POD (Poem Of the Day)
~Let us lift the clouds that guard the secret –
The miracle is happening
Let aspirations rise & speak:
The Peace of Wisdom is coming back
To give birth to Love
Again & yet again – Sing Life
Stirring below the surface of skin,
Anoint the pain of mortality, the loss & suffering
The misunderstandings that prick
Consciousness & prod us toward truth…
Bless the body
Where Love in Wisdom is gathering…
During this time of Advent, in the Epistle in the Christian Community we hear – “a Become” – In this hero’s journey to Become we must face trials that make us worthy to receive the sacred birth of the pure Nathan Soul – an opportunity we can receive especially around the time of the Winter Solstice; which then guides us into the precession of the 13 Holy Nights; culminating in the birth of Christ (& Joan of Arc) on 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 – a spark of Hope that transforms the earth forces of death into a foundation for new life. 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. The virtue of Love – Discretion & Self-restraint will help us meet these challenges.
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. Then 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 guide them & practice equanimity.
These trials help us develop new spiritual organs – This week we practice breathing under water! See you in the pool.
Today is the Feast Day of Old St. Nick, a bishop wearing 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 was 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 2022 – “Speaking with the Stars”: Look for a triangle of Spiritual Beings near Bella Luna – You’ll see the sparkling Pleiades star cluster, the fiery red star Aldebaran (Eye of the Bull in Taurus) & bright red Mars, now just one day away from its December 7-8 opposition. So Earth will fly between Mars and the Sun tomorrow. And tomorrow night – on December 7-8 – the moon will occult, or pass in front of, Mars. Lots going on!
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
Holiday Market at the Rudolf Steiner Branch
4249 N. Lincoln Ave. Chicago
10 December 2022 – from 11 am – 4 pm
Handcrafted gifts, décor & toys
Featuring Live Music, Puppetry & Candle Dipping!!!
The ‘Envy of the Gods’ – The ‘Envy of Human Beings’
Presented by Adriana Koulias*
A Winter Solstice offering preparing us for the Centennial commemoration of the burning of the first Goetheanum.
21 December 2022, at 5 pm PT, 6 pm MT, 7 pm CT, 8 pm ET
Here is a link to the World Clock for your time zone
Online & in-person at the Rudolf Steiner Branch Chicago
Dear Friends – This special presentation is supported by your generous donations. $10-$50 or pay what you will www.rschicago.org/donate (credit card or PayPal)
Please type ‘Adriana’ in the memo for your payment
To register & receive the Zoom code email your receipt of payment to the Cultural Events & Festivals Coordinator Hazel Archer-Ginsberg firstname.lastname@example.org
For those attending in-person doors open at 5:30 pm for our Potluck meal. Please bring food & drink to share.
Work on building the First Goetheanum, which was designed and supervised by Rudolf Steiner, began after the laying of the double dodecahedron foundation stone on the 20th of September 1913. Construction proceeded for a decade under enormous difficulties in the political, economic and cultural realms, brought on by the advent of the First World War. After the war when the building was near completion, the First Goetheanum was destroyed by an arsonist on New Year’s Eve 1922/1923.
This NYE 2022-23 will be the 100th anniversary of this event and the world is again facing many difficulties, political, economic and social. Adriana’s lecture will explore what Rudolf Steiner meant by the ‘Envy of the Gods and the Envy of Human beings’ and how a consciousness of this during the coming 12 Holy Nights can provide the necessary strengthening for the coming twelve months.
During this presentation Adriana will speak about the three gifts given by Rudolf Steiner in 1913: The naming of Anthroposophy, The Fifth Gospel, and The Laying of the Foundation Stone of the First Goetheanum. She will explore with us how we can link our hearts to the old Goetheanum during the coming 12 Holy Nights to prepare ourselves for the coming 12 months in 2023, so we can work towards a Cosmic New Year.
In this way we will celebrate the Jubilee of the Christmas Conference and the resurrection of the living impulse of the First Goetheanum in the most auspicious way.
For Rudolf Steiner tells us: ‘My dear friends, may this link our hearts to the old Goetheanum which we had to consign to the elements. May it link our hearts also to the Spirit, to the Soul of this Goetheanum. With this vow before whatever is best within our being we want to live on not only into the new year. In strength of deed, bearing the spirit, leading the soul we want to live on into the new cosmic year.’ ~Rudolf Steiner, ‘The Envy of the Gods and the Envy of Human Beings.’
Adriana Koulias was born in 1960 in Brazil. Adriana moved to Australia when she was 9 years old where she lives today. She has studied art, operatic singing and nursing. She has been studying Anthroposophy (awareness of our humanity) as given by Rudolf Steiner for 33 years and has since 2002-3 integrated this knowledge into several novels and a number of books, international lectures and articles online and in magazines.