Greetings friends on this Ash Wednesday – the start of the Lenten-Tide Season. I’m not one to feel the need to put myself or others in box with a label, especially when it comes to traditional religions or politics. I am not Catholic. My father’s people, the Italian side, practiced Catholicism. I attended many wonderful Masses with my Grandmother, who was a Strega working especially with The Blessed Virgin Mary & all the Saints, in an earth-based peasant kind of way with tons of incense & candles. My mother’s folks were Protestants from Ireland, but quickly became Baptists after living in Tennessee. We were bussed off to Bible School as kids for the simple reason that the bus came every Sunday to get us out of our parent’s hair for the day. I did not have a good experience there. On the outside they preached a sexist totalitarian ‘morality’ & yet behind closed doors the pastor molested certain ‘chosen ones’- myself included. So as you might imagine I swore off organized religion; & related more toward my Grandmothers more pagan way of practicing, with Mary at the center.
I live deeply into the truth of being an Anthroposopher – Working the path of the modern Rosicrucian, which is, I would say an Esoteric or Cosmic Christian path.
I am an active member of the Christian Community, part of an international movement for religious renewal, founded in 1922 with the help of Rudolf Steiner. And yet this year I feel the need to use the opportunity afforded by Lent to deepen my inner work. There is something powerful about the 40 days. This rhythm of 40 shows up often in the Bible. Because the number 40 appears so often in contexts dealing with judgment or testing, many understand it to be the number of “probation” or “trial.” For instance:
In the Old Testament, when God destroyed the earth with water, He caused it to rain 40 days & 40 nights (Genesis 7:12).
After Moses killed the Egyptian, he fled to Midian, where he spent 40 years in the desert tending flocks (Acts 7:30).
Moses was on Mount Sinai for 40 days & 40 nights (Exodus 24:18).
Moses interceded on Israel’s behalf for 40 days & 40 nights (Deuteronomy 9:18, 25).
Three kings reigned for 40 years each: Saul, David & Solomon – That’s no coincidence. Forty years is considered a generation in the Bible (i.e. a new group of Israelites that rises up, sustains itself, then dies off). For the three kings of antiquity, this measurement of time also contains a warning—20 years of their rule was marked by prosperity & 20 years by ruin
The Law specified a maximum number of lashes a man could receive for a crime, setting the limit at 40 (Deuteronomy 25:3).
The Israelite spies took 40 days to spy out Canaan (Numbers 13:25).
The Israelites wandered for 40 years (Deuteronomy 8:2-5).
Before Samson’s deliverance, Israel served the Philistines for 40 years (Judges 13:1).
Goliath taunted Saul’s army for 40 days before David arrived to slay him (1 Samuel 17:16).
When Elijah fled from Jezebel, he traveled 40 days & 40 nights to Mt. Horeb (1 Kings 19:8).
The number 40 also appears in the prophecies of Ezekiel (4:6; 29:11-13) Ezekiel laid on his right side for 40 days to “bear the iniquity” of Judea’s sins & Jonah (3:4).
In the New Testament, Jesus fasted for 40 days & 40 nights (Matthew 4:2). (So did Moses, Elijah)
There were 40 days between The Resurrection & The Ascension (Acts 1:3), When the disciple received the esoteric teachings of the Risen Christ.
And so dear friends, I will be taking this 40 day journey & will post a question or idea or task that I will be working with each day.
For Today the 1st of the 40, I am asking: 1. When I wake up at the dawning of the New Sun on Resurrection morning, how do I want to be different?
17 February 2021 – “Speaking with the Stars”: The waxing crescent moon pairs up with the faint planet Uranus, flits by the red planet Mars on February 18, & then joins up with the red star Aldebaran on February 19. Bella Luna moves about 13 degrees eastward per day in front of the constellations of the zodiac.
