During this time of Advent we must face trials that make us worthy to receive the sacred birth of the Nathan soul, around the time of the Winter Solstice; which then guides us into the precession of the 13 Holy Nights; which culminates in the birth of Christ on the Epiphany.
In the 1st week of Advent we meet the mineral kingdom to see our relationship with issues relating to our physical needs. We recognize that death & mineralization in the physical world of nature at this time helps us step into the karmic unfolding of ourselves & of humanity as a whole. Here we face the Fire trial, where we must rise to the challenge of cultivating a sense of justice. Fire meets earth. Our task is to burn away the dross of what does not serve so that we can stand upright in the face of what we are meeting in ourselves & in the world.
Now we enter the 2nd week, related to the plant kingdom, where the etheric realm comes into play. Here we encounter the trial by water. Discretion & Self-restraint will help us meet these challenges. Water meets air. Practicing selflessness will help us build truthfulness in the face of the societal temptation to accept & perpetuate the blind lie. In the water trial we encounter our feeling life which is still quite dreamy, so we are called to bring thought into this realm, so we can judge our feelings objectively, working to understand what inspires them. And we are also challenged to bring Will into our feelings. Then we are able to control them & practice equanimity.
These trials help us develop new spiritual organs – This week we practice breathing under water! See you in the pool.
‘In the breathing process, we inhale fresh oxygen and exhale unusable carbon. A similar process takes place in all our sense perceptions. Just think, my dear friends, that you see something — let us take a radical case — suppose you see a flame. There a process takes place that may be compared with inhalation, only it is much finer. If you then close your eyes — and you can make similar experiments with every one of your senses — you have the after-image of the flame which gradually changes — dies down, as Goethe said. Apart from the purely physical aspect, the human ether body is essentially engaged in this process of reception of the light impression and its eventual dying down. Something very significant is contained in this process: it contains the soul element which, three millennia ago, was breathed in and out with the air. And we must learn to realize the sense process, permeated by the soul element in a similar way we have realized the breathing process three millennia ago.’ ~Rudolf Steiner, The Mission of the Archangel Michael VI – November 30, 1919
Pod (Poem Of the Day)
~That quivering star is Her
Blue eye –
Awake in the darkening world…
When the eye opens I look back
Today is the Feast Day of Old St. Nick, a bishop waring his red mantle & mitre hat, sporting a long, white beard & carrying his golden shepherds crook. Legend has it that he helped the poor & calmed the seas; & on his feast day gives children who are good sweets or gifts.
But beware if you are bad for black Pete, or Knecht Ruprecht, will put you in his bag & take you away to the black forest until you learn your lesson… So on the night of December 5th set out your boots & leave a carrot for his horse then go to bed & dream of doing good deeds like St. Nichplas once did…
In Waldorf schools St. Nick comes into the classroom of the lower grades & shakes the hand of each child telling them what they have done well, & what they have not done so well & need to improve. This always made quite an impression on the young children to receive this gentle reckoning.
The one we know of as St. Nicholas was born in 271 AD & died around December 6, 342 or 343 AD near the Asia Minor (Turkey) town of Myra, where he later became Bishop. He performed many good deeds & was a friend to the poor & helpless. Upon his death, myths soon sprang up about him all around the Mediterranean Sea. He was reputed to be able to calm the raging seas, rescue desperate sailors, & save children. He was soon named as the patron saint of sailors, & when Myra was overthrown, his bones were transported by sailors to Bari, a port in Italy, where a tomb was built over the grave & became the center of honor for St. Nicholas. From here the legend spread on around to the Atlantic Coast of Europe & the North Sea to become a European holiday tradition regardless of religion.
