Greetings Friends – Today on this anniversary of the Founding of the Esoteric Youth Circle by Rudolf Steiner, I am slowly emerging like the waxing crescent after the New Moon from 3 days in the Underworld. I seek to reflect a sliver of illumination around our Michaelmas 2023 Speaking with the Stars Retreat at ‘Sun City’ – the ancient Native American settlement 5 hours south of Chicago on the Cahokia Mounds state historic site.
We packed up ‘The Beast’ a van gifted to us, & set off down I-55 on Friday the 13th. The sky was muted with a mantle of fog as we traveled, diffusing the fall colors in an Atlantean – ‘Mists of Avalon’ blur. Soon the clouds burst into a pelting torrential downpour that came & went as we hydroplaned down the highway. The farms & wild prairie grass of the Heartland pulsing golden in the silver rain. CG held the wheel, meeting the rainfall with humor & grace, as I pointed out the scenic inspirations along the way & DJ’d the ride with world music.
As we neared Joliet IL. the sky lifted & we pulled off looking for a place to run our dog Winnie (Winifred J. Rabbit) who was also attending the vigil. We weren’t using our devices, just the trusty Rand McNally. We were looking for The National Shrine & Museum of St. Thérèse of Lisieux – the Little Flower – a Carmelite Nun & Doctor of the Church, just off the highway. I always loved the Carmelites who follow the ‘Most Pure Heart of Mary, Christ Jesus & the prophet Elijah to live in God’s presence’.
The “Little Way” of St. Thérèse is a simple approach to a spiritual life that seeks to find holiness thru everyday life – to do ordinary things with extraordinary love. It’s about trust – living a life where ‘small daily sacrifices’ make life a great deed.
I made the mistake of turning on my phone to help us find it, & that allowed Ahriman to send us on a wild goose chase. Well, we got lost. But inadvertently, as the adversarial beings are meant to do, we were led right where we needed to go – granting us the opportunity to put Trust to the test.
And somehow we ended up at ‘Waterfall Glen’, a nature wildlife preserve with trails, & fishing, famous for its glacial lake. It was perfect. The rain stopped just as we pulled up. Ah, such majesty. We took a thoughtful, refreshing hike around the primordial lake with Winnie in the lead.
Without much more ado we arrived in Springfield, IL. home of Honest Abe & settled into the Bungalow house that would be our retreat center for the next nights.
I picked this place because it is across the street from Oak Ridge Cemetery – a State Historic Site – home of Lincoln’s Tomb. Working with the dead has led me to visit many Burial Grounds – a favorite past time of mine. Our pilgrimage there amongst the rolling hills dotted with founding families & civil war heroes was peaceful & reverent. We extended our inner vision to connect to the Spirit of Place, not just of the Cemetery, but of the larger whole – The Genius Loci of Springfield IL. & the Heartland in general, which helped form the Genius of a great man like Abraham Lincoln.
We shared a delicious meal & prepared for the Michaelmas 2023 annular solar eclipse & our trip to Cahokia. Using the black & white of charcoal drawing how do we live into the qualities of Light & Dark? Tying the eurythmy gestures for “I Think Speech”, & working with various prayers, verses & mantras like: The Lord’s Prayer, The Foundation Stone Meditation, The Verse for the Michaelic Age, The 1010 Thought-Seed mantras, etc, we embody our Speaking with the Stars. Toning & improvisational singing, as well as harmonizing our favorite Michaelmas Songs is a powerful way to bring unity to community.
I was thinking to apportion out parts & do a reading together of ‘From Light Through Darkness Into New Light’ a Mystery Drama type Pageant I wrote for the ‘Great American Eclipse’ of 21 August 2017, which the Central Regional Council of the ASA enacted as part of our retreat in St. Louis, but I decided to save it for the big gathering we will have during the solar eclipse on the octave of Easter 8 April 2024.
The next morning 14 Oct. 2023, after bagels & homemade biscuit sandwiches we made our way to the sacred Cahokia Mounds near Horseshoe Lake State Park, on the Illinois side of the Mississippi River.
The atmosphere still had that Watery ‘Mists of Avalon’/ Atlantean quality with occasional cloud bursts. The hanging waves made the fall colors more vibrant, the etheric essence of the plant world more evident, spread out; deeper, richer.
As we drove the mists lifted. We arrived an hour before the eclipse began to get a lay of the vast landscape, tuning-in to the Genius Loci of this place, so different from where we had just come from.
The site was practically deserted. There were only a few folks around the main areas. The overview of the region with its 94 Ceremonial Mounds rising up out of the prairie, which was once productive farmland, deeply stirs the soul.
We chose to make a pilgrimage on the Blue Nature/Cultural trail, a 5 1/2-mile hike that often intersected with the 10 mile Red trail, & the Yellow shorter Tour trail. We started by walking the periphery thru the forest & marsh areas. At 1st the wildlife was abundant & bounding.
Then as the eclipse began – The shift was palpable. Everything stilled. The trees hushed, with not a squirrel or bird to be seen or heard. Even Winnie stayed with us on the path.
