20 November 2017 – Astro-Weather: While twilight is still bright, look low in the southwest for the waxing crescent Moon. Just left of baby Bella Luna is Saturn. About 30 minutes after sunset, hunt for Mercury below them.
“The best Anthroposophers are those who take what is said as a stimulus in the first place, and then place it at the service of life, so as to prove it by life itself.” ~Rudolf Steiner, ‘The Mission of the Folk Souls’ lecture 11
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
1805 – Beethoven’s only opera, Fidelio, premieres in Vienna.
1945 –Trials against 24 Nazi war criminals start at the Palace of Justice at Nuremberg
1962 – Cuban Missile Crisis ends: In response to the Soviet Union agreeing to remove its missiles from Cuba, U.S. President John F. Kennedy ends the quarantine of the Caribbean nation
1910 – Deathday of Leo Tolstoy, Russian author & playwright
“In 1828, Leo Tolstoy is born in a family of Russian counts about which he himself says that the family immigrated originally from Germany. Then we see Tolstoy losing certain higher goods of life. Hardly he is one and a half years old, he loses the mother, the father in the ninth year. Then he grows up under the care of a relative who is, so to speak, the embodied love, and from her spiritual condition, the marvellous soul condition had to flow in his soul like by itself. However, on the other side, another relative who wants to build up him out of the viewpoints of her circles, out of the conditions of time as they formed in certain circles influences him. She is a person who is completely merged in the outward world activity which later became very odious to Tolstoy and against which he fought so hard. We see this personality striving from the outset to make Tolstoy a person “comme il faut,” a person who could treat his farmers in such a way, as it was necessary in those days, who should receive title, rank, dignity, and medals and should play a suitable role in the society.
Then we see Tolstoy coming to the university; he is a bad student as he absolutely thinks that everything that the professors say at the University of Kazan is nothing worth knowing. Only oriental languages can occupy him. In all other matters, he was not interested. Against it the comparison of a certain chapter of the code of Catherine the Great (1729–1796) with The Spirit of the Laws (1748) by Montesquieu (Charles de Secondat, Baron de M., 1689–1755) attracted him. Then he tries repeatedly to manage his estate, and we see him almost getting around to diving head first into the life of luxury of a man of his circles, diving head first into all possible vices and vanities of life. We see him becoming a gambler, gambling big sums away. However, he has hours within this life over and over again when his own activities disgust him, actually. We see him meeting peers as well as men of letters and leading a life, which he calls a worthless, even perishable one at moments of reflection. However, we also see — and this is important to him who looks with pleasure at the development of the soul where this development manifests in especially typical signs — particular peculiarities appearing with him in the development of his soul which can disclose us already in the earliest youth what is, actually, in this soul.
Thus, it is of immense significance, what a deep impression a certain event makes on Tolstoy at the age of eleven years. A friendly boy once told him that one has made an important discovery, a new invention. One has found — and a teacher has spoken in particular of the fact — that there is no God that this God is only an empty invention of many human beings, an empty picture of thought. Everything that one can know about the impression that this boy’s experience made on Tolstoy shows already how he absorbed it that in him a soul struggled striving for the highest summits of human existence.” ~ Rudolf Steiner, Where and How Does One Find the Spirit? Tolstoy and Carnegie, Berlin, 28th January, 1909
1976 – Deathday of Lili Kolisko, who developed the Capillary Dynamolisis method (Steigbildmethode), testing the idea that not only the moon, but the other planets as well, have an influence over earthly fluids. To test this, she dissolved metals classically associated to each planet & observed the pictures left by their absorption over a filter paper. She noticed consistent differences of the patterns according to the position of the planets in relation to sun & earth. Lilly Kolisko also worked on the development of a remedy for foot and mouth disease.
Once upon an autumn day, cut thru with the thought of Winter, a little leaf was heard to sigh, as leaves often do when a blustery wind is swirling about. A nearby twig asked: “What is the matter, little leaf?” And the leaf said, “The wind just told me that one day it would pull me off & throw me down to die!”
The twig told this to the branch & the trunk told it to the bark, & when the roots heard it, the tall tree rustled all over, & sent back word to the leaf, “Do not be afraid, you shall not go until you want to.”
And so the leaf stopped sighing, but went on nestling & singing. Every time the wind spoke, the tree shook itself & stirred up all its leaves, the branches bobbed, the thin twig twittered, & the little leaf danced merrily up & down, as if nothing could ever pull it off. And so it was all thru the month of October. And then November came, & it grew colder still.
And as the outer light faded, the little leaf noticed that all the leaves around it became brighter. Some were yellow & some scarlet, & some striped with gold or curled with brown. The little leaf asked the tree what this change meant. And the tree said, “All these leaves are getting ready to fly away, & they have put on these beautiful colors to celebrate.”
Then the little leaf began to want to go, too, & grew very beautiful in thinking of it, & when it was bright orange, like the wings of a butterfly, it noticed that the branches that held it to the tree, had no color in them at all; & so the leaf said, “O branches, why are you so leaden-colored & we so golden?”
And the tree answered:“I must keep on my work-clothes, for my time has not yet come – but your clothes are for holiday, since your task is almost complete.”
