January 6th is The Feast of Epiphany, In Greek: epi-phanos which means shining forth, manifestation, striking appearance or vision of The Divine.
This day is also called: 12th night, Three Kings Day, The feast of La Bafana, The Feast of Recognition, The Adoration of the Magi, The Manifestation of God, & Saturnalia.
In ancient Egypt the 6th of January was celebrated as the Festival of Osiris – revealing the mystery of the re-membering of the Sun-god. As you know, Osiris was overcome by his enemy Typhon or Set & the Goddess Isis, his beloved, seeks & eventually finds him. This notion of finding Osiris is a prefiguring of the Festival of The Three Kings, who also went looking for their representative of the Sun god. This ‘Epiphany’ was also celebrated by the Assyrians, the Armenians & the Phoenicians. Everywhere it is a Festival connected with a kind of universal baptism — a rebirth from out of the water.
In the Act of Consecration, in the Epistle at Epiphany, a word shines out like a star: Grace. 6 times it shines thru: ‘Star of Grace’, ‘Light of Grace’, ‘Grace appearance of the world’s light’…Proclaiming that the shining forth of the Grace of Christ is our Epiphany.
Epiphany, like Easter & Pentecost are holy days traditionally set aside for initiation rites, emphasizing the mysterious relationship between the elements of fire & water, which invokes the ability to see into the formative forces of the etheric realm.
In both the Eastern & Western churches the feast of Epiphany additionally commemorates the marriage at Cana (see John 2:1-11), at which Christ performed his first miracle, an allegory for the mixing of water & wine=liquid fire, changing water into fire, which the ancients called The Alchemical Marriage, or the Great Work…
Epiphany, has been observed since before AD 194, so it is much older than our Christmas celebrations. It has always been a profoundly esoteric festival of the highest rank.
At one time the Nativity & Epiphany were celebrated together & were referred to as the 1st & 2nd nativity; the 1st as the birth of the physical vessel prepared thru many generations from Adam down thru the House of King David; & the 2nd being Christ’s manifestation into that vessel, linked with the cosmic event of Christ’s baptism by John in the Jordan; & then moving with the blood into the earth in the death & resurrection of Easter.
The Three Kings from the East: Kaspar, Melchior & Balthazar, were wise men initiated into the mysteries of the stars by Zarathustra. They followed the starry script written in the heavens that was foretold by the ancient prophets, to Bethlehem, where they paid homage to the Christ-child & presented him with gold, frankincense & myrrh.
Gold reflects the kingship of The Christ as a ‘Solar King’. Frankincense, the incense of worship, for meditative & invocational purposes, symbolizes his priestly role, & myrrh, a purifying substance used in burial embalming, points to the crucifixion & resurrection.
“…K. M. B…. these letters represent the names of the Three Holy Kings: Kaspar, Melchior, Balthasar…these three wise men of the East who brought offerings of three human virtues: with the gold – self-knowledge; with the frankincense – self-piety, calling forth the higher “I”; & in the myrrh, self- development & surrender, & the preservation of the eternal in the self.
The 3 kings represent the evolution of humanity, & show in their inclusiveness that The Christ Impulse is for all of humankind.
The twelve days of Christmas ends with the Feast of Epiphany which comes with its own traditions, rituals & symbols for the common folk. Carolers go from house to house; & in many homes the Christmas Tree is taken down & burnt in a big bonfire.
For the children this is an especially joyous occasion because, when the tree is taken down they get to “plündern” (raid) the tree of the sweets – the chocolate ornaments wrapped in foil or cookies, which have replaced the sugar plums, & become the raiders’ rewards.
Another tradition is to sprinkle the doorways with holy water; & the mistress of the house would write with chalk K + M + B with the number of the year above the house or barn door & say: “Kaspar, Melchior, “Balthasar, behütet uns auch für dieses Jahr, vor Feuer und. ‘Protect our home from the perils of fire & water’.
Our modern family does this every year…
You may have seen it, especially if you’ve been to Germany or other parts of Europe – a mysterious series of letters & numbers, looking to all the world like an equation, inscribed in chalk over a doorway.
Epiphany (also known as Twelfth Night, Theophany, or Three Kings Day) marks the occasion of a time-honored Christian tradition of “chalking the doors.” The formula for the ritual — adapted for 2023 — is simple: take chalk of any color & write the following above the entrance of your home: 20 + K + M + B + 23…
The letters have two meanings: 1st they represent the initials of the Magi — Kaspar, Melchior, & Balthazar — who came to visit the Jesus of the Matthew Gospel.
The letters are also an abbreviate of the Latin phrase, Christus mansionem benedicat: “May Christ bless the house.” The “+” signs represent the cross.
And the “20” at the beginning & the “23” at the end mark the year.
Taken together, this inscription is performed as a request that Christ bless the house & those who dwell therein throughout the entire year.
