10 December 2017 – Astro-Weather: At this time of year the Big Dipper lies down, due north, soon after dark. But by midnight, the Dipper is standing straight up on its handle in fine view in the northeast.
Last Quarter Moon occurs at 1:51 am CST. Look for Her above the eastern horizon shortly before midnight, then climbing high in the south as twilight starts to paint the morning sky. The half-lit Moon spends the morning hours in the southern part of the constellation Leo the Lion.
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
Lucas Cranach the Elder
According to the original Calendar of the Soul by Rudolf Steiner, Today is the Birthday of Judith. The book from the Apocrypha, named after her, tells the lesser known story of this beautiful widow who plied enemy Assyrian General Holofernes with cheese & wine until he fell into a drunken stupor. Judith then beheaded the general in his sleep, & his soldiers fled in fear, saving her people from the Assyrians. This story is the subject of much renowned artwork. And is told at Hanukkah (This 8 day festival starts on the evening of December 12th 2017)
1198 – Deathday of Averroes, Arabian philosopher, astronomer, most famous for his commentaries on Aristotle’s works, which had been largely forgotten in the West. It was through the Latin translations of Averroes’ work, beginning in the twelfth century, that the legacy of Aristotle was recovered in the West. Averroes attempted to reconcile Aristotelian philosophy with Islamic theology & to demonstrate that philosophy & theology were two paths to understanding the same truth. Rudolf Steiner refers to him a lot in his lectures on Karmic relationships.
1520 – The Burning the Papal Bull of Excommunication by Martin Luther. Because of constant attacks from the Roman Church, Luther was forced to shape his ideology into an autonomous theology. During the years 1520-1521 he worked on the three great works “Address to the Christian Nobility of the German Nation”, “The Babylonian Captivity” & “The Freedom of the Christian Man”, thereby emotionally cutting himself off from Rome.
The inquisition against Luther was taken up again in 1520, partly because of these works. The peak of the inquisition came, with the Papal Bull of excommunication in which Luther was ordered to recant his teachings.
Luther reacted in protest. He burned the Papal Bull (“Exurge Domine”) along with the book of church law & many other books by his enemies on December 10, 1520 in Wittenberg where the Luther Oak (Luthereiche) stands today. He is said to have yelled: “Because you, godless book, have grieved or shamed the holiness of the Father, be saddened and consumed by the eternal flames of Hell”.
This behavior caused a conclusive and irrevocable break with Rome. On January 3, 1521 the Pope excommunicated Luther.
The Emperor, however, felt forced to accept Luther because of the pro-Luther mood in the empire & because of the influence of various princes who were hoping to weaken the Pope’s political influence through Luther. As a result, the rebel was guaranteed safe escort on his trip to the Imperial Diet of Worms.
1884 – Birthday of Albert Steffen, poet, painter, dramatist, essayist, & novelist. He joined the Theosophical Society in Germany in 1910, & the Anthroposophical Society in 1912. He was 1 of the original Vorstand members, & became its president after the death of founder, Rudolf Steiner. Steffen was chief editor of the society’s journal, Das Goetheanum, from 1921-1963. At an early age his senses were especially attuned to all of nature. “As a child it always seemed to me as though a human countenance peeped forth from every blossom. From the tulip, that of a Turkish maiden; from the chrysanthemum, that of a Japanese dancer; from the sunflower of Inca King; from the geranium a Moorish boy.”~AS
By age 14 he had intuitively ‘understood’ that the human soul goes through the process of reincarnation. At age 21 he moved to Berlin, & 2 years later, to Munich. There he became a freelance writer & published his first novel, ‘Ott, Alois and Werelsche’ in 1907.
In Berlin, Steffen 1st heard a lecture by Rudolf Steiner. He writes: “I recognized immediately the leader of humanity: the wisdom on his brow, the love pervading his eye, the conscience in his word.”
In 1914, the beginning of World War I, Steffen was 29. At that time he was making frequent visits to Dornach. Of his experience there, he wrote: “Harmony reigned through a single man’s God-founded spirit,”…“Carving the Goetheanum capitals and architraves furthered me as a shaper of words.” In 1920, at the age of 35 Steffen moved to Dornach. In 1921 he was asked by Rudolf Steiner to be editor of the newly founded ‘Das Goetheanum’ weekly periodical.
On New Year’s 1923 Steffen witnessed the destruction by fire of the 1st Goetheanum, despite all efforts to save it. At the Christmas Conference Rudolf Steiner named Steffen to head the Section for Belles Lettres in the newly constituted Anthroposophical Society & named him Deputy Chairman. Of Albert Steffen he said: “The members of Vorstand are, I believe, chosen in the right way. Albert Steffen has already been an anthroposophist before he was born; this must be recognized with regard to him” (The Christmas Conference).
In an article which appeared in Das Goetheanum February 22nd, 1923, Steiner wrote about Steffen: “Within the Anthroposophical Movement, the spirit of such a poet, if rightly felt, should be experienced as the bringer of a message from the spiritual sphere.”… “That he wishes to work in this Movement, should be felt as a good destiny.”
