Monthly Archives: December 2017

The dark space between the stars

22 December 2016 – Astro-Weather: As twilight fades away this evening, you’ll find the waxing crescent Moon in the southwest. Bella Luna is far left of Fomalhaut, & Altair, farther right.

Even with winter officially here, the big Summer Triangle remains up in the west after nightfall. Altair is the first of its stars to go. Start by spotting bright Vega in the northwest. The brightest star above Vega is Deneb. Altair is the Triangle’s third star, farther to Vega’s left or lower left. How late into the evening, & into the advancing winter, can you keep Altair in view?


Rudolf Steiner’s Lectures on this day 


That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons that history has to teach.” ~Aldous Huxley

304 – Deathday of Saint Florian a Christian holy man, and the patron saint of Linz, Austria; chimney sweeps; soapmakers, & firefighters. The “Florian Principle” (known in German language areas as “Sankt-Florians-Prinzip”) is named after a somewhat ironic prayer to Saint Florian: “O heiliger Sankt Florian, verschon’ mein Haus, zünd’ and’re an”, equivalent to “O Holy St. Florian, please spare my house, set fire to another one”. This saying is used in German much like the English “not in my back yard“, when the speaker wants to point out that some person tries to get out of an unpleasant situation by an action that will put others in that very same situation. The name Florian is considered synonymous with fireman in the German speaking world. In some cases call for a fireman will actually be spoken as calls for Florian.

856 – Damghan earthquake kills an estimated 200,000 people, the sixth deadliest earthquake in recorded history

1808 – Ludwig van Beethoven conducts & performs in concert at the Theater an der Wien, Vienna, with the premiere of his Fifth Symphony, Sixth Symphony, Fourth Piano Concerto (performed by Beethoven himself) & Choral Fantasy (with Beethoven at the piano)

1851 – India’s first freight train is operated in Roorkee, India

1890 – Cornwallis Valley Railway begins operation between Kentville &Kingsport, Nova Scotia.

1891 – Asteroid 323 Brucia becomes the first asteroid discovered using photography

1937 – The Lincoln Tunnel opens to traffic in New York City

1942 –Adolf Hitler signs the order to develop the V-2 rocket as a weapon

1989 – Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate re-opens after nearly 30 years, effectively ending the division of East & West Germany

1989 – Deathday of Samuel Beckett, Irish author, poet, & playwright, Nobel Prize laureate

2010 – The repeal of the Don’t ask, don’t tell policy, the 17-year-old policy banning homosexuals serving openly in the United States military, is signed into law by President Barack Obama


It’s the Sun-@-Midnight time on the wheel of the year…
in the long-term cycle this phase invites us to throb in luminescence
with soft vitality & active silence,
peppering the cold acoustic with our hot breath…
Come Celebrate the unseen powers that sustain the world…
Pay reverence to what’s underneath:
the elusive, the uncanny & the darkly delicious…
Your inner vitality is heading toward peak levels,
& your body is as smart as it gets…
act as if every move is a dance…
explore the righteous blending of grace & power..
Give yourself permission to be a fluid bolt of ingenious fun,
Play hard & sweet, with sublime ferocity…



…’The wine dark sea’…
…The active dark womb… 
…The dark space between the stars…
Wrap this darkness gently about you like a comfortable blanket…Float gently now in its depths…Grow here, nourished by an invisible cord that connects you to the Source of all life…Floating gently in the dark…Softly rocking in the dark…And although it is dark, we realize that what surrounds us is not empty, but – like the womb – full of life. Take a moment now to sense the swirling, nurturing energy of the dark.

And now, as the energy increases, there is a spark…& the  dark gives birth…See that spark now as it glows, watch that spark now, watch it as it grows. Glowing brighter & brighter, it grows into a flame. And as you look at this flame, its light fills you with warmth…the light fills you with love. And as you feel the increased love & warmth within you, the visible intensity of the flame slowly diminishes & as it does, in its place, slowly coming to light, is the outline of a present. A gift…becoming more solid, until you can see its form clearly. Look how it is wrapped in a glistening filament of light.

This gift has your name on it, inscribed in the glimmering material. Is your name written in a special color? Is the inscription special in any other way? Approach your wrapped present now more closely. What shape is it? How big is it? What color is its wrapping? Pick it up: is it light? heavy?

And now you unwrap your gift. How easy or difficult is it to unwrap?

You finish opening your present….now receive your gift. What is it? Look at it carefully. Experience it fully. Accept it. Accept your gift with joy. Feel your heart warm with the love with which this gift is given to you.

And now, from your heart, send out gratitude for this gift, send out thanks for this gift, send it out like light, like a beacon back to the Great Mother, back to the Father Ground, out to the Universe- both the dark & the light. Send out your thanks for this gift.

Now, if you wish, find a place for this gift, a safe place where you can access this gift, a place to put this gift to work, that it may bless the world & give you the strength you need during the whole of the New Year.

Lighting a candle:
Deep in the ground of the human soul 
Of victory assured 
The Spirit-Sun is living
All through the winter of the inner life 
The faithful heart divines it

See you in the dark
Find you in the light
Xox ~Hazel Archer Ginsberg


Current Festival Events

See the Sun at Midnight

21 December 207 – Astro-Weather: The Ursid meteor shower peaks tonight. The shower’s radiant — the point from which the meteors appear to originate — lies in the constellation Ursa Minor, near the Little Dipper’s bowl. The radiant is visible in the north all night, but it climbs higher as dawn approaches. The waning crescent Moon won’t interfere much after it rises around 2 am tomorrow morning, though your best views likely will come between 11 pm & 1am. Observers with clear skies should be able to see 5 to 10 Ursid meteors per hour.

Earth’s Winter Solstice occurs at 6:44 am CST. At that moment, the Sun reaches its farthest point south in the sky. The solstice marks the official beginning of winter in the Northern Hemisphere, & tonight has more hours of darkness than any other. From mid-northern latitudes, however, the earliest sunset occurred about two weeks ago & the latest sunrise won’t happen until early January.

Step out at the beginning of dawn Thursday morning the 22nd, & high in the south you’ll find Jupiter, fainter Spica, & the waning crescent Moon in a line.

