12th Holy Night: January 5-6, 2017 Epiphany, ‘Three Kings’ –Constellation of Aries, Ram (ruling the head) The Sphere of the Mystic Lamb
Our journey, taking us on the path from Jesus to Christ, is a divine archetype that every human being may follow thru the 12 regions of the Zodiac – & beyond, into the compass of the Holy Spirit & now on the Eve of Epiphany, we get a glimpse into the sphere of the Mystic Lamb.
This last & highest region – Aries the Ram, is ‘at the head’ of the whole zodiac circle of ‘Adam-Kadmon’ – the Alpha to Omega Archetype of Humanity –from which the Christ descended – passing thru each sign – each Angelic realm – into the Spirit & Soul of the Sun, for the pre-earthly deeds.
It is no coincidence that the sphere of the Mystic lamb in Aries stood in the heavens at the exact time of the Baptism, when the Christ being was ‘born’ into the Sun-Soul/body of the Nathan Jesus, in order to perform, 3 years later, His 4th & most important deed on the hill at Golgotha. In John 1:35-36, the Baptist says: “Look, there is the Lamb of God”. With these words we hear a testimony of the cosmic connection of Christ with the heavenly region of the Ram, thru which Christ entered our cosmos from the realms beyond the zodiac. It is thru this portal outside of The Trinity, related to more than our cosmos alone, that the ‘Voice from Heaven’ speaks at the baptism: “This is my Beloved Son, today I have begotten Him” or as Matthew 3:17 tells it: “As soon as Jesus was baptized, He went up out of the water. Suddenly the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and resting on Him. 17And a voice from heaven said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased!”
From the Aries constellation flows the source of Christ’s spiritual influence in the cosmos which then spreads its emanations towards the 1st 7 ‘light or ascended’ zodiac signs, which goes down to the region of the Scales. This may be called the body of the Mystic Lamb. And from Virgo to Pisces we have the body of the Divine Sophia. The overlapping center where they meet is where the ‘Mystic or alchemical Marriage’ takes place, an initiatory process in the New Mysteries open to humanity now. (Remember: the 13 Hidden Holy Night is New Year’s Eve, the center between the above & below, where we see the Sun at Midnight)
Those initiated in the ancient Jewish rites had an inkling of the connection between, what they called the ‘Messiah’ & the region of the Ram. This is seen in the practice of sacrificing lambs for the ‘sins of Israel’. The Passover was a pre-figuring of The Christ, the new ‘Sacrificial Lamb’ – destined to be led to the slaughter for ‘the sins of the world’. This sacrifice was the medicine redeeming humanity from the fall, & ending the need for blood sacrifice.
John the Baptist was a leading initiate of the Jewish mysteries. In his earliest incarnation as ‘Adam’ – he was the 1st man to take up a physical existence on earth. Because of this he was given the task of baptizing people in preparation for the descent of Christ -the 1st God to enter physical existence on earth. His task was to sort the Lambs – those ready for the new initiation, from those unfit in that life. And Eve had the task of giving birth to the Matthew Jesus.
Christ-Jesus became the new archetype of the human being, which had fallen into disarray through ‘the fall of Adam’- The human body was intended in the beginning to be more spiritual, but instead, it entered more deeply into materiality then what was intended by the gods. But thru the Resurrection, we can achieve the rise of Adam-Kadmon – the perfected human being – in times to come. It is for this reason that John the Baptist says that he (as the old Adam) must decrease, while Christ (the new Adam) must increase.
Later after John the Baptist dies, his spirit is able to unite with Lazarus/John during his initiation by Christ into the New Mysteries – so that Lazarus becomes John the Divine. In the Book of the Apocalypse he reveals the connection of Christ with the Sphere of the Mystic Lamb, in his description of the Heavenly Lamb who guards the Book of Seven Seals.
And so, thru our journey of Jesus to Christ we see the earthly reflection in the 13 Holy Nights between the festivals of Christmas to Epiphany, of our human evolution back to the Godhead. And at Epiphany, the festival of the Birth of Christ into the earthly body of humanity in the man Jesus, we get an insight into the journey that a god took to become human. For at the moment of the Baptism, the highest Trinity is reflected in the depths of earthly existence: the Holy Spirit as the Dove (Bull), the Son-Principle as the Lamb (Ram) & the Father-principle as the Voice from the Heavens – from those realms where human imagination has yet to penetrate. But it is from there, from the bosom of the Father/Mother, that Christ descended into our cosmos. There He worked from the sphere of the Sun, as the 13th in the circle of the 12 – the Divine Spirit of our solar system; & then at the Baptism He descends from the Sun to the Earth, in order that the Earth may become a Sun.
