Category Archives: Speaking with the Stars

Tlecuatlecupe-the one who crushes the head of the serpent

December 12th is the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas, unborness, and a new understanding of the Logos.

Our Lady of Guadalupe is unlike any other apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary. First, it is the only apparition where Our Lady left a miraculous image of herself unmade by human hands.  Second, it is the only universally venerated Madonna & Child image where Our Lady appears pregnant instead of holding the Infant Jesus.

The Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to an Aztec peasant, Juan Diego,  in the 16th century near Mexico City. Juan Diego saw an apparition of the Blessed Virgin as he walked along Tepeyac Hill, on December 9, 1531, which happened to be the feast day of the Immaculate Conception. He began to hear beautiful strains of music, & he saw a beautiful lady, who called his name: “Juanito, Juan Dieguito.” He approached, & she said, “Know for certain, least of my sons, that I am the perfect and perpetual Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus, the true God, through whom everything lives, the Lord of all things near and far, the Master of Heaven and earth. It is my earnest wish that a temple be built here to my honor. Here I will demonstrate, I will manifest, I will give all my love, my compassion, my help and my protection to the people. I am your merciful mother, the merciful mother of all of you who live united in this land, and of all mankind, of all those who love me, of those who cry to me, of those who seek me, and of those who have confidence in me. Here I will hear their weeping, their sorrow, and will remedy and alleviate all their multiple sufferings, necessities, and misfortunes.”

She told Juan Diego to go tell Bishop Zumarraga of her desire for a church to be built at the site. Tradition holds that Juan Diego asked our Blessed Mother her name. She responded in his native language of Nahuatl, “Tlecuatlecupe,” which means “the one who crushes the head of the serpent” (a clear reference to Genesis 3:15 & perhaps to the prominent symbol of the Aztec religion). “Tlecuatlecupe” when correctly pronounced, sounds remarkably similar to “Guadalupe.” Consequently, when Juan Diego told Bishop Zumarraga her name in his native tongue, he probably confused it with the familiar Spanish name “Guadalupe,” a city with a prominent Marian shrine.


The bishop asked him to bring back a sign from Mary to prove the story. Juan Diego reported the matter to our Blessed Mother, who told him to return the next day to receive “the sign” for the bishop.

On December 11, Juan Diego couldn’t go to see the Lady, he had to spend the day caring for his very sick uncle, Juan Bernardino, who asked Juan Diego to go & bring a priest who would hear his confession & administer the last rites. On December 12, Juan Diego set out again, but avoided Tepeyac Hill because he was ashamed that he had not returned the previous day as our Blessed Mother had requested. While making his detour, the Blessed Mother stopped him & said, “Hear and let it penetrate into your heart, my dear little son: let nothing discourage you, nothing depress you. Let nothing alter your heart or your countenance. Also, do not fear any illness or vexation, anxiety or pain. Am I not here who am your mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not your fountain of life? Are you not in the folds of my mantle, in the crossing of my arms? Is there anything else that you need?” Mary reassured Juan Diego that his uncle would not die; in fact, his health had been restored.

As for the sign for the bishop, Mary told Juan Diego to go to the top of the mountain & pick some flowers. He went up to the hill which was dry & barren, a place for cactus, but there he found roses, which are foreign to Mexico. He gathered them in his tilma, a garment like a poncho. He brought them to Mary who arranged them & said to take them to the bishop.

Upon opening the tilma to reveal the miraculous roses to the bishop, there was something even more miraculous present in the tilma–a striking image of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

In the image Our Lady wears the traditional garments of an Aztec princess.  A black sash around her waist was a cultural tradition among the Aztec women that indicated pregnancy. 

A church was built at Our Lady’s request on the Hill of Tepeyac to mark the apparition site, & today it is the most visited Catholic pilgrimage shrine in the world. Venerated in this cathedral is the original tilma of St. Juan Diego, which still displays the miraculous Our Lady of Guadalupe image.


Here are just a few from a long list of interesting facts about the Our Lady of Guadalupe image itself:

  • The image is proven to not be painted by human hands
  • The image and fabric have miraculously lasted in its original condition for nearly 500 years
  • The weak cactus fiber, of which the tilma was made, should have decomposed within 15-20 years of being woven
  • No natural or animal mineral colorings, or paint, are found on the image
  • The image itself is iridescent, which cannot be produced by hand
  • Mary stands on a crescent moon, the same crescent moon in the sky on the day of her apparition
  • Mary’s mantel is a constellation map, the same constellations in the sky as on the day of her apparition
  • These constellations tell the story of the Gospel with the arrangements of Leo in the womb of Virgo
  • On her rose garment is a topographic map of the geographic location of her apparition
  • Over her womb on her dress is a four-petal flower, the Aztec symbol of life and deity
  • In the image Mary is “clothed with the sun” with “the moon at her feet” as described in Revelation 12:1
  • A doctor once heard a heartbeat coming from the image through a stethoscope over the womb
  • The eyes of the image have the refractory characteristics of human eyes
  • The eyes, when examined through a microscope, reflect the images of the witnesses present at its unveiling, including Juan Diego and the bishop

St. Juan Diego’s original tilma as it hangs today in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City

Many parishes, who have a special feast day Mass, will also host a reception or party in honor of the feast day. If not, hold your own celebration of Our Lady by inviting friends & family to your home for a traditional Mexican meal. Decorate your table with colorful roses in bright reds & pinks, blues & greens, along with your advent candles for a festive remembrance.

