The Living Word: The dictionary translates the German word Gemüt as “heart, soul, mind,” seeming to imply, “take your choice.” But the word Gemüt must not be thought of as having these three separate meanings, but as a unified concept embracing all three. We can think of Gemüt, as meaning something like: The mind warmed by a loving heart and stimulated by the soul’s imaginative power. Or it might be described as: The soul in a state of intuition arising from the working together of heart & mind. I like to call it Heart-Thinking.
Gemüt is a very beautiful & comprehensive word which every student of anthroposophy should try to be on intimate terms.
“This human Gemüt dwells in the very center of the soul life.” ~Rudolf Steiner
In striving to understand what Heart-Thinking is, I’d like to invite you to practice a little experiment. I will relate a picture Steiner gave, & you can work to use your ‘soul’s imaginative power’ to try & ‘see’ it.
Steiner gives the imagination of a dragon writhing around the animalistic part of humanity. Perhaps you can feel it there in your lower chakras, even coiling up around the heart in some folks.
But then – also, behind us, at the back of the head, – picture the cosmic figure of Michael, towering, radiant, retaining his cosmic nature but reflecting it in our higher human nature, so that our etheric body, that part of us that holds our formative, life forces, reflects etherically the cosmic figure of Michael. Can you feel it there in your back space?
Then, Steiner says, there becomes visible in the human head, a kind of protective helmet, whose power pours down the spine, into the heart, causing blood to flow down from the heart to the limbs – moving the power of Michael in a leminscate, from head to heart to limbs, so we can put our will into action.
This is important because a big part in how we conquer the dragon is being able to recognize it. So with our Heart-thinking we can wake up to this & say: Ok, yes, the power of the Dragon is working within me, I might not see it – but I can feel it as a force that wants to drag me down below my true self. But in the spirit I also ‘see’ the luminous Angel whose cosmic task has always been the vanquishing of the Dragon.
I concentrate my Gemüt upon this glowing figure, I let its light stream into my heart-thinking, so that my illumined & warmed soul forces can bear within it the strength of Michael. And out of a free resolution I will be able, through my alliance with Michael, to conquer the Dragon’s might in my own lower nature.
So…How did you do with our little experiment?
Some folks find it easy to work with imaginative pictures & some folks are more comfortable working with the intellect. We all, thru our individual temperaments & karma, tend to relate either to the head or the heart. (-the 2 streams: Platonic & Aristotelian) Of course our work is to bring them into balance- (The Shepherds must become Kings & the Kings-Shepherds)
Calendar of the Soul by Rudolf Steiner, Translation and leading thoughts by Roy Sadler
Karl Koenig describes the Soul Calendar as being like a choir of 4 voices.
In 13 quartets each voice harmonizes with 3 others in the developmental process of the year.
From Easter till the first week of July the Tenor unites with the spirit through perceptive feeling;
the Bass then incarnates the spirit with imaginative insight until Michaelmas:
Natura, in the being of my will
I bear thy soul of motherhood;
and in my will-enkindled firepower
my spirit impulses are tempered, steeled,
that feeling of the selfhood formed from them
bear I in me.
This is the culmination of the 1st half of the Soul Calendar, the turning mirror point.
From this week the soprano develops her inspired will for the spirit’s Christmas birth:
my depths of being
arouses longing, my divining’s ardour,
that self-observing I discover
I’m the gift of summer sunlight in a seed
that’s germinating in me in a warm
autumnal mood to vitalize my soul force.
From Epiphany till Easter the Alto will unite with the world with intuitive love.
Her last week’s verse for the southern hemisphere’s springtime was her final one,
the opposite of Michaelmas. It is this week’s complementary verse for us:
When drawn from depths of soul
the spirit is communing with the beauty
arising from the springlife’s cosmic harmony,
then streaming from the heavens
life’s force revitalises human forms
and powerfully binds
the spirit’s being to the human presence.
Its Easter mirror is the southern hemisphere’s verse now, our opposite one:
When streaming into human sense
the sun across the world’s expanse is speaking
and joy from depths of soul
is with the light as one in seeing,
then drawn from sheath of self
thoughts rise to far horizons
and dimly bind
the human being to the spirit’s presence.
4 October 2020 – “Speaking with the Stars:” Pluto is stationary & will now reverse its westerly motion, making a tight turn to begin moving east. You can find the dwarf planet this evening after sunset, sinking toward the horizon between Jupiter & Saturn in the south. The trio is northeast of Sagittarius’ Teapot asterism, to the upper left of the handle in the sky.
“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
My POD (Poem Of the Day)
~I set ablaze the withered limb
To liberate the ripened fruit
Within the tree…
Join Angela Foster, Deb Abrahams-Dematte & myself for a “Topic Workshop” at the AGM online Sat. 10 October 12:30-2:00pm PT // 2:30 pm – 4 pm CT // 3:30-5:00pm ET
INVITATION: SOPHIA WORKING
We will explore the Being Anthroposophia, talk about the upcoming International Sophia Conference in 2022 & I will tell the “NEW ISIS MYTH” that I adapted from Rudolf Steiner.
Willing the Good: Love, Action, Healing
The ASA Annual Conference and AGM
ONLINE October 9, 10, 11 2020 – CLICK HERE TO REGISTER!
All Souls Festival:
The Connection Between Epidemics, the Souls of the Dead, & the Spiritual World – Leading thoughts by Hazel Archer-Ginsberg.
With Group Eurythmy, Singing, Social Sculpture while reading the names of the dead & Break out Sessions.
In-person at Elderberries Biodynamic Outpost & 3 fold Cultural Hub, in conjunction with the Rudolf Steiner Branch Chicago, 4249-51 N. Lincoln Ave.
& On-line (details coming soon)
2 pm – 4 pm CDT Sunday 8 November 2020