2 October 2020 – “Speaking with the Stars”- Regulus was a bit below Venus at dawn.
And at sunset, The counterpart to Venus – Mars & Bella Luna make a striking pair. Later in the night, watch as they slowly draw farther apart.
Happy Friday dear friends –
Friday is sacred to the goddess Venus & named after Freyja, Old Norse for “The Lady”. In Norse mythology, she is associated with love, beauty, fertility, sex, war, gold. Freyja is a member of the Vanir, a group of gods associated with health, fertility, wisdom, & the ability to see the future. Many tales tell of her using ‘Seidr’, (pronounced “SAY-der”) = cord, string, web” – a form of pre-Christian Norse magic or shamanism concerned with discerning the course of fate & working within its structure to bring about change, which was done by weaving new events into being.
Like Thor with his Hammer called Mjöllnir, Freyja wears the necklace Brísingamen, a brilliant golden torc created by the dwarves, the master craftsmen of the Norse cosmos. The first part of the name Brísingamen is “brísing” – a poetic term for fire or amber, gleaming like the sun – the dwarves that made the necklace were from the Brísinga tribe. The second part, “amen” means necklace of torc or metal.
Here is the story of how she came to possess Brísingamen:
Being a goddess of beauty, Freya naturally was very fond of glittering adornments, and, of precious jewels. One day, while wandering through Asgard, she came to the borders of Svartalfheim, the underground kingdom of the dwarves. There she was greeted by Dvalin and his three brothers. Little did she know, they had laid a trap for her – they had set up their forge in the opening of a deep, wide, rocky cave and were fashioning the most wonderful necklace of gold that was ever seen. “Do you like it?” said Dvalin, “this is Brisingamen, the Brising Necklace – it is the morning star, the rainbow, the moon and the fruitfulness of earth.”
Beside herself, with the beauty of what lay before her – for it sparkled like fire – she stopped, transfixed, to watch them at their work, until the necklace was finished there in her viewing.
“Will you sell me that necklace for a treasure of silver?” she asked, “for, indeed, I have never seen a fairer one, and I know I cannot live without it!”
“No!” answered the dwarves, “all the silver in the world would not buy from us the Brisingamen!” Stunned and desperate she cried, “Will you sell it to me for a treasure of gold?” “No!” barked the dwarves; “All the gold in the world could not buy it from us!”
Heartbroken, Freya pleaded “Well, is there any treasure in the world for which you would sell me that necklace, for now that I have seen Brisingamen, life without it is not to be endured!”
“Yes!” chimed all four dwarves, “there is a treasure for which we would sell Brisingamen – you can buy it from each of us – that treasure is your love. To each of us you must be wedded for a day and a night – for of such space is a marriage among the Dwarves of Svartalfheim – and then Brisingamen shall be yours.”
Silently and listening to a deep certainty never known to her before, feeling as if in a dream, she said, “Yes! For Brisingamen I will wed even with you!” So, the four dwarfish weddings were held in distant Svartalfheim.
Freyja, is often depicted in a cloak of falcon feathers, riding a chariot pulled by two cats, accompanied by the boar Hildisvíni. Freyja rules over her heavenly field, Fólkvangr, where she receives half of those who die in battle. The other half go to the god Odin’s hall, Valhalla. Within Fólkvangr lies her hall, Sessrúmnir. Freyja assists other deities by allowing them to use her feathered cloak, in matters of fertility & love.
Freyja is attested to in the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources; & in several Sagas of Icelanders; in the short story “Sörla þáttr”; in the poetry of skalds; & on into the modern age in Scandinavian folklore.
Freyja & the goddess Frigg ultimately stem from a single goddess common among the Germanic peoples; connecting her to the Valkyries, female battlefield choosers of the slain; & put her relation to other figures in Germanic mythology, including the thrice-burnt & thrice-reborn Gullveig/Heiðr, & the 1st century CE “Isis” of the Suebi. Freyja’s name appears in numerous place names in Scandinavia, with a high concentration in southern Sweden.
Various plants in Scandinavia once bore her name, but it was replaced with the name of the Virgin Mary during the process of Christianization. Cowslips (Primula veris) were traditionally associated with Freya, as was their domestic cousin Primrose (Primula vulgaris). Two old names for the Cowslip flower were “Lady’s Keys” or “Password”, as they could be used to travel magically to her hall, Sessrumnir, & get you in the door.
Rural Scandinavians continued to acknowledge Freyja as a supernatural figure into the 19th century, & Freyja inspires various works of art even today.
So dear friends, Perhaps now on Friday’s you may think on her & receive a blessing.
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
Mehregān (Persian: Mithra Festival) is a Zoroastrian & Persian festival, celebrated since the Zoroaster era, celebrating the Persian god Mithra (an earlier incarnation of Michael), & to honor the Yazata of “Mehr” which is responsible for friendship, affection & love. It is also widely referred to as Persian Festival of Autumn. Mehrgān was celebrated in an extravagant style at Persepolis. Not only was it the time for harvest, but it was also the time when the taxes were collected. Visitors from different parts of the Persian Empire brought gifts for the king all contributing to a lively festival.
