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In Memoriam: Nikki Barranger (1934 - 2015)
Member of New Orleans Shakespeare Society for many years
“Now is the winter of our discontent”
WELCOME TO DIGESTWORLD ISSUE#157 July, 2015== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==Quote for the Out-of-School Month of July:
We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.
— Albert Einstein, Physicist
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DIGESTWORLDArchived DIGESTWORLD Issues
GOOD MOUNTAIN PRESS Presents ISSUE#157 for July, 2015
Table of Contents
1. July's Violet-n-Joey Cartoon
2. Honored Readers for July
3. On a Personal Note
Flowers of Shanidar Poems
4. Cajun Story
5. Recipe or Household Hint for July, 2015 from Bobby Jeaux: Ritz Cracker Peanut Butter Sandwich
6. Poem from The Presence of the Dead on the Spiritual Path:"Angel Proof"
7. Reviews and Articles featured for July:
8. Commentary on the World
- ARJ2: Karmic Relationships, Volume 6, GA# 240 by Rudolf Steiner
- ARJ2: Extending Practical Medicine, GA# 27 by Rudolf Steiner and Ita Wegman
- ARJ2: How the Spiritual World Projects into Physical Existence, GA#150 by Rudolf Steiner
- ARJ2: An Affair in Berlin by William Harman
- SHORT STORY: Zorkoff Rays by Bobby Matherne
1. Padre Filius Cartoon
2. Comments from Readers
3. Freedom on the Half Shell Poem
4. REMOVED ADS
5. CENSORSHIP IN 21ST CENTURY
6. REMOVE HYPERLINK & GRAPHIC from .XLS
9. Closing Notes — our mailing list, locating books, subscribing/unsubscribing to DIGESTWORLD
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1. July Violet-n-Joey CARTOON:
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==This month Violet and Joey learn about Noisemakers.
For newcomers to DIGESTWORLD, we have created a webpage of all the Violet-n-Joey cartoons!
"Noisemakers" at http://www.doyletics.com/images/150617vj.gif
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2. HONORED READERS FOR July:
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Each month we choose to honor two Good Readers of our DIGESTWORLD from those all over the World. Here are the two worthy Honored Readers for July, 2015:
Robert O'Byrne in Gretna, La
Brent Scott in Arizona
Congratulations, Robert and Brent!
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3. ON A PERSONAL NOTE:
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Out Our Way:
LSU MAKES IT TO OMAHA AND WINS
Here's the good news: The Fighting Tigers made it to Omaha and won their first game in the new Ameritrade Stadium after several tries. To get there, they had to win their Regional Tournament which they did, and then beat their cross-state rival ULL in two games. Our grandson Collin was staying with us for this week, and after the first 3 innings of one game, Del showed up with him. I invited him to watch the game with me, and he did. After game was over, Collin said he really enjoyed the game. It was one of the best outings for pitcher Jared Poche. The game began as 2-0 and I said that even though it was likely in one sense to end at that score (being it was already there), that it was unlikely that LSU would beat the same team time twice by the identical score. Well, guess what, we left a lot of batters stranded again and won 2-0 on a great effort by the sophomore who pitched a 8.2 inning shutout with 8 strike-outs! When Poche gave up a double in top of ninth, reliever Parker Bugg came in to get the final out.
It was probably this performance which cost us the first game in the College World Series a week later. Facing a TCU with five left-handers, Coach Manieri gave the pitching call to left-hander Poche, thinking to keep Alex Lange our ace for the equally important second game. Poche pitched well for 3 innings humming strikes down the middle of the plate, but then he fielded an easy grounder and then overthrew the first baseman. On the next batter he did exactly the same thing. Two men on base no outs and we lost the game on a total of four errors. Although Lange won the next game for us, we lost the next game to exit Omaha. Our so-called Jack Wholestaff, which Manieri called his stable of good relievers, allowed 8 runs and we got only four. Four would be enough if LSU had only had a third ace, but when Latz got injured, no one showed up to take his place except Jack Holestaff, the Hole in the LSU pitching Staff.
One night Collin helped me make a Cajun Stir Fry. Came out to the garden with me to pick okra and eggplant and basil. Helped chop the mushrooms and eggplants for the dish. Then I allowed him to stir the mixture under high heat in the Wok and watch as I added the various components. This will be a cooking lesson which will enter his bones and be accessible long after he's fogotten when he learned it. It's one of the privileges of being a grandparent that we get can spend the time and get the rapt attention of our children's offspring which our children are too busy or too distracted to provide.
10,000 — yes, ten thousand fans had bought tickets and showed up for the LSU night game in the Regional and the NCAA violated its own rules by postponing a night game even though the rain ended an hour earlier than rules required. This allowed the team LSU was to play to rest over night and not have to play a double-header and it required any fans to take an unexpected DAY OFF OF WORK to attend the postponed game. LSU fans were livid with the NCAA, Coach Manieri was privately livid but must have burnt the ears of his boss Athletic Director Alleva who showed up that night at a mike a bit disheveled to express his disgust at the NCAA's actions in postponing the game, wiping out LSU's advantage, and hurting LSU's fans.
To add insult to injury, the two SECTV announcer-twits saw the sign held up by a disgruntled LSU fan saying: I HAD TO TAKE A DAY OFF WORK TO WATCH THIS GAME. THANKS NCAA! and talked as if the fan were HAPPY with the actions of the NCAA!What the Twits said was, "Look how the NCAA made that guy's day!" See why I call them Twits? They could have asked any LSU fan and easily understood the sarcasm intended by the sign. The NCAA gave Athletic Director Joe Alleva an Alleve Headache, as he became the spokesman for Coach Paul Manieri's silent pain!
This missed sarcasm by SECTV was almost matched by this Tidbit published by Poynter Institute on June 1 about a spoof by the Onion:
Jack Warner, a former FIFA vice president indicted in the big investigation, is convinced he's victim of an American conspiracy. He's so convinced that he actually held up a copy of an article in the Onion as proof, not realizing that the Onion is, ah, well, not The New York Times.
Streaming video documentaries on NetFlix to a side TV screen helped me get through the often long baseball games of the Regional, Super Regional, and College World Series. With a documentary like "Sagrada Familia" about Antonio Gaudi's famous cathedral, which we saw a few years ago in Barcelon, but couldn't get inside due to the thousand Japanese visitors in a queue. This was our chance to see the inside of the cathedral and listen to the Chief Architect. Over 130 years in construction, it's still about 30 years from completion. I learned that Gaudi's cathedral design was inspired by patterns he saw in nature, particularly on Monteserrat with its finger-like pinnacles.
WORLD WAR II MUSEUM'S ROAD TO BERLIN
We entered the Ticket area next to the Victory Café and went to Boeing Pavilion to take the Final Mission, a realistic ride during which our submarine, the Tang, sank a lot of large German ships, as we watched. Dramatically different from the Nautilus Submarine at Disneyland, this submarine sank to the bottom of the ocean with us in it at the end of the ride, hit as it was by its own torpedo which had circled around and found it! The Air Force can claim, "We never have left one of our planes up in the air!" But the Navy can't claim that "We have never left one of our ships on the bottom of the sea!" Seven men survived, but the rest perished. A true story re-enacted with us in the submarine. Definitely worth it; be sure to add Final Mission to your ticket when you visit the Museum.
For lunch we ate at the Victory Café where I had a shrimp remoulade which was good, served by Dawn, a waitress who wasn't. Del ordered the Salmon BLT, so I asked if they put bacon on a salmon sandwich and she said yes, but then she kept bugging me about how good the bacon on the salmon sandwich was, about five times she said it, and once in a row was definitely too much. Affected her tip. Listen, they're putting bacon into ice cream, chocolate candies, and lord know what else. I thought it might be nice if they had replaced the bacon with salmon in the BLT. As it turned out, Del removed the bacon and didn't eat it.
Then we crossed Andrew Higgins street to the main entrance to take the train ride where we should have gone at first to get our dog tags. It is a Union Pacific train car in which many draftees and volunteers went off to war from New Orleans. We had received our dog tags in the Road to Berlin exhibit, but now we know we should have gotten them on the train. The WWII Museum is filled with WWII Veterans who serve as volunteers. I met one whose name was Jorge and reminded of my friend Jorge Capo who was from Cuba. We worked together on the Central Computer project at Union Carbide in the 1960s. When Jorge cussed, we would laugh because he couldn't pronounce the "sh" correctly so his favorite cuss word came out this way "CHIT!" Wonder where my old buddy is today in the world. Wonder if he's had a chance to return to his native land.But lacking my original Jorge, I asked this Jorge about what he thinks about the relaxation of travel restrictions and normalizing of relations with the island nation. His answer was heartfelt and illuminating to me. He basically said, "Nothing can be normalized until the enormous displacement of property is returned to its original owners." Hollywood had fun making a movie of the "Monuments Men" who searched for, found and returned property to its owners from Nazi Germany, but where's the call for the return of property to the Cubans from whom it was stipped? No need to search for this property: It is right where it was before the Communists stole it from its rightful owners.
After checking out the original D-Day Museum building, we decided to leave to get some ice cream at Brocato's. Collin got green mint with chocolate chips, Del the same green color, but hers was pistachio with nuts, and I got my favorite, their delicious lemon ice. When we went in the shop, I told Del to hold the corner table and I got in line. Minutes later some guy who must have been distracted and not noticed I had gotten in what I thought was the end of the line, came over and accused me of breaking into the line. I said politely, "I thought you three were leaving."They were in fact facing the door and the rules clearly posted tell customers to run the line out the front door, which if they had, I would have gotten behind them. I went and sat down and asked Del if she and Collin would get our order. While waiting, I got up several times to open the door for old ladies who had packages in their arms, apparently take-out orders from Brocato's. This is the only establishment I've seen with a sign that says, "Everything we sell here is made here." After the first old lady had trouble opening the door, I watched out for those that might have trouble due to weakness or having packages in arms.
JEAN AND ME
On the morning of the day Del and I were planning to take Collin to the WWII Museum to see the new Road to Berlin Exhibit, I got a phone call. A voice on the phone said, "Hello, Bobby, this is Jean!" It was a man's voice, but I couldn't think of a man named Jean, until I realized it was Gene not Jean!It was Gene Gollogly, publisher of SteinerBooks, said he was to be in New Orleans the next day and could we meet to have lunch. Sure, I said. His daughter Mumu is in the city now, and he's visiting her. He invited Del, but I said she couldn't make it due to our grandson being here. He asked me to suggest a place, and I chose Galatoire's, thinking he might not have been there. Gene had been, some 20years ago, but likely his daughter had not.
Dressed in my seersucker sans tie for lunch with Gene, 11:30 at Galatoire's. Cleaned out white Max for holding three persons in case I was needed to drive them somewhere. Drove downtown, our favorite Conti lot was full, but Percy let me park and held my keys. Said I need 3 hours at Galatoire's. Percy was waiting for me when I returned with Gene and he handed me the keys. Mumu, Gene's daughter couldn't make it, but we had a great meal, and Gene had a chance to ask about my background, especially how I became interested in Rudolf Steiner. Kenny served us and I had the fried soft-shell crabs and we shared a Gouté for Two appetizer.
Gene wanted to get a look at the New Orleans Waldorf School (See above 2011 Photo of Inge Elsa's birthday celebration there), so I drove him past there on Soraparu Street on the way back to his Columns Hotel (only $120 per night). Although I could easily navigate to either place, getting from one to the other was a bit of a challenge, over the back streets of the Garden District.
CRAWFISH IN MANDEVILLE
Del and I had not been to her brother's new home in Mandeville since he and Karen had moved into it in the past couple of weeks, so when the memorial for Nikki Barranger was scheduled for 4 PM one day we decided to stop by for lunch. There were still boxes being opened in the living room which you can spy in the banner photo above of me and Del. But the elevator to the main floor of their West Indies style home was working, the grand piano was in place, the new bathrooms were finished, Dan's office in the third floor garret was done, and all the walls were re-painted inside and out. Also we drove over the newly paved curved driveway to the rear entrance. We went to Mandeville Seafood to eat. Dan and I had some boiled crawfish. Karen had a stuffed artichoke and Del two fried softshell crabs. We came back and had coffee with strawberry shortcake covered with freshly whipped cream. Their grown-up granddaughter, the oldest one, Heather, came by from her nearby job at Rouses for some dessert, her favorite kind. Good to have Dan and Karen two back from Charlotte N.C. at last.
RED BLUFF MEMORIAL FOR NIKKI BARRANGER
Nikki has been a fixture of our Annual Shakespeare Dinner and Performances for the ten plus years I have been a member of the New Orleans Shakespeare Society and died at age 80 a couple of weeks earlier. His daughter Heather was in charge of the memorial and had asked if our troupe might perform a short 20-minute piece in Nikki's honor. I suggested we do the droll piece prepared by Nikki years earlier and performed again this year for our annual meeting. The two long monologues were pure-Nikki brilliance, full of current day references, but done in Shakespearean style and wit.
Reggie Badeaux had called the previous evening to ask if I were going to Red Bluff, I said yes and Del would be with me. He said we were going to do a shortened reprise of Midsummer's Night condensation by Nikki; figured we might have three of us or so there, so could I read more, than one part and I said yes. Leaving Dan & Karen's, we drove to Red Bluff, some mysterious, not-on-the-map place outside of Covington a few minutes away.Turns out Red Bluff is the name of the Barranger Estate and only marked by a small sign, but there was a St. Tammany deputy with his lighting flashing, and a young man to check us into the shaded drive and into a parking spot. Del and I walked through a walking path which opened to a large swimming pool, a cabana, and a large tent with chairs for the guests who were quickly arriving. Our stage area was the grass outside the tent with the Sun going down and with the players facing the West, making for bad photos of half-sun, half-shade faces. Del took a dozen or so photos of us, some of them good.
The memorial began with various people reading Nikki's poems and a duet by Rose Anne Bivens and Jerry Embree performing a couple of them set to music. I did not recognize Jerry at all; it had been decades since he was our tenant at our North Hagan apartments. After the event, I caught his name on the name tag and recognized the name! As soon as I said my name, he recognized me and Del. Was great to see him again. I heard about his saxophone playing, but none of the tenants ever complained. We had also gone to hear him perform at a night club in Metairie when we still lived there in th 1980s.
In his memory Heather talked a lot about her father, how he loved to party late into the night, which in New Orleans-speak, means early into the morning. Later she spread Nikki's ashes around the grounds of Red Bluff, including the family home which was not visible from the cabana area where we were.
Our Puck-less play within a play of A Midsummer Night's Dream, the one I had earlier suggested for the Memorial, was perfect. We had a full troupe, one man to a part: Reggie read Nikki's droll commentary with Hugh Blair, Chris Tidmore, Paul Werner, Edmund Hughes and me filling in the other parts. It was Paul, who after he arrived deftly and in seconds, truncated the play to fit easily into the 20-min slot Heather Barranger requested. She had told Roxy Wright, "I don't know how I'm going to get that hat off that guy." instead of simply asking me, so Roxy told me her request indirectly. I told Roxy that I had planned to remove it anyway for the performance. I played the Moon and had the job of discharging the troupe as Starveling the Tailor. So I adlib'ed a suggestion that we all present meet in the French Quarter to continue the party till dawn as Nikki would want us to do.
Dave Friedman, my old friend from NOPC and now General Manager of WWOZ, was there, being both a member of the Shakespeare Society and a good friend of Nikki. During the tributes, I found out Dave had been Bar Mitzvah'ed as an adult, which required him learning to read Hebrew. When we had a chance to talk, I told him about my helping get a Steiner book converted into Hebrew. He said that must be as hard to do as reading Steiner in the original German. That amazed me, as I had no idea Dave even knew who Steiner was. It was beginning to rain and we left since there was an LSU-ULL Super Regional game on TV and I thought it was best to leave right away, but luckily the rain stopped as we neared the Causeway.
COMPUTER GLITCHES AND HOME REPAIRS
Feel free to skip this section. Del said she knew what FUBAR and SNAFU meant, both raising their ugly head when a computer problem occurs, but what was a GLITCH she wanted to know. Vamping quickly, I came up with an acronym for GLITCH: Gremlin Licking Inside The Computer Hardware! All the saliva from the gremlin's mouth will certainly play havoc inside a computer causing shorts and parity errors in unexpected places, makes sense? So, now if some Geek tells you it was a gremlin which caused your computer to reboot, you'll know what that means.
One troublesome glitch was that my AdSense ads were showing some nude females dressed to look like sexy robots in the right-edge skyscraper ads appearing in the middle of my Steiner reviews. These were tasteless distractions which I didn't want my users to be bothered by, so I removed all the Ads from my webpages. A few days later I saw that same nude female robot ad appearing on DandyDon.com and clicked to see what it was selling, which was some dumb vitamin concoction. In my Commentary below, I explain how I have removed the obnoxious "Robot" Ads I don't like in AdSense so you will never see them. For other ones that you don't like, you can remove them by clicking on the blue X above the ad and they won't appear in your Browser. (See Image Above Left.)
