14 April 2017 – Astro-Weather: Arcturus shines brightly in the east these evenings, well to the left or upper left of even brighter Jupiter (by about three fists at arm’s length). Arcturus forms the pointy end of a long, narrow kite asterism formed by the brightest stars of Bootes, the Cowherd.
Orion the Hunter stands out in the western sky as darkness falls this week. The conspicuous constellation appears slightly askew compared with its appearance in winter’s evening sky. Now, the three-star belt is aligned parallel to the horizon while blue-white Rigel hangs directly below the belt & ruddy Betelgeuse stands directly above.
Uranus is in conjunction with the Sun at 1 am CDT. From our earthly perspective, this means the distant planet lies behind the Sun & so is out of sight. Uranus will return to view in the morning sky in late May
“Everybody should be reminded by the Easter festival, that there will be the resurrection of the spirit out of the present darkened nature of the human being”. ~Rudolf Steiner, The Riddles of the World and Anthroposophy
5th Night of Passover
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
215 – Birthday of Mani the prophet & founder of Manichaeism – see Rudolf Steiner’s lectures GA 104 & 113
1126 – Averroes, a medieval Spanish polymath. He wrote on logic, Aristotelian & Islamic philosophy, theology, the Maliki school of Islamic jurisprudence, psychology, political & Andalusian classical music theory, geography, mathematics, & the mediæval sciences of medicine, astronomy, physics, & celestial mechanics. Averroes was a defender of Aristotelian philosophy against Ash’ari theologians led by Al-Ghazali.
1561 – On Good Friday, around dawn there was a mass sighting of celestial phenomena over Nuremberg, residents of Nuremberg saw what they described as an aerial battle, followed by the appearance of a large black triangular object & then a large crash outside of the city. According to witnesses, there were hundreds of spheres, cylinders & other odd-shaped objects that moved erratically overhead.
A broadsheet news article was printed later that month, describes objects of various shapes including crosses, globes, two lunar crescents, a black spear & tubular objects from which several smaller, round objects emerged & darted around the sky at dawn.
“In the morning of April 14, 1561, at daybreak, between 4 and 5 a.m., a dreadful apparition occurred on the sun, and then this was seen in Nuremberg in the city, before the gates and in the country – by many men and women. At first there appeared in the middle of the sun two blood-red semi-circular arcs, just like the moon in its last quarter. And in the sun, above and below and on both sides, the color was blood, there stood a round ball of partly dull, partly black ferrous color. Likewise there stood on both sides and as a torus about the sun such blood-red ones and other balls in large number, about three in a line and four in a square, also some alone. In between these globes there were visible a few blood-red crosses, between which there were blood-red strips, becoming thicker to the rear and in the front malleable like the rods of reed-grass, which were intermingled, among them two big rods, one on the right, the other to the left, and within the small and big rods there were three, also four and more globes. These all started to fight among themselves, so that the globes, which were first in the sun, flew out to the ones standing on both sides, thereafter, the globes standing outside the sun, in the small and large rods, flew into the sun. Besides the globes flew back and forth among themselves and fought vehemently with each other for over an hour. And when the conflict in and again out of the sun was most intense, they became fatigued to such an extent that they all, as said above, fell from the sun down upon the earth ‘as if they all burned’ and they then wasted away on the earth with immense smoke. After all this there was something like a black spear, very long and thick, sighted; the shaft pointed to the east, the point pointed west. Whatever such signs mean, God alone knows. Although we have seen, shortly one after another, many kinds of signs on the heaven, which are sent to us by the almighty God, to bring us to repentance, we still are, unfortunately, so ungrateful that we despise such high signs and miracles of God. Or we speak of them with ridicule and discard them to the wind, in order that God may send us a frightening punishment on account of our ungratefulness. After all, the God-fearing will by no means discard these signs, but will take it to heart as a warning of their merciful Father in heaven, will mend their lives and faithfully beg God, that He may avert His wrath, including the well-deserved punishment, on us, so that we may temporarily here and perpetually there, live as his children. For it, may God grant us his help, Amen”. Art by Hanns Glaser, letter-painter of Nurnberg