When we look up to the wonder of the starry world, when we contemplate the whole process of the universe with its glories and marvels, then we are led at last to the feeling that all the glory that lies open to our view in the whole universe that surrounds us only has meaning when it is reflected in an admiring human soul.” ~Goethe


John Stolfo

Rudolf Steiner’s Lectures on this day 

Triumphant in man’s deepest soul
Lives the Spirit of the Sun;
Quickened forces, set astir,
Awake the feelings to His presence
In the inner winter life.
Hope, impulse of the heart,
Beholds the Spirit victory of the Sun
In the blessed Light of Christmas,
The sign of highest life
In the winter’s deepest night. ~Rudolf Steiner


What is to be the starting force & impulse for events in social & ethical life must come out of the spiritual world.” Rudolf Steiner, New Spiritual Impulses in History” December, 1917

Winter Solstice or Yule


Blue Christmas, also called the Longest Night in the Western Christian tradition, is a day in the Advent season marking the longest night of the year. On this day, some churches hold a church service that honors people who have lost loved ones in that year. There is an interesting convergence for this day as it is also the traditional feast day for Saint Thomas the Apostle. This linkage invites making some connections between Thomas’s struggle to believe the tale of Jesus’ resurrection, the long nights just before Christmas, & the struggle with darkness & grief faced by those living with loss


72 – Deathday of Thomas the Apostle, called Didymus which means “the twin” one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ, according to the New Testament. He is informally called doubting Thomas because he doubted Jesus’ resurrection when first told (in the Gospel of John account), followed later by his confession of faith, “My Lord and my God“, on seeing Jesus’ wounds.

Traditional legend written centuries later claim he travelled outside the Roman Empire to preach the Gospel, travelling as far as Tamil Nadu & Kerala in present-day India. According to tradition, he baptized many people, founding what today is known as Saint Thomas Christians or Nasranis. After his death, the relics of Saint Thomas the Apostle were enshrined as far as Mesopotamia in the 3rd century. In 1258, some of the relics were brought to Abruzzo in Ortona, Italy, where they have been held in the Church of Saint Thomas the Apostle. He is often regarded as the Patron Saint of India, & the name Thoma remains quite popular among Christians in India

1804 – Birthday of Benjamin Disraeli, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

1907 – The Chilean Army commits a massacre of at least 2,000 striking saltpeter miners in Iquique, Chile.

1910 – An underground explosion at the Hulton Bank Colliery No. 3 Pit in Over Hulton, Westhoughton, England, kills 344 miners.

1913 – Arthur Wynne’s “word-cross“, the first crossword puzzle, is published

1919 – American anarchist Emma Goldman is deported to Russia

1940 – Deathday of F. Scott Fitzgerald, American novelist & short story writer

1945 – Deathday of George S. Patton, American general

1946 – An 8.1 Mw earthquake & subsequent tsunami in Nankaidō, Japan, kills over 1,300 people & destroys over 38,000 homes

1963 –”Bloody Christmas” begins in Cyprus, resulting in the displacement of 25,000-30,000 Turkish Cypriots & destruction of more than 100 villages

1967 – Louis Washkansky, the first man to undergo a heart transplantdies in Cape Town, South Africa, having lived for 18 days after the transplant

1968 –Apollo 8 is launched placing its crew on a lunar trajectory for the first visit to another celestial body by humans

1973 – The Geneva Conference on the Arab–Israeli conflict opens

1988 – A bomb explodes on board Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 270

1992 – A Dutch DC-10, flight Martinair MP 495, crashes at Faro Airport, killing 156

1994 – Mexican volcano Popocatépetl, dormant for 47 years, erupts

2004 – Iraq War: A suicide bomber killed 22 at the base next to the main U.S. military airfield, the single deadliest suicide attack on American soldiers


Baron Arild Rosenkrantz.















Entering into the Longest Night
Entering into the Birth of Light
Consecrating the expected Nativity
Of a New Solar Year
In Yule-Tide Exultation
In the light of Transformation…

The battle between old & new – Dark & Light…The winter solstice is the dark before the dawn, a time of renewal, giving us the most primordial myths of humankind: In Old Norse mythology, the Sun goddess was swallowed up by the wolf of darkness, but was reborn as her daughter, the maiden goddess of the underworld, who rose again to illumine the world. In Greece & Rome, midwinter marked the birth of gods, such as Mithras & Dionysus, who died & journeyed into the underworld, winning gifts for humankind before their miraculous rebirth. We must honor the dark before calling in the light.

The esoteric meaning of this time of year can be gleaned from the ancient mystery schools. In the Hellenistic world, initiates into the Mysteries of Isis had to undergo a ceremony of death & rebirth in which they entered the underworld to gaze upon the “sun at midnight.” This ceremony, which had its origins in ancient Egypt, speaks of the journey of the soul into the fecund depths of the subconscious mind, where we meet the Guardian at the gate, which opens to the dark sea of spirit from which all creation comes forth, purified & born anew.

To this day people gather at sacred sites as far apart as Newgrange in Ireland & the temple of Karnak in Egypt, to celebrate the miracle of the sun’s return at the darkest time of the year – In the pitch-black sanctuaries of caves & earth chambers, to wait for the birth of new light & life.

Of course when we strive to walk the modern path of initiation, working the 6 basic exercises every day, we don’t wait for the outward sun to shine, we must labor to give birth to the light within, for ourselves.

At a time when the fate of our planet & all her creatures hangs in the balance, let each of us journey down into the cave of the soul to drink from the secret well of wisdom & find the hidden flame within the dark — then return bearing our own unique gift of Light for the world.

The gift of the light (Gesture: Both hands scoop up light & bring it to your heart)
We thankfully take, But nothing may be, Just alone for our sake.
The more we give light (Hands move outward) The one to the other
It shines & spreads life (Arms move out horizontally, spreading light)
Growing still further, 
Till every spark is set aflame. (Right hand in front of chest shows the proof of a flame.)
Till every heart, Joy shall proclaim. (Eurythmy Ah — arms up, palms upward)

May the cave of your heart be ever bright –

~Hazel Archer Ginsberg

The power of Peace-The Birth of Love-The Light of Wisdom

20 December 2016 – Astro-Weather: TONIGHT is the eve of the Winter Solstice.

Mars stands out in the southeastern sky before dawn this week. The Red Planet rises before the Sun & appears as twilight starts to paint the sky. It currently resides among the background stars of eastern Virgo, though it will cross into neighboring Libra later this week.

You are remembered, Carl Sagan (November 9, 1934 – December 20, 1996)


Rudolf Steiner’s Lectures on this day 


Those who work with the Original indications in the Calendar of the Soul know that Rudolf Steiner lists the birth & death days, as well as other significant occurrences in history & of various individualities, along with the dates in the calendar.  He said of this: “What is presented here can be useful to those who wish to follow the path of mankind’s spiritual development” ~Rudolf Steiner

O Clavis David (Samuel anointing David):
O Clavis David, et sceptrum domus Israel;
qui aperis, et nemo claudit;
claudis, et nemo aperit:
veni, et educ vinctum de domo carceris,
sedentem in tenebris, et umbra mortis.

