Dear friends – Yesterday was such a glorious Spring Sunshiny day. I was so zoomed out & had many calls to make. The backyard was my refuge. There sheltered from the blustery winds I basked, & opened my eyes wide to the forces of the Sun. The first flower colors have appeared here in the Heart-land — the white of snowdrops, the yellow of witch hazel, the purpe tips of the red bud tree, the electric blue of scilla, the pink of the earliest crocuses. There in the bright stillness I was able to witness the bees for the 1st time this season, a bold drone coming right over to check out my lunch.
POD (Poem Of the Day)
~To my body I gave the power of my heart
Bee love & create I said
Beat within the grace of the world’s rhythms
A radiant sun
In tune with the music of becoming
A ferry thru dark churning waves
An oasis flowing with fresh waters
In the low tide of blessings
To open my head
To pure thought unfolded
The Honeybee, Sustainer of Life on Earth
By Gunther Hauk
Rarely are we aware of the very subtle interrelationships of life, for they are hidden by the facts that jump out at you. We all know that the bison provided for the American Indians. And yet, these gifts were almost side effects compared to the critical, yet less-seen role that the bison had of building up the deep, rich humus in the prairies, a richness in fertility creating the breadbasket of our nation. Our conventional agriculture is still relying on this richness, but depleting it by the year.
When we think of the honey bee, we think of her gifts of pollinating about 3/4 of our daily food, of the honey she prepares out of the nectar of plants, of pollen and propolis. These, too, are minor contributions to life on earth, compared to the far greater importance she holds as sustainer of life. She shares this task with all the stinging insects, the hornets and wasps, the other bee species and the ants.
“Sustainer of life?? Isn’t this a bit exaggerated?”- you might ask. It may seem so, but the facts verify this statement. Let me explain. If we pose the question about which group of organic substances are at the basis of all life processes in plant, animal and the human being, the answer might astonish and surprise most people. It’s the acids! Little do we consider acids as the basis of our physical life since we experience them as caustic, corrosive, or even dangerous. This they are, but in homeopathic dilution, we find them in all life processes in nature, in every part of our body: DNA, fatty acids, amino acids, peptic acid, uric acid, folic acid, just to name the more familiar ones. Without these acids, no life processes could take place.
In plants it is the oxalic acid that provides the basic life-giving substance. Oxalis clover, rhubarb, and wood sorrel have lots of it and we can taste the sour acid element more easily than in most vegetables. In the animal kingdom, specifically in the stinging insects, it is the formic acid that plays a major role. Formic acid (formica = the ant) is the poison we feel when an ant bites us or a wasp or bee stings us. Each of these species produces a variation of formic acid.
As the bees and wasps receive nectar and pollen from the flowers, they are able to take in some of this oxalic acid, but they do not only take, they also provide a gift for the plants. As these insects fly and crawl through nature, they in return distribute their formic acid. An old forest ranger in Germany once told me that wherever ants are missing in forests, the forests lose their vitality and die more quickly than if there is an ample amount of these insects around. Thus, ant colonies are being reestablished and protected in European forests to keep the trees healthy.
This formic acid, in finest dilution, wafts through the air and in Spring the germinating seeds and budding perennials receive this formic acid that has been produced the year before and still saturates the atmosphere, as their Spring tonic. So, on such a basic level, these stinging insects are the nurturers of life on earth since plants provide food, directly or indirectly, to all other beings.
Oxalic and formic acid each acts as an invigorator, as a boost to the life processes for the other kingdom. It is with the help of minute quantities of formic acid that the earth’s entire plant life grows and thrives. And, on the other hand, it is the plants’ oxalic acid that stimulates and invigorates all of the animal and human kingdoms. The commonly accepted image we have of life being based on fight and competition, with the survival of the fittest, loses its sting when we consider this grandiose symbiosis, this mutually beneficial interrelationship.
Let us take a closer look at the role these acids play in our very own lives. As we eat our spinach, broccoli, chard, carrots, the fruit and berries, we also take up the oxalic acid contained in them. Now a mysterious transformation occurs: we are able to change this acid into our very own formic acid. Actually, one can achieve this very process in the chemical laboratory. Glycerin is added to oxalic acid in a retort; when heated, carbon dioxide escapes and the steamy vapors will condense, lo and behold, as formic acid. As we have small amounts of glycerin in our body, the fire of our digestion is able to instigate this transformation and we all know that carbon dioxide is exhaled with our breath.
