachts.)
To a lesser degree, this festival is still celebrated in France & Spain. A Carnival season was also celebrated in England until the Nineteenth Century, originating as a type of “renewal” festival that incorporated fertility motifs & ball games which frequently turned into riots between opposing villages, followed by feasts of pancakes & the imbibing of alcohol. The preparing & consumption of pancakes on Shrove Tuesday is a still a tradition in the United Kingdom, where pancake tossing & pancake races (during which a pancake must be tossed a certain number of times) are still popular. One of the most famous of such competitions, which takes place in Olney, Buckinghamshire, is said to date from 1445. It is a race for women only & for those who have lived in the Parish for at least three months. An apron & head-covering are requisite. The course is 415 yards & the pancake must be tossed at least three times during the race. The winner receives a kiss from the Ringer of the Pancake Bell & a prayer book from the local vicar. “Shrove” is derived from the Old English word “shrive,” which means to “confess all sins.”
It is generally accepted that Mardi Gras came to America in 1699 with the French explorer, Sieur d’Iberville. The festival had been celebrated as a major holiday in Paris since the Middle Ages. Iberville sailed into the Gulf of Mexico &, from there, launched an expedition along the Mississippi River. By March 3, 1699, Iberville had set up a camp on the West Bank of the River, about 60 miles South of the present day City of New Orleans in the State of Louisiana. Since that day was the very one on which Mardi Gras was being celebrated in France, Iberville named the site Point du Mardi Gras in honor of the festival.
According to some sources, however, the Mardi Gras of New Orleans began in 1827 when a group of students who had recently returned from school in Paris donned strange costumes & danced their way through the streets. In this version, it is said that the inhabitants of New Orleans were swiftly captured by the enthusiasm of the youths & promptly followed suit.
Other sources maintain that the Mardi Gras celebration originated with the arrival of early French settlers to the State of Louisiana. Nevertheless, it is known that from 1827 to 1833, the New Orleans’ Mardi Gras celebrations became more elaborate, culminating in an annual Mardi Gras Ball. The Carnival was well-established by the middle of the Nineteenth Century when the Mystick Krewe of Comus presented its 1857 Torchlight Parade with a theme taken from “Paradise Lost” written by John Milton.
In French, “Mardi Gras” literally means “Fat Tuesday,” so named because it falls on the day before Ash Wednesday, the last day prior to Lent – a 40-day season of prayer & fasting observed by the Church which ends on Easter Sunday. The origin of “Fat Tuesday” is believed to have come from the ancient Pagan custom of parading a fat ox through the town streets. Such Pagan holidays were filled with excessive eating, drinking & general bawdiness prior to a period of fasting.
Since modern times Carnival Season is sandwiched between Christmas & Lent. Easter always falls on a Sunday, but it can be any Sunday from March 23 through April 25, its actual date being the Sunday which follows the first Full Moon after the Spring Equinox. Mardi Gras is always 47 days prior to this allotted Sunday (the 40 days of Lent plus seven Sundays).
The beginning of the Carnival Season itself, however, is also fixed, being January 6, which is the Feast of the Epiphany, otherwise known as Little Christmas or Twelfth Night. Since the date of Mardi Gras varies, the length of the Carnival Season also varies from year-to-year. The origin of the word “Carnival” is from the Latin for “farewell to the flesh,” a time when one is expected to forego earthly pleasures prior to the restrictions of the Lenten Season, & is thought to be derived from the feasts of the Middle Ages known as carnis levamen or “solace of the flesh.”
In New Orleans in 1833, Bernard Xavier de Marigny de Mandeville, a wealthy plantation owner, solicited a large amount of money in order to help finance an organized Mardi Gras celebration. It was not until 1837, however, that the first Mardi Gras Parade was staged. Two years later, a description of the 1839 Parade noted that it consisted of a single float. Nonetheless, it was considered to be a great success & apparently, the crowd roared hilariously as this somewhat crude float moved through the streets of the city. Since that time, Mardi Gras in New Orleans has been an overwhelming success, continuing to grow with additional organizations participating each year.
The traditional colors of Mardi Gras are purple (symbolic of royalty & justice), green (symbolic of fertility & faith) & gold (symbolic of grace & power). The accepted story behind the original selection of these colors originates from 1872 when the Grand Duke Alexis Romanoff of Russia visited New Orleans. It is said that the Grand Duke came to the city in pursuit of an actress named Lydia Thompson. During his stay, he was given the honor of selecting the official Mardi Gras colors by the Krewe of Rex. These colors also become the colors of the House of Romanoff. (The vestments worn by Catholic bishops & priests on Ash Wednesday are purple & gold, so that may have influenced the choice?)
Today, Louisiana’s Mardi Gras is celebrated not only in New Orleans, but in most American cities on some level. Similar celebrations are also held in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro, arguably the world’s most elaborate Carnival location with its Samba Dromo parades, which annually attract a huge number of tourists from all corners of the globe. Regardless of where the festivals take place, however, all share a common party atmosphere inherently associated with the celebrations.