One really aggravating glitch showed up in the middle of an Excel Spreadsheet that I update with my website statistics every morning. When I first noticed it, some of the text was obscured. By zooming in and out, I was able to see the block letters WWOZ in white and once I clicked to see what word was obscured and WWOZ began broadcasting from my speakers. Still had no clue how to delete the glitch, but you can Click Here to read my Commentary on how I resolved it. How did this happen? Often when you click on a link, it may be attached to your cursor and the drop into another application without your being aware of it. When that happens, do what I did and Click on Help in the application affected and look for instructions how to remove the hyperlink.
In Commentary 5, I discuss something that is not really a glitch, but it certainly caught my eye: an Ad appeared in DandyDon.com for a book I recently reviewed. I did a screen shot and send the image to the author, Paul O'Leary who was flabbergasted by that. Amazon.com apparently sends out ads for books that it sells and this ad just happened to appear on a webpage I was looking at, perhaps because I reviewed, but I can't say for sure how it found me.
Recent rainstorms with heavy winds had blown the sunshade netting from our southside pergola and we hired Marcelo to come over and attach it securely as he had earlier done on the north side. We also had him clean out our pop drain after replacing the cover chopped off by the mowing guys. He also placed 24 brackets to support the East Portico gutters which had been overflowing in heavy rain. During the next rain, I noticed a slight overflow south side of the entrance door. After the rain stopped I got up on a ladder and found several of the downspouts had been clogged by dying cypress flowers and twigs. Removing that debris cleared up the downspouts and I'm waiting for the next heavy rain to see if the work by Marcelo and me will stop the gutters from overflowing. Here's a look at the work Marcelo did.
Every several months I get a clogged lavatory in the Master Bathroom, and I get a small bottle of Liquid Plumber, treat it and it clears up. This time I bought Drano, did the treatment twice, using half each time and the flow just barely increased. I then bought a large bottle of Liquid Plumber, and did two treatments. On the second treatment, it was still flowing slowly the morning after, but suddenly I saw the flow dramatically increase! The clog had just gone down the drain, forced by the invisible plunger of the Liquid Plumber. I thought the two products were interchangeable, but with this experience, I'll go for the Liquid Plumber from now on.
CREOLE TOMATOES, SEAFOOD GUMBO, CAJUN STIR FRY, AND GUESTS
I never want to leave New Orleans during June when our local Creole Tomatoes are available. First time we get some home and let them turn red, I whip up a mixture of Blue Plate Mayonnaise and Wishbone Italian Dressing. Slice the tomatoes over a bowl so that all the juice from slicing goes into the bowl, then slather the thick dressing over the tomatoes and mix it into the tomatoes until all sides are covered. Then put the bowl in the fridge to set for a couple of hours before we eat them. Talk about good! Never have raved about tomatoes before Del came up with this concoction. Doesn't work on any other kind of tomatoes and that make June very special time for us to be in New Orleans.
With our okra plants yielding a bumper crop of okra pods, we started off the month with a large seafood gumbo. Let me tell you what a good seafood gumbo does not start with: a roux! It starts with okra and ends with a smile. Okra cooks down to a nice thick gumbo base without the need of a roux, neither one that is homemade nor especially no canned in a jar by some company. You cook down the sliced okra by adding it on top of cooked down yellow onions, and you'll have the sweetest and most delicious gumbo imaginable. Yes, if you want chicken gumbo or gumbo full of sausage, you might leave out the okra and start with a jar of pre-cooked roux. Knock yourself out, Rocky! But a great seafood gumbo has NO sausage and NO roux. We've found that seafood gumbo is best eaten with a week of its being cooked; that freezing it doesn't make for a good tasting gumbo when defrosted. But the two of us can usually finish a large seafood gumbo within a week. This time we had two sets of guests show up. First was Dan Richards and we gave a large portion for him and Karen to have for supper, which drew raves from Karen who is finally getting to eat the gumbo that Dan used to go back to Charlotte to rave to her about.
After we gave that bowl of seafood gumbo, we still had a lot left, but the next day we heard from Chris and Carla Bryant who were stopping here late on their drive from Corpus Christi, Texas to Jacksonville, Florida. We're at their halfway point, and we have seen them in a couple of years, so we invited them to stop. While I had Chris on the phone they were still in Beaumont, so I told them to stop at Steamboat Bill's in Lake Charles and order themselves some Crawfish Pistolettes. They did so and enjoyed them a lot. Later that night he called to say that they'd be late because of construction traffic in Baton Rouge, so I gave him directions on how to turn south when he reached Lafayette and take Highway 90 through Morgan City and bypass Baton Rouge. They did and marveled at how quick it was. No delays, and only a few lights, speed limits of 65 almost all the way. When they got in about 7:30 PM, we went outside before it got dark to take photos of us on the bench. When they first visited here 5 years ago the grass was like a checkerboard waiting for the St. Augustine grass to fill itself out and the bench was an old one.When it got dark, we went in and the four of us polished off the rest of the seafood gumbo. We spend several hours talking and planning our joint 40th Wedding Anniversaries for 2018. On July 16 in 1978 we two couples got married, hundreds of miles apart, long before we met around 2000. They flew in for our joint 35th and now we're planning to go on a cruise together, the four of us, for our 40th. Place and dates etc to be determined. The next morning I got up early and made the four of us each a Crawfish Eggplant Dressing Omelet. Last December I made a large dressing with the expressed intent of rolling it into tubes for CED Omelets. I knew Dan and Karen loved it and were moving back to town. When I make the CED especially for omelets I leave more moisture in the dressing so that no air gaps are visible while it freezes. It's the air which modifies the taste, something we call 'freezer-burn' taste. I usually only do two omelettes a time, so I mixed up 5 eggs separately for each two omelets. I made one mistake in that I forgot to divide the greens between the two sets of omelets, so Del and I who ate last, had no basil, parsley, green onions in ours. Still it was all good and gave the a hearty breakfast as they headed East to Jacksonville and their son's house. Carla, who is a jeweler, gave Del a pretty lace bordered Sterling Silver bracelet with a pink stone it. We put together a care package of Seasoned Zatarain's Fish Fry, Dried Shrimp to make shrimp powder, and a couple of other things.
After the Bryants left, Del had to drive up to Dallas for a Five Generation Photo of her former mother-in-law Gee Hatchett, herself, her daughter Kim, her grand-daughter Katie, and her great-grandson Benjamin, who just turned 3 months. Kim and Katie live in Alexandria, a halfway point to Dallas, so she met them there and drove up together in one car. When the four of them arrived in Dallas, an surprise guest named Bill showed up: a Tropical Storm which was planning to dump a lot of rain before he departed. Before leaving early Del got to visit our son Jim who is the process of moving from Dallas to Memphis because his wife Gina got a great new job there.
When Del got back I picked another large batch of okra and eggplants and made us a Cajun Stir Fry which will last us a few delicious days.
CAROL FLEISCHMAN, LIFE COACH STILL ACTIVE AT 80
We have known Carol since she first showed up in our Celestine Prophecy Study Group back in the early 80's and we have made all of her decade birthday parties since, the 60th, 70th, and 80th. Plus as many of her fabulous French Quarter Festival brunches as possible. Seems lately she's been talked out of not having the brunch by new and additional volunteers showing up to help put it on.For her birthday she had piano player, a photo booth, lots of good food, and an array of birthday pies! But before the pies came a series of tributes by folks whom Carol has helped as a Life Coach since coming to New Orleans. The YMCA seemed to be very grateful for Carol's help in staying afloat. One gal said she was adrift in her life and Carol helped her come up with a Mission Statement for her life and is very happy and successful now as a result of executing her mission. Then a guy in a morning coat and short pants (New Orleans summer couture) with a colorful umbrella raised over his head led us out the room and around the outside balcony overlooking the tropical plants of the park. Reminded us of a similar building in Nevus on our cruise last January. About the pies: seems it's a Fleischman tradition to eschew birthday cakes and opt for a variety of pies instead. Del and I opted for the Key Lime Pie which was good.
NEW GRANDBABY ON THE WAY! !
I can't wait till next month to announce this. I've seen the ultrasound and it's a girl! Due November 26 which should make for an extra Happy Thanksgiving for the Matherne's. Del and I thought we were finished plowing the grandbaby fields and it would be only great-grandbabies from now, like Ben Upton, our fourth and most recent great-grandkid. But God allows U-turns, as they say, even on the Vasectomy Freeway, and Maureen texted me to break the news: "I guess you thought you were done having grandchildren." "Explain" I texted back. She replied, "Rob and Meghan! ! ! !" I tried calling her to get more details, but she was busying playing telephone tag with the other Matherne offspring who also wanted details. We couldn't be more thrilled. My youngest sibling was born when I was 17, same age as Rob's son Walden is right now. We are so glad for Rob and Meghan, just moved into a new home of their own to which they will be welcoming a new child, a baby girl. With the birth of this girl, our Matherne offspring will have a total of 12 children, Maureen and Robie each four, 2 boys and 2 girls; Carla and Yvette have a total of four, each a boy and a girl. Talk about Planned Parenthood!
AND SO IT GOES
The last week of the month we began picking figs from the Celeste and the LSU fig trees. I love to eat the Celeste figs right off the tree or cooled over night in the fridge, while I like the LSU figs made into fig preserves.On a Thursday we went to our daughter Maureen's house and were treated to a walk in her amazing garden. Lots of veggies and flowers. Pumpkins and cucumbers hanging down the sides of an arched framework. A 15 foot high Sunflower bloom towers over the fig tree and the Red Sugar cane stalks. She gave us a Sweet Basil sprout for our herb garden. Then the three of us had lunch at Red Lobster before driving together across the Lake to Del's NUCCA chiropractor for an adjustment. Maureen was looking for help for her neck and this doctor is the best neck specialist and did wonders for Del. We had not been to his office for two years and we were welcomed as long-lost friends by Joy and the rest of the staff. On the way home we passed an interesting shop near Lakeside called "Destination Maternity".
EVERY GOOD THING MUST COME TO A NEW BEGINNINGIMPORTANT MESSAGE:
For the past 30 days, June has blessed us with clear skies, a few showers, veggies growing and warm days of approaching Summer. I love Summer in New Orleans and never complain about the heat, dress down till I'm comfortable inside and outside the house, but rarely work outside in the garden unless the clouds are overhead, and perhaps the air is a slight chilled from an impending thunderstorm. When LSU lost the second game in the College World Series, I was relieved to not have to watch another long tension-filled LSU baseball game for another 9 months or so. Sportswise, out our thinking has switched to our NFL Saints who have filled their roster with key defensive and offensive linemen plus some notables to catch Brees's passes. Should be another great season for Saints fans. Our figs trees are laden with fruit which we expect to pick, eat, and preserve in the coming month. Stop by and pick up a jar late July, if you're in the neighborhood. Right now the Crepe Myrtle trees are in full bloom, white, red, lavender, purple arrays greet my eyes each morning as I drive down Fairfield to my PJ's Coffeeshop. Till we meet again at the end of July, God Willing and the River Don't Rise, whatever you do, wherever in the world you and yours reside, be it warm or freezing, Remember that peace and serenity can only be found within, and so our earnest wish for you in the middle of the year:
MAY YOUR WORLD BECOME PEACEFUL AND SERENE IN TWENTY-FIFTEEN
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Quotes Selected from quotes.htm this month:
- Matter is the frail and weary weed in which God has dressed the soul which he has called into time.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson (June 16, 1836 in his Journal)
- A weed is a plant whose virtues have not been discovered.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)
- If you don't have the time to do it right, when will you find the time to do it over again?
— Anonymous (World's most prolific writer)
- Some books are undeservedly forgotten; none are undeservedly remembered.
— W. H. Auden, English poet (1907-1973)
New Stuff on Website:From Flowers of Shanidar, A 1990 Book of Poetry by Bobby Matherne
In a small dark cave in the hills of Northern Iraq near the Turkish border the excavator Ralph Solecki found in 1960 the bones of a young man placed in the recess between two large boulders. Analysis of the remains from the cave of Shanidar determined that the burial occurred over 60,000 years ago.
Soil samples collected near the bones were only analyzed several years later and produced a quite unexpected result. Ordinarily a small random assortment of pollen grains would be found in funereal soil samples, but the Shanidar soil analysis revealed thousands of pollen grains from wild flowers of the region. Flowers of rose mallow, hollyhocks, hyacinths, and other indigenous varieties of flowers had been systematically collected and transported to the cave of Shanidar as a funerary tribute.
Astonished, the scientists were confronted with the earliest known evidence of a burial ritual. From the very dawn of mankind a message had come down to us, written in pollen grains from the flowers of Shanidar, of the birth of a new consciousness — the consciousness of death. (Note: scientists with no apparent interest in the evolution of consciousness have tried to evaporate away the meaning of these pollen grains. I pity them.)
How far have we progressed in the knowledge of ultimate destinations in the 600 centuries since that funeral celebration? As we stand before the door to the new millennium, do we dare to knock? Are we ready for the new flowers of Shanidar and the birth of consciousness that will surely accompany our passage into that new era?
These poems are from Bobby Matherne's 1990 book of poetry, Flowers of Shanidar and have never been published on the Internet before. Here in the beginning of the new millennium, we are publishing a poem or two each month until all poems have been published on-line. (Flowers drawn by Artist Maureen Grace Matherne) The rest of the five poems come from Bobby's 1995 book of poetry, Rainbows & Shadows, all of which will be published for the first time on-line.
1. Chapter: Shadows
This month, as we near the completion of Bobby's first book of Poetry, Flowers of Shanidar,
we continue with a poem from the Shadows Chapter of his second book of Poetry,
Rainbows & Shadows (1995).
This month we read
Ex Post Facto
Next time you think of voting, ask yourself these questions.What percentage of the people would have voted for:
...sailing to India with Columbus?
...going to the moon?
What percentage of the people would have voted for inventing:
...a heavier-than-air flying machine?
...an AC electric generator?
...a microwave oven?
...a XEROX machine?
...an electronic computer?
Only after a person with single-minded conviction
makes the essence of a personal vision
manifest in physical reality
is it possible to vote for the endeavor.
Such is the nature of discovery
Such is the nature of invention.
Such is the nature of democracy.
Life is an unfinished dream
Full of unfinished dreams
Our visions, hopes, and goals
Nocturnal and diurnal
Meanderings of souls.
Shattered dreams are meta-dreams:
Dreams of the way things ought to be
That don't match dreams of the way things are.
Life is an unfinished joke:
We gravely follow its twists and turns
Until suddenly we find
What we thought was serious
Turned into a punch-line.
Dreams, those home movies of our mind
Paradoxes of the night
Randomness in the wilderness
of the synaptic swamp.
Oh, what a marvelous day when Schubert finished his
Surely an unfinished symphony
should get shorter each time it's performed.
should get shorter each time
should get shorter
should . . . .
3. Chapter: Rainbows4. Chapter: Shadows
This month, as we near the completion of Bobby's first book of Poetry, Flowers of Shanidar,
we continue with a poem from the Rainbows Chapter of his second book of Poetry,
Rainbows & Shadows (1995).
This month we read a poem inspired by the malapropisms of Calvin Preston:
Idyll of March, III, IV, and V of IX.
Found by pot luck,
Meanings kept under the skin,
Rhythm caught in a cross-thread,
We throw you a loop
Then move the rocks and walk out.
Like the Miracle on Fifth Street
We Bridge-Over-The-River Choir
Hum the future,
With a Greek chorus in the background
Their Yankee-Southern voices
Rhythm and a-rapping and a-tapping away.
Einstein was no ordinary quack,
No headless detective.
Even though he treaded on thin water
And made us think too quick,
He never insulted his fellow neighbors
With too much light and not enough air.
First came his theory
Then came the residuals,
The afterbirth bubbles.
And, after his whole life had been drained from him,
He decked the halls with balls of folly,
And danced by the pale of the moon.
This month, as we near the completion of Bobby's first book of Poetry, Flowers of Shanidar,
we continue with a poem from the Shadows Chapter of his second book of Poetry,
Rainbows & Shadows (1995).Fair Enough
This month we read
You cannot be unfairly treated —
the belief you are being
Is but another form
of the idea that
you can be deprived
Other than yourself.
5. Chapter: Violets
The Magic Mirror
On my outside rear view mirror
I glued a convex reflector
To offer me a wider view
Of approaching traffic
From the rear.
But to me it is much more than that:
It has become a magical artifact
That transforms the mundane world
Into an artistic miniature
Sparkling all its purview
In a high tech drop of dew.
New Stuff on the Internet:
- Read this short story: A Psychological Shipwreck by Ambrose Bierce (1842 - 1914?)
Then read about his unexplained disappearance, the reason for the ? above in his death date: The Ambrose Collector
Thanks to Kevin Dann for this Charles Fort link.
