the Vast & Holy Dark

Declan Fosterford

Tomorrow at the Winter Solstice our Day-Star-Sun reaches its most southern point on the sky’s dome for the year; shining directly overhead at noon. The word solstice is Latin for ‘Sun stands still’. The Sun’s daily path (as seen from Earth) pauses at the southern limit before reversing direction.

The Winter Solstice, called by the ancients Yule-tide, is unique among days of the year — it is the time of the longest night & the shortest day -The dark triumphs but only briefly – For the Solstice is a turning point. From then on (until the Summer Solstice) the nights grow shorter & the days grow longer.

But today dear friends we stand on the eve, in the dark before the dawn.

Yuko Shimizu

We know from Spiritual Science that when all seems dead & barren on the face of Earth, below the surface, the inner life is strengthened…& if we can let go of the false hustle & bustle imposed on us from without, & sit in the stillness of the darkness, where the heart-beat can be heard, where the little drummer boy plays his ‘Pa rum pum pum-pum’, there we will find the inner strength to let go of our fear – of the dark – & let our eyes adjust – to the dark – & soon we will see quite clearly – in the dark…

& then we can begin the work of Re-Patterning…& opening to the inspiration of our Immaculate Conception…

Diane Wigstone

Energizing Hope for the Sun’s return & the Earth’s renewal we make a ‘spiritual manger’ – a sacred space – in the cold black frozen places, that seem devoid of life, but are really just a sterilized palate -a clean slate, fresh & ready for the newly conceived light to be born into & fill…

Surrendering to the awakened dreaming, we celebrate the dark where the inner life is honored & nurtured…Consecrating the Nativity of a new Solar year.

Tony Centley

The oblique Sun of Mid-Winter draws in its breath completely before birthing the New Light…

At this time of deep night…the dark of the vast universe between stars…the dark of the deep sea…the dark mystery of the tomb & the waiting womb… From ‘the dark night of our souls’, there springs the new spark of hope, the Sacred Fire, the Light of the World, the Coel Coeth, a Celtic term which implies a fire banked in the hearth.

At the Winter Solstice, the Circle is completely drawn down into a Point. It is the divine spark, the single cell, the universe in a mustard seed, the catalyst of incarnation – whispering their secrets to us…The human being is invited to hear what the East, West, North & South have to say.

Are we listening?


Kristena West

TODAY: Special Free 30 minute Online Winter Solstice Festival – Monday, 20 December 2021

9 am PT / 10 am MT / 11 am CT / 12:00 ET

Join us as we gather for 30 minutes to honor the Solstice – and give thanks to the good spirits that guide our Spiritual Practice group = 6BE (Steiner’s 6 Basic Exercises)

Welcome & lighting of the candle by Angela Foster

Leading Thoughts & a reading for 5 voices: CHAOS & THE COEL COETH INCANTATION by Hazel Archer-Ginsberg, with Rosemary, Timothy, Angela, Julie

Art by Kristena West – 8 minutes of silence to turn our collective attention to the spiritual world offering our gratitude for the guidance and love that is woven throughout our practice group.

We’ll end the silence with music brought by Julie Morris before we close the call.

Darby Lannderson

POD (Poem Of the Day)

~My hearth fire banks Her smoldering heart
& yet today Her flame is sharp
Her kinetic fingers are orange spikes weaving
She speaks with a tongue of far-reaching fire
Her mouth is quick & potent
She burns my flesh into ash & light…

Thursday 23 December 2021 – The Eve of the Eve –
11 am PT / 12 pm MT / 1 pm CT / 2 pm ET / 7 pm UTC

A Christmas Festival with Christian Community Priest Rev. Jeana Lee, 
Movement with Lucien Dante Lazar 

‘Divine Love and the Holy Child Within’

This will be a hybrid in-person & Zoom event
Featuring our 2 camera technology with Mary Spalding

Doors open at 12:30 pm (Zoom Room open 12:45 pm for Social time)
Snacks to Share Encouraged

Suggested donation $15.00 – 
At the door 
or via the Rudolf Steiner Branch PayPal donation site –
*Please make a note on the first line – type in: “Christmas Fest”!
The Festival will be recorded

Time: Dec 23, 2021 01:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 705 293 1041
Passcode: Christmas

For more info. Contact Cultural Events & Festivals Coordinator
Hazel Archer-Ginsberg 


The Epic of Gilgamesh
Storytelling during the Holy Nights 2021-2022
Hosted by the Anthroposophical Society in America 

”The purpose of a story is to be an ax that breaks up the ice within us.”
~ Franz Kafka

Click to Register! 

