Dearly Beloved – On this Eve of All Hallows Eve, do you have the courage to look beyond the mask of the material world, into the spirit realm, the place of our beginning, the time of our unborness, the abode of our ending, when we shuffle off this mortal coil, only to begin again & yet again, as we strive toward the eternal…?
Take heart my friends, for every ending is a new beginning. At All Hallows–tide we stand at the Cross Quarter between Autumn Equinox & Winter Solstice, a time when great transformations are possible. Since with the veils between the worlds so thin, the power of all the worlds are available to us.
What is it like to bring awareness to this most important human initiation, this true rite-of-passage? Can we work to consciously “Cross the Threshold”, as we do in meditation, in sleep & ultimately in our life between death & rebirth..?
As far back as ancient Persia, Mesopotamia & Sumeria, we find many initiation myths like the Epic of Gilgamesh, & the Descent of Inanna, that describe communicating with the dead & a journey to the underworld.
In Ancient Egypt we find: The Book of the Dead = ‘Book of Coming Forth by Day’ also called the ‘Book of Emerging Forth into the Light’; an ancient Egyptian funeral text illustrated with vignettes depicting the deceased & their journey in the afterlife. It was placed in the coffin or burial chamber. The Book consists of a number of magic spells intended to assist a dead person’s journey through the Duat, or underworld, & into the afterlife. It was written by many priests over a period of over a 1000 years.
Perhaps since in our time now we are recapitulating this epoch we might gain insight by looking into this text with modern eyes.
From ancient Greece we have the story of Demeter & Persephone, as Queen of the Underworld, connected to the secret festival of Thesmophoria, celebrated exclusively by the women. They dressed in white robes & observed strict chastity before & after the ceremony. According to Greek mythology, Demeter’s daughter, Persephone, was gathering flowers one autumn day when she was taken by Pluto, god of the underworld, to his subterranean kingdom. This was re-enacted as an initiation rite of death & resurrection. The 2nd night the women fasted & lowered wild boar, sacred to the goddess Circe & Hecate, into chasms in the earth as a sacrifice.
On the 3rd night the bones from former festivals were placed on altars & mixed with seed corn, which was then sown in the fields as a kind of magical fertilizer to ensure a good crop. Then they had a big feast. They would also cast herbs on their beds & sit on the ground to promote the fertility of the corn.
Although this festival was sacred & solemn, there was a lot of rather bawdy jokes in the style of the wild Crone Baubo, the sexually liberated Goddess of Mirth, who jested with Demeter to try & cheer her up after the loss of her daughter, & get her to bring fertility back to the earth again.
The Romans had a similar festival in honor of Ceres. Also with the Eleusinian mysteries, we see initiation rites enacted to gain inspiration from the gods & the ancestors.
The full moon of October is known as the Hunter’s or Blood Moon – Which came early this year aligned with the Jewish Festival of Sukkot. This was called ‘The Final Harvest’ – Traditionally, the hunters would be out in force. After the end of the breeding season, & before the severe weather comes to kill off many of these creatures anyway, they were taken for the cooking-pot, to supplement what might otherwise be a rather meager winter diet.
With all this death around, it is not surprising that people’s thoughts turned to human mortality.
The Celtics call All Hallows or Samhain their New Year. Autumn is also the time of the Islamic New Year. Likewise for the Jewish people, with their New Year Rosh Hashanah; & at the end of the High Holy Days Sukkot is celebrated, where they build a hut & invite the ancestors & the elemental beings to come to the feast. When you think about it, it makes sense to let the old year die away – like the plant life, during this transition into the dark.
It is also traditional to look toward the future, & to dress up as what you want to Become for the New Year. To ask questions, like: Who have I been? Who am I now? & where am I going…? Who do I want to become?
And these are the kind of questions we can ask our beloved dead.
In Wales the souls of the dead are known as ‘the Silent Company’, but when they are welcomed with bwyd cennad y meinv, “the food for the embassy of the dead.” They become our helpers.