Movies we watched this past month:Notes about our movies: Many of the movies we watch are foreign movies with subtitles. After years of watching movies in foreign languages, Arabic, French, Swedish, German, British English, Russian, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, and many other languages, sometimes two or three languages in the same movie, the subtitles have disappeared for us. If the movie is dubbed in English we go for the subtitles instead because we enjoy the live action and sounds of the real voices so much more than the dubbed. If you wonder where we get all these foreign movies from, the answer is simple: NetFlix. For a fixed price a month they mail us DVD movies from our on-line Queue, we watch them, pop them into a pre-paid mailer, and the postman effectively replaces all our gas-consuming and time-consuming trips to Blockbuster. To sign up for NetFlix, simply go to http://www.netflix.com/ and start adding all your requests for movies into your personal queue. If you've seen some in these movie blurbs, simply copy the name, click open your queue, and paste the name in the Search box on NetFlix and Select Add. Buy some popcorn and you're ready to Go to the Movies, 21st Century Style. You get to see your movies as the Director created them — NOT-edited for TV, in full-screen width, your own choice of subtitles, no commercial interruptions, and all of the original dialogue. Microwave some popcorn and you're ready to Go to the Movies, 21st Century Style. With a plasma TV and Blu-Ray DVD's and a great sound system, you have theater experience without someone next to you talking on a cell phone during a movie plus a Pause button for rest room trips.Hits (Watch as soon as you can. A Don't Miss Hit is one you might otherwise have missed along the way.):
P. S. Ask for Blu-Ray movies from NetFlix, and if it says DVD in your Queue, click and select Blu-Ray version.“Hector and the Search for Happiness” (2014) was more enjoyable on second viewing. What makes a good psychiatrist but someone who can listen to others? Well, Hector learned to listen to himself and prescribed a cure: "Go through the world asking people how they found happiness", and he doodled their answers in his book. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! ! ! !
"Love, Rosie" (2015) "May you find your place where rainbows end" and Rosie did. Best romantic movie in decades! A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! ! ! !
"Supermensch" (2013) Shep Gordon the Super Manager of Super Stars & Super Nice Guy himself. Movie to honor him by Mike Meyers. A DON'T MISS HIT!
"Love & Honor" (2013) or will it be Love & Dishonor? Two GI's on Rest & Recuperation went to the Moon in 1969 and only one returned. A DON’T MISS HIT !
“Night Falls on Manhattan” (1997) a case involving his cop father falls on lawyer Andy Garcia’s desk.
“La Sagrada Familia” (2014) Antoni Gaudi'’s nature-inspired architecture rises above Barcelona to celebrate the Holy Family. 125 years in construction and about 50 to go. Want to see the inside of the cathedral, this is the best way without standing in line for two hours behind Japanese tourists.
“The Parking Lot Movie” (2010) set in a parking lot a lot like our favorite lot. Amazing interesting movie. You might want “your son to grow up to work in a parking lot” after seeing this one.
“Dumb & Dumber To” (2014) like two Lou Costellos, Carrey and Pullman each dumber than the other one; malaprops abound like, “I’m going to India to work in a Leprechaun Colony.” A lot of dumb harmless fun for all.
“Going in Style” (1976) three bored old gents, George Burns, Art Carney, and Lee Strassberg, do a bank heist and each enjoy the eponymous consequence.
"Zen: Series 1, Disc 1,2" (2011) Rufus Sewell stars as Venetian born Aurelio Zen as a detective faced with contradictory directives to both solve and not solve his cases, and finding a third way which resolve both sides.
"Antarctica - A Year on Ice" (2013) a photographer built camera gear to work in 60 below temps and spent a year in Antarctica to film this movie which he spent 18 years producing. Want see what it is like, to hear how winter-overs respond to four months of solid darkness in a frozen wilderness? It's all in here, and even more!
"Grace of Monaco" (2014) was more than a pretty face; a gritty woman who saved her adopted country of Monaco from being taken over by DeGaulle. A DON'T MISS HIT! ! !
"Bandslam" (2009) is a Grand Slam of good writing and music! Our hero Will aka "Dewey" moves from Ohio to Jersey High School and goes from being bullied to being lionized as a musical genius. Meets Sa5m (the 5 is silent) and Charlotte who has Will help her in Kindergarten art class and start a band. Taciturn Sa5m tells Will, "Ever hear a stutterer laugh? Ha . . . Ha." But she rescues "I won't go on..." during the Bandslam. A DON'T MISS HIT! ! !
"Time Zero" (2012) "Why can't I see the photo now, Daddy?" the girl asks Dr. Land and leads him to invent and produce the first instant photography printing right out of the camera. Watch the interviews with these Polaroid buffs who bemoan the ending of instant film for their camera and begin an Impossible Project to revive it."Safety Not Guaranteed" (2014) couple get entangled in his time machine project, but will it fly?
"Renoir" (2012) story of aged Pierre-Auguste Renoir and his three sons, one destined to be a movie producer, Jean, and the other two not sure, but they loved watching their father at work. Beautiful scenery, draped and undraped.
"The Tempest" (2010) Helen Mirren plays a strong Prospera and the cinematography was excellent. Excelled in every way. A DON'T MISS HIT !
"And Now . . . Ladies and Gentlemen . . ." (2003) "Life is a deep sleep of which love is a dream" the sly thief said, followed by "If I'm to pay everyone back, I'll have to sail around the world." Romantic interludes for Jeffery Irons and great jazz and singing.
"Parade's End" (2012) Mid-1910s in Britain, Cumberbatch portrays a high-level statistician stuck in his maps whose wife wants him to spend time in the territory. Finds some virgin territory. Beautiful cinematography fills the screen of this adapted Ford Maddox Ford novel. A DON'T MISS HIT !
Misses (Avoid At All Costs): We attempted to watch these this month, but didn't make it all the way through on most of them. Awhile back when three AAAC horrors hit us in one night, I decided to add a sub-category to "Avoid at All Costs", namely, A DVD STOMPER. These are movies so bad, you don't want anyone else to get stuck watching them, so you want to stomp on the disks. That way, if everyone else who gets burnt by the movie does the same, soon no copies of the awful movie will be extant and the world will be better off."Automata" (2014) so-called smarter than human robots have this answer to their creation, "We just happened, just like you." Materialistic fantasies gone wild create an arid future, but is the message getting through to materialists who pretend that computers can exceed the capabilities of their designers? God knows, we humans cannot. We can write the bootstrap code for a computer, but not the bootstrap code for consciousness. Banderas not enough to save this turkey carcass.
"The Chosen One" (2010) is a loser. A slow movie augmented by lack of plot. Don't choose this one.
“"Black or White”" (2014) the parenting and grandparenting was equally bad. Who can stand watching a ten year old giving commands to her grandfather? Not this grandfather and grandmother! This movie barely got through the credits when we slipped it back in the mail to NetFlix.
"True Detective" (2014) is truly awful. A DVD STOMPER ! ! !
"Jesus Henry Christ" (2011) Jesus H. Christ forget it!
"Mad Max" (2015) is Bad to the Max, takes awful to a new high, ugly people doing ugly things to each other.
Your call on these — your taste in movies may differ, but I liked them:"The Cobbler" (2014) a svelte Ellen Barkin and a husky Dustin Hoffman appear in this quirky immoral film which claims "It's a privilege to walk in another man's shoes" and that it's okay to steal $50,000 to pay for your mother's tombstone.
“Interstellar” (2014) tried to be “2001” without an Arthur Clarke script. Turns out to be the new millennium’s form of spiritism, morse code in dust and falling books in place of table tapping.
"Kidnaping Mr. Heineken" (2014) "You can have a lot of money or a lot of friends, but not both" he said and soon he had some new friends who wanted a lot of money to let him out of his cage.
“Exodus: Gods and Kings” (2014) Christian Bale as a baleful Moses has to carve his own set of Ten Commandments, two of the many materialistic interpretations this movie makes of spiritual realities.
"Shame" (2011) Two Irish immigrant siblings in NYC, he can't find love, she can't find death. It's a shame.
"A Merry Frigging Christmas" (2014) was no frigging good. One of three or four turkeys Robin Williams starred in during his last year of life.
"S.W.A.T.: Fire Fight " (2011) L.A. SWAT Trainer brings his best to the worst in Detroit. Can he survive to train again?
"Rendition" (2007) this rendition is a movie full of Hollywood messages about how Bush kept America safe from another attack. CIA picks up husband of American citizen returning from conference in his chemical engineering field in South Africa as soon as he arrives and wipes his name off the manifest. Ships him to Egypt for intense interrogation trying to find proof that he is a terrorist. He is rescued by another American and returned to States.
"Interstellar" (2014) tried to be "2001" without an Arthur Clarke script. Turns out to be the new millennium's form of spiritism, morse code in dust and falling books in place of table tapping.
"Inherent Vice" (2014) is inherently bad! Maritime phrase for something you can't avoid during shipping. Applies as well for something you apparently can't avoid during reading a Thomas Pynchon novel. After this lugubrious movie, "Gravity's Rainbow" can fall by itself.
"The Immigrant" (2014) dark unpleasant drama about a WWI Polish immigrant whose sister is hospitalized at Ellis Island with TB and she is chosen as a lover for a charming pimp played by Joachim Phoenix. She is used, abused, nearly deported twice, and refuses to do anything that will not get her beloved sister out of Ellis so they can begin their lives together in America.
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==Le Boudreaux Cajun Cottage, drawn by and Copyright 2011 by Paulette Purser, Used by Permission.
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==
Thanks to Jo Anne Montz for sending the seed of this joke to us.Marie and Boudreaux have been married a long time and she decided it was time to add a little spice to their love life. One day she was in the Lafayette Mall and stopped by the Victoria Secret window and noticed some crotchless panties for sale. "Mais oui!" she thinks, "dat will get Boudreaux off the sofa and into de bed wit' me!"
She came home with her purchase, put them on under a short skirt, and fixed a big gumbo for Boudreaux that night. While they ate, she played some Hank Williams records, poured him some of his favorite wine, and lit candles on the table as they enjoyed a romantic dinner.
After dinner they sat on the sofa across from each other as usual. As they talked together, she uncrossed her legs with a slow wide motion, and waited for a response from Boudreaux, but none came. She recrossed her legs, waited a minute or so and uncrossed them.
This time she had gotten Boudreaux's attention, and she held her breath waiting for him to say something. Boudreaux said, "Marie, Ya done bought Ya se'f some o' dem crotchless panties?"
"Mais oui, Boudreaux," she said sweetly, her heart beating faster, "Ah'm glad Ya saw me in dem."
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==
5.Recipe for Ritz Cracker Peanut Butter Sandwich, for July, 2015 from Bobby Jeaux:
(click links to see photo of ingredients, preparation steps)
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =Ritz Cracker Peanut Butter Sandwich
Background on Ritz Cracker Peanut Butter Sandwich: Ok, this is so simple to do, right? Yes, but to make just one, perfectly, without dirtying a knife or a dish? These simple sandwiches became popular in the 1940s at home and soon companies were making packages of these wrapped in cellophane, six to a pack.
But they used cheaper than Ritz Crackers and cheaper peanut butter and they never tasted as good as home-made, did they? Besides that, what if you only want to eat one during the day as a snack? The other five would dry out. Better to use real Ritz and your favorite Peanut Butter (mine is Peter Pan). This can be considered a Recipe or Household Hint.
A SnakPak of Ritz Crackers
An almost full jar of Peter Pan
Open one of the SnakPaks. Each holds 13 or 14 crackers. Remove two crackers, then twist the open end of the pack and seal with a small clip on it as shown in photo.
The jar of Peter Pan can be kept almost full by refilling it from time to time with another jar. Keep it about as full as shown so that a quick swipe into the jar will pick up about the amount of peanut butter as shown in photo. Take care not to break the cracker while swiping because you will have to eat your mistake.
Take the other Ritz Cracker and press it together while twisting the two crackers about a half turn. With a little practice, it will come out looking just like the photo at top. Ready to eat.
The little dip and twist trick works well for various kinds of dips as well. We keep the Peanut Butter and opened SnakPak in a countertop cookie jar for easy access.
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==
6. POETRY by BOBBY from The Presence of the Dead on the Spiritual Path:
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
I had forgotten how to feel
my Angel perceiving me.
I looked and looked
and still the wonder grew,
Where was the Angel that,
as a child I knew.
The Angel who looked over me,
that once I knew was real,
Is still around and strains my sanity —
What once I saw, I can now only feel.
Can only feel my Angel
As assuredly as I feel
this steel with which
I pen this poem.
I feel my pen a worthy friend —
I feel my Angel likewise so —
So, ask not where my Angel is —
'Tis nowhere but out there —
Looking over me
and my only proof
is that I feel it so.
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7. REVIEWS and ARTICLES for July:
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
For our Good Readers, here are the reviews and articles featured this month. The first and second reviews this month will be ones which were never published in early DIGESTWORLD ISSUES and will be of interest to our DIGESTWORLD Readers. The rest of the items will be new additions to the top of A Reader's Journal, Volume 2, Chronological List, new additions to A Reader's Treasury, or Essays previously unpublished.
NOTE: some Blurbs may be condensations of long Reviews, possibly lacking footnotes and some quoted passages. For your convenience, if you wish to read the full review or to print it out, simply CLICK on the Book Cover or choose Printer Ready option on the top line of a review page when it opens.
1.) ARJ2: Karmic Relationships, Volume 6, GA# 240 by Rudolf Steiner
We not only live in our body, we live in our karma. Rudolf Steiner
"May my Guardian Spirit receive this my deed as a root and from it bring forth fruit."
We are advised by the Editor on page 3 that, "Readers familiar with the contents of Vols. I to V will find repetitions in certain of the following lectures." As I read this book I found that the repeated material was not at all needlessly repetitious, but that it provided welcome reinforcement of and expansion on the content of previous lectures.
The above prayer from page 55 Steiner suggests as a remedy for a "humanity that has become sadly thoughtless" about the function of the Angeloi or Angels. This seems especially true for many individuals with their Guardian Angels. I offer this prayer to my Guardian Angel as I write this review, and I offer the review to you as a completed deed.
Whatever the roots of this review in the iron will of necessity from my past, I make this step forward into the future in freedom. As we learn in the early chapters, we look back to the Moon to our necessity and will while we look forward to the Sun from whence comes the help of our Angeloi in guiding our future steps.
A human being is composed of four bodies: physical, etheric, astral, and Ego. Consider a man: his physical body is composed of what he has around him in the visible external world, and his etheric body is composed of what he has around him in the invisible external world. And both of these visible and invisible worlds lie about him in the present moment of his life.
[page 9] On the other hand, everything that he bears within him in his astral body and Ego in his present earthly existence, he owes entirely to what he experienced in the past, in earlier lives on Earth.
At this point one would do well to ask, if I'm all composed of material from the present and the past, have I no future? From whence does my future come? To understand this rightly one must understand that what endures in human beings between death and birth are the spiritual beings we call souls, and what endures in the Cosmos, in the celestial bodies, are also spiritual beings. Two sets of spiritual beings in the Cosmos are particularly important to us as human beings: those of the Moon, and those of the Sun. Those of the Moon are responsible for our past, and those of the Sun are responsible for guiding us into the future. From our past, governed by the Moon beings, we are given our individuality, our will, our iron necessity of karmic working-out. In our present, the Sun beings, particularly our Angeloi, work with us and guide us in freedom to our future.
If these concepts seem strange to you (And they will if you are new to Anthroposophy, the science of the whole human being.), consider this: If you walked through a Shopping Mall every night, would you expect that your daily life the next day might be influenced by the things you saw, the things you heard,and by the things you purchased to take home with you? Especially if you went every night to the same Mall. If during the day, you went to school and listened to a teacher who suggested ways of dealing with situations in your life, would your life when you left that school be different than it would have been if you had skipped school? By going to school, would you not likely disregard some of the counsel of the teacher and apply some of the other counsel of the teacher in your life?
What does this have to do with the iron necessity of the Moon beings and the freedom of the Sun beings? At night, or whenever one takes even a short nap, one's spiritual being expands beyond the Moon and leaves the details of one's past in the keeping of the Moon beings, like one must check one's personal books at the checkout desk when one enters a book store, and pick them up again on the way out. Just as when one leaves prison, one must don the same garments one first wore into prison. One cannot expand past the Moon while carrying the karmic baggage of previous lives or this one — one must check it at the Moon Desk. By the time one reaches the Sun, one has left behind all the evil deeds of one's life, and if that amounts to a large portion of one's being, one will be sadly crippled and deformed, as though one had to remove all steel plates from one's skull, all prosthetic devices such as legs and arms, in order to pass through a metal detector at an airport. One expands on to the Sun sans these ersatz human parts, and only picks them up on the way back home at the Moon Desk.This describes how our night-time work is done on the Moon and the Sun. But the Sun also works through us in our daily lives through the Angeloi that are borne of the rays of the Sun into our daily lives, and by whispering in our ears those thoughts that we carelessly refer to as our own ideas, up until now. These Angels assist us in our sailing into the sometimes treacherous waters of our future. With our iron necessity of will and the assistance in freedom by the Angeloi we shape our individual destiny on earth and beyond.
"How can there be beings in the Cosmos?" you might ask. "Surely you can't point to where Christ is in the sky." "How impertinent!" Here is Steiner's very pertinent reply to that question:
[page 17, 18] Now suppose a human being were standing in front of us and looking at his hands or his arms, his head, his chest, his legs, his feet, we were to ask in each case, 'what is that?', and were told in reply, 'that is something human'. When no distinctions are made but everything is labeled with the generalization 'human', we are without bearings or direction. The same is true if we gaze out into the Cosmos, contemplate the Sun and Moon and the stars and speak of the Divine as a generalization.
