Dear friends – This week has been one of looking back. I realize that it’s been 7 years since I began a modern study in the unveiling of true history thru karmic relationships, & if you have read my essays you know that Rudolf Steiner’s original Calendar of the Soul is my biggest inspiration.
The calendar is an active relational meditative path that shows how the individual soul’s journey is affected by the unfolding of the seasons realized at their deepest esoteric level. This is how Steiner described it:
“I have tried to draw up verses for meditation, the effect of which will enable the soul gradually to discover in itself and in its own experiences the connection with the great cosmic constellations. These formulae for meditation do in all reality lead the soul out of its narrow confines to experience of the heavens. These fifty-two verses will enable the soul to find access to happenings in the great universe, and thereby to experience the Spirits working in the onward flow of Time. But if you ponder on the texts of the verses in the Calendar, you will discern an element of Timelessness, in rhythmic alternation; an element that is experienced inwardly by the human being, the laws of which run parallel to those of Time in the outer world.”
The calendar’s history is itself fascinating. It started on Easter Sunday, in the week from April 7 to 13, 1912. The shift from January to April was made in honor of the idea that the first year was 33 AD – the Resurrection, not year 1 of the birth of Jesus.
The Calendar was the first place Steiner referred to the Mystery of Golgotha as the birth of the “I.” This is why on the cover the characters “J C H” (Jesus Christ) appear, which also stand for the German Ich; which means ‘I’, & below them is the inscription Geburt (born). It reads “The year 1879 after the birth of the ‘I.’” In effect, the year 1912 equals 1879 plus 33.” Steiner wrote this at a time in which he could not yet speak openly of the Archangel Michael & the new Michael age.
The date of 33 AD as the birth of the “I” is crucial, because it reveals an important relationship between microcosm & macrocosm, in which Easter plays a central role. After that time it was possible for the human being to awake to the possibility of the “I” within, because the Christ had united with the Earth.
The preface to the first calendar was entitled “What is Intended,” & it was followed by a weekly calendar with drawings of the zodiac signs, which Imma von Eckhardstein had created, following Steiner’s sketches. These new signs were not meant to represent the classical zodiacal constellations, but rather the spiritual forces active in the cosmos. In addition to the twelve zodiacal images, were five images appearing at different times of the calendar year, representing the five great epochs of Earth evolution; a lunar calendar following the ephemeris; & a daily calendar with commemoration of historical events & memorial days of great individualities – Birthdays & Deathdays.
Among the individualities commemorated are Christian saints; biblical individuals (Enoch, Gaspar, Melchior, Balthasar, Abel, Seth); historical figures (Byron, Lessing, Galileo, Michelangelo, artists, philosophers, thinkers, & so forth). It was interesting that individuals that Steiner did not exalt (for example, Roger Bacon & Charles Darwin) were also listed.
The first calendar was met, in Steiner’s words, with “mockery and derision.” The major unease lay in the fact that the year would have been variable & of unequal length. To that objection, Steiner responded that for anthroposophists, it would be important to observe the year from Easter to Easter. He commented in a lecture specifically about the calendar, “In what is unequal there is life; in what is uniform and fixed, here is the impress of death.”
Great importance was placed by Steiner in publishing new calendars yearly, as well as working artistically with them. The 1918 edition appeared in the “Colorful Waldorf Astoria Booklets” – tiny books packaged with the cigarettes & intended for soldiers in the trenches. It also appeared in a series of books edited by Herman Hesse for Prisoners of war, in a text by Steiner called “The Real Experience of the Human Riddle through the Spirit.”
Karl König, who wrote much about the Calendar, made drawings for the weeks. Laura Summer, Sophie Takata, Ella Lapointe & many others have worked artistically with the Calendar, & we can too. As part of the festival life we have often painted our impressions from the Soul Verses.
I also think it’s a powerful act for us to add events such as milestones from the life of Rudolf Steiner to the calendar – for instance today 14 July in 1914 was the last of the 250 ‘Esoteric Lessons‘ given by Steiner in Norrkoping. These kinds of events along side modern happenings help us follow the treads & find the parallels.
And so the work continues…
14 July 2021 “Speaking with the Stars”: The ever-waxing Moon is now lower left of Denebola, Leo’s tail tip. They’re less than a fist at arm’s length apart. The brighter star way off three fists left of the Moon is Spica. ~skyandtelescope.org
Rudolf Steiner’s Lectures on this day (RSarchives)
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY (Rudolf Steiner’s original Calendar of the Soul; The Present Age, Alchetron, The Free Social Encyclopedia)
1789 – French Revolution began with Parisians stormed the Bastille prison & released the seven prisoners inside
1798 – The Sedition Act becomes law in the United States making it a federal crime to write, publish, or utter false or malicious statements about the United States government
1853 – Opening of the first major US world’s fair, the Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations in New York City
1862 – Birthday of Gustav Klimt an Austrian symbolist painter, one of the most prominent members of the Vienna Secession movement
His work was the subject of controversy that culminated when the paintings he completed around 1900 for the ceiling of the Great Hall of the University of Vienna were criticized as pornographic. He subsequently accepted no more public commissions, but achieved a new success with the paintings of his “golden phase,” many of which include gold leaf.
1874 – The Chicago Fire burns down 47 acres of the city, destroying 812 buildings, killing 20
1877 – The Great Railroad Strike begins in Martinsburg, West Virginia, US, when Baltimore & Ohio Railroad workers have their wages cut for the second time in a year
1896 – Birthday of José Buenaventura Durruti Dumange who played an influential role during the Spanish Revolution & is remembered as a hero in the Anarchist movement. “It is we [the workers] who built these palaces and cities, here in Spain and in America and everywhere. We, the workers. We can build others to take their place. And better ones! We are not in the least afraid of ruins. We are going to inherit the earth. There is not the slightest doubt about that. The bourgeoisie might blast and ruin its own world before it leaves the stage of history. We carry a new world here, in our hearts. […] That world is growing in this minute.” — Buenaventura Durruti
Over a half million people filled the streets at his funeral. It was the last large-scale public demonstration of anarchist strength of numbers during the bitter & bloody civil war
1912 – Birthday of Woody Guthrie, singer-songwriter & guitarist
1933 – Gleichschaltung: In Germany, all political parties are outlawed except the Nazi Party.
1933 – The Nazi eugenics begins
1960 – Jane Goodall arrives at the Gombe Stream Reserve in Tanzania to begin her famous study of chimpanzees in the wild
1976 – Capital punishment is abolished in Canada
1986 – Deathday of Jorge Francisco Isidoro Luis Borges, an Argentine short-story writer, essayist, poet & translator, a key figure in Spanish-language literature. His compilations of short stories were interconnected by common themes, including dreams, labyrinths, libraries, mirrors, fictional writers, philosophy, & religion.
Borges’ works have contributed to philosophical literature & the fantasy genre -The first to use the term magical realism. His late poems dialogue with such cultural figures as Spinoza, Camões, & Virgil.
He became completely blind by the age of 55; as he never learned braille, he became unable to read. Scholars have suggested that his progressive blindness helped him to create innovative literary symbols through imagination
2003 – In an effort to discredit U.S. Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson, who had written an article critical of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Washington Post columnist Robert Novak reveals that Wilson’s wife Valerie Plame is a CIA “operative”
POD (Poem Of the Day)
~What small matters i remember-
things – & their histories – shall be found in books by others…
but the greater knowledge, of love, will flourish in my children’s children…
the sun will weave gold threads about them, truth embodied…
They will call this mantle: Life…