We can think of our ancestral allies in 3 ways:
1. Ancestors of the Blood – A common ancestral guide is a relative we knew & had some kind of positive connection with in this lifetime, quite often a loving grandparent or great-grandparent.
2. Ancestors of the Soul – This is an ancestral guide from a past life who may have been some kind of teacher or mentor to us.
3. Ancestors of Humanity – These were heroes whose lives were dedicated to the service of human evolution, like Casper Hauser or Jeanne d’Arc. They can be called upon in times of crisis, as Dion Fortune & her group called upon King Arthur & Merlin during the 2nd World War.
Dear friends, let’s take this opportunity to part the veil – letting go of our sense bound thinking, to consciously work with our spiritual helpers in this time great uncertainty. Let us set the table with our intention to join together in communion to celebrate the feast of life in all its aspects; as we build a picture of wholeness on the inner planes, which will ray out into all worlds.
30 October 2022 – “Speaking with the Stars”: Mars stands stationary against the background stars of Taurus – the Red Planet is north of Alheka (Zeta [ζ] Tauri), which marks one of the Bull’s two horns.Because it’s nearing opposition, Mars is visible during most of the time it’s dark overnight. You can opt to catch the Red Planet either in the hours before dawn if you’re an early riser, or after it clears the horizon by 9 pm local time if you’re a night owl. ~astronomy.com
Sunrise: 7:27 A.M.
Sunset: 6:00 P.M.
Moonrise: 1:24 P.M.
Moonset: 10:25 P.M.
Moon Phase: Waxing crescent (32%)
RUDOLF STEINER’S CALENDAR OF THE SOUL
translated (with added titles) by Roy Sadler
In sunlight of my soul
thought’s fruit matures;
all feeling turns to sureness
I joy to sense
the autumn’s rousing of the spirit;
within me will the winter wake
the summer of the soul.
Halloween was originally the Celtic Wise Woman festival of Samhain [‘Summer’s End’]. The summer’s being now begins to shine as the summer of the soul, the cosmic light living on with inner power. Its mirror verse, v23, of imaginative consciousness has changed after Michaelmas to an inspired one, an autumn awakening of a higher self that can be born as the Spirit Child at Christmas.
AUTUMN PRELUDE III
The Yield Of Summer
In autumn haze
the senses’ lure fades;
a mist arising veils
the light’s revealing.
In widths of space I see
the autumn landscape fall asleep;
the summer’s yielded me her being
for me to reap.
Dear friends – I am heading out for another session of my AAP training at the Kimberton Camphill, so my All Hallows post tomorrow will be my last until I return on 8 Nov. just in time for the Lunar Eclipse, which also happens to be election day here in Chicago. I voted early, taking the time to research all the candidates, which is not as easy as it used to be, the entitled apathy of these politicians is blatant. But there are a few folks out there fighting for Medical & Reproductive Freedom, who care about community, workers rights, & the environment, who think that we should put kids before guns…etc…So if you are willing to really take your civic duty seriously, & are willing to vote beyond party lines, you can make a difference – VOTE!
Our Annual All Souls Celebration –
A Community Circle to Honor Our Beloved Dead
Wednesday, November 2, 2022
In-person at the Rudolf Steiner Branch
4249 N. Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL. 60613
Doors open 5 pm
5:15-6:00 Potluck Dinner & Conversation
Transition to the Upper Room
6:05 Verse for the So-Called Dead
6:20-6:30 Speak Their Names
6:30-6:40 Social Art for the Dead
6:40-7:10 Conversation RE Experience
7:10 Closing Verse
For those wishing to attend All Souls Day Vesper Service (Ultra-Violet Archer will be singing)
at The Christian Community, please arrive at the Church and be seated by 7:25 pm
The service will begin promptly at 7:30pm
2135 W WILSON AVE
CHICAGO, IL 60625
For more info. contact Coordinators Deborah Rogers or Paulette Arnold
Rudolf Steiner Branch of The Anthroposophical Society
4249 North Lincoln Avenue. Chicago, IL 60618 (map)