POD (Poem Of the day)
~My soul duels with worms
Hidden in the clay of being
That would gnaw the scroll of mythos
Witch i carry in my heart whole
& speak thru the living word…
I will cut bait & continue singing…
31 October 2022 – “Speaking with the Stars”: The Halloween Moon this year is first quarter (exactly first quarter at 1:37 am CDT tonight). It hangs in the south in early evening, with distant Saturn glowing steadily to its upper left. Much farther left of Saturn is brighter Jupiter. As night deepens, the dim boat-shaped pattern of Capricornus emerges shyly behind Saturn and the Moon.
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
The first day of All-Hallows-Tide, observed until November 7 (Western Christianity)
Halloween (Ireland, Canada, United Kingdom, United States etc…)
Hop-tu-Naa is a Celtic festival celebrated in the Isle of Man on 31 October. Predating Halloween, it is the celebration of the original New Year’s Eve (Oie Houney). It is thought to be the oldest unbroken tradition in the Isle of Man
Samhain is a Gaelic festival marking the end of the harvest season & the beginning of winter or the “darker half” of the year. It is the cross quarter between the autumn equinox & the winter solstice.
The Mound of the Hostages, a Neolithic passage tomb at the Hill of Tara, is aligned with the Samhain sunrise. It is mentioned in some of the earliest Irish literature & many important events in Irish mythology happen or begin on Samhain.
It was the time when cattle were brought back down from the summer pastures & when livestock were slaughtered for the winter. As at Beltane, special bonfires were lit.
Like Beltane, Samhain was seen as a liminal time, when the boundary between this world & the Otherworld could more easily be crossed. This meant the Aos Sí, the ‘spirits’ or ‘fairies’, could more easily come into our world. Offerings of food & drink were left outside for them.
The souls of the dead were also thought to revisit their homes seeking hospitality. Feasts were had, at which the souls of dead kin were beckoned to attend & a place set at the table for them.
Mumming & guising were part of the festival, & involved people going door-to-door in costume (or in disguise), often reciting verses in exchange for food.
Divination rituals & games were also a big part of the festival.
The first day of the Day of the Dead, celebrated until November 2 (Spanish: Día de Muertos) The multi-day holiday focuses on gatherings of family to pray for & remember members who have died, & help support their spiritual journey.
Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars called ofrendas, honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, & the favorite foods & beverages of the departed, & visiting graves with these as gifts. Visitors also leave possessions of the deceased at the graves.
Scholars trace the origins of the modern Mexican holiday to indigenous observances dating back hundreds of years and to an Aztec festival dedicated to the goddess Mictecacihuatl. The holiday has spread throughout the world, being absorbed within other deep traditions for honoring the dead.
683 – During the Siege of Mecca, the Kaaba, catches fire & burns down. The literal meaning of the Arabic word ka`bah (كَعْبَة) is “cube”, or “House of God”, considered the most sacred site in Islam, a similar role to the Tabernacle & Holy of Holies in Judaism.
503 years ago, on Oct. 31, 1517, the story goes, that the small-town monk, Martin Luther, marched up to the castle church in Wittenberg & nailed his ‘95 Theses’ to the door, lighting the flame of the Reformation — the split between the Catholic & Protestant churches. Luther’s act is one of the cornerstones of world history, & remains a lasting symbol of resistance.
Nearly all of American history bears the imprint of that act of protest. Luther’s challenge, the protection he obtained, & the reformers he inspired laid the foundation for the establishment of colonial America.
In 1934, an African American pastor from Georgia made the trip of a lifetime, sailing across the Atlantic Ocean, through the gates of Gibraltar, and across the Mediterranean Sea to the Holy Land. After this pilgrimage, he traveled to Berlin, attending an international conference of Baptist pastors. While in Germany, this man — who was named Michael King — became so impressed with what he learned about the reformer Martin Luther that he decided to do something dramatic. He offered the ultimate tribute to the man’s memory by changing his own name to Martin Luther King. His 5-year-old son was also named Michael — and to the son’s dying day his closest relatives would still call him Mike — but not long after the boy’s father changed his own name, he decided to change his son’s name too, & Michael King Jr. became known to the world as Martin Luther King Jr.
Another dynamic measure of the influence of Martin Luther is the quintessentially modern idea of the individual — of our personal responsibility before ourselves & our God, rather than before any institution, whether church or state. This was as unthinkable before Luther. The contemporary idea of “The People,” along with the democratic impulse that proceeds from it – The more recent ideas of pluralism, religious liberty, & self-government all entered history through the door that Luther opened.
Luther’s second unyielding act of courage was at the ‘imperial diet’ held in the city of Worms in 1521, when he made it clear that he feared God’s judgment more than the judgment of church leaders in that room.
And suddenly the individual had the freedom & possibility of thinking for themselves.
Martin Luther was not inclined to tilt at papal windmills. In fact, until about 1520 he was a vigorous champion of the church. He desired desperately to help Rome elude the fate it ended up experiencing. In fact, in a case of Oedipusian irony he became the very man who brought about everything he had hoped to avoid. As his story illustrates, it was a sublime & ridiculous decoction of forces that created the perfect storm that burst over the European continent, creating what we now call the Reformation.
