23 December 2016 – Astro-Weather: Head outside in the early evening & you can see the Big Dipper scraping the northern horizon. This conspicuous asterism never rises or sets (“circumpolar” in astronomical parlance), though December evenings find it at its lowest ebb. This means that the constellation on the opposite side of the North Celestial Pole, the familiar W-shaped Cassiopeia, currently rides highest in the sky.
Sirius, the Dog Star, sparkles low in the east-southeast after dinnertime. Procyon, the Little Dog Star, shines in the east about two fist-widths at arm’s length to Sirius’s left. The two canine stars will be at the same height above your horizon soon after they rise.
Rudolf Steiner’s Lectures on this day
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
“Study the past if you would define the future.” ~Confucius
160 – Saints Victor & Corona are two Christian martyrs. They were killed in Roman Syria during the reign of Marcus Aurelius. Their legend states that Victor was a Roman soldier of Italian ancestry, serving in the city of Damascus. He was tortured -including having his eyes gouged out- by a commander named Sebastian. While he was suffering from these tortures, the sixteen-year-old spouse of one of his brothers-in-arms, named Corona, comforted & encouraged him. For this, she was arrested & interrogated. Corona was bound to two bent palm trees & torn apart as the trunks were released
562 – Hagia Sophia in Constantinople reopened with a rebuilt dome after a series of earthquakes caused the original to collapse
605 – Deathday of Dagobert, murdered while hunting. The last Frankish king of the Merovingian dynasty . The prosperity of Dagobert’s reign, & the revival of the arts during this period, can be judged from the rich contents of the tombs of the period & from the goldsmiths’ work for the churches. Dagobert revised Frankish law, encouraged learning, patronized the arts, & founded the first great abbey of Saint-Denis
1539 – 1st mention of a Christmas tree at the Strasbourg Minster
1805 – Birthday of Joseph Smith, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
1888 – Deathday of Laurence Oliphant, occultist. Rudolf Steiner speaks of him: In the early years of this century I was several times in London. On the occasion of one of these visits I was prompted to make myself acquainted with an extraordinarily significant personality — to begin with, simply in his writings. And as in those days there were rather longer intervals between the journeys than there are now, I obtained from the Theosophical Library the books he had written — the books that is to say, of Laurence Oliphant.
Laurence Oliphant is a remarkably interesting and significant personality: he strikes you in this way directly you begin to study his writings. These books deal with the similarities to be found in different religions, with spiritual religions, and so forth; and all of them bear evidence of a deep understanding of how in the various processes of his body and soul, man is connected with the secrets of the universe. When you read Oliphant’s writings you have the impression: Here is a picture of man in his earth-life that owes its inspiration to deep cosmic instincts. The processes of the earthly life of man that are connected with birth, embryonic life, descent and so forth, are described in such a way as to show how man, as microcosm, is wondrously rooted in the macrocosm.
Now I was very soon led in this study to a point where the figure of the dead Laurence Oliphant stood before me, but not in a form which suggested that I had here to do with the individuality as he was then living after death; it was rather that what was contained in these writings (which may be described as setting forth a kind of cosmic physiology, a cosmic anatomy) began to come alive, began to spiritualise; and a figure appeared, not all at once entirely clear, but unquestionably there before me on many different occasions. I was able to make occult investigations into the matter and I could never do otherwise than bring the figure into connection with what came to me from reading Oliphant. It was very often there before me. At first I was often unable to satisfy myself as to what this figure wanted, what its manifestations meant. The whole manner of its appearance however, left me in no doubt whatever that it was none other than the individuality of Laurence Oliphant; and it was likewise clear to me that this figure had had a long life in the time between death and a new birth — that is to say, the birth as Laurence Oliphant — probably only broken by one earth-life that was not very significant for the rest of the world. What might not then be hidden in the personality of Laurence Oliphant! In short, this appearance of the figure of Laurence Oliphant suggested significant questions of karma.