It is ‘The Great Work’ of Being Human, to Become, each of us, a Sun – Recognizing & acknowledging this spark of Divinity in everyone we meet – supporting & adding to this light. And we can work to achieve this by practicing the Virtue connected to the mystic lamb: Devotion becomes the power of sacrifice. For when we give in the spirit of devotion, the grace of our sacrifice is a joy & a sacrament given in Freedom with Love.
The Witch of Christmas, La Befana, is celebrated on the Eve of Epiphany – The legend of La Befana began thousands of years ago & remains to this day a tradition practiced by many folks with an Italian heritage (my father’s people are from Montefegatesi, the highest of the Bagni di Lucca villages in Tuscany) also practiced in many Waldorf schools.
The Legend: This story takes place at the time of the birth of the Matthew Jesus. La Befana is an old woman who lives in a house in the hills of Italy. Befana spends her days sweeping & baking, when she’s not needed as a healer. One night, Befana notices a bright light in the sky, she knows something is brewing, but goes back to her work. Later, a glorious caravan led by Three Wise Men stop & ask La Befana for directions to Bethlehem inviting her to join them in their search for the Christ Child. But Befana is too busy caring for those around her. After the caravan disappeared over the hills, she remembered that box of old toys that she had collected over the years, many that were tossed out because they were broken. She had fixed & re-painted them, handing them out to every child who needed one, because she loved seeing them smile. So she placed some baked goods & gifts for the Christ-child in a sack, took her broom to help the new mother clean & raced out after the caravan in search of the Baby Jesus. La Befana was soon lost. And just as she was getting very tired, angels appeared from the bright light, the magic star in the sky to give flight to La Befana on her broom –it was a night of miracles after all. She searched & searched for the Baby Jesus.
La Befana still searches, even today, after all these centuries. And so, every year on the eve of the Epiphany, whenever La Befana comes to a house where there is a child, she drops in to see if it might be the child she seeks. It never is, but Befana leaves a gift anyway. For La Befana has come to realize, over the years, that her searching is not vain, that in a way, the Christ Child is found in all children.
Ever since then the old wise woman has been known as “La Befana” or simply “Befana.” In fact, Befana’s name comes from the ancient Greek word “epifania” which means “epiphany.” It is significant since the religious feast of the Epiphany is celebrated on January 6th. So on the eve Befana flies from house to house on her old broomstick & delivers gifts to the good girls & boys, in the name of the Holy Child.
This celebration, in remembrance of the Magi’s visit, often includes purifying rites & benedictions with water. Water set out by the fireplace on the eve of the Epiphany (the night that La Befana flies the skies) is said to have sacred properties that can ward off evil spirits & is used in critical moments of a family’s life.
Celebration of the Epiphany is older then Christmas, & is one of the most popular Italian feasts especially in the backcountry or in the hills. In the time when our grandparents were children, La Befana was tremendously popular & was awaited with a mixture of joy & anxiety. Children hung hand-knitted stockings on the fireplace & wrote long letters to her expressing their wishes. Often they were disappointed as their families had little money to spend on gifts; however, sometimes they found little hand-sewn dolls & puppets in their stocking. If they had been bad, their stockings were filled with onions, garlic & coal. In modern-day Italy some shops sell carbone or black rock candy that actually looks like pieces of coal.
And to celebrate this day, people would gather together on Epiphany morning to & chestnuts, & fruit pancakes.
My Waldorf girl learned this song at school many years ago:
Babuska, Babuska, she sweep & sweep all day
Babuska, Babushka, would not take time away.
Kings came ariding 1, 2, 3
Over the land & over sea
Following following yonder star
Calling out to them from afar
But Babuska, Babuska, she sweep & sweep all day
Babuska, Babushka, would not take time away.
Greetings on this Eve of Epiphany – Our last of the 13 Holy Nights.
TONIGHT Sunday 5 January 2020 – Doors open at 5 pm for those who would like practice the songs as part of the 3 Kings ensemble.
Doors close at 6:15 pm for the live streaming of ‘May Human Beings Hear It! hosted by the Central Regional Councilwith special guest Marianne Fieber.
Doors re-open 7:30 pm for the study: “On the right entry into the Spiritual World -The responsibility incumbent on us”. Lecture & words of farewell by Rudolf Steiner.
For more info. contact Festivals Coordinator Hazel Archer Ginsberg