This is “Midsummer’s Night,”- we pass through the Summer Solstice at 10:32 pm Chicago time. In terms of daylight, this day is 6 hours, 6 minutes longer than on December Solstice. This is when the Sun is farthest North for the year (the Earth’s North Pole tilts directly towards the Sun) & now begins its 6 month return southward.
Summer Solstice comes at the precise moment when the Sun’s power is at its peak. ‘Solstice’ (Latin: ‘solstitium’) means ‘sun-stopping’. The point on the horizon where the sun appears to rise & set, stops & reverses direction after this day. On the solstice, the sun does not rise precisely in the East, but rises to the north of East & sets to the north of West, making it visible in the sky for a longer period of time.
It’s also the day when the midday Sun passes the closest to being straight overhead, so our shadow becomes the closest to us.
The term “Midsummer’s Night” is left over from when the seasons were commonly defined as beginning & ending around the cross-quarter days.
But as we all know, what goes up, must come down, & so after ‘standing still’ for 3 days, the Sun begins to wane…& the journey into the harvest season begins. After the expansive outbreath we must begin the conscious in-breath – this is the celebration of St. Johns- Tide.
But before we ‘decrease’, as John the Baptist did, we can recall that ‘Midsummer’ has always been an important Solar event throughout the evolution of humankind.
Even our dear Shakespeare knew that Midsummer’s eve is a magical time, when we can see beyond the sense world to communicate with the plant & faeiry spirits.
It is after all the time of the herb harvest, all plants gathered around this time, especially on this the shortest night are considered exceptionally potent for healing & ritual purposes.
This is traditionally the time when the herb St. John’ wort reaches its full potency & since it is a solar herb, it is used to bring the power of the Sun to people who suffer from depression
The wise women of old would place St. John’s Wort & other healing herbs around the home for protection as they dried; They threw the stalks into the Midsummer bonfire, & when the coals had cooled down the ashes were mixed with water & sprinkled on the fields, the 4 corners of the home & the on the head & feet of the children.
Royal fern seeds gathered at midnight on the eve were said to make you invisible. Rub the blossoms on your eyelids to see the wee folk which will also make you wealthy & wise; but be sure & carry a bit of rue in your pocket or you might be ‘pixie-led’. Can’t find the rue, then turn your clothes inside out & follow the old ‘Ley-Lines’, which will keep you from getting lost in faeiry land.
Divination on matters of love are especially powerful on Midsummer’s Eve; young women around the globe place yarrow or other herbs & flowers native to their part of the world peaking at this time, under their pillows, to dream of their future mates.
The ancient Druids celebrated the Summer Solstice as the Wedding of Heaven & Earth. The Goddess manifests as Mother Earth & the God, as the Sun King.
This quarter day is also called St. John’s Eve by the church, celebrated on the fixed date of 24 June, for they knew that John the Baptist was born around the Summer Solstice, 6 months earlier than Jesus, who was born at Winter Solstice.
Plant Spirits, Faeiry Folk, thank you for sharing your gifts, continue to teach us how to live in harmony with the essence of your healing magic.
But remember dear sisters & brothers, that at the zenith of the Sun’s climb skyward, the brightest light casts the deepest shadow, so let us gather to bring the sacred Elements of Life into balance, as we celebrate the powers of Midsummer.
