The Comforter, awake in the darkening world

8 December 2016 – Astro-Weather: The Geminid meteor shower gets underway this week. Although the shower doesn’t peak until the night of December 13/14, you may get a better view now because the Full Moon will share the sky on the peak night. For the best views, observe after the waxing gibbous Moon sets — around 11:30 pm CST, then about 70 minutes later each successive day — & before twilight begins around 5:30 am. To tell a Geminid meteor from a random dust particle burning up in Earth’s atmosphere, trace the streak of light’s path backward. A shower meteor will appear to originate from the constellation Gemini the Twins.


The left side of the Great Square of Pegasus points down past the gibbous Moon early this evening. Below the Moon is Deneb Kaitos, tail of the sea monster, about as bright as the stars of the Great Square.


 Rudolf Steiner’s Lectures on this day 


“We understand only the very smallest part of human history and of our own life if we consider it in its external aspect, I mean in that aspect which we see from the limited view-point of our earthly life between birth and death. It is impossible to comprehend the inner motives of history and life unless we turn our gaze to that spiritual background which underlies the outer, physical happenings”. ~Rudolf Steiner, Karmic Relationships, Volume IV: Lecture III


3 – Deathday of Saint Eucharius, venerated as the first bishop. He lived in the second half of the 3rd century. According to an ancient legend, he was one of the seventy-two disciples of Christ, & was sent to Gaul by Saint Peter as bishop, to preach the Gospel. He came to the Rhine where Maternus his companion died. St. Peter gave his pastoral staff to Eucharius, &, upon being touched with it, Maternus, who had been in his grave for forty days, returned to life. The Gentiles were then converted in large numbers. Among other miracles related in the legend, an angel announced to him his approaching death & pointed out Maternus as his successor. Eucharius died on December 8, having been bishop for twenty-five years, & was interred in the church of St. John outside the city.

The staff of St. Peter, with which Maternus had been raised to life, was preserved at Cologne until the end of the 10th century when the upper half was presented to Trier, & was afterwards taken to Prague by Emperor Charles IV to become ever after the staff of the Pope.


1542 – Birthday of Mary, Queen of Scots

1660 –a woman, Margaret Hughes, appears on an English public stage for the first time, in the role of Desdemona in a production of Shakespeare’s play Othello


1765 – Birthday of Eli Whitney, American engineer, invented the cotton gin

1813 – Premiere of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony.

1854 – In his Apostolic constitution Ineffabilis Deus, Pope Pius IX proclaims the definition of Immaculate Conception, which holds that the Blessed Virgin Mary was conceived free of Original Sin

1941 – World War II: U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt declares December 7 to be “a date which will live in infamy”, after which the U.S. declares war on Japan

1953 – U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower delivers his “Atoms for Peace” speech, which leads to an American program to supply equipment & information on nuclear power to schools, hospitals, & research institutions around the world]

1963 – Pan Am Flight 214, a Boeing 707, is struck by lightning & crashes near Elkton, Maryland, killing all 181 people on board

1966 – The Greek ship SS Heraklion sinks in a storm in the Aegean Sea, killing over 200

1969 – Olympic Airways Flight 954 strikes a mountain outside of Keratea, Greece, killing 190 people in the worst crash of a Douglas DC-6 in history

1972 – United Airlines Flight 553, a Boeing 737, crashes after aborting its landing attempt at Chicago Midway International Airport, killing 145.


1980 – Former Beatle John Lennon was shot by Mark David Chapman in the archway of the Dakota, his residence in New York City. Earlier that day, photographer Annie Leibovitz had been to the Lennons’ apartment to do a photo shoot for Rolling Stone magazine. Delayed by a late limousine, they left their apartment to mix the song “Walking on Thin Ice” (an Ono song featuring Lennon on lead guitar) at the Record Plant Studio. As Lennon & Ono walked to a limousine, shared with the RKO Radio crew, they were approached by several people seeking autographs. Among them was Mark David Chapman. It was common for fans to wait outside the Dakota to meet Lennon and ask for his autograph. Chapman, a 25-year-old security guard from Honolulu, Hawaii, had previously traveled to New York to murder Lennon in October (before the release of Double Fantasy), but had changed his mind & returned home. Chapman silently handed Lennon a copy of Double Fantasy, & Lennon obliged with an autograph. After signing the album, Lennon asked, “Is this all you want?” Chapman smiled & nodded in agreement. Photographer & Lennon fan Paul Goresh took a photo of the encounter. Chapman had been waiting for Lennon outside the Dakota since mid-morning, & had even approached the Lennons’ five-year-old son, Sean, who was with the family nanny, Helen Seaman, when they returned home in the afternoon. According to Chapman, he briefly touched the boy’s hand.