1759 – Deathday of G.F. Handel – composer
1865 Abraham Lincoln is shot in Ford’s Theatre by John Wilkes Booth; Lincoln died the next day
1900 – The Exposition Universelle – a world’s fair held in Paris, France, from 14 April to 12 November 1900, to celebrate the achievements of the past century & to accelerate development into the next. The fair, visited by nearly 50 million, displayed many machines, inventions, & architecture that are now nearly universally known, including the Grande Roue de Paris Ferris wheel, Russian nesting dolls, diesel engines, talking films, escalators, & the telegraphone (the first magnetic audio recorder)
1912 – The sinking of the Titanic
1935 – Exclusion from the General Anthroposophical Society of Ita Wegman, Elisabeth Vreed & other members also 2 national societies
1939 – The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck is first published
2010 – Over 2,700 are killed in a magnitude 6.9 earthquake in the Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture
2014 – 276 schoolgirls are abducted by Boko Haram in Chibok, Nigeria
POD (Poem Of the Day)
& the seed is cooked in salt
As our bones grow roots
In the Earth-Womb…
“On Good Friday, 1857, Wagner was sitting in the Retreat, “the sanctuary on the green hill.” Looking out over the fields watching the plants come to life, sprouting from the earth, an inkling arose in him of the Power of the germinating force emerging from the earth in response to the rays of the sun: a driving force, a motivating force that permeates the whole world and lives in all beings; a force that must evolve, that cannot remain as it is; a force that, to reach higher stages, must pass through death. Watching the plants, he felt the force of sprouting life, and turning his gaze across the Lake of Zürich to the village; he contemplated the opposite idea, that of death — the two polar concepts to which Goethe gives such eloquent expression in his poem, Blessed Longing.
And until thou truly hast,
This dying and becoming,
Thou are but a troubled guest
O’er the dark earth roaming.
Goethe rewrote the words in his hymn to nature saying: “Nature invented death to have more life; only through death can she create a higher spiritual life.”
On Good Friday, as the symbol of death came before mankind in remembrance, Wagner sensed the connection between life, death and immortality. He felt a connection between the life sprouting from the earth and the Death on the Cross, the Death that is also the source of a Christian belief that life will ultimately be victorious over death, will become eternal life. Wagner sensed an inner connection between the sprouting life of spring and the Good Friday belief in Redemption, the belief that from Death on the Cross springs Eternal Life. This thought is the same as that contained in the Quest for the Holy Grail, where the chaste plant blossom, striving towards the sun, is contrasted with human desire filled nature. On the one hand Wagner recognized that human beings steeped in desires; on the other he looked towards a future ideal — the ideal that human beings shall attain a higher consciousness through overcoming their lower nature, shall attain a higher fructifying power, called forth by the Spirit.
Looking towards the Cross, Wagner saw the blood flowing from the Redeemer, the symbol of Redemption, being caught in the Grail Chalice. This picture, linked itself within him to the life awakening in nature. These thoughts were passing through Wagner’s soul on Good Friday, 1857. He jotted down a few words that later became the basis from which he created his magnificent Good Friday drama. He wrote: “The blossoming plant springs from death; eternal life springs from the Death of Christ.” At that moment Wagner had an inner awareness of the Spirit behind all things, of the Spirit victorious over death.
For a time other creative ideas pushed those concerned with Parsifal into the Background. They came to the fore once more near the end of his life, when, clearer than before, they conveyed to him a person’s path of knowledge. Wagner portrayed the path to the Holy Grail to show the cleansing of a human beings’ desire nature. As an ideal this is depicted as a pure holy chalice whose image is the plant calyx’s chaste fructification to new creation by the sunbeam, the holy lance of love. The sunbeam enters matter as Amfortas’ lance enters sinful blood. But there the result is suffering and death. The path to the Holy Grail is portrayed as a cleansing of the sinful blood of lower desires till, on a higher level, it is as pure and chaste as is the plant calyx in relation to the sunbeam. Only he who is pure in heart, unworldly, untouched by temptation, so that he approaches the Holy Grail as an “innocent fool” filled with questions of its secret, can discover the path.
