4 October 2016 – Astro-Weather: As twilight fades, the Moon is poised between Venus to its lower right & the Saturn-Antares pair to its left. Antares twinkles below Saturn.
Vega is the brightest star very high in the west at nightfall. Arcturus, equally bright, is getting low in the west-northwest. The brightest star in the vast expanse between them, about a third of the way from Arcturus back up toward Vega, is Alphecca, the crown jewel of Corona Borealis. Alphecca is a 17-day eclipsing binary, but its brightness dips are too slight for the eye to see reliably
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
“To truly know the world, look deeply within your own being; to truly know yourself, take real interest in the world.” Rudolf Steiner
Feast Day of Crispus & Gaius, Martyrs baptized by St. Paul at Corinth, Greece. Crispin headed the local Jewish synagogue. Gaius served as St. Paul’s host & was praised by St. John. Before being martyred, Crispin served as the bishop of the Aegean Islands, & Gaius served as bishop of Thessalonica, Greece.
1 Corinthians 1:14 – I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius
Acts 10:48 – So he ordered that Crispus and Gaius be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay for a few days.
Acts 18:8 – Crispus, the synagogue leader, and his whole household believed in the Lord. And many of the Corinthians who heard the message believed and were baptized.
Romans 16:23 – Gaius, who has hosted me and all the church, sends you greetings. Erastus, the city treasurer, sends you greetings, as does our brother Quartus.
3 John 1:1 – The elder, To the beloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth
1515 Birthday of Lucas Cranach the Younger, He is known for portraits & mythical scenes
1582 – Deathday of Saint Teresa of Ávila, a prominent Spanish mystic, saint, Carmelite nun, theologian of contemplative life through mental prayer & author during the Counter Reformation.
Her books, which include her autobiography (The Life of Teresa of Jesus) & her seminal work El Castillo Interior (The Interior Castle), are an integral part of Spanish Renaissance literature as well as Christian mysticism & Christian meditation practices. She also wrote Camino de Perfección (The Way of Perfection).
Teresa of Avila was born in 1515. Her paternal grandfather, was a marrano (Jewish convert to Christianity) & was condemned by the Spanish Inquisition for allegedly returning to the Jewish faith. Her father, bought a knighthood & successfully assimilated into Christian society. Teresa’s mother, was especially keen to raise her daughter as a pious Christian. Teresa was fascinated by accounts of the lives of the saints, & ran away from home at age seven with her brother Rodrigo to find martyrdom among the Moors.
When Teresa was 14 her mother died; this resulted in Teresa becoming grief-stricken. This prompted her to embrace a deeper devotion to the Virgin Mary as her spiritual mother. Along with this good resolution, however, she also developed immoderate interests in reading popular fiction (consisting, at that time, mostly of medieval tales of knighthood) & caring for her own appearance. Teresa was sent for her education to the Augustinian nuns at Ávila.
In the monastery she suffered greatly from illness. Early in her sickness, she experienced periods of religious ecstasy through the use of the devotional book the Third Spiritual Alphabet. This work, consisted of directions for examinations of conscience & for spiritual self-concentration (known in mystical nomenclature as oratio recollectionis). She also employed other mystical ascetic works.
She claimed that during her illness she rose from the lowest stage, “recollection”, to the “devotions of silence” or even to the “devotions of ecstasy”, which was one of perfect union with God. During this final stage, she said she frequently experienced a rich “blessing of tears.”
The kernel of Teresa’s mystical thought throughout all her writings is the ascent of the soul in four stages (The Autobiography Chs. 10-22):
The 1st Devotion of Heart, is mental prayer of devout concentration or contemplation. It is the withdrawal of the soul from without & especially the devout observance of the passion of Christ & penitence
The 2nd Devotion of Peace, is where human will is surrendered to God. This is by virtue of a charismatic, supernatural state given by God, while the other faculties, such as memory, reason, & imagination, are not yet secure from worldly distraction. While a partial distraction is due to outer performances such as repetition of prayers & writing down spiritual things, yet the prevailing state is one of quietude
The 3rd Devotion of Union, is absorption in God. It is not only a supernatural but an essentially ecstatic state. Here there is also an absorption of the reason in God, & only the memory & imagination are left to roam. This state is characterized by a blissful peace, a sweet slumber of at least the higher soul faculties, or a conscious rapture in the love of God
The 4th Devotion of Ecstasy, is where the consciousness of being in the body disappears. Sense activity ceases; memory & imagination are also absorbed in God or intoxicated. Body & spirit are in the throes of a sweet, happy pain, alternating between a fearful fiery glow, a complete impotence & unconsciousness, & a spell of strangulation, sometimes by such an ecstatic flight that the body is literally lifted into space. This after half an hour is followed by a reactionary relaxation of a few hours in a swoon-like weakness, attended by a negation of all the faculties in the union with God. The subject awakens from this in tears; it is the climax of mystical experience, producing a trance. Indeed, she was said to have been observed levitating during Mass on more than one occasion.
Teresa is one of the foremost writers on mental prayer, & her position among writers on mystical theology is unique. In all her writings on this subject she deals with her personal experiences. Her deep insight & analytical gifts helped her to explain them clearly. Her definition was used in the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “Contemplative prayer in my opinion is nothing else than a close sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with him who we know loves us.” She used a metaphor of mystic prayer as watering a garden throughout her writings.
Around 1556, various friends suggested that her newfound knowledge was diabolical, not divine. She began to inflict various tortures & mortifications of the flesh upon herself. But her confessor, the Jesuit Saint Francis Borgia, reassured her of the divine inspiration of her thoughts. On St. Peter’s Day in 1559, Teresa became firmly convinced that Jesus Christ presented himself to her in bodily form, though invisible. These visions lasted almost uninterrupted for more than two years. In another vision, a seraph drove the fiery point of a golden lance repeatedly through her heart, causing an ineffable spiritual-bodily pain.