Understanding the deep meaning of this truth is vital for one to make sense of the universe in which one lives. One cannot feel at home in a universe in which the spiritual world exists somewhere else! And yet, even those who purport to believe in the spiritual world today, for the most part, believe in a heaven that exists in some unspecified place in some other dimension or reality. I don't know about you, but that has never felt comfortable to me, the thought that after death I'm going some place I've never been before, a place that exists in some other reality. To talk of the Divine as a generalization, rather than as a spiritual reality to whose physical aspects we point, is childish pap, the stuff of elementary Catechisms, not adult reality. Remember this is a review of one book, and no one review, no one book of Steiner's, is likely to convince you of anything. Only a complete picture of the spiritual and physical universe, one that proves to be consistent with many of your other views, has any chance to do the deed. Only then will you come to understand the truth of such statements as the following:
[page 25] For nobody understands the Moon who does not understand the element of Necessity in human destiny; nobody understands the Sun who does not understand the element of Freedom in human nature. Such are the interconnections of Necessity and Freedom.
To rightly understand the karmic necessity of our life, it would be helpful to imagine a human body planted into its karmic background head-first up to its ears. Like a plant receives water and nutrients from the earth in order to develop and grown, this human body receives thoughts and impulses into its brain from previous lifetimes. Steiner describes the soul of Conrad Ferdinand Meyer who, in an earlier incarnation as a Christian missionary from Italy to England, helped found the Archbishopric of Canterbury and who was subsequently murdered by an Anglo-Saxon chieftain. The poet Meyer came to understand that he once had something to do with Canterbury and wrote a story, The Saint, dealing with Thomas Becket, who suffered a similar fate at Canterbury several centuries after Meyer's earlier incarnation. The impulses and urges flowed in his head from the karmic background of Meyer's soul and came to fruition in his story of the murder of Thomas Becket. If this sounds like the popular fad of reincarnation as sensationalized by Dick Sutphen and other contemporary writers of the late 20th Century, read what Steiner says in his own words:
[page 48] Anthroposophy does not exist in order to expound theories about repeated earthly lives or to give tabulated details of every kind, but to reveal, in all their concrete reality, the spiritual foundations of life.
We learned in earlier lectures by Steiner that plants, who do not receive help from astral bodies of the higher kingdoms, are not able to produce fertile seeds — these plants would have no ability to reproduce, and therefore no future. The higher kingdoms for plants are animals, humans, and up, all of which have astral bodies. For human beings a similar thing is true, not that we cannot reproduce physically, for we have an astral body already that provides that capability, but that without higher beings than us, such as Angels, we have no future. When two people meet for the first time on earth they both have karmic necessity inscribed into their wills by the Moon, but now, meeting for the first time, the Sun beings, the Angeloi operate in the present moment.
[page 56] The Angeloi intervene and lead the individuals concerned to further stages. The forces of Sun existence are now operating, so that within a man's inmost being, Sun and Moon together weave his destiny. This can be clearly visualized by thoughtful perception of the course of human life.
The words of the old popular song goes, "I've got the Sun in the morning, and the Moon at night." In those two spiritual gates of the Sun and Moon are woven the warp and the woof of our lives in necessity and freedom.
If you have read Carlos Castaneda's various tales of his interactions with his teacher, Don Juan Matus, a Yaqui Indian Initiate, the following quotes from Steiner will make a lot of sense. The Initiate, Steiner says, hears what the Angeloi of another person is saying.
[page 60, 61] This gives a certain character to the intercourse between an Initiate and ordinary men. He takes into himself what the Angelos wishes to say to the person who has come into his ken; he transforms himself as it were into the Angelos of this person and what he can say to the latter is therefore more intimate than it is for ordinary consciousness. . . . It might have happened then that a sage, confronting twenty other persons, would have been described quite differently by each of them.
If you will remember the tale of the blind men and the elephant, how one discovered a snake, one a tree trunk, one a flat leaf, and one a wall, you will come to understand that the Initiate becomes a different person for each person because of the link established with the person's Angelos.
An Initiate can see shadowy pictures of our past lives behind us as they view us. But if it is our first meeting in any lifetime, no such pictures appear. Instead they will see the beings who come down in the rays of the Sun, the Angeloi, who are weaving the future into our I-organization which becomes the basis of our future karma. (page 75, 76 paraphrase)
In the period immediately following death one proceeds through a review of one's life backwards. Elsewhere Steiner says this process lasts for about one-third of a person's life, equal to the time one spends sleeping, but on page 103, he makes it explicit that one lives backwards through the nights of one's life, in the same amount of time one spent sleeping. As one lives through one of these nights, one reviews the wrongs one has done to others during the previous day, but with two dramatic differences: 1) it is as if one is transposed into the other person, experiencing what the other person felt as a result of the wrong one has done to the other person, and 2) the intensity of the experience is very much greater. This is an experience that one is protected from experiencing every night by the Guardian of the Threshold, with the result that one only experiences them in the initial period between death and a new birth, known in the East as by the name, Kamaloka.
As one expands upon death, one first reaches the orbit or sphere of the Moon, then the orbit of Mercury (what we now call Venus), then Venus (now Mercury), and only then do we reach the Sun. (See ARJ: Life Between Death and Rebirth by Rudolf Steiner.) We learned earlier that we leave behind any evil when we pass through the Moon sphere, and on page 107 we learn that we leave behind any illnesses when we pass through the Mercury sphere.
[page 107, 108] Therefore it is the case that true medicine can only be mastered when one is able to perceive how the dead are freed from illnesses in the Mercury sphere. . . . The God Mercury taught men the art of medicine of which Hippocrates, later on, still preserved a tradition.
Each of these planetary spheres are reflected in one's life from birth to death, beginning with the Moon period from birth until seven years old, and followed by the Mercury period from age seven till 14 years old, during which time humans are their healthiest due to the influence of Mercury. In the next period it is Venus whose influence dominates, and that period from ages 14 to 21 is the time of our greatest sexuality. Then comes the Sun period from age 21 until 42 at which time Mars takes over for seven years, then Jupiter at 49 for seven more years until Saturn begins at 56 and ends at 63. "But to behold the secrets of the worlds in their interconnections, one must have passed the age of sixty-three." (Editor's italics, quoted from page 175.) Steiner turned 63 in February, 1924, and shortly thereafter he began the series of lectures in this book. Now you may understand that he speaks with personal knowledge of the following truth in this lecture given in June, 1924:
[page 113, 114] Truth to tell, even an Initiate cannot see the circumstances of life between death and a new birth in which Saturn plays a part, until he has passed the sixty-third year of his life. . . . So you will realize why it is that I am only now speaking of matters connected with the Saturn existence. . . . In the consciousness of the Beings on Saturn there is only Past; there is no Present at all. . . . They are never aware of what they do out of an immediate resolve of the Present, but they perceive it only when it has become the Past.
Here he refers specifically to Schiller, who "lived in the spiritual world with a majestic vision in retrospect of all the Past that was connected with his own karma." From his past arose Schiller's ideas of the Future. One cannot find this information in any of Steiner's writings prior to this time for the simple reason that he had not yet reached the age of 63.
Many years ago I designed an acronym, EAT-O-TWIST, to remind me that Everything Allways Turns Out The Way It's Supposed To. It means a lot of different things depending on exactly how one interprets the words, but at the basis, it means that the events in the physical, external world are proceeded by preparatory events in the spiritual, internal world. Sometimes it's the supposing that one does ahead of time in the form of planning. Sometimes it's the supposing one does ahead of time in the form of fear. Fear at its roots is a form of supposing that things will happen badly to one. The more energy that goes into supposing the greater the probability of the supposed event's arriving. "The thing I have greatly feared has come upon me." Another way of understanding "supposed to" is to take the meaning of karmic working out. Again that supposing is done ahead of time, between death and a new birth. Here's how Steiner confirms my insights about EAT-O-TWIST:
[page 123] Now everything that happens here in the physical world is foreshadowed in spiritual worlds. Nothing happens in the physical world that has not been prepared for spiritually.
In the 12th Century an incredible convergence of teachers came together in the School of Chartres. They formed the Platonic stream that was able through genuine Inspiration "to perceive the descent of the Christ to Earth and to glimpse His work on the Earth" (page 128). Speaking to a small circle of pupils at the Chartres School Alanus ab Insulis said prophetically that men from the Aristotelian stream will come to place the Sun instead of the Earth at the center of the cosmic system and our picture of the world will become arid. He was talking of Giordano Bruno, several hundred years before Bruno was born. He said that men will come to calculate the exact positions of the heavenly bodies and view them as mere accumulations of burning gases or cold rock. Here's his prediction about the 20th Century:
[page 130] We must come to an understanding with the Aristotelians who bring to humanity the intellect which must then be spiritualized so that in the twentieth century it may shine forth in a new and spiritual form among men.
Alanus ab Insulis brought his deep Platonic insights to the Cistercian order when, late in life, he put on their robes. The Dominicans followed with their Aristotelian stream and from the 13th Century onward they took over the spiritual leadership in Europe. With this prologue we can now follow what Steiner tells us of the destiny of the Anthroposophical Movement:
[page 136] For over the Anthroposophical Movement a destiny hovers: many of those in the Anthroposophical Society to-day will have to come down again to the Earth before, and at the end of the twentieth century, but united then, with those who were either the actual leaders in the School of Chartres or were pupils at Chartres. And so, if civilization is not to fall into utter decadence, before the end of the twentieth century the Platonists of Chartres and the Aristotelians who came later will have to be working together on the Earth.
In the late 19th Century, about 1870, the Spiritual or Consciousness Soul Age epoch began. Simultaneously the rulership of Michael began. There are seven Archangels whose influence pours forth onto the Earth at all times, but every three hundred years or so (2160÷7, to be exact), a different Archangel maintains a stronger leadership than the others. Gabriel ceded his deeply physical leadership to the spiritual leadership of Michael in 1879.
[page 144] Michael is the Archangel who in his rulership has paramountly to do with the powers of the intelligence in mankind, the spiritual evolution and culture of mankind.
[page 146, 147] Michael is not the Spirit who, if I may put it so, cultivates intellectuality per se; the spirituality he bestows strives to bring enlightenment to mankind in the form of ideas, of thoughts — but ideas and thoughts that grasp the spiritual. His wish is that man shall be a free being, but one who discerns in his concepts, in his thoughts, what comes to him as revelation from the spiritual worlds.
When the Nominalists came on the scene to aver, "Concepts and ideas are merely names, they have no reality," it was the Realists of the Dominican Order that countered this Ahrimanic attempt to subvert Michael's teachings by claiming equally strongly, "Ideas and thoughts are spiritual realities contained within the phenomena of the world, they are not merely nominal." (Quotes from page 155)
In his final lecture, given in Arnhem, on July 20, 1924, exactly 16 years before my birth, Steiner tells us of a spiritual School of Michael in which the pupils were being prepared by Michael for their incarnation in the 20th Century during which they were to help foster the Michaelic teachings in opposition to the Ahrimanic forces that will be prevalent. With the advent of the Internet in the last 15 years of this waning 20th Century we have seen a dramatic increase in the power of the printed word. Never has the power of the printed word increased so dramatically since the invention of the printing press itself by Gutenberg in 1456. With a website, a single person at a personal computer anywhere in the world can publish fliers that can be viewed by half the people in the world within minutes. What does all this mean? To find out, let's take a look at a secret that Steiner shares with us in this lecture.
[page 171, 172] This is the secret that must be touched upon. — A human being whose task it is to proclaim the Michael wisdom feels that in a certain respect he is following the right course when he tries to put into words, when he wrestles to find the terminology to express, what is, in very truth, the wisdom of Michael. Such a one feels, too, that he is further justified when with his own hand he writes down this wisdom; for then the flow of the spiritual is directly connected with him and stream, as it were, into the forms of what he is writing, into what he is doing.
When one's writing is duplicated in the form of books or websites, "when it comes before the eyes of men as printed letters, it becomes an Ahrimanic spiritual power" (page 172) The real teaching must be done face to face, using texts only as an aid to memory, Michael told his pupils as he prepared them for the world that we are living in as I pen these words. Steiner is not saying "Away with all the anthroposophical books!" but rather he's exhorting us "to ennoble the art of printing through our reverence to Michael wisdom."When are we most apt to find Ahrimanic spirits attacking the wisdom of Michael? When a "diminution or lowering of the consciousness takes place in human beings." (Quotes from page 173) He cites as one example the events that precipitated World War I. In retrospect it seems to me that we have survived the possibility of a world catastrophe in this 20th Century only by the raising of consciousness so that the many small wars did not ever turn into another world-wide war since 1945.
Steiner conjures up a picture for us of Michael standing in our hearts with his foot covering the Ahrimanic books of our age, which books are the unspiritualized products of the Serpent that Michael crushed underfoot in an earlier age. Steiner speaks in this lecture to our hearts that we may hear and be ever vigilant to the new Serpent as it appears in intellectualized form in the writers of our time that have been schooled by Ahriman. Where will we find such an author?
[page 178] He will write in all domains: in philosophy, in poetry, in the sphere of the drama and the epic; in medicine, law, sociology. Ahriman will write in all these domains.
One can expect that such writing will be very popular, will be found on all the best-seller lists, and will make a lot of money for the authors. Contrast that with the effort it takes to find Rudolf Steiner books. I found one copy in a metaphysical bookstore some twelve years ago and it was a transcript of some lectures that made no sense at all to me at the time. Somehow I persisted until I discovered the essence of what Steiner was communicating and became determined to locate a source of his books. That source is the Anthroposophical Press in Hudson, New York. The forces of Ahriman are gigantic in comparison to Michael, and yet, like David facing Goliath, we must not quaver nor shake in our resolve to bring the Ahrimanic giant crashing to his back, and when that happens, it will be Michael's victory that we will rejoice over.
Remember EAT-O-TWIST! — it never breaks.
2.) ARJ2: Extending Practical Medicine, GA# 27 by Rudolf Steiner and Ita Wegman
One impression one gets from this book is that there are many ways of approaching the healing of a human being, all of them good — to the extent that they are effective. What Steiner and Wegman add to the arsenal of observation techniques of medical doctors, who observe only the physical body of a patient, is the ability to observe consciously the patient's etheric, astral, and Ego bodies. By observing imbalances in the three non-physical bodies, the authors are able to suggest remedies that would not be found in the standard Physician's Desk Reference, but remedies that are nevertheless quite effective and practical.
The case histories the authors provide are difficult to assess because they occurred at the beginning of the 20th century and use chemicals, minerals, elements and natural plant concoctions that are unfamiliar to most people now at the end of the 20th century. The authors use names such as Colchicum autumnale which stimulates the astral body. Also sorrel salt compresses, Urticia diocia solution, and lime blossom solution — all three of which they used successfully to treat migraine headaches in one patient and root of Potentilla tormentilla they prescribed to improve the general metabolism (Ego body or I organization) of another patient. These examples of obscure medications and natural preparations show that this book will not likely be useful for "extending practical medicine" to the average person, as the title implies.
What is likely meant by the title is that extending the ability of the medical practitioner to observe the etheric, astral, and Ego bodies' operations consciously will lead to suggestions for simpler, more direct treatment of diseases with fewer side effects than currently available, in other words, lead to a more practical medicine. Consciously, because many doctors cannot explain where their diagnoses originate, and it seems likely that from long observation of their many patients, doctors have learned to recognize symptoms of etheric, astral, and Ego body imbalances. Thus the thrust of this book is to extend the material world sensibilities of the doctor into the super-sensible world so that a true healing of the human body may take place for human beings whose bodies bridge the material world and spiritual world. Any healing is shortsighted and therefore short-lived that does not bridge both worlds.
In those early years of this century when medical licensing was not so prevalent and coercive as it is today, it was easy for the authors to introduce their book thus:
[page 1] Basically those who follow the established practice of medicine cannot object to what we are presenting because we do not go against that practice. The only people who can refuse to the accept our attempt without further ado are those who not only demand that we accept their system of knowledge but also insist that no insights may be presented that go beyond their system.
Nowadays there are laws that will put people in jail if they attempt to use practices that "go beyond" the establishment's medical system. In this case the going beyond "adds understanding of the non-physical or spiritual human being"(page 2). In the past 20 years or so the advent of holistic medicine has brought to the average person's attention the non-physical or spiritual aspects of healing. Unfortunately the name holistic healing tends to be materialized in its presentation and understanding, giving one the impression that holistic healing refers to paying attention to the whole physical body versus only some of its constituent parts. This common mistake is similar to the one that table-tappers made in Steiner's time. To prove the existence of the spiritual world, they sought evidence in the physical world, i. e., the sounds of the so-called spirit's tapping on the table.
How does one extend one's understanding and perception to the etheric, astral, and Ego body? Steiner describes how to do it in detailed techniques in Knowledge of Higher Worlds and Occult Science. Simply stated it involves the three processes of Imagination, Inspiration, and Intuition. Through Imagination one comes to know the etheric aspect of human nature, through Inspiration, one comes to know the beings or spirits of the astral world, and through Intuition one comes to live within those spirits. (paraphrase from page 9)
In the chapter "Why Do People Fall Ill?" the authors describe what happens when a limb becomes paralyzed. One's leg, for example, becomes part of the outside world. In A Leg to Stand On Oliver Sacks, himself a trained neuropathologist, while recovering from a serious hiking accident, writes on what it's like to attempt to move a leg that seems to be part of the outside world.