All around the world the season of midwinter is the traditional time for community bonding through storytelling. In laying the groundwork for the 100-year anniversary of the Christmas Conferencewe bring the ancient Sumerian saga “The Epic of Gilgamesh” to life. Rudolf Steiner explored this story in Occult History during the Holy Nights of 1910; and again with the lectures “World History in the Light of Anthroposophy” given during those fateful Holy Nights in 1923 for the re-founding of the Society. 

The Epic of Gilgamesh is perhaps the oldest written tale on Earth. The Sumerian version dates from around 3000 B.C. Later it was compiled from 12 clay tablets written in Akkadian cuneiform. 

It is the “Hero’s Journey” of human evolution, a story of friendship, and a quest for the meaning of life – revealing Steiner’s core mission of bringing karma and reincarnation to the west. 

Myths, fairytales, historical epics, and sagas open us up to powerful archetypes behind the human condition, revealing clues to ourselves – from the past, the present, and the future. What will we uncover about ourselves and each other during this year’s Holy Nights adventure in storytelling?

Tune in for any or all of the episodes of this dramatic reading, re-worked by Hazel Archer from various translations, and featuring friends from around the world.

WhatThe Epic of Gilgamesh: Story Telling during the Holy Nights hosted by the ASA, Hazel Archer, and friends.

Time: 22 minutes daily at 9 am PT / 10 am MT / 11 am CT / 12 pm ET / 5 pm UTC

Dates:  December 24, 2021- January 5, 2022 for 13 consecutive days  
Can’t join us live? No problem. Each gathering will be recorded and posted on our Holy Nights page (link will be emailed upon registration).

HowRegister Here!  Then check your email for confirmation with the Zoom registration link. 

Cost: This event is free with suggested donations of $25, $50, $100
Your donations help us create events like this one!
Register Here!

Eurythmy for the Holy Nights with Jan Ranck
‘Tuning to the Stars’:
Sacred Geometry, the Planets and the Zodiac

LIVE IN-PERSON 26-30 Dec. 2021
at the Rudolf Steiner Branch Chicago 4 pm – 5 pm
And at 7pm on 31 Dec. as part of our Annual NYE Gathering (details below)

$100 for all 6 sessions, or $22 for each individual session.

Make your payment using the Rudolf Steiner Branch PayPal
or QuickPay with Zelle to
(Please indicate in the notes that it is for the “Holy Nights Eurythmy”)

Cash at the door, or send a check to:
Rudolf Steiner Branch
4249 North Lincoln Avenue
Chicago, IL 60618-2953

For more info. Contact Cultural Events & Festivals Coordinator
Hazel Archer-Ginsberg 

* Jan Ranck – Born in the USA, Jan Ranck studied music and comparative arts at Indiana University in Bloomington. She accompanied the London Stage Group on their 1976 USA tour and went on to study eurythmy at the Eurythmeum in Dornach with Lea van der Pals, where she subsequently taught. In 1984 she joined the faculty of The London School of Eurythmy. She left there to complete her eurythmy therapy training in Stuttgart in 1989, moving afterward to Israel, where she founded and directed the Jerusalem Eurythmy Ensemble (1990) and the Jerusalem Academy of Eurythmy (1992) and was an instructor in the Jerusalem Waldorf Teacher Bachelor Program in David Yellin Academic College from 1999. Jan has held Master Classes at various venues worldwide, including the Goetheanum and the MA Program in Eurythmy held at Emerson College and Spring Valley. She is the representative for Israel in the International Eurythmy Therapy Forum.

Friday 31 December 2021
Doors open at 6:30 pm 

Join us for our Annual NYE Conscious Community Gathering –
The Theme for 2022 is Cabaret – a Cultural Sharing!

All are invited to take the stage with an offering.

Circles Edge & other Waldorf alum will also perform

Please bring Food & Drink to share

$20 Cash at the door or Make your payment using the Rudolf Steiner Branch PayPal or QuickPay with Zelle to
(Please indicate in the notes that it is for the “NYE”)

All proceeds go to support the Rudolf Steiner Branch – the young People hosting & The Band (Can’t make it? send a $ gift PayPal)

7 – 8 pm – Holy Nights Eurythmy with Jan Ranck (separate fee $22 see above)

8 pm – Potluck Social

8:30 pm – Circles Edge & Friends warm the stage & host the open mic

10:10 pm – Thought-Seed Circle

10:30 pm – Clean-up…;)

For more info. Contact Cultural Events & Festivals Coordinator
Hazel Archer-Ginsberg 

5 thoughts on “the Vast & Holy Dark

  1. Dear Hazel, I thank you greatly for your deligence and creativity bringing this blog to life everyday (or just about) for us and the world. I’d just like to point out the the Solstice, the sun’s standing still, lasts for 3 days, not just one. I just checked it again this morning and the day doesn’t get one minute longer until the 23rd. It use to be until Christmas Eve when the Solstice started on the 21st. Anyway, we get to pause for 3 days before it is Christmas that inaugurates the new beginning as you so beautifully express.
    Blessings on your most Holy Nights!