The chalking of the doors is a centuries-old practice throughout the world, though it appears to be someone less well-known in the United States. It is, however, an easy tradition to adopt, & a great practice where we can dedicate ourselves to the ideals of the Christ-Impulse from the very beginning of each year.
When I was growing up, all the old Italian ladies would do it after Epiphany Mass. It can be done at any church, home, or dwelling. In the very old days the blessing was done by either a priest or the head of the family, but here in the US, it’s usually the grandmothers or the children that want to do it! This blessing can be performed simply by just writing the inscription & offering an intention or short prayer, or more elaborately, including songs, prayers, processions, the burning of incense, & the sprinkling of holy water.
I remember the days when I would go to the Epiphany Mass with my grandma, & they gave out satchels of blessed chalk, incense, & containers of holy water blessed especially for Epiphany. Another common practice, that my Straga-ma always observed was to save a few grains of the Epiphany incense until Easter, so that it could be burned along with the Easter candle.
Practicing traditions like the chalking of the doors helps us to awaken to the mysteries behind the Holidays. It is a practical concrete way to observe & it serves as an outward sign of our dedication to being more conscious in our thinking, feeling & willing. To consciously take the time to bless our homes – the place where many of us will make the greatest strides in our spiritual growth, through observance of daily meditation, spiritual reading to the dead, & work offered freely with love – is vital.
It also serves as a reminder of the wise welcoming that the Magi gave to the Christ Child. We can also strive to be as welcoming to all who come to our homes. To greet the Christ within every body that crosses the threshold.
Blessings & Peace ~hag
Greetings Dear Friends & Welcome to our Epiphany!
Here is my offering for you on this last of the Holy Nights:
Happy New Year! 2023 the Year of WE!
~Follow the Star~
Epiphany Festival & Prep-Stir
TONIGHT Friday 6 January 2023
Potluck: 6 pm – Festival: 7 pm – 8:30 pm
To cap the Holy Nights, we gather to co-create an Epiphany
on the Birthday of Joan of Arc, recalling the gifts of the Magi, & the Baptism,
for an art-full community envisioning of the New Year 2023
Eurythmy with Jan Ranck
Song Circle with Velsum Voices
Contemplations with Hazel Archer-Ginsberg
3 Kings Prep Stir BRING YOUR OWN JAR
Please Bring Food & Drink to Share
$10 more or less Love Donation Encouraged
For more info contact Cultural Events & Festivals Coordinator
Rudolf Steiner Branch of The Anthroposophical Society
4249 North Lincoln Avenue. Chicago, IL 60618 (map)
Velsum Voices Presents: ‘New Nightingale, New Rose’
A Benefit Concert to support Nancy Jewel Poer and the community events at White Feather Ranch
Saturday, 28 January 2023, at 2 pm PT
In the Peace Garden at White Feather Ranch, Placerville, CA
All Ages – Love Donation – Contribute what you will
Come join us for Velsum’s West Coast Debut!
Dress in warm clothes for a hearty heart-filled afternoon of music and celebration. We will have an outdoor fire. If it is too chilly we can meet in the Ranch House. Pack your own picnic lunch or dinner.
‘Velsum‘ is a musical initiative formed through Lucien Dante Lazar and Ultra-Violet Archer. The songs are inspired to develop our human capacity for Love and Logic. Velsum is a celebration of harmony, rhythm, prayer, and the human voice. Each song is permeated with a sincere interest in the other, the self, the world, and the cosmos. ‘”Velsum’s music is a product of listening.” We hope that by listening to these songs, you feel heard. ~Velsum
Lucien and Ultra met as children at the Chicago Waldorf School. They became friends as adults. Together, their exquisite singing voices blending to a rare perfection create heavenly harmonies. They co-write all of their own music and lyrics, offering an original repertoire that is soul uplifting for all ages. A joyful experience awaits young and old.
~Velsum: Ancient Futurism~ Lucien Dante Lazar and Ultra-Violet Archer
Ultra-Violet Archer – (b. Chicago, IL, 1999) Songwriter and Music Producer, exploring music as a tool for healing and storytelling. I am currently studying at Columbia College of Chicago, after spending a year with the International Youth Initiative Program in Sweden; and before that, two years at Oberlin College and Conservatory. Here https://linktr.ee/UltraVioletArcher you can find the links to my original releases and YouTube channel. I also sing and produce for the band Circle’s Edge. When I’m not making music, you can find me foraging for edible plants, reading fantasy novels, or hosting women’s circles!
Lucien Dante Lazar (b. Chicago, IL, 1994) is an interdisciplinary artist whose praxis is founded in the intersections of art, science, and spirituality. He received his BA from Bard College (2016), his MFA from California College of the Arts (2020), and is currently working on his PhD in the Philosophy, Cosmology and Consciousness program at California Institute of Integral Studies. His dissertation will concern the pedagogy of spiritual development through the diversity of the arts.