F W Zeylmans van Emmichoven, a Dutch Anthroposophist, wrote that Rudolf Steiner wanted the members of the Vorstand to recognize themselves & each other against the background of the spiritual streams to which they belonged, “to cultivate fraternal feeling even between strongly contrasting personalities.”
Rudolf Steiner died in 1925; Steffen was with him in his last days. He expressed his reverence & thankfulness for this great initiate’s being & gift to humanity, recreating a ‘memory picture’ for the reader – ‘In Memoriam, Rudolf Steiner’.
After Steiner’s death, in accordance with his wishes, Albert Steffen became Chairman of the Society, serving to keep a center point of balance amidst contrasting personalities & divergent streams.
“Let this be for us our cosmic goal: –
To paint a living picture for the soul
which the claws of death cannot despoil,
which lights the darkest dungeon deep below –
take a new earth with us when we go,
which no evil shadow e’er can soil,
no tide nor flood can ever wash away,
no wind that blows can ever bleach or blight,
will never yield to acid’s poisoned bite,
will never melt in fire’s burning ray,
that’s brighter than the sun’s own visage is –
but only Christ himself can give us this!”
~Albert Steffen, Adonis Spiel / Eine Herbstfeier
Albert Steffen is also concerned with how the forces of growth & becoming are victorious. He writes: “Everywhere Christ emerges from the elements. With the lifting power with which he rolled the stone from the grave, support your body, with the light forces with which he permeates the plants, renew your life! With the air of heaven with which he sends you thoughts, like butterflies, fill your words. Guide your ego from rock to forest to the clouds, right up to the sun, by shaping, condensing, transforming and purifying it. Gaze upon your destiny from above, with starry eyes.” Steffen’s work is grounded in a living experience of the eternal. It conveys a quality which helps transform our consciousness of the earth, helping to redeem & heal.
One of Steffen’s friends was the American poet-dramatist Percy MacKaye. They spoke a similar inner language & conversed together through poetry. In an essay, ‘The Excellence of Albert Steffen’, Percy MacKaye seeks to describe his friend. “How shall I sketch his portrait for the reader? The solemnity of Savonarola, illumined by the radiance of Shelly, the staunch piety of William Penn (in black quakerish hat), all twinkled over and merrified by the arch smile and skipping gait of the marble faun himself – on a holiday, the athleticism of an alpine skier, subdued to the tender solitude of St Francis feeding the birds.”
In Steffen’s dramas one can discover interweaving themes. One is that of the victory of the spirit reborn in Christ over physical death & the forces of destruction & chaos. This is an aspect of the struggle for transformation of evil into good, a teaching of Manes who lived in the third century after Christ. Strength is called forth to release worn-out thought forms in order to grasp a deeper clarity; this leads to acts of sacrifice, inspired through love. Their example has a transforming effect, both on the people within the play & in the audience.
‘Friend’ – (from the Anglo-Saxon root: freon – to love) is defined as ‘one disposed to promote the good of another’. – Steffen describes how he aspires to view others: “The developed person does not judge others and thus set them back, but lets them stand and understands them.”
1896 – Deathday of Alfred Nobel, a Swedish chemist, engineer, inventor, businessman, & philanthropist. Known for inventing dynamite, Nobel also owned Bofors, which he had redirected from its previous role as primarily an iron & steel producer to a major manufacturer of cannon & other armaments. Nobel held 355 different patents, dynamite being the most famous. After reading a premature obituary which condemned him for profiting from the sales of arms, he bequeathed his fortune to institute the Nobel Prizes.
2nd Sunday of Advent – that time of the year to both reckon with the consequence of error & evil that is in our own astral nature, as well as develop the strength to overcome the adversarial powers we all carry, so that we might prepare the way for the birth of ‘Christ in us’ at Christmas.
This is the right activity now for each human being. It is in this confrontation & transformation of evil that can begin to let us offer back to the divine what has fallen away out of free choice. Advent is the festival of our time in world evolution.
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 Hazel@ReverseRitual.com
Opening the Holy Nights: The Dream Song of Olaf Asteson with Mary Tom & Debbie Barford on Lyre
Tuesday December 26th 7 pm at the Branch
“Olaf Åsteson, Olaf the son of earth, experiences various secrets of the cosmic All whilst he is transported into the macrocosm during the thirteen shortest days. And the nordic legend which has recently been extricated from old accounts, tells of these experiences Olaf Asteson had between Christmas and New Year up till the 6th January. We often have reason to remember this former manner in which the microcosm took part in the macrocosm, and we can then take these things further. First of all, however, let us hear the legend of Olaf Asteson, the earth son, who during the time in which we are now, experienced the secrets of cosmic existence in his meeting with the earth spirit. Let us listen to these experiences.”
$10 donation & Snacks to Share Encouraged
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
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 Hazel@ReverseRitual.com
Lazure Workshop with Nancy Melvin –
January 20-21 9am-5pm
$100 for the weekend (1/2 the proceeds go toward a new heating & cooling system for the branch)
Learn the secrets of the Lazure painting method from an expert, while helping to beautify the Elderberries 3-Fold Cafe!
for more info. contact Nancy Melvin