23 April 2017- Astro-Weather: The waning crescent Moon appears to the right of Venus before dawn. The two approach each other as the morning progresses.
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
”History, if thoroughly comprehended, furnishes something of the experience which a man would acquire who should be a contemporary of all ages, and a fellow-citizen of all peoples.” ~Joseph Roux, Meditations of a Parish Priest
303 – Death day & feast of Saint George, Roman soldier & martyr. One of the ‘14 Holy Helpers’ immortalized in the myth of Saint George & the Dragon. In the legend a dragon or crocodile makes its nest at the spring that provides water for the city of Lydda in the Holy Land. Consequently, the citizens have to dislodge the dragon from its nest to collect water. So, each day they offer the dragon at first a sheep, then a maiden. The victim is chosen by drawing lots. One day, this happens to be the princess. The monarch begs for her life to be spared, but to no avail. She is offered to the dragon, but then Saint George appears on his travels. He faces the dragon, protects himself with the sign of the Cross, slays the dragon, & rescues the princess. The citizens abandon their ancestral paganism & convert to Christianity
1616 – Deathday of William Shakespeare, English poet, playwright, & actor. He is often called England’s national poet, & the “Bard of Avon”. Shakespeare was born & brought up in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire. At the age of 18, he married Anne Hathaway, & they had 3 children: Susanna, & twins Hamnet & Judith.
His extant works consist of 38 plays, 154 sonnets, 2 long narrative poems, & a few other verses. His plays remain highly popular & are constantly studied, performed, & reinterpreted in diverse cultural & political contexts throughout the world- translated into every major living language & are performed more often than those of any other playwright
1869 – Birthday of Ludwig Polzer-Hoditz – was born in Prague (then in the Austro-Hungarian Empire) to an aristocratic family with royal connections. Polzer-Hoditz was one of Rudolf Steiner’s most valued, independently-minded colleagues. Leaving behind his background traditions, he would become a key player in Steiner’s regenerative threefold social impulses, working tirelessly for a genuinely unified, free Europe. He also fought to protect Rudolf Steiner’s esoteric legacy & the integrity of the Anthroposophical Society.
Following Steiner’s untimely death, Polzer-Hoditz fostered a broad range of friendships & alliances with key figures such as D.N. Dunlop, Walter Johannes Stein, & Ita Wegman. In a bid to avoid further division & conflict, he made significant interventions to alter the tragic course of events that consumed the Anthroposophical Society, although he was unable to stop the major split within the membership that followed. In the final decade of his life, he concentrated his energies on world issues & on influencing events, especially in Europe, while lecturing widely & writing books. In contrast to the destructive special interests of the national & religious groups that craved dominion & power, Polzer-Hoditz sought to build a true understanding between Central & Eastern Europe & to cultivate a spiritual connection with the West.
According to anthroposopher T.H. Meyer, Ludwig Polzer-Hoditz had an experience that brought to the surface one of his past incarnations as Hadrian, 76 AD – 10 July, 138 AD, who was Roman emperor from 117 to 138. He is known for building Hadrian’s Wall, which marked the northern limit of Britannia. He also rebuilt the Pantheon & constructed the Temple of Venus & Roma. He is considered to have been a humanist, & he is regarded as one of the ‘Five Good Emperors’.
Hadrian was born into a Hispano-Roman family. During his reign, he traveled to nearly every province of the Empire. An ardent admirer of Greece, he sought to make Athens the cultural capital of the Empire and ordered the construction of many opulent temples in the city. He used his relationship with his Greek lover Antinous to underline his love of Greek culture leading to the creation of one of the most popular cults of ancient times. He spent extensive amounts of time with the military; he usually wore military attire & even dined & slept amongst the soldiers. Late in his reign he suppressed the Bar Kokhba revolt in Judaea, renaming the province Syria Palaestina
1891 – Birthday of Russian composer, & conductor Sergei Prokofiev, egarded as one of the major composers of the 20th century. A graduate of the St Petersburg Conservatory, Prokofiev initially made his name as an iconoclastic composer-pianist, achieving notoriety with a series of ferociously dissonant & virtuosic works for his instrument. Prokofiev’s greatest interest, however, was opera.
After the Revolution, Prokofiev left Russia & resided in the United States, then Germany, then Paris, making his living as a composer, pianist & conductor. During that time he married a Spanish singer, Carolina Codina, with whom he had two sons. In the early 1930s, the Great Depression diminished opportunities for Prokofiev’s ballets & operas to be staged in America & western Europe. Prokofiev, who regarded himself as composer foremost, resented the time taken by touring as a pianist, & increasingly turned to Soviet Russia for commissions of new music; in 1936 he finally returned to his homeland with his family. He enjoyed some success there – notably with Lieutenant Kijé, Peter & the Wolf, Romeo & Juliet, & above all with Alexander Nevsky.
The Nazi invasion of the USSR spurred him to compose his most ambitious work, an operatic version of Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace. In 1948 Prokofiev was attacked for producing “anti-democratic formalism”, so with his standing compromised & his income severely curtailed, he was forced to compose Stalinist Soviet music, such as the cantata On Guard for Peace.
Prokofiev died at the age of 61 on 5 March 1953, the same day as Joseph Stalin. He had lived near Red Square, & for 3 days the throngs gathered to mourn Stalin, making it impossible to carry Prokofiev’s body out for the funeral service at the headquarters of the Soviet Composers’ Union. He is buried in the Novodevichy Cemetery in Moscow. He was an atheist
1919 – Opening of the 1st Waldorf School, Stuttgart Germany. Waldorf education, is based on the educational philosophy of Rudolf Steiner, the founder of anthroposophy. Its pedagogy emphasizes the role of imagination in learning, striving to integrate holistically the intellectual, practical, & artistic development of pupils.
Steiner’s division of child development into three major stages is reflected in the schools’ approach to early childhood education, which focuses on practical, hands-on activities & creative play; to elementary education, which focuses on developing artistic expression & social capacities; & to secondary education, which focuses on developing critical reasoning & empathic understanding.
The overarching goal is to develop free, morally responsible, & integrated individuals equipped with a high degree of social competence.
Qualitative assessments of student work are integrated into the daily life of the classroom, with quantitative testing playing a minimal role in primary education & standardized testing usually limited to that required for college entry. Individual teachers & schools have a great deal of autonomy in determining curriculum content, teaching methodology, & governance
1945 – Deathday of Albrecht Georg Haushofer (a German geographer, diplomat, author & member of the German Resistance to Nazism. Haushofer was born in Munich, the son of the retired World War I general.
Obtaining an insight in Nazi politics, Haushofer approached to German resistance circles. Following the outbreak of World War II.
High-ranking members of the Nazi Party looked disapprovingly upon his half-Jewish mother. Incarcerated in Berlin Moabit Prison, he wrote his Moabit Sonnets, posthumously published in 1946. In the night of 22/23 April 1945, as Red Army troops already entered Berlin, Albrecht Haushofer & other inmates were shot in the neck by SS troopers. His body was discovered by his brother Heinz on 12 May 1945.
One of the sonnets, titled Schuld or “Guilt”, was on his person at the time of his execution. It reads as follows:
I am guilty,
But not in the way you think.
I should have earlier recognized my duty;
I should have more sharply called evil evil;
I reined in my judgment too long.
I did warn,
But not enough, and not clearly enough;
And today I know what I was guilty of.
~ Albrecht Haushofer
POD (Poem Of the Day)
|Even day & night dance
Making sunset & dawn between them
A rhythmic state of grace…
The earth envelops the seed
Pushing it into the darkness
Before it arises into fruit…