O Key of David and sceptre of the House of Israel;
you open and no one can shut;
you shut and no one can open:
Come and lead the prisoners from the prison house,
those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.

Isaiah had prophesied: “I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David; he shall open, and no one shall shut; he shall shut, and no one shall open.” Isaiah 22:22

His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onwards and for evermore.” Isaiah 9:7

“…To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.“Isaiah 42:7.

69 – Vespasian, formerly a general under Nero, enters Rome to claim the title of Emperor. While Vespasian besieged Jerusalem during the Jewish rebellion, emperor Nero committed suicide & plunged Rome into a year of civil war known as the Year of the Four Emperors. Rudolf Steiner speaks about Vespasian & Nero in Mysteries of the Sun and of the Threefold Man (you will find quite a lot about Nero in Steiner’s Karmic Relationships lectures)

1192 – Richard I of England (Richard the Lionheart) is captured & imprisoned by Leopold V of Austria on his way home to England after the Third Crusade

1522 – Suleiman the Magnificent accepts the surrender of the surviving Knights of Rhodes, who are allowed to evacuate. They eventually settle on Malta & become known as the Knights of Malta.

1552 – Deathday of Katharina von Bora the wife of Martin Luther

1699 – Czar Peter I introduced a new calendar in Russia based on the birth of Christ

1916 –The battle of Verdun in WW1 results in a French victory after more than 9 months of intense fighting

1917 – Cheka, the first Soviet secret police force, is founded

1924 – Adolf Hitler is released from Landsberg Prison

1951 – The EBR-1 in Arco, Idaho becomes the first nuclear power plant to generate electricity. The electricity powered four light bulbs

1971 – The international aid organization Doctors Without Borders is founded by Bernard Kouchner & a group of journalists in Paris, France

1987 – In the worst peacetime sea disaster, the passenger ferry Doña Paz sinks after colliding with the oil tanker Vector in the Tablas Strait in the Philippines, killing an estimated 4,000 people

1995 – American Airlines Flight 965, a Boeing 757, crashes into a mountain in Colombia killing 259

International Human Solidarity Day


POD (Poem Of the Day)

The power of Peace-The Birth of Love-The Light of Wisdom

Energizing Hope for the Sun’s return & the Earth’s renewal 
We make a ‘spiritual manger’ – a sacred space – 
In the cold black frozen places, 
That seem devoid of life, but they are really just a sterilized palate –
A clean slate, fresh & ready 
For the newly conceived light to be born into & fill


Kirsty Mitchell

When all seems dead & barren on the earth, below the surface the inner life is strengthened. Under the ice-covered exterior, a rich black loom embraces the kernel of our rebirth. And if we can let go of the false hustle & bustle imposed from without, & sit in the stillness of the dark, we will find that inner strength to let go of our fear of the dark, to let our eyes adjust to the dark, & soon we will see quite clearly in the dark, & then we can begin the work of re-patterning…

The hag has gone to seed & become bone…a fresh soul-frame for the new year.

Let us stand in uprightness at the door & dare to open the portal to face the abyss – To release ourselves, in consciousness, from the outer world for a sacred moment, that we may invoke our own immaculate conception – That we may surrender to the ‘Waking Dreaming’ – To celebrate the dark, where the inner life is honored & nurtured by the many Marys within…

Let the Power of faith lead us from the darkness into the birth of our own unique inner light…

The Darkness is coming…
But never fear…
The darkness is coming…
But the light is near…
The darkness is coming…
The darkness is here

Together we can meet it with hope & peace

~Hazel Archer Ginsberg 


Ludwig Emil Grimm

The Story of Being Human – Holy Nights 2017-2018 

at the Rudolf Steiner Branch of the Anthroposophical Society, 4249 N. Lincoln Ave. Chicago. All gatherings are Pay-What-You-Will, no one turned away for lack of funds.

$10 Suggested Donation & Snacks to Share Encouraged (your generous donation goes to support the artists, buys supplies & if there is any left over, it goes into the Branch ‘Furnace Fund’ to help get a new heating & cooling system)

Tuesday 26 December 2017, at 7 pm – The Dream Song of Olaf Asteson. with Mary Tom & Debbie Barford on Lyre

“Olaf Åsteson, Olaf the son of earth, experiences various secrets of the cosmic All whilst he is transported into the macrocosm during the thirteen shortest days. And the Nordic legend which has been extricated from old accounts, tells of these experiences Olaf Asteson had between Christmas and New Year up till Epiphany… Let us hear the legend of Olaf Asteson, the earth son, who during the time in which we are now, experienced the secrets of cosmic existence in his meeting with the earth spirit. Let us listen to these experiences.”


Catherine Molland

27-30 December 2017 – at 7pm

The Story of Being Human: Fairy-Tales for adults – a Journey thru the Holy Nights

The Fairy-tale leads us to our true humanity, where great kingdoms preside within, filled with ancient forests, remote castles, giants, witches, lovers, dreams & visions of Star Beings & the Earth Herself.

Shepherded by Joen Dealande & a series of guest artists, we will use Drama, Eurythmy, Painting, Needle-Felting, & Sculpting, to live into the gesture of our Human karma & Destiny.

Heinrich Vogeler

Wednesday, 27 December at 7 pm – Grimm’s Fairy Tale ‘Star Money’ – Guest Artist: Deborah Rogers, Needle Felting.

Thursday, Friday & Saturday 28-30 December 2017 at 7pm – Grimm’s The Queen Bee. Guest Artist: Nancy Melvin Bees Wax sculpting


 NYE Sunday December 31st (The 13th Hidden Holy Night) 8pm – 1am

Our annual Family Friendly Community Gathering with music by Jutta & the High Dukes, Games with Kris & Alex Boshell, Interactive Speech Formation with Joen Dealande, Lead Casting, Crafting, Singing & more TBA

$20 – ($10 goes to the band & $10 goes to the Branch ‘Furnace Fund’)


NO gathering 1 January 2018


Image result for the enchanted pig iron shoes

2 – 4 January 2018 at 7pm – The Fairy-Tale Trail Continues with The Romanian Tale – The Girl with the Iron Shoes (also called The Enchanted Pig) Guest Artists: Singing with Elisabeth Swisher & Painting with Nancy Melvin


Friday January 5th Eve of Epiphany (3 Kings) 7pm – 9 pm  – A special 12th Night Gathering, The Foundation Stone Meditation: Eurythmy & Speech with Mary Ruud & Joen Dealande…

For more info. Contact Festivals Coordinator: Hazel Archer-Ginsberg

Rudolf Steiner Branch of The Anthroposophical Society, 4249 North Lincoln Avenue. Chicago, IL 60618 (map) Check out our Web site! Chicago, IL (Anthroposophical Society in America)


SAVE THE DATE:  Lazure Workshop with Nancy Melvin – January 20-21 9am-5pm 

 $100 for the weekend (1/2 the proceeds go toward the ‘Furnace Fund’ for the Branch)

 Learn the secrets of the Lazure painting method from an expert, while helping to beautify the Elderberries 3-Fold Cafe!

 for more info. Contact Nancy Melvin




Like a satellite streaking

19 December 2017 – Astro-Weather: The five brightest stars of Cassiopeia are usually called a W. At dusk the W stands nearly on end very high in the northeast. It soon turns over to become a flattened M even higher in the north.