In the Netherlands, legend has it that Sinterklaas (Dutch name for St. Nicholas) arrives in the Netherlands by way of steamboat from Spain 2 weeks before his traditional birthday, December 6th, along with his helper, Zwarte Piet (Black Pete), who will help disperse the gifts & candy to all the good children. Referring to his book that lists all the good & bad children, Sinterklaas will deliver presents to all the good children, but watch out if you’ve been bad! The Low Countries (Belgium & Luxemburg) have basically the same traditions surrounding St. Nicholas, but not to the extent of the Netherlands. Children in Luxemburg call him Kleeschen, & his helper is Hoseker (Black Peter). Belgian children know him as Sint Niklaas.
For families with older children & adults, different twists are added to the gift giving & may include gag gifts or the drawing of gift ideas or names, & most times are accompanied by poems with a “personal touch” that poke fun at the recipient in a gentle way (or not, depending on the families ). Wrapping the presents up in odd packages & planting a trail of clues is also part of the general fun, & can sometimes be pretty tricky to get to, depending on the squeamishness of the recipients.
In Germany, St. Nicholas is also known as Klaasbuur, Sunnercla, Burklaas, Bullerklaas,& Rauklas, & in eastern Germany, he is also known as Shaggy Goat, Ash Man, or Rider & is more reflective of earlier Norse influences that were blended in with the figure of St. Nicholas, when Christianity came to Germany. After the reformation, St. Nicholas’s attire began to change, maybe as a reflection of the change from the Roman church, & he started to wear a red suit with fur. Although he still visits many homes on Dec 5th/6th & leaves candy and gifts in the children’s shoes, more recently St. Nicholas has begun showing up on Christmas Eve in Germany & is called Father Christmas.
In France, he is also called Pere Noel (Father Christmas) & he travels in the company of Pere Fouettard. Pere Noel leaves presents for good children, while Pere Fouettard disciplines bad children.
St. Nicholas day was celebrated formerly in Russia, but under Communism he was changed to Grandfather Frost & wore blue instead of red. In Sicily, he comes on Dec 13th with Santa Lucia.
6 December 2020 – “Speaking with the Stars”: As dawn begins to break on tomorrow the waning gibbous Moon forms an isosceles triangle with Regulus &orange Algieba (Gamma Leonis).
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
During the Feast of Saint Nicolas in 1273, Saint Thomas Aquinas had a mystical vision that made writing seem unimportant to him. At mass, he reportedly heard a voice coming from a crucifix that said, “Thou hast written well of me, Thomas; what reward wilt thou have?” to which Saint Thomas Aquinas replied, “None other than thyself, Lord.”
When Saint Thomas Aquinas’s confessor, Father Reginald of Piperno (an earlier incarnation of Ita Wegman) urged him to keep writing, he replied, “I can do no more. Such secrets have been revealed to me that all I have written now appears to be like straw” Thomas Aquinas never wrote again.
1926 – Deathday of Claude Monet
1959- Deathday of Emil Bock, Priest & co-founder of the Christian Community
Calendar of the Soul, by Rudolf Steiner, translated by Roy Sadler.
The verse quartet related to this week moves on from Advent to a week ending 30.1.21, but in most years reaching February 1st, Imbolc, Feile Brighde, the quickening of the year, the virgin fire festival, Brigid’s Day; then to the week before the Summer Solstice; and to Lammas, Lughnasadh, loaf-mass, the first harvest festival, the mirror of this week’s verse.
The Cosmic Word
enwoven by the world
within my depths of being,
mysteriously urging to be heard,
now speaks: Inspire
your life’s endeavour
with spirit light of mine
to sacrifice yourself through Me.
In winter’s depths
true spirit presence warms;
it makes appearance real
and through the heart empowers
the coming of the springlife’s glory;
the soul’s revitalising fire
within the human core
defies world cold.
To summer’s heights
the sunlight’s radiant being rises
and takes my human feeling far
and into the sublime, the harmony
of worldwide space, wherein a faint,
new dawn within me intimates,
In future you will know:
a holy being felt you now.
