On The Calendar and the Cycle of the Year
- ******* The purpose of posting the weekly mantras of the Soul-Calendar is that it's the meeting of two areas of the spiritual path in anthroposophy: first, we use mantras (and "yantras", or Imaginations, pictorial symbols) to develop higher knowledge, as the ancient yogis used chants and mandalas; and secondly, just as every religion in the world has sacred days and festivals at certain points of the year, such as midsummer or midwinter, first day of spring, etc., so there is a way to mark the time of year and use the experience of the cycle of the year as a meditation. The growth of the plants in spring, the ripening of fruit and flower in summer, the decay of Autumn and the cold death-like mineral state of winter--- all this is not only a physical but also a series of non-physical (astral and etheric) happenings. The world contains both upbuilding and down-tearing (catabolic and anabolic) forces, which are the Solar and Lunar forces in the Earth: we're directed to meditate on growth and decay in Knowledge of the Higher Worlds, and this is the great macrocosmic case of them. When the outer world of Nature is sprouting and growing, in spring and summer, something is moving from the astral plane into the physical; when Nature dies back in Autumn and "sleeps" in winter, there has been the counter-movement back from the physical to the astral.
We are affected by all this, even if we have cut ourselves off (apparently) from nature with our air-conditioning in summer and heat in winter; because we are inserted into Nature, and so unconsciously we experience it all still. The mantras and the celebration of the festivals are a way to make it conscious again.
I've been using them since 1977, and one thing I realized is that they are intimately connected with the seasons and cannot be detached from those. (They are for the Northern Hemisphere only, for instance, and should be reversed for the Southern.)
Feb. 2nd was the old festival of Candlemas, halfway between Samhain (Nov. 1st), the start of winter in old Ireland, and Beltane or the first of May. This week we begin to experience the return of outer Nature after winter's sleep. It will not be easily apparent to the senses for some weeks yet, but it can be experienced within. That's the meaning of this week's mantra with its description of new sense-perceptions arising from outer Nature filling a clear soul: the soul has been withdrawn within itself in winter as Nature was dead, after being born afresh in a mysterious way in winter's depths. What we wish to will from within us must connect this week with these new 'stirrings' of outer Nature for the coming year. This might be easier to see and do if you're a Bio-Dynamic farmer, but for all the rest of us, we have to watch for the new awakenings of our outer lives that we need to link to.