Today the Catholic & Lutheran churches are taking the memory of 1517 in hand. Pope Francis joined leaders of the Lutheran World Federation in Sweden to hold a joint service in a spirit of unity after 500 years of division.
1517 – Deathday of Fra Bartolomeo, Italian artist
1984 – Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi is assassinated by two Sikh security guards. Riots break out in New Delhi & other cities – 4,000 Sikhs are killed.
On All Hallows-tide, the eve of All Saints’ Day, it was a Medieval Christian tradition for the poor to go to wealthy homes offering to pray for the recently departed in that household, since folks knew that prayers could help the dead on their journey in the after-life. And as a token of their appreciation, the rich would give them food & beer.
Many Halloween customs come from this same ritual. Visitors would show up holding lanterns made of hollowed-out turnips with candles inside, which represented souls in purgatory. Masses were held so that souls wouldn’t feel neglected & haunt believers. There were costumes & masks, & mummers plays to depict the various stages of the after-life.
But after the Protestant Reformation — which can be traced back to a different Oct. 31 event (exactly 500 years ago today): Martin Luther’s 1517 publication of his 95 theses — the idea that souls could be saved in this way began to lose popularity in many of the new denominations.
Some Catholics kept up the practice of going door-to-door on the eve of All Saints’ Day, which became known as “Souling.” By the 1840s, when a wave of Irish & Scottish immigrants brought the custom to the U.S., it was basically a pagan/secular pastime. Young people danced outside tenement apartments in exchange for gifts. Costumes were made out of old clothes, & faces painted with burnt corks, while tricks included stuffing cabbages in chimneys & whacking each other with bags of flour.
Although the Irish Catholics faced widespread prejudice, the celebration having been stripped of its Catholic underpinning, quickly proved to be popular. As those immigrants began to assimilate, newspapers reported the custom trending among 19th century college students. In the early 1900s, high schools, rotary clubs & charities began to throw Halloween parties. By the 1930s, North America had a new term for the old tradition: Trick-or-Treating. And as suburban swelled in the 1950s, Trick-or-Treating grew into the kid-friendly practice seen today.
Here in America, Halloween calls for an interaction with spooky strangers, that come out of the night, knocking on our door, shouting, give me a treat or you’ll get a trick. On a spiritual level, trick-or-treat, can be seen as a demand that strangers, a symbol of the unfamiliar parts of ourselves, give up their gifts to us. There is a lot of energy that gets locked up in the dark, & Halloween is an opportunity for us to dialogue with the dark, the shadow side of The Self, & call that energy back.
Light & dark are not opposites, but 2 parts of the same cycle. In order to fully appreciate the festivals of light, which return with the Winter Solstice, we must 1st grow in the dark womb of our perennial inward journey. With the veil between the worlds so thin, great transformations are possible, since the power of all the dimensions are available to us.
It is not only the veil between the physical & spiritual worlds that thin, it can also be the division between any 2 polarities, like the left & right hemispheres in our brains for instance, or between any 2 realities that are struggling to coexist, like war & peace for instance. This dark night can represent a resolution of paradox, a respectful meeting of the different sides of the same coin, witch can initiate the healing transformation required, in order to let the light back into our lives, once we’ve come to understand & own our side of the dark…
Look for me there, in the dark…
Dear friends – I am heading out for another session of my AAP training at the Kimberton Camphill, so this All Hallows post will be my last until I return on 8 Nov. just in time for the Lunar Eclipse, which also happens to be election day here in Chicago. I voted early, taking the time to research all the candidates, which is not as easy as it used to be, the entitled apathy of these politicians is blatant. But there are a few folks out there fighting for Medical & Reproductive Freedom, who care about community, workers rights, & the environment, who think that we should put kids before guns…etc…So if you are willing to really take your civic duty seriously, & are willing to vote beyond party lines, you can make a difference – VOTE!
Our Annual All Souls Celebration –
A Community Circle to Honor Our Beloved Dead
Wednesday, November 2, 2022
In-person at the Rudolf Steiner Branch
4249 N. Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL. 60613
Doors open 5 pm
5:15-6:00 Potluck Dinner & Conversation
Transition to the Upper Room
6:05 Verse for the So-Called Dead
6:20-6:30 Speak Their Names
6:30-6:40 Social Art for the Dead
6:40-7:10 Conversation RE Experience
7:10 Closing Verse
For those wishing to attend All Souls Day Vesper Service (Ultra-Violet Archer will be lading the singing) at The Christian Community, please arrive at the Church and be seated by 7:25 pm
The service will begin promptly at 7:30pm
2135 W WILSON AVE
CHICAGO, IL 60625
For more info. contact Coordinators Deborah Rogers or Paulette Arnold
Rudolf Steiner Branch of The Anthroposophical Society
4249 North Lincoln Avenue. Chicago, IL 60618 (map)