(Summer Solstice/Litha poem)
St. JOHN’S EVE in the tropic of cancer
WILD PAN THE BAPTIST
WITH WORT & RUE IN HIS POCKETS,
ANOINTING THE MISTLETOE
IN THE OAKGROVE…
HORNS OF LIGHT
DANCING IN FAERY RING CIRCLES…
TEST YOUR STRENGTH
IN THE CENTER OF THE STANDING STONES
ROLL THE BLAZING SUN WHEEL
& REKINDLE THE HOME FIRES
FROM THE BRAND OF MIDSUMMERS FLAME
LEAPING AS HIGH AS THE FLAX FIELDS…
THE GOD HAS GONE INTO THE GRAIN
THE SUN IS ON THE WATER
THE EDGE OF THE RIOTING ROSE
BEGINS TO MELT
Its SCENT IS HEAVY ON THE HEAT
STEALING THE BREATH
FROM THE HOT MOUTH OF GOD…
HER INFERRED RUBY STEAMS
THE MAGNETIC STAINS OF LIGHT
TO GUIDE THE SUMMER-TIDE SOUL
INTO THE LABYRINTH
WHERE THE OAK KING CRESTS
& GIVES WAY
TO THE DARK HOLLY TWIN…
THE HISSING SERPENT
A ROUND WRITHING EGG
CHRISTENS THE HONEY MOON WITH MEAD…
AWAKEN THE GATE
MEDITATE THE LAUREL GRAIL
& ST.JOHN’S SPEAR
UNDER CANOPUS SQUARED
A PACKSADDLE BEAM
CAPPING AN ARCH
AS ARGO SAILS THE DIPPER FLOCK
FROM THE TOP OF SEVERITY
TO THE MOUNT OF THE MANGER…
PIN A TALE ON THE DONKEY
PUT A FENCE AROUND THE GOAT…
Rudolf Steiner’s Lectures on this day (the Rudolf Steiner Archives)
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY (Anthrowiki)
935 – Birthday of Pope Sylvester , originally known as Gerbert of Aurillac. He was a prolific scholar & teacher. He endorsed & promoted study of Arab & Greco-Roman arithmetic, mathematics, & astronomy, reintroducing to Europe the abacus & armillary sphere, which had been lost to Latin (though not Byzantine) Europe since the end of the Greco-Roman era. He is said to be the first to introduce in Europe the decimal numeral system using Arabic numerals. He was the first French Pope.
According to the legend, Gerbert, while studying mathematics & astrology in the Muslim cities of Córdoba & Seville, was accused of having learned sorcery. Gerbert was supposed to be in possession of a book of spells stolen from an Arab philosopher in Spain. Gerbert fled, pursued by the victim, who could trace the thief by the stars, but Gerbert was aware of the pursuit, & hid hanging from a wooden bridge, where, suspended between heaven & earth, he was invisible to the magician.
Gerbert was supposed to have built a kind of robot head. This “Brazen” head would answer his questions with “yes” or “no”. He was also reputed to have had a pact with a female demon called Meridiana, who had appeared after he had been rejected by his earthly love, & with whose help he managed to ascend to the papal throne (another legend tells that he won the papacy playing dice with the Devil).
According to the legend, Meridiana (or the bronze head) told Gerbert that if he should ever read a mass in Jerusalem, the Devil would come for him. Gerbert then cancelled a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, but when he read mass in the church Santa Croce in Gerusalemme (“Holy Cross of Jerusalem”) in Rome, he became sick soon afterwards &, dying, he asked his cardinals to cut up his body & scatter it across the city. In another version, he was even attacked by the Devil while he was reading the Mass, & the Devil mutilated him & gave his gouged-out eyes to demons to play with in the Church. Repenting, Sylvester II then cut off his hand & his tongue.
The inscription on Gerbert’s tomb reads in part Iste locus Silvestris membra sepulti venturo Domino conferet ad sonitum (“This place will yield to the sound [of the last trumpet] the limbs of buried Sylvester II, at the advent of the Lord”, mis-read as “will make a sound”) & has given rise to the curious legend that his bones will rattle in that tomb just before the death of a Pope.
1819 –It is the first steam-propelled vessel to cross the Atlantic, The U.S. vessel SS Savannah arrives at Liverpool, United Kingdom.
1877 – Alexander Graham Bell installs the world’s first commercial telephone service in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
1887 – Victoria Terminus, the busiest railway station in India, opens in Bombay
1943 – The Detroit race riot breaks out and continues for three more days
1970 – Deathday of Herbert Hahn, an anthroposopher who joined the society in 1912. In 1919 he was called by Rudolf Steiner to teach at the first Waldorf School in Stuttart, becoming a Class Teacher between 1921 & 1927 & finally History & German language teacher in the high school. Steiner entrusted him with the task of giving “free religion lessons” (for those children who did not belong to any of the denominations) & within this context he held the first “Sunday Service” in 1920. From 1931 until 1939 he taught at the Vrije School in The Hague.