It is an established fact that our entire endocrine processes—governing growth, health, reproduction—function by virtue of miniscule amounts of the secretion created by the pituitary gland. Little, if any, scientific knowledge exists that on the same level of importance, this process of transforming oxalic acid into formic acid lets us live as spiritual beings in a physical body *(Rudolf Steiner, “Bees”).
For our life on Earth we depend on the vast numbers of individual stinging insects, which enliven the plant kingdom with their formic acid. Our attitude toward these insects will have to undergo a drastic revision, away from disdain, anger, and fear toward gratitude and respect, toward nurturing instead of killing.
Considering the honey bee, the ants, wasps and hornets, we can now understand that our lives depend on them. But why does the honey bee take a special place among all these formic acid producing insects? In contrast to the solitary bumblebee, carpenter and orchard bees, the hornets and wasps, honey bees live through the winter as a colony of perhaps 10 -20 thousand individual workers. By the end of March they may have already doubled their numbers and by the summer solstice reach 40-60 thousand individual worker bees. Bumble or orchard bees, wasps or hornets have only young queens surviving the winter and it takes two to three more months until a colony of several hundred insects can do their enlivening work in nature. The vast numbers of honeybees flying already in early Spring not only contribute to the much needed pollination, but to the amount of formic acid released into nature.
Now we may better appreciate the statement that our very lives depend on the care of the honeybee, on beekeeping. To those who are aware of this fact, Colony Collapse disorder (not only a national, but rather a global phenomenon) becomes a crisis far more serious than global warming. In the US alone we have lost millions of colonies in the last two decades. Can farmers, gardeners, forest rangers witness a decline in natural vitality? You bet! Not only our elm trees are practically gone, now it’s our ash trees, coastal oaks, beeches and other species that are being diminished in great numbers. Of course we will try to find the causes in beetles, viruses or air pollution. These may be a contributing factor, but on a much deeper level, it is the diminishing of the multitudes of stinging insects—many of these are simply diminished by the monocultures and lack of forage, as well as by all the poisons and pollution put into our environment— that pose a real threat to nature’s and our own well-being.
My book “Toward Saving the Honeybee” (first published in 2002) predicted a serious crisis if the present day exploitive, highly mechanized beekeeping practices, combined with our poison-loaded agriculture, do not find their way to a new paradigm. Both are the major components, are at the root of the Colony Collapse Disorder phenomenon.
In 2006, before CCD, Spikenard Farm was founded with the vision to establish a biodynamic farm with a honeybee sanctuary at its heart. A sanctuary is a place where a being is cared for in the best possible way so that a healing can take place. Annual and perennial forage is being planted and organic, sustainable beekeeping methods are being taught, methods that are, to a great part, diametrically opposed to conventional beekeeping practice.
In 1923, in his lectures on bees and other insects, Rudolf Steiner said that, if we were not to change the industrialized beekeeping methods (which had been introduced two to three decades before), the honeybee might not survive the 21th century. This statement was not accepted by Mr. Mueller, the beekeeper attending the lectures. Steiner simply said that the long-term effect of these methods could not be seen right away. He offered Mr. Mueller a conversation in 80 years.
I wonder what Mr. Mueller has to say now?
RUDOLF STEINER’S CALENDAR OF THE SOUL
translated (with added titles) by Roy Sadler;
and a poem from Roy to celebrate the Equinox.
Cleanse The Temple
The senses’ riches
are pouring into inner human realms.
The Cosmic Spirit finds itself
in human eyes,
which must, reflecting it,
revitalise their seeing.
Participate From One’s Origen
Arising into senses’ all-enwoven outer realms
thought’s power sheds its separate strand;
the worlds of spirit find again
their human offshoot,
whose soul must find in them
her seed, but in herself the fruit.
THE RITE OF SPRING
Her worldwide joy—
in every bud’s unfurling
of her being — speaks.
My own life’s focus —
opening my soul
through Earth’s composing — speaks.
Her morning chorus —
tuning into light
to birth her young joys — sings.
My own delight —
in resonance with Earth’s
spring sun force — sings.
Her bliss —
the sun’s direction lifts
to choreograph life’s passion — dances.
My own momentum moves my body’s being and I dance —
dance light’s dance, dance Earth’s joy,
dance, dance my life — for Earth’s life. ~Roy Sadler
Dear Friends – 28 March is Palm Sunday which begins Holy Week 2021. I invite your particapation in our journey to Easter. If you would like to help hold one of the days of the week, to offer up an artistic activity aligned with one of the virtues of the day, Please contact me.