When I entered on an investigation of the karma, a spiritual Being became manifest who is engaged in the elaboration of human karma, in the same way as the Mars Being of whom I told you in connection with Voltaire and with Ignatius Loyola.~ Cosmic Christianity: Lecture V
One of the most important guidelines that the masters of wisdom and of the harmony of feelings communicate to pupils through a teacher is: Learn to be silent and you’ll get power; give up power and you’ll get will; give up will and you’ll get feeling; give up feeling and you’ll get knowledge. An esoteric must place these occult propositions before his soul in all work and action, and then some day he’ll experience that the four verses are true. One should note that the various forces can only be attained in sequence, so that one can never attain knowledge first and maybe then feeling and then will, and then power. For will arises from the renunciation of power, etc. We’ll give an example from the life of a very rich Briton, Laurence Oliphant, who lived in the middle of the last century. He and his wife had a noble love for their poorer neighbors and moved by this feeling they gave most of what they had to them; and then they migrated to New York. There they made enough money to go to Mt Tabor near Haifa. Here a strange phenomena arose. Oliphant began to write some very interesting and strange books about Genesis that were some of the strangest things that were written about the Bible at the time. But he could only have these thoughts with the help of his wife. After she died Oliphant could only keep on working for a short time, and then the inspiration of his deceased wife no longer reached the physical plane.~ From the Contents of Esoteric Classes, EL, Koeln, 12-1-’06
1913 – The Federal Reserve Act is signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson, creating the Federal Reserve System
1972 – A 6.5 magnitude earthquake strikes the Nicaraguan capital of Managua killing more than 10,000
1986 – Voyager, piloted by Dick Rutan & Jeana Yeager -the first aircraft to fly non-stop around the world without refueling
2002 – A U.S. MQ-1 Predator is shot down by an Iraqi MiG-25 in the first combat engagement between a drone & conventional aircraft
POD (Poem Of the Day)
~We are gods in the body of god…
Truth & Love Our Destiny…
Go then & make of the world something beautiful…
Set up a light in the darkness..
Tomorrow we begin our annual journey thru the HOLY NIGHTS, so I wanted to connect with you today, on this eve of the eve, to prepare the way, in the hopes that we can take this powerful initiatory passage together.
Each of the 12 days & 13 nights – From the Eve of the Sacred Birth, to the Eve of Epiphany, can be seen as a micro-cosmic experience of the macro-cosm, allowing us to approach the sublime gesture of the divine spiritual beings, whose outer vestments are the constellations of the zodiac – while simultaneously contemplating the events in our own lives, in order to uncover the golden threads connecting us to each other, as well as to the goals of Earth evolution, & to the divine spiritual nature that comes to birth again & again at this darkest time of year.
This sacred ‘Time out of Time’ provides an opportunity to contemplate, not only the great journey of the Cosmic Christ thru the zodiac into the body of Jesus; but also the path of Jesus to Christ; as well the evolution of every Human Being as a Star unfolding in an Earthly biography – for we as human beings are following both paths.
On Christmas Eve, we begin the contemplation with Adam & Eve, remembering that the fall was the reason The Christ Being made the sacrificial journey from the Godhead to become the Son of Man. The Holy Nights are completed on Epiphany, also recognized as the Baptism -when the Son of God – The Christ – entered human form.
So, when we look at the circle of the Zodiac during the Holy Nights we can find imprinted there a memory of that significant track from spiritual heights to human depths. The 12 apostles formed an outer version of these constellations around Jesus Christ. And we all incarnate into these various signs on our way to becoming spirit once again.
On December 25th, we are invited to consider the historical events behind the first Christmas. A thoughtful way to approach the birthday of Jesus is through the two Nativity stories in the Gospels, each very different from the other. St. Matthew’s Gospel points to the Solomon Jesus, a re-incarnation of the great sage Zarathustra, actually born earlier in Bethlehem, in the time of Herod, when he is visited by Magi & then fled to Egypt. The Gospel of St. Luke points to the Nathan Jesus, born in Nazareth, a pure divine soul never incarnated before, that part of Adam that stayed in the spiritual world & prepared the way for the Christ.
The two Jesus children unite when the Luke child is twelve & the Matthew child is 14. We find this story in Luke 2:41-52 when his parents find him teaching in the Temple in Jerusalem. As Rudolf Steiner explained in the ‘Fifth Gospel’, the Luke Nathan Jesus takes on the soul forces (Ego) of the wise Matthew Jesus who sacrifices his life on the physical plane.
Shortly before the Baptism in the Jordan, when Jesus was 30 years old, the Ego of the Solomon soul leaves Jesus & enters Mary, to make room for the Christ at the Baptism by John.
During the Renaissance, some artists knew of these profound secrets, & painted this occult theme showing 3 sacred children: the Luke Nathan Jesus as a boy & a second older boy, The Jesus form the Matthew Gospel, along with John the Baptist (cousin of the Luke Jesus)
Of course the mystery schools of old prepared their pupils for this journey even before the birth of Jesus. And any one familiar with the Dream Song of Olaf Åsteson knows that the legend speaks well to this:
“Come listen to me and hear my song
The song of a wonderful youth,
I’ll sing you of Olaf Åsteson
Who slept many days — ’tis the truth.
‘Twas Christmas Eve when down he lay
And slept so long all unknowing,
He never woke till the thirteenth day
When to Church the people were going.
Yes, it was Olaf Åsteson
Who lay so long a-sleeping… ”
Take these ideas into your thoughts, into your sleep – for tomorrow we begin to traverse the return path that leads thru the 12 constellations of the zodiac to a conscious union with the whole world of the Hierarchies.
Until soon –