10 April 2018 – Astro-Weather: Vega, the bright “Summer Star,” rises in the northeast around 10 pm CDT these evenings. Where should you watch for it? Spot the Big Dipper very high in the northeast. Look at Mizar at the bend of its handle. If you can see Mizar’s tiny, close companion Alcor follow a line from Mizar through Alcor all the way down to the horizon. That’s where Vega will make its appearance.
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
“Where do the Dead come from? The Living. Where do the Living come from? The Dead.” ~ Plato
The Feast Day of St. Magdalen of Canossa. Born in northern Italy in 1774, Magdalen knew her mind—and spoke it. At age 15 she announced she wished to become a nun. After trying out her vocation with the cloistered Carmelites, she realized her desire was to serve the needy without restriction. For years she worked among the poor & sick, & with delinquent or abandoned girls. In her mid-twenties Magdalen began offering lodging to poor girls in her own home. In time she opened a school, which offered practical training & religious instruction. As other women joined her in the work, the new Congregation of the Daughters of Charity emerged. Over time, houses were opened throughout Italy. They focused on the educational & spiritual needs of women, which continues to this day.
Feast Day of Fulbert of Chartres, Bishop of Chartres from 1006 to 1028. A highly esteemed teacher – his pupils called him “venerable Socrates”. He was a strong opponent of the rationalistic tendencies which had infected some dialecticians of his time. Letters he wrote from 1004–1028 gave much insight into life in his day. He also wrote poetry & many sermons on the Blessed Virgin Mary. He was responsible for the advancement of the Nativity of the Virgin’s feast day on September 8. When, in about 1020, the cathedral of Chartres burned down, Fulbert at once began to rebuild it in greater splendor.
According to Rudolf Steiner’s Calendar of the Soul, this is the Birth Day of the prophets Daniel & Ezekiel. As well as the day Wagner received the inspiration for Parsifal in Zurich, 1857.
Daniel – Hebrew “God is my Judge” hero of the Book of Daniel who interprets dreams & receives apocalyptic visions. Daniel & his friends Hananiah, Mishael, & Azariah were among the young Jewish nobility carried off to Babylon following the capture of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. The four are chosen for their intellect & beauty to be trained in the Babylonian court, & are given new names. Daniel is given the Babylonian name Belteshazzar, while his companions are given the Babylonian names Shadrach, Meshach, & Abednego. Daniel & his friends refuse the food & wine provided by the king of Babylon to avoid becoming defiled. They receive wisdom from God & surpass “all the magicians & enchanters of the kingdom.” Nebuchadnezzar dreams of a giant statue made of four metals with feet of mingled iron & clay, smashed by a stone from heaven. Only Daniel is able to interpret it: the dream signifies four kingdoms, of which Babylon is the first, but God will destroy them & replace them with his own kingdom. Nebuchadnezzar dreams of a great tree that shelters all the world & of a heavenly figure who decrees that the tree will be destroyed; again, only Daniel can interpret the dream, which concerns the sovereignty of God over the kings of the earth.
When Nebuchadnezzar’s son King Belshazzar uses the vessels from the Jewish temple for his feast, a hand appears & writes a mysterious message on the wall, which only Daniel can interpret; it tells the king that his kingdom will be given to the Medes & Persians, because Belshazzar, unlike Nebuchadnezzar, has not acknowledged the sovereignty of the God of Daniel. They overthrow Nebuchadnezzar & the new king, Darius the Mede, appoints Daniel to high authority. Jealous rivals attempt to destroy Daniel with an accusation that he worships God instead of the king, & Daniel is thrown into a den of lions, but an angel saves him, his accusers are destroyed, & Daniel is restored to his position.
In the third year of Darius, Daniel has a series of visions. In the first, four beasts come out of the sea, the last with ten horns, & an eleventh horn grows & achieves dominion over the Earth & the “Ancient of Days” (God) gives dominion to “one like a son of man”. An angel interprets the vision.
In the second, a ram with two horns is attacked by a goat with one horn; the one horn breaks & is replaced by four. A little horn arises & attacks the people of God & the temple, & Daniel is informed how long the little horn’s dominion will endure.
In the third, Daniel is troubled to read in holy scripture (the book is not named but appears to be Jeremiah) that Jerusalem would be desolate for 70 years. Daniel repents on behalf of the Jews & requests that Jerusalem & its people be restored. An angel refers to a period of 70 sevens (or weeks) of years.
In the final vision, Daniel sees a period of history culminating in a struggle between the “king of the north” & the “king of the south” in which God’s people suffer terribly; an angel explains that in the end the righteous will be vindicated & God’s kingdom will be established on Earth.
The Prophet Ezekiel describes his calling to be a prophet by going into great detail about his encounter with God & 4 living creatures or Cherubim with four wheels that stayed beside the creatures. For the next five years he incessantly prophesied & acted out the destruction of Jerusalem & its temple, which was met with opposition.
