HAPPY SPRING – Check out my Video Recording about the Vernal Equinox
20 March 2023 – “speaking with the Stars”: Today at 4:24 p.m CT is the Vernal Equinox – when the center of the Sun’s disk crosses the equator — both Earth’s equator & the celestial equator are heading north for the season.
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
Nowruz (Persian: literally “New Day”) the Iranian New Year, also known as the Persian New Year. Nowruz is partly rooted in the traditions of Mitraism & Zoroastrianism. In Mitraism, festivals had a deep linkage with the sun light. The Iranian festivals such as Mehrgan (autumnal equinox), Tirgan, & the eve of Chelle ye Zemestan (winter solstice) also had an origin in the Sun god (Surya). Among other ideas, Zoroastrianism is the first monotheistic religion that emphasizes broad concepts; such as the corresponding work of good & evil in the world,& the connection of humans to nature. Zoroastrian practices were dominant for much of the history of ancient Iran.
Although having Iranian & religious Zoroastrian origins, Nowruz has been celebrated by people from diverse ethno-linguistic communities for thousands of years. It is a secular holiday for most celebrants that is enjoyed by people of several different faiths, but remains a holy day for Zoroastrians
OSTARA (pronounced O-STAR-ah) is celebrated on the Vernal or Spring Equinox. The name for this Sabbat actually comes from that of the Teutonic lunar Goddess, Eostre. Her chief symbols are the bunny (for fertility & because the Ancient Ones who worshiped her often saw the image of a rabbit in the full moon), & the egg (representing the cosmic egg of creation). This is where the customs of “Easter Eggs” & the “Easter Bunny” originated.
Ostara is a time to celebrate the arrival of Spring, the renewal & rebirth of Nature herself, & the coming lushness of Summer. It is at this time when light & darkness are in balance, yet the light is growing stronger by the day. The forces of masculine & feminine energy, yin & yang, are also in balance at this time. At this time we think of renewing ourselves. We renew our thoughts, our dreams, & our aspirations. We think of renewing our relationships. This is an excellent time of year to begin anything new or to completely revitalize something. This is also an excellent month for prosperity rituals or rituals that have anything to do with growth.
Customs such as the lighting of new fires at dawn for healing, renewed life, & protection of the crops still survive in the Southern Americas as well as in Europe. Eggs were gathered & used for the creation of talismans & also ritually eaten. The gathering of different colored eggs from the nests of a variety of birds has given rise to two traditions still observed today – the Easter egg hunt, & coloring eggs in imitation of the various pastel colors of wild birds. It is also believed that humankind first got the idea of weaving baskets from watching birds weave nests. This is perhaps the origin of the association between colored Easter eggs & Easter baskets.
There is much symbolism in eggs themselves. The golden orb of its yolk represents the Sun God, its white shell is seen as the White Goddess, & the whole is a symbol of rebirth. The Goddess Eostre’s patron animal was the hare.
The Spring Equinox is a time of new beginnings, of action, of planting seeds for future grains, & of tending gardens. Spring is a time of the Earth’s renewal, a rousing of nature after the cold sleep of winter. As such, it is an ideal time to clean your home to welcome the new season. “Spring cleaning” is much more than simply physical work. It may be seen as a concentrated effort to rid your home of the problems & negativity of the past months, & to prepare for the coming spring and summer. To do this, we may approach the task of cleaning our homes with positive thoughts. This frees the home of any negative feelings brought about by a harsh winter. A common rule of thumb for Spring cleaning is that all motions involving scrubbing of stains or hand rubbing the floors should be done “clockwise”. This custom aids in filling the home with good energy for growth.
Appropriate Deities for Ostara include all Youthful and Virile Gods and Goddesses, Sun Gods, Mother Goddesses, Love Goddesses, Moon Gods and Goddesses, & all Fertility Deities. Some Ostara Deities to mention by name here include Persephone, Blodeuwedd, Eostre, Aphrodite, Athena, Cybele, Gaia, Hera, Isis, Ishtar, Minerva, Venus, Robin of the Woods, the Green Man, Cernunnos, Lord of the Greenwood, The Dagda, Attis, The Great Horned God, Mithras, Odin, Thoth, Osiris, & Pan.