During this time of Advent, may we all gestate an immaculate conception that we bring to birth through our collective will for the good.


Elderberries in Chicago – Ceremony of the Desire of Birth

1st December 2017 – Astro-Weather: You can still catch Saturn & Mercury deep in the bright afterglow of sunset.

The waxing gibbous Moon shines in the east this evening. Look upper right of Bella Luna for the two brightest stars of Aries, left of Her for the little Pleiades cluster, & below the Pleiades for orange Aldebaran.

Mars meets Spica by Johnathon Hilton of the Astrosophy Center


 Rudolf Steiner’s Lectures on this day 


1834 – Slavery is abolished in the Cape Colony in accordance with the Slavery Abolition Act 1833.

1862 – In his State of the Union Address President Abraham Lincoln reaffirms the necessity of ending slavery as ordered ten weeks earlier in the Emancipation Proclamation.

1865 – Shaw University, the first historically black university in the southern United States, is founded in Raleigh, North Carolina.

1913 – The Buenos Aires Metro, the first underground railway system in the Southern Hemisphere and in Latin America, begins operation.

1913 – Ford Motor Company introduces the first moving assembly line.

1919 – Lady Astor becomes the first female Member of Parliament to take her seat in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom

1947 – Deathday of Aleister Crowley, an English occultist, ceremonial magician, poet, painter, novelist, & mountaineer. He founded the religion of Thelema, identifying himself as the prophet entrusted with guiding humanity into the Æon of Horus in the early 20th century. A prolific writer, he published widely over the course of his life.

1952 – The New York Daily News reports the news of Christine Jorgensen, the first notable case of sex reassignment surgery.

1955 – American Civil Rights Movement: In Montgomery, Alabama, seamstress Rosa Parks refuses to give up her bus seat to a white man & is arrested for violating the city’s racial segregation laws, an incident which leads to that city’s bus boycott.

1958 – The Our Lady of the Angels School fire in Chicago kills 192 children & 23 nuns

1964 –President Lyndon B. Johnson and his top-ranking advisers meet to discuss plans to bomb North Vietnam.

1969 –The first draft lottery in the United States is held since World War II.

1974 – TWA Flight 514, a Boeing 727, crashes northwest of Dulles International Airport, killing all 92 people on board.

1974 – Northwest Airlines Flight 6231, another Boeing 727, crashes northwest of John F. Kennedy International Airport, killing 92 people!

1981 – Inex-Adria Aviopromet Flight 1308, a McDonnell Douglas MD-80, crashes in Corsica, killing all 180 people on board.

1984 – NASA conducts the Controlled Impact Demonstration, where an airliner is deliberately crashed in order to test technologies & gather data to ‘help improve survivability of crashes’.


Sonya Treever

POD (Poem Of the day)

~Doves nest in my hair & spit fire from my head…
My heart beats like a bee tongue among the withered roses
As the Avatar winds of Sophia speak Wisdom into our bones



When the Sun Moves Northward: Being a Treatise on the Six Sacred Months  ~Mabel Collins (edited with revised pronouns by hag)

In honor of the official signing of the lease with Elderberries Three-Fold Cafe in Chicago!


December: The Birth Month

December 1st: The Ceremony of Desire of Birth

 Karen Venter

The aspirant is aware that the human being is a part of Nature, & that the mysteries are revealed to us when we enter into the secret & sacred life of the heavens & the earth. For us the yearly season of material birth is preceded by the spiritual state of desire of birth. The ancients knew, what we must remember, that the sun must will to die, or lose his fertilizing energy, in the autumn & early winter, so that all Nature can begin life anew; & the month of December is devoted to the preparation for this fresh life.

The sun being is depicted at that period of the year as a little child. Humanity’s spiritual being is indissolubly associated with this little child, this light-bringer; & as the disciple attains consciousness they become aware of the mystic recurrence of that miracle which is described in the religions as birth, death, & resurrection. As they move up the steps of consciousness, they learn that the spiritual light-bearer must endure the martyrdom of crucifixion in time & space, & must descend into the tomb of matter. And as the Great Ones in their bright succession endure this, so must their followers.

Timothy Michael Foley

The yearly initiations begin with that desire of rebirth into matter which brings the human spirit into the condition of suffering under the rule of the pairs of opposites; heat & cold, pleasure & pain, love & hate, male & female – these opposing conditions assail us continually. It was the work of the Christ to show the meaning of the Cross, & to teach the great lesson of sacrifice which means that none shall seek Freedom till all are saved. He promised to remain with us always, renouncing His Nirvana until the end of the world, & dwelling with His beloved children – the publican & the sinner – in the mysterious inner places of consciousness.

 Annael A. Pavlova

And those who follow Him must do likewise, & must enter into the state of the desire of birth each year with a yearly increase of the will to help the world. Thus the desire changes its character by degrees, & becomes selfless instead of selfish. The soul of the human being & the soul of the world, the soul of Nature & of sub-Nature, all pass alike through the birth-throes.