Wagner’s Parsifal is born out of his mystical feeling for the Holy Grail. At one time he meant to incorporate the idea into his work Die Wibelungen, an historical account of the Middle Ages. He wanted to elevate the concept of Emperor by letting Barbarossa journey to the East in search of the original spirit of Christianity, thus combining the Parsifal legend with history of the Middle Ages. This idea led to his wonderful artistic interpretation of the Good Friday tradition, so that it can truly be said that Wagner has succeeded in bringing religion into art, in making art religious.
In his artistic new creation of the Good Friday tradition, Wagner had the ingenious idea of combining the subject of faith with that of the Holy Grail. On the one hand stands the belief that mankind will be redeemed, and on the other, that through perfecting its nature humanity itself strives towards redemption; the belief that the Spirit permeating mankind — a drop of which lives in each individual as his higher self — in Christ Jesus foreshadowed humanity’s redemption. All this arose as an inner picture in Wagner’s mind already on that Good Friday in 1857 when he recognized the connection between the legend of Parsifal and Redemption through Christ Jesus.
We can begin to sense the presence of the Christ within mankind’s spiritual environment when, with sensitivity and understanding, we absorb the story of the Holy Grail. And it can deepen to concrete inner spiritual experience when we sense the transition from the midnight of Maundy Thursday — events of Maundy Thursday — to those of Good Friday, which symbolize the victory of nature’s resurrection.
Wagner’s Parsifal was inspired by the festival of Easter. He wanted new life to pour into the Christian festivals, which originally were established out of a deep understanding of nature. This can be seen especially in the case of the Easter festival, which was established when it was still known that the constellation of sun and moon affected human beings. Today people want Easter celebrated an an arbitrarily chosen date, which shows that the festival is no longer experienced as it was when there was still a feeling for the working of nature. When the spirit was regarded as a reality it was sensed in all things. If we could still sense what was bequeathed to us through traditions in regard to the festivals, then we would also have a feeling for how to celebrate Good Friday. Richard Wagner did have that feeling, just as he also perceived that the words of the Redeemer: “I am with you to the end of the world,” called human beings to follow the trail that led to the lofty ideal of the Holy Grail. Then people who lived the Truth would become redeemers.
Mankind is redeemed by the Redeemer. But Wagner adds the question: “When is the Redeemer redeemed?” He is redeemed when He abides in every human heart. As He has descended into the human heart, the human heart must ascend. Something of this was also felt by Wagner, for from the motif of faith he lets sound forth what is the mystical feeling of mankind in these beautiful words from Parsifal:
Greatest Healing Wonder
Redemption for the Redeemer!
These words truly show Wagner’s deep commitment to the highest ideal a person can set himself: to approach that Spiritual Power that came down to us and lives in our world. When we are worthy, we bring what resounds at the dose of Richard Wagner’s Parsifal: Redemption for the Redeemer” ~ Rudolf Steiner, Supersensible Knowledge, Lecture XII, Richard Wagner and Mysticism From death comes life
From death comes life ~Hazel Archer Ginsberg
Good Friday From Emil Bock’s The 3 Years John 19: 1-27
As the “still” week really enters into stillness, the bearing of Jesus changes. His fiery fighting will is no longer evident. When between midnight and sunrise the band of soldiers’ lays hand upon Him Whom Judas has kissed, He does not oppose them. Rather, he opposes Peter who wants to fight for Him. Then he is seized by rough hands, dragged through the city, from one end to the other. He is apparently delivered, helpless, to those who scourge Him, press the crown of thorns on His brow, spit upon Him and strike Him in the face. The witnesses of the tragedy are overcome with anguish as He Who has no physical strength is forced to carry the heavy cross and is nailed upon it by the executioners with pitiless cruelty. What has become of the fighting power which blazed in Him during the week? Has He abandoned the battle against the blindness and wickedness of men? No – the fight which was waged on the human level on the previous days is now carried on in a higher sphere, and so takes on still more powerful dimensions. The Christ is not fighting against flesh and blood, but against the invisible demonic powers from whose tyranny He will deliver mankind.