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
1600 – Giordano Bruno, burnt at the stake. “Giordano Bruno, under the impact of the new Copernican conception of nature, could grasp the spirit in the world, from which it had been expelled in its old form, only as a world soul. When one immerses oneself in Bruno’s writings (especially in his profound book, Of the Cause, the Principle, and the One) one has the impression that he thought of things as being animated, although in different degrees. He has not in reality experienced the spirit within himself; therefore he imagines it in terms of the human soul, in which form alone it has confronted him. When he speaks of the spirit he understands it in this way. “The universal reason is the innermost, most real, and most characteristic faculty, and is a potential part of the world soul; it is something everywhere identical, which fills the All, illuminates the universe, and instructs nature in bringing forth its species as they should be.” It is true that in these sentences the spirit is not described as a “gaseous vertebrate,” but as a being like the human soul. “A thing however small and minute, has within itself a portion of spiritual substance which, if it finds the substratum to be suitable, strives to become a plant or an animal, and organizes itself into a body of some kind, which is generally called animated. For spirit is to be found in all things, and there is not the most minute body which does not contain such a portion of it that it animates itself.” What coincidence superimposed upon a particular turn, was formed into a judgment about the highest truths. And in his many wanderings about Europe, Giordano Bruno appeared at various universities as a teacher of this Great Art. He had the boldness to think of the stars as worlds that are completely analogous to our earth; he enlarged the vision of scientific thinking beyond the earth; he no longer thought of the heavenly bodies as corporeal spirits, but he still thought of them as spirits of the soul. One must not do an injustice to this man whom the Catholic church made to atone for his advanced ideas with death. It was an enormous achievement to enfold the whole heavens in the same conception of the world that up to that time had been applied only to the things of the earth, even though Bruno still thought of the sensory as of something belonging to the soul”. ~Rudolf Steiner, Eleven European Mystics, Giordano Bruno and Angelus Silesius.
1601 – Birthday of Frederick Eckstein an Austrian polymath, theosophist. He is ‘the stranger, the friend’ named in “The Discomfort with Culture” who taught Freud about yoga. Emil Molt states: ‘He was the benefactor of Bruckner and Hugo Wolf, indeed the right arm of Bruckner, taking care that affairs went smoothly. He was a world traveller, had mastered Ju-jitsu and taught himself all sorts of difficult tricks. The story went around that he had trained himself to jump off a fast moving train without getting hurt. He too, was a highly gifted mathematician and a learned man in many respects.’
Also the husband of fellow theosophist & writer Bertha Diener, Eckstein’s penchant for occultism first became evident as a member of a vegetarian group which discussed the doctrines of Pythagoras & the Neo-Platonists in Vienna at the end of the 1870s. His esoteric interests later extended to German & Spanish mysticism, the legends surrounding the Templars & the freemasons, Wagnerian mythology & oriental religions. In 1889, in the week after the tragedy at Mayerling, in which Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria, & his mistress were found dead in mysterious circumstances, he & his friend, the composer Anton Bruckner (for whom he also served as private secretary) traveled to the monastery of Stift Heiligenkreuz to ask the abbot there for details of what happened.
Eckstein was born on February 17, 1861 in Perchtoldsdorf as one of ten children of Albert Eckstein & Amalie Wehle . The father was a chemist and inventor as well as the owner of a parchment factory . The Jewish family belonged to the upper middle class.
He had early contacts with life reform circles (vegetarianism ). Friedrich Eckstein was married to Bertha Helene Diener (1874-1948) since 1898 . They ran a salon in the St.-Genois-Schlößl in Baden near Vienna, in which Peter Altenberg, Arthur Schnitzler, Karl Kraus & Adolf Loos , ie “all of Vienna”, frequented. Schnitzler used the Ecksteinvilla in Baden & Percy Eckstein, born in 1899, as models for his drama Das weite Land. In 1904 he was left by Bertha, who after their divorce in 1909 under the pseudonym Sir Galahad made a name for herself as a journalist & writer.
At literary get-togethers (e.g. in the Café Imperial, second hall, left) Eckstein met Karl Kraus, Arthur Schnitzler, Felix Salten, Hugo Wolf, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Franz Werfel, Rainer Maria Rilke, Robert Musil, Adolf Loos, Leon Trotsky & Anton Bruckner, whose student he was initially & later private secretary.
He was initiated into theosophy by Franz Hartmann & in June 1886 received a deed of foundation for the Viennese lodge of theosophy, personally signed by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky . In 1887 he founded the first official lodge of the Theosophical Society in Austria with himself as president. He had a deep friendship with Gustav Meyrink, the young Rudolf Steiner & Henry Steel Olcott.