The chapter "The Phenomena of Life" has a vivid description of the transition from lifeless matter to living material. The lifeless is governed by forces radiating from the center to the periphery, while the living is governed by forces that flow from the periphery to the center.
[page 20] In the transition to life, matter must withdraw from the outward radiating forces and make itself part of those that radiate in.
Independent of the forces radiating to and from the earth, and of a higher order, is the astral forces that create an independent, self-contained aspect in animals that we call the astral body.
[page 25] Through the physical forces it separates itself from the cosmos, through the etheric forces it lets the cosmos influence it; through the 'astral' forces it becomes an independent individual entity in the cosmos.
This background prepares us to understand the nature of our bodily organs, which are generated from physical material that has been operated on by the etheric and astral forces, in which our organs are on their way back to the sphere of the physical, only fully arriving there upon our death (pages 26, 27). The etheric substance of plants develops from lifeless matter, and the sentient substance of animals develops from living matter. In humans the sentient substance is drawn into another organization, the I organization or Ego body, and that is the body that leads us to self-awareness. The Table below shows some of the bodily functions and organs and how they are related to the three super-sensible bodies of the human.
I Organization (Ego Body)
Final Digestion (food to blood)
Tongue, Palate, speaking muscles
Sympathetic Nervous System
Spinal Column Neurons
Preliminary Digestion (pepsin, pancreas, bile)
Cerebral Nervous System
The I lives in inner warmth of the blood and body
One of the food stuffs that is intimately associated with be I organization is sugar. It should not be surprising that newly civilized countries greatly increase their intake of sugar — it is a natural process that accompanies the increased I organization of civilized beings. The common disease of diabetes mellitis involves sugar becoming an elimination product.
[page 44] This is a case of the I organization coming on the scene in the human organism in such a form that its actions are destructive.
Another common food constituent is fat, and the current fad of fat-free foods flies in the face of the bodily wisdom of ingesting fat.[page 51] Fat proves least of a foreign substance when taken into the organism. Fat will most easily change from the nature it has when taken in as food to the nature of the human organism. . . . Fat is able to behave like this because it takes as little as possible of a foreign organism's nature (its etheric forces, etc.) into the human organism. The human organism can easily make it part of its own sphere of activity. The reason is that fat plays a special role in producing inner warmth.
A new mother's I organization is drawn off from her in the mother's milk with which she nurses her child, adding to her child's creative ability. Our bones are formed by our I organization releasing its inner hold and maintaining only an external manipulation of the resulting bony parts of our bodily skeleton. When the I organization withdraws from the arteries, the calcified deposits create arteriosclerosis.
At the turn of the 20th century doctors were beginning to focus on the chemical properties of the human body. At the turn of the 21st century the current focus is on the genetic properties of the human body. Both of these approaches are purely materialistic and operate in ignorance of the spiritual realities that infuse the human body, realities such as the etheric, astral, and I organization. When these bodies get out of balance with each other, the chemicals and the genetic mechanisms of the body lead us into the processes we know as illnesses or dis-ease. The physical composition of the human body is as important to the doctor of medicine as the physical composition of the paints are to the artist — a necessary but not sufficient condition for producing worthwhile results.
[page78, 79] Yes, it would be a good idea for a painter to know something about the chemical point of origin. But the way he uses pigments when he is painting is based on another methodology. The same applies to the medical practitioner. He may take chemistry as a basis that has some significance; but the mode of action substances have in the human organism no longer has anything to do with this chemical aspect. Anyone who holds the view that only data established in chemistry — and that includes pharmaceutics — are exact destroys the possibility of developing views on what happens when healing processes occur in the organism.
When doctors find a deficiency in the chemicals, in the neurotransmitters, or in the genetic structure, etal, and deduce that they can cure the human being by administering the deficient substance, they are putting the cart before the horse. They are expecting the lifeless cart, the lifeless physical body, to pull the living human being along the road to health. Not surprisingly, many of their efforts in such a direction, supported by so-called excellent science and blind tests with placebos, turn out to lead to a once again unhealthy, even dead, human being, about which the doctors can say with pride, "We did our best to save that patient." Doing one's best as an anthroposophical medical doctor is helping the patient to correct the imbalances in their living bodies: etheric body, astral body, and their I. Once these are balanced properly the physical effects will no longer be present to the materialistic doctor, who won't be called in to notice them anyway because the patient will be healed.
Summary of Medical Courses and Review Links
Latest editions as of 2014 (From Editor's Preface of GA314)
Publisher: RS = Rudolf Steiner Press, SB = SteinerBooks
Bobby Matherne Review Link
Click to Read Link, if underlined as shown in brackets at right: [active].
GA/CW Course Name (Publisher Year) [Link]
27 Extending Practical Medicine, GA# 27 (RS 1996) [epmrvw]
107 Disease, Karma and Healing (RS 2013) [diskarhe]
230 Essentials for the Healing of Civilization (RS 2001) [harmonyo]
312 Introducing Anthroposophical Medicine (SB 2010) [amedic12]
313 Illness and Therapy (RS 2013) [illnessa]
314 Physiology and Healing (RS 2013) [physheal]
315 Eurythmy Therapy (RS 2009)
316 Understanding Healing (RS Press 2013) [underhea]
317 Education for Special Needs (RS 1998)
318 Broken Vessels (SB 2003) [brokenve]
319 The Healing Process (SB 2000) [healing]
3.) ARJ2: How the Spiritual World Projects into Physical Existence, GA#150 by Rudolf Steiner
Steiner gave these lectures in various cities which had recently formed a local branch of the anthroposophical society. Margaret Jonas in September, 2014, writing in her Introduction, makes several important points.
[page x, Jonas] The Bochum members [Note: Lecture 8 was given in this German city near the Rhine River.] are further praised for founding a branch in a modern industrial city and not in some rural idyll where people try to "go back to nature". Rudolf Steiner wanted anthroposophy to reach out into the modern world as widely as possible, as a force for change, and not to be the preserve of a favored elite.
Her second point is one that I, as a father who raised four children and helped raise six step-children, find most appropriate. Too often in recent movies children take over the unassigned job of carping about their parents, whether it's about their parenting methods, their choice in music, clothes, or books, etc. This most recently happened in a movie "Black or White" (2014). The trend is so universal that it is a common theme in TV commercials for a pre-teen to upstage the parent by trying to prove them wrong in 30 seconds or less. No kid ever complains about the parents who lets them get away with their carping, and why would they? The parent is the one who should know better and act to correct the kids by assuming their parental authority. Yes, I meant "assume"! No one says to a new parent, "You must assume you have authority over your children." But the best parents act exactly under this assumption and raise children who will assume authority when they become parents.
[page x, Jonas] Further to the activities of the adversaries Lucifer and Ahriman, he warns his listeners about another harmful effect — that on young children; especially, for instance, if they are encouraged to criticize adults too early in their development (a habit that has greatly increased since his time), they display an undesirable precociousness.
Has anyone not noticed the increasing popularity of vampire books, movies, TV dramas in recent years? Steiner warns that this is an effect of people who cannot recognize Lucifer after death; it tends to vampirize these people.
[page x, Jonas] We may wonder if the current enthusiasm for 'vampire' material is some sort of reflection of this experience.
On the other hand, getting to recognize Ahriman before death is a good thing. If we notice our self aging or if we lose our natural teeth, contrary to popular opinion, we should not perceive that as a loss, but rather a successful overcoming of Ahriman.
[page x, Jonas] In contrast, we should not see ageing and losing our teeth as something disagreeable or preventable. The longer someone can stay alive is a victory over Ahriman's activity.
"Nonetheless, these two powers (Lucifer and Ahriman) also play a necessary role in earth evolution," Jonas sums up.
Writing on what Steiner said about an incarnation lasting only a couple of days, Jonas illuminated the life of my older sister, Marie, who was born about a year before I was, but died a day or so after her birth.
[page xi, Jonas] On the whole, women find it easier to absorb spiritual truths than men; and an incarnation lasting for perhaps only a few days, though a tragedy for the parents, may bear great importance for the soul concerned — in other words learning not to judge everything by earthly standards.
The last thing we would wish in our kids, rightly understood, is for them to "be really clever in the human and earthly sense as early as possible." (Page 3) Rather we would feel in every impulse of our young children that they are acting on far higher impulses than those we ourselves are able to penetrate with our intellect, in other words, we would feel that our children have a spiritual entity speaking to and directing them. We would not perceive them as being clever, but rather as being deeply spiritual in a way we would not be able to explain rationally to some adult who is primarily intellectual and clever. Instead of pride in our children's cleverness, we would feel a mysterious wonder as their childhood unfolds before us. This is the awe with which good parents and Waldorf teachers experience in the presence of their charges as they help them through the seven-year stages of their growth. Steiner explains the difference between such children and the precociously clever kids of today. (Note that he was talking over one hundred years ago about conditions that are much worse today.)
[page 3, 4] If people only had children whose development was guided in seven-year periods by forward-moving divine and spiritual powers and if these people met a child who today delights people around him because he is saying and doing such clever things, whereas they would be used to those other conditions, those people would say: "Oh, how soon has this child become godforsaken!" Things that delight people today would then be felt to be a punishment. And they would consider a young person of 15 who was as clever as he would be expected today to be utterly godforsaken. For the forward-moving divine and spiritual powers really only ask that human beings bring out their I nature completely between the 21st and 28th years. Before that anything they did would rather appear to be such that higher spiritual, supersensible impulses were acting through them.
What is going on? Would any parent today prefer their kids to be clever as young as possible and entertain their adults friends at parties and family gatherings? Yes. Would any parent today prefer to have a child who seemed to be dreamy on the outside? No. Children who have "higher spiritual, supersensible impulses acting through them" will seem to be useless dreamers in our modern society. And yet such dreamy kids would be a boon to any parents who could perceive, who could feel the spiritual impulses flowing in their young offspring. I was such a dreamy kid myself, preferring to read a good book rather than participate in school athletics, and I was born to a father who loved manual work, hunting, fishing, and farming. He never seemed to respect my work, until one day a few years before he died when he asked me, "Is writing hard?" Acknowledging I was a writer I took as a sign of respect for my work that I had never quite gotten from him before. I thought a moment and answered him, "No, Dad. Writing is not hard; it's having something important to write about that is hard."
[page 4] Those children would, however, have a life that would appear dreamy on the outside; but people would feel that this dreamy life was God's or the spirits' blessing, and they would not in the least desire to bring up their children in some way to be precocious in the modern sense.
One hundred years have passed since Steiner gave these lectures. During that time, thanks to his initiating the impulse for Waldorf School education, many more of these special, dreamy kids are being raised for the benefit of humankind. Waldorf Schools do not create kids who are know-it-alls, but kids who respect authority, the authority of their parents and their Waldorf teachers.
[page 8] We do something that is good when we raise children who do not want to know everything themselves in their ninth or tenth year, but who if asked why one thing or another is right and good will say: because my father, or my mother has said that it is good, or because my teacher says so. If we raise the children so that the adults around them are the accepted authorities, we do something that is good for them, whatever the circumstances.
No child, raised in such a way would criticize their parent for being out-of-touch with the world today, as so happens with the preteen carpers we mentioned earlier. If we postpone any teaching of rote memory until after the child develops its second set of teeth, we do best for the child. Before then memory develops on its own naturally and then after age seven, Ahriman's counterbalance is ready to offset Lucifer and rote memory processes may be taught. Younger kids seem to sense this spiritual truth and complain loudly about learning times tables and memorizing historical dates, etal, before then. (Page 8, 9)
On page 10, Steiner explains in detail the power we acquire when we lose our teeth and when we grow old as Jonas hinted in her Introduction summary. Sometimes life works out in ways that are beneficial to us, but we are unconscious of the benefits. Losing our teeth is one of these paradoxical benefits.
[page 10] We sometimes even manage to be quite dissatisfied with the way we unconsciously act against Ahriman. We do prepare ourselves in the course of life to have certain powers once we have gone through death, so that Ahriman will not be able to do too much to us between death and rebirth. But sometimes we allow our selves to be quite clearly aware that the fight against Ahriman is not actually welcome, for instance when we regret the loss of every one of our teeth. Yet every time we lose a tooth we gain a power for which we have good use. Of course, I am not saying anything against fillings, or the re-implantation of teeth, for this does not add anything ahrimanic — at most the gold itself, but that does not matter. So we cannot say that it is something bad. The fact that we gradually lose our ahrimanic teeth is due to the fact that in the course of evolution we do also gain certain impulses and these overcome Ahriman. Irrespective of whether we have a tooth re-implanted or not, we have gained an impulse that helps us with the powers we need to develop at the very lowest level between death and rebirth. It is a very little thing at first, but it can show us how essentially we must truly get in the habit, as we approach reality and look beyond unreality and the great illusion that is usually around us, of seeing things in life in a very different way from the way in which they are usually seen.
Another paradoxical benefit is the so-called weakness of old age. Old people often complain about being old, treating each new birthday or wrinkle as a curse. On the other hand, kids today treat their parents as jokes, as old fogies who cannot keep up with them physically or culturally, a trait that is especially obvious in modern comic strips such Zits, Baby Blues, Curtis, and the like. The benefit of old age is that the older we become, the more able we are to fight Ahriman when we enter the spiritual world. Look at people who have reached 100 years of age, and you can sense the imminent victory they feel, can see it in their demeanor, and hear it in their voice. One famous jazz musician who had reached 103 was asked by Johnny Carson, "Do you have any regrets in life?" and he answered, "Yes. If I'd known I would have lived so long, I would have taken better care of myself."
[page 10] The weakness of old age, for example, is also a power that comes to us directly when we are sentient of it, so that once again we have something to fight Ahriman when we have gone through the gate of death. Here, between birth and death, we may indeed be annoyed if we age too soon, but with regard to our intentions after death when we want to cope with Ahriman we must be glad that we do age.
We have learned elsewhere in Steiner's works that our human physical and etheric bodies wear out during the day time when we are awake and that we must go to sleep to recover our physical and etheric forces for the next day. Isn't that like what Nature must do during the Autumn and Winter months, namely, wither and die away, awaiting Spring and Summer to be refreshed and new? Elementals beings are like scavengers who are sent by Ahriman in Autumn and Winter to gather up the fading physical and etheric bodies of the plant world which covers the Earth.
[page 11] When our plants grow from the ground, wither as autumn approaches and the leaves fall, the elemental spirits whom Ahriman sends to the earth's surface are in evidence everywhere. He then gathers in all that is dying; he has it gathered in by his elemental spirits. When you walk through the fields in autumn and see dying nature clairvoyantly, Ahriman is extending his powers everywhere, and has his elemental messengers everywhere who bring him everything that is withering physical and etheric by nature.
Thus, we are able to understand how we as human beings live during the day the way plants wither and die during Fall and Winter! And how during sleep, we exist as plants do in the Spring and Summer, growing, blooming, and fruiting.
[page 11] Truly, the soul's summer mood exists only when the soul is asleep. It truly is the case that the sleeping human body — physical body and ether body — ranks equal with a plant; and the I and the astral body, which are outside, cast their rays back on to the physical and etheric body, acting like sun and stars and letting the powers sprout forth which we have destroyed during the day. There the vegetative life grows, and daytime thinking really exists only to get rid again of what the night lets sprout forth. When we wake up, we dart across our vegetative life just as autumn does across the plants on earth. And in our daytime waking hours we do to our physical and etheric body what winter does to the earth's vegetation, to anything by way of sprouting, shooting life which they produced in the soul's summertime, that is, in sleep during the night.
"But we human beings are really also in a kind of autumn and winter mood all day long," Steiner tells us. If we are to be full human beings, we must truly mix the seasons in equal balance as the Earth does with Nature, a vibrant growing Summer, followed by a cleanup process of the withered and dead in the Autumn and Winter. People who do not mix some Summer unconsciousness into their Wintery consciousness become dry pedants, living in an arid desert of their precious consciousness and proud of it.
[page 11] When we are awake, it is winter, truly winter of the soul, and we must go to sleep if we want to have the soul's springtime. That is the way it is. And from this point of view it is really easy to see why people who do not mix at least something from the soul's summer into their daytime waking life do so easily dry out. Dry scholars, withered professor types, these are the people who do not like to accept anything unless it is in full consciousness, do not like to accept anything from the soul's summertime. They dry out, turning into out-and-out winter people. And for the seer, the whole development of human daily life is seen to be very similar to what I have just been telling you about the natural world.
Francis Bacon led Western Civilization into a wintery world in which only conscious thoughts involving the material world as it impinges on our sensory apparatus is accepted as legitimate. The movie, "A. I.", portrays clearly the long-term effects of such thinking if it is not modulated by large doses of summery unconsciousness.
[page 11, 12] For when human beings develop their ordinary thoughts relating to the outside world, when they are utterly materialistic in thinking only the things that happen outwardly, their thoughts affect the brain to such an extent that this brain excretes substances(1) which Ahriman can really do with, so that Ahriman is really accompanying waking daytime life all the time. And the more materialistic we are the more are we obsessed with Ahriman.
