Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, which begins tonight at sunset, falls 10 days after Rosh Hashanah, & is the culmination of the entire High Holy Day drama. It is the holiest day of the Jewish year or, as the Bible describes it, the “Sabbath of Sabbaths”. During the 24 hours of Yom Kippur, the biblical commandment to fast from food & water, while engaging in intense soul-searching, & praying for forgiveness is practiced. Yom Kippur is a day of inner purification & of reconciliation with the creator & with our fellow human beings. It is a reminder of the frailty of human existence & our duty to act charitably toward the less fortunate. This ancient tradition is just as important now as it was for our ancestors, maybe even more so.
During this time after the Autumnal Equinox & the beginning of the Michaelmas Season, a shift occurs within us, echoing outside of us in Nature, & reflected in various cultural expressions & traditions.
It is the moment in time to dedicate mind, body, & soul to reconciliation – with God, our fellow human beings, & ourselves; a time to turn to those whom we have wronged, acknowledging the pain we might have caused. At the same time, being willing to forgive & to let go of offenses & the feelings of resentment they provoked in us. This journey for both seekers & givers of pardon mirrors the journey a soul takes after death.
During this season it is customary to walk to a body of fresh water symbolically casting bread crumbs into the waters, a symbol of our sins: those actions that have missed the mark.
What we do to ourselves & others has repercussions. Because of this unity everything that occurs in our own little world creates a resonance in others & in society as a whole. To heal the planet we first have to heal ourselves, acknowledge our sorrows, & thru compassion – forgive.
4 October 2022 – “Speaking with the Stars”: Look for Bella Luna on October 4 and 5, 2022. The bright “star” near it is really the ringed planet, golden Saturn. The moon is in a waxing gibbous phase on these nights. It’s in front of the constellation Capricornus the Sea-goat.
“To truly know the world, look deeply within your own being; to truly know yourself, take real interest in the world.” Rudolf Steiner
Feast Day of Crispus & Gaius, Martyrs baptized by St. Paul at Corinth, Greece. Crispin headed the local Jewish synagogue. Gaius served as St. Paul’s host & was praised by St. John. Before being martyred, Crispin served as the bishop of the Aegean Islands, & Gaius served as bishop of Thessalonica, Greece.
1 Corinthians 1:14 – I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius
Acts 10:48 – So he ordered that Crispus and Gaius be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay for a few days.
Acts 18:8 – Crispus, the synagogue leader, and his whole household believed in the Lord. And many of the Corinthians who heard the message believed and were baptized.
Romans 16:23 – Gaius, who has hosted me and all the church, sends you greetings. Erastus, the city treasurer, sends you greetings, as does our brother Quartus.
3 John 1:1 – The elder, To the beloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth
1515 Birthday of Lucas Cranach the Younger, He is known for portraits & mythical scenes
Her books, which include her autobiography (The Life of Teresa of Jesus) & her seminal work El Castillo Interior (The Interior Castle), are an integral part of Spanish Renaissance literature as well as Christian mysticism & Christian meditation practices. She also wrote Camino de Perfección (The Way of Perfection).
Teresa of Avila was born in 1515. Her paternal grandfather, was a marrano (Jewish convert to Christianity) & was condemned by the Spanish Inquisition for allegedly returning to the Jewish faith. Her father, bought a knighthood & successfully assimilated into Christian society. Teresa’s mother, was especially keen to raise her daughter as a pious Christian. Teresa was fascinated by accounts of the lives of the saints, & ran away from home at age seven with her brother Rodrigo to find martyrdom among the Moors.
When Teresa was 14 her mother died; this resulted in Teresa becoming grief-stricken. This prompted her to embrace a deeper devotion to the Virgin Mary as her spiritual mother. Along with this good resolution, however, she also developed immoderate interests in reading popular fiction (consisting, at that time, mostly of medieval tales of knighthood) & caring for her own appearance. Teresa was sent for her education to the Augustinian nuns at Ávila.