Rudolf Steiner writes about Eckstein: “Of the personalities who came up to me with such a demand with regard to spiritual knowledge, I will name one who moved within the Vienna circle of Frau Lang, whom I have identified, but who I also in other circles in which I frequented Vienna, met. It is Friedrich Eckstein, the excellent expert on that “ancient knowledge”. Friedrich Eckstein did not write much as long as I was with him. But what he wrote was full of spirit. But nobody suspects the intimate connoisseur of ancient spiritual knowledge from his remarks. It works in the background of his intellectual work. I have a very important treatise
Friedrich Eckstein now vigorously defended the opinion that esoteric knowledge of the spirit should not be publicly disseminated like ordinary knowledge. He was not alone in this opinion; she was and is that of almost all those who know the «ancient wisdom». To what extent in the “Theosophical Society” founded by HP Blavatsky the opinion strictly asserted as a rule by the keepers of “ancient wisdom” was broken, I shall have to speak of this later.
Friedrich Eckstein wanted as an “initiate in ancient knowledge” to dress what one publicly represents with the strength that comes from this “initiation”, but that one strictly separates this exoteric from the esoteric, which should remain in the closest circle who knows how to fully appreciate it.
Should I develop any public activity for spirit knowledge, I had to resolve to break with this tradition. I saw myself faced with the conditions of the spiritual life of the present. Concerning them, secrecy, as was taken for granted in older times, is an impossibility. We live in the time that the public wants, where some knowledge occurs. And the view of secrecy is an anachronism. The only thing that is possible is that one acquaints personalities with the knowledge of the spirit step by step and no one admitted to a step on which the higher parts of knowledge are communicated if he does not yet know the lower parts. That also corresponds to the institutions of the lower and higher schools.
Nor did I have an obligation of secrecy to anyone. Because I accepted nothing from “ancient wisdom”; what I have in mind-knowledge is definitely the result of my own research. Only when I have come to a knowledge do I refer to what has already been published by some side of “old knowledge” in order to show the consistency and at the same time the progress that is possible for current research.
So from a certain point in time I was very clear that I was doing the right thing with a public appearance with the knowledge of the spirit”. ~ Rudolf Steiner: My Course of Life, GA 28, pg. 284)
Eckstein’s sister Emma went down in psychoanalysis history as Irma. She had a catastrophic nose operation by Freud’s friend Wilhelm Fliess. Another sister of his, Therese Schlesinger, was a well-known politician & women’s rights activist.
“In Vienna, where literature, art, music, philosophy and business had their home in coffee houses, it was only natural that Mac Eck, wisdom in person, should also be enthroned at a café table. He sat in a corner of the Café Imperial from morning until midnight. He had a goatee and a Mongolian cutout. His age was not known even to his closest friends…Julius, the old head waiter, said he had found Mac Eck in the same corner of the café when he began his career as Piccolo. Even among the most famous Viennese celebrities there was no one who would not have liked to come to Mac Eck’s regulars’ table. Hugo Wolf, J. Strauss, E. Blavatsky and A. Besant, Ferdinand Bruckner, Sigmund Freud, Adler and Trotsky – they all consulted with him. If Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Werfel and Rilke were in doubt about a poem, so they made a pilgrimage to Mac Eck. Architects submitted their blueprints to him, mathematicians their equations, physicists their formulas, and composers their scores for assessment. Lawyers and psychoanalysts discussed their cases with him. Actors asked him about their roles and historians about their theories of history. Even the imperial court master of ceremonies appeared one day to consult Mac Eck on a contentious issue of Spanish court etiquette. Mac Eck was familiar with all areas. If someone wanted to know the main rivers and tributaries in Paraguay, information about Neuthomism, the first romantic poem or the earliest mention of the toothbrush, he turned to Mac Eck. The mocking Karl Kraus, who had set up his seat at the next table in the Imperial, was the only one who dared to make fun of Mac Eck’s omniscience. ‘I had a nightmare last night,’ he once said. ‘A volume of Brockhaus came down from the shelf to look up something in Mac Eck.’ Mac Eck, who was well versed in all intellectual matters, naturally also knew about all practical questions. He could tell art dealers which enthusiast would be interested in a particular painting from the early Renaissance; at first glance he saw the difference in the weave of Brno and English fabrics, he could tell booksellers the value of first editions and he knew who would finance what in Europe.” ~René Fülöp Miller, “The fool in tails”
Weaving a non-gendered Feminist Reality with Hazel Archer-Ginsberg*
Friday 5 March 2021 – 6:30 am – 8 am Central Time as part of the The International Youth Initiative Program Initiative Forum
What are the qualities of the Divine Feminine? How can we use them to empower an innovative way of thinking, feeling & willing, to create a new world, where the human being is free?
