Some thoughts for the 2nd Sunday of Advent 2022, inspired in part by a quote from SIGNS AND SYMBOLS OF THE CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL ~Rudolf Steiner, GA 90f, I. Birth of the Light, 19 December 1904, Berlin – shared by Bill Rogers & his study group in Knoxville TN.
“. . . The fifth post-Atlantean epoch repeats the three preceding periods in the great process of Advent. The three weeks of Advent symbolize these earlier epochs, and in the fourth, the human being must once again pass through briefly the way the birth of the light was experienced at Christmas. ~Rudolf Steiner
When I read that Quote it felt like an affirmation of the work we have been doing in trying to understand the Steiner’s ‘Inner Realities of Evolution’ – Such blessings – More & more the threads weave into a tapestry of grace.
Being in the midst of all the Jubilee milestones, I have been thinking a lot about how at the Christmas Conference of 1923/24 when the great Rosicrucian initiate Rudolf Steiner brought the Spiritual Beings working to bring Anthroposophy to Earth into the Vessel of the Anthroposophical Society – Planting the Foundation Stone of Love into the Temple of the Human Heart – uniting us in our karma – it was the birth of Anthroposophia as preparation for the reappearance of Isis-Sophia – a spark in the consecration on Earth of the New Grail Mysteries.
The Christmas Conference that we are gearing up to meet again after 100 years, is felt every year at Christmas-Tide. This Festival celebrating the Birth of Light at the Turning Point of Time, like the refounding at the Christmas Conference is not a single event that is one & done. No, Steiner tells us: “It is not a memorial festival commemorating what has occurred in the past. The Christmas message does not say, “Christ has been born, Christ was born.” It says, “Today Christ is born.” Today is always emphasized. This is significant. The emphasis on today should be understood in the sense in which Christ has spoken, “I am with you always even unto the end of days.”
But before we can give birth every year to this New Light, we must 1st go thru the Challenge of Advent. At this time of the year, we are tasked with taking responsibility for our own moral development – especially because at this time of year our spiritual helpers withdraw from us.
The 2nd Week of Advent —
Focus: The Etheric Realm
Symbol: The Plant Kingdom
Abandoned by: The Archangels (move beyond the Folk Spirit of place)
Virtue: Temperance / Prudence (Beware the temptation to misuse our faculty of human speech)
The plant kingdom shows us the presence & working of the life-forces that make up the etheric realm. Plants teach us how the etheric element can take hold of matter & lift it into the light. The biggest lesson is that in this living plant world, nothing exists for itself alone. Plants reveal this as a pure revelation – Everything is interwoven into an ecology of mutual support – a unified living totality of beings.
Rudolf Steiner gives us wonderful descriptions of the plant & elemental beings. We can picture the ‘group ego of the plant’ as being located in the center of the earth. And with the help of the Gnomes the roots grow down into the darkness of gravity, in order to anchor themselves in these depths. Underground, all the plants are communicating with one another in an interlocking living cooperation.
Above, the plant also strives heavenwards. And with the help of the elemental beings of warmth (salamanders) & air (sylphs) & water (undines) they unfold their constantly evolving bodies in the light. The forces of the etheric world work from the periphery – generating powers of levity. These draw the plant upwards towards the light of the Sun – making of them a reflection of the stars.
Before our eyes, matter is enchanted into a living form. As the plant grows, from root to leaf, to flower – the life force sprouts, grows, adapts & changes. In the flower, it unfolds in ever higher octaves of fragrance & color. Finally, the plant reaches its perfection to give unselfishly of its fruits. It becomes life giving food, which in working with the mineral world, nourishes the animal & human kingdoms – Then it dies away. And in this death process it completely surrenders its essence to the seed – feeding future generations to come.
Because we have an etheric body, we are alive – Death occurs when the etheric body withdraws & the material world reveals its true reality as death. By working with plants, by studying & communing with them in loving attention, we can learn to perceive & understand this miracle of life.
We can learn to feel & respond to our own etheric body. For me, doing eurythmy helps in my perception of these etheric forces, both within myself & in the space around me. With practice, we can learn to affect our physical body thru consciously moving our etheric body. We can practice feeling the life-force pulsing in the space around & within us. We can explore molding & sculpting these forces with our articulate movements. When we work in this realm with dedicated intention, we are able to release the elemental beings from their material enchantment, so that they can become one with the Christ forces available in the etheric of the Earth – revealing in turn this super-sensible realm to us.
Go on – have a conversation with your house plants – give an offering to a tree!
O Tannenbaum, OTannenbaum,
Wie treu sind deine Blätter!
Du grünst nicht nur zur Sommerzeit,
Nein, auch im Winter, wenn es schneit.
O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum,
Wie treu sind deine Blätter!
