11/11/17 – Astro-Weather: Vega is the brightest star shining in the west in early evening. Its little constellation Lyra extends to the -magnitude Albireo, the beak of Cygnus — a beautiful telescopic double star.
Although Jupiter passed on the far side of the Sun in late October, it already is climbing into view before dawn. To find the benevolent king, head outside about a half-hour before sunrise & locate dazzling Venus. This morning, Jupiter appears directly below the goddess of love. Two mornings from now, these planetary beings pass within 0.3° of each other in the finest planetary conjunction of 2017.
“We understand only the very smallest part of human history and of our own life if we consider it in its external aspect, I mean in that aspect which we see from the limited view-point of our earthly life between birth and death. It is impossible to comprehend the inner motives of history and life unless we turn our gaze to that spiritual background which underlies the outer, physical happenings”. ~Rudolf Steiner, Karmic Relationships, Volume IV: Lecture III
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
Feast Day of Martin of Tours. Each 11/11 the younger children have a Lantern Walk to celebrate Martinmas, a festival of inner light in the outer darkness of the approaching winter. St Martin was a soldier in Rome in the 4th century. Legend says that one wintry night he met a poor beggar, half-naked & freezing. Martin removed the heavy military cloak from his shoulders &, drawing his sword, cut it in two, giving half to the beggar. That night, Christ appeared to Martin in a dream, wrapped in the same piece of cloak Martin had given the beggar, & said: “Martin has covered me with this garment.”
Martin became the patron saint of beggars, drunks & outcasts, dedicating his life to assisting pariahs. As we journey into the darkest time of the year, it is increasingly important for each of us to kindle warmth & light within our hearts, which becomes a beacon of light to the world. Martin’s cloak can remind us to share with those in need.
The gently glowing lanterns of Martinmas will give way to the candles of the advent spiral as we draw nearer to the Solstice, showing how our inner light must shine ever brighter against the cold. As nature sleeps, we must be wakeful!
Celebrating Martinmas serves as a reminder that each of us has a divine spark that we must ferry out into the world & share with others. The children hear the story of St. Martin, sing songs &, as darkness falls, venture out into the night with their lanterns walking along a path lit with glowing luminaries, carefully carrying their lanterns in a mood of quiet reverence. This symbolic act brings home the deeper truth, in the words of Siddhartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism (563-483 B.C.): “There isn’t enough darkness in all the world to snuff out the light of one little candle.”
1493 – Birthday of Paracelsus, a Swiss German philosopher, physician, botanist, astrologer, & general occultist. He is credited as the founder of toxicology. He is also a famous revolutionary for utilizing observations of nature, rather than referring to ancient texts, something of radical defiance during his time. Modern psychology often also credits him for being the first to note that some diseases are rooted in psychological conditions
1788 – Birthday of Baron Joseph von Spaun, an Austrian nobleman, & honorary citizen of Vienna; best known for his friendship with the composer Franz Schubert.
1918 – Armistice of 11/11 ending the fighting in the First World War between the Allies & Germany – also known as the Armistice of Compiègne after the location in which it was signed – &the agreement that ended the fighting on the Western Front. It went into effect at 11 a.m. Paris time on 11 November 1918 (“the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month”), & marked a victory for the Allies & a complete defeat for Germany, although not formally a surrender. The Germans were responding to the policies proposed by U.S. President Woodrow Wilson in his Fourteen Points of January 1918. Although the armistice ended the actual fighting, it took six months of negotiations at the Paris Peace Conference to conclude the peace treaty, the Treaty of Versailles.
1821 – Birthday of Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Russian novelist & short-story writer whose psychological penetration into the darkest recesses of the human heart, together with his unsurpassed moments of illumination, had an immense influence on 20th-century fiction.
1855 – Deathday of Soren A. Kierkegaard, Danish philosopher, theologian, & cultural critic who was a major influence on existentialism & Protestant theology in the 20th century. He attacked the literary, philosophical, & ecclesiastical establishments of his day for misrepresenting the highest task of human existence—namely, becoming a free human being in an ethical & religious sense.
1904 – Birthday of Alger Hiss, American lawyer & spy
1922 – Birthday of Kurt Vonnegut
1966 – Deathday of Hilde Boos-Hamburger, painter & co-worker with Rudolf Steiner EXPERIENCES IN PAINTING THE CUPOLAS OF THE FIRST GOETHEANUM by Hilde Boos-Hamburger
“Every artistically striving person making closer acquaintance with Rudolf Steiner and his anthroposophy is likely to have experienced in a quite individual manner the agreeable shock: here lie all the possibilities for the further development of art. In one way or another it may have gone with him as with the writer of these recollections when she first read through (not yet actually studied!) the book Theosophy, without understanding the essential, yet riveted by the crystal-bright formation of this work, and having to say to herself: Even if I cannot survey it, it is nonetheless evident: Here lies a comprehensive work of art! This first impression did not deceive, for with every subsequent work taken up, every book, every lecture, not to mention the Mystery Dramas, there opened up new experiences and vistas previously undreamed of. – These will surely be found most felicitously expressed in the poem by Christian Morgenstern (1871–1914) dedicated to Rudolf Steiner:
To beauty does your work lead:
For beauty in the end
Streams in through every revelation
That surrounds us.
Out of human-sufferings
Upward to ever higher harmonies
You release the dizzying feeling,
In accord with the
Inestimable proclaimer of GOD
And HIS never-to-be-grasped splendor
It vibrates in the love-light
From beauty does your work come, to beauty does it lead.”
1992 – The General Synod of the Church of England votes to allow women to become priests
2000 – Kaprun disaster: One hundred fifty-five skiers & snowboarders die when a cable car catches fire in an alpine tunnel in Kaprun, Austria
2012 – A strong earthquake with the magnitude 6.8 hits northern Burma, killing at least 2226 people
My POD (Poem Of the Day)
~sharpening my pointy chin…
Together we will walk the shadowland…
From my hands the horn of plenty flows freely
The ghosts are fed, the unborn, ready…
I remind them
The Earth is an apple
Ripening in space…
Blue starlight filters thru
The outstretched wings of a bird, like wind in the fire,
As our journey continues deeper into the dark
Together we carry the unending rhythm of the light…
From France comes the legend of Saint Martin, who as a young man passed under an archway in the city of Amiens and discovered a poor beggar huddled there. The man was nearly naked, shivering with cold, and had received no alms to assist him. On seeing him, the young Martin took his own cape from his shoulders, tore the garment in half, and covered the poor man to warm him. The following night Martin had a dream in which he saw Christ wearing the same piece of his cape. The experience confirmed in him his devotion to all humankind regardless of their station in life.
Saint Martin was known for his gentleness, his unassuming nature, and his ability to bring warmth and light to those who were previously in darkness. On the evening of Martinmas, he is remembered in many French households with a festival of lanterns, carrying light throughout the darkened home, singing songs.
The Martinmas celebration is inspired by old customs honoring St. Martin. As the sun sets earlier and rises later, the world grows darker and the inner light of humankind wants to shine forth. Children and parents gather as the sun sets. Handmade lanterns, often decorated with stars, suns, and moons, are lit as a symbol for the children of their own individual light. And our walk into the cold, dark evening gives the kindergarten children and their families an experience of caring and sharing as we move toward the darkness of winter.