Greetings Dear friends on this Lazarus Saturday – a traditional celebration in the Eastern Orthodox Church – A moveable feast on the Eve of Palm Sunday. It commemorates the raising of Lazarus of Bethany from the tomb after 4 days by Jesus of Nazareth – In what Spiritual Science calls the 1st Christian Initiation. Bethany is the family residence of siblings Mary Magdalene, & Martha.
Here we see in the introduction to the 7th sign, that The Gospel of John goes on to affirm that Mary Magdalene is the one who anointed Christ previously, after the casting out of the demons. Then we learn that after “Lazarus had been in the tomb for four days…When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home”. Some translations say: “Mary stayed within” – When I first starting working with the Gospels this stuck out for me & I have pondered it for many years. Why would Mary who was always at the feet of the Master not come out to meet him? Then it struck me! – Was she busy protecting the red thread connecting Lazarus to his earthly home? Perhaps The Magdala was holding sacred space for her brother while he was undergoing his initiation in the spiritual world!
We can picture Lazarus working with John the Baptist on the other side as part of the initiation. So that when he emerged he could be deemed worthy to receive the title John as well – ‘The Disciple Whom Jesus Loved” – John the Evangelist –
Mary stayed within – It conjures the image of an Egyptian hierophant or Priestess accompanying an initiation – A highly developed Adapt who was empowered enough to anoint the Christ, standing at the threshold for her brother, as she would again later for the Christ during His ‘Harrowing of Hell’ on Holy Saturday…
Then what comes is John’s description of the final anointing:
We can think about how the act of anointing is defined as a ritual of the transference of power, like the ordination of a Priest, or the coronation of a king, or the confirmation bestowed on a Prophet, or a sacred place. It seals the deal. And now with Mary’s sacred act we see a new kind of anointing – the last anointing – performed right before death. Jesus said, “Leave her be, what she has done shall count on the day of my burial”.
And then The Christ goes on to conquer death!
John’s gospel reports that “Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.” It is where he spent the Great Sabbath right before Passover, prior to his triumphant entry into Jerusalem. Jesus lodged there during Holy Week, & it is where his last anointing by Lazarus’ sister Mary Magdalene took place a few days later on Holy Wednesday.
St. John Chrysostom brought this Feast Day into the liturgy in 7th century, a joyful paschal service which glorifies Christ as the “Resurrection and the Life”. By raising Lazarus, Christ confirms the universal resurrection of humankind, even before his own deed on Golgotha. Lazarus Saturday is one of the great baptismal days in the ecclesiastical year.
It is celebrated in places like Bulgaria, & Armenia, with an end of the 40 days of fasting for Lent. In the Russian Church, the vestments & Church hangings are green on this day, denoting the renewal of life.
In the Greek Church, it is customary on Lazarus Saturday to plait elaborate crosses out of palm leaves which will be used on Palm Sunday.
In Greece they Bake lazarakia a mildly sweet Lenten bread made with sweet-smelling spices that looks like Lazarus bound up in grave clothes to eat on Lazarus Saturday It is said to have originated in Cyprus, where St. Lazarus was their first bishop.
In Serbia, small bells are often tied to the branches. Related traditions include: Burning a fire against vermin and snakes – Picking flowers & herbs which are put in water to either drink or swim in –
And a Lazarice ritual – a Dance & procession of maidens
From Rudolf Steiner: “An initiation is veiled by the story of Lazarus in the Gospel of St. John. It has never been understood except by those who knew from their esoteric schools what was concealed behind it. When Christ was informed that Lazarus was ill, He replied: ‘The sickness is not unto death, but that the God in him should be made manifest!’ It means that the Christ-divinity shall be made manifest in and through Lazarus.
Remember that when there was question of the ‘life’ that had fled from Lazarus, and which the sisters Martha and Mary longed to have restored, Christ answers: ‘I am the Resurrection and the Life!’ The life was to return to Lazarus.