Salvador Dali

In December, the birth month, there are seven great & vital Ceremonies, filling the whole month with their observances. The first is the Desire of Birth, the commencement of the mystic story. It is so remote from human & material life that it is impossible to describe it in human language. It is witnessed consciously only by the spiritual being before its descent into matter. The disciple who seeks to take part in it while living in the body, must endeavour to recall to their psychic memory the litany which they heard chanted in the spiritual sphere from which they came when they sought the experience of human life.

 Roku Sasaki

The Ceremony of the Desire of Birth lasts for four days & nights, beginning on 1st of December. During this time it is necessary for the disciple to contemplate all that is implied in its litany. At each midnight, & at the hour of dawn, we should meditate upon the words of the litany, endeavouring to obtain understanding in respect to them. They are very difficult & obscure, so much so as to seem meaningless in material life if tested only by the light of the intellect. But the disciple who desires to become a conscious part of the Divine whole, must enter into the life of the world at this sacred season, & apprehend from year to year more & more of the mystery of the divine life within our self, in union with the material.

LITANY for the Ceremony of the Desire of Birth:

  1. I desire birth.
  2. I am ready to be burned and consumed; for that is what birth is.
  3.  I am ready to be naked and unprotected, and to suffer from my nakedness; for that is what life is.
  4. I am ready to make the pilgrimage through matter in darkness and in fire,  so that the circle of the uncreated shall  become one with the circle of the created.

James Christensen

The ordeal of fire which comes upon the soul immediately that the desire for birth is experienced, & continues while the human being remains human, is the burning out & consuming of all alloy in the nature. When this is accomplished, the ego can effect the miracle of resurrection & rebirth into a higher state, & can begin to form a regenerated shape which shall be worthy of immortality.

The instinct of the animal nature is to avoid suffering & to seek protection from it. But the Spirit of Humaity has sought birth in matter with the object of obtaining purification, & wishes, therefore, not only to enter the ordeal of fire but to enter it unprotected. Therefore does it utter these two stanzas of the litany which follow the expression of desire of birth.

Walter Crane

The mystic union is expressed in the last stanza; it is beyond the understanding of the human intellect. We can only dimly apprehend it by degrees as we follow the occult ceremonies, & obtain more & more illumination in respect to them. Autumn, winter, spring, & summer repeat themselves duly every year, because the Divine Spirit of Nature descends continually upon Nature, & passing through matter returns to itself. The drama is enacted afresh every year. The story of the pilgrimage of the spirit of humanity is contained within this yearly drama, & is the basis of the legends which form the groundwork of the great religions.

Kari Marie Olson

Desire, marriage, birth, these bring us hither: love, death, resurrection, these carry us hence; just as the green leaves come with every springtide, so does the inner meaning of the green leaves reveal itself to the disciple in perpetual recurrence.

The ancient Egyptians were the first to institute a sacred calendar, in which every day had its special religious ceremony. The Egyptian initiate, who gave fragments of the Birthday Litany & the Resurrection Litany from the ancient Ritual to the author of the Story of the Year, has now outlined the rites & vigils of the months between Christmas & Easter. The sacred months are those in which the sun moves northwards.

(Rudolf Steiner brought this work into the age of the Conscious Soul in relation to the modern human being, in his Calendar of the Soul, which begins at Easter)


Pop Up Christmas Mart

Sunday December 17th Noon till 9pm at the Elderberries Three-Fold Chicago space 4251 N. Lincoln Ave.

Locally Hand-Crafted items, Various Fair-Trade Wares, Health-Food Supplements, Baked Goods, Chili & HippocraTeas…

20 per cent of sales goes to help Elderberries at the Branch

In the evening the seniors from CWS will do performances to raise $ for their 12th grade trip…

Would you like to be a vender? contact


Catherine Molland

Holy Nights Gatherings 2017-2018  

December 27th– 30th – 7 pm – 9 pm  $10

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 & of 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.

NYE Sunday December 31st (The 13th Hidden Holy Night) 8pm – 1am – Our annual Community NYE party with music by Jutta & the High Dukes, Lead Casting, Eurythmy, Crafting, Games & more TBA $20

 Ludwig Emil Grimm

January 2018, 1st – 4th from 7pm – 9 pm – The Fairy-Tale Trail Continues $10

Friday January 5th Eve of Epiphany (3 Kings) 7pm – 9 pm – A special 12th Night gathering, Performances & Eurythmy with Mary Rudd more TBA $10

All events at the Rudolf Steiner Branch 4249 N. Lincoln Ave. Chicago

For more info. contact

The laying of the Foundation Stone

20 September 2017 – Astro-Weather: New Moon (exact at 12:30 am CDT) Tonight at sunset begins the Jewish New Year Rosh Hashanah.

With La Bella Luna hidden in the underworld in this time of the dark moon, I think of these words from Rudolf Steiner: ‘The Moon-mystery was one of the deepest secrets in the ancient Mysteries, for it is the primal wisdom that the Moon enshrines within itself. What the Moon is able to reflect from the whole universe forms the sum-total of the forces which sustain the animal world of the Earth, especially the forces that are connected with the sexual nature of animals; these forces also sustain the animal element in man and are connected with his sexual nature in its physical aspect. So the lower nature of man is a product of what radiates from the Moon, while the highest wisdom once possessed by the Earth lies concealed within the Moon fortress.’


