Greetings Beloved Ones on this Ash Wednesday 2023 – The start of the Lenten-Tide Season.
My father’s people, the Italian side, were Catholic. I attended many wonderful incense filled, pageant-like Masses with my Grandmother, (who was a not so secret ‘Strega’) dedicated to The Blessed Virgin Mary & all the Saints, in an practical ‘peasant = of the land’, kind of way.
My mother’s folks from Ireland ‘wore the orange’ = Protestant/unionist’, but called themselves Baptist after becoming farmers in Tennessee. My mother had to convert to Catholicism in order to marry my father, as that was the way in those days. As children my siblings & I, who were baptized in the Catholic Church, were never-the-less bussed off to ‘Baptist Bible School’ for the simple reason that the bus came to our corner every Sunday – which conveniently afforded our hard working parent’s a day off from us 4 kids.
I did not have a good experience there. On the outside they preached a sexist totalitarian ‘morality’ (no dancing-really?) & yet behind closed doors the pastor molested certain ‘chosen ones’- myself included. So as you might imagine I swore off organized religion; & related more to my Strega Nona’s more practical way of worshipping, with Mary = The Divine Feminine at the center.
Thru karmic circumstances I started working the path of the modern Rosicrucian, at a very young age, which is, I would say, an Esoteric or Cosmic Christian path. Since discovering Rudolf Steiner in college I have lived deeply into the truth of being an Anthroposopher –
After meeting Rev. Gisela Wielki when the Christian Community Seminary was here in Chicago & thru the love of Rev. Richard Dancey, I became an active member of the Christian Community Church, part of an international movement for religious renewal, founded in 1922 with the help of Rudolf Steiner, which has a kind of Lent – a shorter Passion-tide.
And yet this year I feel the need to use the opportunity afforded by the 40 days of Lent to deepen my inner work.
There is something powerful about the rhythm of 40 days – which shows up often in the Bible.
Since the number 40 appears so often in contexts dealing with judgment or testing, many understand it to be the number of “probation” or “trial.” For instance:
In the Old Testament, when God destroyed the earth with water – He caused it to rain 40 days & 40 nights (Genesis 7:12).
After Moses killed the Egyptian, he fled to Midian, where he spent 40 years in the desert tending flocks (Acts 7:30).
Moses was on Mount Sinai for 40 days & 40 nights (Exodus 24:18).
Moses interceded on Israel’s behalf for 40 days & 40 nights (Deuteronomy 9:18, 25).
Three kings reigned for 40 years each: Saul, David & Solomon – That’s no coincidence. Forty years is considered a generation in the Bible (i.e. a new group of Israelites that rises up, sustains itself, then dies off). For the three kings of antiquity, this measurement of time also contains a warning—20 years of their rule was marked by prosperity & 20 years by ruin
The Law specified a maximum number of lashes a man could receive for a crime, setting the limit at 40 (Deuteronomy 25:3).
The Israelite spies took 40 days to spy out Canaan (Numbers 13:25).
The Israelites wandered for 40 years (Deuteronomy 8:2-5).
Before Samson’s deliverance, Israel served the Philistines for 40 years (Judges 13:1).
Goliath taunted Saul’s army for 40 days before David arrived to slay him (1 Samuel 17:16).
When Elijah fled from Jezebel, he traveled 40 days & 40 nights to Mt. Horeb (1 Kings 19:8).
The number 40 also appears in the prophecies of Ezekiel (4:6; 29:11-13) Ezekiel laid on his right side for 40 days to “bear the iniquity” of Judea’s sins & Jonah (3:4).
In the New Testament, Jesus fasted for 40 days (Matthew 4:2). (So did Moses & Elijah)
There are 40 days between The Resurrection & The Ascension (Acts 1:3), When the disciple received the esoteric teachings of the Risen Christ.
According to Steiner’s original Calendar of the Soul 23 February was the day Lazarus was raised from the dead, being that Good Friday & Easter came on 3/5 April.
The normal gestation of a human Pregnancy usually last 40 weeks
And so dear friends, I will be taking this 40 day journey – a Path to the Resurrection – asking myself: When I stand at the dawning of the New Sun on Easter Sunday, how do I want to be different?
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
1632 – Galileo’s Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems is published.
1732 – Birthday of George Washington, American general & politician, 1st President of the United States
1788 – Birthday of Arthur Schopenhauer, German philosopher & author
1876 – Birthday of Ita Wegman, founder of Anthroposophical medicine & close collaborator of Rudolf Steiner. She also developed a special form of massage therapy, called rhythmical massage, & other therapeutic treatments.
