Soul Calendar

From: Gisele
Date: Sun Dec 7, 2003 10:24 am
Subject: Soul Calendar

Hello, I have started reading the Calendar of the soul by Steiner and I am puzzled by the following:

all the people I know who read it every week, are now reading verse 35 and from tomorrow 36, which were linked to the weeks 1 - 7 December and 8 - 14 December in 1912, the year of the first edition of the Calendar.

But when Steiner introduced the Calendar, he emphasized that one must always begin with the first mantram on Easter.

According to THIS YEAR calendar, today starts the 34th week from Easter 2003 - which makes it verse 34!

So why do all these others continue each year as if it was forever 1912? Should'nt the verses be linked to the time of year in nature?

Can anyone help?

Thanks,

Gisele

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From: golden3000997
Date: Sun Dec 7, 2003 3:36 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Soul Calendar

Hello Giselle,

Over on the Steiner Group, Starman posts the Calendar of the Soul every week and he has given the "formula" for figuring out the weeks. It would be in the post archives. He does start with Easter, as most people I think do. This leaves extra weeks some years, which people handle in different ways, like keeping the last verse for a few weeks.

I'm sure they won't mind your "lurking" around there and finding his info!

: ) Christine

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From: Gisele
Date: Fri Dec 12, 2003 3:44 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Soul Calendar

Hi Christine, thanks for replying. I know that list because I was among the first to subscribe (years ago) but I left (long time ago). I don't like the 'guru style' of the leading star there, so I won't lurk there for ready made formulas. Please don't take this as a criticism of your suggestion, I appreciate your kindness and I like all your postings!!!!
Take care
Gisele

golden3000997 wrote:

Hello Giselle,

and he has given the "formula" for figuring out the weeks.

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From: Daniel Hindes
Date: Tue Dec 9, 2003 5:57 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Soul Calendar

In general, trust Steiner. If anyone objects, they should have a very clearly articulated, thoughtful reason, which you can then evaluate on it's own merits. I suspect that people who are reading the verses in their 1912 order never thought about the point.

Daniel

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From: Gisele
Date: Fri Dec 12, 2003 4:07 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Soul Calendar

Daniel Hindes wrote:

In general, trust Steiner. If anyone objects, they should have a very clearly articulated, thoughtful reason, which you can then evaluate on it's own merits. I suspect that people who are reading the verses in their 1912 order never thought about the point.

Daniel

~Ah! I suspected that too, but I also thought that that may just be one little sign of intellectual arrogance from my side. I also tend to trust Steiner above his interpreters, so....

Thanks for replying!

Gisele

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From: Jo Ann Schwartz
Date: Mon Dec 22, 2003 12:35 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Soul Calendar

--- Gisele wrote (back on December 7th):

Hello, I have started reading the Calendar of the soul by Steiner and I am puzzled by the following:

all the people I know who read it every week, are now reading verse 35 and from tomorrow 36, which were linked to the weeks 1 - 7 December and 8 - 14 December in 1912, the year of the first edition of the Calendar.

But when Steiner introduced the Calendar, he emphasized that one must always begin with the first mantram on Easter.

According to THIS YEAR calendar, today starts the 34th week from Easter 2003 - which makes it verse 34!

So why do all these others continue each year as if it was forever 1912? Should'nt the verses be linked to the time of year in nature?

Can anyone help?

Hi Gisele,

As you note, Steiner began the Calendar of the Soul with Easter, a movable feast, in part because he intended the calendar to be a living document rather than a static, dead text.

When I first started working with the Soul Calendar, I also tended to use the Easter-plus-N method of dating -- which is the method you propose above and that Starmann still uses when posting his verses. However, as my experience in working with the calendar grew, I began to find the Easter-plus-N method less than satisfactory because I found it more useful to work with the verses for the major festivals closer to the actual festival than this method allows in some cycles (including this one... by Easter-plus-N it is now week 36, but the Christmas verse is week 38 -- Verse 38 is the lead verse in my meditations this week.)

A few years ago, I started querying anthroposophers on how to resolve the dilemma of the varying number of weeks between Easters. I received a wide variety of opinions on when and how to work with the Soul Calendar and its verses, (in fact, there seem to be more opinions than anthroposophers, near as I can tell! <g>) most of which can be classified in one of the following ways:

* begin at Easter and start a new verse each Sunday, ignoring the fact that some years you run out of verses early and some years you have verses you never read

* begin at Easter and start a new verse each Sunday, slowing down (or catching up) the verses during Lent

* take the number of days between Easters and divide by 52 to get the number of days one should hold between verses, ignoring any consequent (mis)placement of the festivals

* read the verse and see what's happening in your soul -- in this way you can observe which verse corresponds most to the macrocosmic 'mood'

* use the dates given by Steiner and ignore the Easter discrepancies (!!)

Initially, I experimented with what seemed like a reasonable compromise: I adjusted the weeks between Easter and St. John's Tide, and between Week 30 (which includes the Day of the Dead-- Nov. 1) and Easter, to fill in. (I left the weeks from St. John's to Week 30 alone, because this allowed the major festival verses (St. John's, Michaelmas, Day of the Dead, Christmas) to fall in the correct week--- which is my preference.)