Just then a stiff gust of wind came, & the leaf let go, without worry, & the wind took it up & turned it over & over, & whirled it like a spark of fire in the air…
& then it dropped gently down under the edge of the tree, among hundreds of other brightly colored leaves. There the little leaf lay dreaming of the sun & stars.
And when the child picked it up & held it to the light, it flew out again
17 November 2017 – Astro-Weather: This morning marks the peak of the annual Leonid meteor shower. Astronomical conditions should be nearly perfect because the Moon remains out of the sky all night. (It reaches its New phase tomorrow morning.) An observer under a clear, dark sky can expect to see up to 10 “shooting stars” per hour. The meteors appear to radiate from a point in the Sickle asterism of Leo the Lion, a region that rises in late evening & climbs high in the southeast before dawn. Prime viewing occurs between approximately 2 CST & the start of twilight some two hours later.
As the evening twilight fades, look low in the southwest for Saturn & Mercury. They’re about a fist at arm’s length apart.
With Bella Luna not yet back from her monthly journey into the Underworld; take advantage of the dark nights to explore the galaxies inside the top right corner of the Great Square of Pegasus.
“Art is a continuous setting free of the human spirit; it also educates humanity about how to act out of love. ” ~Rudolf Steiner
1624 – Birthday of Jakob Böhme, a shoemaker in Görlitz, Silesia, is regarded to be one of the most profound mystics in Germany.
“Jakob Böhme’s thoroughly healthy way of knowledge — his original deeper heart’s knowledge, so in accordance with the feeling of the people — beheld freedom as weaving and working through everything necessitated, working even through natural necessity. And Schelling, ascending from a view of nature in accordance with the spirit to a beholding of the spirit, felt himself in harmony with Jakob Böhme…
Hegel‘s world view has its place in the course of mankind’s spiritual evolution through the fact that in it the radiant power of thoughts lifts itself up out of the mystical depths of the soul, and through the fact that in Hegel’s seeking, mystical power wants to reveal itself with the power of the light of thought. And this is also how he sees his place in the course of this evolution. Therefore he looked back upon Jakob Böhme in the way expressed in these words (to be found in his History of Philosophy): “This Jakob Böhme, long forgotten and decried as a pietistic visionary, has regained his rightful esteem only in recent times; Leibniz revered him. His public has been greatly reduced by the Age of Enlightenment; in recent times his profundity has been recognized again. … To declare him a visionary means nothing. For if one wants to, one can call every philosopher so, even Epicurus and Bacon. … But as to the high esteem to which Böhme has been raised, he owes this particularly to the form of his contemplation and feeling; for, contemplation and inner feeling … and the pictorial nature of one’s thoughts the allegories and so on — are partly considered to be the essential form of philosophy. But it is only the concept, thinking, in which philosophy can have its truth, in which the absolute can be expressed and also is as it is in and for itself.” And Hegel finds these further words for Böhme: “Jakob Böhme is the first German philosopher; the content of his philosophizing is truly German. What distinguishes Böhme and makes him remarkable is … that he set the intellectual world into his own inner life (Gemüt), and within his own consciousness of himself he beheld, knew, and felt everything that used to be in the beyond. This general idea of Böhme proves on the one hand to be profound and basic; on the other hand, however, he does not achieve clarity and order in all his need and struggle for definition and discrimination in developing his divine views about the universe.”
Such words are spoken by Hegel, after all, only from the feeling: In the simple heart of Jakob Böhme there lived the deepest impulse of the human soul to sink itself with its own experience into world experience — the true mystical impulse — but the pictorial view, the parable, the symbol must lift themselves to the light of clear ideas in order to attain what they want. In Hegel’s world view Jakob Böhme’s world pictures are meant to arise again as ideas of human reason. Thus the enthusiast of thoughts, Hegel, stands beside the deep mystic, Jakob Böhme, within the evolution of German idealism”. ~Rudolf Steiner, The Riddle of Man
1858 – Deathday of Robert Owen, Welsh manufacturer turned reformer, one of the most influential early 19th-century advocates of utopian socialism. His New Lanark mills in Lanarkshire, Scotland, with their social & industrial welfare programs, became a place of pilgrimage for statesmen & social reformers. He also sponsored or encouraged many experimental “utopian” communities, including one in New Harmony, Indiana, U.S.
1869 – In Egypt, the Suez Canal, linking the Mediterranean Sea with the Red Sea, is opened
1901 –October 1901 to April 1902, Rudolf Steiner delivered a series of lectures in the Theosophical Library leading from the ancient mysteries up to the mystery of Golgotha which provided a comprehensive expansion of the subject treated in the previous year on mysticism. These lectures were published as Christianity As Mystical Fact
According to T.H. Meyer & Johannes Hemleben, in his book “Rudolf Steiner: A documentary biography”: Today in 1901 Marie von Sivers asks THE question of Rudolf Steiner –Marie von Sivers “appeared one day” at one of Rudolf Steiner’s early lectures in 1900. In the autumn of 1901, she posed the question to Steiner, “Would it be possible to create a spiritual movement based on European tradition and the impetus of Christ?” Rudolf Steiner later reported:
With this, I was given the opportunity to act in a way that I had only previously imagined. The question had been put to me, and now, according to spiritual laws, I could begin to answer it.