Ita Wegman, as she was known throughout her life, was born as Maria Ita Wegman in Indonesia, the first child of a Dutch colonial family. Around the turn of the century, she returned to Europe (she had visited before) & studied therapeutic gymnastics & massage. In 1902, when she was 26, she met Rudolf Steiner for the first time. Five years later she began medical school at the University of Zurich, where women were not discriminated to study medicine. She was granted a diploma as a medical doctor in 1911 with a specialization in women’s medicine & joined an existing medical practice.
In 1917, having opened an independent practice, she developed a cancer treatment using an extract of mistletoe following indications from Steiner. This first remedy, which she called Iscar, was later developed into Iscador & has become an approved cancer treatment in Germany & a number of other countries.
By 1919 she had a joint practice together with two other doctors, also women. In 1920 she purchased land in Arlesheim, where she opened her own clinic, the Klinisch-Therapeutisches Institut, the first center for anthroposophical medicine. In 1922 she founded a therapeutic home for mentally handicapped children, Haus Sonnenhof, also in Arlesheim, & co-founded a pharmaceutical laboratory, Weleda, that has since grown into a significant producer of medicines & health-care products.
In the following year, Rudolf Steiner asked Wegman to join the Executive Council of the newly reformed Anthroposophical Society at the Goetheanum in Dornach, Switzerland. She also directed the Medical Section of the research center at the Goetheanum. Together, Wegman & Steiner wrote what was to be Steiner’s last book, Extending Practical Medicine, which gave a theoretical basis to the new medicine they were developing. The book was partly written while Wegman cared for Steiner, who was already terminally ill. Wegman founded a new medical journal, Natura, the following year.
In 1936, the clinic opened a second home in Ascona, Switzerland. Shortly thereafter, difficulties between Wegman & the rest of the Executive Council flared up, & Wegman was asked to leave the Council; in addition, she & a number of supporters had their membership in the Anthroposophical Society itself withdrawn. The medical work flourished, however, & Wegman travelled extensively in support of the rapidly growing movement to extend medicine’s limits; she was especially active in the Netherlands & England during this time. Wegman died in Arlesheim in 1943, at the age of 67.
Ita Wegman is a close collaborator with Rudolf Steiner thruout many incarnations:
Eabani – Gilgamesh
Cratylus – Artemisia in the era of Heraclitus of Ephesus
Aristotle – Alexander the Great
Schionatulander – Sigune
St Thomas Aquino – Reginald of Piperno confessor to Aquino
Dr. Rudolf Steiner – Dr. Ita Wegman
On the Work of the Archangel Michael by Ita Wegman
1943 – Deathday of 1943 – Hans & Sophie Scholl, German activists. Sophie a German student along with her brother Hans were anti-Nazi political activists, active within the White Rose non-violent resistance group in Nazi Germany. They were convicted of high treason after distributing anti-war leaflets at the University of Munich (LMU).
In the early summer of 1942, Scholl, his sister Sophie, Willi Graf, Kurt Huber, Christoph Probst, & Alexander Schmorell, co-authored 6 anti-Nazi Third Reich political resistance leaflets. Calling themselves the White Rose, they instructed Germans to practice nonviolent resistance against the Nazis. The group had been horrified by the behavior of some German soldiers on the Eastern Front, where they had witnessed cruelty towards Jews in Poland & Russia.
Hans & Sophie Scholl & Christopher Probst were beheaded by Johann Reichhart in Munich’s Stadelheim Prison. The execution was supervised by Dr. Walter Roemer, the enforcement chief of the Munich district court. Scholl’s last words were “Es lebe die Freiheit!” (“Long live freedom!”). Shortly thereafter, most of the other students involved were arrested & executed as well.
1932 – Birthday of Ted Kennedy, an American politician who served as a United States Senator from Massachusetts for over forty years from 1962 until his death in 2009. A member of the Democratic Party, he was the second most senior member of the Senate when he died & is the fourth-longest-continuously-serving senator in United States history, having served there for almost 47 years.
For many years, Ted Kennedy was the most prominent living member of the Kennedy family, & he was also the last surviving, longest-living, & youngest son of Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. & Rose Kennedy. He was the youngest brother of John F. Kennedy—the 35th President of the United States—& Senator Robert F. Kennedy, both victims of assassination, & the father of Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy.