Although Uranus reached opposition exactly two months ago, it remains a commanding presence. The outer planet climbs highest in the south around 7:30 pm CST when it appears two-thirds of the way to the zenith, in southeastern Pisces, just west of the star Omicron Piscium.


Odilon Redon


Rudolf Steiner’s Lectures on this day 


Looking at the past to see the present, co-creating the future: “History, historical life, will only be seen in the right light when a true consciousness of the connection of the so-called living with the so-called dead can be developed” ~Rudolf Steiner – The Living and the Dead

Abraham and the Three Angels, c. 1630s – early 1640s

According to Rudolf Steiner’s spiritual research in the original Calendar of the Soul today is the Birthday of Abraham interestingly regarded as the father of the faithful by all 3 monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity, & Islam

Abraham and Lot by Wenceslaus Hollar

Birthday of Lot, nephew of Abraham

Also celebrated today: O Radix Jesse

O Radix Jesse, qui stas in signum populorum,
super quem continebunt reges os suum,
quem Gentes deprecabuntur:
veni ad liberandum nos, jam noli tardare.

O Root of Jesse, standing as a sign among the peoples;
before you kings will shut their mouths,
to you the nations will make their prayer:
Come and deliver us, and delay no longer.

Isaiah had prophesied: “A shoot shall come out from the stock of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.” Isaiah 11:1 “On that day the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples; the nations shall inquire of him, and his dwelling shall be glorious.” Isaiah 11:10 Jesse was the father of King David, & Micah had prophesied that the Messiah would be of the house and lineage of David & be born in David’s city, Bethlehem (Micah 5:2). see Also: Isaiah 45:14, Isaiah 52:15 & Romans 15:12

150 – Deathday of Clement of Alexandria. His parents were educated pagans, having rejected paganism as a young man due to its perceived moral corruption, he travelled in Greece, Asia Minor, Palestine & Egypt. In his Protrepticus he displays an extensive knowledge of Greek mythology & mystery religions, which could only have arisen from the practice of his family’s religion. In Greece, he encountered the Ionian theologian, Athenagoras of Athens; while in the east, he was taught by the Assyrian, Tatian, & a Jew, Theophilus of Caesarea. In around 180, Clement reached Alexandria, where he met Pantaenus, who taught at the Catechetical School of Alexandria. Clement studied under Pantaenus, & was ordained to the priesthood by Pope Julian before 189.

As his three major works demonstrate, Clement was influenced by Hellenistic philosophy to a greater extent than any other Christian thinker of his time, & in particular by Plato & the Stoics. His secret works, which exist only in fragments, suggest that he was also familiar with pre-Christian Jewish esotericism & Gnosticism. In one of his works he argued that Greek philosophy had its origin among non-Greeks, claiming that both Plato & Pythagoras were taught by Egyptian scholars. Among his pupils were Origen & Alexander of Jerusalem. Clement is regarded as a Church Father & is venerated as a saint in Coptic Christianity, Ethiopian Christianity & Anglicanism

1776 – Thomas Paine publishes a series of pamphlets in The Pennsylvania Journal entitled “The American Crisis“. The first was released during a time when the Revolution was still viewed as an unsteady prospect. The opening lines are as follows: “These are the times that try men’s souls: The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman”.

The pamphlet, read aloud to the Continental Army on December 23, 1776, three days before the Battle of Trenton, attempted to bolster morale as well as shame neutrals & loyalists toward the cause: “Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph”.

Along with the patriotic nature of The American Crisis, it displayed Paine’s strong deist beliefs, inciting the laity with suggestions that the British are trying to assume powers that only God should have. Paine states that he believes God supports the American people, “that God Almighty will not give up a people to military destruction, or leave them unsupportedly to perish, who have so earnestly and so repeatedly sought to avoid the calamities of war, by every decent method which wisdom could invent“.

Paine believes that Britain is essentially trying to enslave America. See The American Crisis – Common Sense pamphlet – The Age of Reason

1848 – Deathday of Emily Brontë, English novelist & poet

1907 – 239 coal miners die in the Darr Mine Disaster in Jacobs Creek, Pennsylvania

1915 – Birthday of Édith Piaf, French singer-songwriter & actress

1927 – Three Indian revolutionaries, Ram Prasad Bismil, Roshan Singh & Ashfaqulla Khan are executed by the British Empire

1932 – BBC World Service begins broadcasting as the BBC Empire Service

1941 –Adolf Hitler appoints himself as head of the Oberkommando des Heeres

1972 –The last manned lunar flight, Apollo 17, crewed by Eugene Cernan, Ronald Evans, & Harrison Schmitt, returns to Earth

1974 – Nelson Rockefeller is sworn in as Vice President of the United States under President Gerald Ford under the provisions of the 25th Amendment to the United States Constitution

2012 – Park Geun-hye is elected the first female president of South Korea


Clavis Artis

POD (Poem Of the Day)

~I have come
To this dark world
Like a satellite streaking —
I am the open eye gleaming —
A laser, sculpting, reality
With precise rays of promise
Sparking eternity —
Come Beloved, bring forth your art
& let us co-create the heart…


Liba WS

We swiftly sidle toward the midnight hour of the year. All of Creation is holding its breath at this deep time, anticipating the birth, within each human heart, of wonder, & a willingness to cooperate in a living way with everything & everyone.

May we kindle the warm glow of good will to transform our emotional default setting to one of peace & kindness. Each moment awaits our imaginative dedication.

So let’s toss all that is neither beautiful nor useful into the roiling cauldron of re-birth, that Time is so kindly providing us. Let us compost all past-patterns of self-sabotage, personal & collective. And let us humbly bow at the threshold of this New Year, to release & redeem all that we do not wish to take with us through the new door of Epiphany (20 KMB 18).

