11 February 2017 – Astro-Weather: La Bella Luna shines below Regulus & the Sickle of Leo after dark. Saturn rises 3 hours before the Sun & climbs high in the southeast by the time morning twilight begins. The ringed planet shines among the much fainter background stars of Ophiuchus the Serpent-bearer.
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
Feast Day of Saint Blaise. From being a healer of bodily ailments, he became a physician of souls, then retired for a time to a cavern where he remained in prayer. As bishop of Sebastea, Blaise instructed his people as much by his example & words, as by his many miracles. From all parts, the people came flocking to him for the cure of bodily & spiritual ills. He is said to have healed animals (who came to the saint on their own for his assistance) & to have been assisted by animals.
The governor was jealous, Blaise was arrested. When he was led away, the story goes, they met a poor woman whose pig had been seized by a wolf. At the command of Blaise, the wolf restored the pig to its owner, alive & unhurt. When he had reached the capital & was in prison awaiting execution, the old woman whose pig he had saved came to see him, bringing two fine wax candles to dispel the gloom of his dark cell.
In 316, Agricola, the governor of Cappadocia sent to kill the Christians, arrested the bishop Blaise. As he was being led to jail, a mother set her only son, choking on a fish-bone, at his feet, & the child was cured straight away. Regardless, the governor, unable to make Blaise renounce his faith, beat him with a stick, ripped his flesh with iron combs, & beheaded him. Consequently, Saint Blaise is invoked for protection against injuries & illnesses of the throat.
In many places on the day of his feast the blessing of St. Blaise is given: 2 burning candles, blessed on the feast of the Presentation of the Lord (“Candlemas”), are held in a crossed position by a priest over the heads of the faithful or the people are touched on the throat with them. At the same time the following blessing is given: “May Almighty God at the intercession of St. Blaise, Bishop and Martyr, preserve you from infections of the throat and from all other afflictions“. Then the priest makes the sign of the cross over the faithful.
Blaise is considered one of the ‘Fourteen Holy Helpers’. His cult became widespread in Europe in the 11th & 12th centuries & his legend is recounted in the 14th-century Legenda Aurea. Saint Blaise is the saint of the wild beast.
In iconography, Blaise is represented holding two crossed candles in his hand (the Blessing of St. Blaise), or in a cave surrounded by wild beasts, as he was found by the hunters of the governor. He is often shown with the instruments of his martyrdom, steel combs. The similarity of these instruments of torture to wool combs led to his adoption as the patron saint of wool combers in particular, & the wool trade in general
Feast Day of St. Gobnait, Irish patron Saint of BeeKeepers. She was born in County Clare in the 5th or 6th Century, & is said to have been the sister of Saint Abban. She fled a family feud, taking refuge in the Aran Islands. Here an angel appeared & told her that this was “not the place of her resurrection” & that she should look for a place where she would find nine white deer grazing. She found the deer at the place now known as St. Gobnet’s Wood.
Celtic lore held bees in high esteem, believing the soul left the body as a bee or a butterfly. Gobnait is said to have added beekeeping to her life’s work, developing a lifelong affinity with them. She started a religious order & dedicated her days to helping the sick. She used honey as a healing aid. She is credited with saving the people at Ballyvourney from the plague.
One story tells of how she drove off a brigand by sending a swarm of bees after him and making him restore the cattle he had stolen.
St Gobnait’s well is situated to the North of Ballyagran. It is said that a white stag can sometimes be seen at the well
660 BC – Foundation of Japan by Emperor Jimmu
AD 55 – Tiberius Claudius Caesar Britannicus, heir to the Roman emperorship, dies under mysterious circumstances in Rome. This clears the way for Nero to become Emperor
1534 – Henry VIII of England is recognized as supreme head of the Church of England
1650 – Deathday of René Descartes, French mathematician & philosopher
1790 – The Religious Society of Friends, also known as Quakers, petitions U.S. Congress for the abolition of slavery
1847 – Birthday of Thomas Edison, American engineer and businessman, developed the light bulb & phonograph
1858 – The Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. Bernadette Soubirous’s first vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Lourdes, France. ‘I Am the Immaculate Conception‘. We celebrate her message of peace, & healing. 14-year-old peasant girl, Bernadette Soubirous, was gathering firewood in the countryside when a beautiful woman, standing on a rock in a natural grotto, appeared to her. This began a series of 18 apparitions in which Bernadette spoke & prayed with the woman. On one visit, the mysterious woman instructed Bernadette to dig into the dry ground & drink from the spring that flowed there. Although no spring was visible, Bernatdette scratched at the ground & a spring began to bubble up. To this day, the waters continue to flow, which have a miraculous healing property. Lourdes is well-known for the many miracles of healing that have taken place there over the years
1861 – American Civil War: The United States House of Representatives unanimously passes a resolution guaranteeing noninterference with slavery in any state
1937 – A sit-down strike ends when General Motors recognizes the United Auto Workers
1971 – Eighty-seven countries, including the United States, United Kingdom,& Soviet Union, sign the Seabed Arms Control Treaty outlawing nuclear weapons on the ocean floor in international waters
1978 – Censorship: China lifts a ban on works by Aristotle, William Shakespeare & Charles Dickens
1979 – The Iranian Revolution establishes an Islamic theocracy under the leadership of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini
1981 – Around 100,000 US gallons of radioactive coolant leak into the containment building of TVA Sequoyah 1 nuclear plant in Tennessee, contaminating 108 workers
1990 – Nelson Mandela is released from Victor Verster Prison outside Cape Town, South Africa after 27 years as a political prisoner
2011 – The first wave of the Egyptian revolution culminates in the resignation of Hosni Mubarak & the transfer of power to the Supreme Military Council after 18 days of protests
~Hail breath of Wisdom
Humming forth from
The throat of my beloved…
You thrill me
Like a seed bell calling spring…
“There are no right answers to wrong questions,” says science fiction writer Ursula K. Le Guin. All our efforts to hunt down solutions will be for naught unless we frame our teething troubles elegantly & accurately. And that’s why we must be conscientious about coming up with the very best questions.
And as I like to say:
The Question is Love
& Love is the Answer!
But it’s also important to remember this advice from filmmaker John Cassavetes: “All my best ideas come from having no answer, from not knowing.” I hope that testimony cheers you up, my friend. Because, as hard as it may be to imagine, we are on the verge of a breakthrough as we sit in the discomfort of unknowing. As we surf the chaotic flow & monitor the confusing hubbub, we are brewing the perfect conditions for an outburst of creativity. So rejoice in the blessing of not knowing!
Yet at the same time, we have a mandate to create our life story as a primordially eternal work of art – So head in the direction of quests that clear your mind of clutter & mobilize your gutsy brilliance, putting your trust in dreams that inspire & deftly sweep aside distracting worries.
See you there