The Categories of Aristotle – a process of contraction…
Is there a path to expansion…..?
PUBLIC LECTURE AND EURYTHMY WORKSHOP WITH CLAUDIA FONTANA
Friday 24 March 2023 – Lecture 7 pm CT – 8:30 pm – Purchase tickets at the door or pay online
Saturday 25 March 2023 – Workshop – 9 am CT– (10:30 am 1/2 hour break – 11 am) 12:30 pm CT CT– Purchase tickets at the door or pay online $50
The Categories of Aristotle: A process of contraction…exploring a path to expansion…
Does one have to be a philosopher of great erudition to approach Aristotle’s gift to humanity……his Categories?
Perhaps , YES! But an initial acquaintance with them can lead out of the confinement of the intellectual concept to an experience of expansion supported by Eurythmy.
In the evening lecture Claudia will introduce the life of the Categories before they became concepts – Bringing the symbols in a sequence of sounds (called the Evolutionary Sequence ) out of their conceptual form, to life, supported by Eurythmy and examples of poetry.
During the workshop we will enter into the movement of the poetry presented during the lecture. This will be accessible to Eurythmists as well as to anyone interested in the life of language, poetry and our alphabet.
For more info contact Cultural Events & Festivals Coordinator
Claudia Fontana saw a Eurythmy performance when still a teenager. Unbeknownst to her at the time, that performance was the gate to her destiny path. Soon thereafter she studied Eurythmy in Vienna and subsequently spent fourteen years as a performer with the Dornach, London and Stuttgart Eurythmeum ensembles. Teaching became the next challenge which she happily met in the United States, Europe. Before Covid, she spent seven years teaching all levels in Thailand, Malaysia and China. She resides in Ann Arbor, MI still performing and teaching.
Mary Magdalene & the Women at the Tomb – A Festival of Resurrection
with Hazel Archer-Ginsberg,
Song-Circle with Velsum,
Eurythmy – & an artistic break out session
Holy Saturday 8 April 2023
1 pm – 3pm CT a hybrid event in-person at the Rudolf Steiner Branch Chicago & on zoom
Meeting ID: 705 017 4041
This course is available on Zoom. You will be emailed a Zoom link closer to the time of the class. The course will be recorded and you will receive a link to watch it. Go to the Infinity Foundation web site to enroll
Course Number 231154 / Zoom
Date: Thursday, May 11
Time 7:00 – 8:30 PM CST
Cost $33/23 payment 10 days in advance
When we tune into the Cycle of the Seasons, we experience that as the Earth breathes out in the Springtime, the beings of nature reach upwards towards the heights. The longing of the human soul also strives to meet this mood of ascension, which attunes all life to the cosmic expanses.
Together we will gain insights in how to rise up to our Higher Self by participating in this harmonizing spring-dialogue between the worlds.
This reconnection between heaven & earth was prefigured in the story of Jacob’s ladder from the Old Testament. Through his dream of the ‘stairway to heaven’, Jacob gave us a prophecy in the picture of a golden ladder on which choirs of Angels traverse between the ‘Above & Below’. The Mystery of the Ascension of Christ, 40 days after the Resurrection at Easter, fulfilled Jacob’s Prophecy. Christ as the Being of Love became the living bridge connecting us to the eternal.
Through this workshop we will learn how humanity will also be transfigured in the fullness of time. The company of the Angelic Hierarchies wait for us, their younger siblings, to ascend, first of all in our thinking, to meet them in fellowship, as they work all the while by our sides.
~Vitae Sophia~A Whitsun Festival of United Soul Endeavor
with Hazel Archer-Ginsberg, Velsum Voices & Eurythmy
Saturday 27 May 2023 a Hybrid event in person* & on zoom
We are called to redeem the ether spheres to create an Ecclesia, a chalice for The Sophia. Then the spirit flame can spread out to become what Steiner called a “World Whitsun”, which began in earnest at the Christmas Conference. The Whitsun Festival highlights one of the greatest challenges of being human: placing our individual gifts, in right relationship within the social realm. This challenge is especially strong now during this ‘pandemic’. Our groups striving to know Spiritual Science must work together as a community, to have the possibility to create a new culture where a sacrament is possible in every encounter. Our individual strength is enhanced by weaving our gifts together, kindling our social world in conscious community.
Zoom: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/83663366670?pwd=L292UzlOR1pkZjBXSWpxK1B2b0o1dz09 Meeting ID: 836 6336 6670 / Passcode: 397593