If the gift-giver needed money at a later time, the court would then return twice the gift amount. Kings gave two audiences a year: one audience at Nowruz & another at Mehregān. During the Mehregān celebrations, the king wore a fur robe & gave away all his summer clothes.
Nowadays for this celebration, the participants wear new clothes & set a decorative, colorful table. The sides of the tablecloth are decorated with dry marjoram. A copy of the Khordeh Avesta (“little Avesta”), a mirror & a sormeh-dan (a traditional eyeliner or kohl) are placed on the table together with rosewater, sweets, flowers, vegetables & fruits, especially pomegranates & apples, & nuts such as almonds or pistachios. A few silver coins & lotus seeds are placed in a dish of water scented with marjoram extract.
A burner is also part of the table setting for kondor/loban (frankincense) & espand (seeds of Peganum harmala, Syrian rue) to be thrown on the flames.
At lunch time when the ceremony begins, everyone in the family stands in front of the mirror to pray. Sharbat is drunk & then—as a good omen—sormeh is applied around the eyes. Handfuls of wild marjoram, lotus & sugar plum seeds are thrown over one another’s heads while they embrace one another.
The International Day of Non-Violence
1869 – Birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, Indian activist & philosopher – referred to in India as Gandhi Jayanti, a national festival celebrated in India to mark the occasion of the birthday of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the “Father of the Nation”. It is one of the three national holidays of the country
Memorial of the Holy Guardian Angels, Catholics set up altars in honor of guardian angels as early as the 4th Century, & local celebrations of a feast in honor of guardian angels go back to the 11th Century
1552 – Conquest of Kazan by Ivan the Terrible, The Grand Prince of Moscow. His conquests transformed Russia into a multiethnic & multicontinental state spanning almost one billion acres. Ivan managed countless changes in the progression from a medieval state to an empire & emerging regional power, & became the first ruler to be crowned as Tsar of All the Russias.
Historic sources present disparate accounts of Ivan’s complex personality: he was described as intelligent & devout, yet given to rages & prone to episodic outbreaks of mental instability, that increased with his age, affecting his reign. In one such outburst, he killed his groomed & chosen heir Ivan Ivanovich. This left the Tsardom to be passed to Ivan’s younger son, the weak & intellectually disabled Feodor Ivanovich.
Ivan’s legacy is complex: he was an able diplomat, a patron of arts & trade, founder of the Moscow Print Yard, Russia’s first publishing house, a leader highly popular among the common people (see Ivan the Terrible in Russian folklore) of Russia, but he is also remembered for his paranoia && arguably harsh treatment of the Russian nobility. The Massacre of Novgorod is regarded as one of the biggest demonstrations of his mental instability & brutality
1803 – Deathday of Samuel Adams, American philosopher & politician
1925 – John Logie Baird performs the first test of a working television system
1928 – The Opus Dei, is founded by Josemaría Escrivá.
1937 – Dominican Republic ‘strongman’ Rafael Trujillo orders the execution of the Haitian population living within the borderlands; approximately 20,000 are killed over the next five days
1947 – Deathday of P. D. Ouspensky, a Russian mathematician & esotericist known for his expositions of the early work of the Greek-Armenian teacher of esoteric doctrine George Gurdjieff, whom he met in Moscow in 1915. He shared the (Gurdjieff) “system” for 25 years in England & the United States, having separated from Gurdjieff in 1924 personally, for reasons he explains in the last chapter of his book In Search of the Miraculous, a recounting of what he learned from Gurdjieff during those years. After Ouspensky broke away from Gurdjieff, he taught the “Fourth Way”, as he understood it, to his independent groups.
Gurdjieff proposed that there are three ways of self-development generally known in esoteric circles. These are the Way of the Fakir, dealing exclusively with the physical body, the Way of the Monk, dealing with the emotions, & the Way of the Yogi, dealing with the mind. What is common about the three ways is that they demand complete seclusion from the world. According to Gurdjieff, there is a Fourth Way which does not demand its followers to abandon the world. The work of self-development takes place right in the midst of ordinary life. Gurdjieff called his system a school of the Fourth Way where a person learns to work in harmony with his physical body, emotions & mind. Ouspensky picked up this idea & continued his own school along this line.
He finally gave up the system in 1947. (“A Record of Meetings”, published posthumously) “you must make a new beginning” after confessing “I’ve left the system”
1968 – Deathday of Marcel Duchamp, French painter & sculptor
1990 – Xiamen Airlines Flight 8301 is hijacked & lands at Guangzhou, where it crashes into two other airliners on the ground, killing 128
1996 – The Electronic Freedom of Information Act Amendments are signed by U.S. President Bill Clinton
1996 – Aeroperú Flight 603, a Boeing 757, crashes into the Pacific Ocean shortly after takeoff from Lima, Peru, killing 70
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 & 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