Remorse is said to be the highest of the negative states – that sinking feeling that can grip us when we fall for the compelling illusion of separateness, & forgot that we are all in one large, pulsing, shape-shifting-according-to-collaborative-intent-reality-dream. How will your thoughts add to this picture?

The Sufi say: “Estafirahlah”  “forgiveness of self and others.” And part of what “to forgive” means is “to give energy for change.”

The protoplasm of reality is particularly susceptible to imprint now, by the power of word, story & metaphor – Allowing ourselves one true hyperbole: Never before has the power of human story-telling been so essential in determining what dies & what lives.

Let us dedicate ourselves to animating a truly desirable story –  A love story.

We are here to re-dedicate ourselves to the responsibility of manifesting the highest qualities of the human being.

So, wherever we are, at this time of the Solstice, let us visualize & dedicate our unique & absolutely necessary Medicine, into the collective cauldron, to ladle ourselves up a big heaping cup of All-Heal.

‘The Medicine that makes whole’, brings into bubbling accord the elixir of Divine, Dynamic, Reverent, Integrity & Ingenuity.

See you there

Xox ~Hazel Archer Ginsberg


The Story of Being Human – Holy Nights 2017-2018

at the Rudolf Steiner Branch of the Anthroposophical Society, & Elderberries Chicago. All gatherings are Pay-What-You-Will, no one turned away for lack of funds $10 Suggested Donation & Snacks to Share Encouraged

Tuesday 26 December 2017, at 7 pm – The Dream Song of Olaf Asteson with Mary Tom & Debbie Barford on Lyre

“Olaf Åsteson, Olaf the son of earth, experiences various secrets of the cosmic All whilst he is transported into the macrocosm during the thirteen shortest days. And the Nordic legend which has been extricated from old accounts, tells of these experiences Olaf Asteson had between Christmas and New Year up till Epiphany… Let us hear the legend of Olaf Asteson, the earth son, who during the time in which we are now, experienced the secrets of cosmic existence in his meeting with the earth spirit. Let us listen to these experiences.”


27-30 December 2017 – at 7pm – The Story of Being Human: Fairy-Tales for adults – a Journey thru the Holy Nights

The Fairy-tale leads us to our true humanity, where great kingdoms preside within, filled with ancient forests, remote castles, giants, witches, lovers, dreams & visions of Star Beings & the Earth Herself.

Shepherded by Joen Dealande & a series of guest artists, we will use Drama, Eurythmy, Painting, Needle-Felting, & Sculpting, to live into the gesture of our Human karma & Destiny.

Wednesday, 27 December at 7 pm – Grimm’s Fairy Tale ‘Star Money’ – Guest Artist: Deborah Rogers, Needle Felting.

Thursday, Friday & Saturday 28-30 December 2017 at 7pm – Grimm’s The Queen Bee. Guest Artist: Nancy Melvin Bees Wax sculpting


 NYE Sunday December 31st (The 13th Hidden Holy Night)

8pm – 1am

Our annual Family Friendly Community Gathering with music by Jutta & the High Dukes, Games with Kris & Alex Boshell, Interactive Speech Formation with Joen Dealande, Lead Casting, Crafting, Singing & more TBA

 $20 – ($10 goes to the band & $10 goes to the Branch ‘Furnace Fund’)

This is the eve of the Full Wolf Moon which happens to be a Super Moon


NO gathering 1 January 2018


2 – 4 January 2018 at 7pm – The Fairy-Tale Trail Continues

with The Romanian Tale – The Enchanted Pig. Guest Artists: Singing with Elisabeth Swisher & Painting with Nancy Melvin


Friday January 5th Eve of Epiphany (3 Kings) 7pm – 9 pm  

A special 12th Night Gathering, The Foundation Stone Meditation: Eurythmy & Speech with Mary Ruud & Joen Dealande…

For more info. Contact Festivals Coordinator: Hazel Archer-Ginsberg


Rudolf Steiner Branch of The Anthroposophical Society, 4249 North Lincoln Avenue. Chicago, IL 60618 (map) Check out our Web site! Chicago, IL (Anthroposophical Society in America)



 Lazure Workshop with Nancy Melvin – 

January 20-21 9am-5pm 

 $100 for the weekend

(1/2 the proceeds go toward the ‘Furnace Fund’ for the Branch)

 Learn the secrets of the Lazure painting method from an expert, while helping to beautify the Elderberries 3-Fold Cafe!

 for more info. Contact Nancy Melvin



13 December 2016 – Astro-Weather: The Geminid meteor shower should be at its peak late tonight, & there’s no Moon to interfere. Bundle up, bring a reclining lawn chair to a dark spot with no glary lights & an open view of the sky. Lie back, gaze into the stars, & be patient. Under a dark sky you might see a meteor at least once a minute on average. Light pollution cuts down on the numbers.

You’ll see the most meteors from about 10 pm, but any that you may see early in the evening, when the shower’s radiant in Gemini is still low, will be long, dramatic “Earth-grazers” skimming into the upper atmosphere at a shallow angle.

For all you all nighters or the early risers: In the early dawn of Thursday December 14th, Jupiter shines below the thin waning crescent Moon.  A nice sign-off for an early-morning Geminid watch!


Rudolf Steiner’s Lectures on this day 


The Feast of Santa Lucia

2nd Night of Chanukah

662- Feast Day of Saint Odilia, patron saint of good eyesight, & of Alsace.

By tradition she was born blind. Her father did not want her because she was a girl & handicapped, so her mother had her brought to Palma where she was raised by peasants there. A tenth-century legend relates that when she was twelve, Odile was taken into a nearby monastery. While there, the itinerant bishop Saint Erhard of Regensburg was led, by an angel, to Palma where he baptized her Odile (Sol Dei), whereupon she miraculously recovered her sight. Her younger brother Hughes had her brought home again, which enraged her father so much that he accidentally killed his son. Odile miraculously revived him, & left home again.

She fled across the Rhine to a cave near Freiburg Germany. It is said the cliff face opened up in order to rescue her from her plight. In the cave, she hid from her father. When he tried to follow her, he was injured by falling rocks & gave up.

When her father fell ill, Odile returned to nurse him. He finally gave up resisting his headstrong daughter & founded the Augustine monastic community of Mont Ste. Odile in the Hochwald, Bas-Rhin, where Odile became abbess.

Some years later Odile was shown the site of Niedermünster at the foot of the mountain by St. John the Baptist in a vision. There she founded a second monastery, including a hospital. The local well is still said to cure eye diseases.