The Cosmic Word
the world has let me guide
through senses’ gates
to soul ground
begins to speak:
Imagine in your spirit depths
my world expanse
to find in future Me in you.
Sunday 20 December 2020, 2 pm – 3pm CT
‘Awakening to the Light in the Darkness’: A Christmas Contemplation with Rev. Craig Wiggins. In-Person at The Rudolf Steiner Branch Chicago & online
Join Zoom Meeting https://zoom.us/j/7052931041?pwd=ai94YmhnS1k3cWN3TFFlL3ozTDgxdz09 Meeting ID: 705 293 1041 – Passcode: Peace
For more info. contact Hazel Archer email@example.com
Wednesday 23 December 2020 – 7:15 pm – 8:30 pm CT
Unwrapping our Cosmic Gift: Thoughts on the Christmas Conference 1923
with the Central Regional Council. Themes inspired by Prokofieff’s book: May Human Beings Hear it! include: Turning Points of Time; Christ, Sophia and Michael; Foundation Stone Meditation.
Join Zoom Meeting https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83533262486
for more info. contact Alberto Loya firstname.lastname@example.org
24 December 2020 – 5 January 2021, 11 am – 11:30 am CT
ASA Holy Nights 2020-21 “A Rose By Any Other Name…”
International online gathering on the Theme of the Divine Feminine.
Hosted by Laura Scappaticci & Tess Parker, featuring the Sophia Working Group.
27 December – Leading Thoughts by ~hag
29 December – with Ultra-Violet Archer calling in on the Full Moon from Sweden
For the full schedule contact Tess Parker email@example.com
Register Here. Then check your email for a confirmation with the Zoom registration link.
The Festivals Committee for the Rudolf Steiner Branch in Chicago invites you to Holy Nights December 24, 2020, through January 5, 2021
Please note–No meeting December 29th and 31st. See special offerings below for these dates.
The Fifth Gospel by Rudolf Steiner https://wn.rsarchive.org/Religion/GA148/English/RSPC1950/FG1950_index.html
Each evening we will study together on Zoom from 7 pm – 8 pm CST
Join Zoom Meeting: https://zoom.us/j/92592034861?pwd=Mmo0eURaWDVqYVlabTdSY1ltcUFxdz09 Meeting ID: 925 9203 4861 Passcode: Peace
On Tuesday, December 29th, 6 pm – 8:30 pm CST, we will join Anthroposophy Atlanta for a reading of Goethe’s fairy tale, The Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily This has a separate zoom code: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82656914578?pwd=MHN3Mmt3OEhtQlZTMlc1NHFtUm80QT09 Meeting ID: 826 5691 4578 Passcode: Goethe
New Year’s Eve, there will be NO zoom call, as we will gather for our Annual NYE event. This year’s theme is “A Masked Ball” 6 pm till 10:30 pm
6 pm Potluck and artistic mask making with Lucien Dante Lazar
7:30 – 9:30 Live Music with Jutta and the High Dukes
10:10 pm Project Thought-Seed
The evening ends at 10:30 pm
Wednesday, January 6, 2021, 2 pm – 4 pm CST Joan’s Epiphany: What Joan of Arc Calls for Today In-Person at Elderberries & The Rudolf Steiner Branch Chicago and online
Today on the Birthday of Joan of Arc, we welcome special guest Nancy Poer
We will also explore The Destinies of Individuals and of Nations, Lecture 5, “The Nature of the Christ Impulse and the Michaelic Spirit Serving It” by Rudolf Steiner, with Leading Thoughts by Hazel Archer-Ginsberg
Social Sculpture: “The Passage” with Lucien Dante Lazar
We will also share an artistic exploration, singing and Eurythmy.
This event has a new Zoom Code https://zoom.us/j/7052931041 Meeting ID: 705 293 1041
For more info, contact Hazel Archer firstname.lastname@example.org
Peace and Good Will to All, Deborah Rogers on behalf of the Rudolf Steiner Branch Festivals Committee