RUDOLF STEINER’S CALENDAR OF THE SOUL
translated (with added titles) by Roy Sadler
Can True Being Inspire Me?
Can I true being know
that it may find itself anew
within my soul’s creative urge?
I feel a power trusting me
to make my Self with modesty
a member of the Cosmic Self.
This verse and its mirror are the only question verses.
Can I Imagine Spiritual Need?
Can I make wide my soul
that she unite with seed
of Cosmic Word conceived?
I feel my foresight asking me
to find the strangth my soul will need
to form her spirit garment worthily.
4 December 2022 – “Speaking with the Stars”: Cassiopeia Queen of Ethiopia boasted that she and her daughter Andromeda were more beautiful than all the Nereids, the nymph-daughters of the sea god Nereus. This brought the wrath of Poseidon, ruling god of the sea, upon the kingdom of Ethiopia.
Trying to save their kingdom, Queen Cassiopeia and king Cepheus consulted a wise oracle, who told them that the only way to appease the sea gods was to sacrifice their daughter.
Andromeda was chained to a rock at the sea’s edge and left to be killed by Cetus the sea monster. Perseus arrives to kill Cetus, saves Andromeda and marries her.
Poseidon thought Cassiopeia should not escape punishment, so he placed her in the heavens chained to a throne in a position that referenced Andromeda’s ordeal. The constellation resembles the chair that originally represented an instrument of torture. Cassiopeia is not always represented tied to the chair in torment, in some later drawings she holds a mirror, symbol of her vanity, while in others she holds a palm frond.
Holiday Market at the Rudolf Steiner Branch
4249 N. Lincoln Ave. Chicago
10 December 2022 – from 11 am – 4 pm
Handcrafted gifts, décor & toys
Featuring Live Music, Puppetry & Candle Dipping!!!
The ‘Envy of the Gods’ – The ‘Envy of Human Beings’
Presented by Adriana Koulias*
A Winter Solstice offering preparing us for the Centennial commemoration of the burning of the first Goetheanum.
21 December 2022, at 5 pm PT, 6 pm MT, 7 pm CT, 8 pm ET
Here is a link to the World Clock for your time zone
Online & in-person at the Rudolf Steiner Branch Chicago
Dear Friends – This special presentation is supported by your generous donations. $10-$50 or pay what you will www.rschicago.org/donate (credit card or PayPal)
Please type ‘Adriana’ in the memo for your payment
To register & receive the Zoom code email your receipt of payment to the Cultural Events & Festivals Coordinator Hazel Archer-Ginsberg email@example.com
For those attending in-person doors open at 5:30 pm for our Potluck meal. Please bring food & drink to share.
Work on building the First Goetheanum, which was designed and supervised by Rudolf Steiner, began after the laying of the double dodecahedron foundation stone on the 20th of September 1913. Construction proceeded for a decade under enormous difficulties in the political, economic and cultural realms, brought on by the advent of the First World War. After the war when the building was near completion, the First Goetheanum was destroyed by an arsonist on New Year’s Eve 1922/1923.
This NYE 2022-23 will be the 100th anniversary of this event and the world is again facing many difficulties, political, economic and social. Adriana’s lecture will explore what Rudolf Steiner meant by the ‘Envy of the Gods and the Envy of Human beings’ and how a consciousness of this during the coming 12 Holy Nights can provide the necessary strengthening for the coming twelve months.
During this presentation Adriana will speak about the three gifts given by Rudolf Steiner in 1913: The naming of Anthroposophy, The Fifth Gospel, and The Laying of the Foundation Stone of the First Goetheanum. She will explore with us how we can link our hearts to the old Goetheanum during the coming 12 Holy Nights to prepare ourselves for the coming 12 months in 2023, so we can work towards a Cosmic New Year.
In this way we will celebrate the Jubilee of the Christmas Conference and the resurrection of the living impulse of the First Goetheanum in the most auspicious way.
For Rudolf Steiner tells us: ‘My dear friends, may this link our hearts to the old Goetheanum which we had to consign to the elements. May it link our hearts also to the Spirit, to the Soul of this Goetheanum. With this vow before whatever is best within our being we want to live on not only into the new year. In strength of deed, bearing the spirit, leading the soul we want to live on into the new cosmic year.’ ~Rudolf Steiner, ‘The Envy of the Gods and the Envy of Human Beings.’
Adriana Koulias was born in 1960 in Brazil. Adriana moved to Australia when she was 9 years old where she lives today. She has studied art, operatic singing and nursing. She has been studying Anthroposophy (awareness of our humanity) as given by Rudolf Steiner for 33 years and has since 2002-3 integrated this knowledge into several novels and a number of books, international lectures and articles online and in magazines.