In the monastery she suffered greatly from illness. Early in her sickness, she experienced periods of religious ecstasy through the use of the devotional book the Third Spiritual Alphabet. This work, consisted of directions for examinations of conscience & for spiritual self-concentration (known in mystical nomenclature as oratio recollectionis). She also employed other mystical ascetic works.
She claimed that during her illness she rose from the lowest stage, “recollection”, to the “devotions of silence” or even to the “devotions of ecstasy”, which was one of perfect union with God. During this final stage, she said she frequently experienced a rich “blessing of tears.”
The kernel of Teresa’s mystical thought throughout all her writings is the ascent of the soul in four stages (The Autobiography Chs. 10-22):
The 1st Devotion of Heart, is mental prayer of devout concentration or contemplation. It is the withdrawal of the soul from without & especially the devout observance of the passion of Christ & penitence
The 2nd Devotion of Peace, is where human will is surrendered to God. This is by virtue of a charismatic, supernatural state given by God, while the other faculties, such as memory, reason, & imagination, are not yet secure from worldly distraction. While a partial distraction is due to outer performances such as repetition of prayers & writing down spiritual things, yet the prevailing state is one of quietude
The 3rd Devotion of Union, is absorption in God. It is not only a supernatural but an essentially ecstatic state. Here there is also an absorption of the reason in God, & only the memory & imagination are left to roam. This state is characterized by a blissful peace, a sweet slumber of at least the higher soul faculties, or a conscious rapture in the love of God
The 4th Devotion of Ecstasy, is where the consciousness of being in the body disappears. Sense activity ceases; memory & imagination are also absorbed in God or intoxicated. Body & spirit are in the throes of a sweet, happy pain, alternating between a fearful fiery glow, a complete impotence & unconsciousness, & a spell of strangulation, sometimes by such an ecstatic flight that the body is literally lifted into space. This after half an hour is followed by a reactionary relaxation of a few hours in a swoon-like weakness, attended by a negation of all the faculties in the union with God. The subject awakens from this in tears; it is the climax of mystical experience, producing a trance. Indeed, she was said to have been observed levitating during Mass on more than one occasion.
Teresa is one of the foremost writers on mental prayer, & her position among writers on mystical theology is unique. In all her writings on this subject she deals with her personal experiences. Her deep insight & analytical gifts helped her to explain them clearly. Her definition was used in the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “Contemplative prayer in my opinion is nothing else than a close sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with him who we know loves us.” She used a metaphor of mystic prayer as watering a garden throughout her writings.
Around 1556, various friends suggested that her newfound knowledge was diabolical, not divine. She began to inflict various tortures & mortifications of the flesh upon herself. But her confessor, the Jesuit Saint Francis Borgia, reassured her of the divine inspiration of her thoughts. On St. Peter’s Day in 1559, Teresa became firmly convinced that Jesus Christ presented himself to her in bodily form, though invisible. These visions lasted almost uninterrupted for more than two years. In another vision, a seraph drove the fiery point of a golden lance repeatedly through her heart, causing an ineffable spiritual-bodily pain.
I saw in his hand a long spear of gold, and at the point there seemed to be a little fire. He appeared to me to be thrusting it at times into my heart, and to pierce my very entrails; when he drew it out, he seemed to draw them out also, and to leave me all on fire with a great love of God. The pain was so great, that it made me moan; and yet so surpassing was the sweetness of this excessive pain, that I could not wish to be rid of it…
This vision was the inspiration for one of Bernini’s most famous works, the Ecstasy of Saint Teresa at Santa Maria della Vittoria in Rome.
The memory of this episode served as an inspiration throughout the rest of her life, & motivated her lifelong imitation of the life & suffering of Jesus, epitomized in the motto usually associated with her: Lord, either let me suffer or let me die.
Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.
~Teresa of Ávila
1582 – Pope Gregory XIII implements the Gregorian calendar. In Italy, Poland, Portugal, & Spain, October 4 of this year is followed directly by October 15
1970 – Deathday of Janis Joplin
2006 – Wikileaks is launched by Julian Assange
Yes, dear friends I am back making podcasts on ‘I Think Speech‘ check out the new eposodes of the ‘Festival of Life Tour’