From Rudolf Steiner’s The Story of My Life, Chapter 30: “The Brockdorffs were leaders of a branch of the Theosophical Society founded by Blavatsky. What I had said in connection with Goethe’s fairy-tale led to my being invited by the Brockdorffs to deliver lectures regularly before those members of the Theosophical Society who were associated with them. I explained, however, that I could speak only about that which I vitally experienced within me as spiritual knowledge.
In truth, I could speak of nothing else. For very little of the literature issued by the Theosophical Society was known to me. I had known theosophists while living in Vienna, and I later became acquainted with others. These acquaintance ships led me to write in the Magazine the adverse review dealing with the theosophists in connection with the appearance of a publication of Franz Hartmann. What I knew otherwise of the literature was for the most part entirely uncongenial to me in method and approach; I could not by any possibility have linked my discussions with this literature.
So I then gave the lectures in which I established a connection with the mysticism of the Middle Ages. By means of the ideas of the mystics from Master Eckhard to Jakob Böhme, I found expression for the spiritual conceptions which in reality I had determined beforehand to set forth. I published the series of lectures in the book Die Mystik im Aufgange des neuzeitlichen Geisteslebens(2). At these lectures there appeared one day in the audience Marie von Sievers, who was chosen by destiny at that time to take into strong hands the German section of the Theosophical Society, founded soon after the beginning of my lecturing. Within this section I was then able to develop my anthroposophic activity before a constantly increasing audience.
No one was left in uncertainty of the fact that I would bring forward in the Theosophical Society only the results of my own research through perception…
My object was to set forth the evolution from the ancient mysteries to the mystery of Golgotha in such a way that in this evolution there should be seen to be active, not merely earthly historic forces, but spiritual supramundane influences. And I wished to show that in the ancient mysteries cult-pictures were given of cosmic events, which were then fulfilled in the mystery of Golgotha as facts transferred from the cosmos to the earth of the historic plane.
This was by no means taught in the Theosophical Society. In this view I was in direct opposition to the theosophical dogmatics of the time, before I was invited to work in the Theosophical Society. For this invitation followed immediately after the cycle of lectures on Christ here described.
Between the two cycles of lectures that I gave before the Theosophical Society, Marie von Sievers was in Italy, at Bologna, working on behalf of the Theosophical Society in the branch established there.
Thus the thing evolved up to the time of my first attendance at a theosophical congress, in London, in the year 1902. At this congress, in which Marie von Sievers also took part, it was already a foregone conclusion that a German section of the Society would be founded with myself – shortly before invited to become a member – as the general secretary.
The visit to London was of great interest to me. I there became acquainted with important leaders of the Theosophical Society. I had the privilege of staying at the home of Mr. Bertram Keightley, one of these leaders. We became great friends. I became acquainted with Mr. Mead, the very diligent secretary of the Theosophical Movement. The most interesting conversations imaginable took place at the home of Mr. Keightley in regard to the forms of spiritual knowledge alive within the Theosophical Society.
Especially intimate were these conversations with Bertram Keightley himself. H. P. Blavatsky seemed to live again in these conversations. Her whole personality, with its wealth of spiritual content, was described with the utmost vividness before me and Marie von Sievers by my dear host, who had been so long associated with her.
I became slightly acquainted with Annie Besant and also Sinnett, author of Esoteric Buddhism. Mr. Leadbeater I did not meet, but only heard him speak from the platform. He made no special impression on me.
All that was interesting in what I heard stirred me deeply, but it had no influence upon the content of my own views.
1907 – Birthday of Israel Regardie, English occultist & author
POD (Poem Of the Day)
~a dusky grape
ripening in the oblique rays
of a westering daystar…
Monday November 27th– 7 pm – 9 pm Open Community Conversation
After our gathering in September with General Secretary John Bloom, & Daniel Evaeus, from Elderberries, many folks made it known that they would like to continue to meet once a month to discuss how to best serve Anthroposophia & the various Steiner initiatives in Chicago.
For this November meeting, Biography Worker, Paulette Arnold, will offer up some research into the Chicago personality, Studs Terkel, & lead us in a biography exercise.
We will also share the latest developments about Elderberries Chicago!
And as always, the floor will be open for a community conversation.
15 November 2017 – Astro-Weather: Did you feel it? This morning in your hypnogogic state, that sacred place between sleeping & waking, as the dawn brightened,the thin waning crescent Moon may have nudged you with her horns, reaching out to try & cradle Mars, high above Jupiter, with Spica in between. Venus, the Sophia of the skies, nestled just left of the wise king Jupiter, gracing the horizon; calling you to join the cosmic dance..?
1280 – Death & Feast Day of Albertus Magnus, a German Catholic Dominican friar & bishop, theologian, & philosopher, one of the founders of Scholasticism. Canonized as a saint, one of the 36 Doctors of the Catholic Church. He was known during his lifetime as Doctor Universalis & Doctor Expertus.
Albertus was the first to comment on virtually all of the writings of Aristotle, making them accessible to wider academic debate. The study of Aristotle brought him to take an interest in the teachings of Muslim academics, notably Avicenna & Averroes.