Catrin Welz-Stein

Lectures by Rudolf Steiner on this date

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” – The Living and the Dead by Rudolf Steiner, Berlin, 5th February, 1918


622 – Muhammad & Abu Bakr arrived in Medina

1378 – Cardinal Robert of Geneva, called by some the “Butcher of Cesena“, is elected as Pope Clement VII, beginning the Papal schism. He was the 1st antipope residing in Avignon, France

1498 – The Nankai earthquake generates a tsunami that washes away the building housing the statue of the Great Buddha at Kōtoku-in in Kamakura, Kanagawa, Japan. Over 10,000 die

1519 – Ferdinand Magellan sets sail from Sanlúcar de Barrameda with 270 men on his expedition to circumnavigate the globe

1737 – The Walking Purchase– between the Penn family, the proprietors of Pennsylvania, & the Lenape Tribe (also known as the Delaware). This document may have been an unsigned, unratified treaty, or even an outright forgery (Encyclopædia Britannica refers to it as a “land swindle”. The Penns’ agents began selling land, an area of 1,200,000 acres, in the Lehigh Valley to colonists while the Lenape still inhabited the area

1893 – Charles Duryea road-tests the first American-made gasoline-powered automobile

1906 – Founding of the Paracelsus Branch, Basel Switzerland

1913 – The laying of the Foundation Stone of the 1st Goetheanum

1913 – Founding of the Moscow Branch of the Anthroposophical Society

1933 – Deathday of Annie Besant. In 1890 Besant met Helena Blavatsky. She became a member of the Theosophical Society & a prominent lecturer. She established the first overseas Lodge of the International Order of Co-Freemasonry, Le Droit Humain. Over the next few years she established lodges in many parts of the British Empire. In 1907 she became president of the Theosophical Society, whose international headquarters were in Adyar, Madras. She also became involved in politics in India, joining the Indian National Congress. When World War I broke out in 1914, she helped launch the Home Rule League to campaign for democracy in India. This led to her election as president of the India National Congress. In the late 1920s, Besant travelled to the United States with her protégé & adopted son Jiddu Krishnamurtiwhom she claimed was the new Messiah & incarnation of Buddha. Krishnamurti rejected these claims in 1929. She is thought to be the reincarnation of Giordano Bruno

1941 – Holocaust 403 Jews (128 men, 176 women & 99 children) were murdered by Einsatzkommando 3 in Nemencing, Latvia.

1942 – Holocaust in Letychiv, Ukraine. In the course of two days the German SS murders at least 3,000 Jews

1973 – Billie Jean King beats Bobby Riggs in the Battle of the Sexes tennis match at the Houston Astrodome


POD (Poem Of the Day)

dipping apples in honey
casting crumbs into the River
singing happy birth-day dear Earth
“L’shanah tovah tikatevi v’taihatemi”


Liane Collo D herbois

Greetings Friends – On this New Moon signaling the Jewish New Year Rosh Hashanah. Interesting also to think that TODAY in 1913 was the laying of the Foundation Stone of the 1st Goetheanum.

Come join us for these upcoming programs seeking to activate the Foundation Stone in our hearts:

Michaelmas & the Horn of Plenty – Fall Festivals Ancient and New

Saturday September 23rd  2017 – 4 pm – 6 pm at the Rudolf Steiner Branch, 4249 N. Lincoln Ave. Chicago, IL.

The Eleusinian Mysteries – Art & Mythos by Hazel Archer-Ginsberg

Song of Proserpine by Percy Shelley – Eurythmy with Mary Ruud

Michaelmas ‘The Festival of the Future’ – Art & Leading Thoughts by Hazel Archer-Ginsberg

Copper Rod Eurythmy with Mary Ruud

Singing with Elisabeth Swisher

$10 Donation* & Snacks to Share Encouraged * goes to support eurythmist Mary Ruud


Please join us for An Open Conversation with John Bloom & Daniel Evaeus

Sunday September 24th, 1 pm – 2:30 pm at the Rudolf Steiner Branch 4249 N. Lincoln Ave. Chicago

This is a call to All: & especially those working out of the various the Steiner initiatives: The Chicago Waldorf, City Garden & The Urban Prairie Waldorf School, The Christian Community, Arcturus, & the Rudolf Steiner Branch…to have a conversation about the future of anthroposophy in Chicago.

All are Welcome to meet John Bloom, our new General Secretary of the Anthroposophical Society in America & Daniel Evaeus from The Elderberries 3-Fold Café in LA, as we explore how we can best serve the ‘Being of Chicago’ at this time in history.


Michaelmas & the Horn of Plenty – Fall Festivals Ancient and New

Saturday September 30th, 10:30 am – 4:30pm at the Theosophical Society 1926 N Main St, Wheaton, IL. Registration (630) 668-1571 BYO Veg. Picnic Lunch

 Come join our Experiential Workshop celebrating the Autumnal Equinox to prepare us for the journey into the dark of the year. We will look back to the fruits of the past, & prepare for what is coming toward us from the future. Our ancestors called this Sabbath – Harvest Home or Mabon. The Hebrew folk count this as part of the High Holy Days. In Greece & Rome it is dedicated to The Eleusinian Mysteries of Demeter & Persephone.  Today, we are invited to stand with the powerful Archangel Micha-el, in balance, between the light & the dark, as we create the ‘festival of the future’, which we call ‘Michaelmas’. Forging confidence through Heart-Thinking, Michael strengthens our Will & reinforces our higher “I” so that we have the Courage to find the Spirit behind the living cosmos.

