Re: [anthroposophy] Ascension
- dbarford@... writes:
<< I have recently caught up with this list again, and have enjoyed the
posts on the soul calendar. They inspire me to ask the following question:
Is anyone able to venture an explanation of how first the time
intervals for the Christmas season, and then the time intervals
Easter festival get extended and transformed into Whitsun?
What I mean is this - One can look at Advent as the precursor to
Christmas and the Holy Nights/ Epiphany - coming out the other side,
and 4 weeks later is Candlemas or the Feast of the Purification of
the Virgin, which completes the Christmas season. The precursor to
Easter is Ash Wednesday and Lent - 40 days prior to Easter.
Ascension Day (today) is 40 days after Easter. And 50 days after
Easter is Whitsun or Pentecost. What is the significance of first 30
days, then 40, then 50? I have a very strong sense of experiencing
living through the whole of each season this year, one into the
other, and it seems a remarkable progression, yet I cannot put my
finger on the significance of the time frames..
Thanks for your collective thoughts..
Debbie Barford >>
*******I'd be interested in hearing other peoples' thoughts on this too. I've
never been able to figure out why that '40 days' period in the Bible. There's
no astronomical period of 40 days that I've ever found, so it doesn't appear
to have any 'cosmic' origin. The only thing I've found from experience is
that after the passing of winter the body wants to purify itself of toxins in
the flesh stored in winter, and Lent is set as a season of fasting right when
the body wants to purify. Also, the ego is at its strongest in this time, so
the denial of the ego---denying it pleasure---tames it. Also I found out
that, to the early Christians, Easter was the only time new people could be
baptized into the Church and symbolically have their past sin washed away, so
Lent was the time that those who had heard the Word and responded to it and
wished to become full Christians would be sent to study with an elder and
prepare for this. Why 40 days instead of an even number of weeks, though, I
have no idea. (Of course, the period of 40 days is in the story of Noah and
many other places in scripture.)
Then the Christ is said to have stayed with the disciples for 40 days,
until today, Ascension, and on the 50th day the dove descended on them in the
Upper Room. 'Pentecost' means 50 days. But I don't know where either the 40
or the 50 would come from as a time unit.
Steiner connected Pentecost or White Sunday (Whitsun) with St. John's Day
and thus midsummer, though they're a few weeks apart---the time when we are
most drawn 'out there', the astral body is drawn up to the heavens. All the
midsummer rituals in the Northern Hemisphere have to do with fire 'rising
up', visions gained by 'ascending' (like the Plains Indians 'Sundance'), and
we see this in the Soul-Calendar verses too.