Albertus took part in the General Chapter of the Dominicans at Valenciennes together with Thomas Aquinas establishing a program for the Dominicans that featured the study of philosophy. This innovation initiated the tradition of Dominican scholastic philosophy put into practice, for example at the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas, the “Angelicum”
Albert’s writings went to 38 volumes, displaying his prolific habits & encyclopedic knowledge of topics such as logic, theology, botany, geography, astronomy, astrology, mineralogy, alchemy, zoology, physiology, phrenology, justice, law, friendship, & love. He digested, interpreted, & systematized the whole of Aristotle’s works, gleaned from the Latin translations & notes of the Arabian commentators. Most modern knowledge of Aristotle was preserved and presented by Albertus.
According to legend, Albertus is said to have discovered the philosopher’s stone & passed it on to his pupil Thomas Aquinas, shortly before his death.
Among the last of his labors was the defense of the orthodoxy of his former pupil, Thomas Aquinas, whose death grieved him deeply.
Albertus is known for his commentary on the musical practice of his times. Most of his written musical observations are found in his commentary on Aristotle’s Poetics
“Essentially speaking, the task of the time which lies between the fourth and the fifteenth century was, therefore, the development of a technique of thinking. This thinking activity has now adopted a definite attitude in regard to man’s cognitive faculty towards the contents of the world. We may say: Spirits such as Albertus Magnus and Thomas Aquinas have set forth the position of man’s thinking activity towards the contents of the world in a manner which was, at that time, quite incontestable.
How do their descriptions appear to us?
Thinkers such as Albertus Magnus and Thomas Aquinas had dogmatically preserved truths which originated from old traditions, but their meaning could no longer be grasped. To begin with, these truths had to be protected as contents of a supernatural revelation, which at that time was more or less equivalent to a super-sensible revelation. The Church preserved these revelations through its authority and teachings, and people thought that the dogmas of the Church contained the revelations connected with the super-sensible worlds. They were to accept what was offered in these dogmas, they were to accept it as a revelation which could not be touched by human reason, that is to say, by the human intellect. The Dual Form of Cognition During the Middle Ages and the Development of Knowledge in Modern Times” ~ A Lecture By Rudolf Steiner, Dornach, August 5, 1921, GA 206
1630 – Deathday of Johannes Kepler, German astronomer & mathematician
“Johannes Kepler was as much a natural scientist of an earlier time as of a later one. He drew his thoughts from external observation, but in his inner experience he had an absolute feeling that spiritual Beings are there when man is receiving his thoughts from Nature. Kepler felt himself to be partly an Initiate, and for him it was a matter of course that he experienced his abstract building up of the universe artistically”. ~Rudolf Steiner, The Younger generation
“It cannot be denied that such spirits formerly imparted their oracular sayings to men through idols and oak-trees, out of groves and grottoes, through animals and so on; and sooth-saying from the flight of birds was not merely an art of deceiving the weak. Those spirits were active in guiding the birds through the air, and by this means, with God’s permission, much was intimated to men in former times. Even today we hear stories of fateful birds, such as owls, vultures, eagles, ravens, but the more such stories are despised, the rarer they become. For these spirits cannot bear being despised, as according to the law of God and Christian teaching, they certainly deserve to be: they prefer to fly away and keep silent. From the beginning the lying Tempter was allowed to speak through animals: he spoke to Eve through the serpent and thus he led the human race astray. That was always the way of these spirits from then onwards: whenever they could speak to men through the bodies and movements of animals, through voices or portents, they misused this power, appropriating for themselves the reverence due to God and misleading unhappy men. And now, although Christ came to destroy the work of the Devil, and imposed silence on these spirits, and although they lost their temple-statues, their groves and their caves and the earth they had so long possessed, yet they are always here still in the empty air, and with God’s permission they utter their scattered cries. Often they are God’s scourges; often he allows certain things to be announced through them to men.”
The author of these words gives a gentle indication of how the spiritual revelations come to be permeated by Christ, for he writes in a frame of mind that can truly be called Christ-filled. In 1607 he spoke thus of the changes that had come about in the spiritual world. Who is this man? Is he someone who has no right to speak, someone we can leave unheard? No, for without him we should have no modern Astronomy or Physics: he is Johannes Kepler. And one would like to advise those who call themselves materialists or monists and look to Kepler as their idol — one would like to advise them to consider carefully, just for once, this passage in Kepler’s writings. The greatest astronomical laws, the three Kepler laws, which dominate present-day Astronomy, are his. Yet you have heard how he speaks of the new influence which gradually enters into Earth evolution with the fifth post-Atlantean epoch. We must all again get accustomed by degrees — having thoroughly absorbed the new influence — to recognise something of the spiritual activities connected with the stars. ~Rudolf Steiner, Christ and the Spiritual World: The Search for the Holy Grail
On February 4, 1600, Kepler met Tycho Brahe, he stayed as a guestin his observatory, analyzing some of Tycho’s observations of Mars; Tycho guarded his data closely, but was impressed by Kepler’s theoretical ideas & soon allowed him more access. Through most of 1601, he was supported directly by Tycho, who assigned him to analyzing planetary observations . Tycho secured him a commission as a collaborator on the new project he had proposed to the emperor. Two days after Tycho’s unexpected death on October 24, 1601, Kepler was appointed his successor as imperial mathematician with the responsibility to complete his unfinished work. The next 11 years as imperial mathematician would be the most productive of his life.