When we came to a Mound or a particularly beautiful tree or other striking feature in the landscape we would organically stop & linger – to contemplate, pray, make a gesture, or sing as the spirit moved us.
CG & Winifred J. Rabbit = Bros. of Christ Woodhenge in the background
Around the max time at the height of the eclipse we quite naturally found ourselves at ‘Woodhenge’. We were the only ones there in that vast circle, which once held 3 interconnecting circles of 5, 7, & 12 posts marking out the measure of the human being, the Wandering Planets & the Fixed Stars of the zodiac. We walked to the center post & sat down facing in the direction of the tallest & largest Ceremonial ‘Monks Mound’, where the Sun rises at the Spring Equinox. At this still point during the greatest darkness we held a silent vigil.
We felt called to ascend ‘Monks Mound’ where there is a panoramic view that includes the St. Louis Arch across the mighty Mississippi. Amazing to ponder that this site marking the stars of Ursa Major, was made without the use of the wheel, beasts of burden, or metallurgy, the mound technology was highly refined, taking hundreds of years of dedication. This agri-culture fostered widespread commerce, artistic expression, & monumental architecture. The model for this urban world was nothing less than the cosmos itself. The epitome of their ritual center was a four-tiered pyramid covering fourteen acres, rising a hundred feet into the sky—the tallest structure in the United States until 1867.
We decided we wouldn’t eat any food until the eclipse ended. We continued our journey passed the ‘Twin Mounds’ thru the ‘Stockade areas’ where we were attracted to ‘Mound 72’ which had a unique quality about it. We could see that it was laid out differently than the other mounds – its long axis is on a Northwest-Southeast orientation.
We discovered it is the only burial mound! More than 250 skeletons were recovered in various states of preservation there. And one burial spot separate from the rest consisted of a young man & woman in their early 20’s resting on a platform of shell beads that was laid out in the shape of a falcon. The residents of Cahokia were buried in cemeteries around the perimeter of the grounds. So some conclude this was a special ritual burial site. We spent a commanding time of contemplation there.
Later as we were walking out of a forested area, there was a murmuration of Starlings undulating over ‘Fox Mound.’ Then we realized that the eclipse had just ended!
When hiking to a picnic bench, Winnie scared 2 wild animals out of the bush. Yes, the deer were coming back into sight, but these looked like fat wooly sheep!?!
And then all the rest of that day & the next we must have seen at least 8 different bird murmurations on our travels speaking in the mysterious language of the air & sky! Video of murmuration
I won’t go into all the details about our digestion time the rest of that day & the next, except to say we had some intense discussions, great meals, artistic sharings, & more cultural explorations around Springfield before heading home – The landscape completely transformed in the sunshine, hung with low holographic clouds that wanted in on the conversation which is always more priceless than gold!
And friends, we can remember that the effects of this solar eclipse series are still reverberating – this energy has repercussions that reach into every kingdom of Nature, penetrating into the Spiritual Worlds where our Beloved Dead & the Unborn- our Descendants dwell in their life between death & new birth – Working, as we must – to heal the Earth. We don’t have to be in the ‘eclipse path’ – We don’t have to ‘see it’ thru cardboard glasses or a device – to do the work of holding the light.
The Battle of the Soul continues…
Shine on dear Michaelic Souls…
RUDOLF STEINER’S CALENDAR OF THE SOUL
translated (with added titles) by Roy Sadler
Soul Sunpower’s Awakening
I can, revived within,
now feel my own wide breadth of being,
my strength of sun-empowered soul
whose radiance of thinking solves life’s riddles
and lifts the wish-fulfilling wings
left lame by hope.
The COTS verses can also be imagined in a 24 hour rhythm.
The summer is the soul’s sleeptime in drowsiness of senses.
This verse, the first mention of active human thought,
can be a meditation every morning on awakening,
in an inner light that dawned in the mirror verse.
Dawning Soul Light
I may, belonging to myself now,
begin to shine a dawning inner light
across the darkening of space and time.
To sleep is nature’s urge;
the depths of soul shall wake
and bear the sun’s warm glow
through winter storms and snow.
October 28–29, 2023 Partial Lunar Eclipse
All Souls Festival – Election Day 7 November 2023
Community Prep-Stir / Bon-fire
Celebrating: The Festival of the Dead, & Martinmas
7 – 9 pm at the Lucchesi-Archer-Ginsberg domicile
Please Bring a jar for the prep
The reprise of the 2017 Great American Eclipse Monday, April 8, 2024, total solar eclipse
Stay tuned for details about a Retreat for this Solar Eclipse Event in Fort Worth, Texas
Begins: Mon, Apr 8, 2024 at 12:22 pm
Maximum: Mon, Apr 8, 2024 at 1:41 pm 1.005 Magnitude
Ends: Mon, Apr 8, 2024 at 3:01 pm
Duration: 2 hours, 39 minutes
Totality: 2 minutes, 34 seconds
Lunar Eclipse Sep 18, 2024