He fights against the Luciferic powers, the glittering beings of deceptive light, who want to estrange man from the earth, and likewise against the Ahrimanic powers who want to harden and fetter man to death matter. As Christ seems to lay down the weapons, He is really following the satanic powers into their hiding – places in order to overcome them there.
Ahriman displays his power over men most triumphantly when he approaches in the form of death. In humanity’s evolution up to the “turning-point of time”, death which had formerly been a friend of man had taken on more and more the features of Ahriman. The dark power knew how to use man’s destiny of death to make it his sharpest weapon. The power of death is not only that we must die: it becomes really manifest only after death. When we have laid aside our earthly body it must then be proved whether we can still maintain a connection with what takes place on Earth among those whom we belong. Here lies death’s actual power – that it can wrest us from earthly things and thrust us out into the unbridgeable exile of life on the other side. The Ahrimanic power of death uses the Earth to mock at man. During earthly life it binds him to the world of matter; it makes all sorts of promises of earthly fulfillment, which are no longer kept after death. The more a man is attached to the things of “this side” during life, the more inexorably he is affected by “other-sidedness” after death. Only those people who have gained a firm foothold in the life of the Spirit during life on Earth can after death remain helpfully united with those who are still living on Earth. After death we have only as much spiritual command over matter as we have gained upon Earth.
When on Maundy Thursday Christ dispenses the Holy Supper to the disciples in the peace of the Coenaculum, there seems to be no conflict. And yet what a wonderful victory over the spirit of dead matter is shown when the Christ takes in His hand the earthly substances of bread and wine, and makes them luminous through the sun-force of His heart. He wrests the terrestrial creature from the powers of darkness and makes it the body and blood of His Being of Light. As He is able during His life to ensoul the earthly elements so that these become radiant, He will have all the more power to do so after death.
In Gethsemane the fight against the power of death enters a decisive phase. Here in the quiet grove of the Mount of Olives, where He has so often been with His disciples for intimate teaching, He must now withstand the most dangerous attack of the enemy in utmost loneliness. The Community which He has just established in the Upper Room for the future well-being of humanity does not bring help and benefit to Himself. The consciousness of the disciples has not grown to the greatness of the moment. Judas has gone out into the night of betrayal, but the others, too, leave their Master in the lurch. They are absorbed in the twilight of their sleep in Gethsemane, out of which Peter will deny Christ.
It is not inner weakness and fear of death with which Christ has to wrestle in Gethsemane. One could not misunderstand more tragically the whole Passion of Christ than by thinking that Jesus prayed in Gethsemane that He might still be spared from death. Not fear of death, but death itself assails Him. Death, already apprehensive of losing control over Him, appears before Him to lay hold of Him. The Destroying Angel wants to possess Him. The secret of the conflict in Gethsemane lies in the fact that death wants to outwit Jesus. It wants to wrest Him away too soon, before He has ended His work and filled the last vestige of the earthly vessel with His Spirit.
For three years the Fire of divine Ego-hood has burned in the body and soul of Jesus. The human vessel – from within outwards – has thus already been consumed almost to ashes. What still has to be suffered and completed demands so much strength from the earthly sheaths that there is a real danger of premature death. Ahriman lies in wait and hopes to make use of this moment. Luke, the physician, describes with precise words what happens, when he says “And being in agony, he prayed more earnestly”. In the clinical sense of the term, the death-struggle had already come. When St. Luke adds, “and His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground”, he adds exact symptoms of the agony of death.
But Christ is victorious and death is repulsed. With the mightiest force of prayer ever known on Earth He wrestles to remain in the body. It is an echo of this fight when He speaks on the Cross the words that seem to betray a weakness: “I thirst”. He still remains, even immediately before He breathes out His soul, true to the Earth. It is not His will to pass into the spiritual world simply through dying. It is His will to remain united with the Earth when He goes through death and it is this that will be His conquest over death. He wrestles to enter still more deeply into the earthly world of matter which He bears in Himself through His physical body. There is still a last remnant to be ensouled. This, too, He will not abandon to the Prince of this World, who has begun to count on the material realm of the earthly as being in his possession once and for all.