Kepler slowly continued analyzing Tycho’s Mars observations—now available to him in their entirety—& began the slow process of tabulating the Rudolphine Table.
In October 1604, a bright new evening star appeared, but Kepler did not believe the rumors until he saw it himself. Kepler began systematically observing the nova. Astrologically, the end of 1603 marked the beginning of a fiery trigon, the start of the about 800-year cycle of great conjunctions; astrologers associated the two previous such periods with the rise of Charlemagne (c. 800 years earlier) & the birth of Christ (c. 1600 years earlier), & so expected events of great portent, especially regarding the emperor. It was in this context, as the imperial mathematician & astrologer to the emperor, that Kepler described the new star two years later in his De Stella Nova. The birth of a new star implied the variability of the heavens. In an appendix, Kepler also discussed the recent chronology work of the Polish historian Laurentius Suslyga; he calculated that, if Suslyga was correct that accepted timelines were four years behind, then the Star of Bethlehem—analogous to the present new star—would have coincided with the first great conjunction of the earlier 800-year cycle
In 1611, the growing political-religious tension in Prague came to a head. Emperor Rudolph—whose health was failing—was forced to abdicate as King of Bohemia by his brother Matthias. However, it was clear that Kepler’s future prospects in the court of Matthias were dim.
In 1615, Kepler’s mother Katharina was accused of witchcraft.
Kepler’s laws of planetary motion were not immediately accepted. Several major figures such as Galileo and René Descartes completely ignored Kepler’s Astronomia nova. Epitome of Copernican Astronomy was read by astronomers throughout Europe, & following Kepler’s death it was the main vehicle for spreading Kepler’s ideas. In the period 1630 – 1650, this book was the most widely used astronomy textbook, winning many converts to ellipse-based astronomy. This culminated in Isaac Newton’s Principia Mathematica (1687), in which Newton derived Kepler’s laws of planetary motion from a force-based theory of universal gravitation.
Kepler’s self-authored poetic epitaph: “I measured the skies, now the shadows I measure – Skybound was the mind, earthbound the body rests”
1670 – Deathday of John Amos Comenius, Czech bishop, philosopher, & educator.
“Our task is to appeal to those forces which we have as a replacement for the ancient way of grasping the spiritual. There are two ways of doing this. One way is to continue to propagate tradition and many secret societies arose from being satisfied with the propagation of what the ancient said through tradition. However, there were people who attempted to reckon with the new soul forces which came in as replacements for it. They attempted to translate that which came in from the ancient way in the form of pictures, of direct perception into the form of intellectual power, this intellect which is bound to the physical body of our 5th post-Atlantean period. One of the people who tried to do this was Amos Comenius.
Very few people today know that Amos Comenius was the actual founder of the modern pedagogy and that he founded the primer in the 16th, 17th century…The whole way of writing children’s books rests upon Amos Comenius. He was connected with many secret brotherhoods all over Europe and he wanted to establish what he called his “Pan Sophia”. In the beginning of our period, in the 16th, 17th century, we have in Amos Comenius a human being who knew that now is the time for a sudden change, that one must transmute all the knowledge from earlier times into the form of external intellect. You do not simply continue it in the form of the ancient tradition. This tradition rests upon that which was the Temple architecture. Amos Comenius had as his task translating in his “Pan Sophia” everything which worked in the 5th post-Atlantean period and he says the following: “Why should the Temple of Pan Sophia be erected according to the ideas, directions and laws of the higher architect Himself? Because we have to follow the primal picture of the totality; measure, number, position and the goal of the paths according to the wisdom of God, Himself, when, indeed, He instructed Moses to erect the Tabernacle, then Solomon to erect the Temple and finally Ezekial to reestablish the Temple. The structure materials of Solomon’s Temple were very precious stones, metals, marble and sappy, good smelling trees like spruce and cedar.” And so we want to establish a school of wisdom, a universal wisdom, a “Pan Sophia” wisdom so that one can say that that which is in Goethe’s Wilhelm Meister, which was represented in the Wander Years, is a continuation of what Amos Comenius wanted.” ~Rudolf Steiner, Things in Past and Present in the Spirit of Man
1738 – Birthday of William Herschel, German-born British astronomer, the founder of sidereal astronomy for the systematic observation of the heavens. He discovered the planet Uranus, hypothesized that nebulae are composed of stars, & developed a theory of stellar evolution. He was knighted in 1816.
1741 – Birthday of Johann Kaspar Lavater, a Swiss poet, writer, philosopher, physiognomist & theologian. Goethe was a dear friend for many years, but later had a falling out with him, accusing Lavater of superstition & hypocrisy.
1887 – Birthday of Georgia O’Keeffe, American painter & educator
1893 – Rudolf Steiner’s Philosophy of Freedom (Spiritual Activity) 1st appears
POD (Poem Of the Day)
~A glimmer caught My eye I Turned to see the primal warmth In the fires of perhaps A beacon of human possibility Etched in the bones of my skull At the edge of Peripheral vision That I might Re-collect my Self Divine
Monday November 27th- 7 pm – 9 pm Open Community Conversation at the Rudolf Steiner Branch of the Anthroposophical Society in Chicago 4248 N. Lincoln Ave.