Have paper & colored pencils at the ready for this hands-on workshop.
*Hazel Archer-Ginsberg – Founder of Reverse Ritual: Understanding Anthroposophy through the Rhythms of the Year & the ‘I Think Speech’ Podcast. Trans-denominational Minister, Essayist, Lecturer, Poet, Anthroposopher – working as the Festivals Coordinator of the Chicago Rudolf Steiner Branch, & the Central Regional Council of the Anthroposophical Society. Past Video Recordings
The 8-Fold Path to the Easter Elementals
Holy Week 2021 (March 28 – April 4): Starting on Palm Sunday then thru-out Holy Week including Easter Morning, we will meet every day on Zoom at 10:10 am (Central Time) to create together a Thought-Seed Egregore based on the Herbert Hahn Verse
“When I think light, my soul shines,
When my soul shines, the earth is a star,
When the earth is a star, then I am, a true human being”
& then we will take turns sharing the indications for that day from Rudolf Steiner / The Buddha’s 8 –fold Path, known as the ‘Weekday Exercises’ (let me know if you would like to lead one of the days? (5 min) Holy Week chart
Resolves or ‘RIGHT JUDGMENT.’ having been formed independently of sympathies and antipathies.
Talking – ‘RIGHT WORD.’
External actions- ‘RIGHT DEED.’
The ordering of life. – ‘RIGHT STANDPOINT.’
Human Endeavour. – ‘TO LET ALL THE EXERCISES BECOME A HABIT.’
The endeavor to learn as much as possible from life. – ‘RIGHT MEMORY.’ (Remembering what has been learned from experiences).
To pay attention to one’s ideas. – ‘RIGHT OPINION.’
The octave of the New Sun
To turn one’s gaze inwards –
Whoever is holding the leading thoughts for that day will tie it into some 5-10 min. artistic exercise based on the indications
Group sharing (5 min)
We close with the ‘reversed’ Hahn verse.
I am a True Human Being
For the Earth is a Star
The Earth is a Star
When I Think Light
When I think Light
My Soul Shines
Easter Sunday – 4 April 2021, in person at the Rudolf Steiner Branch Chicago & online 2 pm – 4 pm Central Time.
Group Eurythmy with Mary Ruud
Hazel Archer – The octave of the New Sun
Keynote with Ines Katharina (Bee Keeper, Founder of the Biodynamic Emerald Honeybee Sanctuary, Waldorf Teacher) Ines will connect the Easter Thought with the Elemental Beings & the flight of the Queen Bee.
Mary Ruud will give us a performance of ‘Rock Spring Wonder’
We close with singing ‘Now the green Blade Riseth’
Potluck Social Time in the Schreinerei – Please bring food & drink to share
$10 Suggested Donation (can’t make it? or joining us online? please consider supporting this event, Thank you)
*Dear friends, please join the call at 10:05 am to get settled in so we can begin the Thought-Seed promptly at 10:10 am
Topic: The 8-Fold Path thru Holy Week 2021
Time: Starting on Palm Sunday Mar 28 – thru Easter Morning, 2021 10:10 AM Central Time (US and Canada)
Every day, 8 occurrence(s)
Mar 28, 2021 10:10 AM
Mar 29, 2021 10:10 AM
Mar 30, 2021 10:10 AM
Mar 31, 2021 10:10 AM
Apr 1, 2021 10:10 AM
Apr 2, 2021 10:10 AM
Apr 3, 2021 10:10 AM
Apr 4, 2021 10:10 AM
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