17 April 2017 – Astro-Weather: Bright Arcturus is climbing high in the east these evenings. Equally bright Capella is descending high in the northwest. They stand at exactly the same height above your horizon at some moment between about 8 pm and 9:30 pm CDT. Can you time this event? Like everything star-related, it happens 4 minutes earlier every night.
Jupiter reached opposition & peak visibility just 10 days ago, & it remains a stunning sight all night. It appears low in the east-southeast during evening twilight & climbs highest in the south around midnight CDT. The giant planet of Kingly benevolence is the night’s brightest celestial object with the exception of the waning gibbous Moon & Venus, neither of which rises until well past midnight. Jupiter resides among the background stars of Virgo, northwest of that constellation’s brightest star, Spica.
Easter Monday, also known as Bright Monday, Renewal Monday, Wet Monday, and Dingus Day, is the Monday immediately after Easter Sunday. It is observed by many Christian groups, but primarily by the Eastern Orthodox & Roman Catholic traditions. It marks the beginning of Easter Week (Roman Catholic) / Bright Week (Eastern Orthodox).
Various cultures observe Easter Monday. For some, Easter Monday is a solemn remembrance of Christ’s death & resurrection marked by an outdoor procession. For others, there are Easter egg-rolling competitions. For still others, siblings or spouses wake each other up by pouring buckets of water on each other (ie. “Wet Monday”). There are also celebrations with a large gathering & a polka festival (Dingus Day).
In the United States in the early nineteenth century, Dolly Madison, the wife of the 4th American President, organized an egg roll in Washington, D.C. She had been told that Egyptian children used to roll eggs against the pyramids so she invited the children of Washington to roll hard-boiled eggs down the hilly lawn of the new Capitol building! The custom continued, except for the years during the Civil War. In 1880, the First Lady invited children to the White House for the Egg Roll because officials had complained that they were ruining the Capitol lawn. It has been held there ever since then, only cancelled during times of war. The event has grown, & today Easter Monday is the only day of the year when tourists are allowed to wander over the White House lawn. The wife of the President sponsors it for the children of the entire country. The egg rolling event is open to children 12 years old & under. Adults are allowed only when accompanied by children!
Do you think the current administration will continue this good spirited tradition today?
“Our ancestors required a different event that was connected to the time when the sun reaches its zenith. When everything in nature was budding and blossoming, they experienced an ecstasy that reaffirmed for them the existence of the spiritual world. What they experienced then at St. John’s Tide we now have to experience in the spring, at Easter. We have to be able to celebrate the awakening of the soul, the resurrection of the soul, when spiritual science speaks to us not merely as a theory, but as living knowledge”. ~Rudolf Steiner, The Presence of the Dead on the Spiritual Path, April 17, 1914
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
485 – Death-Day of Proclus – dubbed ‘The Successor’ – a Greek Neoplatonist philosopher. He studyed mathematics & the works of Aristotle under Olympiodorus the Elder. As a gifted student, he eventually became dissatisfied with the level of philosophical instruction available in Alexandria, & went to Athens, the pre-eminent philosophical center of the day, to study at the Neoplatonic successor of the famous Academy founded 800 years earlier (in 387 BC) by Plato; there he was taught by Plutarch of Athens, Syrianus, & Asclepigenia; he succeeded Syrianus as head of the Academy, & would in turn be succeeded on his death by Marinus of Neapolis.
He lived in Athens as a vegetarian bachelor, prosperous & generous to his friends, until the end of his life. He was not appreciated by the Christian rulers; he spent time traveling & being initiated into various mystery cults. He was also instructed in the “theurgic” Neoplatonism, as derived from the Orphic & Chaldean Oracles.
His house has been discovered recently in Athens, under the pavement of Dionysiou Areopagitou Street, south of Acropolis, opposite the theater of Dionysus. He had a great devotion to the Goddess Athena, whom he believed guided him at key moments in his life. Marinus reports that when Christians removed the statue of the Goddess from the Parthenon, a beautiful woman appeared to Proclus in a dream & announced that the “Athenian Lady” wished to stay at his home. Proclus died aged 73, & was buried near Mount Lycabettus in a tomb. It is reported that he was writing 700 lines each day.
1622 – Birthday of Thomas Vaughn, a Welsh philosopher, famous for his writings in the area of natural magic, with his book Anthroposophia Theomagica, a magico-mystical work. (Some say Rudolf Steiner got his idea for to name the AS from this treatise)
Although he did not practice medicine, Vaughan sought to apply his chemical skills to preparing medicines in the manner recommended by Paracelsus. Vaughan was also the author of tracts published under the pseudonym Eugenius Philalethes.
Vaughan was unusual amongst alchemists of the time in that he worked closely with his wife Rebecca Vaughan. He was a self-described member of the “Society of Unknown Philosophers”, & was responsible for translating into English in 1652 the Fama Fraternitatis Rosae Crucis, an anonymous Rosicrucian manifesto first published in 1614 in Kassel.
He placed himself in the tradition of the Rosicrucian reformers of education, &of Johannes Trithemius, his teacher Libanius Gallus, and Pelagius of Majorca.