After our gathering in September with General Secretary John Bloom, & Daniel Evaeus, from Elderberries, many folks made it known that they would like to continue to meet once a month to discuss how to best serve Anthroposophia & the various Steiner initiatives in Chicago. At the October meeting, which was part of the All Souls Festival, the idea was shared that perhaps we might also include some biographies of great Chicagoans to help inspire us.
For this November meeting, Biography Worker, Paulette Arnold, will offer up some research into the Chicago personality, Studs Terkel, & lead us in a biography exercise.
We will also share the latest developments about Elderberries Chicago!
And as always, the floor will be open for a community conversation. All are welcome. Snacks to share encouraged.
11/11/17 – Astro-Weather: Vega is the brightest star shining in the west in early evening. Its little constellation Lyra extends to the -magnitude Albireo, the beak of Cygnus — a beautiful telescopic double star.
Although Jupiter passed on the far side of the Sun in late October, it already is climbing into view before dawn. To find the benevolent king, head outside about a half-hour before sunrise & locate dazzling Venus. This morning, Jupiter appears directly below the goddess of love. Two mornings from now, these planetary beings pass within 0.3° of each other in the finest planetary conjunction of 2017.
“We understand only the very smallest part of human history and of our own life if we consider it in its external aspect, I mean in that aspect which we see from the limited view-point of our earthly life between birth and death. It is impossible to comprehend the inner motives of history and life unless we turn our gaze to that spiritual background which underlies the outer, physical happenings”. ~Rudolf Steiner, Karmic Relationships, Volume IV: Lecture III
Feast Day of Martin of Tours. Each 11/11 the younger children have a Lantern Walk to celebrate Martinmas, a festival of inner light in the outer darkness of the approaching winter. St Martin was a soldier in Rome in the 4th century. Legend says that one wintry night he met a poor beggar, half-naked & freezing. Martin removed the heavy military cloak from his shoulders &, drawing his sword, cut it in two, giving half to the beggar. That night, Christ appeared to Martin in a dream, wrapped in the same piece of cloak Martin had given the beggar, & said: “Martin has covered me with this garment.”
Martin became the patron saint of beggars, drunks & outcasts, dedicating his life to assisting pariahs. As we journey into the darkest time of the year, it is increasingly important for each of us to kindle warmth & light within our hearts, which becomes a beacon of light to the world. Martin’s cloak can remind us to share with those in need.
The gently glowing lanterns of Martinmas will give way to the candles of the advent spiral as we draw nearer to the Solstice, showing how our inner light must shine ever brighter against the cold. As nature sleeps, we must be wakeful!
Celebrating Martinmas serves as a reminder that each of us has a divine spark that we must ferry out into the world & share with others. The children hear the story of St. Martin, sing songs &, as darkness falls, venture out into the night with their lanterns walking along a path lit with glowing luminaries, carefully carrying their lanterns in a mood of quiet reverence. This symbolic act brings home the deeper truth, in the words of Siddhartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism (563-483 B.C.): “There isn’t enough darkness in all the world to snuff out the light of one little candle.”
1493 – Birthday of Paracelsus, a Swiss German philosopher, physician, botanist, astrologer, & general occultist. He is credited as the founder of toxicology. He is also a famous revolutionary for utilizing observations of nature, rather than referring to ancient texts, something of radical defiance during his time. Modern psychology often also credits him for being the first to note that some diseases are rooted in psychological conditions
1788 – Birthday of Baron Joseph von Spaun, an Austrian nobleman, & honorary citizen of Vienna; best known for his friendship with the composer Franz Schubert.
1918 – Armistice of 11/11 ending the fighting in the First World War between the Allies & Germany – also known as the Armistice of Compiègne after the location in which it was signed – &the agreement that ended the fighting on the Western Front. It went into effect at 11 a.m. Paris time on 11 November 1918 (“the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month”), & marked a victory for the Allies & a complete defeat for Germany, although not formally a surrender. The Germans were responding to the policies proposed by U.S. President Woodrow Wilson in his Fourteen Points of January 1918. Although the armistice ended the actual fighting, it took six months of negotiations at the Paris Peace Conference to conclude the peace treaty, the Treaty of Versailles.
1821 – Birthday of Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Russian novelist & short-story writer whose psychological penetration into the darkest recesses of the human heart, together with his unsurpassed moments of illumination, had an immense influence on 20th-century fiction.
Dostoyevsky is usually regarded as one of the finest novelists who ever lived. Literary modernism, existentialism, & various schools of psychology, theology, & literary criticism have been profoundly shaped by his ideas. His works are often called prophetic because he so accurately predicted how Russia’s revolutionaries would behave if they came to power. In his time he was also renowned for his activity as a journalist.
1855 – Deathday of Soren A. Kierkegaard, Danish philosopher, theologian, & cultural critic who was a major influence on existentialism & Protestant theology in the 20th century. He attacked the literary, philosophical, & ecclesiastical establishments of his day for misrepresenting the highest task of human existence—namely, becoming a free human being in an ethical & religious sense.