Then, in a discussion of the calendar that took place near St. John's Tide, 1999, James Gillen observed: "What impressed me about Sadler's version [of the Soul Calendar] is that he had worked out the inner structure of the Calendar. He makes a convincing case that the Calendar has both Solar (verses 10-44) and Lunar (verses 45-9) sections and it is in these Lunar sections that the timing is adjusted, based on the entry of the moon into certain constellations."

This remark resonated deeply with my own experience of using the Calendar and I have since adapted my practice accordingly. Although I do not use the "entry of the moon into certain constellations," I do adjust the calendar dates within this "lunar" section of the calendar -- roughly Easter through Whitsuntide at the beginning of the Soul Calendar year (weeks 1-9) and during Lent (weeks 45-52) at the end of the Soul Calendar year. (Actually, I have found that I prefer to meditate on the Easter verse for the entire first week, and to meditate on verse 52 for the whole of Holy Week, so those weeks are not adjusted.)

So, in the Easter 2003 to Holy Saturday 2004 cycle, weeks 9 – 44 have/will all begin on Sunday and last for the full 7 days. (Thus I am currently meditating on Verse 38 and its attendant verses.) I intend to use 8 day 'weeks' for weeks 45 – 51. That is, I will work with Verse 45 and its companions from Feb. 8-15, Verse 46 and its companions from Feb. 16-23, and so on. . . (By companion verses, I mean the polar verse (#15) for the northern hemisphere and both verses for the southern hemisphere -- verse #12 – St. John's Tide -- and its polar verse (#41). I'm meditating primarily on the Christmas verse, but I try to be aware of the other three verses. I think of them as harmony to the 'lead' verse for the week.)

Of course, the above discourse only applies to the dating of the Soul Calendar verses for the northern hemisphere. Like many of our compañeros in the southern hemisphere, I am currently taking the easy way out and merely adding / subtracting 26 from the number of the verse for the northern hemisphere. This makes things a little out of whack, as I really should be basing it on the southern hemisphere's "Easter" of the first Sunday after the first full moon after their vernal equinox... but I'm still not quite up to that.

In re-thinking about how I use the Soul Calendar, I ran across a couple of posts I had sent in to the S98 list that was on these very questions. I'll send them along to this list, in the hopes of sparking further discussion.

In the Spirit of Christmas-Tide,
JoAnn

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From: Jo Ann Schwartz
Date: Mon Dec 22, 2003 12:40 pm
Subject: The Soul Calendar -- North and South

Here is the first of the archived posts I mentioned:

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Date: 4 Jan 2000
From: Jo Ann Schwartz
Subject: Working with the Soul Calendar [was: Re: Christmas Soul-Calendar
Verse]

I wrote (in part):

Actually, I would like to see this discussion of the Calendar of the Soul *expanded* to include how we are working with the verses. Some points of discussion might be:

Do you meditate only on the current week's verse, or do you also work with the polar verse? Do you work with verses on either side of the current week's verse? On either side of the polar verse?

Is anyone working with all *four* verses associated with the week? That is, not only with the current and polar verses for the northern hemisphere but also with those for the southern hemisphere, all four at once?

(I am beginning to believe Steiner meant for us to do exactly that, as indicated by the fact that the original verses were not only numbered but also lettered--- A - Z and Z' - A'. Under the dating system I am using for this cycle of the calendar, I am currently contemplating verse 37 (K') which has polar verse 16 (P); the companion verses are verse 11 (K) and verse 42 (P')---- the current verse and polar verse for the southern hemisphere!! Over the past several months, I have become more and more aware of the southern hemisphere and its relationship to the northern hemisphere (in the sense of the in-breathing and out-breathing of the earth); but I am not yet to the point where I am actively working with these verses...)

______, one of our antipodean correspondents, replied:
There is no doubt that the area in the Southern Hemisphere where i circulate (&) is not primarily subject to the "Reverse" calendar - so to speak. Nature - possibly. The social atmosphere is fully Christmas - and with a brand somehow. But very quiet. No tag.

Hi ______

No doubt that socially, it is Christmas all over the world.

But my understanding was and is that the purpose of the Calendar was to help us connect the inner world of the "I" with the outer world of nature. To help us reflect on the way in which--- in winter--- the inner "I" is awakening just as the outer world of nature is (apparently) going to sleep; whilst in summer we can reflect on how the inner "I" seems lulled to sleep just as the outer world seems most alive and awake. [Of course, these characterizations might make its use problematical outside of the northern temperate zones, since the cycles of nature may work in a different manner.... but that's another post, perhaps...]

Moreover, part of what I'm referring to in my original post (as reproduced above) is: I'm coming to believe that we were not meant to think so narrowly about the outer world... that the "outer world of nature" is NOT to be taken only as the outer world that surrounds us as we go about our day to day business (although we need to be mindful of that too....)