Steiner has spoken many times of the importance of having a balance of Lucifer and Ahriman in our lives during our time between birth and death, because they will both greatly influence us during our time between death and a new birth.
First, as for Lucifer, Steiner cautions we must learn what luciferic impulses are in our life on Earth. If not we will have our powers of soul sucked out of us by Lucifer, exactly as the fictional Count Dracula sucks blood out of his victims.
[page 12, 13] We may thus go through the region between death and rebirth having Lucifer at our side — there's not only something terrible about him but also something beautiful, glorious as far as his outer form goes — and realize that he is needed by the world. A time is coming more and more where people will only be able to go through life after death with Lucifer if they have already got to intuit and know the luciferic impulses in the human soul properly whilst here in life. People — and there will also be more and more of them as time goes on — who do not want to know about Lucifer, and they are probably in the majority, will know all the more of Lucifer after death. It is not only that he will be at their side, but being at their side he will be drawing on their powers of soul all the time; he will vampirize human beings. This is what people prepare for by not knowing, to be vampirized by Lucifer. With this one deprives oneself of powers for the next life, for one will be giving them over to Lucifer in a way.
As for Ahriman, we see that people who refuse to accept his reality will be overloaded with his gift of gravity resulting in those people being subject to premature deaths by accidents and illnesses. Curiously those people one hears today using these words, "innocent victim", will be the ones who will become such innocent victims of random violence in their next lifetime. Similarly for those who refer to the premature passing of a loved one due to illness as an "unfair act of God". Looking at this retrospectively, one can understand that those people who did not accept Ahriman in a previous lifetime are likely the ones to die premature deaths in this lifetime. If one comes to understand the reality of Ahriman, one can only let go of the concept of "innocent victim" — either from so-called random acts of violence, or from accidents, or from catastrophe illness.
[page 13] The two spirits [RJM: Lucifer and Ahriman] are always present between death and rebirth, but on the one occasion one of them is more present and the other less; on the other occasion it is the other way round. We pass away into, and then return again from the life between death and rebirth. Lucifer is above all at our side in the passing away. Ahriman when we move towards being born again. For Ahriman takes us back to the earth again; he is important in the second half of coming back again. And he, too, is able to do dreadful things, as it were, to the people who do not want to believe in him in their life between birth and death. He will give them too much of his powers. He confers on them something he has always to spare, the powers connected with earthly gravity that mean sickness and premature death for people, bringing all kinds of accidents that seem random into earthly existence, and so on. All this has to do with these ahrimanic powers.
One must not judge all Ahriman deeds, namely violence, accidents, and sickness, as bad. Why, because some of these are essential for a person's spiritual growth such as completing a karmic balancing goal for this lifetime. I recall my extraordinary second case of red measles as a 34-year-old which led me to discovering Steiner and his works. Not all illnesses are bad, are they? You never know until you find out.
[page 14] No, it is good, because it may well be that a sickness turns out to be something that contributes a great deal to our ascending development.
What is the biggest illusion of materialistic thinker, the irridentist atheist who renounces all spiritual realities? They even proclaim loudly, "There is no Devil!" What they mean is there is no Ahriman. What possesses them to say such a thing? Ahriman possesses them!
[page 14] Where does the materialism in the physical world come from, that materialism where people say there is no Ahriman, there simply is no devil? Who is it who shouts loudest that there is no devil? Those who are most possessed by him. For the spirit whom we call Ahriman is enormously interested in having his existence denied by those who are most possessed by him.
People who have passed into the spiritual world wonder about the loved ones they left behind who are still living and sorely missing them. We can help these loved ones by holding them in our memory while we read spiritual science literature such as these lectures by Rudolf Steiner. This a process he has taught called "reading to the dead." They cannot reach us to be consoled, but we can reach them and console them greatly by reading to them spiritual truths.
[page 28] Let me stress that we can read to the dead about supersensible worlds. When we have time we sit down and in our thoughts go through the subject matter of occult science, imagining in the liveliest possible way that the dead are with us. This removes the torment for them of thinking we're not there. We have got really good results with this in the anthroposophical movement by reading to the dead in our thoughts. They are then together with us, and this is what they need, what they long for.
An old woman living in a large estate had her maid bring her a glass of warm milk every night to help her get to sleep. The doctor told her son, "You know, your mother won't live much longer; if you slipped a little brandy in that milk each night, she would sleep better." The son, knowing his mother had always been a teetotaler and would not agree to the doctor's prescription, instructed the maid to add the brandy, but to never tell his mother about it. When his mother was on her deathbed, she called him to her bedside and whispered in his ear, "Whatever you do, don't sell that cow!" This is a droll story, somewhat typical of the half-truths told by alcoholic drinkers about the salubrious effect of alcohol: a drink before bed helps one go to sleep, a glass of red wine a day is good for one's heart, one drink never hurt anyone, and so forth. What effect does that drink before going to sleep, to mention just one example, have on people who have passed into the spiritual world?
[page 29] The other thing we have to consider, especially at the present time, is that when we enter into the supersensible world every day in our sleep we are in the same world as the dead. We just don't know about it any more after waking up. How do most people go to sleep? We may say that when they have crossed the threshold to sleep not much of what they have taken with them is spiritual. People who have taken alcoholic drinks to help them sleep will not bring much with them that is spiritual.
Not bringing much that is spiritual with them means starving in the spiritual world. No one could turn away a starving person from their door without offering them some food and nourishment to ease their suffering. Yet there are human souls, some of our own loved ones, who have passed into the spiritual world and are suffering intense pain. Only we the living can provide that nourishment and comfort for them by sharing our spiritual thoughts with them.
[page 29] The things we give to the dead, things they take into their conscious awareness, are exactly what they need for their life. And when we bring spiritual thoughts to them they have nourishment; if we don't they will be hungry, so that we may say: "By cultivating spiritual thoughts here on earth we can provide nourishment for the dead. We can let them go hungry if we do not bring spiritual thoughts to them." When fields lie fallow they produce no crops to feed humanity and people may die of starvation. The dead cannot die of starvation, of course, all they can do is suffer when spiritual life lies fallow on earth.
Yes, the dead are already in the spiritual world, so why would they need us to read to them to inform them about the supersensible world in which they reside?
[page 30] They cannot learn about things in the supersensible world unless we give them to them from our earth. The thoughts must stream up from the earth. Human Beings are on earth to get to know not just a vale of tears but also anthroposophy. People often think that one can also get to know anthroposophy after death, but that is quite wrong. Having gone though the gate of death human beings put away the things they have learned on earth.
[page 34, 35] When someone who has remained behind on earth very rarely fills his soul with spiritual thoughts, the dead soul has no access to such a soul. I am speaking of the way in which a living individual may be able to connect with someone who has died.
To paraphrase Steiner's words above, "When a widowed husband on earth rarely fills his soul with spiritual thoughts, the living soul of his departed wife has no access to his soul." Thus the study of spiritual science is important to the human both before and after death. Before death for one to help loved ones who have passed; after death, because once they have passed, they have lost the ability to learn of spiritual realities.
In my study of how the spiritual world projects into our physical existence, I encountered an answer to an unanswered question that I had held since the early 1980s when I spent a lot of time studying Carl Jung's works. The question was this: How is it possible that what one's father almost but never quite did could influence his son?
My father went to the seminary to become a priest in the 1920s and in the 1970s I became a minister and ever since I have devoted my life to studying spiritual science. My father studied Latin his first year at St. Joseph's Seminary, but when they started with Greek, he dropped out of the seminary and finished high school in Terrebonne Parish where he later met and married my mother. But for the "weird alphabet" of Greek which turned my father off, I might not have been born to this set of parents. Jung quoted often from the Greek and I figured out how to transliterate his Greek passages into English and am now able to identify most Greek words which have an English cognate. Pharmacy is a good example, easy to do if you recognize the Ph-sound as the letter Phi in Greek.
I have met many other men whose occupation related to what their father almost but didn't quite do in his own life. But not until Steiner did I receive a good answer to how this happens. Steiner tells us it is through spiritual forces that "The father sends powers to the son which encourages him to become what the father almost but never quite became." These powers, as in the example Steiner gives below of the famous Italian painter Raphael and his father, need not come from his father before his death. In the case of Raphael, he was only ten when his father, a wannabe painter died.
Steiner in his spiritual research received information that John the Baptist and Raphael the Painter were the same soul in different incarnations. Both were deeply spiritual humans with deep revelations to share with us, one by his words and deeds, the other by his paintings.
[page 35] For someone who has realized the truth of a fact like the one we are considering, that John and Raphael were identical, it is important to keep a feeling of wonder alive. I can assure those who are not able to investigate such facts for themselves that things do not come up when you are looking for them: they come unsought. To think a lot about such things does not help much at all. What helps most is to be able to wait calmly until the inspiration comes. And then it is good if one is able to be amazed, in a way, at what is given.
Remember the unanswered question(2) I held for several decades about Jung's saying? Before the answer came I had to wait calmly and patiently for a couple of decades, and when it came, I was amazed exactly as Steiner predicted that I would be. Take the person who responds to something you say with blatant assertion, "I know that!" only seconds after you have said something. It could be something which, rightly understood, could change her entire life for the better, but she dispatches it immediately, thinking she already knew what it was I was talking about. Sure, I could have pressed on to explain what she was missing, but pouring hot tea into her already full tea cup would likely have brought me a scowl, instead of a thank you. I remember the story of the stalled farmer on a bridge who whacked his mule twice on the head with a 2X4. The minister seeing this, admonished the farmer, "Don't you think if you had asked him politely, the mule would have begun pulling the wagon again?" "Sure," replied the farmer, "but first I needed to get his attention." People who can't hold an unanswered question can be as stubborn as that balky mule, and the more intelligent the person, the more stubborn they can be about learning spiritual realities.Only the curiosity which arises from a person who knows how to hold unanswered questions prepares them for learning spiritual science. It is likely this reason which Rudolf Steiner cautioned people in the anthroposophical movement from proselytizing new adherents. The only ones worth having are those who, out of their own curiosity and sense of wonder, arrive asking their unanswered questions.
[page 35] The straight way of the intellect is not suitable for occult research. A sense of wonder means that one will gradually come to see that something we wonder at proves understandable.
It was Steiner's unanswered question about Raphael which led him to discover the forces the great painter received from his father.
[page 35, 36]Thus I realized one day that something different lived as an after-effect in Raphael's soul. His work was amazing, and I was able to see that this after-effect had actually come from his father. He had died when Raphael was just ten years old. Now the father might have lived a little longer — I am speaking hypothetically. He could have had the strength to live longer. But he took that strength with him into the spiritual world, and there are occasions when such strengths can be extremely powerful. The father had not been a great painter, but inwardly he was a painter, he lived in ideas of paintings that he could not bring to realization whilst still in a physical body. He sent those powers from the spiritual world to his son, and this is why young Raphael could turn into such a great painter. He gained his artistic abilities from the powers his father sent to him from the spiritual world. This does not, of course, make Raphael a lesser man; it has merely served to show how powers act down from the spiritual into the physical world.
In other words, you hold an unanswered question and spirits work to bring an answer to you in a form you can recognize and understand. These spiritual beings know the answer you seek immediately as you form the unanswered question in yourself, but some amount of time is required, like the setting of gelatin, aspic, or concrete, for the answer to congeal inside of you. It would be nice if everyone knew this aspect of how the spiritual world works, would it not? Steiner thinks so.
[page 36] Life will be taken a great deal further if we are able to gain insight into the way the spiritual world influences the physical world.
It occurs to me that if Raphael's father was able to influence his son's life after his own death, there must have been a connection between Raphael and his father. Raphael must have been convinced that his father was still alive in the spiritual world and that provided their connection. Too often I have seen people crying so hard over the death of a loved one at a funeral that they are unconsolable.To be unconsolable can only mean that one is not aware that their departed loved one yet lives in the spiritual world, and indeed, that very loved one is very upset because those crying so loud seem unaware of that fact. At funeral masses, the best priests are those who console the bereaved by reminding them their loved one is only dead to the physical world and remains alive in the spiritual world. If they accept this thought it will be a great comfort to the loved one in the spiritual world who would otherwise be unable to know what those left behind are doing. Steiner's insights into this matter are vital for us today.
[page 36] It has to be remembered, however, that the dead are unable to know what those who remained on earth are doing, as I also said this morning. When someone has gone through the gate of death and knows that his impulses influence the physical world, it can be painful for him that he is unable to perceive those he has left behind. The dead can feel inner discomfort when they are unable to know what is going on down there. This feeling can be removed by sending nourishment to the dead. Being in life, it is up to us to create the opportunity for the dead to perceive us. Remember that it needs a thought to ignite spiritual life, as it were, in our soul. It really is an important positive thought to know that the dead individual is there, within our reach, once they have gone through the gate of death, for that is a thought that can never come by concerning ourselves with the physical world perceived through the senses. We should be firmly convinced in our hearts that the person who has died is living.
We must understand Steiner's words, "Things developed on the basis of intellectual thought will not reach the dead. The living individual must be available to the dead individual."
[page 39, 40] I hope we understand one another in this. It is indeed evident that the individual who comes to you as one of the dead experiences something like a longing within him. He does not know, however, what this longing is aiming for. You meet with him, and if you are guided by entering into a relationship with him that is how you can work with the dead whatever the circumstances. If you have spiritual wisdom, it will be filled with light, and the dead perceive the light. But if the soul does not take in spiritual wisdom, it will stay dark and the dead cannot perceive it. The possibility for the dead to live with us depends on what we have to offer them.
My fondest hope is that people, who read my light-filled thoughts after my death, will bring light to me in the spiritual world.
[page 42] The way people are present in the world perceived through senses is that powers of the whole universe are concentrated in them, like the powers of the whole plant in the seed.
In the Gospel of Mark 17:30-32 Christ Jesus asked us to imagine a tiny mustard and the large tree which that seed will grow into and fill with its power. Steiner asks each of us to imagine our tiny being on the third planet of an minor star in a remote part of our galaxy(3) as a seed containing the power to fill the entire Universe whenever we enter the spiritual world, whether by the simple act of going to sleep or by dying to physical world as the mustard seed must do to become the mighty tree.
[page 42] Are these powers in the human being also spread out in some way in the macrocosm as the powers in the seed spread over the whole plant? The answer can only come from esoteric science, for in his life on earth the human being only gets to know himself as microcosm. Yet he does not only live in a microcosm, but has a life also in the universe.
We live not only in the microcosm of our human body, but also in the macrocosm of the Universe! How sad so few people know that they have powers in them to fill the Universe with their spirit. How sad all the mewling and puling of maudlin humans at funerals who are unaware of these powers which reside in them and their departed loved ones. How sad that it took Steiner to come among us stubborn mules with a large 2X4 to smack us across the head to get our attention, to arouse our curiosity, to rouse us to begin moving, even if only to attempt to disprove his teachings, as many have and in the process they discovered the truths that he gives actually live in them and in each of us as full human beings. Understanding this is the seed of anthroposophy, the knowledge of the full human being in body, soul, and spirit.
[page 42] Where is this element of spirit and soul when the human being is asleep, corresponding to the air he has exhaled? Occult science shows that this element is enveloped by the spirit-world's atmosphere, just as we are enveloped by the airy atmosphere, the difference being that the latter extends for a few miles whilst the former fills the universe.
The above passage inspired this short poem:
ASLEEP IN THE UNIVERSE
When plants sleep,
the Earth breathes out
When the elemental spirits sleep,
the Earth breathes them in,
and plants arise from the Earth
When humans breathe out,
our exhaled air fills
the atmosphere of Earth.
When we sleep, our head sleeps
and our other organs remain awake,
like sentinels and repair crews.
When humans sleep,
we exhale our spirit which
expands to fill the Universe.
On page 44, Steiner comes up with an empty cup and a half-full cup of water. We would not be surprised if the empty cup moves towards getting full if we poured water into it from the half-full cup, but we would be very surprised if, in the act of pouring, the half-full cup were also to move towards getting fuller! What is happening here? What in our life can we get more of by giving some of what we have away? To some of you the answer to this puzzle will be obvious; to others, if it gets you curious, hold it as a beautiful unanswered question. Perhaps we should withhold the answer until later, in the penultimate paragraph, perhaps?
On page 63, Steiner gives us another full and empty bottle metaphor. This time it arises from the natural science of Bacon in which the living human being cannot be found; it is a science which only deals with corpses, of dead bones and tissues, things with substance, i.e., which clearly eliminates things with spiritual components, something humans clearly have. This was the second demand of Bacon for his so-called natural, but very unnatural science, rightly understood. It treats the full milk bottle of the human being by pouring the milk down the drain and examining the bottle with its scientific tools.
[page 63] This second demand, to consider the human being according to the material situation in the natural world, changed things completely, for the human being had been taken out of the natural world. It was perfectly clear then that the human being simply could not be found in a natural science of that kind. This evolved in the course of the nineteenth century. Everything belonging to the human soul had been distilled out of natural science and this was much the same as saying: "I have here a bottle with water in it. But I want to have an empty bottle and therefore pour the water away." And one is then surprised that there is no more water in the bottle.Everyone then notices immediately that the bottle is empty. With natural science, people did not realize how foolish it is to want to understand the human being by means of a nature from which the human being had been removed. I am convinced that a gathering of materialists would merely laugh about this simple way of looking at it, for people are not aware of this major error. It was the idea of freedom, of immortality and the like which had to suffer most due to this misconception. For anyone who looks at it the way I have just described would find it perfectly natural and one cannot gain enlightenment concerning these terms from natural science.