1904 – Birthday of Alger Hiss, American lawyer & spy
“Every artistically striving person making closer acquaintance with Rudolf Steiner and his anthroposophy is likely to have experienced in a quite individual manner the agreeable shock: here lie all the possibilities for the further development of art. In one way or another it may have gone with him as with the writer of these recollections when she first read through (not yet actually studied!) the book Theosophy, without understanding the essential, yet riveted by the crystal-bright formation of this work, and having to say to herself: Even if I cannot survey it, it is nonetheless evident: Here lies a comprehensive work of art! This first impression did not deceive, for with every subsequent work taken up, every book, every lecture, not to mention the Mystery Dramas, there opened up new experiences and vistas previously undreamed of. – These will surely be found most felicitously expressed in the poem by Christian Morgenstern (1871–1914) dedicated to Rudolf Steiner:
To beauty does your work lead: For beauty in the end Streams in through every revelation That surrounds us. Out of human-sufferings Upward to ever higher harmonies You release the dizzying feeling, Till, united In accord with the Inestimable proclaimer of GOD And HIS never-to-be-grasped splendor It vibrates in the love-light Of blessedness…. From beauty does your work come, to beauty does it lead.”
1992 – The General Synod of the Church of England votes to allow women to become priests
2000 – Kaprun disaster: One hundred fifty-five skiers & snowboarders die when a cable car catches fire in an alpine tunnel in Kaprun, Austria
2012 – A strong earthquake with the magnitude 6.8 hits northern Burma, killing at least 2226 people
My POD (Poem Of the Day)
~sharpening my pointy chin…
Together we will walk the shadowland…
From my hands the horn of plenty flows freely
The ghosts are fed, the unborn, ready…
I remind them
The Earth is an apple
Ripening in space…
Blue starlight filters thru
The outstretched wings of a bird, like wind in the fire,
As our journey continues deeper into the dark
Together we carry the unending rhythm of the light…
From France comes the legend of Saint Martin, who as a young man passed under an archway in the city of Amiens and discovered a poor beggar huddled there. The man was nearly naked, shivering with cold, and had received no alms to assist him. On seeing him, the young Martin took his own cape from his shoulders, tore the garment in half, and covered the poor man to warm him. The following night Martin had a dream in which he saw Christ wearing the same piece of his cape. The experience confirmed in him his devotion to all humankind regardless of their station in life.
Saint Martin was known for his gentleness, his unassuming nature, and his ability to bring warmth and light to those who were previously in darkness. On the evening of Martinmas, he is remembered in many French households with a festival of lanterns, carrying light throughout the darkened home, singing songs.
The Martinmas celebration is inspired by old customs honoring St. Martin. As the sun sets earlier and rises later, the world grows darker and the inner light of humankind wants to shine forth. Children and parents gather as the sun sets. Handmade lanterns, often decorated with stars, suns, and moons, are lit as a symbol for the children of their own individual light. And our walk into the cold, dark evening gives the kindergarten children and their families an experience of caring and sharing as we move toward the darkness of winter.
7 November 2017 – Astro-Weather: TODAY marks the actual ‘Cross-Quarter’ between the Autumn Equinox & the Winter Solstice.
The variable star Algol in Perseus reaches minimum brightness around 9:56 pm CST. If you start tracking it this evening, you can watch it more than triple in brightness by dawn. This eclipsing binary star runs through a cycle from minimum to maximum & back every 2.87 days. Algol remains visible all night, passing nearly overhead around midnight.
680 – The 6th Ecumenical Council commences in Constantinople
1492 – The Ensisheim meteorite, the oldest meteorite with a known date of impact, strikes the Earth around noon in a wheat field outside the village of Ensisheim, Alsace, France
1665 – The London Gazette, the oldest surviving journal, is first published
1775 – Goethe arrives in Weimar
1775 – John Murray, the Royal Governor of the Colony of Virginia, starts the first mass emancipation of slaves in North America by issuing Lord Dunmore’s Offer of Emancipation, which offers freedom to slaves who abandoned their colonial masters to fight with Murray and the British
1837 – Death-day of Elijah Parish Lovejoy an American Presbyterian minister, journalist, newspaper editor & abolitionist. He was murdered by a pro-slavery mob in Alton, Illinois, during their attack on his Press
1867 – Birthday of Marie Curie, Polish chemist & physicist, Nobel Prize laureate winner
1870- Papal Infallibility is proclaimed by Pius IX
1879 – Birthday of Leon Trotsky, Russian theorist & politician, founded the Red Army. Trotsky joined the Bolsheviks just before the 1917 October Revolution, immediately becoming a leader within the Communist Party. He would go on to become one of the seven members of the first Politburo, founded in 1917 to manage the Bolshevik Revolution
1893 – Women in the U.S. state of Colorado are granted the right to vote, the second state to do so
1913 – Birthday of Albert Camus, a French philosopher, author, & journalist. His views contributed to the rise of the philosophy known as absurdism. He wrote in his essay The Rebel that his whole life was devoted to opposing the philosophy of nihilism while still delving deeply into individual freedom. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1957
1922 – The Order of the Freemason’s official ‘condemnation’ of Rudolf Steiner
1944 – Franklin D. Roosevelt elected for a record fourth term as President of the United States of America
1962 – Death-day of Eleanor Roosevelt, American humanitarian 39th First Lady of the United States
Paula Belle Flores
POD (Poem Of the Day)
~I rise above the waning moon Gentling the horns with peat moss & beeswax, Rounding up to the stars reaching Beyond numbers that bind minds into boxes – Let the vultures gobble the sin with the flesh… Thru me the past flows like blood Renewed in the heart convulsing – A formula forthcoming A blueprint unfolding gold
The Sun has entered the fixed star constellation of Libra, the Scales.