The Lennons spent several hours at the Record Plant studio before returning to the Dakota. Lennon had decided against dining out so he could be home in time to say goodnight to his son, before going on to the Stage Deli restaurant with Ono. Lennon liked to oblige any fans who had been waiting for long periods of time to meet him with autographs or pictures, once saying during an interview with BBC Radio’s Andy Peebles on 6 December 1980: “People come and ask for autographs, or say ‘Hi’, but they don’t bug you”. The Lennons exited their limousine on 72nd Street instead of driving into the more secure courtyard of the Dakota.

The Dakota’s doorman, Jose Perdomo, & a nearby cab driver saw Chapman standing in the shadows by the archway. As Lennon passed by, he glanced briefly at Chapman, appearing to recognize him from earlier. Seconds later, Chapman took aim directly at the center of Lennon’s back & fired five hollow-point bullets at him in rapid succession from a range of about nine or ten feet away. Lennon, bleeding profusely staggered up five steps to the security/reception area, saying, “I’m shot, I’m shot“. He then fell to the floor, scattering cassettes that he had been carrying. The concierge, Jay Hastings, first started to make a tourniquet, but upon ripping open Lennon’s blood-stained shirt & realizing the severity of his multiple injuries, he covered Lennon’s chest with his uniform jacket, removed his blood-covered glasses, & summoned the police.

They reported that Chapman had dropped the revolver to the ground & was holding a paperback book, J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye.

Realizing the extent of his injuries, the policemen decided not to wait for an ambulance & immediately carried Lennon into their squad car & rushed him to St Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center. Dr. Stephan Lynn, head of the Emergency Department, who had been called in again after having just returned home after a 13-hour-long work shift, received Lennon in the emergency room at Roosevelt Hospital a few minutes before 11:00 pm.

When Lennon arrived, he had no pulse & was not breathing. Dr. Lynn, two other doctors, a nurse & two or three other medical attendants worked on Lennon for ten to 15 minutes in a desperate attempt to resuscitate him.

Lennon was pronounced dead on arrival in the emergency room at the Roosevelt Hospital at 11:15 pm by Dr. Lynn.

The surgeon also noted—as did other witnesses—that, at the moment Lennon was pronounced dead, a Beatles song (“All My Loving”) came over the hospital’s sound system.

john-lennon-ono-annie-leibovitzphoto by Annie Leibovitz earlier that day

1987 – An Israeli army tank transporter kills four Palestinian refugees & injures seven others – one of the events which sparked the First Intifada

1988 – A United States Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II crashes into an apartment complex in Remscheid, Germany, killing 57 people & injuring 50 others


virginmary_catherinedaze Catherine Daze

POD (Poem Of the Day)

~That quivering star
Her blue eye
The comforter, awake in the darkening world


immaculate-conception-domenico-tiepoloDomenico Tiepolo

The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception:

The Blessed Virgin Mary in Her aspect of The Immaculate Conception has been called the patroness of the United States, & 8 December is the octave of her feast for our country & for the virtue of piety, when we celebrate the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, 9 months before her birth celebrated on 8 September. Although it is not officially part of Advent, in celebrating this feast we can easily enter into the spirit of Christmastide, for it is like the hope & truth of the dawn that grows within us all. Mary is our guide, & mother along the path of the Sun.

The vigil of the Immaculate Conception is an opportune time to light a special Advent candle in Mary’s honor expressing symbolically the words of Isaias, “There shall come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse, and a flower shall rise up out of this root.” I usually put a beeswax candle in a candleholder covered with white silk, tied with red & blue ribbon. I place this before my statue of Our Lady & speak the verses from Luke 1:28-36: 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” 29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” 34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” 35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.”

From the womb of Our Lady, comes the light of the world. The candle represents Christ, who dispels all darkness.