Key actions to keep in mind during this time in the Wheel of the Year include openings & new beginnings. Work for improving communication & group interaction are recommended, as well as fertility & abundance. Ostara is a good time to start putting those plans and preparations you made at Imbolc into action. Start working towards physically manifesting your plans now
43 BC – Birthday of Ovid, Roman poet
1616 – Sir Walter Raleigh is freed from the Tower of London after 13 years of imprisonment
1726 – Deathday of Isaac Newton, English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, & philosopher
1815 – After escaping from Elba, Napoleon enters Paris beginning his “Hundred Days” rule
1828 – Birthday of Henrik Ibsen, Norwegian poet, playwright, & director
1852 – Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin is published
1915 – Albert Einstein publishes his general theory of relativity
1928 – Birthday of Fred Rogers, American television host & producer
POD (Poem Of the Day)
Sow the seeds of peaceful premonition
Into a fruitful action
To ignite the weave
In radiant expectation…?
Equinox means “equal night” when the sun is positioned above the equator & day and night are about equal in length all over the world. This is the start of the Astrological year. Many ancient cultures built structures to point directly toward the rising Sun on this day every year. The celebration of the Vernal Equinox is about new life & hope, the planting of seeds & the activation of the fertility cycle.
A look into the ancient Mystery Schools honoring The Vernal Equinox: The Spring Equinox is also called: Alban Eilir, Eostar, Eostre, Feast of Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Festival of Trees, Lady Day, NawRuz, No Ruz, Ostara, Ostra, Rites of Spring. The Old Testament heroine of Spring was the goddess Ishtar- Persian for ‘star'(Esther is the Aramaic word for Ishtar). So Ishtar was the goddess of the morning & evening star, as well as being the Great Mother, Shining One, Lady of Visions, Priestess of Priestess’, she was the source of the Oracles of Prophesy, & Possessor of the Tablets of Life’s Records.Her symbols were the eight pointed star, the pentagram, dove, serpents, & the double axe. Her planet was Venus. She wore a rainbow necklace. The Persians converted this necklace (the rainbow) into a razor-sharp bridge that led to the Mount of Paradise. In ancient Sumeria, she had 180 shrines where women gathered daily for prayer, meditation, & socializing. The night of the full moon, known as Shapatu, saw joyous celebrations in her temples.
In Ireland, the spring equinox was celebrated long before the arrival of the Celtic tribes. The best known of the ancient Irish equinox temples is Knowth, which is near to Newgrange (Brú na Boinne). Knowth has a 100-foot long passage that accepts the Sun on the morning of the Spring & Autumn Equinox. A second & older stone cairn equinox temple is found at Longhcrew & is given the name Cairn T. Both Knowth & Cairn follow a sunbeam on the morning of the Equinoxs to enter a passageway lighting up the sacred geometry on a back stone inside the temple. This precise timing from a period of over 6 thousand years ago still works today.
The German fertility Goddess was Ostara, who was associated with fertility. Ostara mated with the solar god on the Spring Equinox & nine months later she gave birth to a child at the Winter Solstice.
The Saxon name for the Germanic lunar goddess Ostara was Eostre. Her festival was held at the full moon after the Spring Equinox just like our Easter celebrations.
The Mayans of Central American have also honoured the spring equinox. For ten centuries they have held their unique celebration using their ancient knowledge of the Sunbeam. El Castillo is the name of their great pyramid of the Equinox & as the sunsets on its western face light & dark compliment each other creating a very special pattern of a diamond backed snake descending the pyramid. This solar magic has always been known as the “The Return of the Sun Serpent”.
For the Greeks the god-man of the Spring Equinox was Dionysus. He was associated with flowering plants & fruitful vines & he was always in pain during winter, symbolizing hibernation & the cessation of growth. He returned triumphant on the Spring Equinox & many researchers see direct parallels with the story of Jesus Christ.