      1. Yes, this is a very good point from Larry about the three days of the Winter Solstice in order to express how the Trinity works incessantly in life and under all variations from the cosmic to the mundane. Last year at this time we had the great conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter to consider. I spent months watching the clear nighttime sky in order to follow Jupiter’s slow but inexorable approach to Saturn. By December 2020, it seemed an impossibility that Jupiter could navigate the final inch to reach Saturn. I waited for a grand event on the night of December 21, 2020, but the clouds prevented any clear viewing that night. Only six days later, on the 27th, did the clouds break in order to show that Jupiter had “jumped the gap”, and now was ahead of Saturn. This has to be a kind of miracle that modern-day astronomy still has yet to explain. Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions occur every 19.6 years, and the one from last year on the Winter Solstice was very important.

        This year, the activity of the planets at Winter Solstice is still largely in the sign of Capricorn, with Venus (occult Mercury) now present. The Full Moon has experienced the Geminids, which indicates the sign of Gemini. So, is it still possible that the Sun is straggling in Scorpio, rather than Sagittarius?

        I feel that Steiner had a very definite reason for delineating where the Sun was in actual appearance when he gave out the Calendar of the Soul verses in 1912. His clairvoyant faculty was certainly very keen by then, and he had indicated that the Sun passes through Sagittarius from December 1 to January 4th, and then into Capricorn from January 5th to February 8th.

        Hazel, you would have it be that the Sun is locked into Scorpio in a kind of wintertime mess, without even seeing what the Archer means with the Spear of Sagittarius, which is really an homage to Michael. Winter needs the salvation of Sagittarius, which is the mutable Fire sign to go with Gemini’s mutable Air sign. Full Moon of the 18th has proceeded into the next sign, which is Cancer. A very pregnant moment in time.

        1. Actually I am extremely aware of living fully into the moment, & then flowing – moving into & recognizing when to shift. Indeed, when the Advent trial called for it – I stood with consciousness asking questions which the Scorpion poses, & then rode on the energies of Chiron the centaur as the triumphant Archer in my thinking & in my posts…And today I stand still with the Sun. Staying ‘locked’ is never an option for me.

          1. Nor I, Hazel. Staying “locked” only comes from an anthroposophical interpretation of the sidereal astronomy of the Sun’s appearance in the twelve signs of the Zodiac; haven’t talked to Victoria yet, but this could be the difficulty we face today. As such, Steiner did give these twelve parameters of the Sun in the respective signs of the Zodiac.

            So, we should look at these actual dates in which the sun moves through the twelve signs:

            Pisces – March 9 to April 13
            Aries – April 14 to April 30
            Taurus – May 1 to June 15
            Gemini – June 16 to July 19
            Cancer – July 20 to August 3
            Leo – August 4 to September 7
            Virgo – September 8 to October 12
            Libra – October 13 to November 9
            Scorpio – November 10 to November 30
            Sagittarius – December 1 to January 4
            Capricorn – January 5 to February 8
            Aquarius – February 9 to March 8

            Ten years ago, when the Sun advanced from Leo to Virgo on September 8, 2011, I made it my research project to attempt to prove the accuracy of Steiner’s dating as contained above. The task was made a challenge because the astronomer I was following only traced the phases of the Moon, and not the Sun. I asked him why he didn’t follow Solar Astronomy, and he said it was all contained in an algorithm, and the interesting part was what was observable in the nighttime sky. As we know, Bella Luna is the leader in this domain, while the Sun is traveling during the day. Over many years, I was able to prove Steiner’s COS dates, and yet, this Ophiuchus factor seems important as a further consideration in our time. Maybe we can expand upon it.

            Scorpio’s sting could very well have been so, and this leads to the Serpent squeeze of Ophiuchus until mid December. Advent season is the great resolver, and we have a few more days to consider it all. Another great procession leading up to what we seek.

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