Lazarus meantime beheld the spiritual world. And inasmuch as Christ is the leader of that spiritual world, Lazarus had been filled with the Christ-power and the vision of Christ. Christ poured out His power upon Lazarus and Lazarus arose a new man.
A word in St. John’s Gospel arrests our attention. It is said that the Lord ‘loved’ Lazarus. The same word is used for the disciple ‘whom the Lord loved’.
What does this mean? The Akashic records reveal this to us. Who was Lazarus after he had risen from the dead? He was none other than the writer of the Gospel of St. John, the Lazarus who was initiated by Christ.
Christ poured into the soul of Lazarus the tidings of His own existence, so that the message of the fourth Gospel — the Gospel of St. John — might resound through the world as a description of Christ’s own being. This is also why the disciple John is not mentioned in the Gospel before the story of Lazarus. The individuality of Lazarus had been transformed into the John-individuality, in the sense of the Christian initiation.
Lazarus became an initiate in the new sense of the word, though the old forms were retained in a measure, a transition was created from the old to the new initiation.”
~Rudolf Steiner – The Gospel of St. John Lecture 7
Yes & today is also April Fool’s day 2023!!!
On this topsy-turvy day I like to share a little meditation Irecorded a few years ago, which I call: Ostara & the April Fool. (Listen to the story on ‘I Think Speech’ ) Strap on your imagination & come with me if you dare…
“Children and fools speak true.”
“The greatest fool may ask more than the wisest man can answer.”
“Foolproof systems do not take into account the ingenuity of fools.”
1 April 2023 – “Speaking with the Stars“: The Full Paschal Moon will come on the night of April 5-6. Tonight,& tomorrow night, Bella Luna is a bright waxing gibbous moon you’ll see in the sky from late afternoon on, near the bright star Regulus, Heart of the Lion in the constellation Leo.
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
According to Rudolf Steiner’s Original Calendar of the Soul: Today is the Feast Day of Isis, The Divine Sophia, consort of Osiris.
Birthday of Theodora from Steiner’s Mystery Dramas
1204 – Deathday of Eleanor of Aquitaine – one of the most powerful and influential figures of the Middle Ages. Inheriting a vast estate at the age of 15 made her the most sought-after bride of her generation. She would eventually become the queen of France, the queen of England and lead a crusade to the Holy Land. She is also credited with establishing and preserving many of the courtly rituals of chivalry. ~history.com
1815 – Birthday of Bismarck – Germany became a modern, unified nation under the leadership of the “Iron Chancellor” Otto von Bismarck who effectively ruled first Prussia and then all of Germany. A master strategist, Bismarck initiated decisive wars with Denmark, Austria and France to unite 39 independent German states under Prussian leadership. Although an arch-conservative, Bismarck introduced progressive reforms—including universal male suffrage and the establishment of the first welfare state—in order to achieve his goals. He manipulated European rivalries to make Germany a world power, but in doing so laid the groundwork for both World Wars. ~history.com
1930 – Death day of Cosima Wagner – the daughter of the Hungarian composer and pianist Franz Liszt and Franco-German romantic author Marie d’Agoult. She became the second wife of the German composer Richard Wagner, and with him founded the Bayreuth Festival as a showcase for his stage works; after his death she devoted the rest of her life to the promotion of his music and philosophy. Commentators have recognized Cosima as the principal inspiration for Wagner’s later works, particularly Parsifal.
Mary Magdalene & the Women at the Tomb – A Festival of Resurrection with Hazel Archer-Ginsberg, Song-Circle with Velsum Voices = Lucien Dante Lazar & Ultra-Violet Archer
Holy Saturday 8 April 2023
1 pm – 3pm CT a hybrid event
in-person at the Rudolf Steiner Branch 4249 North Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, IL 60618 (map)
& on zoom https://us06web.zoom.us/j/7050174041
Meeting ID: 705 017 4041
For more Info. contact Hag@RSChicago.org Cultural Events & Festivals Coordinator
$10 more or less…www.rschicago.org/donate
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