As a kid, I enjoyed reading Superman comic books. Here was a good Super-hero that I could admire. As Super-villains turned up in the Superman episodes, I became less interested in reading the comic books. I wondered why I lost interest, held that as an unanswered question, up until now. Basically Steiner says we as humans are not ready for these so-called super powers. The normal powers we have enough problems with already. As a fifteen year old I knew that intuitively by my feeling of aversion to comic strips and movies with Super-heroes and -villains in them since the mid-1950s.
[page 68] For the spiritual scientist's insight shows that it is a very good thing for human beings not to have the electrical and magnetic organs, for in this way they will not be able to damage others with them. Their lower instincts and desires thus also cannot run free initially, causing disaster to them and to others. Human beings have a world around them which teaches them slowly and gradually to conquer these lower powers and only then progress to higher powers.
In Genesis, the story of Adam and Eve, Lucifer, whose name means "light-bearer," appears to them and offers them a bite from the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. This is a metaphor for the freedom which Lucifer brought to humankind, a kind of superpower which offered great promise and also the possibility of evil. But for this gift humans would have received inspiration from the gods, but so powerfully, they would not be able to resist doing what the gods showed them to do. With Lucifer's gift, humans could receive ideas and inspirations from outside, but humans could also work on ideas which came up from their own soul.
[page 70] This luciferic influence has brought it about that there has to be purification in our nature, proceeding from the unconscious to the conscious mind, and we must work to develop conscious ethical ideas and motivation as we struggle against ourselves, and then follow those ethical concepts of our own free will. It is Lucifer, therefore, who makes it possible for us to follow ethical ideas once we have developed them ourselves.
People follow principles so much in these days, that it seems they are compelled to follow them. As an example, someone suggests to someone that microwave ovens are bad and that person feels compelled to avoid microwave ovens, acting as if these ovens were giving off radioactive radiation and changing the genetic structure of food instead of merely heating up the molecules a bit. Freedom, real freedom, the type Steiner discusses and demonstrates in detail in his Philosophy of Freedom, means the absence of coercion at any level, no compulsion to do anything, no matter how it reaches you. He shows us how ethical principles arrive within us, are brought to conscious awareness.
[page 75, italics added] What is the nature of these ethical principles? They do not compel us; we follow them of our own free will. A principle is never ethical if it compels. Principles we follow under compulsion come to us from the outside world. . . . When human beings perceive him in the spirit, the Christ will have in common with ethical principles that one can also deny him, that he does not force anyone to recognize him.
This absence of compulsion is at great variance with the "Thou shalt" and "Thou shalt not" of the Ten Commandments of Moses in the Old Testament. When asked, Christ Jesus clearly said he was bringing Love to replace the compulsions of the earlier Biblical teachings.
Speaking in Bochum, an industrial region in Germany near the Rhine River, Steiner explains that material life which is emphasized in this region must spread over the earth in times to come.
[page 78] When we find ourselves in the midst of a field of most modern material activity, this not something we should criticize or denigrate, for it is indeed a region which shows us how things must come to be more and more in external life on earth as time goes on. We would be lacking in sense if we were to say, "let the old times return when people had woods and meadows around them, as it were, and the original life of nature rather than the chimneys we see in our day."
When I find traces of Luddite-thinking and -processes in members of the anthroposophical society, who take pride in not having a TV in their, e. g., it distresses me, especially so that students of Steiner could turn away in aversion to the advancements of science in our day, when he so clearly admonished us not to do so.
[page 79, 80] Our anthroposophical view of life gradually teaches us to see things as they are and not to be unjustifiably critical of life as it is. Undoubtedly we have to admit to ourselves that the earth is going through an evolution. And if we, equipped with our anthroposophical knowledge or even just sensibly using the knowledge that exists outside anthroposophy, look back on earlier times in Earth evolution, then, compared to an earth furrowed by railways, with telegraph wires everywhere, with electrical currents passing through it everywhere, earlier times seem to us to be times of spring and summer, whilst the times ahead of us seem like autumn and winter of our earth. But it is not for us to complain about this. No, it is something we must call a necessity. It is not for us to complain, just as it is not right for people to complain when summer comes to an end and autumn and winter lie ahead.
Steiner refers to a painting from the Camposanto Cemetery in Pisa, Italy, now in public domain, called The Triumph of Death.(4) The photo below replaces the grainy black and white image on page 95 of this book.
In the lower left corner (See below) we can see coffins with the three bodies of the human being portrayed: the physical body at the bottom (partially obscured), the etheric body in the middle, and the astral body at the top.I have summarized below Steiner's words from pages 95 to 99.
The physical body is shown as a skeleton with only the left leg and skull visible due to the degradation of the fresco, but possibly the whole image was present when Steiner saw it in first decade of 20th Century. It represents the human's physical body remaining as a skeleton long after death.
The etheric body is decomposing and being eaten by worms, some weeks after death.
The astral body has recently left some days after death and the body is bloated.
In the above right section of the original, shown below in a closeup view, one can see Angels lifting small children to heaven and Demons grabbing grown humans to take them to Hell.
Clearly the artist and the people of his time understood the three bodies of the living being, the physical, etheric, and astral bodies and their properties as Steiner revealed to the modern world in his anthroposophy. Plus, the artist clearly understood Christ Jesus's words in the Bible when he said that unless you remain as a child, you cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
"The Christ could be born a thousand times in Bethlehem — but all in vain lest he is born in me." — Angelus Silesius on page 103
[page 103] It is the body's destiny on earth to grow old. It is man's higher destiny to maintain a young mind in an ageing body in connection with the Mystery on Golgotha and so feel ever increasing hope that, however much winter's gales may rage in the soul and temptations may live in the soul, the living trust shall never end that the element that entered into the earth's aura through the Mystery on Golgotha shall rise from the depths of the soul.
There, we have been given our charge, if we choose to accept it: "Bodies grow old; Souls may stay young"
Now the promised answer to the puzzle of the two cups. Love, dear Readers, is the one thing which, when you pour it into the cup of another, adds to your own cup of love.
These ten lectures given to sections of the newly formed anthroposophical society fill us with awe yet today of Rudolf Steiner's wisdom, a wisdom which can form the basis for us to age gracefully in the midst of what might otherwise seem a chaotic profusion of ahrimanic technology which besets us on all sides. We need not sink into the miasmic swamp of Ahriman nor need we fly off the handle like Icarus on flights of fancy with the freedom bestowed on us by Lucifer. With Christ as our helmsman we can steer our own path between the Scylla and Charybdis of Ahriman and Lucifer into the calm seas of our future.
--------- Footnotes --------------
Footnote 1.Return to prose directly before Footnote 1.
Brain sand comprises "small grains of calcareous matter in the brain's pineal gland" created by thinking. This is likely the "substance" Steiner is referring to here. One excellent way to dissolve the brain sand built up from heavy thinking is drinking coffee, the favorite beverage of most writers.
Footnote 2.Return to prose directly before Footnote 2.
What is the power of an unanswered question? is a basic rule of mine which I discovered several decades ago. It is a rule which illustrates itself in the process of one's reading of it. The power only comes when as Steiner says, "one waits until the inspiration comes, and then one is amazed." People who do not hold unanswered questions live life knowing all the answers, but the deeper mysteries of life remain well out of their grasp until they learn the process of the unanswered question.
Footnote 3.Return to prose directly before Footnote 3.
Materialist scientists love this way of talking about human beings to make us feel puny and insignificant. I couldn't disagree more with this way of talking about our Sun and our Earth and our power as a human being whose spirit fills the entire universe each time we fall asleep! What human being who understands this reality would wish to hurtle through space inside a physical rocket ship?
Footnote 4.Return to prose directly before Footnote 4.
Image credit to: Bonamico di Martino da Firenze known as Buffalmacco, source is Wikimedia Commons.
4.) ARJ2: An Affair in Berlin by William Harman
In the summer of 1958 three college students travel from Holland to Berlin and begin a seesaw affair with East and West Berlin. The seeds of unrest were there as the Iron Curtain metaphor created by Winston Churchill years earlier was soon to take physical form in a concrete wall dividing the east and west sectors of Berlin. This was an increasingly tense period for travelers, but our heroes braved the trains and the Brandenburg Gate, visiting friends in East and West Berlin and stretching their limited money in the cheaper East Berlin fancy restaurants and watering holes.
Tossing his clothes in a bag after a phone call, Tom joins Harry and Mike on a train from The Hague to Berlin, not much planning except for the idea of just seeing Berlin, both sides of the city. A friend who lived there, Walter, assured them that a visa could be purchased at the checkpoint, a situation which we discover later is likely a bribe paid to the young East Berlin police (Vopos) to get a stamp on their passport.
[page 8,9] Tom directed the driver to Van Neckstraat, the house where Mike rented his room. Harry was standing there beaming. He seemed transformed. Mike was waiting with his grip wide open to swallow Tom's basic necessities. The three youn men had just come together by chance that summer. They brought with them different personalities that had quickly become compatible as so often happened with men in uniform. Their international law professor at Virginia had suggested to his students that they apply for Hague Academy study grants awarded by a major foundation. Tom, Harry and Mike submitted applications and all three were accepted. The funds cover tuition, transportation, and modest room and board.
The eponymous affair begins at the stop in Hanover when the three budding lawyers admire and compare notes about a woman with a male companion waiting for the same train to Berlin.
[page 22] The woman, nearly as tall as the man, was stunning in low heels and a white dress with lace trim. He, with his slightly graying hair and Nordic features, conveyed an air of success and authority; she, with her beautiful youthful face and figure, imparted softness and breeding. They spoke to each other in quiet tones, facing the train, without their bodies actually turned toward each other.
With nothing else to do, the three compatriots began to analyze that regal couple, alone on the platform. Who might they be and what might be their relationship? They speculated: Father and daughter? Husband and trophy bride? Lovers about to slip away? Were they about to board the Northwest Express? Might they enter the Berlin carriage? Was she seeing him off and would be lost forever? Might she be the one traveling, alone?
"Look at her lips," Mike exclaimed. "Look at her lower lip. Have you ever seen a more sensuous lower lip in your life?"
"I do like the way it curls down," said Harry.
The three were tired and it began to show. They had become giddy. After careful observation and analysis, referencing the most beautiful Hollywood actresses he could remember, Harry announced, "Mike, I have to agree with you. That stunning woman does have, without any question, the world's most exquisite lower lip."
"Maybe with the possible exception of Ingrid Bergman," Tom said, "but no exceptions tonight. The beautiful lady with the flawless lip has my vote, too."
Unexpectedly, the exquisite lady says goodbye to the man and boards the packed train at the last second and ends jammed up next to and almost breathing on Tom, who had admired her from-a-distance! This gives Tom a chance to try out his meager knowledge of German and determine that she spoke English as haltingly as he did German. Maria becomes a friend of Tom's and joins in their seesaw-sightseeing between East and West Berlin.
We get a vivid view of post-WWII Berlin from the author, Jim Harman, who spent a lot of time there in this semi-autobiographical novella. My wife and I met Jim and Connie in Switzerland a few years ago at the Palace Hotel in Lucerne after our good friends and travel companions, Gust and Janet, who had just met the couple some time earlier, introduced them to us. There we were, three guys and three girls, suddenly the best of friends, touring Lucerne and then Germany and France along the Rhine River together, pretty much like Tom, Mike, and Harry, but without the war-time destruction all around us and none of the East-West tensions they encountered.
Maria in her halting English describes the war's immediate aftermath in Berlin, what it was like as the fighting completely and suddenly ceased.
[page 31] "Then a few days later it all stops. Order comes. Berlin is destroyed. Berlin looks like the end of world, moldy Swiss cheese. And it is springtime, a time when flowers bloom and birds sing. Berlin has no flowers, no birds. Blood is Berlin's flower; death is her song."
Tom asks Maria more questions about Berlin life in the years following the war's end.
[page 33] "You have endured much suffering. I am very sorry about that. When did life get better for you?"
"In spring of 1948 life improved. Not much, but it was better. Then it happened."
"The Russians started in June to blockade West Berlin: Railroads. Autobahns. Canals. They tried to starve us — more than two million West Berliners — by keeping out food and coal and everyday living supplies."
"But the Russians did not block the air lanes into Berlin," Tom said.
"Yes, American airplanes brought food and coal and medicines. We watched them land and take off at Tempelhof. Life was difficult, but not like 1945 and 1946. Those were terrible years. The Americans gave us hope and faith. They were on our side. That gave Berliners strength and the will to survive. Almost a year later, May 1949, the blockade ended, just like that. The Russians lost. The Americans won."
The three guys take a train to a lakeside resort in Wannsee, bringing their bathing trunks with them and towels, but having no place to change into their trunks, they adopt the German method which involves holding a towel around them with their left hand and using one's other two right hands to slip out of civvies and into swimming gear. Oops, that would require one to have two right hands; somehow the Germans had learned to manage this feat of dexterity with only one right hand.
[page 69, 70] Tom was first to venture into changing. He took off his shirt, wrapped a towel around his body and slipped off his trousers. He was now in his shorts, so far so good. Next, he dropped his shorts and gripped the bathing suit while holding the towel. One leg was in the bathing suit, one leg to go. Suddenly he needed a third hand. Whoops! Tom staggered off balance; the bathing suit dropped to his ankles. He found himself falling backward. There was no way to stop the fall. On the ground now, his body was in a spread eagle position, letting the sun shine in from head to toe and everything in between, choreographed, it would appear, with drama and panache. The crowd burst into roaring laughter followed by loud applause; chalk that up to another of life's unanticipated zingers that everyone is subjected to. The event defined the German expression of Schadenfreude better than any dictionary. Tom simply had experienced the term in its native habitat.
When I visited Berlin in 2009, our bus passed a church which sounds exactly like the one the author describes in this next passage. I got several photos of it, but not the name of the church whose original bell tower has remained in ruins for over 70 years, and with a new functional bell tower looking like a modern skyscraper built beside it.
[page 73] From the ruins of the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche, the Kudamm, as the locals called the boulevard, stretched nearly two miles westward. All that was left of that magnificent church, built in memory of Wilhelm I, was part of the west bell tower, a darkened, jagged vertical slice of granite blocks. The Berliners called it hohler Zahn, the hollow tooth. As a touch of irony that single ruined tower, remnant of a Kaiser's memorial, had become another memorial, one for the Second World War. It was the will of the people, of the Berliners, that the tower would not be demolished.
When the boys meet Helmut, they find him a voluble companion, full of information about how and why Hitler, a second-rate painter whose art might hang in shopping malls today, came to power in Germany after the Great War to precipitate World War II.
[Page 95] "The causes and the eventual result can be debated forever," announced Helmut, "but if you lived during that earlier time, as my parents did, and Maria's and Ilse's, when food was scarce and our stomachs were always empty and there was endless fighting among fellow Germans in the streets below, then you might begin to understand how one thing led to another. You might then understand how Germany ended up with a despotic leader, bent on domination and subjection not only of his own people, but others as well."
Which discussion leads Tom to analyze how the Great War itself began after an assassination of the Archduke. The many countries of Europe were entangled like swimmers having a pact to save one another if one went under and soon all the swimmers were dragged into the struggle and were soon drowned in war.
[page 142] "Tragically, that was the way the world of Europe operated." Tom added. "Those entangling alliances, whether they were treaties or arrangements, originally created for protection, produced ultimately the unintended consequences of the Great War."
Helmut always offered information about everything except about himself. No one knew exactly what his background was, but doubts about whose side he was on crept into everyone's mind. This added to the drama of constantly moving each day back and forth across the Soviet and American sectors of Berlin. On the final night heading back to West Berlin, Mike decides on a prank equivalent to stealing the bell from Taco Bell. This became so popular that, even though few pranksters were caught, the fast food chain had to remove the real bells and replace them by painted ones.What Mike chose to do was to take down a Soviet flag, steal it, and wrap himself in it under his coat, right before they were ready to cross the border. If they missed the last train, they would be subject to search and possible execution by the Vopos guarding the Brandenburg Gate.Even if they passed the Vopos inquisitions of why they were crossing so late, they would have to walk across the dead's man's land of the Brandenburg Gate with machine guns trained on their back. One silly college prank could end their lives. They had no friends who could save them, except the mysterious Helmut, perhaps, but they hadn't seen Helmut for several days and he may well be part of the Vopos himself.
Will our heroes make it out of East Berlin alive? Will Tom ever see Maria again? Will the affair in Berlin be a life-changing one? It was already that as we read near the final pages, but will it end up being changes for the better? Join these three young students in their affairs and adventures, as they navigate through two post-war Berlins and discuss how and why things went so wrong in two wars for Germany. You may get to feel what it was like yourself to have lived through those interesting and trying times.
5.) ART: Zorkoff Rays A Short Story Written c.1961 by Bobby Matherne
I'm writing this down hoping that through some miracle it may be found some day, I am slowly starving now as my food supply has begun to run low.