Mesopotamia, Sumeria, Babylonia, Elam (5000 years ago) celebrated the start of their new year at the time of the spring equinox. Zoroastrianism was the religion of Ancient Persia until the advent of Islam 1400 years ago. “Nooruz,” their ‘new day’ or New Year was celebrated on the Spring Equinox. Many religious historians connect Judeo-Christian concepts to Zoroastrianism.
In Rome, about 200 years before the birth of Christ there was a wide range of what are today called “mystery cults”. Attis & Cybele held their Spring Equinox rituals at the location of today’s St. Peter’s on Vatican hill. Attis was also known under various names such as Osiris, Dionysus, Tammuz & Orpheus. The Attis & Cybele festival had a death or day of blood & three days of semi-death & then a return to life for the deceased. Attis‘s mother was called Nana & she was a virgin. Attis was crucified on a pine tree. His blood was spilled to redeem the earth. Attis was both a sacrificial victim & a savior, his death & re-birth was intended to bring salvation to mankind. Most researchers will say that Attis is clearly a prefiguring prototype for The Christ.
In Judaism we can see that the Passover dinner was their spring fertility festival. It records the escape of the ancient Hebrews from slavery in Egypt – its main meal was of unleavened bread & lamb.
In America the native Indians honoured the Spring Equinox in landscape-sized temples such as Mystery Hill in Salem NH. Five standing stones & one recumbent stone are set in a linear alignment that connects the sunrise on both the Spring & Autumn Equinoxes.
March 20-23, is the mid-point of the Waxing Year. The spark of light that was born at Winter Solstice has reached maturity, & from this point forward, the days grow longer than the nights. This is the time of full Dawn, 6:00 a.m. on the Year Clock, & so was the time of the festivals of the Grecian Goddess, Eostre, & the Germanic Ostara, both Goddesses of Dawn. (It is from these Bright Ladies that the modern Easter holiday takes its name). This is the time that is often seen as the time of Kore’s return from the Underworld, where She (as Persephone) has ruled throughout the Winter. It is also the time of the celebration of the rebirth of Adonis the Beautiful.
Spring is the time for a celebration of planting & of the greening of the Earth. Folks start to talk about having ‘Spring Fever’ & doing ‘Spring cleaning’, as the brighter sunshine provides a needed morale boost.
Many traditions associated with Spring Equinox have been retained over the years & grafted onto the Easter celebration. Even today, people arise early on Easter morning to attend ‘Sunrise Service’. (Remember Eostre, the Dawn Goddess?)
May this time of new beginnings bring you the fresh start you need, as you begin to plan & to plant the seeds for the future you want to see grow with the light.
The Categories of Aristotle – a process of contraction…
Is there a path to expansion…..?
PUBLIC LECTURE AND EURYTHMY WORKSHOP WITH CLAUDIA FONTANA
Friday 24 March 2023 – Lecture 7 pm CT – 8:30 pm –
Purchase tickets at the door or pay online $12
Saturday 25 March 2023 – Workshop – 9 am CT– (10:30 am 1/2 hour break – 11 am) 12:30 pm CT Purchase tickets at the door or pay online $50
Does one have to be a philosopher of great erudition to approach Aristotle’s gift to humanity……his Categories?
Perhaps , YES! But an initial acquaintance with them can lead out of the confinement of the intellectual concept to an experience of expansion supported by Eurythmy.
In the evening lecture Claudia will introduce the life of the Categories before they became concepts – Bringing the symbols in a sequence of sounds (called the Evolutionary Sequence ) out of their conceptual form, to life, supported by Eurythmy and examples of poetry.
During the workshop we will enter into the movement of the poetry presented during the lecture. This will be accessible to Eurythmists as well as to anyone interested in the life of language, poetry and our alphabet.