Mardi Gras is always followed by Ash Wednesday, it’s polar opposite in character. May your fasting be as glorious as your feasting
Anthroposophy speaks to every thinking human being, each individual with a feeling heart, all who would put good will into action. Every one of us, in our uniqueness, is destined to play a part in the transfiguration of the universe.
By committing to transforming ourselves we change society & are better able to put the riddles of existence into perspective. Anthroposophy is a Spiritual Science, & a path of initiation into the ‘New Mysteries’ appropriate to our modern era. We learn to be aware of our Higher Self in such a way that a feeling of responsibility fills us.
Let us experience this feeling pouring into our souls as the warm, glowing, spiritual life blood of a new culture. Let us recognize that in our time human beings need new moral, intellectual, & spiritual impulses. Let us feel how fresh concepts of duty & of love arise & take hold of our souls. The destiny of humanity requires our conviction. So let us put into practice this new spiritual revelation.
The insights given to us by Rudolf Steiner’s work, brings into focus the essential nature of the human being, & the evolution of consciousness in connection with spiritual guidance. Turbulent times are ahead of us. Much of the old is used up or worn out, & the new is wanting to be poured into humanity from the spiritual world.
Do you feel called to receive these inspirations – to take on the responsibility – to join with other kindred souls – to explore & walk together on the road to knowledge, which leads the spiritual part of the human being to the spirit of the universe?
Come join Hazel Archer Ginsberg – Festivals Coordinator & Council Member of the Chicago Rudolf Steiner Branch, and the Central Regional Council of the Anthroposophical Society. Founder of Reverse Ritual – Understanding Anthroposophy through the Rhythms of the Year– Presenter, Poet, & Trans-denominational Minister.
What is Anthroposophy? & The Spiritual Guidance of the Individual and Humanity’
March 3-4, 2017
An Evening Discourse & Full Day Workshop
Friday Evening: What is Anthroposophy? A hands-on discourse.
What can the human being (anthropos) of today do to recognize our inherent wisdom (sophia) to access the source of spiritual knowledge, for our own inner development, and for the evolution of the earth and all of humanity?
What would it be like to support each other in community, as we strive to penetrate the mystery of our relationship with the spiritual world?
How does this ‘Spiritual Science’ built on the research of Rudolf Steiner, speak to the riddles of existence: our artistic needs, the truth of karma, the mystery of evil, life after death and so much more?
Saturday: An Experiential Three Part Workshop* ‘
‘The Spiritual Guidance of the Individual and Humanity: Some Results of Spiritual-Scientific Research into Human History and Development’ is a translation of Die geistige Führung des Menschen und der Menschheit: Geistes wissenschaftliche Ergebnisse ueber die Menschheits-Entwickelung published by Rudolf Steiner Verlag, Dornach, Switzerland, 1974. This short book consists of three sections. Each section was originally a lecture (6, 7, and 8 June 1911) but was subsequently reworked by Steiner and cast into the form of an essay. Some of the topics treated in this book are: the nature of the brain, the development of speech, angelic beings, ancient language, Zarathustra, Buddha, and Christ. It is available without a fee online at Rudolf Steiner Archives.
Session #1 – 10 am – 12 noon:
• The divine wisdom working in the human being in the 1st three years of life.
• Through inner striving, we can contact again and consciously build on this wisdom which is connected to the Christ impulse.
• Activity- Biography work: Our 1st conscious memory – a preview of the “I”.
Noon – 1:30 pm – Lunch
Session #2 – 1:30 pm – 3:30 pm:
• The childlike condition of humanity in ancient times, directed by higher spiritual beings.
• A look into the evolution of these guiding spirits –progressive as well as regressive –
• Revealing the necessity of the ‘two kinds of evil’.
• The importance of Spiritual Science to avoid error.
• Activity – Labyrinth Walk
3:30 pm – 4 pm – Break
Session #3 – 4 pm – 6 pm:
• A survey of the Post-Atlantean age, our present epoch.
• The Christ connection with the progressive spiritual beings
• Modern science as the work of the regressive spiritual beings
• A peek into the future
• Activity – The Golden Legend & The Rose Cross Mediation: An artistic rendering
Come Explore this Modern Path of Initiation with: Hazel Archer-Ginsberg – Festivals Coordinator & Council Member of the Chicago Rudolf Steiner Branch, and the Central Regional Council of the Anthroposophical Society. Founder of Reverse Ritual – Understanding Anthroposophy Through the Rhythms of the Year–Presenter, Poet, & Trans-denominational Minister.
*Workshops can be taken as a whole or individually, see registration options.
*Bring your own lunch on Saturday or choose the catered option.
Sign up now! A minimum number of registrants are needed for this weekend workshop.
For more info click HERE
Location: Michael Fields Agricultural Institute, East Troy
Workshop Fee: $25 for each individual session or register for all 4 sessions for $80. Additional $15 fee for catered lunch (optional).
Price is $35 per session at door (day of class).