Perhaps I'd better begin my story from the beginning. I suppose it began in college when I decided I wanted to become a research physicist. Yes, that's where it started, and I did become one. A good one. When I received my Ph. D. in 1965, I agreed to go to work for a private lab in California where I did research work on the newly discovered Zorkoff Rays. These rays had the remarkable property of reducing the size of any object that was subjected to them. The size of reduction, depending on the strength of the rays, was usually a fraction of a micrometer per cubic meter of volume.
The research I was doing took up most of my time, but I still found time to relax at home with my wife and children. It's hard for me to think about then now that I know I'll never see them again.
I struggled with these rays for a dozen years, futilely searching for the reason they could shrink a steel ball to a smaller size simply by passing through the ball. (It is generally accepted by physicists that the waves pass through all objects, and that none bounce off.) Yet, reducing of the size of objects is the least incredible of the properties of the Zorkoff rays. Not only does an object become smaller, but in doing so it loses weight in direct proportion. In other words, if an object is placed in the path of these rays, it loses some mass. Then if the object is removed from the path of the rays, it returns to its original size and weight.
One bright March morning I was working in my laboratory. The sun was shining in from the high windows around the lab, a little warm for the time of year. I went about the lab turning on a switch here and a switch there, thinking about the sounds of early Spring outside. I could hear the birds chirping faintly and the people and cars passing outside. Suddenly I heard the sound of rubber squealing on pavement, accompanied by the sound of metal crunching. The car must have struck my laboratory, because the last thing I remember was seeing the brick wall come crashing down and seeing blue sparks jumping across the laboratory from the equipment.
When I came to, I was where I am now. I suppose only God knows where that is. I'm in the center of a deep valley, the walls of which are hard and smooth and made of some unknown black substance. The whole valley is black and stretches to both sides of me far as I can see. The sides of the valley which seem to be about 1,000 feet high have definite curves and at the bottom they run together smoothly forming the bare, block floor of the Valley which is about a hundred yards wide.
The sky above the rim of the valley is usually a very hazy light blue, except at night and at night there are no stars. The day and nights usually make a twenty-four hour cycle, but sometimes the day may only last a few hours. The weather seems to remain the same, and never any wind at all. However, there is always a peculiar feeling of a gentle, billowing pressure from the air. There is no Sun or Moon at all in the sky.
I've been wandering abound here at the bottom of the valley for three days so far, and the valley looks the same all over. The sides are so slippery that it's impossible to climb them, though I seriously doubt that climbing to the top would do much good.
There aren't any signs of vegetation or life to be seen anywhere, but I've been able to stay alive eating bits of some alien matter that resemble small pieces of foam rubber or sponge. It has no taste at all but it seems to keep me partly nourished.
I wish I had someone to talk to. I'm getting tired of writing and ready to stop. Nothing new has happened there is nothing else to write about. I'm putting down my pen.
Wait, what's that noise? It's a low, vibrating, humming sound coming from very far away. The whole valley seems to be moving a little. Now the vibration's getting faster and the humming louder and louder. A shadow has just fallen over the valley, but I can't see what's causing it. I can hear something approaching in the distance. My God, a black object covering the whole sky just passed over as the vibration reached a maximum. What kind of a world have I gotten into? The black object has just passed again. Here it comes once more; I can hear it in the distance. I can see something in the valley way off that is moving. Great Scott! It's a... a... phonograph needle!
Read/Print the Review at:
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I hear often from my Good Readers that they have bought books after reading my book reviews. Keep reading, folks! As I like to remind you, to obtain more information on what's in these books, buy and read the books — for less information, read the reviews.
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= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =In this section I like to comment on events in the world, in my life, and in my readings which have come up during the month. These are things I might have shared with you in person, if we had had the opportunity to coverse during the month. If we did, then you may recognize my words. If I say some things here which upset you, rest assured that you may skip over these for the very reason that I would likely have not brought up the subject to spoil our time together in person.1. Padre Filius Meets Large Transformer in French Quarter.
Padre Filius, the cartoon character created by your intrepid editor and would-be cartoonist, will appear from time to time in this Section of DIGESTWORLD to share with us some amusing or enlightening aspect of the world he observes during his peregrinations.
This month the good Padre offers to do Fist Bump with Tall Transformer this Month:
2. Comments from Readers:
NOTE: I love hearing from all my Good Readers and including your missives here (slightly edited).
If you prefer any comments or photos you send to be private, simply say so and they will not be published.
- EMAIL from Bulgaria:
This reader asks a great question about Annie Dillard's book, "Holy the Firm".
Hello,I'm student , who should translate part of Annie Dillard -Holy the Firm into my native language- Bulgarian. This novel is really hard for me to be translated, but the most difficult part for me is the title - Holy the Firm, what does it mean? Holy is like sacred, but The Firm - hard substance? How will sound if you perifrase "Holy the firm"? Thank you :)
MY REPLY: ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I've done some translating into German, so I have an idea of what you're up against.
We just read "The Art of Hearing Heartbeats" a translation of a fine novel into English from the German language. Its title in German was simply "Das Herzenhören", the heart-hearing.
So translation is a challenge, especially for Titles which have double and triple meanings at times.
Luckily Annie Dillard explains her title and I quote that in my review here:
Holy the Firm
First paragraph of my review:"Every day is a god, each day is a god, and holiness holds forth in time." With the opening words of this book, Annie Dillard sets us down, Holy and Firmly, and never lets go as we read on. This is a short book, but who says Holy must be long, either in space or in time? She set me down, and I read it wholly in one day, an otherwise cloudy, rainy, and depressing day in February; she held me firmly in a holy place till I turned the last page, she held me in a place where the Sun rising is a god, the Puget Sound is a god, the Pacific is a god, a god whose being is articulated by the surrounding scene.I spoke above of some of those meanings. You may find more yourself. Translating a title is a creative work, no computer can do that nor can any help you. One Russian translation software translated "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak" from the Bible into "The vodka is strong, but the meat is rotten." See the problem you're facing?Annie goes on in her next paragraph, which I suggest you read, to call Holy the Firm, the Philosopher's Stone. That might be a good phrase to translate and use as the title. A Firm Rock-hard basis for Philosophy. But I cannot be creative for you; it's a do-it-yourself job, is it not?
Here's where Annie explains her title. From my review in [[brackets]]:[[What meaning can we give the title, Holy the Firm? We get hints in the question which this next passage builds up to, and the eponymous Part Three strives to answer.[page 47] Faith would be, in short, that God has any willful connection with time whatsoever, and with us. For I know it as given that God is all good. And I take it also as given that whatever he touches has meaning, if only in his mysterious terms, the which I readily grant. The question is, then, whether God touches anything. Is anything firm, or is time on the loose? ]]
Annie is my favorite author and I have read everything she's written. Read my review of Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Clicking on Title or Book Cover at left. This book is about philosophy, a way of loving knowledge (philo-sophy) and trusting God as the Holiness and Firmness of our world. Once you learn to love Annie's writing, coming up with a great translation will be easy for you. Hold your unanswered question this way, "How will it sound if I paraphrase 'Holy the Firm'?" Wait until you have translated the rest of the book, and an answer will come along the way, like a cool breeze . . .
- EMAIL from Grady in New Orleans:
Thanks as always for your DIGESTWORLD. I always enjoy it. This month your "DRUGS CZAR US" captures a thought many of us have these days. Your Cajun story came at a time I needed a good laugh. Sorry I had to miss the Shakespeare dinner, but I was leaving for Europe the next day. See you when I get back from Italy.
- EMAIL from Jim in Santa Rosa:
Always a pleasure to hear from you. We are going on an Alaskan cruise with our kids next month on Celebrity. I hope they are as much fun as you and Del.
- EMAIL from Dianne in Gretna:
Bobby, how wonderful your coverage on the Derby. Fabulous photos.
My Best to you and Adele,
- EMAIL from Carolyn in Indiana:
I enjoy each of your Digestworlds. I am in awe of the time you find to pour into this, but grateful that you do! God Bless!
- EMAIL from Paul in New Orleans:
I always enjoy your digest but am particularly pleased with the photos and note about our thespian group.
- EMAIL from Chris Bryant with Selfie at Steamboat Bill's in Lake Charles, La. after eating a couple of their famous Crawfish Pistolettes:
- EMAIL from Betty in Louisville, catching up on DW155 and -156:
Hi, Bobby, As you can see, I am behind on my reading. I can't believe I missed Del's birthday and it looked like she celebrated with class, the classy lady she is! Tell her "happy birthday" for me and a big hug!
It seems you both are doing wonderful. All is OK here as well. I continue to do my part time job, traveling for work and a little pleasure.
Can you believe we have a new Triple Crown Winner?
You both take good care, hugs and luv ya
- EMAIL from Renee, Adjunct Copy-editor, about How Spiritual World Projects into Physical Existence:
I started reading, really got into it and decided to finish it tonight. Thanks for sending this. It had lots of good things I needed to hear!
- EMAIL from Bill to Book Club Members:
I had the pleasure of reading Bobby's review of the Art of Hearing Heartbeats. It is a terrific review with some fine language in it.
Thanks Bobby, you've done a great job bringing out the best of the book.
- EMAIL Jessica in New Orleans re our meeting at Carol's 80th Birthday:
Lanaux and I were hoping you and Adele would be there. So glad we had a chance to visit. Very excited that you were able to share some photo storage tips with Lanaux. He takes so many pictures! Happy travels. Jessica
- EMAIL from Helena in Hawaii re photo I sent her of Ben Upton (Click to see it):
I love Benjamin!! He is so FULL, overfull with joy! And these elephants behind him look like he has Mickey Mouse ears on! Love the timing of the pic!
Thank you so much for sharing and always staying in touch.
PS. This Ben's pic - It can totally be on the cover of a baby magazine, diapers or anything else! It's just too adorable :-)
3. Poem from Freedom on the Half Shell:"Running Bumblebees"
Give me your poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free and I will give them taxes, regulations, restrictions, and every manner of unfairness ever created by persons saddled with the illusion that they can decide what is best for someone else's welfare. The individual, like the business professional, knows what's best in a given situation and, given the freedom, will take that action. The forces of coercion are prying open the shell that contains the living muscle and spirit of the American people — will we resist those forces and keep our muscles and spirit alive, free to open at will, or will we give up like the oyster and settle for "freedom on the half shell?" Here is another poem from Freedom on the Half Shell:
4. REMOVED ADS
Trotsky and Lenin taught
The Russian bumblebee to walk
From flower to flower
For seventy years —
A starvation diet of honey.
Gorbachev's perestroika's teaching
The Russian bumblebee to run,
To let the feet coordinate themselves
In hope that a running start
Will lift their country into flight.
The bumblebee cannot fly, unfortunately,
Unless the wings have autonomy.
No central nervous system
Can control the wing flap speed
Required for flight.
The wings must coordinate themselves
Free from central domination,
Or else — the Reds can cuss and cuss —
They'll become a fast-running
Bumblebee like US.
5. CENSORSHIP IN 21ST CENTURY
Dear Good Readers,I have noted a recent spate of obnoxious Ads, such as those displaying robots as almost nude females. The small amount of ad income we receive is not worth distracting our good readers of our Reviews and DIGESTWORLD Issues, so I removed all ads, until I was finally able to BLOCK the offending one inside of AdSense. It was a hyped-up advertisement for some drug. If blocking ads becomes too difficult, I will simply remove them entirely.
Please let us know your opinion on Ads appearing in reviews, etc. Do they distract you or are they sometimes useful?
Bobby Matherne, Editor
One of the funniest books I have read in recent years is Paul O'Leary's wonderful book full of unexpurgated stories of his lively Irish family growing up in the Boston area. I wrote a review of his book which appeared in DW#156 last month. I checked to see if it was available for sale on-line and sure enough it was on a popular website, which will not be named, but you can guess, if you will, or look at the Ad at right. I wrote a blurb for that website of my review to help promote Paul's book which consisted of the first few paragraphs of my review. I thought that would grab potential readers by the cojones and they would buy the book. Well, the same website, who makes money from selling the book which contains the quoted passage of my blurb, refused to publish my blurb with that paragraph in it. So I have killed the life of the passage, i. e., given it euthanasia or put it to sleep like a pain-wracked old dog, and have re-offered the deadened blurb to the same money-hungry website, which sells the book itself with no qualms but, in its finite wisdom, refuses to allow illuminating quotes from it to appear on their web-site in a review.6. REMOVING HYPERLINK & GRAPHIC from EXCEL SPREADSHEET
The screenshot at right shows that an Ad for Paul's book appeared this month on DandyDon.com, a website I check daily for LSU news, especially with a College World Series appearance looming for my Fighting Tigers. It was the appearance of this Ad that made me decide to neuter my blurb for Paul's book and re-submit it. It got through the censoring software this time without any delay, and people with eyes can find out the name of the website if they wish to buy the book.
Here is the euthanized version of the blurb, looking like a redacted confidential file:
The Christmas Party of 1958 is the linchpin which holds this incredible story of the O'Leary family together. Its telling fills the pages of this book, echoing the haunting images of its eponymous Chapter One, "Christmas Party". Take this scene, which could only be reported from a pre-teen eye witness to the event which occurred in the hall closet where Paul was charged by his mother to hang the overcoats of the houseful of guests as they arrived. Unseen at first he witnessed this scene unfold.
[page 1] "Drink it! Go on, drink it! It's not gonna kill you."
She pushed the half-full juice glass at him, the type once used for grape jelly. I watched as she shoved it aggressively at her brother's face.
"I don't wanna drink it, Deidre! It stinks! Plus, it's still wahm!" complained Jimmy. He pleaded in a low voice, "Please, Deirdre! Don't make me drink it. It'll make me sick!"
"Well, if you wanna see my euphemism, you're gonna havta drink it. That's the deal. That's what we 'greed on. I'll show you my euphemism if you'll drink my euphemism. Now drink it, you little euphemism, or I'll throw it at ya!"
Oh my gawd! What was this? My cousin Deirdre had just uttered the Euphemism word! My chaotic thoughts were suspended like shattered shards of broken glass floating in the ether.
The original, uneuthanized paragraph is like the knockout punch Rocky Marciano blasted Jersey Joe Walcott with in 20 seconds of the first round of their rematch. It hits you with such a force, that you'd rather stay on the canvas till the count of 10 than get up for 15 more rounds of such a beating. Except . . . except . . . if this paragraph hits you with a jolt of reality and lands right on your funny bone, you'll know this is the right stuff, not some airy-fairy fictional account of a made-up family. Buy the book or read the unexpurgated review by Bobby Matherne in his DIGESTWORLD No. 156.
It happened at a Boston Christmas Pahty, fer gawd's sake, full of drunks, Irish-style drunks. You may joke about the Boston accent, "Pawk de cawh in de Hawahd Yawd" and all that, but I lived near Boston and our sweet real estate lady, Marge Lovely, would not turn her head in a gathering if I called her, "Marge". I had to learn to say "Mahdge" to get her attention. Best to put up with the curious spellings in the dialogue of this book, dear Readers, it's how people actually speak in the area, even polite people. But the Irish in this story are mostly rip-roaring drunk and their vocabulary is nothing, if not, at times, as salty as his cousin Deidre's proffered drink, as risque as his Uncle Jim's popsicle, as obscene as an angry Irish sailor, and as downright rude as W. C. Fields was to kids. So enjoy this peek into a book which will shock you, delight you, make you roll on the floor laughing, and leave you wondering how the author survived this upbringing. This is a story of a survivor, but he mostly appears as an observer, as this story is about how he outlasted his wonderfully dysfunctional family. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Just when I think, after 50 years working in computer field, from user to designer of instruction sets and most everything in between, that I've seen everything, this glitch floored me! I noticed some weird blank space in a spreadsheet where I update my doyletics.com statistics daily. I put my cursor in that spot and when I clicked to see what was there, my browser opened the website for WWOZ.ORG!
Turned out there was an almost invisible WWOZ graphic (all white on white of block letters WW on top of OZ, see screenshot at right) with hyperlink under it. The text was covered by the graphic and unreadable. This graphic was sitting in the middle of my daily statistics EXCEL spreadsheet. If I clicked inside the graphic, WWOZ.org opened up in my Browser. Had to creep up from the side or top to view each data box. Could not read the blank WWOZ graphic till I zoomed spreadsheet back and the smaller text outlined it for me. Then I found 'New Orleans Music for the Universe' in the hyperlink box underlined in blue. Finally hit F1 for help and it suggested Right Click (RC) on link to remove hyperlink and something else to remove graphic. Luckily, my RC outlined the graphic box and I deleted it. Still had the text and blue underline. Did another RC and removed then hyperlink. Then finally blanked out the now black text. WHEW! ! ! !
Have no idea how link got made, but this spreadsheet was likely open on one of my five PC screens when an advertent click or drag and drop caused the WWOZ link to be stored on that XLS sheet. Never had put a hyperlink on an XLS sheet and didn't know how to remove one. Now I do know how to remove one when it appears by accident.
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9. CLOSING NOTES:
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Thanks to all of you Good Readers for providing the Sunshine which has made this site a Blooming Success. — Especially those of you who have graciously allowed us to reprint your emails and show photos of you and by you on this website — you're looking good!
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