The 8-Fold Path to the Easter Elementals
Holy Week 2021 (March 28 – April 4): Starting next week on Palm Sunday & every morning of Holy Week, for 30 minutes, including Easter Sunday, we will gather on zoom & endeavor 1st of all, to take up the 10:10 practice of building up positive imaginations on the inner planes as a counterforce to the adversarial energies working in the world – To co-create, what Dion Fortune named as a “key-call” to the Spiritual Powers, like Raphael, The Healing Archangel of Spring, to enlist their aid. We will use a verse by Herbert Hahn as an anchor for a group Thought-Form, a positive egregore, created by our Willed Visualization– to be conceived each day at 10:10 AM Central Time:
“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”
Our Good Will becomes a cosmic energy field for healing – We will plant Seed ideas in the group mind of humanity, to co-create our highest intentions for cosmic & human evolution– that the Earth may become a Sacred Planet – a Sun – & every Human Being a Star. What is sown in our shining thoughts will grow & bear seed
& then we will take turns sharing the indications for that day from ‘The Buddha’s Noble 8–fold Path, as given by Rudolf Steiner – known as the ‘Weekday Exercises’ this CHART brings the indications from Holy Week, the 7 rhythms of the Foundation Stone Meditation & the weekday exercises together. Whoever is holding the leading thoughts for that day can if they wish, tie it into some 5-10 min. artistic exercise based on the indications.
Let me know if you would like to lead one of the days?
28 March Palm SUNDAY
Resolves or ‘RIGHT JUDGMENT.’ having been formed independently of sympathies and antipathies.
29 March Holy MONDAY
Talking – ‘RIGHT WORD.’
30 March Holy TUESDAY – Rudolf Steiner’s Deathday
External actions- ‘RIGHT DEED.’
Also at 12pm PT/1 pm MT/ 2pm CT/ 3pm ET All are invited to join a 30 minute Festive Vigil for Rudolf Steiner In honor of the anniversary of his Birth into the Spiritual World 30 March 1925 – Details coming soon
(Here is the separate zoom link ) Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 814 6333 8523 – Passcode: FSM
31 March Holy WEDNESDAY
The ordering of life. – ‘RIGHT STANDPOINT.’
1 April Maundy THURSDAY
Human Endeavour. – ‘TO LET ALL THE EXERCISES BECOME A HABIT.’
2 April Good FRIDAY
The endeavor to learn as much as possible from life. – ‘RIGHT MEMORY.’ (Remembering what has been learned from experiences).
3 March Holy SATURDAY
To pay attention to one’s ideas. – ‘RIGHT OPINION.’
The octave of the New Sun
4 April EASTER SUNDAY
To turn one’s gaze inwards – ‘RIGHT EXAMINATION.’
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
So it’s a Short & Sweet – 30 minute Holy Week touch in. And Yes, Rudolf Steiner’s Deathday falls on Holy Tuesday this year so we will have a separate short vigil celebrating his birth into the spiritual world at 2 pm Central time (details coming soon)
*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
Join Zoom Meeting https://zoom.us/j/95633444828?pwd=Wk56K08vK2dNQUhhK0Q2S09zQWJrQT09 Meeting ID: 956 3344 4828 – Passcode: bee
Dial by your location Find your local number: https://zoom.us/u/aX8X3nrr3 Meeting ID: 956 3344 4828 – Passcode: 425730
Festival: Easter Elementals – 4 April 2021, at 12pm PT/1 pm MT/ 2pm CT/ 3pm ET
in person at the Rudolf Steiner Branch Chicago & online
Group Eurythmy with Mary Ruud
Dottie Zold – On the Buddha’s 8-Fold Path
Keynote with Ines Katharina (Bee Keeper, Founder of the Biodynamic Emerald Honeybee Sanctuary)
We close with singing & Eurythmy
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)
Hazel Archer is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: Easter Festival for the Elementals
Time: Apr 4, 2021 02:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting https://zoom.us/j/7052931041?pwd=Z0ZmT05FdDZIclE4RFBLZWNwWXJ5QT09
Meeting ID: 705 293 1041 – Passcode: Easter
Dial by your location – Meeting ID: 705 293 1041 – Passcode: 776400 – Find your local number: https://zoom.us/u/a961qZZhF
For more info. or to volunteer to host one of the days contact Hazel Archer
Events & Festivals Committee of the Rudolf Steiner Branch
of The Anthroposophical Society, 4249 North Lincoln Ave.
Chicago, IL 60618 (map)