During WW II he was deployed as interpreter. In 1943 he married his teaching colleague Maria Uhland. After the war, he returned to the Stuttgart Waldorf School, re-founded after the Nazi period & served as its unofficial director until his retirement in 1961.
Of his numerous works as an author especially his recollections of Rudolf Steiner, & his main work, Vom Genius Europas, his outline of an anthroposophical cultural psychology, was ground breaking. He was also one of the founding members of the Esoteric Youth Circle.
Here is a quote about the circle by HH: “Among the many presentations Rudolf Steiner gave concerning our being in modern culture & the world civilization, one very earnest appeal rises up as special in my memory. Rudolf Steiner warned us not to build up our initiatives & activities, which are directed toward great goals, on forms that exist in the outer world & are created out of routine. He said that these forms had grown old & brittle; they cannot be saved from perishing. We must see that we achieve a new basis & ground upon which we can move, borne by the spirit.
This comment, like all of the others he made in connection with the foundation of the community, was brought into a very large perspective. The largest perspective that opened up may well have been, as he said in view of the future of the community: “When this is founded, then you can think of it as determined for a wide-reaching working. It could, for instance, be the case that, at a given time, none of the members of the community are living on Earth; in the ordinary sense, the community would count as having died out. Yet, it will not be wiped out. With the 1st community members who reincarnate, the community returns to Earth.”
The final comment given, answers in a totally satisfying manner, a question that was often asked by those joining the community later. The question was whether the Esoteric Youth Group were not to be considered dissolved by the Christmas Conference.
Aside from the fact that Rudolf Steiner again confirmed & gave the call to the community thru a new, essential meeting during the Christmas Conference, what was said above removes any doubt. The indication of the carrying of the community impulse thru the incarnations speaks for itself. More precise is the idea that the founding of the Esoteric Youth Group community in October 1922, may be considered to be one of the preparatory steps for the Christmas Conference of 1923. And still more certain is that this community is given an inner obligation for the carrying thru of the great impulse of the Christmas Conference”. ~Herbert Hahn, Copenhagen-Charlottenlund August 12-14, 1963
RUDOLF STEINER’S CALENDAR OF THE SOUL
translated (with added titles) by Roy Sadler
SAINT JOHN’S TIDE
At the Altar of the Senses
The world’s light-glancing beauty
compels my inmost soul to free
the god-enwoven forces of my life
in cosmic flight, forsake myself
and trusting, seek my higher self
in world-wide warmth and light.
‘Preparing the Way’ an experiential St. John’s-Tide Festival
23 June 2021, Doors open at 5:30 pm with a Potluck –
Program from 7 – 8:30 pm
In-person at the Rudolf Steiner Branch 4248 N. Lincoln Ave. Chicago, 60618
Singing – Elizabeth Kelly
Group discussion – Hazel Archer
Spatial Dynamics – Deborah Rogers
Art – Mary Spalding
For more info. contact Cultural Events & Festivals Coordinator Hazel Archer
St. John the Baptist and Uriel the Archangel of Summer –
An Experiential online Festival with Geoff Norris, Elizabeth Carlson, Lisa Dalton, Lucien Dante Lazar, Hazel Archer
Sunday 27 June 2021 on Zoom:
Noon – 1:30 pm PT / 1 – 2:30 pm MT / 2 pm – 3:30 pm CT / 3 – 4:30 pm ET /
8 – 9:30 pm London Time / 9 – 10:30 pm CET
Metanoia – Can you hear the voice of conscience? – Make straight the path, for at the fullness of Summer, the light is so bright that it leaves no room for the shadow, a time to remember what St. John said “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Musicial Performance by Lucien Dante Lazar
Speech – Geoffrey Norris
Eurythmy- Elizabeth Carlson
Living into St. John’s-Tide – Lisa Dalton
Leading Thoughts – Hazel Archer
Hazel Archer is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: St. John’s
Time: Jun 27, 2021 02:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 705 293 1041
Find your local number: https://zoom.us/u/a961qZZhF
For more info. contact Cultural Events & Festivals Coordinator Hazel Archer Hazel@reverseritual.com