St. Odile died about 720 at the convent of Niedermünster. At the insistent prayers of her sisters she was returned to life, but after describing the beauties of the afterlife to them, she took communion by herself & died again.

1204 – Deathday of Maimonides, a medieval Sephardic Jewish philosopher who became one of the most prolific & influential Torah scholars of the Middle Ages. In his time, he was also a preeminent astronomer and physician. Born in Cordova, (present-day Spain) on Passover Eve he worked as a rabbi, physician, & philosopher in Morocco & Egypt.

During his lifetime, most Jews greeted Maimonides’ writings on Jewish law & ethics with acclaim & gratitude, even as far away as Iraq & Yemen, his copious work comprises a cornerstone of Jewish scholarship. He is sometimes known as “ha Nesher ha Gadol” (the great eagle) in recognition of his outstanding status as a bona fide exponent of the Oral Torah.

Aside from being revered by Jewish historians, Maimonides also figures very prominently in the history of Islamic & Arab sciences. Influenced by Al-Farabi, Avicenna, & his contemporary Averroes .He in his turn influenced other prominent Arab & Muslim philosophers and scientists. He became a prominent philosopher & polymath in both the Jewish & Islamic worlds.

Maimonides exerted an important influence on the Scholastic philosophers, especially on Albert the Great, Thomas Aquinas & Duns Scotus. He was a Jewish Scholastic. Educated by reading the works of Arab Muslim philosophers , he acquired an intimate acquaintance not only with Arab Muslim philosophy, but with the doctrines of Aristotle. Maimonides strove to reconcile Aristotelian philosophy & science with the teachings of the Torah.

1294 – Saint Celestine V resigns the papacy after only five months to return to his previous life as an ascetic hermit. He was elected pope in the Catholic Church’s last non-conclave papal election, ending a two-year impasse. Among the only edicts of his to remain in force was the confirmation of the right of the pope to abdicate; nearly all of his other official acts were annulled by his successor, Boniface VIII. On 13 December 1294, a week after issuing the decree, Celestine resigned, stating his desire to return to his humble, pre-papal life. He was subsequently imprisoned by Boniface in the castle of Fumone in the Campagna region, in order to prevent his potential installation as antipope. He died in prison at the age of 81. Celestine was canonized by Pope Clement V. No subsequent pope has taken the name Celestine

Madonna of the Clouds

1466 – Deathday of Donatello, Italian painter & sculptor

1476 – Birthday of St. Lucy Brocadelli, mystic & stigmatic. Lucy was born in 1476 on the feast day of St. Lucia, the eldest of eleven children in the town of Narni (then called Narnia) in the region of Umbria. When she was only five years old, she had a vision of the Virgin Mary. Two years later, she had another vision, this time of the Virgin Mary accompanied by Saint Dominic. Dominic is said to have given her his scapular at this time. When she was twelve years old, Lucy made a private vow of chastity, & she determined to become a Dominican nun.

Her uncle tried to get her to marry Count Pietro di Alessio of Milan, an acquaintance of the family. Lucy was actually quite fond of him, but felt that her earlier vow of perpetual virginity made the marriage impossible. The strain Lucy felt as a result of the conflicting feelings made her seriously ill. During this time, the Virgin Mary & Saint Dominic again appeared to her, this time accompanied by St. Catherine of Siena. They reportedly advised Lucy to contract a legal marriage to Pietro, but to explain that her vow of virginity would have to be respected & not violated. Pietro agreed to the terms, & the marriage was formalized.

Lucy performed austere penances, which included regularly wearing a hair shirt under her garments & spending most of the night in prayer as well as helping the poor. The servants told her husband that Lucy was often visited in the evenings by Saint Catherine, Saint Agnes, & Saint Agnes of Montepulciano, who helped her make bread for the poor.

However, when one of the servants came up to him one day & told him that Lucy was privately entertaining a handsome young man she appeared to be quite familiar with. He took up his sword & went to see who this person was. When he arrived, he found Lucy contemplating a large crucifix. The servant told him that the man he had seen Lucy with looked like the figure on the crucifix.

Later Lucy left one night for a local Franciscan friary, only to find it closed. She returned home the following morning, stating that she had been led back by two saints. That was enough for Pietro. He had her locked away for the bulk of one Lenten season. She was visited only by servants who brought her food. When Easter arrived, however, she managed to escape from Pietro back to her mother’s house &, on 8 May 1494, became a Dominican tertiary. Pietro expressed his disapproval of this in a rather dramatic form—by burning down the monastery of the prior who had given her the habit of the Order.

The next year she was sent to Viterbo to establish a new convent & here she found she was frequently the object of unwanted attention, as she was reported to have received the stigmata. Lucy did her best to hide these marks, & was frequently in spiritual ecstasy. T

The local Prior Provincial of the Dominican Order would not permit any member of the Order to see her. There are records that at least one Dominican, Catherine of Racconigi, did visit her, evidently by bilocation, & that Lucy’s earlier visitations by departed saints continued. This punishment was to last her entire life. When she died her body was laid out for burial & so many people wanted to pay their last respects that her funeral had to be delayed by three days. Her tomb in the convent church was opened four years later & her perfectly preserved body was transferred to a glass case.

When the French Revolutionary Army suppressed the convent in 1797, her body was transferred to the Cathedral of Ferrara, & then in 1935 to the former Cathedral of Narnia. Lucy was beatified by Pope Clement XI on 1 March 1710.

1545 – Council of Trent begins, one of the Catholic Church’s most important ecumenical councils. Prompted by the Protestant Reformation, it has been described as the embodiment of the Counter-Reformation. Four hundred years later, when Pope John XXIII initiated preparations for the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II), he affirmed the decrees it had issued: “What was, still is.”

1938 – The Neuengamme concentration camp opens in the Bergedorf district of Hamburg, Germany

1977 – Air Indiana Flight 216 crashes near Evansville Regional Airport, killing 129, including the University of Evansville basketball team

1981 – General Wojciech Jaruzelski declares martial law in Poland, largely due to the actions by Solidarity

1982 – The 6.0 Ms earthquake shakes southwestern Yemen with a maximum Mercalli intensity of VIII (Severe), killing 2,800, & injuring 1,500.