Hazel Archer-Ginsberg –Festivals Coordinator & Council Member of the Chicago Rudolf Steiner Branch, and the Central Regional Council of the Anthroposophical Society. Founder of

Eurythmy with Mary Ruud

10:30am –The Eleusinian Mysteries, Art & Mythos

11 – Group Eurythmy with special guest Mary Ruud – ‘Song of Proserpine’ by Percy  Shelley

11:20 – Break

11:40 – The High Holy Days – ‘Atonement’ & a Sweet New Year

12pm – Ho‘oponopono an artistic Forgiveness Exercise

12:30 – 1:30 Picnic Lunch

1:30 –  ‘Mabon’ Harvest Home Fest

1:45 – Circle of Intuition: Questions as we go into the Dark of the Year

2:15 – Break

2:30 –Michaelmas, The festival of the future NOW,  Art & Leading Thoughts

3:30 – Iron Rod Eurythmy with special guest Mary Ruud

4  – Open Conversation – 4:30 pm – Close


Standing in the Obvious

26 August 2017 – Astro-Weather: The ripening crescent Moon, no longer so shy, points Her round side down toward Jupiter low in twilight.

Venus appeared among the background stars of Gemini the Twins yesterday morning, but you’ll find it against the backdrop of Cancer the Crab today. This border crossing sets up a pretty conjunction a week from now, when the gleaming planet passes near the Beehive star cluster.

Mercury reaches inferior conjunction, passing between the Sun & Earth, at 4 pm CDT. The innermost planet will return to view before dawn in early September.

Isn’t it interesting that only a few days after the Great American solar eclipse, a hurricane is touching down in the vicinity of the town of Corpus Christi in Texas? In other words – The Body of Christ?

Michelangelo The Creation of Adam

Rudolf Steiner’s Lectures on this day

“To truly know the world, look deeply within your own being; to truly know yourself, take real interest in the world.” Rudolf Steiner


Feast day of Samuel, literally meaning “Name of God” in Hebrew, is a leader & Judge of ancient Israel. He is also known as a prophet & is mentioned in the second chapter of the Qur’an.  Aa a seer, Samuel is associated with the bands of musical ecstatic roaming prophets.

Feast Day of Melchizedek, (“God most high”) Priest & king of Salem mentioned in the 14th chapter of the Book of Genesis. He brings out bread and wine & blesses Abram. In the Epistle to the Hebrews, he is depicted as being “Without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life.” Jesus Christ is identified as “a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek

“Even when some individual was to be the leader of a particular people he would be required to develop a measure of understanding for every human soul. This is indicated magnificently in the Old Testament in the passage describing the meeting between Abraham and Melchizedek, the priest of the Most High. Those who understand this passage know that Abraham, who was destined to become the leader of his people, underwent an Initiation at this time — even if not in full consciousness as is the case in later Initiations. Abraham’s Initiation was connected with realisation of the Divine element that can flow into all human souls. The passage which tells of the meeting of Abraham with Melchizedek contains a deep secret connected with the evolution of humanity. “~Rudolf Steiner, Between Death & Rebirth, Lecture 2

Feast Day of The Black Madonna of Częstochowa, The Virgin Mary is shown as the “Hodegetria” (“One Who Shows the Way“)The icon has been intimately associated with Poland for the past 600 years.

Its history prior to its arrival in Poland is shrouded in numerous legends which trace the icon’s origin to St. Luke who painted it on a cedar table top from the house of the Holy Family.

The same legend holds that the painting was discovered in Jerusalem in 326 by St. Helena, who brought it back to Constantinople & presented it to her son, Constantine the Great.

The legend concerning the two scars on the Black Madonna’s right cheek is that the Hussites stormed the Pauline monastery in 1430, plundering the sanctuary. Among the items stolen was the icon. After putting it in their wagon, the Hussites tried to get away but their horses refused to move. They threw the portrait down to the ground, as the robber struck the painting twice, the face of the Virgin Mary started to bleed; in a panic, the scared Hussites retreated & left the painting

Women’s Equality Day

1498 – Michelangelo is commissioned to carve the Pietà

1789 – The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen is approved- directly influenced by Thomas Jefferson, working with General Lafayette. Also by the doctrine of “natural right“, held to be universal: valid at all times & in every place, pertaining to human nature itself. It became the basis for a nation of free individuals protected equally by law. Inspired in part by the American Revolution, & also by the Enlightenment philosophers, the Declaration was a core statement of the values of the French Revolution & had a major impact on the development of freedom & democracy in Europe & worldwide

1791 – John Fitch is granted a United States patent for the steamboat

1795 – Deathday of Cagliostro, the alias of the occultist Giuseppe Balsamo, an Italian adventurer & self-styled magician. He became a glamorous figure associated with the royal courts of Europe where he pursued various occult arts, including psychic healing, alchemy & scrying. His reputation lingered for many decades after his death. Steiner called him an initiate.

