Greetings Friends –
Today in the Heart-land, on this All hallows Eve, I look out to see fat flakes of snow pulling the leaves off the trees. Crumpled brown oak leaves, yellow fans from the chestnuts, bright red Japanese maples, & the rich gold of beech lie in heaps like the embers of Summer’s fire.
A tree in Summer is shaped like the alchemical symbol for Fire, the upward-pointing triangle or pyramid. It spreads its leaves & reaches up to absorb the Sun’s rays, transforming light into food through the process of photosynthesis.
At Hallow-tide, all its life-force returns to the roots: energetically it becomes the downward-pointing triangle, symbol of Water. Now the tree’s work is every bit as important as in the growing season. Fallen leaves protect soil from being washed away by winter’s rain. They also provide a veritable feast for insects & micro-organisms who break them down & increase the availability of nutrients to the roots of the tree.
Trees teach us the importance of releasing past experiences, in the knowledge that each of them, good or bad, has the potential of enriching the soil of the soul. The fire of the great Spiritual Sun that powers our evolutionary journey through countless lifetimes now goes deep within to be absorbed & transformed in the cauldron of winter. In Irish & Scottish tradition, where this festival is known as Samhain, or end of the light half of the year, this cauldron is stirred by the Cailleach, the Dark Goddess, & it is thru her alchemy that we are “cooked” to provide nourishment for another cycle of soul-growth.
31 October 2019 – “Speaking with the Stars’: Use the waxing crescent Moon as a guide to finding Jupiter, Sphere of Cosmic Wisdom, in the southwestern sky on this All Hallows Eve, right as darkness falls. Of course, Jupiter is on display all week. It dominates the early evening sky from its perch in southern Ophiuchus the Serpent-bearer.
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
The first day of All-hallow-tide, observed until November 7 (Western Christianity)
Halloween (Ireland, Canada, United Kingdom, United States etc…)
Hop-tu-Naa is a Celtic festival celebrated in the Isle of Man on 31 October. Predating Halloween, it is the celebration of the original New Year’s Eve (Oie Houney). It is thought to be the oldest unbroken tradition in the Isle of Man
Samhain is a Gaelic festival marking the end of the harvest season & the beginning of winter or the “darker half” of the year. It is the cross quarter between the autumn equinox & the winter solstice.
The Mound of the Hostages, a Neolithic passage tomb at the Hill of Tara, is aligned with the Samhain sunrise. It is mentioned in some of the earliest Irish literature & many important events in Irish mythology happen or begin on Samhain.
It was the time when cattle were brought back down from the summer pastures & when livestock were slaughtered for the winter. As at Beltane, special bonfires were lit.
Like Beltane, Samhain was seen as a liminal time, when the boundary between this world & the Otherworld could more easily be crossed. This meant the Aos Sí, the ‘spirits’ or ‘fairies’, could more easily come into our world. Offerings of food & drink were left outside for them.
The souls of the dead were also thought to revisit their homes seeking hospitality. Feasts were had, at which the souls of dead kin were beckoned to attend & a place set at the table for them.
Mumming & guising were part of the festival, & involved people going door-to-door in costume (or in disguise), often reciting verses in exchange for food.
Divination rituals & games were also a big part of the festival.
The first day of the Day of the Dead, celebrated until November 2 (Spanish: Día de Muertos) The multi-day holiday focuses on gatherings of family to pray for & remember members who have died, & help support their spiritual journey.
Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars called ofrendas, honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, & the favorite foods & beverages of the departed, & visiting graves with these as gifts. Visitors also leave possessions of the deceased at the graves.
Scholars trace the origins of the modern Mexican holiday to indigenous observances dating back hundreds of years and to an Aztec festival dedicated to the goddess Mictecacihuatl. The holiday has spread throughout the world, being absorbed within other deep traditions for honoring the dead.
683 – During the Siege of Mecca, the Kaaba, catches fire & burns down. The literal meaning of the Arabic word ka`bah (كَعْبَة) is “cube”, or “House of God”, considered the most sacred site in Islam, a similar role to the Tabernacle & Holy of Holies in Judaism.
502 years ago, on Oct. 31, 1517, the story goes, that the small-town monk, Martin Luther, marched up to the castle church in Wittenberg & nailed his ‘95 Theses’ to the door, lighting the flame of the Reformation — the split between the Catholic & Protestant churches. Luther’s act is one of the cornerstones of world history, & remains a lasting symbol of resistance.