1787 – Goethe’s experience of the archetypal plant in Palermo – “Goethe narrates a conversation that once ensued between Schiller and himself after they had both attended a meeting of the Society for Nature Research in Jena. Schiller was dissatisfied with the results of the meeting. He had found there a most disintegrating method for the study of Nature and he remarked that such a method could never appeal to a layman. Goethe replied that “possibly this method was cumbersome for the initiated also and that there might well exist yet another way of portraying Nature active and living, struggling from the whole into the parts, and not severed and isolated.” And then Goethe evolved the great ideas which had arisen within him concerning the nature of plants. He drew “with many characteristic strokes, a symbolic plant” before Schiller’s eyes. This symbolic plant was intended to give expression to the essential being lying in every single plant, whatever particular form it assumes. It was intended to demonstrate the successive development of the single portions of the plant, their emergence from each other and their mutual relationship. In Palermo, 17th April, 1787, Goethe wrote these words in reference to this symbolic plant form: “There must be such a thing; if not, how could I recognise this or that structure to be a plant if all were not moulded after one pattern?” Goethe had evolved in himself the conception of a plastic, ideal form that was revealed to his spirit when he surveyed the diversity of the plant forms and observed the element common to them all.” Rudolf Steiner Goethe’s Conception of the World: Chapter I: Goethe and Schiller
1790 – Death-Day of Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Franklin was a renowned polymath & a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, freemason, postmaster, scientist, inventor, civic activist, statesman, & diplomat. As a scientist, he was a major figure in the American Enlightenment & the history of physics for his discoveries & theories regarding electricity. As an inventor, he is known for the lightning rod, bifocals, & the Franklin stove, among other inventions. He facilitated many civic organizations, including Philadelphia’s fire department & the University of Pennsylvania, an Ivy League institution.
Benjamin Franklin, then 21, created the Junto, a group of “like minded aspiring artisans and tradesmen who hoped to improve themselves while they improved their community.” The Junto was a discussion group for issues of the day; it was modeled after English coffeehouses that Franklin knew well, & which became the center of the spread of Enlightenment ideas in Britain.
Franklin became Grand Master of the Freemasons & published the first Masonic book in the Americas, a reprint of James Anderson’s Constitutions of the Free-Masons. Franklin remained a Freemason for the rest of his life
Franklin earned the title of “The First American” for his early & indefatigable campaigning for colonial unity, initially as an author & spokesman in London for several colonies. As the first United States Ambassador to France, he exemplified the emerging American nation. Franklin was foundational in defining the American ethos as a marriage of the practical values of thrift, hard work, education, community spirit, self-governing institutions, & opposition to authoritarianism both political & religious, with the scientific & tolerant values of the Enlightenment
Franklin became a successful newspaper editor & printer in Philadelphia, the leading city in the colonies, publishing the Pennsylvania Gazette at the age of 23. He became wealthy publishing this & Poor Richard’s Almanack, which he authored under the pseudonym “Richard Saunders”. After 1767, he was associated with the Pennsylvania Chronicle, a newspaper that was known for its revolutionary sentiments & criticisms of the British policies.
He pioneered & was 1st president of The Academy & College of Philadelphia which opened in 1751 & later became the University of Pennsylvania. He organized & was the first secretary of the American Philosophical Society & was elected president in 1769. Franklin became a national hero in America as an agent for several colonies when he spearheaded an effort in London to have the Parliament of Great Britain repeal the unpopular Stamp Act. An accomplished diplomat, he was widely admired among the French as American minister to Paris & was a major figure in the development of positive Franco-American relations. His efforts proved vital for the American Revolution in securing shipments of crucial munitions from France.
He was promoted to deputy postmaster-general for the British colonies in 1753, having been Philadelphia postmaster for many years,& this enabled him to set up the first national communications network. During the Revolution, he became the first US Postmaster General. He was active in community affairs & colonial & state politics, as well as national & international affairs. From 1785 to 1788, he served as governor of Pennsylvania. He argued against slavery from an economic perspective & became one of the most prominent abolitionists.
His colorful life and legacy of scientific and political achievement, & his status as one of America’s most influential Founding Fathers have seen Franklin honored more than two centuries after his death the $100 bill.
1907 – The Ellis Island immigration center processes 11,747 people, more than on any other day.
1912 – Russian troops open fire on striking goldfield workers in northeast Siberia, killing at least 150
1961 – Bay of Pigs Invasion: A group of Cuban exiles financed & trained by the CIA lands at the Bay of Pigs in Cuba with the aim of ousting Fidel Castro.
1969 – Sirhan Sirhan is convicted of assassinating Robert F. Kennedy.
POD (Poem Of the Day)
~Today I Am
Earth reborn in the hands of the potter
Who gathered me, who molded me
In fire & aire with the waters of life…
& today What of YOU…?
Greetings dear friends –
Thank you for traversing the path of Holy Week with me. I will take a short break from the daily blog to travel to NYC, when I return I will resume my P.O.D. in honor of April as ‘Poetry Month’
Until Soon ~Hazel Archer Ginsberg