1883 – Eruption of Krakatoa

1910 – Birthday of Mother Teresa

1914 – Rudolf Steiner meets Helmuth von Moltke, Chief of the German General Staff, near Koblenz

1920 – The 19th amendment to United States Constitution takes effect, giving women the right to vote

1942 – The Holocaust in Chortkiv, western Ukraine, over 4000 die

1970 – The feminist movement, led by Betty Friedan, leads a nationwide Women’s Strike for Equality

1995 – Deathday of Daskalos, the Greek word for teacher, a Greek Cypriot mystic & healer. He set up the circle, “The Researchers of Truth.”

1999 – Russia begins the Second Chechen War


Music of the Spheres by Chris Manvell

My POD (Poem Of the Day)

~Standing in the obvious
Plunging my hands
Into the oblique angles
Of the obscure…
Any suggestions…?



“In Michelangelo we have a spirit who helped human evolution on its way because he had a maturity of soul which enabled him to imprint on the world of space and matter significant facts from the spiritual world. He stood wholly in the great current of his times yet his own inmost quality was not fully understood. A friend once wrote to him that even the Pope feared him; and yet in his soul there lived all the greatness of Christian impulses which flowed into his work. While he felt himself at one with the great Christian impulses he yet lived at the dawn of a later epoch — closely though it was still connected with earlier ages. The content of older Christian impulses still affected his soul and out of that he created something which in its form and artistic method was already part of the ties in which we ourselves live. Hence comes the mood of the poem which he wrote — probably during his last days as he looked back over his life — and which makes it clear what our relation is to him, and how we should allow his influence over us to work:

Now hath my life across a stormy sea like a frail barque reached that wide port, where all are hidden, ere the final reckoning fall of good and evil for eternity.

Now know I well how that fond phantasy, which made my soul the worshipper and thrall of earthly art, is vain; how criminal is that which all men seek unwillingly.

Those amorous thoughts which were so lightly dressed, what are they when the double death is nigh?

The one I know for sure, the other dread. 

Painting nor sculpture now can lull to rest my soul that turns to His great Love on high Whose arms to clasp us on the cross were spread. ~ Michelangelo

Michelangelo was a great poet also, and the poems of his which survive show the same spirit which we have found in his sculpture and painting. The last three lines of this sonnet make it clear that he could never be at ease in the world, and that was fundamentally true of him all his life. He was a sort of hybrid, still part of the old but already living within the new. This is particularly evident in that work which he carried out at the instigation of one of the Popes: the tombs of Giuliani and Lorenzo dei Medici.

 Dawn & Dusk 

Night & Day

In this chapel: the four allegorical figures, arranged two and two: Day and Night, Dawn and Dusk. I have often gazed at them; in fact they are one of the things which by a sort of spiritual compulsion I always look at longest when I have had the privilege of being in Florence. These figures are not mere allegories without force and without vitality. Use every means that Spiritual Science gives you to look at them and think about them; then if we remember that what anthroposophy calls the ego and the astral body leave the physical and etheric bodies at night, and if we ask ourselves what qualities and gesture of the etheric body we should select to represent plastically the truth which Spiritual Science tells us — how, that is, we should picture the physical body of the sleeping human being if we really feel him to be what Spiritual Science describes him as being — we know that he should be represented in the form which Michelangelo has given to “Night”. It is not just a symbol of night but the true spiritual reality of man as he really is in sleep which we have before us in this female figure. Thus Michelangelo, who knew so well how to set the figures in his works within the same space in which we ourselves stand, was also well aware what it means if the soul and spirit leaves man’s physical body but leave it with life still within it. If we also study the other individual members of the human being and then look at the other figures in the tomb, we shall see how closely they run parallel with what I once called spiritual chemistry.” ~Rudolf Steiner, Michelangelo, Berlin, 8th January, 1914

Dusk Night



Dear Friends – We are very fortunate to be one of only a few Branches that own a building, a home for Anthroposophical work. But not having a tenant has us put in a dire position. There is talk again in the council that if something doesn’t shift soon we will lose the building.

After serving on the council & working for over 4 years to rent the space at the branch, seeing those years get lost in contracts that never got signed, I took it to heart that perhaps there was a spiritual or karmic reason that kept the branch space unrented for so long.

When Elderberries 3-Fold Café came to Chicago I understood why. We are meant to use the entire building to further anthroposophy. We are called, my friends, to create centers for young people to meet, where they can discover who they are in the light of Anthroposophy, where they can work on their inner development, where they can work thru their karma together, with us, each learning from the other.

We can save the Rudolf Steiner Branch by making it a home base in a network that supports Youth Initiatives, bringing the Old & Young Souls together.

This goes hand in hand with the practical application of the 3-Fold Social Organism, so needed in the world, which they are coming now to implement through practical Anthroposophy.

Please help us pave the way for a 3-fold Cafe in the Heartland!

The Branch Angel seeks to awaken us to this important opportunity which will bring the forces of Michael to bare here in Chicago – one of the 7 hubs on the Grail-Road which will further Anthroposophy around the planet.

Will YOU help support the future NOW?

Our $25,000 goal will provide us with the seeds required to get off the ground in Chicago and will cover:

  • Rent & Deposit
  • Construction / Materials
  • Tableware & Equipment
  • Furniture
  • Permits

Yours in service
~Hazel Archer Ginsberg, Festivals Coordinator & Council Member of The Rudolf Steiner Branch and the Central Regional Council of The Anthroposophical Society

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

From Light Thru Darkness Into New Light

Reflections from the ‘Great American Eclipse’ & the CRC ‘Speaking from Soul to Soul with the solar eclipse’ Retreat.