According to the midrash Canticles Rabbah, Shadrach, Meshach, & Abednego asked for his advice as to whether they should resist Nebuchadnezzar’s command & choose death by fire rather than worship his idol. At first God revealed to the prophet that they could not hope for a miraculous rescue; whereupon the prophet was greatly grieved, since these 3 men constituted the “remnant of Judah”. But after they had left the house of the prophet, fully determined to sacrifice their lives to God, Ezekiel received this revelation: “Thou dost believe indeed that I will abandon them. That shall not happen; but do thou let them carry out their intention according to their pious dictates, & tell them nothing”
Ezekiel’s statement about the “closed gate” (Ezekiel 44:2–3) is understood as another prophecy of the coming Incarnation of Christ : the “gate” signifying the Virgin Mary & the “prince” referring to Jesus. This is one of the readings at Vespers on Great Feasts of the Theotokos in the Eastern Orthodox & Byzantine Catholic Churches. “No one can enter Heaven unless by Mary, as though through a door.” The imagery provides the basis for the concept that God gave Mary to mankind as the “Gate of Heaven” (thence the dedication of churches & convents to the Porta Coeli), an idea also laid out in the Salve Regina (Hail Holy Queen) prayer.
837 – Halley’s Comet makes its closest approach to Earth
POD (Poem Of the Day)
~At dawn the thread of Time unfurls –
Sunlight streams across Space –
Time reaches in both directions
Knotted in the golden orb of the moment.
The Eye opens, the Heart unlocks, the Navel yawns
& takes the World in its belly
In my Easter-Tide lecture on The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz, I made reference to the tale of Floris & Blancheflour. This tale originally dates to around 1230 or 1250, & re-worked into a collection of mythic poetry, composed using 7-stringed & 12-stringed lyres, which we talked about as representing the union of Time & Space, which also occurs in Wagner’s opera of Parsifal when he enters the Grail castle for the 1st time.
Here is a synopsis of the tale: King Felix, the Muslim King of Spain, on one of his ventures attacks a band of Christian pilgrims. The wife of 1 of the slain knights is taken prisoner, & is made lady-in-waiting to Felix’s wife. Both women are pregnant, & the children are born on the same day, Palm Sunday: Floris, means “belonging to the red Rose”, son of the Muslim Queen & Blanchefleur – “white flower or lily”, born to her lady-in-waiting. (The Rose & the Lily represent 2 polar soul types, explored by Goethe in his tale “The Green Snake & the Beautiful Lily”)
The 2 are raised together at the court & grow close. King Felix fears his son may marry the “pagan” girl so he decides that she must be killed. But he can’t bring himself to do it so instead he sends his son Floris away to school, & sells Blanchefleur to merchants who take her to Babylon, & sell her to the emir. Felix constructs an elaborate tomb for Blanchefleur & tells Floris she has died. His reaction is so severe that Felix tells him the truth. Distraught, but encouraged she is still alive, Floris sets out to find her.
He eventually arrives outside Babylon where he meets the bridge warden who tells him about the emir’s tower of maidens. Each year the emir selects a new bride from his tower & kills his old wife. Rumor has it that Blanchefleur is soon to be chosen as his next bride. To gain access to the tower, Floris outplays the watchmen in chess & so he is able to be smuggled into the tower in a basket of flowers, but is mistakenly placed in the room of Blanchefleur’s friend Claris (translated as: Shining), who arranges a reunion between the two, but still they are discovered by the emir.
The emir holds off killing them on the spot until he holds a council of advisers. So impressed are the advisers at the willingness of the young lovers to die for one another that they persuade the emir to spare their lives. Floris is then knighted, he & Blanchefleur are married, & Claris marries the emir, who promises she will be his last & only wife, forever. Floris & Blanchefleur depart for home where they inherit the kingdom, & embrace Christianity.
Steiner speaks of Floris & Blanchefleur as being together before in other lives. The rose & lily are two contrasts which must find unity. In Floris or the red rose, we see a soul whose higher “I” is able to penetrate into the blood. The lily soul remains spiritual because the “I” inspires it from outside. The rose has the self-consciousness completely in itself, the lily completely outside itself. The union of the soul that is within, with the soul that is able to embrace the world spirit brings a balance of inner & outer together to serve the all.
Steiner refers to them as the grandparents of Charlemagne who connected the inner esoteric Christianity with the exoteric. Floris & Blanchefleur express the mystic marriage in the human soul, where the conscious human “I” can then work with the world soul, or world “I”, represented by the concept of ‘Christ in me’. In the union of the lily soul & the rose soul, we find a connection with the Mystery of Golgotha.
This tale is a precursor to what happens later in the legend of the Holy Grail, which has no exterior couple. In the circles of initiates, it was known that the same soul which was in Floris appeared later as the founder of the new mystery school, of Rosicrucianism.
At the Easter Festival we discussed who the lily soul might be. We remembered that in the Chemical Wedding CR has a “companion” who Steiner reveals as “The Master Jesus” or the reincarnated Zarathustra soul. Some thought perhaps the lily soul could be Rudolf Steiner as he was the public voice inspired by CR as Master M…?
And then we ended with an imagination, knowing that in the spiritual world everything is reversed we pictured: RS on the right in a red stole & CR on the right in a blue stole. Inspiring them from behind is the Time Spirit Michael, holding the countenance of Christ behind him…
I will be posting my lecture with the projected images soon.
Blessings as we move into this highly potent time of the esoteric teaching of the Risen Christ.