1988 – PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat gives a speech at a UN General Assembly meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, after United States authorities refused to grant him a visa to visit UN headquarters in New York. Arafat engaged in a series of negotiations with the government of Israel to end the decades-long conflict between it & the PLO. These included the Madrid Conference of 1991, the 1993 Oslo Accords & the 2000 Camp David Summit. His political rivals, including Islamists & several PLO leftists, often denounced him for being corrupt or too submissive in his concessions to the Israeli government. In 1994 Arafat received the Nobel Peace Prize, together with Yitzhak Rabin & Shimon Peres, for the negotiations at Oslo. During this time, Hamas & other militant organizations rose to power & shook the foundations of the authority that Fatah under Arafat had established in the Palestinian territories. In late 2004, after effectively being confined within his Ramallah compound for over two years by the Israeli army, Arafat became ill, fell into a coma & died on 11 November 2004 at the age of 75, the cause of Arafat’s death has remained the subject of speculation. Arafat remains a controversial figure. The majority of the Palestinian people view him as a heroic freedom fighter & martyr who symbolized the national aspirations of his people, while most Americans & Israelis came to regard him as an unrepentant terrorist


POD (Poem Of the Day)

~I strive:
To comprehend Holy Wisdom
To understand knowledge
To inquire, to ponder, to render it evident
& lead the Creatrix back to Her Throne


Domenico di Pace Beccafumi

What do Norse Vikings, Swedish farmers, an Italian peasant girl, & an English Bishop have in common? Well since today is the feast of St. Lucia you have a clue. The interesting story is in who & the why. Let’s start with the Norse Vikings. According to the old Julian calendar, December 13 was the darkest day. In modern times with our Gregorian calendar, we know this to be the Winter Solstice, usually falling on December 21st or 22nd; the shortest day & the longest night for those of us, like the Vikings, in the Northern Hemisphere. This darkest day was not a day to be out on a boat, better to be inside, possibly burning a log to keep warm -a tradition that would later become part of the winter festival – the burning of the Yule Log. But in those days, December 13 was the time of year when the ancient pagan Scandinavian farmers offered sacrifices for good crops for the coming summer. These sacrifices would usually involve building a ceremonial fire to light the night.

Elisabet Megner

The name Lucia comes from Lux which means light. An old legend from Sweden, names Lucia as the bride of light. The story says that on December 13, Lucia will appear riding in a lusse-cart, similar to a chariot, & if the cart breaks down, you will get lice in your hair. On Lucia night, the threshing of grain must be finished to insure a bountiful crop the next year, the horses should have on winter shoes, & all new-born babies should be baptized before Lucia night or the trolls would come & whisk them away forever.

Another old legend tells of Lucia being seen in the Swedish province of Vermland during a great famine. Lucia, robed in white came across the Lake in a large ship. She commanded the ship to dock at different places & distributed food to the starving people. The people who lived in Vermland claimed Lucia was the queen of supernatural beings & was a worker of miracles.

St. Mark’s Basilica,  Venice, Chiesa d’Oro

To understand why we celebrate St. Lucia Day today, we need to look at the actual person. An English bishop from the Seventh Century, St. Aldhelm, gave us the story of St. Lucia as we know it today. Lucia was born in Syracuse, Sicily in Italy. Her mother, a widow, raised her in the Christian faith. Lucia made a vow to God never to marry & to devote her life to serving Christ & the poor. There was a young man who wanted to marry Lucia. But Lucia told her mother the secret vow & asked for her inheritance which would have been her dowry. Lucia used her inheritance to help the poor & needy. The story tells of Lucia bringing food to the Christians hiding in the caves. In order to bring with her as many supplies as possible, she needed to have both hands free. She solved this problem by attaching candles to a wreath on her head. Meanwhile, the rejected young man accused her of aiding & abetting the Christians. Lucia was brought before the Court & was asked to renounce her faith in Christ, but she refused. The court condemned her to die a martyr’s death. Later the Church declared Lucia a saint of the Church & patron saint of the blind, as she had brought so much light to the world & it is believed her eyes were plucked out during her persecution.

‘Crown of Light’ by Sulamith Wulfing

The story of St. Lucia resonated particularly in Scandinavia where it became mingled with those earlier Norse legends. Today it is one of the very few saint days observed in Scandinavia. Put the two together, the religious & the folklore, & you create a warm & joyous day dedicated to the finding of light in the darkness.

St. Lucia’s feast Day is a preparation for Christmas in the same sense as Advent is. The life of St. Lucia directs us to Christ – the Light of the World. It is a reminder of her sacrificial giving to the poor. A St. Lucia celebration stresses the importance of the coming of light – light as warmth, light as promise, light as hope, light as life & light shining in the darkness. – The Light of Christ shining in our dark world. Today we celebrate that light just as the Norse Vikings, Swedish farmers, an Italian peasant girl, & an English Bishop all did.

This celebration begins before dawn, with the oldest girl in the family rising to make saffron buns & Coffee for her parents. She wears white, with a red sash & a wreath of candles on her head.  Other girls in the family are dressed in white as attendants & the boys are dressed as “star boys” with pointy star hats. In the pedagogy of the Waldorf schools, the 2nd grade studies the Saints, so they take up this festival. The youngest in the class wears the candle crown & the class processes thru the hallways singing:

Santa Lucia, Thy light is glowing
All through the darkest night, comfort bestowing
Dreams float on wings of night,
Comes then the morning light
Santa Lucia, Santa Lucia

Through silent winter gloom, Thy song comes winging to
Waken the Earth anew, Glad carols bringing,
Come thou, oh queeen of Night,
Wearing thy crown so bright,
Santa Lucia, Santa Lucia

Santa Lucia, Christmas foretelling,
Fill hearts with hope and cheer, Dark fear dispelling,
Bring to the world’s call,
Peace and goodwill to all,
Santa Lucia, Santa Lucia

Saint Lucia led to the martyrdom by Luca Giordano (1634-1705, Italy)


Santa Lucia was born around the year 300 A.D. to a wealthy Sicilian family. Although her father died when she was a baby, he left plenty of money for Lucia & her mother to be cared for. As she grew Lucia learned of The Christ & was raised in the Christian faith. She made a secret vow never to marry but instead to spend her life serving the poor. Her mother was unaware of this vow, & pressed her to marry a man who was pagan. Although she resisted, Lucia became engaged to this man.

Around that time, her mother suffered from unexplained bleeding, & Lucia persuaded her to go to the tomb of St. Agatha to pray. Miraculously, her mother was healed. After this, Lucia told her mother of her vow never to marry, & persuaded her that in gratitude to God they should give away their wealth to the poor of the city. So, by candlelight, the mother & daughter went about the city secretly ministering to the poor. Some even said she would bring food to the poor people living in caves, & that because she needed both hands to carry the food, she strapped candles to her head.