It was a destiny moment. And we all knew it. We had chosen, to incarnate at this time in history. We had chosen, to gather in a karmic knot at this Threshold Moment, to stand together as human beings, united with a common purpose; to explore the spiritual significance of this cosmic/earthly event with Christ Consciousness. Had we stood together like this in lives past, we wondered?

I felt honored to be in a circle with these kindred spirits, 37 intrepid souls, coming from all around the United States, & as far away as the Philippines & Germany, to work & witness & hold the light.

When our Chicago caravan arrived in St. Louis, we saw, not just 1 rainbow, but a sheet of rainbows melting in & out of the clouds as we circumambulated the  Mother-House.

And work we did; embodying the New Mysteries of the Will, thru folk eurythmy, song, powerful verses, including the Foundation Stone, & deep discussions, as insights arose within us. Together we envisioned, co-created & staged the pageant: ‘From Light Through Darkness Into New Light’.

All the while we held the picture of the larger cycles, acknowledging the 100+ year rhythm of Rudolf Steiner’s Mystery Dramas, the 3-Fold Social Organism, and lectures involving the ‘double’, & the ‘Occult Background of World War I’; actively exploring ‘Cosmic & Human Metamorphoses’ & the Mystery of Golgotha.

In thinking of the eclipse as a ‘living being that comes into & out of incarnation’ (from Astrosopher Elizabeth Vreed), it was interesting to contemplate the past, present & future thru the Saros cycle of this eclipse series, which was born on January 4th 1639,  repeating every 18 years, 11 days. This ‘eclipse being’ will bring 77 eclipse events. The ‘Great American eclipse’ was its 22nd pass over the sun. The series ends on April 17, 3009. (The longest eclipse will occur on June 25, 2522, with a maximum duration of totality for 7 minutes, 12 seconds!)

We all felt the pressing import from the fact that this eclipse would touch only America, especially at this time in history, creating a need in us to be fully conscious. We asked ourselves: Could this solar eclipse be a herald to the Western incarnation of Ahriman – or an occasion calling for another sacrifice of the Christ, like the pre-earthly deeds, the Mystery of Golgotha, & the 2nd crucifixion in the etheric? We wanted to name the adversary, but we did not dwell there, & these beings were not part of the pageant.

In the evening – we immersed ourselves in a meditation envisioning our human heart as an expanding Sun, (from Peter Seleg’ book: The Ensouled Sun of Man: A Heart Meditation, which was given to Ita Wegman’s mother Henriette for her 73rd birthday by Rudolf Steiner) Then we stood together in freedom, holding the reigns in the 3-Fold Social organism of the Cultural Realm, with its emphasis on education & spirituality, to meet our own ‘Portal of Initiation’. With thanks to our dear Dr. Steiner, we dedicated our pageant to our beloved dead, to the spirit of the Mississippi River, & all of America, our angels & all the spiritual beings working for the light. After quoting Dickens:

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way. . .”

We presented our pageant to the spiritual world. (for the photo album click here)

On the morning of the eclipse we arrived early at Bee Tree Park, & while we circled up, 8 hawks circled above us. It was blazing hot & dripping humidity, & the sky was crystal clear, as we stood on the deck overlooking the River. Some of us lay in the partial shade so we could comfortably look up at the dazzling sky as the moon slowly slid over the sun. We watched the quality of the light change around us & in nature. The trees provided a lightshow, imprinting crescent-shapes thru the leaves onto the steamy grass. Someone said the people looked transparent, like angels. The energy was very dis-incarnating, folks were giddy or overwhelmed with emotion, others chatting away. I had wanted to stay at the Mother-House during the eclipse so we could be contemplative & undisturbed in our spiritual scientific activities, but my colleagues on the CRC team wanted to be there in that lovely public setting, & so it was.  And even though we had reserved the overlook, a small crowd of local families had also gathered. Some of us did speak out Steiner’s Sun-Heart Verse, & The Michael Meditation; we held onto the Lord’s Prayer & sang a-bit, but it was clear, the group was dispersed in the crowd, & we each stood alone, with only our personal double & the guardian at the Threshold. It was as if the sound was pressurized, & yet at the same time, it was being sucked up & out, dissipating in the growing dark.

But even as the light slowly waned into an odd twilightish glow, there came a nod from the heavens, & I knew the stars were waiting for us to speak to them, encouraging us to stand with them to hold the light ensouled in our Human Heart-Sun.  And as the eclipse was coming closer to totality I knew I WAS “speaking to the stars” with Michael, The Christ-Messenger, at my side, courageously holding the Consciousness Soul, contributing Heart-Thinking to create a positive evolution for humanity & for Mother Earth.

