“Open thou my mouth, that I may sing forth thy praises”

13 September 2016 – Astro-Weather: As dusk turns to night, Arcturus twinkles due west. It’s getting lower every week. And off to its right in the northwest, the Big Dipper is turning more & more level.

big dipper in all seasons

The constellations Ursa Major the Great Bear & Cassiopeia the Queen lie on opposite sides of the North Celestial Pole, so they pivot around the North Star (Polaris) throughout the course of the night & the year. In the first half of September, these two constellations appear equally high as darkness falls. You can find Ursa Major & its prominent asterism, the Big Dipper, above the northwestern horizon. Cassiopeia’s familiar W-shape, which currently lies on its side, appears the same height above the northeastern horizon. As the night progresses, Cassiopeia climbs above Polaris while the Big Dipper swings below it.

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Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves. ~ Carl Jung

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY

Birthday of Hector, who Rudolf Steiner said was a living individual, later to be incarnated as Hamlet (See GA139 / 15.9.12)

Consider one of his characters, Hector. If you have any time available, you ought to study the figure of Hector in the Iliad — how plastically he is described so that he stands as a complete personality before us; how we see his affection for his paternal city, Troy, his wife Andromache, his relationship to Achilles, and to his armies; and how he commanded them. Try to call up this man before your minds, this man who possessed all the tenderness of a husband, and who clung in the ancient way to his home city of Troy, and who suffered such disillusions as only really great men can. Remember his relation with Achilles. Hector, as presented by Homer, is a towering figure from very ancient times, a man of great all-embracing humanity, for of course what Homer is describing belongs to a period well before his own, in the darkness of the past. Hector stands out above all the others, all those figures who seem mythical enough in the eyes of modern men.

Now take this one figure. Skeptics and all kinds of philologists may indeed doubt that there ever was a Hector at all, in the same way as they doubt the existence of Homer. But anyone who takes into consideration what may be understood from a purely human viewpoint will be convinced that Homer describes only facts that actually occurred. Hector was a living person who strode through Troy, and Achilles and the other figures were equally real. They still stand before us as personages of real earthly life. We look back to them as people of a different kind from ourselves, who are difficult to understand but whom the poet is able to bring before our souls in every detail. Now let us place before our souls a figure such as Hector, one of the chief Trojan commanders, who is defeated by Achilles. In such a personage we have something that belongs to the old pre-Christian age, something by which we can measure what men were before the time when Christ lived on earth..

I cannot go into everything underlying the historical prototype of the poetical figure of Hamlet, but through the research of spiritual science, I can offer you a striking example of how a man, a spirit of ancient times, reappears in the post-Christian era. The real figure underlying Hamlet, as presented by Shakespeare, is Hector. The same soul that lived in Hamlet lived in Hector. It is just by such a characteristic example as this, and the striking way the two different souls manifest themselves, that we can interpret what happened in the intervening time. A personality such as that of Hector stands before us in the pre-Christian age. Then comes the intervention of the Mystery of Golgotha in human evolution, and the spark it kindled in Hector’s soul causes a figure, a prototype of Hamlet, to arise, of whom Goethe said, “This is a soul that is unable to deal with any situation and is not equal to its position, who is assigned tasks but is unable to fulfill them.” ~Rudolf Steiner

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Feast of St. John Chrysostom*

509 BC – The Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus on Rome’s Capitoline Hill is dedicated on the ides of September

81 – Deathday of Titus, Roman emperor

michelangelo-david-face

1501 – Michelangelo begins work on his statue of David

1541 – After three years of exile, John Calvin returns to Geneva to reform the church under a body of doctrine known as Calvinism

san-lorenzo-del-escorial-palace

1584 – San Lorenzo del Escorial Palace in Madrid is finished

1592 – Deathday of Michel de Montaigne, French philosopher & author

1788 – The Philadelphia Convention sets the date for the first presidential election in the United States, & New York City becomes the country’s temporary capital

1814 – In a turning point in the War of 1812, the British fail to capture Baltimore. During the battle, Francis Scott Key composes his poem “Defence of Fort McHenry”, which is later set to music & becomes the United States’ national anthem

1874 – Birthday of Arnold Schoenberg, Austrian composer &painter

1872 – Deathday of Ludwig Feuerbach, German anthropologist & philosopher

1898 – Hannibal Goodwin patents celluloid photographic film

1899 – Henry Bliss is the first person in the United States to be killed in an automobile accident

1948 – Margaret Chase Smith is elected United States senator, & becomes the first woman to serve in both the U.S. House of Representatives & the United States Senate

1953 – Nikita Khrushchev is appointed General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union

1993 – Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin shakes hands with Palestine Liberation Organization chairman Yasser Arafat at the White House after signing the Oslo Accords granting limited Palestinian autonomy

2001 – Civilian aircraft traffic resumes in the United States after the September 11 attacks

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The bee is more honored than other animals, not because she labors, but because she labors for others. ~Saint John Chrysostom

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*Blessings on this Feast of St. John Chrysostom

 (The name JOHN is an initiatory title, used not in the personal sense, but as a way to designate the True Human Being, & CHRYSOSTOM = Golden-Throat or Honeyed lips)

John Chrysostom’s preaching, by word & example, epitomizes the role of the prophet to comfort the afflicted & to afflict the comfortable. For his honesty & courage he paid the price of a turbulent ministry as bishop, personal vilification & exile.

There is much intrigue surrounding this great preacher from Antioch. Brought to Constantinople after a dozen years of priestly service in Syria, John found himself the reluctant victim of an imperial ruse to make him bishop in the greatest city of the empire. Ascetic, unimposing, dignified, yet troubled by stomach ailments from his desert days as a monk, John became a bishop under the cloud of imperial politics.

If his body was weak, his tongue was powerful. The content of his sermons, his exegesis of Scripture, were never without an exquisite exclamation point. Sometimes the point stung the high & mighty. Some sermons lasted up to two hours.

His lifestyle at the imperial court was not appreciated by many courtiers. He offered a modest table to episcopal sycophants hanging around for imperial & ecclesiastical favors. John deplored the court protocol that accorded him precedence before the highest state officials. He would not be a kept man. His zeal led him to decisive action. Bishops who bribed their way into office were deposed.

Many of his sermons called for concrete steps to share wealth with the poor.

The rich did not appreciate hearing from John that private property existed because of Adam’s fall from grace any more than married men liked to hear that they were bound to marital fidelity just as much as their wives were. When it came to justice & charity, John acknowledged no double standards.

Aloof, energetic, outspoken, especially when he became excited in the pulpit, John was a sure target for criticism & personal trouble. He was accused of gorging himself secretly on rich wines & fine foods, & yet he was as skinny as a stick. Also his faithfulness as spiritual director to the rich widow, Olympia, provoked much gossip attempting to prove him a hypocrite where wealth & chastity were concerned. His actions taken against unworthy bishops in Asia Minor were viewed by other ecclesiastics as a greedy, uncanonical extension of his authority.

Theophilus, archbishop of Alexandria, & Empress Eudoxia were determined to discredit John. Theophilus feared the growth in importance of the Bishop of Constantinople & took occasion to charge John with fostering heresy. Theophilus & other angered bishops were supported by Eudoxia. The empress resented his sermons contrasting gospel values with the excesses of imperial court life. Whether intended or not, sermons mentioning the lurid Jezebel (1 Kings 9:1—21:23) & impious Herodias (Mark 6:17-29) were associated with the empress, who finally did manage to have John exiled. He died in exile in 407.

Open thou my mouth, that I may sing forth thy praises

~with Blessings & Peace

~Hazel Archer Ginsberg