Nearly all of American history bears the imprint of that act of protest. Luther’s challenge, the protection he obtained, & the reformers he inspired laid the foundation for the establishment of colonial America.
In 1934, an African American pastor from Georgia made the trip of a lifetime, sailing across the Atlantic Ocean, through the gates of Gibraltar, and across the Mediterranean Sea to the Holy Land. After this pilgrimage, he traveled to Berlin, attending an international conference of Baptist pastors. While in Germany, this man — who was named Michael King — became so impressed with what he learned about the reformer Martin Luther that he decided to do something dramatic. He offered the ultimate tribute to the man’s memory by changing his own name to Martin Luther King. His 5-year-old son was also named Michael — and to the son’s dying day his closest relatives would still call him Mike — but not long after the boy’s father changed his own name, he decided to change his son’s name too, & Michael King Jr. became known to the world as Martin Luther King Jr.
Another dynamic measure of the influence of Martin Luther is the quintessentially modern idea of the individual — of our personal responsibility before ourselves & our God, rather than before any institution, whether church or state. This was as unthinkable before Luther. The contemporary idea of “The People,” along with the democratic impulse that proceeds from it – The more recent ideas of pluralism, religious liberty, & self-government all entered history through the door that Luther opened.
Luther’s second unyielding act of courage was at the ‘imperial diet’ held in the city of Worms in 1521, when he made it clear that he feared God’s judgment more than the judgment of church leaders in that room.
And suddenly the individual had the freedom & possibility of thinking for themselves.
Martin Luther was not inclined to tilt at papal windmills. In fact, until about 1520 he was a vigorous champion of the church. He desired desperately to help Rome elude the fate it ended up experiencing. In fact, in a case of Oedipusian irony he became the very man who brought about everything he had hoped to avoid. As his story illustrates, it was a sublime & ridiculous decoction of forces that created the perfect storm that burst over the European continent, creating what we now call the Reformation.
Today the Catholic & Lutheran churches are taking the memory of 1517 in hand. Pope Francis joined leaders of the Lutheran World Federation in Sweden to hold a joint service in a spirit of unity after 500 years of division.
1517 – Deathday of Fra Bartolomeo, Italian artist
1984 – Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi is assassinated by two Sikh security guards. Riots break out in New Delhi & other cities – 4,000 Sikhs are killed.
2015 – Russian Metrojet Flight 9268 is bombed over the northern Sinai Peninsula, killing all 224 people on board
POD (Poem Of the day)
~My soul duels with worms
Hidden in the clay of being
That would gnaw the scroll of mythos
Witch I carry in my heart whole
& speak thru the living word…
I will cut bait & continue singing…
Look for me there, in the dark…
Homework: Dress up as who you want to be in the coming year
Dear Friends –
Thanks to all who supported the webinar from the Anthroposophical Society last night! I will post the link as soon as i get it.
This evening you have a change to tune in to a Live Webcast from The Theosophical Society in America. Together, we will explore the origins and purpose of “Halloween,” honor our beloved dead, and experience a ritual performance where we will journey to meet Inanna, Queen of Heaven and Earth, and her sister Ereshkigal, Goddess of the Underworld. “The Descent of the Goddess’ with Hazel Archer Ginsberg
For more info. or to carpool contact Hazel@ReverseRitual.com
7 PM – 9 PM Friday 1 November 2019 at
the Rudolf Steiner Branch
Our Annual All Souls Festival: Meeting our Ancestors at the Threshold
Maureen Flannery will set up an ‘Ofrenda’, in the Elderberries space, so feel free to bring pictures or other offerings to be added to the altar.
* We will begin with Eurythmy in the Branch Library
* In the Upper Room we will have Leading Thoughts: What can we learn from Spiritual Science about working with the ‘so called dead’ and the ‘unborn’? with Hazel Archer-Ginsberg
* Our Artistic Explorations will be down in the Elderberries – Color gestures for the Past, Present & Future, as a question to our Beloved Dead with Nancy Melvin
*Circle of Remembrance in Elderberries
$10 Donation & Snacks to Share Encouraged
For more info. contact Hazel@ReverseRitual.com