I saw in his hand a long spear of gold, and at the point there seemed to be a little fire. He appeared to me to be thrusting it at times into my heart, and to pierce my very entrails; when he drew it out, he seemed to draw them out also, and to leave me all on fire with a great love of God. The pain was so great, that it made me moan; and yet so surpassing was the sweetness of this excessive pain, that I could not wish to be rid of it…
This vision was the inspiration for one of Bernini’s most famous works, the Ecstasy of Saint Teresa at Santa Maria della Vittoria in Rome.
The memory of this episode served as an inspiration throughout the rest of her life, & motivated her lifelong imitation of the life & suffering of Jesus, epitomized in the motto usually associated with her: Lord, either let me suffer or let me die.
Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.
~Teresa of Ávila
1582 – Pope Gregory XIII implements the Gregorian calendar. In Italy, Poland, Portugal, & Spain, October 4 of this year is followed directly by October 15
1669 – Deathday of Rembrandt
1927 – Gutzon Borglum begins sculpting Mount Rushmore
1957 – Space Race: Launch of Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite to orbit the Earth
1960 – Eastern Air Lines Flight 375, a Lockheed L-188 Electra, crashes after a bird strike on takeoff from Boston’s Logan International Airport, killing 62 people (out of 72 onboard).
1963 – Hurricane Flora kills 6,000 in Cuba & Haiti
1970 – Deathday of Janis Joplin
1992 – El Al Flight 1862: An El Al Boeing 747-258F crashes into two apartment buildings in Amsterdam, killing 43 including 39 on the ground
2001 – Siberia Airlines Flight 1812: A Sibir Airlines Tupolev Tu-154 crashes into the Black Sea after being struck by an errant Ukrainian S-200 missile. Seventy-eight people are killed
2004 – SpaceShipOne wins Ansari X Prize for private spaceflight, by being the first private craft to fly into space
2006 – Wikileaks is launched by Julian Assange
2010 – The Ajka plant accident in western Hungary releases 35 million cubic feet of liquid alumina sludge. Nine people are killed & 122 injured, & the Marcal & Danube rivers are severely contaminated
My POD (Poem Of the Day)
~Now i call myself my own
Irradiating the night of Time & Space with an inborn gleam
While nature dreams, my soul is called, to stay awake
Suffusing Sun fire into the inundating dark
Do you recognize me…?
Part 4, From the Michaelmas 30 September 2016 Lecture: Heart-Thinking: Michael Beckoning by ~Hazel Archer Ginsberg
Spiritual Science tells us, that basically humanity takes in nature in three ways:
1) Via nutrition (that’s why paying attention to things like GMO’s & supporting bio-dynamics is so important)
2) air/light (the yogi’s knew the importance of breath-control, & Steiner talks about how in the future we will take in light as we do air)
& 3) Thru our senses (of course Spiritual Science gives us 12 senses, but without going into that here, I hope you get the gist)
The dragon can enter into our existence through what we take into ourselves in these 3 ways; in other words, our unconscious sense impressions can become food for the dragon. He is super-sensibly in us as a constant developer of his own selfish purposes. So that now, as human beings we are in constant battle within ourselves. Do you ever feel like you are your own worst enemy?
The dragon in us requires our sense experiences to nourish him. He avidly eats up what enters us, unless, we can develop heart-thinking to consciously use our sense perceptions differently.
What do I mean by that? Let me give a couple crude examples:
On the one hand we have a normal materialistic dude who grumbles out of bed when the alarm goes off, wolfs down a pop-tart, road rages his way to the office, sits all day in a cubicle staring at a computer screen, comes home & watches TV. This guy is the dragon’s best friend; they cozy up on the couch eating junk food & fighting over the remote. You get the picture.
On the other hand say there’s a woman who wakes up to the sound of the birds every morning & lingers to contemplate what may have come from the night. She lovingly cooks a bio-dynamic breakfast, says a prayer & eats it with reverence. On her way to work, she always takes a moment to commune with the catalpa tree on the corner. At work she is helpful & has moral integrity. When she comes home maybe she putters around in the garden.
Now we can take that example even further- What if a person’s karma has led them to anthroposophy? Perhaps then, when she works in the garden, she tries consciously to connect with the spirit behind nature. To acknowledge the elemental beings: the Gnomes & Trolls of the earth-realm, while digging in the soil, asking: What are the worms telling me today? – Tuning into the Sylphs, the fairies of air – Listening to the wind? – Taking in the power of the Salamanders thru the fiery rays of the Sun, seeking to integrate its warmth into her blood, into her will? – Working with the spirits of water, the Undines, perhaps stirring the bio-dynamic preps, asking: Can I learn to be adaptable, like water, flowing, freezing, rising as steam…As teachers you are helping the children learn Imaginative cognition thru your stories of these realms.
Since the dragon is a super-sensible being in the sense world – it attracts the super-sensible elemental forces that live in nature, which are constantly streaming toward humanity in the form of sense perceptions. If we remain unconscious to what enters us thru our sense perceptions, we are constantly uniting them with the Dragon – allowing them, because of our unconsciousness, to perish with the Dragon in our lower nature, instead of releasing the elementals from their spell, through our heart-thinking.
Tomorrow I will have to give all the rest of this lecture in one bite, as I am leaving for the AGM early Thursday 6 Oct. in Spring Valley. I will not have internet, so my posts will resume on Monday 10 October.