31 October 2017 – Astro-Weather: The Orionid meteor shower remains active until November 7.
For this Halloween evening, a bright waxing gibbous Moon shines in the southeast, just lower right of the Great Square of Pegasus at dusk, & directly below it later in the evening.
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
Halloween (Ireland, Canada, United Kingdom, United States etc…)
Hop-tu-Naa (Isle of Man)
Samhain in the Northern Hemisphere, Beltane in the Southern Hemisphere; begins on sunset of October 31 (Gaels, Welsh people & Neopagan Wheel of the Year)
The first day of All-hallows-tide, observed until November 6 (Western Christianity)
The first day of the Day of the Dead, celebrated until November 2 (Mexico)
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.
500 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.
2015 – Russian Metrojet Flight 9268 is bombed over the northern Sinai Peninsula, killing all 224 people on board
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…
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…
All Souls Retreat Agenda
All events at the Minnesota Waldorf School, 70 County Rd B East, St Paul, MN
Cost $75 (registration required, click here)
Friday evening – 11/3/2017
5:45 Registration and light buffet supper
7:00 Verse: May Love of Hearts
Tone of the Day Improvisation on lyres and Singing
7:15 Introductions – Dennis/CRC
7:45 Picture of the week-end
8:20 Remembrance Ritual – A time to remember our loved ones across the threshold
9:00 Closing verse
Saturday – 11/4/2017
Tone of the Day Improvisation on lyres and Singing
9:15 Journey of the Soul: Moon and Mercury
10:00 Study of themes/leading thoughts from The Influence of the Dead on
Destiny in small groups and sharing of gestures from each group
11:00 Journey of the Soul: Venus and Sun
12:00 Lunch – cleanup helpers needed
1:30 Journey of the Soul: Mars, Jupiter, Saturn
2:15 Journey of the Soul: The Zodiac, Midnight Hour, Return to Earth
3:00 Staying Connected exercise
4:00 Preparation for Festival
5:30 Dinner – get cleanup helpers
6:30 Final Set-Up for Festival, welcoming guests
9:00 Close – eurythmy
Sunday – 11/5/2017 REMEMBER: DAYLIGHT SAVINGS BEGINS TODAY – SET YOUR CLOCKS BACK!
Tone of the Day improvisation on lyres and Singing
9:15 Talk and Conversation with Ann Burfeind
9:45 Triads: Time of Reflection
10:00 Closing Circle
11:00 Closing Verse
For those who wish to stay there will be a Christian Community Act of Consecration service at 11:30 AM. The service will be held at the Minnesota Waldorf School in the kindergarten cottage.