As a result of her vow, the young man she had been engaged to was furious. Not only did he lose the opportunity of having the beautiful Lucia as his wife, he also missed out on the great amount of money that would have been her dowry that he would have received in the event of their marriage. He went to the governor & accused her of both being a Christian, & aiding other Christians. At that time, it was illegal to be a Christian. Lucia was called before a judge & given the chance to renounce her faith, but she refused.

The judge ordered her to be taken away & executed, but the soldiers who came to drag her away could not budge her. Instead, they put wood around her & laid a fire beneath her, but the fire would not light. Finally, the judge called forth one of the soldiers & told him to kill her with his sword, which he did.

Many years later, Sweden was in the grip of a terrible famine. At the height of that dark, icy winter, hunger & suffering were at their worst. People were reduced to grinding tree bark to bake into bitter bread. But on the long night of Santa Lucia Day a brilliantly lit ship came sailing across the stormy waters of Lake Vannern. At the helm stood a beautiful young woman dressed all in white, with a face so radiant that there was a glow of light all about her head. As the vessel touched shore, great quantities of food & clothing appeared with her for the starving. When asked her name, she simply replied “Lucia”. When all were fed & cared for, the vessel disappeared as quickly as it had come. To this day, the people of Sweden celebrate the remembrance of Lucia, & how she came to save the people of their country.


The emblem of eyes on a cup or plate recalls her torture & suffering & reflects popular devotion to her as protector of the light which brings sight. In paintings St. Lucy is frequently shown in Gothic art holding her eyes on a golden plate. She also holds the palm branch, symbol of victory over evil.

In Scandinavia (as late as until the mid 18th century) this date was the longest night of the year, coinciding with Winter Solstice, this was due to the Julian Calendar being employed at that time. This can be seen in the poem “A Nocturnal upon S. Lucy’s Day, Being the Shortest Day” by the English poet John Donne.

Falling within the Advent season, Saint Lucy’s Day is viewed as an event signaling the arrival of Christmastide, pointing to the birth of the Light on Christmas Day. It is said that to vividly celebrate Saint Lucy’s Day will help one live the long winter days with enough light.

St. Lucy is the patron saint of the city of Syracuse (Sicily). On 13 December a silver statue of St. Lucy containing her relics is paraded through the streets before returning to the Cathedral. Here, it is traditional to eat whole grains instead of bread on 13 December. This usually takes the form of cuccia, a dish of boiled wheat berries often mixed with ricotta & honey, or sometimes served as a savory soup with beans.

St. Lucy is also popular among children in some regions of North-Eastern Italy, where she is said to bring gifts to good children & coal to bad ones the night between 12 & 13 December. According to tradition, she arrives in the company of a donkey & her escort, Castaldo. Children are asked to leave some coffee for Lucia, a carrot for the donkey & a glass of wine for Castaldo. They must not watch Santa Lucia delivering these gifts, or she will throw ashes in their eyes, temporarily blinding them.

In Hungary & Croatia, a popular tradition on Saint Lucy’s Day involves planting wheat grains that will eventually be several centimeters high on Christmas; this new wheat serves as symbolic of the new life born in Bethlehem, the Nativity, & a candle is sometimes placed near the new plant “as a symbol of the Light of Christ”.

Although St. Lucy’s Day is not an official holiday in Sweden, it is a popular occasion in Sweden. At many universities, students hold big formal dinner parties since this is the last chance to celebrate together before most students go home to their families for Christmas.

The modern tradition of having public processions in the Swedish cities started in 1927 when a newspaper in Stockholm elected an official Lucy for Stockholm that year. Today most cities in Sweden appoint a Lucy every year. Boys take part in the procession, playing different roles associated with Christmas. Some may be dressed in the same kind of white robe, but with a cone-shaped hat decorated with golden stars, called stjärngossar (star boys); some may be dressed up as “tomtenissar” (Santa’s elves), carrying lanterns; & some may be dressed up as gingerbread men. They participate in the singing &also have a song or two of their own, usually Staffan Stalledräng, which tells the story about Saint Stephen, the first Christian martyr, caring for his five horses.

In Denmark, the Day of Lucy (Luciadag) was first celebrated on 13 December 1944, as an attempt “to bring light in a time of darkness, a passive protest against German occupation during the Second World War, but it has been a tradition ever since.

Historically Norwegians considered what they called Lussinatten the longest night of the year & no work was to be done. Between Lussi Night & Yule, trolls & evil spirits, in some accounts also the spirits of the dead, were thought to be active outside. It was believed to be particularly dangerous to be out during Lussi Night. According to tradition, children who had done mischief had to take special care, since Lussi could come down through the chimney & take them away, & certain tasks of work in the preparation for Yule had to be finished, or else the Lussi would come to punish the household. The tradition of Lussevaka – to stay awake through the Lussinatt to guard oneself & the household against evil, has found a modern form through throwing parties until daybreak. Another company of spirits was said to come riding through the night around Yule itself, journeying through the air, over land & water. This might be an echo of the myth of the Wild Hunt, called Oskoreia in Scandinavia, found across Northern, Western &Central Europe. Legend also has it that farm animals talked to each other on Lussinatten, & that they were given additional feed on this longest night of the year.

In Saint Lucia, a tiny island in the Caribbean named after its patron saint, St. Lucy, 13 December is celebrated as National Day. The National Festival of Lights & Renewal is held the night before the holiday. In this celebration, decorative lights (mostly bearing a Christmas theme) are lit in the capital city of Castries; artisans present decorated lanterns for competition; & the official activities end with a fireworks display. In the past, a jour ouvert celebration has continued into the sunrise of 13 December.

Dante also mentions Lucia in Inferno Canto II as the messenger “of all cruelty the foe” sent to Beatrice from “The blessed Dame” (Divine Mercy), to rouse Beatrice to send Virgil to Dante’s aid. She has instructed Virgil to guide Dante through Hell & Purgatory.

Born of darkness comes the sacred light. What would it be like to use this feast day as an opportunity to ‘see’ the growing darkness with eyes of hope, knowing that in the dark womb the light will be reborn, again & yet again.

Xox ~Hazel Archer Ginsberg


Pop Up Christmas Market – Sunday December 17th Noon-9pm
at the Elderberries Three-Fold Chicago – Urban 1st Aid – Art is Medicine space 4251 N. Lincoln Ave. Chicago

Locally Hand-Crafted: Clothing, Art, Jewelry, Soy Candles;
+ Fair-Trade, Face painting, Essential Oils, Supplements, HippocraTeas…

20 per cent of sales goes to help us afford a new heating system !!!

Would you like to be a vender? contact