Of course, we are accustomed to thinking of the Sun entering Libra at the autumn equinox when, astronomically, the Sun, in its annual apparent path, descends below the celestial equator, marking, in the northern hemisphere, its descent into the darker season. But this equinox Libra is the “sign” Libra which marks this astronomical event in the solar year.
In Greek and Roman times this Sun sign also corresponded roughly with the actual stars of the constellation of Libra. However that is no longer the case.The cosmos of stars moves in relation to the evolution of consciousness. Now the Sun does not enter the actual stars of Libra until October 31st
Since the preceding constellation of the Virgin stretches large in the sky, we have had over six weeks of the Sun passing through the Virgin – first through the crown of stars on her head, then through the heart and middle “clothed in the Sun“, passing Spica, which is both the star of wheat or the bread of life, as well as the star of “the Child” being born, and finally the Sun passing “the Moon under her feet“. (These images refer to the description of Sophia from Revelation 12.)
The stars of Virgo indeed are an image of the Divine Sophia in all her divine majesty and wisdom. During these six weeks, many planets have joined the Sun in passing through the Virgin: Mars, Venus, Mercury, and of course the long movement of Jupiter in Virgo for the past 14 months, including its great loop around the star Spica over the past year. Jupiter will finally begin its transition into the stars of Libra on November 13th.
The Sun entering Libra represents another crossing or transition. The 31st, Halloween, is a Cross Quarter Day, celebrated in earlier times out of a wisdom of nature as marking a turning point for the Sun as it reached halfway between Equinox and Solstice. One could say that esoterically or in an unmanifest way, winter begins at cross-quarter and solstice actually marks mid-winter, the fullness of winter when the light already begins to change and days lengthen again. This Halloween also marks the turn from All Hallow’s Eve to All Saints Day – a transition day, a turning point.
If we now look beyond seasonal Nature and the weaving of Sun and Earth to the stars themselves as the external garment of divine being, we can perhaps see the imagination of the Scales in new ways. Libra is an imagination of a threshold and of the one who stands and guards the threshold, protecting the Sophia from those who would unlawfully enter into the realm of divine wisdom. The imagination described in the New Testament book of Revelation about the great battle of Michael defending Sophia from the dragon who seeks to devour the child to be born and casting the dragon down to the Earth out of the realm of the divine, is a great imagination of this region of the stars of Virgo, Libra and Scorpion, with Libra representing Michael between the two. Libra in the human being marks the transition from the upper human to the lower human…bodily it is the central pivotal region of the hips, a major “joint” dividing above and below and between the mysteries of the true inside and the mysteries of externalization.
Libra has an interesting history that reflects the evolution of human consciousness. It is the only constellation of the zodiac representing an inanimate object, the scales, however this image evolved during the Greco/Roman period. The early Greeks saw Libra as the claws of the Scorpion. The Arabic names for the two brightest stars in Libra translate as northern claw and southern claw. This perhaps reflects the evolution of this constellation in the context of the evolution of human consciousness and the transition in the Greco/Roman period when there arose the longing for independence and separation, reflected in the development of philosophy and the view of the divine world as “the realm of the shades”. This evolution can be further seen in the Roman concept of the “citizen” and of justice for the individual human being, though only at its earliest stages.
However if we go back before the Greeks into the Akkadian culture of Mesopotamia around 3,000 BC, there is evidence that Libra was pictured not as scales or as the claws of the scorpion, but as “the holy altar”, representing that consciousness of the divine world and the role of the priest/magi as the mediators between the above world and the lower world.
We are now in the time of Michael and in the time of independence. We are now called to restore, out of this separated human ego, a reunion with the divine Sophia, a new individual altar. We are called to transform the fallen intelligence of the dragon and raise it again to the heights, through working with Michael. The symbol for Libra can now be evolved further to become again a kind of threshold between above and below.
However the altar is not only for the initiates or priests, but becomes, since the deed of resurrection, both coffin/tomb and table/altar where we individually as Michaelites perform the reverse ritual.
The tomb, the table, the altar unite into one larger image bringing us closer to the deed of Christ in relation to Michael and Sophia. This new human activity is summarized beautifully in a verse given by Rudolf Steiner at the end of a lecture on the New Isis, given on Christmas Eve, 1920. (See The Search for the New Isis, Divine Sophia, GA 202). In this verse he speaks of the “slaying” of Sophia by Lucifer in human consciousness. However, through “Christ’s will” working in us, Sophia shall be freed and through spirit cognition be called to new life in human souls.
As the Sun now passes through the stars of Libra, during this Michael season, we can carry this imagination of Libra as the threshold, the tomb, the altar, the Self – standing with Michael. This can be a preparation for Advent when with Michael we courageously face the darkness within our own souls, and through Christ’s will working in us, redeem that which has fallen. Advent is the time of this challenge of “Christ Will working in the human being” to bring the transformation and redemption needed for the birth of the spirit Child at Christmas and the re-awakening of Sophia, living wisdom, in our souls.