And O was it beautiful!- astoundingly magnificent! – awesome in its might! – invoking wonder & awe! I gasped & shuttered, overcome with emotion & deep reverence. The diamond effect was glorious. At the maximum totality time stood still. A collective in-breath held for what felt like an eternity in those few minutes.  And there in that strange twilight, Venus the Goddess of Beauty was laid bare, off to the right, with Regulus the heart of Leo the Lion beaming out on the left; 2 centennials of Love flanking the solar eclipse, revealed only as the veil of light was removed in the darkening. The image that flashed up in my mind was that the eclipse was a crater or black hole that took me into the center of the earth & then spit me out into cosmic spaces, where I touched the veil of Isis. Salt tears poured from my eyes & mixed with the sweat on my face. It was hard to catch my breath again & resume a steady rhythm. A dear one laid their hands upon my head.

When the diamond appeared again signaling the end of totality, & the slow  beginning of the Sun’s return, I began to softly sing, ‘The Earth, the Air, the Fire the Water, Return, Return, Return, Return’… a song suggested by my dear CRC colleague…but I was told to ssshhh by a person who then promptly turned her back to the sky & started chatting. That shook me, it woke me up as if from a spell, & I came back fully into myself. I then knew I had to leave the public area & go off on my own. I followed the crescent-light from the leaves & walked into the trees. Soon I found I was on a path going down to the River. It was steep, so I walked slowly, willing with the hierarchies, moving my limbs with keen awareness. I came to a little rock outcropping where a dear member of our group, who had come all the way from the Philippines to join us, was sitting. She was like a sweet forest nymph there in the strange light. She spoke to me in kind whispers, a balm to my raw, open-heart, telling me, Yes, I was on a path to the River & that others were there. I slipped & slid on the steep hill, the bright russet dirt, dusting my slick skin. I had to cross a train track – just in time – I found a rope to help me climb the rest of the way down, before a train clicked & clacked by.  And there on the shore were 4 lone pilgrims, each on their separate chosen spot by the Rivers edge. When I appeared from the cliff they all came together & we waded into the muddy water, singing ‘Amazing Grace’, ‘This little Heart of Mine’, & some other gospel spirituals while the moon continued to move off, making way for the Sun Renewed. Two more friends soon appeared & came down to the River asking to be baptized. Such joy in the returning light.

Soon I needed to ascend, back up from the bottom land at the River’s edge, up into the trees once more, to catch the crescent show before the eclipse had completely ended. On my way to the tracks I glanced down & found a piece of petrified wood that has rings which look like the progression of an eclipse. A dear one with pockets carried it up for me. I was surprised how easy the ascent was compared to the descent.

When I reached the overlook, only a few friends were still there. I was surprised that folks would leave before the completion of the eclipse; it was eerie to see the place so deserted. The 6 of us made a little altar of found objects from nature in the center of the overlook, & a dear one lead us in a spiraling contraction- expansion. Just as we finished, Thunder roared. And just as the eclipse was ending we saw a rainbow in the same direction the Moon had moved off into, & again the Thunder sounded, echoing in the distance. Just then my Chicago friends pulled up in the car, shouting ‘curb-side service for the Queen of the Sun’!

When we got back to the Mother-House, we showered, rested & broke bread with the sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, who had created a diorama made-up of Oreo cookies showing the stages of the eclipse, & who served moon-pies for desert. Then we gathered to hear leading thoughts from Steiner’s 5th Gospel.

We shared the budding insights from our eclipse experience. I had come to realize that the woman who had ssshhhed me had given me a great gift, becoming a mirror to my double. At breakfast the next morning I was grateful that we were able to share perspectives with love. In the age of the Consciousness Soul we are meant to bump up against each other. Steiner made karma & reincarnation the focus of his work, & this must become our work as well. After sharing, we closed with the Foundation Stone Mediation & the Hallelujah in eurythmy, which we repeated upon awakening the next morning to end our retreat.

Driving home, our little caravan decided to stop at the Cahokia Mounds, to bring our radiant energy to the dead buried there in the remains of the most sophisticated prehistoric native civilization – one of the greatest cities of the world, larger than London in AD 1250. This was the perfect capper to our retreat, especially since it was part of our ‘Bridging Project’ working with the ‘so-called dead’. We sent them our love as we stood at the center of ‘Woodhenge’, a cosmic map aligned with the zodiac, cedar logs marking out the place of the Sun at the equinoxes & Solstices; then we climbed ‘Monks Mound’ the highest & most sacred of the 100’s of mound sites. The thunder clouds gathered & the wind, now chilly, brought us into balance between the past, the present & the future.

With reverence & wonder

~ Hazel Archer Ginsberg 


and the work continues…

Elderberries’ mission is to create islands of healing where youth can walk the path of self transformation. It is our conviction that, in order to transform one’s self, one must participate in the world. Each of us has gifts to bring to the world, along with a wish to experience a more beautiful world. The challenges of today call for deep capacities, teamwork, compassion, to transform idealism into action. Elderberries 3Fold Cafe Chicago will be our second location, a dream unfolding.

We believe that in order for the young people of the world to be able to bring their healing gifts to fruition, we are going to need safe and socially inspired spaces that invite creativity and ask us to be bold.  The vision has always been for there to be 7 cafes across the countrybeacons of light , for international collaboration.  We call it the “Michael Grailroad”, connecting and empowering the young people across the continent.


Our $25,000 goal will provide us with the seeds required to get off the ground in Chicago and will cover:

  • Rent & Deposit
  • Construction / Materials
  • Tableware & Equipment
  • Furniture
  • Permits

Will YOU help support the future NOW?