I think part of what Steiner set out to do with the Calendar--- the part that seems to get overlooked--- was to get us to think expansively about the earth and the (physical/etheric/astral) life of the earth. To really experience the in-breathing and out-breathing of the earth and her change of seasons and the change of her archangel guardians not only in our own hemisphere but also in the opposite hemisphere... To experience the earth as a living being much grander in scope than the place where we happen to be residing....

So, if Steiner structured the Calendar--- as Koenig notes--- into 13 groups of four verses, with one verse having the lead part whilst the others sing harmony, as it were, and with the verse in the lead varying depending on the season.... perhaps more attention needs to be paid to this structure. But, from our discussions thus far, most of us seem to disregard this multipart rhythm of the year in favor of concentrating only on the lead, or (at best) on the lead and one harmonic voice--- the polar verse for our hemisphere.

Most translations of the Calendar into English don't even provide the letter Steiner assigned to the verse so that this pattern can be found sans Koenig's (and others') commentaries and lectures. Daisy Alden's does, and A.C. Harwood's also. [...] But the new Goodwin translation does not... nor does the Hans & Ruth Putsch version. Oh, the French translation by Daniel Secrétan also includes them.

So, if we look at the Christmas verse (38) that started us off, Steiner has given it the designation L' whilst the verse for the southern hemisphere is the St. John's Tide verse (12), designated L. (The polar verses are 15 and 41, respectively) So are we not meant to contemplate these two verses together, along with their polar verses? Of course, here in the northern hemisphere, the Christmas verse takes the lead in our contemplations, just as in the southern hemisphere, the St. John's Verse might take the lead.

A (para)phrase from a South African lecture of Koenig's about another time of year comes to mind: how can we come to understand an Easter filled with "Michaelic iron"? Or, in this case, how can we come to understand a Christmas filled with the fire of St. John's Tide?? I don't think these are questions only for our antipodean friends, although they may loom more urgently in the southern hemisphere.

more thoughts?

JoAnn

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From: Jo Ann Schwartz
Date: Mon Dec 22, 2003 12:45 pm
Subject: Calendar of the Soul Verses as a Dance of the Year

Here is the second of the archived posts I mentioned. As always, YMMV (Your Maya May Vary) -- but that's what makes for interesting discussions, neh?

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Date: Fri, 14 Apr 2000
From: Jo Ann Schwartz
Subject: Calendar of the Soul Verses as a Dance of the Year

Dear Friends,

Of all the images the Calendar of the Soul presents, my favorite is the lemniscate. From the beginning, it has allowed me to visualize the passage of the year as a folk dance, an inward and outward looping of consciousness. As Tom Mellett wrote when he first began posting his translations to the internet,

The Calendar of the Soul verses begin with Easter Week (Week 1) and form the shape of a lemniscate, as shown below. ... If you start at #1 and draw a line to #6, continue to #12, and follow around until you get to #52, you will have drawn a lemniscate or figure 8. ... Now imagine that you are standing on #1. You will now walk the figure 8, but with your left arm extended outward. Thus when you arrive at #26, you will have completed the top loop of the lemniscate, and your left arm is always pointing OUTWARDS. But when you cross the middle and go from #27 to #52, your extended left arm is now pointing INWARDS toward the inside of the lower loop of the lemniscate. This is the basic out-breathing and in-breathing of the cosmic year."

As I have lived with and studied the Calendar further, the dance has become more complex. I now see four streams of time flowing through the lemniscate, coming together this week and next in a complex crossing wherein all four streams change their orientation.

St.John's ----------> 12-13
10 16
8 19
7 20
2 23 (this week's verse-S.)
(polar verse-N.) Easter-------> 1 -26 <------ Michaelmas
(polar verse-S.) -------> 27 - 52 <------(this week's verse-N.)
29 51
32 45
34 42
Christmas----------> 38-39

In the Northern Hemisphere, we are coming out of the winter's in-breath (follow from Christmas at the bottom of the lemniscate upwards on the right side to this week's verse 52) whilst the polar verse is now only a week into the future (follow the lemniscate from St. John's Tide back down the left side to Easter.)

In the Southern Hemisphere, our compañeros are completing summer's out-breath, under the influence of autumn's Archangel Michael (follow from St. John's Tide at the top of the lemniscate downwards on the right to the Michaelmas verse at 26). Their polar verse is approaching from the Christmas verse at the bottom of the lemniscate, rising upwards on the left-hand side to verse 27.

And on April 23rd, we all cross the center, weaving the breath of the earth together. For it is only at the crossing point, and only twice each year--- at Easter and at Michaelmas--- that we meet with our brothers and sisters "down under" in Australia, New Zealand, South America, South Africa, et.al. During the rest of the year, we are traveling on opposite "lobes" of the lemniscate.

Can you see the beautiful and stately dance this would make??

In love & light,
JoAnn

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From: Daniel Hindes
Date: Mon Dec 22, 2003 3:40 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Soul Calendar

Thanks JoAnn, that was a very insightful summary of the various approaches to the question.

Daniel

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