The drama returns to human scenes and conditions. On the morning of Good Friday Christ confronts the whole of humanity, as represented by the three figures of Caiaphas, Pilate and Herod. Then the way leads up to Golgotha. Nails are driven by the soldiers into the hands and feet of the Christ, and it seems as though He allows everything to come about quite passively. In fact through the medicine of bitter pain, His inmost Being has gained the ultimate power of spirit over matter, so that Death can no longer claim Him. The Ahrimanic death-powers realize this, and appear for their last effort, furious that their might has been of no avail. When the sun is darkened during the sultry midday hours of Good Friday, it is as though the demon of the sun were straining to the utmost against the God of the sun. And when the earth is shaken by the earthquake, all the demons of the earth seem to storm forward in and endeavour to help the satanic death-power to victory. Anti-Christ moves the earthly elements and even the forces of the heavens. However, death can strip nothing from the sovereignty of Christ’s spirit, from His authority over all earth existence. It is in accord with His own will that the cosmic powers rise up in the hour of Golgotha. He has said to the officers in Gethsemane, “But this is the hour and the power of darkness” (Luke 22, 23).
In the midst of the darkness a Mystery was manifested on Golgotha which may be mentioned only with great reserve. The Body which hung on the Cross began to radiate light. In many country districts of Europe, in a field or at the roadside, one can find crucifixes with a gilded figure on a black wood cross. A momentous secret of Good Friday is living here in the naïve wisdom of folklore. A mysterious brilliance broke through the dreadful noonday light. The Sun of Christ revealed itself as the physical sun suffered eclipse. A ray of Easter already wove itself into the darkness of Good Friday.
The last of the Seven Words from the Cross, “It is finished,” does not refer to the sufferings which have been surmounted, but to the complete conquest over the power of death which has been achieved. Whereas death casts into the banishment of “the other side” the soul of a man whom it has mocked during his lifetime with the power of earthly matter, the Christ, in dying, goes directly to the Earth. The blood streams from His wounds; His soul goes with it into the body of the Earth. When blood streams out from a dying man, the blood and the soul go different ways; here the soul goes with the blood. Later, the body is lowered into the grave; the Earth opens in an earthquake and takes into itself the body of Christ. When a human body given up by the soul is lowered into the grave, body and soul go different ways. Christ’s soul goes the same way, to the Earth. That is the great cosmic sacrifice of Love which Christ is able to accomplish for the whole of earth-existence, because death can no longer hinder Him. The Earth receives the body and the blood of Christ, the great Communion, and therewith the medicine for the spiritualizing of all material existence is incorporated into Earth existence – “the medicine that maketh whole”.
Our Easter-Tide Festival for 2017:
15 April 2017, Holy Saturday –
‘The Mystery of Golgotha – Then & Now’
2 pm – 4 pm
What was the Mystery of Golgotha?
What is the Mystery now?
What will it be for the future?
~Art Projections & Discourse with Hazel Archer Ginsberg
Group work: Based on Baruch Urieli’s
‘Learning to Experience the Etheric World,
Empathy, the After-Image and a New Social Ethic’
ALSO: A sneak Preview of our New Art Exhibition by Victoria Martin “I” See Heaven”
$10 Donation & Snacks to Share Encouraged
16 April 2017, Easter Sunday – 4 pm – 6 pm
The Midwest Eurythmy Group will perform
The Easter Verse from the Calendar of the Soul by Rudolf Steiner & Bach Fugue Bb minor ‘5 Voices’ & Prelude #22
Then we will explore The Calendar of the Soul Verse for SPRING thru focused discussion & in an Artistic Activity with Karen Hartz. We will end with Group Eurythmy.
$10 Donation goes to support the Midwest Eurythmy Group
& Snacks to Share Encouraged
(Hazel will bring her famous slow cooked leg of lamb :