I also love to sing or listen to the superb German Advent carol “Behold, a Branch Is Growing.”

Behold a branch is growing
Of loveliest form and grace.
As prophets sung, foreknowing;
It springs from Jesse’s race.
And bears one little flower.
In midst of coldest winter,
At deepest midnight hour.
Isaiah hath foretold it In words of promise sure,
And Mary’s arms enfold it,
A Virgin meek and pure.
Through God’s eternal will,
This Child to her is given
At midnight calm and still.

The Ave Maris Stella, is another vesper hymn for the feast of the Immaculate Conception:
Hail, Star of the sea,
Great Mother of God
and always a Virgin,
joyous gate of Heaven.

By welcoming that “Hail”
from Gabriel’s mouth,
grant us peace,
changing Eve’s fame.

Undo wicked people’s bad deeds,
give light to the blind,
drive away our pains,
give us every good.

Show Thyself to be a Mother,
let this prayer be welcomed through Thee
by He who was born for us
and made Himself Thy Son.

Holiest Virgin unique,
among the humblest,
forgive our trespasses,
and make us humble and chaste.

Give us a pure life,
guard our paths,
let us see Jesus,
always joyful.

All praise be to God the Father,
to the Highest Christ, the Lord,
and to the Holy Ghost,
only honor to the Trinity.

Even the cook can be part of the octave of the Immaculate Conception, for it is time to make Moravian Spritz. These gingerbread cookies are made for the vigil of the Immaculate Conception since Mary, too, “gave forth sweet smell like cinnamon and aromatic balm and yielded a sweet odor like the best myrrh.” The cookies must stand for ten days in the refrigerator before baking, & are then shaped into Christmas figures, especially hearts & stars.

The Immaculate Conception as the Patroness of the United States reminds that the hope of peace in the world does not lie in force of arms, but rather in prayers & social action & with recourse to the intercession of Our Lady. The octave of the Immaculate Conception furnishes an admirable occasion for a renewal of true love for our country. St. Thomas Aquinas associates the virtue of piety with the cardinal virtue of justice.

 May all our concepts be immaculate


~Hazel Archer Ginsberg



New Works by
Lisa Villa Moser

Closing Reception
Sunday December 18th, 2016
12-3 pm


at the Rudolf Steiner Branch of the Anthroposophical Society 4249 N. Lincoln Ave, Chicago IL. 60618. MAP




Start your New Year on the right foot at our annual New Year’s Eve Celebration!

Our evening will be spent in community, with various offerings and activities. Jutta & the Hi-Dukes ™ will play their exciting, unique blend of world music, for your family-friendly dancing pleasure. Everyone can take part because members of the band lead you through the traditional dances they present.

Doors open at 8:00 pm and the music will start around 9:00 pm. Your Donation of $10goes to the band (You are always welcome to give more to support the branch as well)

Additional offerings and activities for the evening to be announced soon.

Please bring a favorite delectable dish to share.

at the Rudolf Steiner Branch of the Anthroposophical Society 4249 N. Lincoln Ave, Chicago IL. 60618. MAP


Mysteries of the Celtic Goddess

brigid-helena-nelson-reedBrigid by Helena Nelson Reed

Thursday February 9th 2017 -7 pm
at the Theosophical Society in America
1926 North Main Street
Wheaton, IL 60187

Invoking the Practical Alchemy of the Celtic Triple Goddess Brigid
To Purify, Awaken, & Galvanize Your Head, Heart, and Hands – A guided Meditation with Hazel Archer Ginsberg

Brigid’s festival is the 1st of the cross-quarter days in the wheel of the year, a time of spiritual re-dedication and initiation. Brigid invites us to forge and shape ourselves, as the tools of our own destiny. Come Renew Yourself. Together we will thaw the winter & rouse the mysteries growing within…

Hazel Archer Ginsberg is a Spiritual Midwife, and Trans-denominational Minister, working in an eclectic style that inspires connections – initiating us into the magic, waiting to be revealed, in the cycle of the seasons. Festivals Coordinator of the Rudolf Steiner Branch of the Anthroposophical Society. Lecturer, Promoter, Blogger, Poet & Performance Artist.

$10 nonmembers   $5 members

Live Webcast


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