For more info contact Cultural Events & Festivals Coordinator
Claudia Fontana saw a Eurythmy performance when still a teenager. Unbeknownst to her at the time, that performance was the gate to her destiny path. Soon thereafter she studied Eurythmy in Vienna and subsequently spent fourteen years as a performer with the Dornach, London and Stuttgart Eurythmeum ensembles. Teaching became the next challenge which she happily met in the United States, Europe. Before Covid, she spent seven years teaching all levels in Thailand, Malaysia and China. She resides in Ann Arbor, MI still performing and teaching.
“Lazarus – Come Forth” – Through The Word & Eurythmy
w/ Rev. Jeana Lee, Mary Ruud & Hazel Archer-Ginsberg
Starting at Sundown Friday 31 March 2023
7 pm – 8:30 pm CT at the Christian Community 2135 W. Wilson
Leading Thoughts & Close of Day with Rev. Jeana Lee
Continuing on Lazarus Saturday 1 April 2023
10 am – 12 noon CT
at the Rudolf Steiner Branch Chicago 4249 N. Lincoln Ave
Night School Check-in w/ Hazel Archer – Eurythmy w/ Mary Ruud
$10 more or less or pay what you will
Please bring a potluck dish to share for the luncheon after the Festival
For more info. contact Cultural Events & Festivals Coordinator Hag@rschicago.org
Mary Magdalene & the Women at the Tomb – A Festival of Recogniton
with Hazel Archer-Ginsberg,
Song-Circle with Velsum,
Eurythmy – & an artistic break out session
Holy Saturday 8 April 2023
1 pm – 3pm CT a hybrid event in-person at the Rudolf Steiner Branch Chicago & on zoom
Meeting ID: 705 017 4041
This course is available on Zoom. You will be emailed a Zoom link closer to the time of the class. The course will be recorded and you will receive a link to watch it. Go to the Infinity Foundation web site to enroll
Course Number 231154 / Zoom
Date: Thursday, May 11
Time 7:00 – 8:30 PM CST
Cost $33/23 payment 10 days in advance
When we tune into the Cycle of the Seasons, we experience that as the Earth breathes out in the Springtime, the beings of nature reach upwards towards the heights. The longing of the human soul also strives to meet this mood of ascension, which attunes all life to the cosmic expanses.
Together we will gain insights in how to rise up to our Higher Self by participating in this harmonizing spring-dialogue between the worlds.
This reconnection between heaven & earth was prefigured in the story of Jacob’s ladder from the Old Testament. Through his dream of the ‘stairway to heaven’, Jacob gave us a prophecy in the picture of a golden ladder on which choirs of Angels traverse between the ‘Above & Below’. The Mystery of the Ascension of Christ, 40 days after the Resurrection at Easter, fulfilled Jacob’s Prophecy. Christ as the Being of Love became the living bridge connecting us to the eternal.
Through this workshop we will learn how humanity will also be transfigured in the fullness of time. The company of the Angelic Hierarchies wait for us, their younger siblings, to ascend, first of all in our thinking, to meet them in fellowship, as they work all the while by our sides.
~Vitae Sophia~A Whitsun Festival of United Soul Endeavor
with Hazel Archer-Ginsberg, Velsum Voices & Eurythmy
Saturday 27 May 2023 a Hybrid event in person* & on zoom
We are called to redeem the ether spheres to create an Ecclesia, a chalice for The Sophia. Then the spirit flame can spread out to become what Steiner called a “World Whitsun”, which began in earnest at the Christmas Conference. The Whitsun Festival highlights one of the greatest challenges of being human: placing our individual gifts, in right relationship within the social realm. This challenge is especially strong now during this ‘pandemic’. Our groups striving to know Spiritual Science must work together as a community, to have the possibility to create a new culture where a sacrament is possible in every encounter. Our individual strength is enhanced by weaving our gifts together, kindling our social world in conscious community.
Zoom: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/83663366670?pwd=L292UzlOR1pkZjBXSWpxK1B2b0o1dz09 Meeting ID: 836 6336 6670 / Passcode: 397593